`One side will make you grow taller,
and the other side will make you grow shorter.’
`One side of WHAT? The other side of WHAT?’
thought Alice to herself.
`Of the mushroom,’ said the Caterpillar, just as if she had asked it aloud;
and in another moment it was out of sight.
-Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Ok, you got me. Mushrooms won’t necessarily make you grow taller (or shorter).
But they can help you grow healthier.
We Need to Eat Less Meat
Meat consumption has risen 47% in this country since the 1950s, and it’s hard not to wonder if the rise in health problems and obesity are correlated. After all, studies indicate that a diet high in meats may contribute to osteoporosis, heart disease and diabetes. On the flip side, a diet that’s low in meat has been associated with greater longevity overall.
Add to that the fact that meats (pork, beef and lamb, in particular) have the highest carbon footprint of common foods. By a whole heck of a lot. In our house, I do tend to opt for grass-fed and local meats, but that’s generally a more expensive option; even non-organic meat is pretty hard on a budget these days.
Time to think outside the meat aisle! Get your plate in shape with our humble hero, the mushroom.
Mushrooms can help save your diet— and your budget— without drastically changing your family meal plan. Mushrooms have great “swapability”: just exchange an equal amount to replace some or all of the meat in your recipes (this works particularly well with meals like lasagna, burgers, tacos or chili). The texture of the mushroom enables it to pick up the flavor of the seasonings, while adding vitamin D (the only fruit or vegetable with that vitamin), B vitamins, and the antioxidants selenium and ergothioneine.
Naturally low-cal and fat free, mushrooms are a no-brainer way to lighten up a dish while packing in some nutrition on the sly— not to mention stretching your meat dollar. And, BONUS: those peeps local to my area know we live in the Mushroom Capitol of the world, baby. Talk about supporting your local farmers! When the wind is right I can smell the mushroom farms from my front yard. It doesn’t get much more local than that.
The Mushroom Council has a ton of mushroom recipes on their website, or you can just integrate mushrooms into your family favorites. It’s easy:
- Chop your mushrooms to match the consistency of the meat;
- Cook and season the same way you would the meat;
- Combine your cooked meat with your mushrooms and continue onward with your recipe.
If you’re on Twitter you can also check out a party happening on Monday, March 12th, 8:00 PM EST. The hashtag is #Mushrooms and oh yes, there will be prizes awarded. More info and RSVP here.
Do you cook with mushrooms?
Hit me with your favorite recipes.
Disclosure: this is a sponsored post through the Global Influence network. Opinions and preachifications are my own.
Double Disclosure: that first photo is of a mushroom from my backyard and judging by its color, extremely non-edible. While there are wild mushrooms that are allegedly tasty and decidedly frugal, you should never and I mean NEVER go foraging for wild mushrooms without a knowledgeable guide.