Mushroom magic – a superfood for the stressed Executive

Mushroom magic – a superfood for the stressed Executive

Have you ever rushed home late from work, the children are starving, and realised you forgot to defrost any meat from the freezer for dinner?  I know I have many times in the past and just resorted to buying takeaway because I was too tired and time poor to do anything else.

When you work long, hard hours at work, week in, week out, life tends to go out of balance in other areas, such as having the time to prepare nutritious meals.  A problem arises when you continue to overwork, pushing your body to the limit – constant stress hormones course through your body, lowering your immunity, until one day – you wind up bedridden and sick.

The reason why mushrooms really are a magical superfood for stressed Executives is not only the health benefits (in fact fungi hold the title of being one of nature’s superfoods), but their amazing versatility as a meat substitute in recipes also.

Certain fungi are considered medicinal due to their anti-oxidant, neuro protective and immune enhancing compounds.  A wonderful example is the Lion’s Mane mushroom – combating oxidative stress, supporting neuron regeneration and enhancing cognitive function.  Hence if you are struggling with memory and concentration whilst at work – including a small amount of powdered Lion’s Mane into your morning smoothie may work wonders!

One of my personal favourites is the Reishi mushroom – known as the mushroom of immortality.  This has been used for thousands of years as a herbal medicine for enhancing the immune system, reducing stress, fatigue, and promoting a better quality night’s sleep.

If your Adrenals are depleted due to stress and you find yourself dragging your feet through the working week from sheer exhaustion, then give the mushroom Cordyceps a try.  This amazing fungi has the ability to increase ATP production within your cells.  ATP is a natural compound that can best be described as like having little battery packs within each and every cell, so any food that can increase energy production is definitely in my opinion worth adding to the menu!

A special mention must be given to Shiitake mushrooms as a great all-rounder for your health, as well as delivering a delicious and meaty flavour when used in cooking.

There is a lot of truth to the expression ‘mushrooms – meat for vegetarians’ as not only are they a nutritious source of protein, fibre, vitamin D and B12, but certain fungi such as the Shiitake mushroom have that ‘meaty’ texture to them when cooked, supplying you with a hearty and filling, but low calorie meal. 

So next time you need to whip up a super tasty and nutritious meal in a flash, reach for the humble mushroom rather than the traditional steak!

If you are trying to be healthier by consuming less meat and bread – simply swap these ingredients with mushrooms instead.  For example, a super quick, easy and healthy weeknight meal could be a vegetable burger with a Portobello mushroom ‘bun’.

Mushroom Vegetable Burger

The addition of pinto beans to this recipe increases the overall fibre and protein content also. These burgers are incredibly easy to make - just mash all the ingredients together, form into patties, heat and serve. 


1 cup of mushrooms of choice (try a mixed punnet for variety) finely diced

2 large Portobello mushrooms, stems removed and set aside

3 tablespoons of olive oil              1 small onion finely diced

2 cloves of minced garlic               3 spring onions finely sliced

1 can of pinto beans                      ½ a teaspoon of cumin powder

1 egg (or 1 teaspoon of egg replacer for a vegan alternative)

1 heaped tablespoon of nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon of flat leaf parsley     1-2 tablespoons of warm water

Himalayan or Celtic sea salt and pepper to taste

Toppings of choice, such as crispy lettuce, fresh tomato, relish, chutney, mustard and pickles


Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to a skillet pan and place over medium heat. Sauté the garlic and onion for a few minutes, just until the onions are softened.

Add the mixed mushrooms (keep the Portobello mushrooms aside for your burger ‘buns’) to the pan with the green onions and cumin, and cook for another 5 minutes or so until the mushrooms are cooked. Set the mixture aside to cool slightly.

In a small bowl, combine the egg (or egg replacer), water and mix together.

Next, use a potato masher or even a fork to mash the beans. Add the egg mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.

In a large bowl, combine both mixtures together with your seasonings of salt, pepper and parsley, ensuring the ingredients are well combined. 

Wet your hands with a little water (which helps stop the mixture from sticking), and gently shape into patties about 2 ½ cms or 1 inch thick. If you make them too thin, they have a tendency to fall apart, and if you make them too thick, it’s harder to ensure they are cooked through evenly.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in your skillet over a medium heat and cook the patties for about 3 minutes on each side.

Grilled Portobello Mushroom ‘bun’

Using a Portobello mushroom bun for your burger is a much healthier option than your average white bread bun – it will save on carbs, fat and calories, plus it’s soo quick and easy to make as a gluten free option!

Simply brush two large mushroom caps with a little olive oil, sprinkle over some salt, pepper and dried herbs if desired, place them on a preheated grill or skillet pan. Cook for approximately two minutes each side. 

Assemble the burgers with your toppings and condiments of choice and enjoy!

If you need support with getting your health back on track, contact Naturopath Natasha here