Gut Restoring Mushroom Soup
March in Canada means it’s hard to find a variety of local produce…
But I have been enjoying the local BC mushrooms! Fun fact - did you know that mushrooms, if exposed to sunlight, will absorb and therefore contain vitamin D! If you so choose, let your mushrooms bathe in the sun for 30 minutes before you add them to the soup!
Mushroom soup will forever be my favourite, but as of a few years now I can’t handle heavy cream in higher quantities. Cue a 100% dairy free, equally as creamy mushroom soup with tons of healing potential. Let me tell you why:
Dairy and the gut
There are differing opinions on dairy and gut health, and much of the information available is based on whether or not someone is allergic to milk or lactose intolerant (which is the inability to digest the sugar lactose). Consuming a food you’re sensitive or allergic to can bring on symptoms of indigestion including nausea, diarrhea, gas and bloating. It can cause many symptoms of IBS or leaky gut to become worse by affecting the lining of the intestines and widening the gaps along the wall that allow for nutrient absorption and prevent larger particles from entering the bloodstream.
Because an estimated 75% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant it’s commonly a food I ask clients to avoid - at least briefly - while the healing of the gut lining takes place. There are some exceptions, however. As long as you’re not allergic to a protein or other constituent in milk you may be able to tolerate fermented dairy (plain youghurt or kefir) or some cheeses. Fermented dairy can beneficially impact the amount and diversity of gut bacteria, which is incredibly helpful when healing the gut.
Made from simmering bones for long periods of time, bone broth draws out bone minerals (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and more), collagen, gelatin, glycine, glutamine, chondroitin and glucosamine. According to The Weston A Price Foundation, the bone minerals found in bone broth are more easily absorbed than when consumed from meat.
One study found that when stock is made from bones, the amino acids that are present help heal low grade, chronic inflammation and boost the immune system. The constituents in bone broth such as glutamine, collagen and magnesium can aid in healing the gut lining when taken on a regular basis.
Ghee is derived from butter, which makes it a confusing food for most people concerned about dairy. Ghee is actually clarified butter, so it’s free of lactose and any milk proteins. Those with milk intolerance or allergies are able to consume ghee.
So, first of all, find grass fed ghee to obtain the most of its fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K). Interestingly, even though ghee is so high in saturated fat - the fat linked for years to increased risk of heart disease - research shows that ghee is beneficial to heart health and it may be due to its CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) content, which has been studied to protect against arterial plaque.
And it’s also been studied on the gut and intestinal lining. Ghee contains butyric acid which is a short chain monounsaturated fatty acid. According to Phyllis A. Balch, author of Prescription for Nutritional Healing, butyric acid is “a monounsaturated fatty acid [that] reduces inflammatory conditions, reduces seepage of undigested food particles, and aids in repair of the mucosal wall.”
Fibre is incredibly important to gut health because it helps move waste along the digestive tract in good time. The transit time of our food should be about 24 hours from mouth to - um - you know. That means if you’re not going to the bathroom 1-3 times per day, there’s a problem with your transit time and fibre may help. Fibre also feeds our good bacteria, helps to sweep excess waste along the digestive tract and bulks stool (which improves stool quality).
Gut Restoring Mushroom Soup
A intentionally gut healing, dairy and gluten free creamy mushroom soup. For a lower FODMAP/ SIBO safe version of this recipe, substitute mushrooms for oyster mushrooms.
3 tbsp ghee
1 large white onion, chopped
1 lb of white button mushrooms, diced*
1/4 cup shiitake mushrooms *
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 cups bone broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tbsp coconut aminos or tamari
2 tsp dried dill
2 tsp dried thyme
1 cup canned coconut milk
1 tbsp ground flax seed
1/4 cup cashew cream* (see recipe notes)
Salt and pepper to taste (depending on the bone broth used)
Chopped fresh parsley
Toasted bread or croutons
Let ghee melt in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, mushrooms and garlic and let everything cook down until mushrooms have shrunk, and onion is fragrant (about 10 minutes).
Add dill, thyme, bone broth, wine and tamari/coconut aminos. Stir, and bring everything to a simmer. Let this cook for about 15 minutes at a simmer. The liquid should reduce.
Meanwhile, add ground flax to the coconut milk and let this mixture gelatinize while the soup cooks. Then add this into the soup pot, and stir to combine. Let this simmer over medium-low heat until the soup thickens slightly.
Reduce heat to low, then pour in the sour cream and stir thoroughly until it disappears.
Serve with toasted sprouted grain bread (or sourdough) and a generous amount of chopped parsley.
For a low FODMAP version of this recipe (to treat SIBO), substitute all mushrooms for oyster mushrooms, which have low levels of the polyols present in most other mushroom varieties. If you’re worried about garlic and onion, omit both. Both onion and garlic contain oligosaccharides that when added to a stock, will leach into the liquid. If you’re not concerned about SIBO, I’d highly recommend keeping them in the soup as both are beneficial to gut health, immune health and heart health.
To make cashew cream, soak 1 cup cashews in water for 8-24 hours. Then rinse and blend cashews with 1/4 cup water, 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tbsp fresh parsley and a pinch of pepper until smooth.