CA Mushrooms
CA Mushrooms

Book Review

Healing Mushrooms: A Practical and Culinary Guide to Using Mushrooms for Whole Body Health

By Tero Isokauppila
Paperback: 224 pages
2017, Avery Publishing
ISBN-10: 0735216029
ISBN-13: 978-0735216020

If you are a user of social media, Tero Isokauppila is pretty much a household name—his company Four Sigmatic is constantly bombarding my computer screen with ads for mushroom products promoting good health. Four Sigmatic is “a naturecentric Finnish-American company specializing in functional mushrooms, superfoods, and adaptogens,” according to his website. I have never purchased any of their products, so I cannot comment on any of them. Other facts about the Finnish author from his website: “Following his early education on the farm, Tero later completed a degree in chemistry and a certificate in plant-based nutrition from Cornell University. In 2006, he won a Finnish innovation award for discovering that the sought-after Japanese culinary matsutake mushrooms also grow in Finland.” That last part seems a stretch; they’ve been known from Finland for centuries, it’s just that they went by a different name. Tero also “is a reputable source on superfoods, an expert on natural health…” He’s into yoga and “has also recently taken up a unique practice of napping on a nail mat, which is a modern form of acupressure and helps to energize his busy life.” And he’s also the author of Santa Sold Shrooms, which is a book that bills itself as telling “new truths” about the origins of our Christmas traditions. Summary: more perpetuation of myths about magic mushrooms being at the heart of Christmas and Santa legends.

 The author is certainly an interesting individual. But can he write and more importantly is it worth reading? Does a book that claims to be a Practical and Culinary Guide to Using Mushrooms for Whole Body Health carry any water? The author presents much information on mushrooms—quite a bit on the scientific aspects of mushrooms and basic mycology, plus a lot more as expected on how mushrooms can benefit the human diet and promote good health. I am not a physician nor expert on the health benefits of foods, and frankly am very skeptical about a lot of unsubstantiated claims made these days. I skipped over much of this in the book, in all honesty. However, I can report that wherever the author attempted to explain the science or biology of mushrooms and other fungi, even the most basic aspects, he made many errors. Errors that would have easily been avoided had an editor been involved. The amount of erroneous statements made regarding mushrooms leads me to be dubious about the health claims of this book. But more frustrating is that the book is (more often than not) one big advertisement for the products of his company, Four Sigmatic. I cannot recommend. There are plenty other reputable books on the topic out there.

— Review by Britt Bunyard
— Originally published in Fungi