Health looks different for everyone, but the healthiest people seem to have one thing in common: a dedicated daily routine. Whether it’s a cherished morning meditation ritual or a pre-sleep supplement routine, these daily habits start to kick in when you do them over time.
We spoke to Four Sigmatic founder Tero Isokauppila and Pulp Culture founder Brendan Brazier, two friends and collaborators who share a mutual interest in all things health, nutrition, and the healing benefits of adaptogens, about what they do to promote total-body (and brain) wellness throughout the day.
Tero Isokauppila is the founder of Four Sigmatic, a functional foods company that specializes in coffee, plant protein, and other adaptogen-infused goods. Tero hails from Finland, where he grew up growing and foraging natural foods on the farm his family has owned for generations. He later earned a degree in Chemistry, Business, and a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition at Cornell University, and was chosen twice as one of the world’s Top 50 Food Activists by the Academy of Culinary Nutrition.
“Ginseng, cordyceps, chaga, and schisandra were some of the first adaptogens I fell in love with,” Isokauppila remembers of his journey with adaptogens. Today, they’re a large part of not only his business with Four Sigmatic, but also his own daily health routine. “Mental health and performance are the key challenges adaptogens help me to solve,” Isokauppila says. “But having an additional, natural buffer to combat everyday modern stress and having help with physical recovery are additional benefits.”
As an undisputed expert on the subject, Isokauppila often advises others on how to start their own journeys with functional mushrooms and other adaptogens. “You can start by including them into your existing routine (such as with a happy hour beverage like Pulp Culture), or your coffee routine (like Four Sigmatic). Make it easy, make it fun,” he says.
“I start the day by drinking water. Currently I’m also having apple cider vinegar. Then I brew a Four Sigmatic decaf coffee with chaga and reishi to promote a healthy bowel movement before introducing any foods, or my morning exercise. I then play with my 18-month-old son, and we often go for a stroller walk together.
Once my son goes to daycare, I start my workout of the day followed by Four Sigmatic plant protein, which includes five functional mushrooms and adaptogens. I add other supplements to a smoothie, since they tend to hurt my stomach and make me nauseous if consumed on an empty stomach.”
“My normal lunch is a salad with eggs. After lunch, I take a nap on a nail bed [a type of an acupressure mat made of 3,000 metal nails] for about 20 minutes; It gives me a ‘second morning’ and boosts my productivity greatly. I sometimes add breathwork exercises post-nap to really supercharge me. I might also have another protein smoothie, a small snack or Four Sigmatic beverage.”
“My evening tends to be dedicated to being with my family. It might include another walk depending how my kid is feeling. I like to cook, and I often make everyone dinner. I also love putting my son to bed. After he’s sleeping, my wife and I might stretch while watching one TV episode (we limit ourselves to just one episode) before starting our bedtime routine.
I use reishi- and ashwagandha-based products almost every single night. Lately I’ve been consuming our new Chill Super Powder mix. I sometimes include magnesium, l-theanine, and l-tryptophan. I try to read a book or take a bath if I have energy left.”
Brendan Brazier is the co-founder of Vega, which makes plant-based protein powders, and Pulp Culture, which makes hard pressed juices enhanced by superfoods and adaptogens. He is bestselling author of “Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life” and “The Thrive Energy Cookbook,” as well as former professional Ironman triathlete and a two-time Canadian 50km Ultra Marathon Champion.
Brazier is regarded as one of the world’s leading authorities on plant-based performance nutrition, and his journey with adaptogens began back in 2003. “[I became interested in adaptogens] when I learned about maca and its positive effect on the adrenals,” he remembers. “[Adaptogens can] address burnt out adrenals, which leads to poor quality sleep, sugar cravings, and weight gain.”
Brazier and the team at Pulp Culture collaborated with the team at Four Sigmatic on their line of functional mushroom-infused beverages. “It just seemed like the most obvious thing to me,” Brazier says. “Why settle for just drinking something that is just less bad, when you could drink something that actually enhances your life?”
“First, I drink water (and sometimes electrolytes if I’m feeling dehydrated from a workout the previous day). I’ll have some sort of cereal, either Nature’s Path Puffed Kamut or One Degree Sprouted Os. Instead of milk, I use Four Sigmatic protein powder, often Sweet Vanilla. Then I work for a bit and hit Gold’s Gym in Venice.”
“My afternoons usually depend on whatever the day has. For lunch, I’ll have arugula and sprouts on sprouted bread with avocado and two Pulp Cultures. I work more, and then I go to Topanga for a mountain bike ride or trail run.”
“I’ll have dinner and a couple of Pulp Cultures with dinner to help with digestion. I sleep well naturally, so I don’t do anything specific to aid with sleep. I think that’s because I’m able to keep cortisol down and my adrenals strong based on what I eat throughout the day and how I live.”
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