Have you heard of bulletproof coffee? You will. Bulletproof coffee is to the coffee world what the Macarena was to the dance world in 1996. Bulletproof coffee is basically a good quality cup of joe blended with some pastured butter. The idea is that by adding some healthy fats, nutrition is increased and the negative side-effects of coffee (such as jitteriness) is reduced.
I’m not a coffee drinker. In truth, caffeine turns me into a gremlin, and it’s just better if I avoid it. But what’s a girl to do if she wants to partake in this delicious trend, while still reaping the health benefits (and likely more)?
Enter chaga mushroom. If there’s category of herbal medicine that excites me, it’s medicinal mushrooms. And like the Macarena, you’ll be hearing more about them soon.
As a broad category, mushrooms are so exciting because of their ability to adapt. Mushrooms communicate with each other via a complex underground network of roots called the mycelium. Via the mycelium, various species of mushrooms can communicate quickly with each other, and this communication enhances the species’ ability to adapt to disease, pollution, and other environmental threats. Mycologist Paul Stamets, perhaps the world’s leading mushroom expert, calls the mycelium network, “the Earth’s natural internet.”
Now how does this apply to us?
Interestingly, mushrooms are genetically very similar to humans and happen to be vulnerable to the same sorts of diseases and environmental toxins. However, because of their incredibly efficient network of communication, mushrooms are able to learn to build a resistanc these toxins much more quickly than us humans. The good news is, we can reap the benefits of this resistance simply by consuming these adapted mushrooms.
Chaga is one of my favourite medicinal mushrooms. Tough and woody, it is unlike more common species like the familiar soft white button mushroom or the portobello, and needs to be boiled into a rich tea or tinctured in ordered for its medicinal benefits to be extracted.
Chaga is full of nutrition- minerals, b vitamins, flavonoids, and antioxidant phenols (which are what give it its rich dark chocolatey colour). Chaga is considered to be an excellent adaptogen, meaning it modifies your body’s response to stress. Adaptogens help your body fight the negative effects of stress and disease, and strengthen the immune system. Chaga is a potent immune booster, fighting off everything from your common cold to even showing impressive effects against tumour formation (1, 2).
Perhaps chaga’s most potent constituent is a substance called superoxide dismutase (SOD). SOD is a powerful antioxidant, which means it prevents tissue degeneration from various sources such as pollution, a bad diet, aging, and stress. Because of its high SOD content, chaga is particularly good at preserving youth, healthy organ function, and general wellness.
And most importantly, it’s delicious. Chaga has a rich, deep, slightly bitter taste, similar to coffee. Chaga contains notes of chocolate, caramel, and vanilla, which make it a perfect vessel for a creamy, hot blended beverage.
Bulletproof Chaga Latte
1.5 cups brewed chaga
1 tsp- 1 Tbsp of organic butter, coconut oil or ghee
1 pitted medjool date, or a few drops of stevia
Pinch of sea salt
-To brew the chaga: Add 2 litres of water and ¼ cup of dried chaga chunks to a large pot. Simmer over medium-low heat for 30 minutes to 2 hours. When time is up, strain out the chaga chunks and store the liquid in large jars. Save the chaga chunks (they can be frozen for later use) as they can be re-used for brewing up to 4 times!
-Heat up one and a half cups of brewed chaga from your batch, and pour it into a high-speed blender.
-Add desired quantity of butter, coconut oil, or ghee, one date (make sure that pit is removed!), and sea salt, and blend until smooth and creamy.
-Enjoy as is or add in some vanilla extract, a tablespoon of raw cacao nibs, non-GMO soy or sunflower lecithin, and/or a tablespoon of grass-fed beef gelatin powder for some easily digested protein.