Ex-Addict That Forages In Forest Explains ‘Mushrooms Saved My Life’ And Now Her Anxiety Is Gone


For six years, Jessika Gauvin sought solace in alcohol and drugs, using them as coping mechanisms to evade life’s challenges and suppress past traumas.

However, in April 2018, she stumbled upon her local woods in Moncton, New Brunswick, and discovered that impressing herself in nature provided her with a “new perspective” on life.

Today, Jessika celebrates five years of sobriety and devotes her time to exploring natural methods for alleviating stress and trauma, particularly through the use of mushrooms and other wild edibles.

As a full-time forager, she incorporates blended-down black trumpet mushrooms into her culinary creations, drawn to their rich nutritional profile, including protein, potassium, and beta-glucan fiber.

Beyond her culinary pursuits, Jessika has taken on the role of educating others, both adults and children, on the safe and responsible harvesting of mushrooms.

“Mushrooms saved my life, I used to spend every paycheck on getting wasted. Now I’m debt-free and have discovered what mother nature can offer. I now use fungi to treat my trauma,” says Jessika simply.

Her journey began at an early age, as she turned to alcohol amidst the challenges of starting a family. In March 2012, she experienced post-natal depression following the birth of her first son Noah, who is now 11, and her second Jasper, born a year after his brother, both at the Moncton Hospital.

However, as her dependence on alcohol escalated for the next six years, Jessika found herself overwhelmed with feelings of being “incredibly tired and lonely.” Moreover, all the excessive amounts of alcohol left her sad and anxious, “every hour of every day.”

Fed up with her destructive habits, Jessika sought solace in the Moncton forest, grounding herself by burying her feet in the soil, and connecting with the healing power of nature. It was then, she recollects, that she resolved to confront her challenges head-on, guided by the wisdom of the natural world.

Prompting her to seek refuge in nature and her bare feet planted firmly on the forest floor, she made a conscious decision to confront her struggles head-on, drawing inspiration from the healing powers of the natural world.

While not a novel concept, the practice of ‘forest bathing’ has long been embraced by the Japanese as a method for alleviating anxiety, with ‘nature prescriptions’ increasingly recommended by physicians for individuals grappling with depression.

Delving into the study of fungi, Jessika educated herself on the therapeutic properties of Reishi mushrooms, renowned for their natural sedative effects, which she credits with promoting a sense of calmness and tranquility.


According to Jessika, “Reishi mushrooms are incredibly beneficial to those with anxiety,” and in fact, they are often sold as a nootropic, or neuro-cognitive enhancing nutraceutical.

She recalls, “My anxiety drastically reduced and it was all free. I was saving so much money every month.”

She fell “completely in love” with mushrooms, leading her to spend hours each day in the woods, sharing her knowledge through classes on herbal remedies, folklore medicine, and mushroom identification.

In addition, Jessika instills her love for nature in her two sons, teaching them to identify over 100 different mushrooms with just a glance. Through her journey of self-discovery and connection with nature, Jessika has found healing and purpose, serving as a beacon of inspiration for others on their paths to recovery and well-being.

“If I had kept going with my hedonism, I would be dead. Mushrooms offered me a way to face my problems and overcome them,” she said.

“I wish I had listened to the earth sooner.”