Skip to content
All The Smoke: How mushrooms can heal the world

All The Smoke: How mushrooms can heal the world

Umbo co-founder Jake Plummer got together with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson from the All The Smoke podcast to tour Jake's mushroom farm and then sit together in Del's famous yurt. They kicked back and talked about... all sorts of stuff, from dealing with pain as a pro athlete to mycoremediation (using fungi to decontaminate the environment).

Jake Plummer joins All The Smoke in Del Jolly's yurt to talk functional mushrooms for athletes


Gotta say, they're really good interviewers. Here are some of the highlights: 

Physical and mental challenges as a pro athlete

One of the key points of connection between Plummer and the hosts was the physical and mental toll of professional sports. All three athletes endured grueling schedules and the physical demands in their respective sports. Plummer detailed his battles with injuries and the pressure to keep playing through them, echoing similar sentiments from Barnes and Jackson about their own experiences in the NBA. The discussion highlighted how athletes often play through pain and the significant mental strain that accompanies this choice.

The beatings were real, you know, and the stress along with that, not just the physical part of the game, but also the expectations heaped on, really, as the face of a franchise —Jake Plummer

The natural world holds tools for recovery — cannabis and mushrooms

The three share a mutual advocacy for using things from nature — cannabis and functional mushrooms — as tools for recovery and general well-being. Barnes and Jackson are long-time cannabis advocates, of course, and they found common ground with Plummer, who discovered early on the benefits of cannabis and CBD, both during his playing days and after.

My first journey to become public about the use of cannabis was with CBD, when we worked with Charlotte's Web. I got a chance to take it and understand its benefits. It helped me feel a lot better. My headaches went away. that I was having daily felt inflammation and some joints being able to get back down on the floor again without the pain. And so I was like, man, there's something here. If this is illegal, it isn't right. —Jake Plummer

Jake Plummer on his mushroom farm with All The Smoke podcast eating Lion's Mane and Cordyceps mushrooms

The transition to natural health advocate

Plummer's transition from professional football to holistic health advocate is a tale of personal evolution. After a long and storied NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals and Denver Broncos, Plummer had to face the daunting task of finding a new purpose. The brutality of football, combined with the intense mental and physical strain, took its toll on him. He candidly shared how managing pain during his career often involved pushing through injuries, an approach that sometimes worsened his condition. 

That journey of recovery ultimately led him to functional mushrooms. Plummer talked about how these natural remedies helped him manage pain and recover post-retirement. 

I'm grateful to have this opportunity to speak about it with you, with your audience, with anybody. That's kind of what I do. I share this because we need to know there's natural ways out there to help your body feel better, to help your mind function better, whether that's just being able to sleep a little better or have a little more energy during the day to feel a little more productive. —Jake Plummer

Supporting your teammates after retirement

The transition from professional sports to retirement was a significant theme. Plummer, Barnes, and Jackson all faced challenges in adjusting to life after their athletic careers ended. Plummer talked about the lack of preparation and support for athletes once they retire, a sentiment echoed by the hosts. He described how the lack of preparation for life after football left many athletes, himself included, grappling with identity and health issues. This shared struggle underscores the need for better support systems for retiring athletes.

Post-career, you know, they don't prep you for it. They'll offer seminars, they'll offer conferences, but they really don't prepare you for what really is out there. —Jake Plummer

The three spoke about how their sports careers taught them the value of teamwork and supporting one another, a sense of camaraderie that extends beyond the field and the court, and helps them navigate their post-sports lives. 

I've always wanted to provide for my guys, you know, like if I got something that's good, I'm gonna share it. —Jake Plummer

Jake Plummer football figurine next to Cordyceps functional mushroom

Study mushrooms and peptides with former pro athletes

Jake talked about a study Umbo is fielding, testing functional mushrooms and peptides with former pro football players, to see if it's possible to measure the positive impact on cognitive decline and physical dysfunction. 

It's like here's a chance to maybe find something to give these guys hope. It's no doubt our bodies are put through more stress than the common person. But there are a lot of humans that are active, that have had concussions. We can we join together, we do the right things... prove to the rest of America that this is a legitimate way to help people thrive and have health. —Jake Plummer

Mushrooms can help clean up our communities

Apart from sports, the three also talks about the profound impact of environmental toxins — in the world generally, but particularly in Black and Brown communities. Jake talked about the disproportionate exposure to pollutants in these communities, stemming from industrial waste and chemical runoff. He emphasized that these issues are not prevalent in predominantly white neighborhoods, pointing to a stark environmental injustice.

Moreover, Jake discussed the promising role of mushrooms in addressing these environmental challenges — yes, this is "mycoremediation." He explained that mycelium and certain mushrooms, like oyster mushrooms, have shown efficacy in removing harmful substances such as PCBs and diesel from the soil. This innovative approach offers hope for communities suffering from the health effects of environmental degradation. Plummer is excited about the potential of mushrooms not only for human health but also for ecological restoration.

Peace, love, and mushrooms —Jake Plummer 

Watch the whole episode here: 

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published..