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The Fun Guy

       

We first met Tero Isokauppila when CAP was in its infancy. We were just a website and just beginning to develop our offerings of superfoods and tonics. We contacted Four Sigmatic (then called Four Sigma) to learn more about their line of adaptogenic mushrooms. Within the hour Tero was in our office, bike helmet in hand, regaling us with his mighty knowledge of the even mightier powers of medicinal mushrooms. The founder of Four Sigmatic and its chief ambassador, Tero is a wealth of information on all aspects of radical health, but especially fungi. And now, thanks to his new book, Healing Mushrooms: A Practical and Culinary Guide to Using Mushrooms for Whole Body Health, you no longer have to wait for a deskside visit. Dive in and get to know all that Tero has to share about these gifts of the earth. 

We met up with Tero recently in LA, hiked a canyon and asked him more about the life and times of our favorite fun guy. Read on! And for even more Tero, join us at our Manhattan store October 21st from 3 to 5 pm and in our LA store October 28th from 3-5pm. Tero will be on hand answering your questions, signing his book and giving away a copy to anyone who spends $60 or more on Four Sigmatic goods.

You’re a self-proclaimed “Finnish nomad.” Tell us about yourself and your health story? I grew up on my family’s farm in Finland and connected with the land as a source of food and health at a very early age. My mother taught me how to forage for mushrooms and wild berries, a far cry from the cereal boxes of Fruit Loops that many American children were served for breakfast!

Years later, in my twenties, I became a semi-competitive runner and started experimenting with different health foods to improve performance. It was then that I learned about the powers of cordyceps mushrooms to combat fatigue and improve endurance. I began adding cordyceps to my pre-run smoothies and felt an unmistakable surge of energy. I’ve been obsessed with mushrooms for health ever since.

Why mushrooms? What are they good for? How are medicinal mushrooms different from your everyday mushrooms, such as Portobello or porcini? The question should be “why not mushrooms?”! The fungi kingdom contains more mushrooms than have even been identified, but when we refer to medicinal mushrooms we are identifying a class of mushrooms that possess really incredible health benefits that have been studied for centuries. So while portobello and porcini mushrooms are delicious and offer foundational nutrients, medicinal mushrooms like reishi, cordyceps, chaga and lion’s mane have much more powerful benefits from optimizing immune function and brain health, achieving hormonal balance, improving sleep and reducing stress, to introducing antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agents to your immune system.

How often should you incorporate mushrooms into your diet to start reaping the benefits? In order to reap the benefits of medicinal mushrooms, we recommend incorporating them in the form of dual extracted powders specifically of the fungi’s fruiting body (the part of the mushroom that grows above the ground versus the mycelium roots underground). For efficacy, a good rule of thumb is to use medicinal mushroom extracts with at least 20 percent polysaccharide content.

To get started, I recommend incorporating a dose of 500 to 2,000 mg per day and increasing your intake over time with a variety of superfood mushrooms depending on which benefits you’re seeking. Looking for better sleep? Try reishi. Looking to stay healthy while traveling? Try chaga. Looking to clear brain fog and support neural health? Then start sipping on Lion’s Mane!

Keep in mind that encapsulating mushroom powders (in pill form) usually requires adding fillers and lubricants, undesirable ingredients that provide no benefits to consumers but help machines make the capsules faster. When mushroom extract powders are loosely packed into individual packages, it eliminates the need for any fillers or additives. Mushroom capsules can be very effective, but adding mushroom powders to liquids ensures a more potent and efficient delivery of nutrients to your body.

Talk us through a day in the life of Tero Isokauppila. What are some of your daily rituals? I am an early riser. Our team is global so I wake up early in LA to catch our colleagues in Finland and New York. Hydration is key for me as well as stretching throughout the day (both the mind and body!). I thrive off of deep conversations over big salads with friends. A little known fact about me is that I recharge with midday power naps. Something everyone knows about me? I drink plenty of mushrooms. All day, everyday!

What’s your favorite thing about LA? Favorite spots? I love the health and wellness community in LA. It’s a great industry to be a part of and it’s a great city to embrace the lifestyle that comes with it. Nothing beats a superfood smoothie followed by paddleboarding and a long afternoon soaking up the sun on the beach in Malibu. Oh, and the weather is not bad either (especially compared to Finland!).

How did Four Sigmatic come about? Everyone deserves to reap the incredible benefits that come from incorporating mushrooms into a daily wellness regimen. When we started the company in 2012, our dream was to popularize the consumption of medicinal mushrooms by making them accessible to all. To do that, we knew we would need to make our mushroom products approachable and very user friendly. One way to do that, would be to help people upgrade or replace their existing habits with healthier options that contained mushrooms. And this is how our Mushroom Coffee with Chaga and Lion’s Mane was born!

What are your favorite Four Sigmatic products and what are they useful for? My daily mushroom regime always includes a cup of our Mushroom Coffee with Lion’s Mane and Chaga in the morning, followed by a Chaga Elixir midmorning for general wellness, a Lion’s Mane Elixir in the afternoon, and a hot Reishi Cacao after dinner to unwind. We’ve just released our new Mushroom Matcha – an energizing drink packed with antioxidant benefits and superfood green goodness, which is amazing too! In addition to the brain health, memory and creative benefits associated with both matcha and our lion’s mane mushrooms, we’ve included the powerful adaptogen astragalus to protect your body from stress and a hint of ginger to improve digestion and flavor.

You just released a book, “Healing Mushrooms.” What can we learn from it? My book ‘Healing Mushrooms’ provides foundational knowledge about the benefits of functional mushrooms, as well as fun facts, theories, and of course 50 delicious and easy recipes to start incorporating these powerful mushrooms into your life. If you’re looking to alleviate particular ailments or address specific medical concerns, we’ve divided the recipes into categories based on today’s most prevalent health issues (hormonal balance, inflammation, etc.), many of which affect us all to some degree. The beauty of our recipes, as is the case with all medicinal and culinary mushrooms, is that none are mere one hit wonders; they will all have multiple positive effects on your overall health and wellness.

If someone is not familiar with the healing power of mushrooms and how to start incorporating them into their diet, what would you suggest they start with? A beginner’s mushroom, so to speak? Our Mushroom Coffee with Lion’s Mane and Chaga is “the gateway drug” to the world of superfood mushrooms. It comes in single serve packets and also now in our ground coffee format so you can use it with your French Press or coffee machine at home. By upgrading your daily cup of joe, you’ll receive the amazing health benefits of chaga and lion’s mane mushrooms. For example, just one dose of dual-extracted chaga packs the same number of antioxidants as thirty pounds of carrots!

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