Episode 24: All Things Mushrooms with Jeff Chilton
Kara: Sick of the fatigue and fog? Fed up with the unpredictable flares? Hangry from the super restrictive diets?
Hello, and welcome to the Crunchy Allergist Podcast, A podcast empowering those who like me, appreciate both a naturally minded and scientifically grounded approach to health and healing.
Hi, I'm your host, Dr. Kara Wada, quadruple board certified pediatric and adult allergy immunology and lifestyle medicine, physician Sjogren's patient and life coach. My recipe for success combines, the anti-inflammatory lifestyle, trusting therapeutic relationships, modern medicine, and mindset to harness our body's ability to heal.
Now although I might be a physician, I'm not your physician and this podcast is for educational purposes only.
Welcome back to everyone who's joining us again on this episode of the Crunchy Allergist Podcast and a super big welcome to anyone who's just joining us for the first time.
We are always excited to talk about All Things, Allergy, Immunology, and Anti-inflammatory living and today we're gonna focus a lot on this area of anti-inflammatory living.
One of the supplements or, food based products I've incorporated into my routine are medicinal mushrooms and we are really excited and honored to welcome a special guest today.
Jeff Chilton who's president of Nammex. He is a Pacific Northwest native and has studied extensively in the field of ethno-mycology, he's gonna talk to us about what that means.
But did his training at the University of Washington and really has had decades of experience in understanding mushroom cultivation, the safety, the things to watch out for, what are we looking for in these products, why are they helpful, why should we consider them, and why it's really important to look for certified organic mushroom extracts in your supplements.
Nammex is a company that supplies those extracts to many supplement companies.
I am so excited to welcome Jeff to the crunch podcast today and dive into all things mushrooms.
Jeff Chilton: Dr. Wada, thank you so much for having me on. It's really great to be here with you.
Kara: I would love if you could share a little bit more about how you ended up where you are today.
Jeff Chilton: Having grown up in Seattle, Pacific Northwest, washington's the evergreen state. Why is that? It rains a lot.
We have extensive forests of conifer trees. That also means is that we are one of the best places in the world for wild mushrooms.
So I had mushrooms around me as I was growing up.
Then when I went to university, my field of study was actually anthropology, but I also took courses in my mycology, which is the study of fungi.
I put the two together and then looked at the use of mushrooms by cultures, worldwide for food, for medicine, and in shamonic use.
But then when you graduate, what do you do with a degree in anthropology?
You don't re these days there are practicing anthropologists, but it was like social anthropology too. It wasn't like physical anthropology.
So at any rate, I thought it'd be great to learn how to grow mushrooms.
I went to the only mushroom farm in Washington state. I applied for a job. I got a job. I was there for the next 10 years, literally living with mushrooms. It was just incredible.
Kara: That's super fun. And has me remembering back to really, really fun memories with my family. My dad loves, so I grew up in the not Chicago part of Illinois little more rural area.
And so the wild mushrooms that we would always go foraging for were the morels.
Jeff Chilton: Morels. Of course.
Kara: Yeah. So the super fun memories, like hanging out with my dad and and even my husband's family. They would go out to Wyoming where his uncle lived and they would go looking for I believe it, it was maitake or
Jeff Chilton: Boletus? Was it a boletus?
Kara: They're very expensive. Japanese mushrooms that only, oh
Jeff Chilton: The matsutake.
Kara: Yes, matsutake. Thank you. I knew I was coming up with the wrong M mushroom that starts with the M, but and so it is interesting to think about how really they are so prevalent in all areas of the globe.
Jeff Chilton: Yeah. And let me just tell you a little bit about mushrooms and their food value.
Because when I went to the mushroom farm in 1973, classical Western nutritionist said, mushrooms are really tasty, they're an interesting food but they have no food value.
The reason they said that they're low in calories.
So no calories, no food value.
The fact of the matter is that mushrooms have a reasonable amount of protein, 20 to 40%.
They're mostly carbohydrate, but slow acting carbohydrates like mannitol and trehalose. They do not have starch.
These carbohydrates also are a lot of fiber, which feed our microbiome.
So we've got slow acting carbohydrates, reasonable amount of protein, low in fat. We have phosphorus potassium in reasonable amounts. Then we have B vitamins, B1 B2 and B3, in some cases as much as for a hundred grams of fresh mushrooms, you'll get 25% of your B3. So it's a really super nutritious food.
I call it, the forgotten food, the missing dietary link, people need to put mushrooms into their diet. It's a fabulous food.
Kara: I am thinking of a new tagline. The sexy food to talk about our food group had been fermented foods lately, but maybe we need to say fermented and fungi.
Jeff Chilton: You know what? It's interesting. Are you familiar with the food Tempe?
Kara: Yes. Yes.
Jeff Chilton: Tempe is a fermented food. It is fungal mycelium that ferment those soybeans. So when you are eating, let me just start by, by just talking about.
What is a mushroom? Now as a mushroom grower, first of all, how do I grow mushrooms?
You need seeds, mushrooms don't have seeds.
How do you grow these things?
They have spores. These spores fly out in nature onto the ground into wood.
When conditions are right, those spores will germinate. They'll germinate into a very fine filament called a hypha, and when these hypha fuse together, they will form a network.
That network is called mycelium.
That mycelium is what we call the thallus or the vegetative body. That's the body of it. And you know how it's like when you see a mushroom coming in and go, where did that come from? It's not like an apple on a tree, right? It's just not there's the tree.
No, in this case, that mycelium, which acts somewhat like a root structure, it's underground or buried in it substrate, which may be the wood.
So we rarely will see it, but when conditions are right, in the Northwest that's the fall, temperatures drop, humidity goes up, mushrooms need high humidity to grow. They need moist conditions.
Up comes this mushroom and over the next two weeks, it'll go from just a very tiny little, what we call a little pinhead, and it'll grow through the stages to a button, and then it'll get into the normal mushroom shape, the stem, the cap.
Under the cap are gills. On those gills are where the spores are produced. It lets the spores go. So now this, we have a completion of the life cycle.
And what's important here is that there are three primary parts. To this organism that we call a mushroom spore, mycelium, and a mushroom.
And that's very important because when you go to look for a supplement, you wanna make sure that you're getting the proper plant part.
So when you're looking for ginseng, you want the root.
When you're looking for echinacea, you want the flowers. Gingko, the leaves. This is really important.
And every supplement you buy should and is required to tell you what plant part is in this bottle. What are you actually buying?
So with this thing, we call a mushroom spore, mycelium, and mushroom.
And it is traditional that it is the mushroom that has the majority of the medicinal compounds and that's really what we focus on in terms of supplements.
But look, this mushroom is an awesome food.
It goes with everything. You can put it in your omelets. You can put it in your stir fries. You can just cook it up and eat it with meat. If you're a meat eater, it's very versatile. You have to cook it right. Cook it on a high heat.
If you cook it on a low heat, all the water will come right out of it. They'll be sitting in a pool of water and then your kids will be complaining, oh, those slimy mushrooms. I hate them. So cook it properly.
Kara: And they really are a fun substitute for meat. You mentioned Tempe, but we have experimented a lot more in the last several years.
Even especially oyster mushrooms of being able to create things that. It's not quite chicken, it's not quite, but it certainly has the mouth feel. You can get the taste and the flavor to have that umami or that rich meaty type flavor. And it's really satisfying.
Jeff Chilton: Oh yeah.
Today, if you're in the right area in your local natural foods markets anyway, you will have access to maybe six different species of mushrooms.
Now, sometimes you maybe only have one or two, but in most places now you'll have multiple species.
In the seventies, when I started at the mushroom farm, there was only one species out there, which is what we grew, which were the agaricus mushroom or what they called the button mushroom.
But, what was really so cool is we had a Japanese scientist working for us. And he was experimenting with shiitake, oyster mushroom, and enokitaki.
So during that period, I was able to see how these other mushrooms grew as well. For me, that was just a fabulous, extra part of my experience there at this mushroom farm.
Kara: You've had a lot of experience in traveling overseas as well to understand how mushrooms factor into other cultures and their nutrition as well.
Jeff Chilton: Oh yeah. And here's, what's really interesting is that mushrooms are actually expensive to grow. If you go into the market and even the button mushrooms at time, you go, oh, gee, that's, $5 a pound or something.
But that is fresh weight. So $5 a pound.
But if you want to use that for a supplement, it's gotta be dried out. Supplements are dried powders. So now that's $50 that the grower has to get for that same pound of mushrooms.
The issue becomes that you cannot grow mushrooms in the United States and put them into the supplement market.
No supplements that are grown, if it says grown in the United States, it's not a mushroom.
Being involved in commercial mushroom production, I knew that.
So in 1989, I went to a international society for mushroom science meeting convention in China, that was my first trip to China, and this is an organization that I was a part of from the very beginning.
You're thinking international society for mushroom science?
Kara: There's a group for everything.
Jeff Chilton: There is. Yes, indeed.
Kara: That's wonderful.
Jeff Chilton: Yeah. And the amazing part of it was that in China, they had maybe a dozen different research stations. They had tens of thousands of mushroom growers.
These mushroom growers were growing the mushrooms in a very natural way. They had processors.
I went to conferences, so all through the nineties, I traveled through China.
I made a lot of contacts there and that's where we grow and produce our products.
In 1997, I went to China with OCIA, which is the premier organic certification company in the US.
1997, I took them to China with me, and we had the first organic certification workshop for mushrooms in China, 1997.
All of our products are certified organic by high quality German certifiers.
I don't know about you. I totally believe in certified organic products because I don't care where you are in the world there's so many chemicals being poured on our food.
And we have no idea ultimately, oh, we have some idea but ultimately the effects of those down the line, boy, if I can get away from those chemicals in some way, I'm happy to play, pay the extra money.
Kara: Can you explain a little bit about what that entails, like what it means for your mushrooms to be organic?
How would that differ from like a conventional grown mushroom?
Jeff Chilton: This is really interesting because when I started at the mushroom farm in 1973, we had a program from penn State University.
That's the single university of United States that has a mushroom research station.
It told us what chemical to put on the crop at what time.
We used pesticides. We used fungicides. We used other chemicals on the wood that our substrates were in and our mushrooms were growing out of.
It was a very chemical Laden industry. Not so much anymore, but for organic certification, for example, with mushrooms, A what are you growing them on?
Okay. Where does it come from? Does that have any pesticide or chemical re residues?
Most of our mushrooms, in fact, the vast majority of them, all of them, but one are grown on sawdust or a wood log.
In China, what happens is, like a lot of places like Europe, you ever been to Europe and you see a forest and you go, oh wow, that's beautiful and then you go, huh? Those trees are in rows. What's going on?
The same in China. They have tree plantations. They can harvest the trees at a certain point and a certain amount of those will go to producing mushrooms.
Reishi mushroom uses an actual small wood log. The rest of our mushrooms are grown on sawdust.
We'll basically grow the mycelia out on sawdust.
And again, you have to be growing in an area where there's not drift chemical drift. Things like that.
Most of the mushroom when they're grown on saws, they're grown inside a bag, an autoclavable bag there.
When they're sterilized inoculated put onto shelves, and then the mushrooms will grow from these bags on shelves in green houses and shade houses, under very natural conditions of fresh air, light.
Do you know, the mushrooms actually need light to grow?
A lot of people think...
Kara: I'm gonna ask because it has been some time since I completed my undergrad, studies in biology.
Fungi are in this this in between, in their own realm of not quite plant, not quite animals.
So I was gonna have you remind me what the ingredients were, remind all of us, what the ingredients were to make mushroom.
Jeff Chilton: Yeah, again and you're right.
Fungi have their own kingdom in between plants and animals, but again, what they need is they need some kind of cellulose. That's what they're feeding on.
Mycelium that I was speaking about, what it does, its purpose in nature, is to break down organic matter.
It does that along with bacteria, bugs, anything that you know is in the soil, other fungi.
It's out there breaking down all that organic matter that builds up every year.
You can imagine all of the annual plants that come up and die.
All of the wood that comes off of tree leaves. You name all of that organic matter.
That's what this fungal mycelia will break down.
The beauty of mushroom growing is that it always looks for an agricultural waste product.
For example, lot of people think, oh yeah, that button mushroom, it grows on some kind of manure or so. Not true. What it actually grows on is straw.
Basically, and the composting process is a process of microbes breaking down organic matter. It's really a cool process, but straw.
It's looking for some kind of lignocellulosic material, which then it can break down.
That's what we're using sawdust. Again, we grow in conditions in shade houses.
When I was growing mushrooms and what happens in north America, they grow in big warehouses or shit.
Have you ever seen or been to a mushroom farm?
Kara: I have not. I've just been, out in the forest with the turkeys and the deer and in nondescripts Northern Illinois
Jeff Chilton: Yeah and we've all seen fields full of vegetables or corn or wheated or something like that.
Kara: Lots of corn and soybean here.
Jeff Chilton: Mushrooms primarily have grown in some kind of, whether it's a greenhouse or indoor environment, just because they need to control the humidity.
They need to control the temperature. Now the beauty of growing them in China is that they grow them according to the season.
As the temperature, for example the reishi mushroom likes hot temperatures. So it's growing during the summer. Then in September it gets harvested.
The shitaki and the maitake, they like cooler temperatures. So it's growing right up until let's just say November. It's harvested in November when temperatures are cooler. So it's a very natural environment that we grow our mushrooms in.
Here's an interesting fact. China today grows over 85% of the world's mushrooms.
Can you imagine over 85% of the world's mushrooms come out of China and what we do is we harvest our mushrooms.
We take them off to a facility that extracts them, turns them into a powder.
All of this is organically certified and ultimately for supplement use.
You will want to have it in some form, a dried powder that can be encapsulated or put into a smoothie or something like that. So that's what we do. And again, before
Kara: Drinking a latte with reishi and (indistinguishable).
So for anyone who's listening, as opposed to watching that's whatever.
Jeff Chilton: Yeah. And look before anything leaves China, before anything leaves China, we test it for heavy metals.
We test it for pesticide fungicides. We also will test a complete microbiological panel. There's E. coli, salmonella, those kind of things.
When it arrives in the US, we'll do the same thing. We'll test it again.
It'll get tested two times and look, we've talked a little bit about the supplement industry and, a lot of people think, oh, the supplement industry's not regulated at all.
It is highly regulated.
However, you can still have something that's organic. It's kosher.
That's produced in a CGMP, which is good manufacturing facility and has all of those different, what I call merit badges.
It can still be a lousy ineffective product.
In the mushroom supplement category, there's a lot of products that are manufactured with the mycelial stage.
The way they do this is that they will sterilize grain much like we were talking about tempe, right?
Where you're taking a grain and growing mycelium, they'll sterilize grain and they'll grow the mycelium on it.
It covers the grain then they will take that grain out.
They will dry it, grind it to a powder grain and all, and they will sell it as a supplement and call it mushroom when there's no mushrooms in it at all.
It's got a small amount of that mycelium stage but mostly starch.
From those grains and what we're really looking for, and what makes mushrooms medicinal, and why they're a functional food, is they have compounds in their cell walls called Beta-glucan.
These Beta-glucans are what give them this immunological potentiation.
That's why they are a fantastic supplement.
Now, when you test these other products, what you find out is they have next and no beta glucans, and mostly what we call alpha glucans, which are starches.
A mushroom is high in Beta-glucans and very low in alpha.
What's interesting about mushrooms is that their storage carbohydrate is glycogen, like humans.
Kara: Liver. Yeah.
Jeff Chilton: It's really interesting.
Jeff Chilton: But that amount, that alpha glucan, that glycogen in a mushroom is very low.
Mostly what you're getting with that mushroom is beta glucan. That's what you're looking for.
If you go looking for a supplement. Make sure it doesn't say made in the United States that automatically it's gonna be this myceliated grain.
Look to see whether it will tell you the amount of beta glucan in the product.
That's very important if it says high end polysaccharides. Yes. A beta glucan is a polysaccharide, but so is starch .
Kara: Yep. It just means polysaccharide lots of sugars.
Jeff Chilton: That's right.
Jeff Chilton: That's right.
Kara: Understand what kind.
Jeff Chilton: That's right. That's right. So you have to be very careful when you're purchasing that mushroom supplement, because when you look at the bottle, it'll be a picture of a mushroom.
It'll say, oh, lion's mane mushroom or reishi mushroom.
Then you turn it over some companies might say mycelium.
Some companies in the other, the fine print might say myceliated rice or oats or something like this.
A lot of companies will not and they'll just say mushroom.
So again, be very careful. Those are the signs to look for and you really want something that is a hundred percent mushroom.
That's what traditional Chinese medicine has been using from the beginning.
That's what's got the majority of the functional or medicinal compounds in it. That's what makes these mushrooms medicinal.
Kara: Can you talk to a little bit more about what do we know about medicinal mushrooms and what benefits they have been shown to have on our health.
Jeff Chilton: Sure. What's really interesting is I've got a book for.
(Kara & Jeff)
Kara: Oh no, the pandemic has had a lot of its downsides, but one of the bright sides is my kids, I have two young kids three now, but two that live and sleep in our room.
So I got a Kindle and rather than watching TV before bed, I'm reading for a good half hour, an hour at night. So it's been really great. So yeah.
Jeff Chilton: Yes. And I get it too, and, essentially these the beneficial compounds in these mushrooms and they'll start with the beta-glucans and what the beta-glucans do.
We actually have receptors in our lower intestines for beta-glucans, which is really interesting.
Some people speculate that's because fungi can be pathogens.
So it recognizes the pathogen and then it activates the immune cells. Let's start producing macrophages, T cells and K cells, things like that.
This is what they'll do.
You have to remember these are working in the back.
Some people think, oh, I'm gonna take a aspirin and my headache's gonna be gone a couple hours. That's gonna be the same with a supplement.
No, it's like.
A vitamin, you take a vitamin D or C you don't go the next day," oh, you know what? I just took that vitamin C, my cold is gone now."
It's not how it works. Why do we take these?
We take them for prevention.
That is so important, whether it's a diet or supplementation, and that's where I totally believe in the idea of food as medicine and not medicine in the sense of a pill or something.
No. Something that is providing these benefits to your organism, not talking about food in those middle aisles, processed foods, not talking about real food, real vegetables, food that is properly grown.
With these mushrooms, every one of them will have these immunological benefits.
Some of them will have other be benefits like lions mane.
There are some interesting clinical trials that do show lions mane will enhance cognition.
One of the ones that gets mentioned a lot is a clinical trial in Japan, 30 people taking lions mane three grams a day and 30 people in a control group.
They took a battery of tests.
Then they started the program. 120 days later they tested them again.
The people taking the lions mane did much better on the tests.
Now, what was interesting about this was they stopped taking it. They tested them again 30 days later. They drop down to baseline. So you're kinda like that, that's interesting.
And they've had a few other clinical trials too.
Now, I don't make claims for mushrooms.
I really don't because there is so much data.
Clinical trials are hard to come by. So much of the data is either in vitro or in vivo.
In vitro work is interesting, but I don't put a lot of stock in in vitro testing because it can show all sorts of things that can throw you off.
There's a lot of things that stimulates production of cytokines. Lots of things.
Kara: That yes.
Jeff Chilton: So that kind of testing to me is eh
Kara: It's a nice first step, but yes.
Jeff Chilton: Exactly, and they've got some good animal testing that they've done to show benefits.
A lot of animal testing is anti-tumor studies, things like that, and they've shown some really good ones.
That's the beauty of the beta-glucan research is there are volumes.
There are probably a thousand plus papers of researchers that have been looking into beta-glucan since the 1970s.
When they're really starting up research to look at immunological potentiation from natural products and is there other, any other way that we can get our immune system to kick in and help us out?
So that's been going on for quite a while.
The interesting thing about lion's mane is it has compounds that stimulate what's called nerve growth factor.
Nerve growth factor is something we produce and it will help to stimulate neurite outgrowth as well as help with the basic organization of neurons.
As we age, we produce less of it.
What they've shown is lion's main does tend to stimulate the production of this.
So that's one of the possible ways that lion's mane is working with cognition.
Another interesting mushroom is cordyceps.
Cordyceps was used in China.
The wildcrafted cordyceps for Neurasthenia, which is just general fatigue and tiredness. You can't get out of that illness. You're getting better, but you just can't get over the final hump. Exactly.
Kara: Need a little push that's right.
Jeff Chilton: Cordyceps is going to push you over.
That's what they used it for primarily.
Also it seems to help with high altitude life.
There's has some benefits there for oxygenation. Cordyceps now, of course that's where, athletes that sort of category that's where cordyceps gets pushed or placed by companies that produce it.
Other mushrooms we talked a little bit about we haven't talked about reishi.
If there's one mushroom that you want to take. It would be reishi.
We measure the beta glucan content of every single batch of extract that we made and reishi mushroom has the highest beta glucans of all of the mushrooms.
They're anywhere from 25 to 60% in the different species, but race is consistently over 50%.
The only other mushroom that reaches that high is the Turkey tail.
So those two mushrooms high in beta glucan.
Reishi has these other compounds called triterpenoids and if you've ever had reishi before like just straight reishi of some sort, man, is it ever bitter?
It is very bitter.
Kara: That's what I was gonna ask because we don't see things like in the supermarket.
Jeff Chilton: No. The reishi of course is a very woody mushrooms. So when it's consumed, like traditionally it will be in tea.
Okay. Now, tea is something that's been used in herbal medicine for a long time.
In the sense of it's simply a tea is a water extract.
It's just like you think what's an extract. Have you ever made a soup?
A soup. Is a water extract. So this has been a very standard way traditionally in the west and the east to pull everything out, there's this whole thing about chicken soup, right?
Kara: Yes. Yes.
Jeff Chilton: It's something where it's easy on the system, there's no real heavy digestion that has to go on, but you're getting all those benefits from the compounds that are in there.
Now reishi has the triterpenoids. They have proven to be very good for the liver.
So with reishi, you're getting two different major benefits.
That's why I normally say if there's one mushroom that you're interested in or you think, you'd like to try a supplement, try reishi.
But again, what I always tell people before you supplement, put them into your diet, that is so important.
Kara: What I'm curious what your favorite recipe is or your favorite way of eating mushrooms?
Jeff Chilton: In terms of cooking mushrooms.
I am a meat eater. I like my, whatever it has to be, in fact, I really love seafood. I've, pacific Northwest seafood.
So my favorite food in the world is salmon and I eat salmon three or four times a week.
When I cook it up, I'll make sure there's plenty leftover.
The next day I'll have salmon sandwiches. It's a fabulous food salmon is.
But basically with the mushrooms I'll cook them up just individually to have on, let's just say some kind of beef or something like that, or I'll chop them up and with onions and I'll work them into a ground beef for a hamburger.
Or in fact, I love making stir rice. I love chopping up 1,000,001 vegetables and throwing them into a wok and woking them up.
Of course I'm gonna put mushrooms into that as well. Those are my primary ways that I eat them and I'll eat mushrooms probably four to five nights a week.
I'll have some kind of mushroom into whatever it is I'm cooking.
There's just so many ways and so many, possibilities there.
Isn't it funny that now there's actually mushroom burgers, where it's actually just a huge mushroom cap and maybe they put it between a couple of pieces of lettuce or something like that?
It's just so cool and so versatile. I think, we've come a long way since the seventies.
Kara: Absolutely, I think back, I was born in the mid eighties and grew up in a very like, you know, mom would make meatloaf, mashed potatoes type meals, but she would make these, we call called them mock filets.
So it was like a cheaper version of filet minion, but she would chop up some onion and some mushrooms and mix it with ground beef and make it like a little filet with a piece of bacon around it.
But how things have changed now with my kiddos. They'll love like they love ramen, so they love with the little enoki mushrooms in the soup.
Jeff Chilton: Oh, nice.
Kara: Or we've done the burgers, the portabella burgers.
Then the stir fry, certainly of, if I can get, some good nice mix of different varieties of using up whatever veggies are in the fridge and making a simple, stir fry sauce and dinners ready as long as it takes to make the rice which is great.
Jeff Chilton: Yes. That's absolutely right. One of the things that's going on right now, which I'm a little bit concerned about is the whole faux meat, the fake meat or whatever.
A lot of it they're talking, okay, there's mycelium involved in it.
I'm thinking okay, if it's done if you have mycelium grown on, let's say Tempe, where it's grown on some kind of grains or whatever, if you eat grains and a lot of people don't, but still if it's grown on something like that.
I'm like fine, but what they're talking about in general is something that is very highly processed.
A lot of it is not fungal based at all, but it is processed and I'm like, that is the worst thing I can imagine.
You can get good, wholesome meat done properly in the right way. You don't have to eat a lot of it.
You can keep it in your diet in some way, or if you don't want it in your diet, don't eat it.
But don't think that this faux meat is going to be somehow better.
It's not. The vast majority of it got the list of ingredients, you're just like, no. no.
So people really need to understand that and not get fooled by thinking they're doing or eating something that is better than the actual thing.
Kara: Yes. If you're out and having a fun splurgy meal and that's what you choose so be it, but also walking in and realizing fully, with eyes wide open, that may not be the most nutritious option on the menu.
Jeff Chilton: Yes, indeed. Again, tempe. Great food.
The way it's made is it doesn't have a lot of ingredients. Just soy and this fungal mycelium.
A lot of this other stuff that they're making from, I just was looking at something like that today, they're making fake bake bacon.
And they're what's so funny about it is they make it all look like bacon. And if you're a meat eater and you don't, or you're not a meat eater, you're like, is that what you want?
You want something that looks like bacon?
The funny thing is they don't tell you exactly, but somewhere in there they said, okay, we start out and we grow this mycelium on sawdust.
And I was like, wait a minute, really are you?
Anyway, it's you just have to be careful.
Let's face it. You have to read labels. You have to know what you're doing.
You have to be a very conscious person checking out whatever food it is you eat because these days there's so many different, whether it be just additives or chemicals or what have you.
Kara: Yes. That's something that we have talked about, I think within the Crunchy Allergist community and things I've talked about a lot, especially in regards to personal care products, the personal care product industry in the US, especially a little less so in up in Canada.
Where you are that it's a little better regulated, but there, it really is a buyer beware.
I think just being able to have these conversations, know what to look out for to have some increased awareness and understanding of how something comes from.
Where it's grown to, where you're ingesting, it can be really helpful and really eye opening.
Jeff Chilton: Oh, absolutely. It's really important. I like it. It's farm to table in a way that exactly closer you can get to the farm, the better that's why I love farmer's markets.
You're talking to the producer.
Most of these producers are not using chemicals on, they can't afford to, they're not, making a lot of money.
If you go to a farmer's market and somebody there is selling specialty mushrooms, like shitaki and oyster mushrooms, I can assure you that this person or his mate or her mate has a secondary job, and the person that's doing this is probably making about two or $3 an hour.
It's you just it's expensive. It's time consuming. Every single mushroom you've ever eaten has been picked by hand. There's no mechanical harvesting. It's picked by hand. It's been touched by a human, putting it into that box.
Kara: That's amazing to think about. We don't see as much, I think of that availability, at least from what I've seen in the Midwest, but we were visiting my in-laws in Los Angeles area a couple months ago and went to their local farmer's market, which so you can imagine, Los Angeles area's phenomenal.
Although, I will say the Columbus area has considerable diversity, I think, compared to what folks would probably maybe initially think, or at least what I initially thought before we moved here.
But certainly in, in Southern California, that's magnified even more.
And there were several tables of folks. Who specialized in mushrooms and I was daydreaming for a little bit like, goodness, how fun would it be to be able to come to a market like this and do our shopping every week.
Then we saw that gas at the time was like almost six sellers, a gallon. You're like, OK, we'll go that. It was really cool.
Jeff Chilton: I just spent the last five months down in Tasmania.
Living in the capital there called Hobert Hobart. That's where my girlfriend lives, where I had to come back to Canada to do a few things. But every Sunday they had a farmer's market right in the downtown.
It was a, basically 15 minute walk. We would go down there.
Every single they had a baker, they had a butcher. They had everything. Somebody who's got had their potatoes, apples, the apple growers were all there. It was spectacular. It was just wonderful to be there with the people producing the food.
Sure. We had another very nice natural market where we could get things.
They didn't have at this market, but being able to go there, here's the person producing the apples. They've got 10 different varieties to choose from and they're the ones that grew them.
Kara: Yes, just this past weekend, so it's getting close to apple season here. It is apple season here in the Midwest.
Last weekend we took our at least once year, hopefully we'll get back more than once.
It's about 45 minute hour drive to our favorite orchard and able to get peaches like two different varieties. They only had two varieties of apples ready, but you see all the rows of the different kinds.
It's this really fun adventure to get curious and try things that maybe are new to your taste buds and I think this is a fun encouragement, maybe for folks to take that spirit of things and think about it with mushrooms.
Jeff Chilton: Yes, absolutely. Give them a try, try some of the enokitaki. Have you had enoki? You've had enoki, right?
Kara: Yes. Yes. They're so cute. My kids fight over the hooking at the tiniest ones. They love they're like, oh, the baby mushrooms. Can I? Charlotte, I want that one. Oh, Josie. No, I want that little baby one that's my favorite .
Jeff Chilton: Yeah. They've got such a great texture. They're really crunchy.
It's so amazing when you get the package of them. There's a thousand of them in there with this super,
Kara: It almost reminds me of the chia pets for those maybe who trying to get a visual, essentially. It's all these little tiny mushrooms on stocks growing very long of hair.
Jeff Chilton: Yeah. Yes, exactly. Yeah. Tiny caps, very long thousand of them in a small package and the hardest thing of all is just separating them when you wanna,
Kara: And from a taste standpoint, they don't have a very pungent taste, not strong and whatever you are incorporating them with.
I think, if you're only familiar with maybe a button mushroom up until this point, that would probably be a fun option to give a try.
Jeff Chilton: Absolutely. Would be. Yeah, it's a, just a mild taste. The texture is really fun and they're beautiful to look at.
Kara: Yeah. If someone are wanting to learn more about mushrooms, wanting to learn more from you where should they turn?
Jeff Chilton: My company is Nammex, N-A-M-M-E-X .com.
On our website we have a menu that says education.
And we've got slides shows on how we grow our mushrooms. How we process them.
Plus we have loads of information about mushrooms there.
So please come and check that out.
The other site that we have is called realmushrooms.com. That's a retail site for our products, because Nammex is primarily a wholesaler to other companies.
But on the real mushroom sites, they also have so much great information about mushrooms and very species specific and talk in greater detail than we do on the Nammex site.
So either of those two sites come and check out all the information we have because you can learn a lot for sure and the slide shows are fantastic.
Kara: I am super excited. I try to every couple years update I have a presentation. I give our fellows in training on natural ways to treat allergies, immune system conditions. I'm excited to dig into all that information to update that talk for later this year.
Jeff Chilton: Awesome. Awesome. That's great.
Kara: Any parting words or thoughts you'd love to share with our community?
Jeff Chilton: I guess what I would say is I do truly believe that mushrooms are the missing link in our diets, and I really encourage people to try mushrooms.
When you do just start out, have a few to start with, make sure it agrees with you because everybody's got a 5% or, it's like morels, right?
I mean there are 5% of people that, that morels just don't work with their stomach and they have a issue with them.
So lots of foods are like that. So just try a little bit, if you like the flavor and if it agrees with you great and try another species, just put them into your diet.
There are studies, Dr. Wada, there are studies that they've done, where they have surveyed very large populations on diet. And this is out in Asia and they have found people who eat mushrooms live longer in these studies. I totally believe that.
Kara: That is super cool. I would love if you happen to have them handy, would love to dig in and just I'm always excited to keep learning. I think that's my missions on life, just keep me the fire hose.
Jeff Chilton: Yes. I've got some great articles that I'll send you for sure.
Kara: Super cool. We'll work on getting those links and the links to your information. Certainly in the show notes and so excited for you to join us today jeff and I learned so much. Thank you very much.
Jeff Chilton: Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it. And I really enjoyed talking to you.
Kara: If you have found this information helpful and empowering, I would strongly encourage you to hop over to *www.crunchyallergists.com* And subscribe to our weekly newsletter where we dive in to all things allergy auto-immunity and anti-inflammatory living.
Thanks so much for tuning in and I look forward to talking again next week.