Mushrooms are awesome (P<0.05)

“Without leaves, without buds, without flowers;
Yet they form fruit.
As a Food, as a tonic, as a medicine;
The entire creation is precious.”

-weird mushroom poem of sketchy origin


Mushrooms: They have B12! When exposed to UV light, they make vitamin D2.  Protein, fibre, and selenium.  Shall I go on?

Maybe Vitamin D2 isn’t as good as D3, but it’s not worthless: Dietary vitamin D2 – a potentially underestimated contributor to vitamin D nutritional status of adults (Cashman et al., 2014)

If you have a pet reptile or just so happen to have a Repti-Glo bulb (or an epic Sperti lamp), try putting some shrooms under it for a half hour to increase the Vitamin D content (this is partly speculative, but has precedence: eg, Roberts et al., 2008, Ko et al., 2008, and Koyyalamudi et al., 2009).

Hey vegetarians, shrooms also have some vitamin B12 for you (Watanabe et al., 2013 and 2014)… they’re not really “plants,” anyway.

Mushrooms protect against oxidative stress in hepatocytes and neurons (Guizani and Waly, 2012).

Neuronal health – can culinary and medicinal mushrooms help?” (Sabaratnam et al., 2013)

Therapeutic potential of mushrooms for neurodegenerative diseases (Phan et al., 2014)

White button mushrooms improve memory in mice (Bennett et al., 2013)

And they’re anti-inflammatoryANTI-INFLAMMATORY.


White button mushrooms



Part 2.

Watching your carbs?  Maitake mushrooms have compounds which block the digestion of carbs (Eg, Su et al., 2013 and HERE).




…and some of ‘em, like shiitake, taste quite meaty.




N.B. 1) The carbs in mushrooms aren’t very carby — they’re complex glycans like prebiotics, and can improve gut microbial diversity (at least in mice) (Varshney et al., 2013); and 2) there aren’t many total carbs in mushrooms; they’re mostly water.

The proteins are pretty cool, too: Bioactive proteins from mushrooms (Xu et al., 2011)… immunomodulatory proteins, ribosome inactivating proteins, laccases, antitumor, antiviral, antioxidant… and in terms of overall protein quality: not bad.



A cute baby white button mushroom eventually grows up to be a Portabello, and big Portabello caps are very versatile in the kitchen: use ‘em to replace burger buns, or just make a few of these for breakfast –>


Portobello eggs


I’m pretty sure they’re “in-season,” year-round. Paleo and Low Carb-friendly. Good calories, albeit not very many calories (for those who are counting).

Melissa McEwan even grew ‘em in her bathroom using an at-home kit!  Pretty weird, but very convenient if you like shrooms.


calories proper


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  • Jack Kruse

    Shrooms are the only food man has yet to alter…….more food for thought.

    • Thomas Hemming Larsen

      In what way have they not been altered that other foods have been?

      • Bill Lagakos

        Monsanto hasn’t gotten to them! (yet)

        • Thomas Hemming Larsen

          So altered means genetically modified? I’m not sure whatever else they do to them in the Polish factories are only good things :)

        • Tao

          I can’t wait until they do!

      • Jack Kruse

        none have been modified…….yet.

  • Dan Ordoins

    Another good posting Bill. Mushrooms for the win!

    • Bill Lagakos

      Thanks, Dan!

    • Chris

      I’d prefer them in the oven with either eggs or filled with some cheese. something similar to Bill’s last picture

  • This Old Housewife

    Around here, we eat live King Oyster mushrooms (from an Asian grocery). They’re so hardy, you can grate them in a food processor (to make noodles–but don’t cook them, or they dissolve into nothing), and spiralize them for longer spaghetti-like noodles.

    To do it in a food processor: cut the mushroom stalk in half, then lay halves sideways in the chute before grating. Use them raw, as they tend to shrivel up and fade away from the heat.

    • Bill Lagakos

      Oyster mushrooms: “but don’t cook them, or they dissolve into nothing”

      I noticed exactly this! … almost thought I forgot to add them at first. Anything over lightly sauteed and they seem to evaporate 😛

  • kayumochi

    I drink Reishi mushroomtea daily and had psilocybin mushroom tea for the first time the other week and had a very insightful experience with the tea.

  • rs711

    Their underground micelles network can use up tons of plastic The scope of use for mushrooms is hard to grasp – maybe even surpassing that of hemp & cannabis.

    I found found a Reishi mushroom a few km’s from where I live and tasted it raw: terribly sour and harsh! Funnily enough, it doesn’t rot like we’d normally think of it. Instead it hardens and looks like a plastic replica of itself which is uncanny.

    I grew this McKennaii strain of Magic Mushrooms in just under 2 weeks in my cupboard a year ago. Add water, let it drain for 12hrs, leave it in the dark cupboard (@ room temp.) but give it 30min of sun every day. DONE. If people were to take some I’d suggest they try microdosing (~1g of dry potent magic mushrooms), especially if they’re depressed or stuck on a problem. ‘Heroic’ doses are ~3.5-5.5g and serve a different purpose.

    There are also excellent primary results when it comes to treating end-of-life anxiety in terminal cancer patients and depression (amongst other things)

    Probably mentioned it to you already, but just in case, my favorite paper is about mushrooms: Carhart-Harris & David Nutt are some gangsta scientists

  • Thomas Hemming Larsen

    Good one Bill! I honoured the post by having a big plate of oyster mushrooms:)

    • Bill Lagakos

      pics or it didn’t happen :-)

      • Thomas Hemming Larsen

        Haha, you should have said that sooner. I don’t think you want to see pictures of the state of them now :)

  • Ash Simmonds

    When I make a mushroom sauce for my steak n seafood I like to call it Smurf n Turf.

    But yeah – ‘shrooms make it onto my list of stuff you can eat without limit that isn’t an animal.

    Here’s my favourite creamy mushroom white wine sauce – and yes it goes fking beautiful with steak:

    (and some random steak vs megashroom pics)

    • Ash Simmonds

      Oh and if you want that noodle/pasta texture which we tend to get none of on VLC – enoki mushrooms are where it’s at:


      • Ash Simmonds

        Oh one more – enoki mushrooms (and basically ANYTHING) are amazing with this alfredo sauce:


        Sorry if I’m making everyone hungry with all this *rewarding* food…

      • Bill Lagakos

        Enoki mushrooms…

        I gotta find these. Last time I wanted “that noodle/pasta texture,” I tried shirataki noodles, which are… interesting… more like Ramen (once you get past the initial aroma)

        • Bill Lagakos

          Apparently, enoki mushrooms are officially in season in winter!

        • Ash Simmonds

          Yeah IIRC shirataki are stanky and good if you want that flavour, but enoki are bland and rubbery so good to just add texture to a meal.

  • aaron blaisdell

    The Kingdom Fungus is more closely related to Animalia than Plantae. I wonder if that’s why mushrooms make such a good meat substitute? They’re our sister Kingdom.

  • Andrés

    There is already enough information (via Henry Lahore) to prefer vitamin D3 over its inferior analog ergocalciferol. Even for vegans.

    • Bill Lagakos

      “Maybe Vitamin D2 isn’t as good as D3, but it’s not worthless.”

      ^^^I didn’t say we should “prefer” D2 over D3, nor do I think we should.

      D2 pills: inferior to D3 pills, yes; worthless, no.

      Plus, naturally occurring D2 in whole foods (as mentioned in this blog post) =/= Vitamin D2 pills.

      Sunshine: superior to D3 pills

      • Andrés

        There are enough clues pointing toward Vitamin D2 being detrimental.

        From Vitamin D and risk of cause specific death: systematic review and meta-analysis of observational cohort and randomised intervention studies: “In randomised controlled trials, relative risks for all cause mortality were 0.89 (0.80 to 0.99) for vitamin D3 supplementation and 1.04 (0.97 to 1.11) for vitamin D2 supplementation. The effects observed for vitamin D3 supplementation remained unchanged when grouped by various characteristics. However, for vitamin D2 supplementation, increased risks of mortality were observed in studies with lower intervention doses and shorter average intervention periods.”

        From Research shows taking vitamin D2 is a poor choice for athletes (via Vitamin D Council): “Research conducted at Appalachian State University’s Human Performance Lab at the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis showed that taking vitamin D2 supplements decreased levels of vitamin D3 in the body and resulted in higher muscle damage after intense weight lifting.”

        From Association of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 and D2 with academic performance in childhood: findings from a prospective birth cohort (via Henry Lahore): “Higher 25(OH)D2 concentrations were associated with worse performance in English at age 13–14?years (adjusted SD change per doubling in 25(OH)D2 (95% CI) ?0.05 (?0.08 to ?0.01)) and with worse academic performance at age 15–16?years (adjusted OR for obtaining ?5 A*–C grades (95% CI) 0.91 (0.82 to 1.00)).”

        From Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D3 and D2 and Non-Clinical Psychotic Experiences in Childhood (via Vitamin D Council): “Higher 25(OH)D3 concentrations were associated with lower risk of definite psychotic experiences (adjusted odds ratio: OR (95% confidence interval: CI) 0.85 (0.75–0.95)). Higher concentrations of 25(OH)D2 were associated with higher risk of suspected and definite psychotic experiences (adjusted odds ratio: OR (95% confidence interval: CI) 1.26 (1.11, 1.43)).”

        Ergocalciferol is ergocalciferol is ergocalciferol. There is no useful goal in eating radiated mushrooms instead of non-radiated ones while vitamin D3 replete. Unless you can provide any evidence to the contrary. Mushrooms are not less whole-food if non-radiated.

        • Ash Simmonds

          The problem we have is discerning the difference between “vitamin” and “hormone” and “biological stuff that happens”.

        • Bill Lagakos

          Thanks Andres, I’ll take the bait (bc I’m very interested in this topic)! :-)

          “Ergocalciferol is ergocalciferol is ergocalciferol.”

          course, but I still like to know whether the Vitamin D came from food
          or supps. Just because… and I’d never argue to *replace* D3 supps
          with D2 (of any origin).

          My only argument is little evidence of detrimental effect of D2.

          I wasn’t able to find any good crossover RCTs, but that’d be key. Here is some cherry-picking of the D2 positive studies

          Mushrooms: Vit D2 from shrooms works in rats:

          Supps: No evidence of D2 antagonism of D3 in children:

          Supps: BOTH forms good for elderly (basically just suggests no evidence of antagonism).



          • Bill Lagakos

            I’d even like to entertain the idea of Vit D-related outcomes with: Vit D supps vs. Vit D from whole foods vs. Vit D from sunlight… my guess is obvious, but I haven’t seen any data.

          • Andrés

            First paper was a 10 weeks murine intervention. None of the other three seems to have measured mortality in order to be included in the analysis by Chowdhury et alter. The meta-analysis by Chowdhury et alter still stands against ergocalciferol.

            You said: “My only argument is little evidence of detrimental effect of D2.”
            I can concede that. But it is there. The question is that vitamin D2 is NOT a vitamin: you will not get any detrimental outcome if you get nothing of it (while vitamin D replete). Ergocalciferol is simply an inferior analog of vitamin D. Moreover, UV-radiated (on purpose) mushrooms doesn’t give rise to (my bolds) “naturally occurring D2 in whole foods” but to an artificially high dose of it. It doesn’t seem to give rise to better 25-OH-vitamin D+D2 levels (via Henry Lahore). We part ways with respect to the sensible approach to mushroom ergocalciferol content. Mine is more natural: Don’t radiate them on purpose.

            Of course we completely agree on the sunshine (on us) front though.

          • Bill Lagakos

            I think we agree on most of these points… even the point about intentionally irradiated mushrooms (ie, no longer “naturally occurring D2″).

            In any case, if I want more D from shrooms, I’ll just eat a greater quantity of ’em :-)

          • Ash Simmonds
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  • Joshua

    Wheat straw is an excellent substrate to grow mushrooms in. There is an agro theory in there…

    • Tao

      Look into PF Tek

  • Tao

    cover psilocybe!