The umami texture of mushrooms has become kindred with the meat substitute market. Think mushroom steaks, their chewy texture and porous properties allow flavours to be absorbed by these natural delights. Whilst long a staple in home cooking, mushrooms as a dynamic food source are on the rise.
Plant-based brands such as Meati, a Colorado-based company founded in 2019 have pioneered the field of innovation using mushroom root, a superfood blend based on the chemical structure of mushrooms to design a protein-dense and highly nutritious meat alternative. Meati’s mission statement is “Starting With Nature. Always.”
They use the compound of mushroom spores or filaments as the vital ingredient which makes up 95% of their available products. Let’s take their Meati Classic Cutlet as an example, this finished product has 17 grams of complete protein, a key nutrient in our diets allowing us to absorb the molecules in amino acids, vital to bodily functions and most commonly associated with animal products like eggs, meat, dairy and seafood.
Protein has become a nutritional obsession in recent years, but not without reason, as muscle growth and recovery are dependent on an adequate intake of this macronutrient. Happy minds and bodies require movement and our tissue repair essentially depends on getting your daily dose of protein.
Mushroom root otherwise known as mycelium has a long heritage in sustainable crop cultivation and has helped feed human populations for centuries and plays an important role in indigenous conservation leadership. A regenerative crop, this highly resilient biodynamic plant can be found growing naturally in cool damp woodlands where they provide water to plants and improve aeration, mushrooms have even been found in the burned areas left in the wake of wildfires.
Regenerative agriculture counteracts the harmful impact of industrial farming by working with the land to increase biodiversity and enrich soil sources and ecosystems. The main aim of regenerative agriculture is to seize carbon in both soil areas and atmospheric biomass, in turn counteracting global trends of atmospheric warming.
Cultivating mushrooms works in natural symbiosis to recycle organic matter and support plant growth. Networks of fungi are responsible for converting dead matter into nutrients for the soil. Therefore fungi and plants reciprocate a natural balance and promote rather than deplete vital soil reserves. Mushrooms are also natural carbon dioxide warriors, absorbing C02 from the atmosphere.
Mushrooms are miraculous. As plant-based companies like Meati highlight they offer us an alternative sustainable and nourishing food source to animal products, especially for those who value a clean complete-protein source. Fungi properties operate as natural allies to flourishing soil and forestries supporting a shift towards more regenerative agricultural practices.