177: Tero Isokauppila – All Things Mushrooms & Creativity


“Mushrooms are more playful, more loving, and more nurturing…”
Tero Isokauppila

Welcome back to ONKEN RADIO (previously NION Radio)!  In this podcast, we explore the mind, body, and soul of the creative entrepreneur, bringing you awe-inspiring guests to help take your business, creativity, and life to the next level.

Today, we’ve got another exciting episode with one of my favorite people. His name is Tero Isokauppila, the founder of the mushroom brand Four Sigmatic. He’s a mushroom guru who took me on an epic trip to Finnish Lapland last January 2021. 

Tero knows all about mushrooms  — everything from regular mushrooms you can find outside to psilocybin. Mushrooms are his passion — he writes and speaks about mushrooms, particularly their role in enhancing creativity. He is also an outspoken advocate for the resurgence of non-addictive substances as an outlet for self-exploration.

Mushrooms have been a part of many cultures for centuries, and they are still used in rituals today. They can take you on a mystical journey to another place, enhance creativity, and help you through transformative inner work. That kind of Identity Alchemy is what I work and live for, and I really want to inspire you to do the same.

In today’s episode, Tero talks about his calling in exploring mushrooms, what these mushrooms can do for your health, how mushrooms promote creativity, and so much more. So there are lots of things that we talk about that are super fascinating.  I myself experienced a lot of healing through mushrooms, so I’m excited to get into this episode. . 

Which Mushroom Varieties Can Help Boost Your Health

Did you know that there are more than 50,000 species of mushrooms, including molds and yeasts? We all know about the common white mushroom, but there’s a whole world of fungi out there! From shiitake to chanterelles and morels, mushrooms come in a variety of shapes and sizes with different textures. Not only do they have huge health benefits, but they also provide an interesting change from traditional side dishes for dinner. But we’ll focus more on the ones with healthy benefits.

Mushrooms have been a major part of many cultures for thousands of years. They have been used in medicine, cuisine, and even magic. Today, mushrooms can be found on almost any restaurant menu or at your local supermarket. Of course, the most common mushroom is the white button variety that you grow in your own backyard. While not nearly as exciting as some other varieties, they are still healthy and full of benefits including their potential to boost creativity.

“When people think of mushrooms, they often think of portabella mushrooms, which are known as culinary mushrooms — things that you eat for flavor and they have fiber and protein and … vitamins. So … a lot of people think they are like vegetables because they … [have] low calories [and] no cholesterol.”
Tero Isokauppila

People often think of mushrooms as food and not medicine, but they can be more than just a delicious side dish. There are many different types with various benefits for your health —Tero shared his top 3 favorite varieties that you can add to your menu.

“When we talk about these functional mushrooms, … superfood mushrooms like Reishi, Chaga, and Lion’s Mane tend to grow on trees, and they’re not bioavailable, like you shouldn’t eat mushrooms raw in general  — you really have to cook [them].”
Tero Isokauppila

Reishi, Chaga, and Lion’s Mane are easy to use in your everyday cooking. . All three have been found to be powerful anti-inflammatory agents, and they are considered medicinal mushrooms that can aid in weight loss, boost the immune system, ease depression, and so much more. These mushrooms will make your life healthier if taken regularly at the right dosage.

“[One] of the top three are Chaga mushrooms — known as the king of all mushrooms. It’s super high in antioxidants. So one cup of that could equal 30 pounds of carrots in antioxidants, and it’s really good for immunity and good for your skin.”
Tero Isokauppila

Chaga mushrooms usually grow on birch trees in the northern regions. They have been used for centuries to increase immunity and prevent chronic illnesses. Chaga is also known as “the king of herbs,” which has many health benefits. It has been used to treat certain cancers, diabetes, and heart disease. Usually, Chaga is brewed as an herbal tea or grated into a fine powder.

“And then the one that has become incredibly popular now … is Lion’s Mane mushroom. Lion’s Mane also grows in trees, and … [some] monks … use [them] for meditation. And … it’s really like your brain’s best friend type of a mushroom — one you would use when you want to perform, … [or if] you want to be creative.”
Tero Isokauppila

Lion’s Mane mushrooms are white, large, and shaggy mushrooms that resemble the mane of a lion. They have medicinal and culinary uses in Asian countries like India, China,  Korea, and Japan. Lion’s Mane mushrooms are usually dried, cooked, or steeped as tea. But they can also be enjoyed raw. These mushrooms have bioactive substances that promote beneficial effects for the heart, brain, and gut.

“And the third one is Reishi, which is known as the queen of all mushrooms. … Reishi is a Japanese name, … [and] a lot of them come from … cold places. … Reishi is like the most grounding, motherly, nurturing, calming mushrooms. So, that would be something you’d take in the evening.”
Tero Isokauppila

Reishi mushrooms are a type of medicinal fungus that grows on the roots of certain trees. They have been used for centuries to strengthen the immune system and improve one’s quality of life. Whether it is to reduce stress, relieve pain, control blood sugar levels, or fight fatigue and depression, these mushrooms can help you achieve your health goals. But if you want to enhance your creativity or improve your mental alertness, there are certain mushroom varieties that can help calm your mind and body so you can be more creative and mentally alert.

How Mushrooms Help with Creativity

Did you know mushrooms may be the very secret to unlocking your creative potential? The science of creativity is a new and interesting field that’s been studied by psychologists, sociologists, neuroscientists, and yet there has been no conclusive answer as to what exactly sparks an individual’s creativity. Some experts would say that those who consume mushrooms on a regular basis are more open-minded and able to think outside the box better than those who don’t. Tero explained how mushrooms can help with boosting your creativity.

“It’s usually a little bit harder to be creative if you’re panicking over the fundamentals in life. And without you knowing if you have issues with your immunity gut health, your body might be in constant panic and constantly struggling, so it also takes your brain and your soul away from being fully free and releasing. So I find a lot of people, especially people who chronically get the flu or … stomach aches, struggle being creative. And I think that’s where mushrooms can really help.”
Tero Isokauppila

Creativity is something that can be lost when your body and brain are constantly in a state of panic. It takes away the freedom we need for creativity to come out, which mushrooms help with by calming down those nerves.

“ A lot of these best mushrooms belong to this group called adaptogens. There are also herbs like roots and berries that are adaptogenic. And what they do is they help your body to restore balance and adapt to stress.”
Tero Isokauppila

Are you feeling stressed lately? Take a dose of adaptogenic mushrooms to calm your body and mind. The calming effects can help reduce the negative effects that stress has on mental health.

Mushrooms and Identity Alchemy

Tero Isokauppila has so much wisdom to share, and I think that he’s given us an amazing formula for IdentityAlchemy.

Every day we are faced with challenges. We need to make difficult decisions, solve challenging problems, or even just figure out what to eat for dinner. Some of these tasks can be daunting and it’s easy to feel stuck in the middle of whatever situation you’re currently facing. It may seem like there is no way forward, but sometimes all it takes is a little change in perspective and taking healthy measures to turn things around.

Mushrooms are one of those things that have been used for centuries as tools for creativity because they allow you to see things from new perspectives. 

Alchemy is defined as the process of taking something ordinary and turning it into something extraordinary, sometimes in a way that cannot be explained. Thus, I define Identity Alchemy as the process of deconstructing who you don’t want to be, thereby allowing you to realize who you want to become. 

Through it, you’ll be able to identify your shadows or the things you don’t want to be true about you, shedding them slowly. I believe that the deconstruction process of your inner world and your life is such a huge piece of understanding of who you are so that you can curate who you want to become. In general, I noticed for myself that the more inner work that I do — the deeper shadow work that I do to understand myself — the better life becomes towards the path of wholeness.

Thank you so much for joining me today, guys. I hope you enjoyed this episode — if you did, please screenshot it and post it to Instagram and tag me, @nickonken and Jeff, @iamtero. And if you’ve got time, leave me a review of this podcast. I’d love to hear your feedback.

I’ll catch you guys next time — now go live the creative lives you were meant for.

Nick Onken

You can Subscribe and Listen to the Podcast on Apple Podcasts. And please leave me a Rating and Review!



“A lot of things in nature don’t want to be eaten — including plants.”
Tero Isokauppila

Some things we learn in this podcast:

  • How Tero Isokauppila got involved with mushrooms [3:38]
  • Tero’s children’s book on the true origin of Santa Claus [5:20]
  • The world’s most famous mushroom that nobody knows [5:50]
  • Which mushrooms can help your health [10:30]
  • The king of all mushrooms [13:55]
  • Why you shouldn’t eat mushrooms raw [15:43]
  • Tero’s favorite mushroom [17:05]
  • Some of the most expensive edible mushrooms [17:40]
  • How mushrooms help with creativity [19:08]
  • Tero’s travel philosophy [24:10]
  • How Tero stays healthy on the road [26:45]
  • Tero’s experience with ayahuasca [32:18]
  • The value and validity of microdosing [40:23]
  • Different dosages of mushrooms [42:25]
  • How important is psychedelic drug research [47:10]

Connect with Tero Isokauppila on Instagram | Four Sigmatic

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