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Power up with mushrooms

Did you know your results in the gym will be about the same whether you follow a meat-heavy lifestyle like keto, or adopt a vegan eating plan with lots of mushrooms?

And did you know that there are plenty of additional health and nutritional benefits if you go the vegan route with lots of mushrooms!

If fitness and athleticism are important to you, mushrooms can be a powerful tool for building lean muscle. In a study published in the June 2023 Journal of Nutrition, researchers from the University of Exeter in the UK compared groups of young people who ate either a high-protein omnivore diet or a mycoprotein-rich (that’s from fungi), non-animal-derived diet, and concluded that “resistance training increased lean mass in both groups by a similar magnitude.”

This means that if you follow a meat-heavy lifestyle like keto, or adopt a vegan eating plan with lots of mushrooms, your results in the gym will be about the same. There are, however, additional benefits to eating more mushrooms.

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They are full of much needed vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre. They are also low in salt, cholesterol and calories. That’s good news for those seeking high performance in their sport while maintaining a lean physique. But you don’t have to go to one of the “either/or” extremes – eating some meat, if you enjoy it, and adding more mushrooms to your plate, would work too.

As it turns out, serving Portobello Steaks with Spicy Chimichurri might just be the workout supplement you really need to achieve your lifestyle training goals.

Portabello Steaks with Spicy Chimichurri


For the chimichurri

  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup coriander chopped
  • ¼ cup parsley chopped
  • 2 tbsp oregano chopped
  • ¾ cup olive oil


  • 4 large portabello mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lime
  • 30 g rocket
  • 100 g asparagus




  • Prepare your braai and allow coals or wood to burn down, or preheat a gas braai on medium.

For the Chimichurri

  • In a bowl combine the shallots, chili, garlic, red wine vinegar and salt. Mix well and let sit for 10 min.
  • Add in the coriander, parsley, oregano and olive oil. Whisk well until combined.
  • In a large bowl combine 2 tbsp chimichurri, 2 tbsp olive oil, the juice of one lime, salt and pepper. Add in the mushrooms and asparagus and toss to coat.

For the mushrooms

  • Braai the mushrooms and asparagus until they are tender and begin to show some color.
  • Serve the mushrooms on a bed of rocket and asparagus. Top generously with chimichurri, a squeeze of lime and fresh chilli.


The information in this article was sourced from The South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association.

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