With a mantra, ‘clean foods clear your mind and that might just change your life’, Lari Laurikkala is a prominent member of the team behind the nutritional powerhouse products that are Four Sigmatic, not to mention a raw chocolate lover (a man after our own hearts) and ex-Finnish TV soap heartthrob!
Now instead of gracing TV screens, he taps the first maple in March-April, does a little spring fasting, boils his own chaga-maple-syrup and fills up his cellar with sap-herb-honey-meads. He awaits the first goutweeds and nettle shoots eagerly but fills in time waiting for them with sprouting and taking care of baby kefirs and kombuchas, preparing sauerkraut and nut cheeses and starting seedlings of everything he will be growing in the summer.
What is your nutritional philosophy?
To sum it up in one word: “flexitarian” or “qualitarian”. I think it is best to listen to the body and look for the choices that are the best quality available at that moment. Personally I feel best when eating a plant based diet loaded with good fats and enhanced with the best quality animal products and a lot of wild ingredients.
What are your non-negotiable foods when it comes to healthy eating?
Fresh spring water, wild herbs, mushrooms (both medicinal and edible ones) and berries. I tend to include all of these in my daily smoothie with an avocado and coconut oil. When choosing your food, look for the most original and native species with strong and bitter flavours as these usually indicate food worth eating! Also go for the deep, rich colours.
What is your favourite healthy meal to prepare?
Sauerkraut, shrooms, steamed veggies and soft boiled eggs on top of a wild salad.
How were you first introduced to medicinal mushrooms?
A friend of a friend was talking about chaga mushrooms growing in the Finnish forests and my inner experimentalist made me run out to look for them. From the very first time I put that self-harvested chaga piece into a pot and started boiling it, it became a habit.
What are the health benefits you have experienced from regular consumption of chaga and other mushroom derivatives?
Consistent 110 % performance and I no longer have to worry about getting sick when somebody is sneezing next to me. Just in general a sense of wellbeing and a balanced mind-body-connection are to my experience the greatest benefits.
We hear that you are an advocate of people getting out there, foraging, growing their own food and getting more in tune with nature – in what ways do you believe doing so can benefit our health and wellbeing?
Being out in the nature is always a regenerating experience in itself. When combined with searching for wild food it can create such transformative feelings that I think are essential to our wellbeing. Also in today’s world just to know where your food comes from can be a game changer.