Magic Mushrooms: What’s the deal with adaptogens?

Magic Mushrooms: What’s the deal with adaptogens?


If you scroll through any health or wellness Instagram feed, it shouldn’t take you more than a few flicks of the thumb to land on some magic mushrooms. It seems like everyone is on them these days. From Fortune 500 CEOs to the girl in your Poli Sci study group, people are shrooming…and here’s why.


What are adaptogens anyways?


Adaptogens are a class of plants, herbs and mushrooms that have proven medicinal properties to help your body adapt to mental, physical and biological stressors. In other words, they bring your body to the state it needs to be in to best adapt to its environment. Functional Medicine doctor Frank Lipman compares adaptogens to a thermostat: “When the thermostat senses that the room temperature is too high it brings it down and when the temperature is too low it brings it up.” Whether you’re feeling exhausted and need energy, or full of energy but need to sleep, bidirectional adaptogens can help your body get back to neutral ground.


These natural supplements have been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, however, in our modern society where we are over-worked, over-stressed and overwhelmed, an adaptogen couldn’t be more useful.


Why should you take them?


Before you fill your entire kitchen cabinet with mood-boosting, mind-clearing elixirs, do your research and consult your holistic medicine practitioner. Every body is different and yours might require different nutrients than your neighbor. If you’re pregnant or nursing, this is especially true. But once you’re squared away and ready to join the throngs of adaptogen junkies, you’ll realize what all the hype is about. Nutritionists, doctors, medicine women and half the Internet are touting the benefits of adaptogens. They are known to balance hormones, increase energy, aid in insomnia and anxiety, boost metabolism and treat auto-immune diseases. Sounds magical alright.


Feeling like you might need help with one (or some) of these stressors? No worries. You’re not alone. The good news is, there are hundreds of adaptogens with different balancing properties. Now it’s just a matter of figuring out what you need and how to take them.


Where to begin…


If you’re new to the adaptogen game, start small and monitor your body’s reaction to the supplements over time. Adaptogens do not work like a one dose antibiotic, kicking your body into gear overnight, nor do they target specific organs. They work to circulate through your whole system to boost and balance…and that takes time. Be patient, mindful and adopt a practice that makes including them into your day part of the routine, not an extra item on the to-do list.


My go-to adaptogens:


Cordyceps. These medicinal mushrooms are the gateway to the world of adaptogens. Cordyceps are full of amino acids, help combat inflammation in the body and provide a caffeine-free energy boost. They are also known to increase endurance in the gym and between the sheets. Cordyceps do smell a little strange and taste a bit like…well, mushrooms, but their magical power is pretty hard to deny. I drink my mushrooms every morning in my Lola’s Chai Latte but if coffee is more your thing, stir ‘em on in! You won’t even taste them. Promise.


Maca. This ancient Andean root has been a superpower Superfood for ages and once you taste it, you’ll understand why. For starters, it is one of only adaptogens I’ve tasted that actually tastes good on it’s own, making it exceptionally easy to incorporate into daily life. Maca boosts energy, supports endurance, increases athletic performance and balances hormones. Sip on some Maca before that big sales meeting or your cardio class at the gym and you’ll get your head right in the game. My favorite way to take Maca? Mood Boosting Protein Bites!


Ashwaganda. Though this mushroom is often called the “feel good ‘shroom” there’s no need to be alarmed. The only high you’ll get is a natural one. Think: a night of uninterrupted sleep, a boosted immune system, lower blood pressure and a rejuvenated glow! Mix ashwaganda in your bone broth (bulalo) at night or in a cup of Mama’s “Milo” Coconut Cacao at breakfast.


If you’ve got an adaptogen recipe to share, we’d love to see it! Tag @thehealthygrocery on Instagram to show off your body-balancing treats!

Find Cordyceps, Maca, and other adaptogens on the site

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