As I wrote that title I envisioned a little train, chugging along on this quiet, snowy Thursday! But no, today’s post is not about trains.
It’s about chaga, the mushroom.
I can’t believe I’m even writing this post. I do not like mushrooms. I have never, ever liked them. But the more I immerse myself in a healthy plant-based lifestyle, the more I find that I see them everywhere. Smoothies, hot chocolate, and all sorts of different shapes and sizes slowly making their way into the local grocers… Its like I can’t escape them!
Well you know what they say, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. So today I joined’ em.
I’m not gonna lie, it’s seems like there is a new fad just about every month. Without looking into it, all we are left with is to follow the hype.Well I’m no sheep, so I decided not only to try it, but to find out more.
So what’s the deal, specifically, with chaga? I know it’s increased in popularity as a ‘super food’, but beyond that I honestly had no idea. In my former life is a vegetarian I felt that all mushrooms were essentially only valuable as a mentally unsavory meat alternative.
Chaga is a hard, nutritionally-dense mushroom. It typically grows on birch trees as a parasite. Chaga supports the immune system (high in anti-oxidants!) and also works as an anti-inflammatory. The sclerotium, which is the thick black layer of the mushroom, is really high in anti-oxidants. The polysaccharides in chaga are said to promote healthy blood sugar levels and support cardiovascular health.
Like most super foods, it’s good for a few things. It’s also high in vitamins b1, b2, b3. B vitamins are great for easing anxiety and reducing stress! I call them the “happy vitamins”. Chaga also has lots of vitamin D-2, which assists in cell growth for your skin and bones.
It is apparently often made into a tea or a tincture, but I have mostly seen it here in Calgary in hot beverages and smoothies.
It is important to note the side effects that chaga can have. It can raise the risk of hypoglycemia by interacting with insulin. I wonder if that’s why, despite the high amount of caffeine in this shake, I still felt tired after? More research may be needed in that area, as what I read from multiple websites was essentially copy and paste. Chaga can also interact with anticoagulant medications, so if you are on those be aware.
If you like mushrooms, fad super foods, and you have no issues with the side-effects than consider trying it! If only just for science.
I’m proud of myself for trying something new. I know lots of other awesome delectables that are high in antioxidants and happy vitamins, so I may stick to those… unless my tastes change and I begin to have a hankering for mushrooms spontaneously.