Behind extraordinary ideas, there are extraordinary people.
SuperFeast Heals with Herbs
We spoke with Mason from SuperFeast about herbalism and living well.
We spoke with Mason from SuperFeast about herbalism and living well.
How did SuperFeast come to be?
So many wonderful factors aligned to bring about the creation of SuperFeast. The key moment that sent me intentionally spiralling towards a healthier life (more like an obsession with longevity and healing) was a moment on a bus while driving on a high altitude Bolivian Savannah where I very suddenly dropped deep into my body. Don’t know where it came from, don’t know why, but those few seconds changed the course of my life. At that moment my perception of my body and health went 5D and I could not only see my low energy levels and immune issues for what they were, but I could also see the trajectory I would be taking over the next 5 decades of my life if I didn’t take charge of my health journey. Once I got back to Australia and into the final year of my Commerce degree, instead of studying or listening I used the time to deep dive into medicinal mushrooms and Daoist herbalism. Leaving university, the only thing I was clear about was that I didn’t want anything to do with an institution like that, and so, with the support of my mother, I followed my passion for health and supporting people to become further in the driver’s seat of their health and started SuperFeast in 2011.
What is the philosophy behind Daoism, and Daoist tonic herbalism?
This ancient philosophy/way of life emerges from old-world China and is the origins of Chinese Medicine, back when it had its shamanic and spiritually-holistic roots. The entirety of the practices and the theory arises from feeling and watching the natural rhythm of the world around us, allowing ourselves to perceive them directly, and learning to live in ways that align with this dynamic Universal rhythm, and our unique pulse. People integrating aspects of Daoist practice into their lives become more colourful, more engaged with their capacity to take the responsibility of their life and health through cultivating their foundations and Blood (carries our Spirit and personality through the body), and therefore harder to be made fully reliant upon institutions for their health.
The Daoist herbs were called the Messenger from Heaven by the ancient herbalists and sages that identified their magic over thousands of years. Our intention through living in flow is to bring richness to life, to have the capacity to thrive through the many challenges and initiations of life, and integrate the wisdom that is on offer. If we can do this, we earn the right to be a wise old soul who is radiant in body, mind, and spirit, willing and able to share the wisdom that has been learned. The tonic herbs are those that can be brought into the diet our entire lives to support this process. There are not many of them, and they protect what we call in Daoism the 3 Treasures of the body; the foundational aspects of ourselves that deteriorate prematurely when we live out of flow with the natural world. The tonic herbs and medicinal mushrooms are the great protectors, they help work in ways that are unimaginable to the scientific establishment, and can become some of the best herbal allies and friends you could ever have.
What kind of world does Superfeast and its products support?
One that does not give in to the excessive corporate pull towards full commodification of Nature, where the reverence and spirit of our traditions are cut away because it doesn’t fit the standard Western mindset. This happens everywhere, including herbalism and healing, and so we support the approach which we find brings harmony rather than division. The Daoist herbs and their philosophy must exist within an Earth and Sun-based way of thinking and being. It is not easy to communicate, and it is not something that can be worked out fully with the mind. For this reason, Chinese Medicine was commodified and colonised in the 1950s by the communist party, watering it down to something that could be easily scaled and controlled in China, and sold to the West. We support a world that takes the path of nature, of decolonisation of the mind. The world where we do not seek perpetual growth for the sake of it; where we acknowledge that often the best way to measure growth and success is looking at what is being created internally (both in business and personally). We support the world where we systematically, following the dynamic paths of the elements, learn to free ourselves from the excessive reliance on institutions of health that think they own the sole right to hand out health and healing, rather than supporting and empowering the individual and family to engage in this themselves, and therefore not lean fully on these machine-like structures to “keep us healthy.” We support a world where healing is accessible and empowering and non-reactive.
Where do your products grow?
The Daoist herbs are from China. So that is where we look to find the independent farmers growing the old way, following the traditions and methods to ensure the herbs grown are the most robust and complex in their actions. However, a better way to describe where they grow requires acknowledgment of our growing and sourcing philosophy, which is called Di Dao. It is a huge task to explain everything that goes into a Di Dao herb, but these are the absolute best quality Chinese herbs you can access. If not able to be harvested wild sustainably, they are grown by farmers in a way that replicates the conditions the herb would experience in the wild as best as they can. Back to where they are grown though, this is often the top thing that makes SuperFeast distinct from others. In ancient texts, it lays out how to grow herbs Di Dao so they are of the greatest benefit. This not only includes the province it should be harvested from but the microclimate that it should be grown in. Our farmers and forages follow this guide, which makes scaling difficult (as it should be). Why do we still do this? Because the ancients were right. If you move the growth of the herbs somewhere closer to the city so it’s easier, and away from the microclimate that is needed for Di Dao, then you can feel the quality dramatically decrease. So it’s simple for us, we grow them where they will be the most powerful and cleanest. Additionally, something people often overlook with Di Dao Daoist herbs is that you cannot use a commercial seed, spore, etc. to propagate your crop. They must come from the same microclimate. They must be wild. This ensures the quality of the herbs stays at the same levels as they were when the Taoists thousands of years ago were writing about their magic for the first time and giving them the highest levels of their reverence; because you deserve to experience the herbs in that expression.
How do you remain sustainable with the increased interest in these tonic herbs and medicinal mushrooms?
As we have a strict sourcing philosophy that we follow, that is impossible to bypass, we grow as fast as we can sustainably source Di Dao herbs. A part of Di Dao is ensuring the industry can be multi-generational, so if that ever stops being possible because a farming or wild foraging practice isn’t leaving the land better than it found it or over-harvesting, we find a new way that is in resonance with our philosophy. It only happened twice with schisandra being harvested wild and poria being grown in a province that had poor protection of pine harvesting (that’s what it’s grown on). So we pulled the plug and changed our approach. And we did this years before anything was regulated or there was any awareness of this in the herbal communities. It may sound like it’s a super ethical approach, but it’s just smart. We want this business and the availability of these herbs to be there for multiple generations, as well as the energy of the land in which we grow to be clean and thriving. This gives us the best herbs and means we live in the best alignment with the Dao (harmonious flow of life).
We work with our top farmers also to train others who live in these remote villages to grow Di Dao, since they have access to the climates that give us the best herbs. This also serves them as it decentralised industry and helps them create jobs in the villages. An example of this is Mr. Qi, who is our top reishi farmer, who is training other farmers to grow Di Dao reishi. This then slowly increases the number of mushrooms and herbs we can access. If someone decides to begin using modern farming practices, scaling up and abandoning the traditions and boundaries of Di Dao growing, the herb’s quality drops and we don’t buy from them anymore. Those farmers who continue to focus on exposing the herbs to the rugged elements and only wild water, keeping it as close as possible to the wild-harvested herb, get our support, loyalty, and good money for their herbs; so everyone wins, all while maintaining reverence with the herbs.
Where does Superfeast see itself in 10 years’ time?
For the first time, I have a 10 year vision for SuperFeast. As I write this I’m 7 days away from laying the whole consolidated vision out for my team for the first time. We’ll be rolling forward in our alchemical growth as a business, moving through harmonious evolution that offers the outer Yang needed for a business to thrive and make life rad for the humans within it while having the often ignored drive towards cultivating the inner world and flow that Yin brings. We will be a family business, and I will maintain ownership. I love this business, and the muse I work with to bring it to life is precious and pure, and I want to create structure and protection around it so that for generations that muse can continue to bring Taoist herbalism and practices to those who are feeling that pull to become self-perpetuating in cultivating health; no room for those who wish to commodify the intentions and offers we have here at SuperFeast. Many fun products that meet our community’s diverse health intentions, delivered in ways that flow with how people will maintain consistency with taking the herbs (because it’s when you get years and years taking the herbs strung together that you make some extreme constitutional shifts). I know by that time we’ll have a few subsidiary businesses on the go. This is because we’re community-driven. With the herbs, we often need to send people elsewhere as they journey towards their own radiant, harmonious health, and I feel like I’d like to be able to help them go the whole way from Western diagnosis, all the way to back to harmony. I’ve got some exciting non-for-profits I’d love to have flourishing by then, especially one that stands for the birthrights of women and creates hubs in our (and hopefully other) community where the lowest-possible intervention birth is heavily advocated for since the current system is atrocious at this and health starts with birth that maintains its true, wild nature. Oh, and I’ll have written my herbalism book, as well as a business book about how we created the best work culture ever.
What are your favourite mushrooms right now?
The mushrooms and herbs that directly build the body’s innate capacity to protect itself from invasion are my absolute favourites right now. With what’s been happening the last 2 years around the world I’ve been so amazing and in awe of how many people have turned to what we call the Qi (chi) herbs, which build our Protective Qi. These herbs such as astragalus and schisandra are Lung herbs and ensure we’re ready to fight whatever is coming in. Then the mushrooms are another, with their deep, deep ability to turn the lights of the immune system, build it up and give it super-intelligence to regulate itself are always in the list of my favourites, but the likes of chaga, reishi, and cordyceps are right now in special high regard. People have turned to them and other practices rather than pure helplessness, and that makes me smile and love these herbs even more.