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episode #340

Interview with Troop: Conquer Your Sleep with Reishi and Boost Your Focus with Lions Maine!

March 18, 2024 in Podcast


This week I interviewed the co-founders of a new functional mushroom company - Troop!

Stephanie and her co-founder Jake share their experiences with incorporating functional mushrooms into their daily routine, the unpredictable yet exciting future of the industry, how to improve your sleep with reishi mushrooms, and how they plan to disrupt and dominate the market with Troop!

Brian (0s):

Coming up on the GET, LEAN, Eat, Clean, Podcast.

Jake (3s):

We have three products that we crafted to be morning, noon, and night. you know, that's the, the recommended. But So, we have Lion's mane in the morning for focus, mental clarity, reducing some of that brain fog and grogginess. And then midday we have the six mushroom blend called Super Troop, which is like our multi mush. It has six different mushrooms and two of them Bo Boost energy. So it's kind of a little energy Boost. And then at night Reishi So, we, we take all three every day and you're just getting, getting all of our mushrooms in daily

Brian (44s):

Hello. and welcome to the Get Lean Eat Clean podcast. I'm Brian Gryn and I'm here to give you actionable tips to get your body back to what it once was, five, 10, even 15 years ago. Each week, I'll give you an in depth interview with a health expert from around the world to cut through the fluff and get you long term sustainable results. This week I interviewed the co founders of a new functional mushroom company, Troop Stephanie and her co-founder Jake share their experiences with incorporating functional mushrooms into their daily routine. The unpredictable yet exciting future of the industry, how to improve your sleep with reishi mushrooms and how they plan to disrupt and dominate the market with Troop.

Brian (1m 24s):

Really enjoyed my interview with Stephanie Jake. I know you will too. Thanks so much for listening and enjoy the show. All, right Welcome to the Get Lean Eat Clean podcast. My name is Brian Gryn and I have Stephanie and Jake on welcome to the show.

Steph (1m 39s):

Thank you. Thanks.

Jake (1m 40s):

Thanks so much for having us, Brian.

Steph (1m 42s):

Yeah, we're excited to be here.

Brian (1m 44s):

Excited to have you on the show. Heard about your company, Troop, and excited to talk about that. That's a functional medicine company, functional mushroom company I should say. And we're gonna talk about all the benefits and how people can, can use your product and, you know, obtain a greater life and maybe help with certain issues that they have. But before we get into all of that, why don't we dial back a little bit, Stephanie and Jake and tell us how you sort of started the company and I know you guys are cousins and how did that sort of come about working together?

Steph (2m 17s):

Yeah, I can kick us off and I'm sure Jake will fill in the, the blanks. Sure. So yeah, Jake and I are cousins and we started this company completely unexpectedly during COVID. I had lost my job in hospitality and Jake had gotten into a ski accident and broke his leg and he's okay now. But during that time I had nothing to do. So I offered to move in and help take care of his leg at his family's house. So. we moved into his parents' house and after a few weeks of binging Netflix, like the rest of the world, we got really bored. And I had read this book called How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan.

Steph (3m 0s):

And it really inspired me and I learned that mushrooms could be neuroplastic and have all these incredible benefits for your mind and your body. And I turned to Jake and I was like, do you wanna start growing mushrooms? And he's like, absolutely. So he was down, no questions asked. And So, we got to it. We taught ourselves how to grow mushrooms and during that time we became so fascinated and immersed with mushrooms and wanted to share it with our community. And when we were trying to share it, there was no way that really resonated with us. Everything on the market was very ceremonial or earthy or mystical and was powders and tinctures and Jake is especially adverse out of the two of us of all that kind of stuff.

Steph (3m 48s):

And I remember one day he, he asked if, or he said, let's make gummies and share this with our community and I'll let him take it from there. But yeah, after that the rest was kind of history.

Jake (4m 1s):

Yeah, so my mom had actually been like on these functional mushrooms for a bit at that time and she's kind of like hippie esque and I had a very like adverse reaction to that. I was very anti all of that. I was, I liked western medicine, science backed and all of these things and the powders and the pills just really didn't speak to me at all. So gummies really was the obvious choice for me and I wanted it to be Delicious. Like if I'm gonna take something all the time, I want it to taste good as well. And So, we wanted to move away from the ceremonial, the like kind of like, you know, hippie esque, earthy.

Jake (4m 46s):

We want it to be science backed. We wanted to make it easy and fun to take these mushrooms. 'cause there's also a huge stigma against mushrooms. you know, people hear mushrooms, they automatically think psychedelic, they think poisonous or they think, oh the mushrooms that go on your pizza. So there's not really, people didn't really have the, the mindset of there are these medicinal mushrooms that can Boost your focus and help with your gut health and so many other things. So, we wanted to make it a way that people would be able to take those in a really simple and fun way. So, we went and we, hi.

Jake (5m 27s):

We actually tried to make the gummies ourselves in the kitchen and they turned out terribly so that we didn't let that stop us. and we hired a gummy scientist, which is a real job, which is very cool 'cause it's all science. and we try, we perfected a gummy that took about a year to make of trial and error because we had a lot of specifications. We wanted it to be gluten-free, soy free dairy, free vegan, no artificial Flavors, no artificial colors, just like as healthy as you could possibly get in a gummy.

Jake (6m 7s):

And so then we came up with our gummies and they taste unbelievably good. Like honestly, a lot of people tell us you should just make a candy company, but we put really powerful functional mushrooms in there and then it just kind of took off from there.

Brian (6m 26s):

Yeah, and I, I know seeing the mushrooms that you guys have on, on the market, reishi, chaga, Turkey, tail lines, Maine, cordyceps and Maki, you normally you see 'em in like a powder form. 'cause I've, I've, I've had 'em before in like a powder form where you make, mix 'em with a shake or whatever. Is that what you wanted to do, just like set yourself apart a little bit from the mark from other companies on the market was to make it into like a gummy form?

Jake (6m 52s):

Yeah, exactly. And research has shown actually that the more frequently you take these mushrooms and like the longer duration of taking them daily, the more impact it has on your health. So. we also wanted to make it as easy as possible to take these every single day. 'cause for me, I'm someone who I get really excited about a new health regimen where I will be making a shake every single day for like eight, nine days and then I don't do it for three months. you know, so I want, we wanted to really make something that people could feel happy and comfortable taking every day.

Brian (7m 31s):

Yeah. And did you guys have, like obviously trying out the different mushrooms and growing 'em yourself, did you find yourself and like get, get any positive outcomes for like do during this trial and error process?

Steph (7m 46s):

Yeah, definitely. Of course. I mean that's why we wanted to continue it for sure.

Jake (7m 52s):

Yeah, I, I personally was taking a lot of reishi, which is known as the elixir of immortality. And for me, I had a lot of trouble sleeping and it was anxiety-based sleep problems. So I would just like lay in my bed for five, six hours at night staring at the ceiling thinking, thinking. And reishi had an impact of just like really calming down my nervous system and calming down my stress and anxiety that allowed me to sleep and major, major impact on my life.

Brian (8m 27s):

Yeah. What other stories do you have from customers and stuff that have taken some of your products? Like what are some of the positive benefits that people could get from not only reishi but the other ones?

Steph (8m 38s):

Yeah, there's a ton. A couple that come to mind right away is one of our customers had really bad long COVD where they had, they suffered from extreme brain fog and they said that the lion's vein was super helpful in clearing that brain fog. And it was like the first time he had experienced relief from that. We have another customer who was never able to donate blood because her blood levels were so low in iron, excuse me. So in iron and after taking our mushrooms, she was able to donate blood for the first time in her life, which was incredible.

Steph (9m 19s):

We definitely do get a lot of people saying that it helps with sleep, helping them calm down. And the best part about that is it doesn't make you groggy like a melatonin. It actually relaxes the body goes to the root cause and allows you to de-stress and therefore have a better night's sleep. And also mushrooms are incredible for your gut health. So, we have a six mushroom blend, which is packed to the mean boosting benefits and also is incredible for your gut health. And lastly, something else that just came into my mind as well is my dad actually, I make my parents take it 'cause dementia runs in our family, of course they would've taken it anyways, but dementia runs in our family and that's one of the main reasons I wanted to create a Lion's Maine product because Lion's Maine actually shields your brain from cognitive decline.

Steph (10m 9s):

And my dad actually notices his memory getting better, which is incredible.

Jake (10m 14s):

Hmm. I, I actually heard a, a story from a customer on that note that was really impactful to hear that their mom has Alzheimer's and is like really going through it. And they told me that taking Lions Mane, giving their mom Lions mane within about 30 minutes to an hour, they noticed significant improvement in memory, like noticeable improvement in memory when they take Lions mane, which that just was so like heartwarming and awesome and validating to hear that it has a real impact and an immediate impact.

Brian (10m 54s):

Yeah. And how, how are they created? Like I know you guys tried making 'em in your own kitchen, And, you know, hire a scientist, which was probably a smart idea.

Jake (11m 2s):


Brian (11m 4s):

How, how are these, how are these made into gummies

Jake (11m 7s):

Gum? Steph, you wanna take that? Yeah, I guess I

Steph (11m 9s):

Can. Sure. Yeah, so basically there's, you have to extract mushrooms in order to get the bioavailable compounds out of them. So if you just take a mushroom, like a rein, you grind it up, your body's not going to be absorbing all of the nutrients and the benefits that it has to offer. So there's Fat and water soluble compounds. So you need to do at least a hot water and alcohol extraction and So, we knew that going into this, that we would need a quality extracted product. A lot of companies on the market are actually not selling an extracted product and they're not selling what's called the fruiting body of the mushroom.

Steph (11m 50s):

So that means when you look at a mushroom, the part that grows above the ground with the stem in the cap that we all know and love is the fruiting body. And the mycelium is this underground root structure. It's a lot cheaper to grow this mycelium and it grows on like a, a starch, for instance, a rice. And when you process that, it just becomes a mostly starch blend and it's a lot cheaper. So a lot of companies are using that cheaper product in their cheaper mushroom products. So, we knew from the beginning that sourcing the best quality mushrooms was our biggest mission and we basically reached out to every single mushroom farm in the country.

Steph (12m 31s):

'cause being sourced in the United States was extremely important to us for quality control. So we've looked at every mushroom farm, all the wholesalers, and we didn't wanna use a powder in our gummies because it takes up too much space and it doesn't, it wouldn't taste good. So, we needed a liquid extraction, which is even more difficult. At, at the beginning of our company we were all about the path of most Resistance, not least Resistance, which is what you would probably tell a startup. So it was really, really difficult finding a, a quality extraction. And then on top of that we also wanted to be this Delicious as healthy as possible gummy with the custom formula So.

Steph (13m 11s):

we had hired that gummy scientist who basically what they do is they make the gummy slurry and then they mix in that mushroom extraction into the slurry and then you pour it into the molds, the gummy molds. And of course we, we really wanted to also really show our premium nature and, and something that would even make us stand out even more. We got custom molds for our gummies, so we're the only ones who have this, it's this little mushroom on them. It just kind of goes a step above and beyond showing who we are. But yeah, so that's kind of the process of making the gummies.

Brian (13m 46s):

Yeah, I'm looking at 'em. Right. Now I mean it looks like you could like eat quite a bit of them and they're probably, like you said, based, well how do you, like, obviously you only wanna pop a certain amount of 'em. Is there like a dosage depending on, you know, weight or how does that work?

Jake (14m 2s):

The standard dose is two gummies. That's like your typical dose of mushrooms that you would get pretty industry standard. Although our mushrooms are a lot more concentrated than almost every other company. So you're getting a good dose with just two, two mushrooms as are recommended. However, some people feel more or less, so for instance, like my mom, she takes one of our lion's main gummies and that's really all she needs to take and she feels focused and she feels like the brain buzz and she doesn't need any more than that. And then we have other people who need to three to feel it and things like that.

Jake (14m 43s):

So it really just depends on your body sensitivity and you just gotta kind of feel that out for yourself.

Brian (14m 50s):

Got it. Okay. And I noticed on your blog you talk about mushrooms are good for anyone really vegans as well.

Jake (14m 57s):


Steph (14m 57s):

Yeah, absolutely. Our gummies are vegan and the ac actual mushrooms themselves are also really great meat substitutes for vegans too. We talk about that on our website. But yeah, definitely we wanted our, our gummy to be accessible to everyone. So vegans included.

Brian (15m 16s):

Yeah. And which one's your top selling one?

Steph (15m 20s):

The Lions Maine.

Brian (15m 21s):

The Lions Maine. Okay. And that's more for focus and energy?

Jake (15m 25s):


Steph (15m 25s):

Yeah, focus, mental clarity. It also helps fight inflammation. It's great for gut health and going back to the brain benefits, it actually helps grow new neurons in the brain and helps repair nerve damage in the body, which is incredible.

Brian (15m 42s):

Now, like the research done on these mushrooms is is done on like a lot of it done on humans or like more animal based models?

Jake (15m 55s):

So far it's been more animal based models and testing, but they are opening up new like human based trials and it's just been hard because like the, the standards of testing are really challenging and the people who can afford these tests are usually in the pharmaceutical industry. And you know, far the pharmaceutical industry does not like these mushrooms because these mushrooms prevent illnesses and they prevent things that, you know, they would usually make a lot of money on. So as we're moving from, you know, curative medicine to preventative medicine, definitely it's being worked on and more and more research is happening every day on these functional mushrooms.

Jake (16m 46s):

But so far it's been mostly in animal trials.

Brian (16m 50s):

Okay. And what would you say like sleep is a big one, right? I think a lot of people are like trying to optimize sleep and I Oh, Jake it helped with you. And which was the one that you mentioned regarding that?

Jake (17m 3s):


Brian (17m 4s):

Reishi. Okay. Yeah. And is that something that you would take like at a certain time during the day, like a few hours before you went to bed?

Jake (17m 13s):

Yeah, exactly. It ranges for different people, but like Steph said earlier, it doesn't make you tired and sleepy like melatonin m it actually just decreases the cortisol in your body so you're feeling less stress, less anxiety and you can really feel like for me I take it around like seven, eight o'clock at night and I really feel this like just wave of physical like calmness come over my body where this almost like this ever present like little buzzing of anxiety that I always have just kind of quiets down and goes still and I feel very still and relaxed and it feels amazing.

Jake (17m 57s):

And then when I go to sleep, like in that state, I'm able to fall asleep fast without any trouble and without any, you know, thinking and what's gonna happen tomorrow and this and that. So definitely I, not everyone takes it at night. Some people take it in the morning for stress or Yeah, if they have a tough day of work.

Steph (18m 16s):

I was just gonna say, I actually don't really take, I mean I do sometimes take it at night, but mostly I'll be taking it in the morning actually, or in the afternoon when I'm feeling really stressed or sometimes if I have a coffee that is just out of this world too strong for me and I, you know, everyone knows that feeling of like jumping out of their own skin. I'll definitely be taking reishi and it calms me down. It's incredible. It's a great pairing with coffee in the morning, honestly.

Brian (18m 44s):

And obviously you guys have tried all of these. Are there other ones that you have in the staple that you guys take or just mainly the reishi?

Jake (18m 53s):

Yeah, we take all of them for sure. Yeah, So, we, we kind of crafted it like we have three products that we crafted to be morning, noon and night, you know, that's the, the recommended. But So, we have Lion's mane in the morning for focus, mental clarity, reducing some of that brain fog and grogginess. And then midday we have the six mushroom blend called Super Troop, which is like our multi mush. It has six different mushrooms and two of them Boost energy, so it's kind of a little energy Boost. And then at night Reishi So, we, we take all three every day and you're just getting, getting all of our mushrooms in daily.

Brian (19m 38s):

Yeah, that's smart. I like that. Steph, do you do the same thing?

Steph (19m 42s):

Yeah, I do and I keep them right by my desk, so I'm probably more often than not taking more than the recommended two. It's also just kind of like a treat for me. So I do, I do take them more than 30 many dose.

Brian (20m 2s):

Can you overdose on these?

Steph (20m 4s):

No, I mean mushrooms are safe and non-toxic, so it's all good. you know, you wouldn't probab too much of anything would be maybe a bad thing. Like you may may not wanna have like three bottles a day for a year or something like that. But no, I mean there we're all good here

Brian (20m 21s):

And. what are some of the, what, what would you say some of the biggest challenges you've had as a company just with development of product and getting it out to the consumer?

Steph (20m 31s):

That right there, it's just

Jake (20m 32s):


Steph (20m 33s):


Brian (20m 34s):

Yeah. How much much time do we have? Yeah,

Jake (20m 36s):

It's how

Steph (20m 36s):

Much time?

Jake (20m 37s):

Yeah, it's just everything. Yeah. The manufacturing was incredibly difficult. We you, like Steph said, we chose the path of most Resistance we want, we really wanted to do everything right from the beginning. Yeah. Which I, we still believe in the long term is the right decision, but you know, like we went, our bottles are a hundred percent recycled bot plastic bottles, same with the caps and the boxes. Everything is like sustainable. Everything from the United States we're ordering from China's so much cheaper. We want, we ordered all of our own ingredients for quality control where a lot of manufacturers will just provide it So.

Jake (21m 18s):

we really did everything the hard way and also the, the molds, like Stephanie said, the reason behind why we did a, a custom mold, like almost every other mushroom gummy you'll see out there is in the exact same shape. And there's a reason for that because they're usually all made by the same provider, the exact same gummy with a different brand on it.

Brian (21m 39s):


Jake (21m 39s):

Wanted to stand out because in the mushroom space right now, it's kind of like the wild west. There's like no regulation at all. So people are throwing in these mycelium blends that's like 90% rice and calling it mushrooms and calling them mushroom gummies when you're getting almost no mushrooms or bioactive ingredients that really help you. And then they make it a really cheap product and then they sell it. And it's hard because, you know, ours is a lot more expensive. But you know, the, the reason we made this custom mold is that there's this little mushroom stamp on it that we hope customers will see that stamp and one day know that that means All, right?

Jake (22m 21s):

This is quality. Like we know there's quality in this, quality mushrooms that you can trust. So yeah, the challenges were just manufacturing was endless. Yeah, endless, endless manufacturing challenges. But yeah, I think in the long run I, I hope that consumers will recognize that.

Brian (22m 43s):

Yeah, I give you guys a lot of credit. I mean not easy to do a startup in general, but in this space I'm sure ultra competitive and like you said, you wanted to do it right the first time with premium ingredients and, and and making sure that you get, you know, get it from the source it from the right place. 'cause like you said, the supplement industry, you know, if we, if we group this in with that, like you said, it's a little bit like the wild wild west and no one really over overlooks these companies, right. That your competiting your competitors.

Jake (23m 14s):

Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Steph (23m 15s):

There's just, there's FDA guidelines and when we launched I remember like there was a ch there was a checklist and I was making sure to check off every single thing, but they are just guidelines and no one oversees them. So yeah, it is just kind of free play.

Brian (23m 31s):

Yeah. Well this was great. I mean, is there anything else you wanna share regarding the company or where you guys are going? Are you coming up with so many new products?

Steph (23m 45s):

We definitely have new product ideas on the horizon, so definitely stay tuned for that. That's something we wanna do by the end of the year. And our goal as a company is really to be the household name of mushroom products. We wanna expand into different categories, but always maintaining at our core we are premium mushroom brand and we are a leader in education and Troop the name means a group of mushrooms. So as we continue to grow, we always wanna be fostering community and connection with whatever we do.

Brian (24m 19s):

Love that. And yeah, I was gonna ask you where the name came from, but

Steph (24m 24s):

You explain. Yeah.

Brian (24m 27s):

Well I'll ask you one, one final question. You guys can each answer and goes a little bit along this line, but maybe you'll come up with something a little bit different. But what one tip would you give? 'cause a lot of my guests are in health and fitness right? And they're looking to maybe get their body or their minds back to what it once was when they were younger in the younger year. So 10, 15 years ago, let's say, what one tip would you give that individual? Hmm, Jake you wanna go first?

Jake (24m 54s):

Yeah, I, I would just say be gentle with yourself and be really like accepting and 'cause when you're like hard on yourself and you like shame yourself, like I should have been doing this. I could have been doing that. Like, oh, I missed the gym, I made an agreement to go. If you're just kind of like really gentle with yourself and accepting, it's actually much easier to get back on track and to maintain those habits when you're not like really feeling shame about it. And then you won't have fear around building those habits. And that's something that we really strive to help people with is build habits, you know, and build habits of taking mushrooms daily, taking your supplements daily.

Jake (25m 39s):

And if you miss it, just be like, okay, no problem. you know, I forgive and forget and move on and keep, keep going.

Brian (25m 48s):

Yeah, I love that.

Steph (25m 50s):

Yeah, Steph, I would say just keep putting one foot in front of the other, because at the end of the day it is a vision and it is a, a commitment for a lifestyle. We're not just, you know, trying to shed five pounds by Friday or whatever it is. It's more like, I wanna be fit and healthy and feel good in my body. And you're doing it to feel good. Like that is the motivation right there. And just putting one foot in front of the other and when, exactly what Jake said, when you mess up a couple of days, it's not a big deal because this is the habit for the rest of your life. So you have, you have time, you're good. So yeah, have fun with it. Just put one foot in front of the other and you're gonna get there.

Brian (26m 29s):

That's great. Well thank you guys. And I'm reading on your website we put the fun and fungi fun. Wait, we put the Fun and Fungi, right? That's that's cute. Yeah. Well try Troop dot com.

Steph (26m 42s):


Brian (26m 43s):

Yes. I'll put link in the show notes and I'm excited. I think you guys were sending me the try.

Steph (26m 48s):

Yeah, we are. We also have a promo code for your listeners.

Brian (26m 52s):

That's great. And I'll, yeah, what is that?

Steph (26m 55s):

We're doing getlean 20.

Brian (26m 58s):

Getlean 20. Awesome. And I will put that in the show notes. Yeah. So I'm assuming that's 20% off.

Steph (27m 5s):

It is 20% off.

Brian (27m 6s):

Yeah. Very nice. Thank you. Of course. Well definitely, I will look forward to checking 'em out and trying 'em, and I'll, I'll report back to you guys,

Steph (27m 15s):

So thank you.

Brian (27m 16s):

Awesome. Yeah, appreciate that. Yeah, I'm, I'm glad to have you guys on and thanks. Thanks so much.

Steph (27m 21s):

Thank you so much. Of course. Such

Brian (27m 24s):

Pleasure. Yeah, this was awesome. Thanks Brian. You're welcome.

Steph (27m 27s):

Yeah. Talk to you soon.

Brian (27m 30s):

Thanks for listening to the getlean E Clean podcast. I understand there are millions of other Podcasts out there and you've chosen to listen to mine and I appreciate that. Check out the show notes at Brian Gryn dot com for everything that was mentioned in this episode. Feel free to subscribe to the podcast and share it with a friend or family member that's looking to get their body back to what it once was. Thanks again and have a great day.


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