Since the age of 15, I have had this itch to travel and explore. Sadly enough, I have always been very clever to make excuses why not to do so. In spring 2012 I decided to resign from my full-time job and put all in for FSF. For the first time the conditions were better than ever before; I had been able to save for a rainy day and FSF allowed me to have geological freedom. I ran out of excuses. Somehow back then I already knew that this decision is something that I will be grateful for rest of my life.
Last night I calculated that I have spent over 1000 hours in various cafes, restaurants and coworking spaces in nine different countries. The location of my “office” and people around me (I actually do call them “co-workers”) have been changing daily. I’ve come across several inspirational creatives, entrepreneurs, old couples and even families who have made a total life change. They have moved their offices to various dream destinations, while concurrently flourishing their careers and taking care of their families.
But unlike my friends often think, I have not been merely lying on a beach and sipping on a coconut juice. In all honesty this has not been the reality at all. Yes, I do admit that this kind of luxury has been a regular activity in some destinations, but ultimately I haven’t found a way to dodge the daily hard work. However, that doesn’t mean that there’s no way to make the whole experience more enjoyable. That’s why I wanted to write this blog post. Here’s my 6 tips to a teleworker.
1. See the difference between the backpacking and teleworking
Bangkok, Thailand 01/19/2013 – It’s almost midnight. For the whole evening some hostel guests have persuaded me to join their rooftop party. I have an important deadline to meet and the wireless internet connection works only in the lobby. Before this I’ve always regarded myself as a backpacker, but I think those times are now behind me.
I believe backpacking and teleworking often go hand in hand, but this may require you to find a proper balance and to compromise. Whatever happens, if you’re committed, make sure you meet the deadlines and walk the talk. The rule of thumb is to work wherever and whenever you want, but to get your work done. This way you earn your freedom. Quite often it requires sacrifices and saying no to tempting treks, hikes or rooftop parties. Before you leave home, ensure that you’re aware of the distinction between backpacking and teleworking. Once you’re ready to go, choose your destination wisely. If your work doesn’t require a reliable internet connection, don’t trouble yourself with it. If you need to be online, skip island hopping in the Philippines or working for NGO in rural Cambodia. Try to foresee options that provide a smoother ride.
2. Office location
Phnom Penh, Cambodia 12/27/2012 – I arrived this cafe around 8am and now It’s almost 9pm. The staff is curious and I think that by now they know more about me than most of my friends do. I took few days off from FSF Charity location and moved my office to the capital of Cambodia. Working here makes me wonder why I can get things done here more efficiently and with higher intention than in any other office ever.
You may not believe this, but working from a buzzing coffee shop can be less distracting than working from a calm office. Yes, at first it does sound counter-intuitive, but when you think about it there’s really no interruptions by officemates. Needless to say, a change of environment stimulates creativity. I believe that even changing the environment just for one day a week will bring new types of input, which stimulates creativity and inspiration. In my theory, people around you create positive pressure to push you to be more productive, instead of scrolling up and down Facebook status updates. Watch out as this stuff is addictive.
Tip: Even if you don’t listen to music bring a good pair of earphones. These will work as a sign saying “Don’t Disrupt Me”.
3. Remember to stop
Ubud, Bali, 09/12/2012 – Just a few weeks ago I was overspending my budget, rushing through dense cities in Japan and having hard time to meet my deadlines. I knew that I was eventually running out of the spark to travel if I continued like this. I even felt like going back home even though I would still have seven months to go. Here in Bali, I am ahead of deadlines, while meeting loads of energizing expatriates and entrepreneurs.
While planning my trip in Paris, Tero, who is now doing his second around the world trip, gave me a valid advice to stop every now and then. Obviously I blocked my ears and made a rookie mistake by planning an intense schedule. I also didn’t follow my budget. I had to put my travel plans aside and stop.
This suggestion led me to spend the most memorable time in Bali. During these six weeks I built two websites, edited two videos, read three books and still had tons of time to explore the breathtaking Bali and even myself. Once you’re familiar with the surroundings and you know how things work, your time can be allocated to more important things. Since then, I have stopped deliberately, e.g spending one week without clock, computer or any modern gadgets in Lake Toba, Indonesia. I have also participated in a meditation retreat in Cambodia.
4. Play with your work schedules
Pagudpud, Philippines 11/10/2012 – I must be in paradise. Locals call it Blue Lagoon. I’ve been surfing the whole morning, I just had lunch with a local student and soon I’m about to start my work. Makes me question the real reasons why so many people dislike Mondays.
Although most of my days I’ve been trying to follow the more traditional working hours, occasionally it’s just refreshing to forget the nine-to-five attitude and experiment with the schedule. Wake up early, leave your computer, and head off to enjoy the day. Follow your most efficient working hours and have a long break in the middle of the day. Or even work in one hour slots. Be curious, do a little self-observation to see what works, or just do it because you can!
5. Do your research
Hangzhou, China 05/27/2012 - I can’t access my email, Dropbox, Facebook or any other social media services. I should be the one taking care of our social media! I’m traveling with Mikko in mainland China and he seems to be doing just fine. I was aware of these challenges, but I couldn’t imagine how much adaptation all this requires.
There has been countless times when I have arrived to a new city just before having a Skype meeting, and found myself in the situation where I’ve been running around 3-4 internet cafes before finding even one reliable internet connection. To avoid this, do your research first and for example google the best local cafes near you. I always try to avoid large chains to stay away from paying extra fees or filling internet provider’s signup forms. If I’m in a rural area, I normally ask local teenagers where they go to watch Youtube clips and update their Facebook profiles. That has been working pretty well. But when the s**t hits the fan, breath in, breath out and be aware that you’re not home. Eazy!
6. Another type of “co-workers”
Tokyo, Japan 07/05/2012 – I could never believe that it’s so difficult to find a free wifi in Tokyo. The language barrier doesn’t make things easier at all. Thankfully I’m not the only one struggling. I got valuable advice from a Japanese entrepreneur to check this coworking space out. If FSF ever has an office in Japan, I’m quite sure the atmosphere will be like this.
One of the biggest fears most people encounter when they consider teleworking as an option is to be left alone, since there’s no one to reflect with and share daily ups and downs. All the major cities, even in Asia, are full of coworking spaces and coffee shops booked-up with people in front of their laptops. If you think about it, it resembles a party for singles. Most are eventually looking for someone to talk with, share their travel stories and pitch their current ideas. I myself am an introvert who generally needs that extra push to approach new people, yet still I have met people from diverse cultures and backgrounds every week. For example in the Philippines, I explained the essence of medicinal mushrooms to an old American entrepreneur, who was currently remotely consulting adventure sports businesses. In Cambodia, a young Thai web designer scrolled through our website and shared his ideas how to improve it. I reckon this kind of atmosphere would be difficult to achieve in a regular office environment.
Even though the last year has been by far the most memorable 12 months my life (so far) and that the teleworking seems to work very well for me, there’s nothing that beats seeing your business partners every now and then. Thanks guys
My name is Gina Bergmann. I live and work in Estonia as a mind and body trainer focusing mostly on yoga. It’s my dream job, because it allows me to be constantly moving, improving myself and to pick up new skills. New training styles and knowledge can be obtained endlessly. Why is my job making me happy? Through love and respect to myself I can be a role model and help others improve their quality of life.
My work is filled with good emotions – I’m charged with positive energy every single day as I see my clients reach their goals. We depend only on ourselves when it comes to our happiness and well-being, no matter what age we are or what is our weight. We can always control the health of our body.
During recent years I have been dedicated to the training of the mind and body. My knowledge has value only when I share it. So, the first and most important thing is that satisfaction with our bodies has nothing to do with how we look, rather, it is how we feel. It is not about being thin, it is about being healthy.
Beauty is skin deep and a human being is so much deeper and wider than a creature with merely good looks. We often develop our self-worth from feedback from the outer world like blinks and praise from other people. Instead, we should look into our hearts – what do we see, if we honestly and deeply look within? Is there enough love and satisfaction in us? Enough to attract even more of it to our lives, enough to share to others?
There were times in my life that I spent mostly driving around, being addicted to achievements always moving on from one goal to another. I was managing my home life via mobile phone until an accident happened, when through a painful experience I almost lost my life’s biggest success and treasure – my daughter. I remember when within seconds the whole world stopped. I realized that at the end of the day, after everyday hussle and reaching momentary important goals, the dear ones around us are the most important. We can achieve a lot, but if there’s nobody to share the success with, it has no value (and life lacks real emotions).
Family is like a little personal universe where we accomplish our highest aims as human beings. Around that universe is a bigger universe where we are playing different roles. Most important is however, that our inner world is strong. We can’t be happy at work when we are unhappy in our private lives. And if I’m not happy at work, I cannot make my clients happy. There is a long chain starting from each and every person, ourselves.
With my mind and body lessons I aim to make people their own best friends. I don’t give guidance based on right or wrong, I only share the things I have experienced. To get something we have to have the will. To have the will we need energy. We get this energy from food. I haven’t had any diets in my life and I don’t believe in them. We are what we eat. If we know and listen to and become friends with our bodies, we don’t need any diet. While being young we challenge our bodies, whereas getting older our body is challenging. Healthy eating can’t be a project, it’s a lifestyle. We should always have time to provide the best fuel to our bodies. Body is a treasure which should be treated carefully.
A few months ago I met Davis Lipskis. His offer was to try 2 products to diverse my menu - Instant Chaga and Princess Blend. Using these products during 30 days I felt that they totally met my needs. Everything in our life comes in a right time. I haven’t had a flu for years and this winter I had to stay at home for weeks. I felt that there is no worse punishment than being a prisoner of your body. It had to change!
I’ve always been a big coffee lover and in recent years I’ve noticed that whenever I’m hungry I grab a cup. As an Italian friend of mine said: Estonians are strange people – instead of having a afternoon nap they prefer to have a coffee and move on. My new replacement for coffee was Instant Chaga tea as I fell in love with its taste.
I drank the tea twice a day and the biggest difference between Instant Chaga tea and other natural caffein based drinks is that the effect lasts longer. I often have to supervise several trainings, and it has been quite a challenge to find nutrient rich and practical solutions between trainings. That’s what I like about the Instants – they‘re all in powder and can be easily added to smoothies.
I was usually so late at home and hungry in the evenings that I tended to overeat. Now, using Instant Chaga my eating habits are much more moderate and balanced. Four Sigma Foods recipe page is my favourite to get inspired since it offers plenty of ideas for every occasion. For example, I suggest to try the chocolate truffles. Another important bonus of FSF products is that they are 100% natural and don’t consist of any common allergens, harmful chemicals, or other toxic ingredients.
I added the Princess Blend powder in my morning porridge or yoghurt – the taste remained the same and it was so easy! I like also that I can add the powders to all kinds of pastries. FSF slogan says “Princess Blend supports females with their hormonal system and cherish the goddess in them“. I didn’t turn to a goddess after 30 days, but every morning I felt like a real princess!
The testing period of FSF products overlapped with very intense and challenging period at work. I realized that I wasn’t tired after long training and office days. I had enough energy to spend quality time with my family. Through more emphasis on myself with the help of FSF supplements I’m a better mother, wife and person. I recommend food supplements to everyone who hasn’t had the courage to try them. We don’t have to be afraid of changes as they develop us and at the end of the day we are enjoying life more and are more as a whole.
As our mouths gobble on more processed food-like products than ever before, people have started to look for whole, natural alternatives for healthier, longer life without sacrificing the taste. According to Google Trends and Google Insight, “superfood” term is on the rise in the tranquil northern haven with thousands of lakes and pure nature, also known as Finland.
In the past five years or so Finns have started to opt raw chocolate for guilt-free indulging, and cacao isn’t the only star of the show; Chaga mushroom, used as coffee replacement during the war time, was chosen as the herb of the year 2013, and is available in almost any city now. In Finland, people eat more of these and other nutrient-dense treats than any country per capita. Easy access to mushrooms and ravenous bilberry-picking deep in the woods surely can’t be the only answers to why this small, distant country has become the hot spot of the industry. Maybe the Finns are onto something that other countries can follow: Could chaga be the new espresso in Italy, raw cakes replace French pastries, and kale chips beat crisps in the UK?
Foodism: The Why And The How
Curious as we in FSF are, we decided to talk to those who know and have been around superfoods and the whole hype since mr. Goji along with his friends Maca, Cacao and the rest of the exotic super gang first arrived in Finland. A doctor, a reporter, a store owner and a health coach walk into a bar…but that’s a completely different story.
Why have superfoods spread and become such a popular trend in Finland?
Samuli Perälä, co-founder of Numen Oy and the person who is said to be one of the Fathers of Superfoods in Finland, says: “There already was a demand for superfoods, because ‘normal’ foods have become less nutritional during the past years. Superfoods were the easy answer to a natural deficiency.”
Olli Sovijärvi, doctor and Helsinki Paleo podcaster adds, that superfoods are also a response to the government’s monopolies, such as Valio (dairy products) and other great “food houses”.
“in addition to the global health trend, Finland’s natural resources for superfoods such as berries make them more accessible.”, Noora Shingler, journalist, author and owner of the popular Kemikaalicocktail-blog thinks.
Maria Lönnqvist uses blueberries in her raw superfood cupcakes
What made the snowball to roll; when did it all begin and what happened for the demand to increase?
“The first superfood products such as goji and maca started to sell in 2007″, Heini Mikkonen, the owner of Runsaudensarvi eco shop in Tampere, recalls. The following year, thanks to few active, young and athletic guys with a lot of enthusiasm and sometimes aggressive promoting, the media and the masses started to get interested in these nutritional powerhouses. Mikkonen also thanks the fresh style of branding to the popularity of superfoods. She thinks that green smoothies would not have sold so well and the message would not have gone through, if it had been promoted by hippies.
Finland was fast in catching up with what was popular in the United States, and few Finnish companies started importing superfoods through “Finnish channels”. Jaakko Halmetoja, Olli Posti and eager women’s magazines’ reporters were behind the publicity and rapid growth in general interest towards superfoods. The healthy example and experience-based education from Halmetoja, Posti and few other “foodists” kept the interest high, providing them opportunities for public appearances in major tv-channels’ talk shows and other programs. Few health programs in tv and in the radio started to regularly pay interest to superfoods and better overall lifestyle, making people demand superfoods from their supermarkets.
The effects of exposure and example are vital, says Noora Shingler, an active reporter questioning our society: “When certain public personas and bloggers started spreading the word, others became interested. People tried superfoods themselves and found out that they make you feel good and can easily replace nutrient-poor ingredients. The popularity is self-evident!”
Shingler also points out, that superfoods are re-inventing the wheel: “the oldest and most precious ingredients from around the world get value in the eyes of a new target group because of their new, trendy name. I think it’s great that a new word has caught the attention of people. For all I care, superfoods could be called little rocks if it made people enjoy original, healthy and energetic ingredients instead of weak, processed products.”
Sick Of Being Sick, Or Looking For A Healthy Treat?
According to Heini Mikkonen, at first the most popular superfoods were cacao, goji and maca. Because of bad publicity goji’s popularity decreased, which still shows. “The most popular superfoods now are maca, spirulina, chaga, cacao, goji, chlorella, roseroot, guarana, FSF mushroom extracts…” and the list goes on. Mikkonen defines Finns as open to try new and that superfoods suit the “Finnish mentality” with their concrete effects on the mind and body.
“Since superfoods are often used to boost the immune system, protect from flu and other illnesses, they are more popular during the cold months of the year.” (which means basically any other month than in the summer – editor’s note)
Olli Sovijärvi, a doctor specialized in nutrition and exercise, points out that adaptogens such as roseroot are popular due to their hormone balancing effects. Sovijärvi also states that you can fill nutrient deficiencies and boost daily energy and health with superfoods. “Many of my patients use superfoods and by subjective experiences they have proven to be very beneficial health-wise.”
When selected carefully, Sovijärvi believes that superfoods can bring a lot of extra value to health. “Chronic stress, which is perhaps in the background for 90% of diseases, is one of the main reasons for imbalance in the body. Adaptogens, such as schisandra, ashwagandha and roseroot are very effective in healing this.”
“Often people eat too much stimulating superfoods, or then they eat the wrong foods because they don’t know how to listen to their body. Often the usage instructions are not clear enough, which can lead to side effects”, Samuli Perälä adds. However, Perälä has not received any completely negative feedback about superfoods during the years he has been involved in the health field and superfood scene.
All of the superfood experts agree that basically anyone from hipster teenagers to their grandparents buys superfoods. Since the selection is growing wider and wider, people start experimenting with different superfood combinations and recipes, and find their new favorites.
For few years now, bloggers have been active in creating and sharing their mouth-watering treats from superior ingredients. Guilt-free raw dessert cakes and chocolates that look just like their conventional, unhealthy versions seem to appeal especially to the ladies – which makes mastering the art of making chocolate appealing to men, too.
Chocolove by Smoothie Studio
Are Superfoods Here To Stay?
You can buy a raw chocolate kit instead of a cake bake mix, and no one can argue that smoothies take too much time to whirl up. Ashwagandha might be hard to pronounce for some, but luckily it’s not the only option in the superfood clan.
What does this all result in, what are the good outcomes of superfoods’ popularity?
Superfoods have increased general attention and knowledge about nutrients, and the low quality of “regular” food. Everyone agrees that more demand leads to easier access and broader selection, which is generally a positive thing. However, not all products are equally super: “Some products may be taking advantage of the buzzword superfood, like regular milk chocolate that has goji berries and is then marketed as superfood”, Noora Shingler points out.
Heini Mikkonen thinks that at some point the popularity and media attention went out of hands, causing irritation. As a result, natural Finnish products polished their image.
“We have woken up to appreciate and protect Finnish supers: blueberries, buckthorn, nettle, chaga and wild herbs have become better-known.”
“In general people awaken to the fact that processed “food” does not improve health, but it makes you prone to different ailments. Preventing sickness and maintaining health are the most important long-term effects of superfoods, most of which have already been used for thousands of years in China and India”, Olli Sovijärvi concludes.
Finnish honey products, Smoothie Studio honey spiked with chaga (c) Smoothie Studio
Superfoods are now everyday items to many Finns, and they are widely available. Therefore all the interviewed believe that natural, pure ingredients that are marketed as superfoods have become a staple in the Finnish kitchen repertoire for good. One of the keys to success seems to be aggressive promoting from successful people from all walks of life who are more than willing to share their discoveries, experiments and experiences with the new, yet ancient ingredients. But no matter from what angle you look at it, the real change happens through the real-life stories and individuals sharing their own experiences. With slight cultural modifications, other countries can also leverage the example of the Finns and help democratize superfoods around the world.
Blueberries and goji berries can be a match made in heaven in the same breakfast bowl, and they may become our everyday bread for the next decades, even centuries – and why not, since they’ve been around all along.
During the last year or so I’ve been traveling in 21 countries and drinking our Instant Beverages in the company of hundreds and again hundreds of people. When people ask me what are those funny looking sachets, it almost always causes chuckles and giggles when my answer is that I’m drinking mushrooms. It’s even more powerful way to make people smile than me wearing FiveFingers shoes about 4 years ago in rural Asia, which I can also guarantee caused quite the belly laugh among the locals :)
Ever since the launch of our Instants I’ve been interviewed in several medias (radio, magazines, and latest on Kate Magic’s health food community), I’ve written guest blog posts, and given public speeches about mushrooms. The common story is pretty much the same everywhere; most people still think that the word “mushroom” is equal to few culinary mushrooms (e.g. the button mushroom) or some random hallucinogenic mushrooms (ironically they can’t name any). It’s also very common that people come to me and say things like “isn’t all mushrooms in the world carcinogenic” or that “all mushrooms cause fungal diseases”. To me this is like saying all animals are bad because horses kill 20 people each year (true story!) or that all plants are bad because hops (hence also all beer) have estrogenic effects that lead to feminization of the male body. It’s a massive generalization.
Despite all of this ranting, I’ve never written about how amazing mushrooms/fungi are to this blog. So here are 7 interesting aspects about mushrooms that I’ve collected for you to showcase why our level of appreciation towards fungi is so high.
1. Mushrooms are surprisingly close to humans
Mushrooms and mammals separated from each others around 460 million years ago, but we still share 30% or more of the same genes, making us far more closer to mushrooms than to bacteria or plants. Just like us humans, mushrooms use oxygen and expel CO2. The bad news is that because of this DNA similarity, the same pathogens that hit fungi usually affect us like is the case of mycoses like candida (by the way plant’s pathogenic fungi are also responsible for 70% of all known plant diseases). The good news is that the same defense mechanisms of fungi can also help us when we consume them hence the whole genre of medicinal mushrooms.
2. Mushrooms are some of the oldest organisms alive
The largest living organism on the Planet Earth is a fungus discovered only a little over 10 years ago in Eastern Oregon’s conifer forest. This Armillaria solidipes fungi (formerly known as Prince…I mean Armillaria ostoyae) cover the size of about 20,000 basketball courts (8.4 km²) and weighs more than the great Blue Whale. It also could be the oldest living organism on Earth with an estimated age of 2400 years. Fungi in general are not as old as bacteria (which are about 3.5 billion years old) but with roughly 460 to 455 million years of existence support the thesis that that fungi may have played an essential role in the colonization of land by the first plants (which are approximately 425 million years old).
Photo credit: Alan Rockefeller (Armillaria ostoyae)
3. Mushrooms are an own kingdom
In biology fungi are classified as an own kingdom along with 4-5 others kingdoms such Animalia, Plantae, Chromista, Protozoa, and Bacteria. So being on the same “level” as plants is already in indicator that fungi play a massive role in biology. British mycologist Dr. David L. Hawksworth from the International Mycological Association has made a conservative estimate that there are at least 1.5 million species of fungi on earth (using a hypothesis that there are 6x the amount of fungi to every plant). This kingdom is still vastly unknown to us humans. Depending on the source we have discovered only 99,000 species of fungi, and new species are found at the rate of 1200 per year. With this pace it will take more than 1100 years to catalog and describe all remaining fungi. Sadly, many of these fungi are very likely to become extinct before they are ever discovered.
4. Mushroom are a basis of many drugs
Currently we have identified that roughly 300-400 species of fungi have medicinal properties. According to experts at least 40% of our drugs utilize directly or indirectly mushrooms. Herbalist Robert Rogers estimates that a total of 126 medicinal functions are thought to be produced by medicinal mushrooms. Judging by these figures it is not surprising to hear that during the last decade there has been over 100,000 studies on medicinal mushrooms in Asia alone. The most famous “mushroom drug” is mold fungus based penicillin. After 1928, when Dr. Alexander Fleming “found” it, it has said to save tens of millions of people (some say even over 200 million lives but who really knows for sure?). Another major mushroom drug innovation started 25 years ago when the Japanese researcher Tetsuro Fujita came up with the idea to use Ophiocordyceps sinensis against multiple sclerosis, a very common and “incurable” autoimmune disease. Based on Fujita’s studies Swiss drug company Novartis launched Gilenya. It’s a MS disease drug made from Myriocin originally derived from Isaria sinclairii, the anamorph of Cordyceps sinclairii. The Myriocin is synthesized for drug production as usual. It is said that this drug will generate up to US$5 billion a year in global sales making it soon the TOP 10 best selling drug of all time. The cost of treatment with Gilenya is $3000 per month. FSF sells Instant Cordyceps, that is made from natural cordyceps and even if used daily would not cost more than $500 a year. Just saying.
Photo: Ophiocordyceps sinensis
5. Mushrooms are a serious food business
Estimates made in 2004 already suspected that the global mushroom business is a whopping US$40 billion, which is almost the size of the global coffee business. Only 25 years ago this same production was 150x smaller. Globally there are at least 2000 varieties of edible mushrooms, and this production is clearly led by China. According to the Chinese Association of Edible Fungi, they produce 8 million tons each year, which is about 70% of the global production. Most of the production stays in China, which is the world’s largest mushroom market and a country where many meat eaters are substituting their old habits with ‘shrooms. The actual mushroom export from China is less than 5% of its total domestic production. With these numbers it’s not also striking to hear that 35 million Chinese work in the mushroom industry. Tibet is the only country that has more fungal income per capita in the world over China. Rare mushrooms like Ophiocordyceps sinensis (which I sell now through FSF) and Tricholoma matsutake (which I started my mushroom business in the dim and distant) can both cost several thousands of dollars per kilo. On the other extreme, fungi can also be used to make very economical meals. For example UK based brand of meat imitating controversial mycoprotein called Quorn is one of them. In the 1950′s people thought that by the 1980’s there would be a massive world hunger so for the upcoming protein shortage scientist invented this protein product made from a mold fungus (Fusarium venenatum). Now this cheap meat replacement is sold in 11 countries with annual sales of over US$ 140 million. In the UK alone people eat an unbelievable 500,000 Quorn based meals everyday.
Photo credit: Jan Ainala (Quorn fillets – fried, defrosted and frozen)
6. Mushrooms are faster, stronger, larger…
If organism would have Olympic games, mushrooms would score more medals than China. In high jump even Javier Sotomayor at his best couldn’t compete with fungus that ejects its spores with more than 20,000 G’s of force! Even top trained humans can barely stand 12 G’s of force before passing out. At bodybuilding Ronnie Coleman would look like a Kenyan marathon runner next to the prehistoric reproductive fungal structures that were eight meters high and one meter wide. As a comparison plants at that time were at best equally high as the mushrooms were wide. And finally in the sport of ultra masculinity, Rocco Siffredi & Co. have to stand in awe to Calvatia gigantea that can produce 20 trillion spores in its lifetime. If each spore would grow into another full maturity mushroom, those 20 trillion puffballs would equal a mass of 3x greater than the Sun.
Photo credit: Hans Hillewaert (Calvatia gigantea)
7. Mushrooms can save the world in many ways
Fungi are known as extremophiles, which basically means they can live everywhere from the Sahara Deserts to the Arctic. Besides being able to break down oil – which is impressive by itself – fungi can also break down extremely toxic chemical weapons of mass destruction and nerve agents like Soman, Sarin, and VX. With melanin pigments fungi can feed itself purely on ionizing radiation and maybe because of this fact there has been fungi sightings in both spacecrafts as well as nuclear waste zones (e.g. at the reactor core of Chernobyl). Fungi are also used to remove pollutants in the field of bioremediation. They also help plants in thriving. Over 95% of all plantae have mushroom partners (mycorrhizal and endophytic symbionts), which help the plant to gather water, minerals, and other nutrients about 1,000x better than it could get on its own. This is just a preview to all the possibilities that fungi include. World’s leading mushroom expert Paul Stamets shares his 6 ways in this video.
Disclaimer: I’m not saying that mushrooms are better than plants or animals, but along bacteria they have definitely suffered from biological racism (i.e. mycophobia) and have not gotten enough appreciation. We at FSF truly believe that no matter what diet do you prefer (Paleo, 80/10/10, gluten-free, half-day fasting, Zone, Hollywood, bear diet, Master Cleanse, DASH….), you will get more bang for your buck by introducing a few top mushrooms (and some good bacteria) to your diet compared to endlessly fine tuning of your macronutrient ratio or fighting with others on how much animal-based products a human is naturally designed to eat. Peace!
Little over a year ago Jesse Väänänen was still an Olympic-level cross-country skier. After several years of small and large health issues that severely had affected his career, I was able to convince him to participate in the FSF Challenge where he sampled our first instant beverages for 30 days. He liked the stuff and the rest is history. Today we’re happy to announce that the same guy has started as a FSF Brand Manager. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have him onboard. I say this because most people know this 197cm giant as a talented athlete, but underneath you’ll find a man with various talents and an interesting story. Please enter Jesse Väänänen.
Can you first tell a bit about your background and why did you get into sprint skiing? I know your dad might have influenced your decision. “Well I started skiing when I was only 6 years old and from very young age I told people that I want to be the Olympic champion. I lived less than a kilometer away from all the possible sport venues but I chose to XC-ski my days through. I tried some other sports as well but the quiet forest and several hours alone in pain turned out to be my thing. Those who have seen me playing soccer or anything else with a ball or more than 5 guys around me (there’s six guys in one sprint heat ;) ) know how much I suck at that. No kidding. I literally suck. And like you said, my father might have had his little finger in the game also. He used to be an international level skier back in the 80′s and naturally wanted me to follow his steps into this amazing sport.” Photo: Jukka Veltheim
To those who don’t follow winter sports or who have never seen snow, can you elaborate a bit more what did you do for living and what were your accomplishments? “My dream was always to make my living on the skiing tracks and I was lucky enough to live that dream for some years. In Finland it’s rather difficult to make your living as an individual athlete, and I feel very fortunate to have achieved that. I never took the Olympic medal that I dreamed about but I fought for it in Vancouver 2010. I was in the best shape of my life and I had just been 4th in the World Cup race before the Olympics. During the last couple weeks I simply tried too much, lost the sharpest edge and ended up being 22nd. But when I think back to those thousands of hours of training for one piece of metal, I believe this is how it was meant to be. In the end I got what matters the most – amazing and unique experiences.” So, 22 years of XC-skiing ended last spring. What did it give to you as a human being and what was the “end-product” of it all? “At first I consciously took some time apart from sports and started to look around. After all 22 years is a long time. Sports career taught me self-discipline, devotion, self-knowledge and love for the pain among other things. But most of all it taught me that I want to do something meaningful in the future as well. Nine to five is not an option!”
After all the health problems you encountered during your career, what does nutrition mean to you? Also, why did you ever get excited about such marketing hocus pocus as superfoods? I mean, when we met in 2008 you were flawless in recognizing different coke brands from each others in a blindfold test… ;) “Haha. Not guilty. Okay, to be honest, I was one of those athletes who think they can eat anything because they train so much. WRONG. And that is the only thing that I regret a bit about my career. I hope I would have been more aware of the better options and most of all open to try them. When I finally opened my mind and faced the facts, I was overwhelmed about the new reality. My lungs felt different, my muscles were more elastic, I had more energy and most importantly I stayed healthy. I would say the first and hardest step is to change your attitude and beliefs. The rest comes naturally. And what comes to superfoods, as an athlete I always wanted and had to push the limits. Mediocre was never an option. So why to settle for mediocre food when there’s super-quality food available?!”
What are your favorite foods today? Maybe you can list a few favorite dishes and a few superfoods you love. I know you are quite a chef as well. “Well ice cream is ice cream. There’s no arguing with that. I’m bit of a sweet tooth and with raw chocolate it was love at first sight. These two are on their own league but I also love fresh salad with avocado, cashews and quality salt. I eat daily maybe five to ten different superfoods and surprise raw cacao is my favorite. With spirulina and chlorella I have kind of a love-hate relationship. I still don’t quite get along with their taste but I just love the effects!” You recently decided to join our team over several other lucrative job offers that frankly would have probably made you a lot more money. What was the road from FSF testimonial to FSF brand manager? Why are we having this interview right now? “Have you ever heard yourself talking? You can be very convincing ;) Just kidding. Yes, I had some other possibilities and I actually did plenty of things during the last year. But as I’ve known you guys for quite some time and have seen the passion in your work, there was actually only one choice. I’m more than thrilled to be part of this team and I’m dead certain that we’ll do something special together.”
You talk so passionately about helping others and about charity aspect. Can you talk a bit more about that as well? “To be honest my life as an individual athlete was basically to take forward my own interests. That’s what sports eventually are all about. When I had the chance to participate in FSF Charity, I didn’t hesitate a second. I wanted to do something that was never possible when I was XC-skiing. I had travelled to 25+ countries of wealth and prosperity but never been to Asia or “the real world”. This may sound like a cliche but when I saw the kids from Smokey Mountains, it literally made a huge difference to my life. Like I said before, I want to do something meaningful and something with a higher purpose.” Skydiving, photographing, playing classical guitar, making hole-in-ones in golf, painting, practicing imitations, what else…you have the most random list of hobbies. You come across as a fast learner who is always on the lookout for new stuff to try out. Have you always been a curious soul? “Look around! How could one not to try everything possible? Like I said before, I’ve got some serious issues with mediocre. I’ve always been very curious to try different things. Some have gone well, some haven’t. I’ve broken several bones (incl. three vertebrae) and spend multiple days in different hospitals. My lifetime goal has been to jump a base jump but Mr. Pastrana has set the new bar. What the heck, we only live once!”
I am, what some might call, a late bloomer in sports. Before I got into an active lifestyle, I was (or still am) a nerdy bookworm. My gateway sport like for so many was trail running. Thanks to Hong Kong’s great trail running community I was introduced to ultra endurance races. I got to train and race with various sorts of people: dedicated newbies, seasoned runners and incredible outliers. We motivated each other and shared advice or GU gels, whatever was needed. The nerd in me gleefully soaked up new knowledge about training structures, nutrition and anything else which could improve an athlete’s performance. Not much of a big surprise, when I stopped racing and became a strength and conditioning trainer with a focus on functional movement and a Paleo streak.
At the beginning of 2013 I had my own training programme dialled in and was working on my own strength numbers. I compared notes with a friend who also happened to be martial arts instructor in Germany. Friendly banter turned into cheeky trash talk which led to a bold challenge to improve fitness and body composition within 3 months. I should mention that unlike me, my fellow challenger has been into martial arts since he was five and is also genetically blessed with stupendous hypertrophy.
I had to kick it up a notch training-wise. And to put it mildly, I needed all the help I could get. Stumbling over the 30 Day FSF Challenge was a lucky sign. I signed up and FSF’s Mikko and Tero thought that the Endurance Blend would be a good fit. I wholeheartedly agreed. My old training plan was very strength oriented. And the first thing that goes with a strength-heavy training is endurance. While rewriting my training program I realised that I had to get endurance explicitly strength- and power endurance back into the mix.
When I collected the one month supply of Endurance Blend I did not know what my palate was up against. Sure I did the research about the ingredients Schisandra, Roseroot and Siberian Ginseng, and was aware about their common uses and positive effects concerning strength, endurance and recovery. I was only hoping that the taste would not come close to healthy but mean-tasting soups one could get in traditional Chinese medicine pharmacies.
Luckily mixed with water it pleasantly tasted like smooth herbal tea. The FSF page was full of suggestions which foods would go well with the blend. But it turned out that I was more of a purist and was very content with my blend and water. Sometimes I would mix it my BCAA powder as the blend’s natural taste would make the BCAA powder’s fake apple flavour more palatable.
Quite surprisingly the first effect I noticed the Endurance Blend had on me was improved sleep. Usually on double workout days especially if the last workout was during the evening I would be too wired to get to bed right away. On days when I used the blend it was much easier for me to wind down after an evening workout and get to sleep faster.
It would be too early to say which effect the blend had directly on my recovery rate. But the improved sleep certainly boosted recovery. At this point I have been exposed to the blend long enough to verify other effects.
What I can say is that the blend was very agreeable with stomach either taken pre or during workout. Its mild formula makes it easy to use the blend long-term and that’s when positive effects might be more obvious. This only endorses my philosophy concerning training and nutrition: Safe and steady is the way to go. The fitness industry is saturated with quick and easy fixes in form of pills and powders as effective as a rabid jackhammer, often too much for the body system to handle.
Big thanks to Four Sigma Foods for giving me the opportunity to join their challenge and test their Endurance Blend. I hope more athletes and sports enthusiasts will find their favourite blend to enhance their nutrition and with that their performance.
Before I begin my story about my 30-day FSF Challenge with the Gizmo high-speed blender I want to say THANKS to magnificent team of FSF for creating such great products and helping people – including myself – to become the best versions of themselves and enjoying life to its maximum!
I got introduced to Gizmo and FSF by my friend Hanna Skytta who is also part of FSF team. when I stopped racing and became a strength and conditioning trainer with a focus on functional movement and a Paleo streak.
But let’s get to the challenge… Well, actually the real challenge has already been going on for ages as I have tried to prepare my meals with the cheap 30€ supermarket blenders. I am the first Finnish woman holding a IFBB Bikini Fitness Pro Card and to be invited to a Arnold Classic Pro Competitions in March 2013. So as a professional athlete my meal plan is very strict and also – opposite to what most people think – includes a LOT OF FOOD! In fact, many are surprised how much I eat – but because it is all natural, whole foods and nutrient rich, you can also eat it a lot! And eating clean also strips off your belly fat automatically, so I really encourage everyone to swap the refined foods to all-natural alternatives and eat enough so that your body does not go into starvation mode.
But eating so big volumes of eg. vegetables can sometimes be challenging. Quite recently I also started to blend all my vegetables, as I noticed that after doing so I was not that bloated all the time. Also smoothies and recovery drinks are part of my meal plan all year round, so I use the blender many times a day.
But let me tell you – after starting to use blender more, I also lost my nerves more. What my mistake was is that I thought all blenders are equal, so I bought those 30-euro supermarket blenders – which broke all the time. They did not blend my veggies or smoothies fine and smooth, but left nasty little bits in them. So I wasn’t getting all the benefits from blending and the faulty machines increased my stress levels – which is not what I needed before big competition preparation!
So thankfully I talked with Hanna and I purchased the Gizmo. After getting this I have truly noticed the difference in my wellness. My tummy has kept slim, as even though my pre-contest meal plan includes massive amounts of veggies, blending them in fine particles enables my body to use their nutrients effectively without causing any bloating (because of the large amounts of fiber that comes with the veggies!) or putting too much energy on digesting them as Gizmo did all the ”pre-digesting” for me!
I have also noticed a significant improvement in my energy levels – which of couse enables me to put my best gear on at the gym when doing my HIIT and resistance training workouts.
Giving my body enough nutrients in well-absorbing form and lessening the burden on the digestive system also enables me to train more frequently – during the competition prep, my program includes as much as three training sessions per DAY so having a tummy full all the time or not getting enough nutrients might compromise my preparation. Blending also gave me much more time from my normal food prep, as when blending veggies I did not have to steam them first, but could enjoy them in their raw form – which again means more nutrients that would otherwise been destroyed during heating (eg. many antioxidants and vitamins).
And last, but not least… the outer beauty. Even though in my sports the BODY and its form is in the center of the judging, also hair and skin has an important role. When your body gets enough nutrients, some are also left for making the skin bright and hair glow. Because these things are not necessary for survival (although sometimes especially for us women, hair and skin might feel like ”survival” things :)), the body uses all the nutrients first to keep the heart beating, brain fueled, digestive system operating etc and then – if there are some left – the hair and skin gets it. So stack up on nutrient rich foods, blend them and see yourself to transform to the best version of yourself.
I am looking forward to my Arnold Competition in March, presenting myself there at my best and also feeling at my best. You can follow my journey for example from my Facebook page.
Photos: Mike Siren
Qian Long, the best known and longest ruling Emperor of the Qing Dynasty, consumed codonopsis daily. He was the longest living Emperor of the modern era, died at eighty-nine years old. The Chinese emperors usually lived a short life because of their habit of having too many mistresses; Qian Long had merely three thousand lovers.
Codonopsis pilosula, Codonopsis or Dang shen is gastroprotective, hypoglycemic agent, adaptogen and one of the primary energy tonics in traditional Chinese medicine. It is known for its’ immunomodulatory functions, in other words digestion enhancing powers. Codonopsis is also called poor man’s ginseng, because it is cheaper and has similar, yet milder effects.
Codonopsis is a perennial, shrubby flowering plant growing around streambanks and forest openings natively in Northeast Asia and Korea. The 1-3 cm thick roots of codonopsis are harvested from the plant during the third or fourth year of growth and dried before selling.
Why to Use Codonopsis
Codonopsis is known as ‘spleen qi’. In addition to speeding up food processing, it has also been used against various respiratory and skin diseases and to treat amnesia. Codonopsis increases both white and red blood cells and is believed to promote blood circulation and enhance vitality as well as strengthen the immune system.
In the modern Western science, codonopsis’ anti-tumor effects have been studied successfully: The acidic polysaccharide from the roots of codonopsis pilosula showed wound healing and decreasing effect on tumor cells. A recent study revealed that an herb blend containing codonopsis pilosula reduced breast cancer patients’ leucocyte and neutrophil (common white blood cell) levels while decreasing the levels of tumor cells, cytotoxic tumor cells and natural killer cells.
In addition to it’s cancer treating effects, studies have proven that codonopsis pilosula is a potential antidiabetic herb and it may reduce the blood glucose levels and thus delay the progression of diabetes.
How to Use Codonopsis
Codonopsis is used in different herb combinations, for example mixed with Bai guo (Ginko biloba) to improve cognition and overall health. Codonopsis is also effective in Weikang Keli mixture, aimed for treating gastric cancer.
In addition to herb mixtures, codonopsis can be consumed as capsules, tinctures or the roots can be soaked and boiled to make tea.
Photo Credit: Doronenko
Where to Buy Codonopsis
You may find some codonopsis dietary supplements from your local health foods stores or major international e-tailers.
If you want to test a product containing codonopsis, then look no further. We believe that the most cost-effective product out there is our FSF Princess, which also contains the power herbs Dong quai, mucuna and cistanche. You can find FSF Princess HERE.
Lari Laurikkala is a man of many roles in our Team Four Sigma Foods. He’s an Affiliate Manager, the official FSF Chef, and the main coach to retailers about our products. You can spot him in the trade shows we attend or just randomly walking on the streets somewhere in the world. So who is this yet another crazy Finnish guy who could hold the title for the world’s slowest eater, has a worm compost in his kitchen, and who about fifth of the Finland’s population has seen in the TV five times a week for years? Time for the next FSF Profile…
Thinking globally and (literally) acting locally
We two got together in Hong Kong a few months back and you continued your travels
from there. How are you doing now?
I just got back home after 5 months of traveling on ﬁve continents. It still takes a little time getting the daily life up and running while the temperature change from Florida to Helsinki was a nice 40´C also. I’m all good though, enjoying the snow and all the winter activities we can do up here from xc-skiing to ice hole dipping and snowball fighting! First things ﬁrst so it is nice to answer this interview and maybe spread some inspiration to all the FSF followers out there!
This wasn’t your first time abroad! What are some memorable moments from the times on the road?
I have always enjoyed exploring new destinations and meeting people. I have made it to 50 different countries now and every new one still keeps amazing me with their uniqueness and great people. You cannot really pick one memory over everything else but some good stories would come from the time spent on a bee farm in Russia or doing a jump off a bridge at 600ft in South-Africa. This time I’m so thankful for all the help I got from my friends out there and also through Couchsurfing. If you are not yet familiar with Couchsurfing I really encourage everybody to give it a try! What other way can you visit about 50 places on the smallest budget and stay only in a handful of hostels while having a blast meeting awesome local people?
Do you also have some previous experiences about cultural collisions?
When I had just turned 16 I found myself living in the States for a year by myself where supposedly everything is bigger. Well I ended up in a village in Michigan with less than 1000 people. 15 minutes drive away from the “city center”, on a farm with few hundred cows. I have always been unprejudiced but at that time this cityboy had a few things to get used to :) After coming back home I stayed in the exchange student organization as a volunteer and organized tens of workshops and met hundreds of foreigners from all backgrounds. I have a lot to thank these experiences for my open-mindedness.
So then you landed a role in the most popular TV show of Finland (Salatut Elämät) became a teenage heartcrusher, and got more than your share of the 15-minutes of fame. How did that all happen? It seems quite the change.
It was all coincidence and I guess just meant to happen like everything in life. I had no real experience of acting but wanted to try it out so I got through the auditions and was chosen for the role from quite a bunch of people. Naturally gifted, you know :) The soap opera has been cited as the world’s most watched TV show when compared to the population where it is aired and even though I quit two years ago, still sometimes people pull out their cameras on the streets. So it has it’s ups and downs but the work itself was a lot of fun for few years!
Finding the passion towards food and nutrition
How did you get into studying all this nutrition and made your full time goal to find peak performance and health?
Through chocolate, of course :) Actually I had read about coconut oil in some ladies fashion magazine while getting a haircut and went to buy it but the real benefits of it didn’t hit me until a workmate told me about making your own healthy chocolate. I went straight to internet and found all these informative blogs (especially Olli Posti’s) and started ordering new weird ingredients for my cooking. The rest is history :) Clean foods clear your mind and that might just change your life. When I found my first own chaga and started boiling it there was no going back.
“You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.”
-Clay P Bedford (Kaiser Industries)
What do you think are some easy ways to start living healthier and more consciously?
The most important thing I would like to see is people becoming more involved with their decisions in life and start taking responsibility of their own well-being. It doesn’t need to be rocket science, just finding a good balance and believing in nature a little will take a person many levels up. The means for being healthy and happy are hard-wired into us. Be open to everything, try new things and find your ways to keep a positive mindset. The world and life is after all nothing but a big playground so why not enjoy it!
I understood you are are big time into gathering wild foods and spending long days in the garden growing your own food, why all this effort?
Because I love it. You would think it drains your energy to shovel dirt for 8 hours or hike on a swamp all day but in my experience it just gives you more energy. When you do anything from a child-like curiosity and with full drive, your body, mind and spirit gets the best possible nutrition and growth.
The other reason goes back to the poor quality of our daily food nowadays. In the last 100 years the mineral density in farm grown vegetables and fruits have gone down 20-80%. You would need to eat ﬁve carrots to get the same nutrients than our grand-grandparents used to get in one. I think it is a waste. We all can easily vote against this N-P-K-raping of the soils with our wallets by buying organic and in general knowing a little more of where our food comes from. Almost as easily we can plant a few herbs on our yard or windowsill or pick a few nettles during our morning walk.
Third reason is the dependance most people live in today. There are only few days worth of food in the grocery stores and not much more in a normal person’s kitchen. I like at least the idea that I have few things put aside and that I know some basic skills to survive for a while in an extreme situation.
Slow cooking, slow eating, and food experimentation
Now the apparent big snow cover prevents you from both growing and harvesting any of your food. What are your strategies for overcoming this in the winter and do you already have a plan for the spring?
Can’t wait to tap the first maple again in march-april to do a little spring fasting, get boiling my own chaga-maple-syrup and start filling up the cellar with sap-herb-honey-meads. Of course the first goutweeds and nettle shoots are the most delicious things out there. Until that I fulfill my green thumb with sprouting and taking care of baby kefirs and kombuchas, preparing sauerkraut and nut cheeses and starting seedlings of everything I will be growing in the summer. A little container in my kitchen corner converts all the cooking scraps to a great growing medium thanks to the composting worms.
How does your daily cooking look like? For example what you got cooking right now, our official FSF chef au le experiment?
I don’t want to shock you – well actually I do – but right now I got a nice leftover stew coming in the slow cooker with organic pork kidneys, tongue and heart, wild Finnish mushrooms and lots of spices. This kind of food gives me a nice warming bulk-base during these cold months in addition to my pretty regular egg breakfast. But how gross is it to eat all these weird animal parts and intestines or even meat at all? After trying almost every kind of extreme diet I feel that my body and mind functions the best with good balance of heavier and lighter foods while keeping a steady blood sugar. Quality meats prepared well and with love are comforting and empowering at the same time. And I think it is more ethical to use consciously these less valued parts of animals instead of wasting them. I like to always have a bigger batch of good organic cuts or game meat in my freezer. Again to be a little more self-sufficient.
To balance that I have a daily smoothie and/or a green juice included in my diet with all the berries, seeds, seaweeds and other superfoods. In general I aim for at least 50-70% raw in everything. After all that a smoothie a day keeps the doctor away!
I remember you having most of your wrap still nicely in your hand after I had downed mine in an organic restaurant Mana! in HK. You must spend about half of your life just chewing on your food! Are you always that slow? :)
Haha, I have had some funny and sometimes even a little embarrassing moments like that. People have finished their food a long time ago and it might seem that my plate is still about untouched. I just like to enjoy my food. You can make it almost like a meditation every time you sit down with something to nourish your body with. I’ve got a habit to savour every bite and chew it up pretty well to ease my digestion as well.
Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work
You seem to always have your to-do list full of stuff so you must like being active.
Despite being this potential snob as a golf player (Tero’s note: Lari has played golf for 13 years), an actor and being grown in a city I have never been afraid of getting my hands dirty. I have actually always loved it and I could be classified as a legendary thinks-to-know-it-all DIY man. If I get an idea of building something or run across a problem I often jump right into it and don’t give up until it is fixed or ready. Sometimes even things that are working properly as is need to be tweaked a bit, just because. In Finnish we call this “hiﬁstely” which means as the name indicates making everything a little more “high-ﬁdelity”, not settling with just average. There is always a way to adjust things a little further, whether it’s your habits, ingredients in cooking, quality and materials of your clothes or trying something like adding strong magnets to your blender jug.
“The core of mans’ spirit comes from new experiences”
-John Krakauer (Into the Wild)
Now Lari is really enthusiastically spreading the word of mushrooms and holding some cooking classes in the spring with some occasional traveling. You can meet him at our trade shows and events around Europe. For settling down a little later he has some good sounding plans. Where might we find you after some years from now?
Living off the fat of the land somewhere. Hopefully not just a loner in the woods but I bet there will be a way to organize a nice combination of that and an active social life. Let’s leave it to the universe to choose where, how and when that will be. But I know someday it will happen. That’s what matters.
Shiitake is one of the few mushrooms that combines truly delicious flavor with superior health benefits. Today it is the second most commonly cultivated edible mushroom in the world. Both fresh and dried shiitake are used frequently in the cuisines of East Asia, and it is the main protein source for many Asian vegetarians. Medicinal use of shiitake dates back at least as far as 100 A.D. in China.
Shiitake mushrooms are claimed to combat both cancer and AIDS by stimulating the body’s immune system.
Why to Use Shiitake
One reason to include shiitake in your diet is its very pleasing flavor, prized by many connoisseurs. Of course, another very important feature of the mushroom is its significant health benefits. These include immune system support, reduction of platelet aggregation, and antibacterial and antiviral properties. Shiitake mushrooms are claimed to combat both cancer and AIDS by stimulating the body’s immune system.
Shiitake is also promoted as an aid to cardiovascular disease prevention, lowering harmful cholesterol levels. It is also thought to be effective in treating viral infections such as hepatitis, since it contains biochemical predecessors to interferon – a protein that inhibits virus replication.
How to Use Shiitake
Before using dried shiitake mushrooms, they must be rehydrated by soaking in water. Although fresh shiitake mushrooms are not poisonous, it is recommended that the mushrooms be well cooked. This will prevent shiitake dermatitis, a rash that occasionally affects some users of the raw mushroom.
If you wish to use shiitake strictly for medicinal purposes, you can take it as a supplement, in capsules or as a liquid extract. There are many companies offering high-quality shiitake dietary supplements, at reasonable prices.
Shiitake mushrooms are non-toxic, allowing you to enjoy them even in large quantities over many days in a row, with no negative effects.
Credit: kozumei / Flickr
Where to Buy Shiitake
In North America and Europe, fresh shiitake mushrooms can be bought from bigger grocery stores; shiitake dietary supplements can be found in most any health or natural food store. In Asia, shiitake is as common a food as rice – it can be purchased anywhere.
If you want to test a product containing shiitake, then look no further. We believe that the most cost-effective product out there is our FSF Winning, which contains 6 other mushrooms and rose hip along with shiitake. You can find FSF Winning HERE.