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Meet the Board Chair: JJ Wilson

By JJ Wilson

Growing up on the west side of Vancouver in Kitsilano had a huge impact on my outlook about health because “inside and out wellness” is such a grounding concept there - and it has always stuck with me. And my parents have always been huge advocates of health and proper supplementation. 

I was also a competitive swimmer when I was younger and then I played professional rugby. After that, I never really stopped training. So, I've always had a focus on training and keeping my body active, and movement has always been something that's been a priority to me. 

My own outlook on life and how I think about health choices and supplements definitely encompasses the concept of longevity. And I really like the word health-span, as well. It's all about increasing my health-span and my longevity, and how long I can stay strong and smart and operating at 100% capacity. 

In terms of my day-to-day health choices, I prioritize quality sleep and brain function – and I think optimal brain function comes from making sure that you're getting quality sleep. So, I looked at what supplements were out there that aided in sleep, and R and R for brain function while I’m sleeping. 

I wanted to find a way to amplify the quality of how my brain resets itself during the night and then just in general overall performance. I started to look for the most natural opportunities for that and for physical performance. And that's really why I started to take an interest in the benefits of functional mushrooms not only as a sleep aid, but also as a way to support my brain reset while I’m sleeping. 

If you really do your research, there are so many benefits that functional mushrooms have in terms of muscle recovery, tissue recovery, immune system recovery, and building immunity. When you're doing a lot of weight training and pushing your body to the limit, your immune system tends to also take a hit. So, if you're not prioritizing sleep and functional recovery, your health and brain function will suffer. And functional recovery is both physical in terms of resting, but also what you're putting inside your body to support the recovery processes. 

About five years ago I started integrating, in a small way, an assortment of functional mushroom supplements. And now I would say that mushrooms make up 50% of my total supplement program, if not more. 

When I'm traveling, I use the Optimi Formulation because it's easy for me to just bring one capsule bottle and not have to think so much. When I’m home in Vancouver, I divide the remainder of the Optimi supplements into a day and night program. So, for example, I take Optimi Formulation for health insurance in the morning, along with Perform so I can get that extra energy boost from cordyceps. At night, I use Longevity to help my body repair from the day, along with Mindful to help my brain reset and repair. 

I also use the Plant Protein + Mushrooms. I'm not a vegan per se, but I think it's important to get diversity in your protein intake. And I like the added benefit of the functional mushrooms into the vegan protein. I mean, you can buy a lot of plant proteins, but not a lot of them are offering more than just protein itself. Our Plant Protein + Mushrooms is a double whammy where you're getting the best of both worlds.

The reason for starting Optimi really came down to my interest in health and wellness. We wanted to help bring functional mushrooms to the world in a way that other brands aren't necessarily bringing forward. So, we decided to create organic mushroom supplements that use the fruiting body of mushrooms to get all the benefits the mushroom has to offer. 

And making the products beautiful was something that was important to me. We spent so much time and attention on the bottles and the packaging because it's important to me that they look beautiful on my countertop. 

And it’s not just about brand snobbery. I wanted the products to look great because I like to leave my supplements out where I can see them. Otherwise, I forget to use them. And I know other people are the same way when it comes to remembering to take their supplements. I wanted Optimi products to be “countertop approved” so they could be an appealing visual prompt to use them. 

Of course, our line of functional mushroom supplements is only the beginning for Optimi brands. Mushrooms are super under-rated and I believe there's so much power to come out of them that's yet to be seen. We’re learning more every day about what mushrooms can do for us. I actually think we’re in the early stages of a mushroom revolution, and I can see that psilocybin is ultimately part of the future medicine as well. Psychoactive mushrooms fit so nicely into the total functional mushroom story. And when the time is right, Optimi is ready to lead the way.