I used to be a picky eater. Partly, because my mom wasn’t a very good cook. (Sorry Mom! I know you tried … you have all those Time Life Cookbooks to prove it.) We had a lot of overcooked meat and canned vegetables. She still prefers canned asparagus to fresh. Working in a few good restaurants in college helped me break through most of my picker eater habits. But, I held on to one … I hated mushrooms and avoided them with a passion.
That was until I heard a lecture by Dr. Joel Fuhrman at a conference at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in September. He talked about his frustration with Breast Cancer Awareness Month. His argument is that our focus needs to shift to prevention. So much money and effort is spent to encourage women to get mammograms … mammograms detect cancer, they don’t prevent it. Wouldn’t we all prefer never to have breast cancer than to have it and detect it early? (I have my own breast cancer scare story for another time… but I can tell you that none of the doctors involved ever talked to me about prevention or diet.) Shouldn’t we be spending as much or more money and effort to educate women about prevention and protection.
He told us that studies show mushrooms block tumor growth and have anti-estrogenic activity – regular consumption of mushrooms – as little as one mushroom per day – has been shown to decrease breast cancer risk by up to 60-70%. That is a significant benefit for one little mushroom! That was enough for me to let go of my last picky eater habit.
I’ve started adding at least a mushroom a day to my diet. The easiest way is in my eggs at breakfast. And, pretty quickly I started enjoying the taste and texture.
Mendocino County California is home to 3000 types of mushrooms. 500 are edible (good to know). My new found love of mushrooms would give us an excuse to head back to Mendocino for the Festival. If you ever decide to go, The Sea Rock Inn is a fantastic place to stay. Dr. Fuhrman also recommends avoiding alcohol as a breast cancer prevention strategy… so that kind of ruins the wine part of the Festival.