Articles

by LINO STANCHICH, L.N.

WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS?

Humanity has studied and experimented with natural foods for thousands of years. Asia has given us the Traditional Chinese Medicine of modern day acupuncture and herbology. European theories and cooking practices have also endowed us with a vast library of knowledge of the medicinal qualities of plant foods. The majority of modern medicines originated in nature, in herbs and plants.

WHAT IS THE TRANSLATION OF THE WORD SHIITAKE?

The Japanese cultivated the mushroom by cutting “SHII” trees on which shiitakes grow. “TAKE’” means mushroom. The genus-species is LENTINULA EDODES. Shiitakes, healthful fungi, are native to Japan, China, and Korea, where they have grown and been eaten since pre-historic times. They grow now in many regions of the world, including in my area of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

WE HEAR THAT MUSHROOMS ARE HEALTHFUL AND EVEN MEDICINAL. CAN YOU EXPLAIN?

Mushrooms are among the most outstanding of nature’s healing foods and shiitake mushrooms, named “medicinal mushrooms,” are the kings of healing mushrooms. Throughout the world, mushrooms are prized as medicinal and culinary champions. Known as a symbol of longevity in Asia, shiitakes have been used for over 6000 years as medicine.

Shiitake Mushrooms have a compound called AHCC meaning ACTIVE HEXOSE CORRELATED COMPOUND that is the top remedy in Japan used by cancer patients.

Also LENTINEN, a polysaccharide, is extracted and used for cancer patients. I recommend cooking the mushrooms and eating them as whole foods.

The AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY website shows studies that shiitakes prolong life in cancer patients.

Quote from the American Cancer Society:

“SEVERAL POTENTIAL CANCER-FIGHTING SUBSTANCES HAVE BEEN FOUND IN SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS.”

These studies, along with others are on our website for free: greatlifeglobal.com

Shiitake mushrooms are highly researched and shown to:

  • Strengthen immunity against disease increasing T-Cells according to top cancer centers.
  • Researchers call the components in shiitakes the “Anti-Cancer Immunity” nutrients.

Shiitake mushrooms provide an excellent plant-based source of iron (We all know iron is necessary for vitality and strong blood.)

These mushrooms are also proven to:

  • Remove excess fat from the blood
  • Reduce cholesterol
  • Enhance cardio-vascular health
  • Reduce side effects of cancer treatments
  • Contain much anti-cancer nutrient selenium
  • Protect the cells from microbial pathogens

They are rich in Vitamins-B2, B3, B6, (to improve the central nervous system and healthy red blood cells.)

Provide natural Vitamin D, Folate, Zinc, and Fiber

HOW ARE SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS GROWN?

Shiitakes are grown traditionally on oak logs, drilled with holes and soaked in water, then inoculated with shiitake spores. A home grower can easily produce enough shiitakes for a family. At the end of this article, we refer to books and web sited to help the home grower begin to produce shiitakes.

WHERE ARE SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS GROWN?

Shiitakes are grown in Asia, and grow beautifully in the mountains of Germany, as well as here in the mountains of western North Carolina, where we live. Russia grows and consumes a good deal of shiitakes now.

Farmers Markets abound in naturally cultivated shiitake mushrooms. Many people cultivate their own on oak logs that have been inoculated with spores. Here in Asheville, NC, many mushroom growers sell fresh shiitakes and give classes on how to grown them.

Shiitakes can be found on supermarket shelves, in Asian markets and the highest quality, Donko, can be ordered at specialty markets and on our website. Shiitake extract is found even in popular brands of cosmetics now.

My wife, Jane, and I grow shiitakes on an oak log. We also buy fresh and dried shiitakes from local mushroom cultivators and at farmer’s markets, as well as top quality import companies.

HOW DO SHIITAKES TASTE?

Shiitakes have a rich, mildly smoky flavor and fleshy texture. They are really delicious. We eat them both fresh and dried many times a week. Both have phyto-nutrients, however, the dried shiitakes are known to have even more medicinal value, as their nutrients are condensed and enhanced through the drying process. Fresh shiitakes can be dried in a paper bag or in a dry area of the house. We use shiitakes often in cooking and choose the most delicious and medicinal variety of dried shiitakes, called Donko. My cookbook, Essential Macrobiotic Recipes, has many recipes utilizing shiitake mushrooms.

WHAT IS THE HIGHEST QUALITY DRIED SHIITAKE?

Sun-dried Donko Shiitakes grown on logs are the highest quality shiitake and more costly, as they are picked while they are still somewhat closed, therefore the essential spores are contained inside. Flat shiitakes are less medicinal as the spores fall out of the flat surface. So choose Donko for the most medicinal quality and save the fresh and flat for delicious cooking. You can purchase them from Great Life Glocal.com

IS THERE ANY CAUTION TO EATING MUSHROOMS?

Buy mushrooms from a reputable grower. Avoid picking and eating wild mushrooms unless you are quite educated on the varieties. Audubon has a Field Guide to Mushrooms to which you can refer. Some wild mushrooms are deadly poisonous, as we all know. Shiitakes are not- they are indeed quite healthful.

WHAT ARE SOME WAYS SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS CAN BE USED IN HEALING?

Soak dried shiitake in water for one hour. I soak these mushrooms at night before bed and they are ready for cooking in soup the next morning. Then trim off the hard tip of the stem and slice. Always save and use the soak water, as it is delicious and filled with the essential spores. Recipes are in my cookbook.

RECIPES

#1 - FAT REDUCING SOUP

To reduce cholesterol or any internal fatty deposit:
Cook shiitake and pour it over fresh grated carrots and daikon radish with a small slice of umeboshi plum.

#2 - STRENGTHENING MISO SOUP
Soak shiitake and wakame in water and slice. Bring to boil and add sliced onion or leek, carrots, and kale. Simmer for 5 minutes as you melt miso in hot soup broth. Stop boiling and add the miso to the soup for a powerfully healing, pro-biotic, immune-strengthening soup. It is also quite delicious. We eat miso soup every day. In cold weather, add grated fresh ginger to really warm up the cockles of your heart!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WAY TO USE SHIITAKES IN COOKING?

  1. Stir Fry Vegetables with Tempeh or Tofu or Seafood
  2. Miso Soup with Wakame and Vegetables or as Buddha’s Delight.
  3. Savory Shiitake Kombu Broth as Buckwheat Noodle Soup-quick and warming on a winter’s night.
  4. Cooked in Whole Grains as a Pilaf
  5. Added to holiday Stuffing, Dressing
  6. French Onion Shiitake Soup
  7. Shiitake Gravy to put over whole grains or pasta
  8. Season and put on Nori Rolls or in sandwiches like a Portobello

WHAT ARE SOME CONTRA-INDICATIONS OR CAUTIONS TO EATING SHIITAKE?

Some persons experience a rash after eating shiitakes. Because mushrooms can contain purine substances, those susceptible to gout should avoid over consumption. Excessive consumption of shiitake can make one extremely relaxed. In fact, shiitake can be used to counteract insomnia, an every-increasing problem in modern countries.

SO YOU LIKE BEING A “FUN-GI (guy)”, EH LINO?

Life should be fun! Yes, I am 82 years old and never felt better. I am a survivor of World War II and a communist concentration camp. The doctors at the VA Hospital in Asheville are amazed at my healthy body and that I do not need any prescription medication, not even an aspirin.* I teach and lecture internationally and write books. I do what Hippocrates said, “Let food be my medicine and medicine be my food.”

I eat an all-organic, whole plant-based foods diet, a balanced macrobiotic diet with plenty of fiber, minerals, vitamins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates- and shiitake mushrooms. I hike, dance, study, write, and walk daily- and rebound. I attribute this vitality to my faith, my healthy diet, my optimistic spirit, as well as the inner strength of my family, daily exercise, ecological lifestyle, and a very good wife. And yes, to shiitake mushrooms! Join us.

* NOTE: One should always consult their medical professional regarding a change in prescription medicine.

References:

THE WORLD’S HEALTHIEST FOODS SITE

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=122&tname=foodspice

TOP QUALITY SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS

NATURAL IMPORT COMPANY

www.naturalimportcompany.com

The contents of this article are for educational purposes and not intended to take the place of medical and health care. As always, consult with your medical professional before beginning any dietary program.

About Lino Stanchich, L.N.
Lino Stanchich
Macrobiotic Educator, Licensed Nutritionist, (FL)
Licensed Massage and Bodywork Therapist, (NC)
101 Willow Lake Drive, Asheville, NC 28805
Phone: (828) 299-8657

LINO STANCHICH

Lino Stanchich is a Licensed Nutritionist and Licensed Massage and Bodywork Therapist, researcher, and macrobiotic counselor with over 40 years experience. He is a respected teacher of the organic, plant-based macrobiotic diet, as well as its healthy philosophy and lifestyle. Mr. Stanchich is expert in energy exercises (Chi Kung), shiatsu massage, Do-In self-massage, and revitalizing eating techniques. Mr. Stanchich received the Aveline Kushi Award in 2006 and serves on the faculty of the Kushi Institute and is a member of the Kushi Institute Macrobiotic Educators Association.

Mr. Stanchich is a multi-lingual educator who has established natural health learning centers in Providence, Rhode Island; San Francisco, California; West New York, New Jersey; Boulder, Colorado; Escondido, California; Tuscon, Arizona, and Asheville, North Carolina. He has lectured at many major health centers throughout the world, as well as in universities, hospitals, medical schools, corporations, and the United Nations Macrobiotic Organization. A prolific author, Mr. Stanchich has written these informative and popular books, Power Eating Program: You Are How You Eat, Macrobiotic Healing Secrets, and The Natural Bladder Control Program, and latest, Kidney Health and Lino Stanchich’s Essential Macrobiotic Recipes.

Mr. Stanchich has also created the dynamic self-massage and exercise DVD "Energize Yourself", as well as the CD’s "Healing Mealtime Music," “Laugh for the Health of It” and “ Using Your Mind to Heal Your Body,” to assist people in creating positive and dynamic mental affirmations for periods of meditation and eating. Lino has appeared on a wide variety of international radio and television shows. He lives in Asheville, NC with his wife, Jane, where they teach and conduct dynamic seminars.

********

Lino Stanchich is one of the truly great and inspired teachers of our age. He brings a wealth and depth of knowledge and experience to his teachings about life’s greatest needs and tools for optimal nutrition, health, and longevity. He is one of the foremost teachers of macrobiotics in the world today.

–Ronald R. Parks, M.D.

Lino is a wise and compassionate health counselor with 35 years experience in practice. His sensible lifestyle recommendations, including a natural foods diet, moderate exercise, stress reduction and good sleep hygiene will be of interest to anyone seeking optimal health.        –David S. Ludwig,                                     MD, Ph.D

               Director, Optimal Weight for Life                                   Program/Children'Hospital,Boston
               Associate         Professor,       

               Harvard Medical School

Lino Stanchich's new book, Natural Bladder Control Program is presented in a very clear and concise manner. At the same time it is warm and caring and it feels as though he is sitting right there with you, giving you his personal attention. Lino is a very dedicated, knowledgeable, and caring professional. I highly recommend Lino's book for anyone experiencing urinary tract discomfort.

                                                                           –Martha C Cottrell, MD

Lino Stanchich is a wonderful person, who, for three decades, has been continually dedicated to the development of humanity and the betterment of our social, physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

–Michio Kushi
The world’s foremost macrobiotic educator, author                      
Honored at the Smithsonian Institute

The Kushi Collection of Literature

My own favorable experience with macrobiotics opened my eyes to the accumulating evidence that a whole grain, leafy vegetable, and bean diet can often prevent, arrest, and even reverse deadly degenerative diseases such as cancers, coronary heart attacks, and strokes. ­­­­–Benjamin M. Spock, M.D.,

                              Author of the famed, Baby and Child Care

Lino and Jane Stanchich offer individualized macrobiotic counseling in person and via telephone or Skype. Phone (828) 299-8657 for further information or an appointment.

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