April 22, 2014 12:56 PM

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The secret to Shailene Woodley‘s favorite tea? Here’s a hint: She picks it herself — literally.

The Divergent actress likes to brew a medicinal tea using chaga — a wild mushroom that grows on the trunk of the birch tree — that she often forages herself, she says in the May issue of Natural Health magazine. Although you can pour boiling water over chaga and brew it like traditional tea, Woodley prefers to make a big batch in her slow cooker.

She then uses the tea, which tastes bitter on its own, to give a healthful boost to coffee or soup — the fungi are known for their antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.

Chaga tea is just one example of Woodley’s back-to-basics approach to food, which comes from her passion for nature and commitment to the environment. “As a teenager, I started researching factory farming and genetically engineered foods and agriculture, and I found myself asking ‘what’s the point of environmentalism if we keep separating ourselves from nature?’” she told the magazine.

You can order chaga online (Woodley likes chaga powder from Surthrival), though she’s also been known to grind the ones she’s picked herself into a powder before turning them into tea. (Flaunt magazine also reported that she makes her own cheese and gathers her own spring water, reports The Daily Mail.)

Picking ‘shrooms in the woods might sound extreme to some, but Woodley offers a matter-of-fact explanation about why she thinks being a “sovereign human” is so important: “For me, having my basic necessities covered and being able to take care of myself is reassuring. If the power goes out, I know how to make a fire and where a water source is and how to find my own food,” she told Natural Health.

Courtesy Natural Health

Shailene Woodley’s Mushroom Tea

Makes 1 liter

1 packet chaga powder or 1-2 tbsp. dried chaga (such as Ecstatic Earth)

1 liter spring water

1. Add water and chaga to slow cooker and simmer for six hours.

2. Strain chaga and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Cook’s notes: You can adjust cooking time and the amount of powder or mushrooms based on your taste preferences. When the refrigerated liquid starts to turn lighter in color, it’s time to discard and make a new batch.

—Lexi Dwyer

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