Scratching our own itch
Are you sick of internet snake oil salesmen and hype marketing when it comes to health? Have you already dropped tons of dough on health products that don’t actually bring noticeable results? Is your cupboard already full with capsules and powder bags you don’t actually ever use? This is how we felt about health food products circa 2012.
We founded Four Sigmatic to help people eat more of the world’s most scientifically studied superfoods - like mushrooms. We wanted to help make them taste better and be easier to use, so that you can just use them to upgrade your existing habits. No more pills or capsules.
In 2012, we decided that our first mission is to popularise mushroom drinking (yes, drinking and not eating).
Why mushrooms? Well, the original BIG question we asked ourselves was, What’s the smallest thing people can add or upgrade in their current diets to have the biggest positive impact on their health? The answer was obvious to us: medicinal mushrooms.
We know, we know. Mushrooms don’t sound very healthy or sexy to some. Most people connect the word mushroom (or shrooms) with psychedelics or some common culinary mushroom like portobello, when actually they are their own kingdom. Some of them are also the world’s most studied superfoods.
Mushrooms straddle the world of Western health in a big way … even though most people are completely unaware of how integral this super fungi is to the Western healthcare system. In fact, about 40 percent of Western medicines today utilize mushrooms. One example is penicillin.
Because mushrooms are so integral to clinical practices, thousands of studies have been conducted and papers have been written testifying to their incredible healing properties—to date, 1,100 papers have been published on just one single type of mushroom, of which there are more than 10,000 known varieties in North America alone.
Interestingly most people also don’t consume these healthy kind of mushrooms (tip: most of them grow on trees and not on the ground) so adding even small amounts could lead to significant health benefits. Along with another hated kingdom, bacteria, mushrooms have suffered from severe food racism during the last couple generations despite them being suitable to almost any diet from paleo to vegan. It’s time to hating, and start ‘shrooming again.
And in case you were wondering, eating or drinking mushrooms is actually nothing new though. It is something that almost all indigenous cultures have been practising for thousands of years and is part of everyone’s ancient survival wisdom. They are the original superfood.
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The meaning of Four Sigmatic
Our name is a super geeky way of saying that we only represent the 50 most researched foods. In sciences, and especially in natural sciences, when you have a large enough sample size it will usually form a natural distribution. So for example if you compare the nutrient density of all foods you will see this bell curve forming. If you take four standard deviation (we said it will be geeky) from the mean you will have the four sigma foods. These foods are more nutrient dense foods than 99.9999% of our options.
...is what we have been called since we started. Our core team has known each others for years. Most of our team members were actually my roommates in College. We left our well-paid corporate jobs with the likes of Google, Citibank and Hewlett-Packard to work for mushroom instead. The Mushroom Mission was originally started in the Nordic countries and with the help of our innovative products we have since expanded to 25+ countries. In 2014, once we had improved our original product designs enough, we moved our business to the US. The products were launched in January 2015 and it has been quite a journey ever since. We’re still a small employee-owned startup with some flaws… but we hope our passion and hard work will help us to make a real difference to global health.
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Giving back to people in need
We believe that our products can and will make a significant social contribution by themselves. On top of that we wanted to give back also on another way. Whenever you buy any of our Mushroom boxes, we will use part of the revenue to buy mushroom kits to cancer patients. These Contribution Kits as we like to call them, are worth over $1,500 per receiver.
This year 564,800 are expected to die of cancer just in the United States alone. That's more than 1,500 people a day. Cancer is clearly one of the biggest health problems of our time. Fungi were involved in the industrial processing of about half of the most profitable products used in human medicine and medicinal mushrooms have been particularly widely studied for potential cancer treatment. Many top cancer organizations and hospitals recommend their use as an alternative or complementary medicine.