Tero Isokauppila: Adaptogens, Medicinal Mushrooms, and the Trippy Pagan Origins of Jolly Saint Nick

Did you know... Some of the oldest living mushroom colonies are fairy rings growing around the famous Stonehenge ruins in England? 

The rings are so large that they can best be seen from airplanes.

Crazy, right?

Well, be prepared to dive headfirst into mycology 101 with Tero Isokauppila, founder of the popular 'shroom company... FourSigmatic.com

Four Sigmatic is a superfood company founded by Tero and his group of Finnish friends. It's based on their belief that health can be vastly improved through simple dietary tweaks, and the easiest way to do this? Mushrooms, the most scientifically studied and proven superfood. Four Sigmatic wants to popularize medicinal mushrooms by incorporating them in popular products like coffee and hot cocoa.

In today's episode, you'll learn...

  • Why most medicinal mushroom products in North America technically don't contain mushrooms,
  • Why people on ketogenic diets shouldn't fear polysaccharides (i.e. complex sugars),
  • The three tiers of mushroom identification and foraging Tero suggests we begin with, and...
  • Much, much more.

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Episode Breakdown

  • Tero shares the cliff notes version of his family history and how studying mushrooms led to his current passion with his company Four Sigmatic
  • Why Tero says drinking mushrooms catches people off guard
  • Why most medicinal mushroom products in North America technically don't contain mushrooms
  • What Tero says is the most important part of consuming medicinal mushrooms
  • How and why upgrading an existing ritual is easier than creating a new one
  • How to "fat-hack" the bitterness from coffee
  • How heat and fat can unlock the medicinal power of an unextracted mushroom
  • What happens when you combine rosehips with mushrooms
  • The difference between the fruiting body and mycelium of fungi
  • Why people on ketogenic diets shouldn't fear polysaccharides (i.e. complex sugars)
  • Tero explains the fungi circle of life
  • The differences between foraging laws in the US versus Finland
  • The cutthroat business of commercial mushroom foragers
  • Everyman's Right in Finland
  • Why Finnish people run off to rural cottages for weeks to even months at a time
  • The importance of celestial events in Finnish culture and the origins of Santa Claus
  • Why Finland and surrounding countries are some of the least religious countries in the world
  • The difference between edible mushrooms and medicinal mushrooms
  • The accident that led to Tero discovering a rare Japanese mushroom in Finland
  • Where Four Sigmatic sources their "superfoods"
  • Tero explains—with a clever anecdote—how adaptogenic herbs can modulate both mood and energy
  • Why you should be relaxed, focused, and calm in the mornings
  • The mindset that Tero sees that causes many people to panic and stop taking action
  • Tero's three levels of mushroom foraging
  • Special discount code for 10% off your next Four Sigmatic purchase

Questions I Ask

  1. "When I mention to people that I'm drinking mushroom coffee, they give me the same strange look... Every. Single. Time. Do you guys get that a lot?"
  2. "What're some of the biggest differences from the stuff you can buy in a regular commercial health food store versus the stuff we can buy from you?"
  3. "What exactly is the difference between the fruiting body and the mycelium?"
  4. "How did discovering this rare mushroom develop into this lucrative business called Four Sigmatic?"
  5. "What are adaptogenic herbs?"
  6. "How would you tell somebody who's interested to hear you talk about mushrooms and the medicinal benefits... maybe they don't have the money to buy the coffee right now... but they're interested in learning how to forage these mushrooms for themselves. How would you say they go about doing that?"

Mentioned Resources

NOTE: Use the discount code ANCESTRAL at checkout for 10% off your first 'shroom product from Tero and team at Four Sigmatic.

Quote Highlight

"The mushrooms chose me." — Tero Isokauppila

Who is Tero Isokauppila?


Tero Isokauppila, the founder of Four Sigmatic, is on a mission to make medicinal mushrooms, some of the world’s most researched superfoods, more accessible to everyone.

Born in Finland to an agronomist father and nursing teacher mother, Tero grew up on a farm his family has owned since 1619. There, he foraged for mushrooms and other wild foods while learning about the natural food space at an early age.

Following his early education on the farm, Tero later completed a Degree in Chemistry and a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell University. In 2006, he won a Finnish innovation award for discovering that the sought-after Japanese culinary matsutake mushrooms also grow in Finland. Tero is a reputable source on superfoods, an expert on natural health and has been a featured speaker at Summit Series, Wanderlust and WME-IMG.

Contact Tero, Here:

Website: FourSigmatic.com

Social media: FacebookTwitter, YouTube, and Instagram

Featured Music:

Blow Me by Prime Time Beats

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James Broderick