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The Urban Monk is back after a hiatus from the podcast. Pedram Shojai has been busy all year filming a new docu-series on the microbiome titled Interconnected! Here he takes some time to sit and just talk about the experience of filming the series and what he learned and the many experts he was able to interview. No guest in this episode, just Pedram at the wheel driving solo.

Direct download: Urban_Monk_2018-11-19_Pedram_Microbiome_Solo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:59pm EST

Dr. Tom O'Bryan is no stranger to The Urban Monk and he returns to talk about what it takes to restore cognitive function. We've all experienced that brain fog where we can't remember where we put our keys or can't connect the name to the face or forgotten birthdays. What causes our brain to slow down and what can be done to bring it back to optimal operation? Dr. Tom O'Bryan has a step-by-step plan to bring our brains back to tip-top shape so that we can live our best lives!

Direct download: Urban_Monk_2018-09-18_Tom_OBryan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:55pm EST

There's a lot of information when it comes to dieting. Things to eat, things not to eat, things to eat at a certain time, times to not eat, how long to eat, how much to eat, eating as much as you want, restricting how much you want to eat, tricking yourself into not wanting to eat, what the hell are we supposed to do? Cassie Bjork comes onto the podcast this week to talk it out with Pedram about all the diets that are circulating around. Paleo, keto, Atkins, what are all of these and which one is right for each person? How can a person even know?

Direct download: Urban_Monk_2018-08-01_Cassie_Bjork.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:32pm EST

Aimee Raupp is an acupuncturist and herbalist who has worked with scores of women through various issues. Through her experience in the clinic she has come up with a roadmap to heal from autoimmune disease. She transitioned from helping women with poor fertility outlooks to working with patients on a more spiritual and emotional level. How can one attune one's behavior to better serve your own body?

Direct download: Urban_Monk_2018-06-04_Aimee_Raupp.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

How important is a morning routine? How can what we do in the morning affect the rest of our day? Benjamin Spall has written about this very topic and joins Pedram Shojai to deeply examine the common habits people get into when they wake up. Think about what you do when you wake up. The very first thing. Do you take a moment to appreciate perhaps your spouse? Or are you reaching for the phone to see who's emailed you in the last 8 hours? What affect could this have on our day to day lives? How do we break routines and add in new ones? What positive routines can we fold into our mornings?

Direct download: Urban_Monk_2018-05-28_Benjamin_Spall.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Microbes are life forms that are too small to see without a microscope. There are microbes in the soil, in the atmosphere, and even inside every one of us. How do these microbes live? How do they behave? What are they doing inside each and every person and do they affect the person as a whole? Author Eugenia Bone joins Pedram on The Urban Monk to discuss the fascinating micro-world.

Direct download: Urban_Monk_2018-05-21_Eugenia_Bone.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:41pm EST

Many of us try to do everything we can to stay healthy, but at times it can be overwhelming. Thankfully, Dr. Rangan Chatterjee through his years of experiences as a doctor has worked out four key components to keep focus upon if we want to prevent disease: food, relaxation, sleep, and movement. By focusing on little changes, the multitude of little changes can add up to big results that will make all aspects of life better. What is the best way to incorporate these four pillars into our everyday lives?

Direct download: Urban_Monk_2018-05-07_Rangan_Chatterjee.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Technology in all of its forms is becoming more prevalent in our every day lives. From mobile phones to tablets and video games and social media, it's quite pervasive. For developed adults, we've come to adapt, but how does it affect the development of a child? Pedram talks with psychologist Richard Freed about the studied effects of technology on the developing brain. How much is too much? Is there an acceptable amount of screen time at all for younger children? How can a parent best control the amount of time their children spends in front of the television or holding a tablet?

Direct download: Urban_Monk_2018-04-10_Richard_Freed.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

This week's episode of The Urban Monk is extra special as guest Emily Fletcher was able to actually visit with Pedram and record with him in his own dining room! Emily was a performer on Broadway stages for ten years which is one of the high forms of insanity. She would wake up and head to a theater sometimes not knowing what role she would be performing that evening. In such a high-stress environment, what made her finally settle down to try meditation? Did she have any pre-conceived notions about meditation? How does she make time for meditation in our current world of deadlines and meetings and conferences?

Direct download: Urban_Monk_2018-04-02_Emily_Fletcher.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

At the age of 22, Leo Galland's son, Christopher, passed away. He was a brain-damaged special needs child who was able to provide uncanny insights. Though Christopher is gone, to Leo his wisdom and presence remains. What is it to feel someone's presence after they've passed away? What is the spirit? How can we feel the spirit of a loved one? How can we connect with our own?

Direct download: Urban_Monk_2018-03-26_Leo_Galland.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Many of us understand the importance of diet when it comes to health. Sure, eating the right food is important if we want to maintain a healthy weight, but what other effects does food have? Max Lugavere has come to know the power of food very well. His mother was displaying symptoms of Alzheimer's disease but they never made any connections that the foods she was eating may have been worsening the disease. What connections was Max seeing between what his mother was eating and what symptoms were being displayed by his mother? Were changes made that resulted in a different health outlook?

Direct download: Urban_Monk_2018-03-19_Max_Lugavere.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Prion diseases are very rare. There are on average only about 300 reported cases in the U.S. every year. Because of its rarity it can be difficult to diagnose. Dr. Greg Eckel is very aware of the topic because his wife has been inflicted with a prion disease. It's been a very scary struggle for him and his family as she struggles with this incurable disease. What are prion diseases specifically? What causes them? What symptoms exist?

Direct download: Urban_Monk_2018-03-12_Greg_Eckel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Water is essential to life as we know it. Not only do we need it to survive, we also use water for so many other things such as agriculture, food preparation, and showering. For many of us, we take the water that comes from our taps for granted, but where exactly is that water coming from? What sort of infrastructure is required to deliver endless gallons of water to millions of people? 

Direct download: Urban_Monk_2018-03-05_Seth_Siegel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

The earth's population is above 7.6 billion people. That's a lot of people who need to eat. Fishing is an especially large industry, but it's wreaking havoc for certain natural ecosystems and habitats. Some species are being fished in the tens of millions each year. Is there a better way? Bren Smith is a former fisherman who understood he was involved in a highly destructive industry. He then began working with a large salmon farm, but found it was essentially the same destruction. He began searching for a more sustainable way to fish and farm which led him to develop 3D ocean farms. What are 3D ocean farms? What sort of seafood is Bren able to farm? What are the benefits of 3D ocean farms versus traditional seafood farms?

Direct download: Urban_Monk_2018-03-01_Bren_Smith.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Diets are hard. Not even in the weight loss sense, but just in the general idea of the general foods a person should eat to be generally healthy. We're told that fats make us fat, but then someone else comes along to say that fats actually help to lose weight. Salt is bad, but someone else says it's fine. Gluten will mess you up, but someone else says, "Maybe in moderation you'll survive." What is it?? Dr. Mark Hyman joins Pedram Shojai on The Urban Monk to discuss the confusing, confounding, conflicting messages regarding what to eat. Who should we listen to? What do all the various food studies mean? What the heck should we eat?

Direct download: Urban_Monk_2018-02-26_Mark_Hyman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

There's a lot going on in the world and it's easy to believe we won't be able to make a difference, especially at the individual level. It's easy to think we're alone in our feelings, but what if there was actually a community that was as passionate as we are? Fiona Hazell and Emelie Ekblad had a chance meeting that led them to create MAD. What were their individual journeys and experiences through various conditions that led them to madness? How did Emelie and Fiona meet? What about their meeting led them to forming MAD? What are they hoping to accomplish? How are they forming a new community to work together to resolve the big issues they see around the world?

Direct download: Urban_Monk_2018-02-19_Emelie_Ekblad_and_Fiona_Hazell.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Autonomous cars hold a lot of promise. Imagine if we could reduce or even fully eliminate automobile accidents due to road rage, drunk driving, or distracted drivers. Imagine if rush hour traffic was no more! Imagine the time you could get back to nap, read, or talk more intently with someone on the phone if you didn't have to drive! These are some of the various promises made by the concept of a self-driving car, but how realistic are these promises? On this episode Pedram Shojai welcomes Eric Noble from The Car Lab to discuss the advancements auto-makers have been able to make and how much further we still have to go before we get a fully autonomous car that allows us to take a heavy duty nap on the road. What are the technological limitations? Are we sure we'll be able to overcome these barriers? What sort of time frame can we expect before everyone is able to afford a self-driving car? Are there legal barriers to self-driving cars? How long before we can expect everyone to have a driverless car?

Direct download: Urban_Monk_2018-02-15_Eric_Noble.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Dieting sucks. Let's just be honest about that. Holidays, birthdays, and even just a Friday night out with friends means we are all often surrounded by tempting foods that are not perhaps the best for our midsections. How can we easily navigate the endless food options that always appear in front of us at the worst times? For Robyn Youkilis, she understands this struggle. She also recently had her first child and had to re-shift her thinking as she set realistic goals in returning to her normal pre-baby weight. Regarding the struggle of losing weight, sometimes people can become hard on themselves if the results aren't immediate. How can we push back against this mentality of wanting and needing quick weight loss?

Direct download: Urban_Monk_2018-02-12_Robyn_Youkilis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:21pm EST

How do we know something is safe? From lotion to food to soap and shampoo, we interact with so many different items in a single day. Who is checking that these items are safe? Amy Ziff was a journalist living in Silicon Valley who asked these questions when twins were having allergic reaction to otherwise normal items such as pillows and diapers. She had an older child who did not have any sort of reaction to these items. What was happening with her younger children? What chemicals were going into household items? Are these all listed on packages? If not, how did Amy figure out what was contained in various items? Even when doing the research, how are we able to filter what is truth and based in science rather than a blogger's speculation?

Direct download: Urban_Monk_2018-02-05_Amy_Ziff.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

After a little hiatus The Urban Monk podcast is back with new episodes! Starting off 2018, we have Scott Stabile joining Pedram Shojai. Scott is the author of Big Love: The Power of Living with a Wide-Open Heart. It's really easy to focus on the negative aspects of our lives and the world at large, but what happens if we choose to focus exclusively on the kindness and love? Scott insists that change can lead to endless good. Scott didn't have it easy either. His parents were murdered when he was fourteen. His brother later died of a heroin overdose. After that Scott joined a cult that dominated his life for thirteen years before he took the steps to walk away. How was he able to face these struggles and emerge on the other side with endless love for not only himself, but the world around him?

Direct download: Urban_Monk_2018-02-01_Scott_Stabile.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Many suffer from fatigue. Despite making lifestyle changes regarding diet and schedules some people are still plagued with fatigue. Could it be exhausted adrenal glands that are unable to produce adequate amounts of hormones that are leading to fatigue? This is a hotly debated topic in the medical community. To some there is an easy correlation between symptoms and diagnosis, but what is the real research? Ari Whitten looked into the concept of "adrenal fatigue" to see what research existed. What did he find? What data exists? Does adrenal fatigue really exist? How can data be cherry-picked to back a pre-determined argument? Are there possibly other reasons for chronic fatigue? What other factors might exist that leads to a person fatigue?

Direct download: UrbanMonk137AriWhitten.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:54pm EST

The co-founder of Runa, Tyler Gage, stops by the studio to discuss with Pedram how he started his company. A graduate of Brown University, what made him leave behind his suburban life to go explore the Amazon rainforest with indigenous elders at the age of 20? Runa, according to Inc Magazine, has become one of the 500 fastest growing companies in the US. How has Tyler been able to expand his the company so quickly? How does Runa's mission statement help better the Amazon rainforest while still allowing growth and expansion in a consumer economy?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk136TylerGage.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:45am EST

At forty-four, acclaimed cardiologist John Day was overweight and suffered from insomnia, degenerative joint disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. On six medications and suffering constant aches, he needed to make a change. While lecturing in China, he’d heard about a remote mountainous region known as Longevity Village, a wellness Shangri-La free of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, dementia, depression, and insomnia, and where living past one hundred—in good health—is not uncommon. Day, a Mandarin speaker, decided to spend some time living in Longevity Village. He learned everything he could about this place and its people, and met its centenarians. His research revealed seven principles that work in tandem to create health, happiness, and longevity—rules he applied to his own life. Six months later, he’d lost thirty pounds, dropped one hundred points off his cholesterol and twenty-five points off his blood pressure, and was even cured of his acid reflux and insomnia.


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Direct download: UrbanMonk135JohnDay.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:13pm EST

We make big fusses about political elections every couple of years. Beyond that many people think they aren't able to enact big changes on their own. But what about the choices we make every week regarding what we buy? A big power of the people is regarding the economy. The decisions on where we spend our money send big signals to big companies. To help distill how much power each citizen has, Andrew Winston joins today's program to discuss the thought process of companies as they observe and track spending. How does change from a citizenry affect corporations and how does that change affect actual policies?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk134AndrewWinston.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:38pm EST

In 2009, while thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Robert Moor began to wonder about the paths that lie beneath our feet: How do they form? Why do some improve over time while others fade? What makes us follow or strike off on our own? Over the course of the next seven years, Moor traveled the globe, exploring trails of all kinds, from the miniscule to the massive. Moor reveals how this single topic—the oft-overlooked trail—sheds new light on a wealth of age-old questions: How does order emerge out of chaos? How did animals first crawl forth from the seas and spread across continents? How has humanity’s relationship with nature and technology shaped world around us? And, ultimately, how does each of us pick a path through life?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk133RobertMoor.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:15am EST

For Jaimal Yogis, the path to enlightenment is surfing. Between water and air, between control and surrender, between the tangible and intangible realities of life, the spiritual can be found. Born to a family of seekers, he left home at sixteen to surf in Hawaii and join a monastery—an adventure he chronicled in Saltwater Buddha. Now, in his early twenties, his heart is broken and he’s lost his way. Hitting the road again, he lands in a monastery in Dharamsala, where he meets Sonam, a displaced Tibetan. All Our Waves Are Water follows Jaimal’s trek from the Himalayas to Indonesia; to a Franciscan Friary in New York City to the dusty streets of Jerusalem; and finally to San Francisco’s Ocean Beach. Along his journey, Jaimal prays and surfs; mourning a lost love and seeking something that keeps eluding him, until he ultimately finds what he’s been looking for—that the perfect ride may well be the one we are on right now.

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Direct download: UrbanMonk132JaimalYogis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Happiness is a very common goal. Who doesn't want to be happy? But what does that mean to be happy? How can we attain happiness? For some of us, though we may have a great job and supportive family and friends, we may still be hit with feelings of insecurities, anxiety, or even depression. Why can this still happen even in the best of situations? Psychiatrist Anna Yusim works with patients who have expressed these very concerns. She's even struggled with them herself! She spent fifteen years studying this phenomenon and concluded that the issue deals with spiritual neglect! What does this mean? How can people address their spiritual and psychological needs at the same time? What effects can this have on people's lives to address their spiritual needs?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk131AnnaYusim.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

The rainforests cover about 16% of Earth's total land surface, though that number is shrinking. Many of us understand the importance of the rainforests and their great ability to help absorb carbon dioxide. Many of us also fully understand the need to protect them from further deforestation. But how can we do that from where we are? Do we have to get on a plane and fly to South America to help? Lindsey Allen of the Rainforest Action Network joins today's show to explain that each of us has the power to help and we can help everyday. In what way can we send a message to corporations that might contribute to harmful practices regarding rainforests? What everyday actions can we take to send messages to such massive corporations?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk130LindseyAllen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Our world has ended five times: it has been broiled, frozen, poison-gassed, smothered, and pelted by asteroids. What else could possibly happen? Journalist Peter Brannen has taken a close look at the five mass extinctions our planet has gone through. What exactly happened to cause extinction on such a massive, planet-wide level? How did any life make it past these events? Do these past extinction level events provide any clues to how it could happen again? If life was able to continue after these past events, does that provide any hope for humans should something catastrophic happen?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk129PeterBrannen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

We all feel fear. Yet we are often taught to ignore it, overcome it, push past it. But to what benefit? Once recognized as the best extreme skier in the world, Kristen Ulmer knows fear well. Rebuilding our understanding of fear from the ground up, Ulmer starts by exploring why we’ve come to view it as a negative. From here, she unpacks fear and shows it to be just one of 10,000 voices that make up our reality, here to help us come alive alongside joy, love, and gratitude. How can we harness our fear to overpower what we are fearful of in the first place?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk128KristenUlmer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Life has a way of getting us into a very comfortable, yet repetitive grind. We wake up, we shower, we go to work, we get home, we eat dinner, we sleep, we repeat the pattern day after day. Some of us used to do stuff. Some of that stuff might have been considered fun. What happened? Matt Walker wonders that too, but actually wants to help infuse some adventure back into your life. He founded and directs "Matt Walker Adventures" which leads small groups on mountain adventures with a focus on individual development. Why is it important to travel outside of our small town borders and see what else is out there? What irrational fears might some people have regarding international travel? What concerns are actually well founded? And what can be gained by experiencing something firsthand? Adventure is out there!

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Direct download: UrbanMonk127MattWalker.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Politics overwhelm the national conversation. They've always dominated the conversation and they're especially at the forefront now. But for a lot of people, politics seem far removed for any realm of citizen control. Sure there's voting, but between elections, how can citizens hold politicians accountable? David Willett of the League of Conservation Voters joins The Urban Monk to discuss the tricky issue of politics. Especially regarding the environment, some politicians seem to have that so far off their radar as to seem entirely invisible to them. How do we give voice to our opinions in a way that will create legislative action?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk126DavidWillett.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:02pm EST

Sometimes we have trouble, but we want to operate at 100%. Whether it's getting a presentation together at work, pushing ourselves harder at the gym, or just being present with our family, we have moments where we want to operate at full capacity. What keeps us from operating fully at times hard as we might try? In their new book, Peak Performance, Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness explore various practices that can get people to reach their optimal output. How much rest does one need before we put 100% of ourselves into a project? Are there physiological differences between rest and work? How can we align our bodies to do what we need it to do? And how can this be effective across a wide range of activities?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk125BradStulbergSteveMagness.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

If you're listening to Urban Monk, chances are you care about the environment. But with so many things seemingly going wrong, what are are some easy to take steps one can make to help? Lisa Archer of Friends of the Earth suggests something as simple as pushing retailers to increase organic options for groceries. It's something we all do, and retailers will always follow where the money is. At the end of the day for businesses, it's still a business. What kind of impact could the single consumer have if we change our spending habits? How will retailers have to react? How will that change where our food comes from? How does that help the environment at large?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk124LisaArcher.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Most of us have heard of gluten — a protein found in wheat that causes widespread inflammation in the body. Americans spend billions of dollars on gluten-free diets in an effort to protect their health. But what if we’ve been missing the root of the problem? Pedram invites renowned cardiologist Dr. Steven Gundry who reveals that gluten is just one variety of a common, and highly toxic, plant-based protein called lectin. Lectins are found not only in grains like wheat but also in the “gluten-free” foods most of us commonly regard as healthy, including many fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and conventional dairy products. These proteins, which are found in the seeds, grains, skins, rinds, and leaves of plants, are designed by nature to protect them from predators (including humans). Once ingested, they incite a kind of chemical warfare in our bodies, causing inflammatory reactions that can lead to weight gain and serious health conditions. What steps do we have to take to avoid the lectins and what sort of swaps are available so that we might still have a full diet while avoiding the many things lectins are in?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk122StevenGundry.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

It’s no secret that women today are juggling a lot. They now make up more than half the workforce in the United States and are busier than ever with partners, children, family and friends, often putting the needs of others ahead of their own. And if they feel overwhelmed by it all or fall short of perfection, many have learned to be their own worst critic rather than their own best friend. To try to get women back on their own sides HeatherAsh Amara provides an antidote against the thinking that you are not enough. How can you be present here and now with work, your partner, your children, whatever is present in front of you right now? How can you reclaim your energy to focus on what you need to instead of worrying what happened in the past or worrying what might happen in the future? How can you get yourself unstuck from the everyday grind of life?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk121HeatherashAmara.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

For decades, we’ve been told the key to prosperity is to look out for number one. But recent science shows that to achieve durable success, we need to be more than just achievers; we need to be compassionate achievers. Compassion seems to be a big missing ingredient in a lot of human interactions. How can one be a better compassionate person and understand and connect with other people? Pedram Shojai welcomes author Chris Kukk to The Urban Monk to discuss why compassion can create more productive workplaces along with healthier, less violent communities.

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Direct download: UrbanMonk120ChrisKukk.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Fear has a tendency to give us tunnel vision—we fill the unknown with our worst imaginings and cling to what’s familiar. But when confronted with new challenges, we need to think more broadly and adapt. When Isaac Lidsky learned that he was beginning to go blind at age thirteen, eventually losing his sight entirely by the time he was twenty-five, he initially thought that blindness would mean an end to his early success and his hopes for the future. After such a major setback, he didn't let being blind keep him down. He took responsibility over his reality and thrived. Pedram Shojai talks with him about the challenges he faced, what life was like before, during, and after he went blind, and how he is now able to run a business and raise children which in and of itself is difficult enough!

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Direct download: UrbanMonk119IsaacLidsky.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

For many, spring time is the time we finally get to leave the house and enjoy the outdoors after a cold and bitter winter. Spring is also the time we get to get our hands dirty with our garden. A garden is a great way to introduce some plant life right in our own front yards. Some people might just pick some plants and flowers to plant based on how they look or how they smell, but what thought do people put into how the plant might interact with the wildlife of the area? To talk about how to help protect wildlife through our own gardens, Pedram Shojai invites David Mizejewski of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). What are some major issues facing wildlife nowadays? What does the NWF do to help preserve wildlife? How can home gardens help or harm local wildlife?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk118DavidMizejewski.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:48am EST

Elizabeth Bast and Chor Boogie are a couple that have navigated some choppy waters. Chor Boogie was a drug addict that was clean for over a decade. But then despite such a great run of being clean, he relapses. Unfortunately, 90% of narcotics addicts relapse in their first year of being clean. Elizabeth and Chor wanted to break this addiction once and for all and weren't finding any permanent solutions through the traditional medical system so they looked elsewhere. Their attentions were turned towards an obscure sacred plant from Central West Africa named iboga. What is iboga? How did the ancient people of Africa use it? Is there any research that has been done on this plant? How is it different from other sacred medicinal herbs like ayahuasca, peyote, or psilocybin mushrooms? How lasting are the effects?


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Direct download: UrbanMonk117BastAndBoogie.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

The ocean is a big place. And we keep putting our crap in it. But how is human-made trash ending up in our oceans? Surely people aren't still dumping tons of trash into our oceans purposefully, right? And with so much trash in the ocean, what can the average person do to help? On today's episode of The Urban Monk, Pedram invites Elizabeth Murdock, director of the Pacific Ocean initiative at the Natural Resources Defense Council, to discuss the current state of the oceans. How has human trash affected sea life in the oceans? Do we actively have to get into the ocean to clean it up? What preventative steps can we take to ensure our trash does not end up in the ocean?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk116ElizabethMurdock.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Whether we’re in the boardroom or the classroom, we spend far too much time and energy looking for the right answer. But the truth is that questions are just as important as answers, often more so. If you ask the wrong question, for instance, you’re guaranteed to get the wrong answer. A good question, on the other hand, inspires a good answer and, in the process, invites deeper understanding and more meaningful connections between people. Asking a good question requires us to move beyond what we think we know about an issue or a person to explore the difficult and the unknown, the awkward, and even the unpleasant.

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Direct download: UrbanMonk115JamesERyan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

For some there is a huge disconnect between mind and body. This can be exacerbated when regarding lovemaking. For Charu Morgan, she was able to find a strong connection to her body through the practice of tantra. What is tantra? Is it specifically related to the act of sex? How does the practice reconnect the body and mind and how does it lead to enhanced pleasure during lovemaking? Is this something that can only be practiced during the act? And for those of us currently flying solo, is there anything we can benefit from practicing tantra as well? I'm, uh, asking for a friend...

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Direct download: UrbanMonk114CharuMorgan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

What is the principle purpose of a brain? A simple question, but the answer has taken millennia for us to begin to understand. So critical for our everyday existence, the brain still remains somewhat of a mystery. Gary L. Wenk takes us on a tour of what we do know about this enigmatic organ, showing us how the workings of the human brain produce our thoughts, feelings, and fears, and answering questions such as: How did humans evolve such a big brain? What is an emotion and why do we have them? What is a memory and why do we forget so easily? How does your diet affect how you think and feel? What happens when your brain gets old?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk113GaryWenk.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Economics affect all of us. Whether good or bad, whatever is happening in the world of economics affects policy decisions, multi-billion-dollar investments, and even social and environmental policy decisions. But according to economist Kate Raworth, most ideas about economics are extremely out of date and college courses are behind by decades. What is the traditional view of economics and how is it out of date? How would Raworth reframe the way we think about economics? What kind of changes could occur if we change this thinking?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk111KateRaworth.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

More than thirty-five million Americans currently suffer from Hashimoto’s—an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid gland and causes the body to attack its own cells. To alleviate the symptoms of this debilitating condition—including chronic cough, acid reflux, IBS, allergies, chronic pain, hair loss, brain fog, and forgetfulness—patients are often prescribed synthetic hormones that have numerous life-altering side effects. Diagnosed with Hashimoto’s at twenty-seven, pharmacist Dr. Izabella Wentz knows first-hand the effects of the disease, as well as the value—and limitations—of medication. The key to improved health, she argues, involves lifestyle interventions. In Hashimoto’s Protocol, she outlines a proven treatment that has helped thousands heal and many others feel better—in as fast as ninety days.

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Direct download: UrbanMonk111IzabellaWentz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Second Amendment rights in the United States is an extremely contentious issue. There are compelling arguments from every viewpoint and everyone has an opinion. Coming from a background of journalism, author Iain Overton explored the lifecycle of the gun, from those who make firearms, to those who sell them, use them, and die by them. In a conversation with Pedram Shojai, Overton talks about his time and travels around the world as he spoke to ER doctors dealing with gun trauma, SWAT team leaders, gang members, and weapons smugglers. He talks about the fear that can paralyze a person when a gun is pointed right in their face and how that happened to him!


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Direct download: UrbanMonk109IainOverton.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Trust in the government tends to be rather low these days. A Pew Research Center study back in 2015 found that only 19% of Americans trust the government "always or most of the time." For Bao Nguyen, that wasn't acceptable so he jumped into the political arena himself. Starting on the Garden Grove Unified School District Board of Education, he eventually went on to become mayor of Garden Grove, CA. What does it take to jump into the political arena? What experience does someone need? What kind of person does it take?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk110BaoNguyen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

There are many famous last words. From Caesar to Marie Antoinette to Benjamin Franklin, there are many famous examples of people uttering great quotes before they pass on. But what about everyone else? What do the ordinary people have to say as they die? Author Lisa Smartt began transcribing conversations with her father after he became terminally ill. Her father lived with a secular world view in his last days suddenly developed a deeply spiritual outlook. What caused this change? She began to examine the final words of other ordinary people. After looking at over a hundred case studies, interviews, and transcripts, what did the last words of loved ones reveal?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk112LisaSmartt.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:07pm EST

What can a State's Attorney General do? What is their role? To help explain this part of the US government, James Tierney, a former state attorney general of Maine and current Harvard lecturer, joins the program to help Pedram understand all the responsibilities of a State Attorney General. How does their role differ from an elected congressperson? What was Tierney's experience as a State Attorney General? What does he think about the current administration and how the government is being handled?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk107JamesTierney.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Losing is a part of life. For a while children were getting participation trophies, but understanding what a loss means can actually be a critical part of success. Whether losing a hockey game or bombing an important math test, what can these setbacks teach us and how can we grow stronger from the experience? Joining The Urban Monk, author and sports journalist Sam Weinman had to convince his two boys that losing and failing are important experiences to learn from. How can we take these setbacks and turn them into comebacks?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk106SamWeinman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:53pm EST

After surviving a serious elevator crash in London, Howard G. Charing found he had developed the ability to hear voices and experience visions. What did he think about this change? Did such an ability freak him out? Charing joins today's program to talk to Pedram Shojai about his very normal background and how he, through an accident, became a shaman. What does it take to become a shaman? What can we all learn from shamans?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk106HowardCharing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Founded in 2001, TerraCycle has been leading the movement in upcycling. CEO Tom Szaky joins Pedram Shojai on The Urban Monk to discuss the various forms of waste management now available to people. What is upcycling and how does it differ from recycling? Are there other levels to waste management? Is there a proactive approach to waste management? That is, how can we think about the way we shop and be mindful of how everything we buy can potentially end up in a landfill?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk105TomSzaky.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

When it comes to skincare, do you think about every part of your lifestyle that can be affecting the quality of your skin? Is there a "one size fits all" solution for skin care? Of course not! Dr. Trevor Cates sits with The Urban Monk to make sense of complicated skin care and how every aspect of our lifestyle can affect how our skin looks. What are the different skin types and how can we identify which one we have? What do the different skin types mean once we identify which we have?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk104TrevorCates.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

What is it about some people that appear to age with seemingly supernatural abilities? Why do others appear to age quickly before their time? While there are many factors to aging, Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn discovered a biological indicator called telomerase, an enzyme that replenishes telomeres. What do telomeres do? What research were Dr. Blackburn and Dr. Elissa Epel able to discover when it comes to biological factors determining aging? Beyond just physical aging, what does this mean for mental capabilities as we age? And just what other factors do play into how we age and what are we able to control?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk104TelomereEffect.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

When people get sick, it's easy to turn to medicine to ease symptoms. It's also easy to create direct correlations between sickness and symptoms. But what if it was more complex than that? What if the various pains and sicknesses afflicting a person were just small parts of a bigger whole? Dr. Aviva Romm approaches health in this very way. Rather than just looking at various ailments as all having separate origins, she sees the human body as one large system that can be overloaded and stressed in various ways. If we were to change our way of thinking regarding our own health, in what ways could our health improve even without the use of medicine?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk101AvivaRomm.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:04pm EST

Frank Shamrock is no stranger to pain. He's a retired mixed martial arts fighter who has taken his fair share of kicks and hits. He was active for 16 years from 1994 until 2010 which is quite a while to be competitively fighting. There is no doubt he found himself in a lot of pain very often. Doctors and medical professionals of course offered many various pain killers, but the side effects that came along with them were not to his liking. Despite some reservations, he was introduced to the science behind the effects of using cannabis to ease pain. What evidence exists for using cannabis as a pain reliever? How was it able to help Frank? Are there any side effects? What other benefits come with using cannabis?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk100FrankShamrock.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Eczema is an incredibly common skin disorder, however there is still no solution to curing it through conventional medicine means. For Shann Nix Jones, this was not an option as her son was suffering from eczema. At the same time, her husband had a life-threatening MRSA infection that was resistant to antibiotics. Doctors were unable to help her in both cases so she took matters into her control and found her own natural remedy. Along the way she made an incredible discovery, that eczema is not actually a skin condition, but rather an autoimmune disorder. So rather than trying to treat eczema on the surface, she tried to figure out how best to treat it from within. How was she able to help both her son and her husband? What is the importance of our internal systems in showing externally? What does kefir and goat's milk have to do with all of this?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk099ShannNixJones.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Charles Lindbergh is one of the great American heroes. Not content to live in his shadow, his grandson Erik Lindbergh has also been making great advancements in aviation as well. While Elon Musk has been making great advancements for electric vehicles that stay on the ground with Tesla, Erik Lindbergh has been leading the push to make air vehicles completely emission free. How far are we from the vision of 100% emission-free air travel becoming a reality? What could air travel look like in the future? Will commercial air travel still be hundreds of passengers shoved in a metal tube? Or will it become more personalized? Could we possibly all have our own jet packs? Please let it be jet packs.

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Direct download: UrbanMonk098ErikLindbergh.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

When it comes to changing the world, what can one person do? Especially in the face of protecting wildlife and other environmental concerns, how can one person help to stop deforestation? Larry A Nielsen in understanding this mounting problem looks back at eight conservationists who powered through to become positive forces for change. What did these people have to endure to protect what they loved? How effective can one person be when facing pushback from the government and big business? What examples should we take from these eight people to help push against pollution and social injustice in our own lives?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk097LarryANielsen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Sometimes people do things that are against their own benefit. Why do people live in Florida right in a main path for hurricanes? Why do people live in the Central Plains of the United States when the area is also colloquially known as "Tornado Alley"? On this episode of The Urban Monk, Robert Meyer, co-author of "The Ostrich Paradox," discusses this very idea. Why are some people afraid of flying but have no hesitation driving when statistically speaking flying is the safer mode of transportation? (There's a 1 in 11 million chance you will be killed in a plane crash against a 1 in 5,000 chance of dying in a car crash) Why are people able to forget certain pains and open themselves to repeating bad behavior?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk096RobertMeyer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Having a child get in an accident is every parent's worst fear. For JJ Virgin, this was a nightmare that became a reality when her son was hit by a car. The doctors didn't give her son much of a chance to make it through, but it was a reality JJ was not willing to accept. She charged up and pushed the doctors to do what they needed to do. Her mindset and determination in turn motivated the doctors to not accept failure as a possibility. What is it about mindset that can change the outcomes of our lives? Is it a self-fulfilling prophecy if we're actively controlling the situation? How can we take control of situations that may seem very much beyond our control?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk095JJVirgin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Sodas are very prevalent. Every restaurant, every movie theater, every party usually offers some soda (or pop to this former midwesterner) as a refreshment. Try as some might, sodas hit the spot for them. And when they're everywhere, it's easy enough to just pick up a quick soda when you're thirsty. But what if we removed the convenience of sodas? Do people miss it? Laura Schmidt, a professor at UCSF School of Medicine, was a proponent of an initiative to sell only zero-calorie or non-sweetened beverages on the UCSF campus. What are the dangers of drinking too much soda? What changes do we see in public health when we adjust the culture around sodas?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk094LauraSchmidt.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:21pm EST

For more than twenty years, John Gray’s "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" has helped couples deepen their intimacy and rejuvenate their love lives. But the world has changed oh so much in two decades. As identities become more nuanced than basic stereotypes of the past, what implications are there on today's relationships?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk092JohnGray.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

"Anyone can cook!" This Auguste Gusteau quote is a reminder that no one should be daunted by cooking. Returning to the show is Robyn Youkilis and no one believes in the joy of cooking more than her. For some cooking might seem like an overwhelming task, but it doesn't have to be that way! Some like to try to downplay simple cooking, but Robyn notes that even if it's something as simple as noodles and sauce, if you took more than two steps to put it together, by George you're cooking! Even if you mess up, learn from the process and enjoy the time you spend with your family making delicious food!

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Direct download: UrbanMonk092RobynYoukilis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

We've come a long way in the 21st century regarding technology. Phones have gotten smarter, internet has gotten faster, and GPS being commonplace has made printing out MapQuest directions obsolete (remember that??). But then for all those advances, there are areas that leave many of some people scratching their heads. For Dan Mabe, he wondered why lawn and landscaping equipment still hasn't moved past their gas-powered standards. Why do landscapers still have to lug around heavy equipment that expel awful chemicals? What dangers do landscapers put themselves in that we just take as normal? Are there any advances in technology to make greening equipment, well, more green? If there are, what are the costs. Is there a premium for such equipment? Are the benefits worth the potential added costs?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk090DanMabe.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

We've all heard the expression "Boys will be boys." How appropriate is it to just assume that a boy will act like what we perceive to be boy-ish behaviors? Does the opposite also apply to girls? Is there something biological that makes raising boys and girls different? Dr. Rebecca Branstetter, author of "The Conscious Parent's Guide to Raising Girls," joins the program to talk to Pedram and explain what differences do exist and what differences are just societal structures we adhere to. How can parents raise their children mindfully without labeling their behavior through traditional societal gendered expectations?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk089RebeccaBranstetter.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Weight and extra fat is a common issue people struggle with. Why is fat just so darn hard to get rid of? Sylvia Tara is a biochemist who has had her own struggles with weight and fat. She approaches fat from a human evolutionary perspective, attempting to understand what it is about fat that the body loves. She discusses how fat influences people's appetites and willpower, why it defends itself when we try to get rid of it, and why it's so easy to grow back. Armed with this knowledge, how can we change the way we approach diet and exercise to finally beat the bulge?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk088SylviaTara.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

As we start the new year, resolutions will be made and some will be kept. Some of the resolutions may revolve around trying to save some money or spending money more wisely. May McCarthy, author of "The Path to Wealth," joins The Urban Monk to talk about that very subject. What separates Bill Gates from the rest of us? How does his behavior and thought process differ leading him to greater success regarding his businesses and finances? May McCarthy lays out seven steps to take to help us stick to a plan and lead us towards goals we set. How can we set goals and actually meet them?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk087MayMcCarthy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

There have been many entrepreneurs who have given it their all into a company they believe in. Unfortunately many businesses don't succeed, but some can really take off. What is the difference between a Silicon Valley startup that fails and one that succeeds? Anna Akbari, author of "Startup Your Life," takes a look at the leaders of successful startups as models to finding a way to happiness for everyone. What are common characteristics of a startup leader? What should someone do when there seems to be little to control around us? Many entrepreneurs know the sharp sting of failure, yet they keep going. How do we accept failures and get back up after we've fallen down so many times?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk086AnnaAkbari.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

I don't think it's news to any listener of The Urban Monk that obesity is an epidemic and diabetes is more prevalent than ever. There is clearly sugar in nearly everything at the grocery store, but how did we get here? Author Gary Taubes dives into the history of the United States' addiction to sugar. How did sugar creep into the standard US diet? Why is sweetness so addictive that we started adding other sweeteners to our foods? Sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup, stevia, and aspartame have also become highly prevalent.

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Direct download: UrbanMonk086GaryTaubes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

More than half of the people in the US are struggling with at least one chronic condition. Today's guest, Amy Kurtz, has certainly been there. When she was a child, she felt a shooting pain going down her back one day after a dance class. The pain was persistent and never really went away. Then in her mid-twenties she she was hit with a parasite infection that really knocked her down. She saw doctor after doctor until someone finally diagnosed her with celiac disease. But even knowing that there was trouble treating her. What was it that finally turned Amy's health around? What steps did she need to take outside of regular health recommendations to get her towards a place of vitality?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk085AmyKurtz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Cardiovascular disease (CV) is the number one killer in the Western world. The scary thing however is many of those deaths are preventable! Why is CV such an epidemic in the Western world? Joel Kahn is a holistic cardiologist who has treated thousands of acute heart attacks. He comes armed with information in the fight against CV so that people can live their lives without feeling like they're missing out. What can someone with CV do to help avoid stents and bypass surgery? Are the steps complicated or is it a gradual series of changes to take on? What kind of changes can someone see by adjusting what they do and eat?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk084JoelKahn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Humans are weird. Let's start there. Now, why? Why do we have weird dreams? Why do we see stuff that might not actually be there? What's the line between just mumbling to yourself and actual schizophrenia or multiple personalities? Eliezer Sternberg, author of NeuroLogic and resident neurologist at Yale–New Haven Hospital, explains the weird things the human brain can do. How can sleep paralysis lead people to believe they're being abducted by aliens or seeing a water ghost? Why does the brain fill in its own logic for us even if we know what we're seeing is illogical?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk082EliezerSternberg.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Today on The Urban Monk, Pedram Shojai speaks to an elder from his Taoist tradition, Thomas McCombs. He is a doctor of osteopathic medicine and has also been a professor at Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine. He's been studying Taoist principles since the 1970s and resonated with the energy circles the principles can create. What does the Taoist tradition have to say about energy? How does this differ from traditional Western perspectives? How difficult is it for the average Westerner, the average person in the United States to understand and train to better utilize the energy available to them?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk081ThomasMcCombs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

You might have heard of Feng Shui. You might have even used it in casual conversation. But do you really know what feng shui is? At its most basic level, feng shui is the practice of harmonizing a person with their surrounding environments. Great, but what does that mean on a practical level? To help explain the practice of feng shui and how it can be applied to a western lifestyle, Denise Liotta-Dennis joins The Urban Monk. She is one of less than 100 genuine feng shui masters in the United States. She has studied with four feng shui masters from China, Malaysia, and Australia. What does everyone think feng shui is? What are major concerns to have in trying to master the environment of your home? And how exactly did a woman from Texas become a feng shui master?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk080DeniseLiottaDennis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

How can we be good people? What determines that? One indicator many people look at is the ability to empathize with others. The ability to look at the pain and suffering of others and enact change is looked upon as a great moral compass for humanity. But what if our ability to empathize is actually hindering society on a grand scale? Today on The Urban Monk, Paul Bloom, Yale researcher and author of "Against Empathy," argues that empathy is one of the leading motivators of inequality and immorality in society. How can empathy muddle our judgement? How does it actually create more prejudices that people might not notice upon first glance? How can we live a progressive life of compassion for others?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk079PaulBloom.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Does Capitalism fuel greed? In the United States, is the middle class shrinking? Are the rich getting richer and are the poor getting poorer? To help break through media taglines and tweetable snippets, Neil Gilbert, author of "Never Enough: Capitalism and the Progressive Spirit" and professor of Social Welfare at Berkeley Social Welfare, comes to The Urban Monk to help explain the current economic landscape. Is capitalism to blame for the current poverty levels throughout the world? What causes such inequality? Is grand inequality unavoidable? Does social welfare spending and universal benefits help or hinder those of less economic means? How do we all measure our own economic success? How can we make sure we see ourselves as successful?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk078NeilGilbert.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

When it comes to the news and the health risks inherent with apparently just living every day life, how do we know what to worry about? Do mobile phones cause brain cancer? Does BPA cause cancer? Is the HPV vaccine safe? There is conflicting information on the safety or lack thereof on nearly everything. To help cut through the false science reports, Geoffrey C. Kabat joins the program today. How can we distinguish real science from poorly reported and misinterpreted stories? What risks are worth worrying about and what should we let go?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk077GeoffreyKabat.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Many of us do everything we can to maintain a healthy life but sometimes there's a lot to worry about. From diet to exercise to sleep, the battles are ongoing. What do we prioritize first? Well, for Dr. Daniel Amen and his wife Tana Amen, they think you should focus first what's between your ears. Your brain is the control center of your body and when that's not working nothing is in control. How can we win the battles that constantly barrage against our brains? How can we be present and aware on a daily basis against the various fights we might face?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk076DanielAndTanaAmen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Well.org!

Is becoming a genius born or bred? For Michael J. Gelb, it's made. To him, everyone can become a genius like Leonardo da Vinci. How can people spark their own curiosity, creativity, and desire for learning like one of the great Renaissance masters. For us regular-folk in the 21st century, is it possible for us to think like a great Renaissance master? How can a change in thinking lead us to be better problem solvers or more creative thinkers or more expressive people? How can thinking like Leonardo da Vinci allow us to just better enjoy the world around us?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk075MichaelGelb.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Some of you might live with terribly chronic pain. It's impossible to ignore a life with such pain, but have you ever wondered where it even comes from? What is causing the pain and is it possible to stop it before it even begins? Today Miranda Esmonde-White joins Pedram Shojai on The Urban Monk to discuss how muscle imbalances can cause connective tissue problems which can create some awful pain for people. What is causing muscle imbalances? Is it something people actively do or is it from habits or perhaps injuries? What alterations can we make in our lives to truly live forever painless?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk074MirandaEsmondeWhite.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:21pm EST

We all have different genetic make-up that makes us all unique but many of us think we're stuck with the genes we have and that's it. But Dr. Jennifer Stagg wants to let us know that that is not the case. She is a physician who has been studying a different approach to disease prevention. How does our environment affect how our genes are expressed? How do we even know what genes we have? What sort of steps can we take once we know what genes we have and what may or may not be activated? Can we really radically transform our health by focusing on the environment around us?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk073JenniferStaggs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

We work hard for money. We need money. Whether it's to pay for our home, pay for food, pay for clothing, we know we need it. But why do we behave the way we do with money? Why are some people really good at saving while others are really good at spending? BBC Radio 4 presenter Claudia Hammond joins today's program to discuss the psychology behind our relationship to money. Are there tips and tricks that can help us use our money in better ways? Are there ways in which we can use money to make us feel better?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk071ClaudiaHammond.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:06pm EST

Some of us might know that person. That person that's super spiritual, but you're not sure they even know what that means. JP Sears knows this person too. In fact, he might know that person too well as he was able to perfectly satirize the "spiritual" personality in a series of YouTube videos. Nothing takes the funny out of talking about how comedy works, but what is it about humor that can disarm certain topics?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk072JPSears.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:32pm EST

Today's guest has a fascinating relationship to the human heart. Struggling with heart disease himself, Dr. Thomas Cowan set to study the human heart not only in medical terms, you know, as a muscle that pumps blood, but also on a deeper level. Dr. Cowan was interested mostly in the work of Rudolf Steiner and his claim that the heart is not simply a pump. If so, what then is the heart? What is the relationship of the heart to the rest of the body? If we change how we look at the human heart, then how does that change how we study it? Treat diseases affecting it? If we change our relationship to our own hearts, how does that change our relationships to one another?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk070ThomasCowan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Women have to deal with a lot of crap men don't have to deal with, sorry to say. The guy writing this description (Hi, I'm Lorenzo!) apologizes on behalf of nature, I guess? There are certain differences between men and women that will never be fully equalized such as biology for example. But what about the stuff that can be helped? Equal pay, or the difference in media treatment and coverage, for example? Today we welcome Beth Newell from Reductress as she talks about her new book, "How to Win at Feminism." She comes to let Pedram know that feminism, while serious, doesn't have to be an entirely serious affair. How can humor be used to affect change in both society and policy regarding the equality of women?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk069BethNewell.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

In many cultures, bone broth has long been considered a great healer. What is bone broth and what gives it such healing powers? Dr. Kellyann Petrucci has been a proponent of bone broth for years and joins the program today and talks with Pedram about the awesome power of bone broth. What has bone broth been proven to help? Is bone broth something we can buy in a store? Is it easy to make at home?
How hard is it to get into meditation? There are a lot of gurus out there coming from what seems to be a completely different world than the one most of us live in. Now enter Emily Fletcher. She comes from the world of Musical Theater which is a world of its own. Having been in shows such as The Producers and A Chorus Line, being an actor on Broadway is a high-stress profession. She discusses her time being an actor on Broadway and the toll performing eight shows a week, six days a week took on her. When she's working that much, how did she even find time to start meditating? But for someone as high-octane as Emily, what was she able to gain from meditation? How can the rest of us get into meditation? How much focus do we have to put to it? Do we jump right in or can we gradually fold it into our lives?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk068KellyannPetrucci.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

How hard is it to get into meditation? There are a lot of gurus out there coming from what seems to be a completely different world than the one most of us live in. Now enter Emily Fletcher. She comes from the world of Musical Theater which is a world of its own. Having been in shows such as The Producers and A Chorus Line, being an actor on Broadway is a high-stress profession. She discusses her time being an actor on Broadway and the toll performing eight shows a week, six days a week took on her. When she's working that much, how did she even find time to start meditating? But for someone as high-octane as Emily, what was she able to gain from meditation? How can the rest of us get into meditation? How much focus do we have to put to it? Do we jump right in or can we gradually fold it into our lives?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk067EmilyFletcher.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Dr. Larry Brilliant has lived a very full and interesting life. Born in Detroit, he went on to become a physician, a technologist, a philanthropist, and now an author of a memoir. On this episode Larry joins Pedram to talk about his new book, "Sometimes Brilliant." He lived in an ashram in the Himalayas before working with the World Health Organization and leading the effort to eradicate smallpox in Asia. He was named the inaugural Executive Director of Google.org which led Google's philanthropic efforts. He was the CEO of two public companies. He has even worked on movies such as Contagion. How does one person experience so much?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk066LarryBrilliant.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:53pm EST

We have a bonus episode! Nick Polizzi is a good friend of ours and happened to be in town so we told him to sit tight and we recorded a quick episode of the podcast! Pedram and Nick do some catch up. They talk a bit about Nick's son and the experience of putting him in a forest school. Why was it important to Nick to put his son in a non-traditional school? What different experiences does his son have versus a child in a more traditional school? What is Nick's background to want to put his son in such a school? Nick is the filmmaker behind the documentary, "Sacred Science." What led Nick down the path of studying old world medicinal techniques? Nick used to suffer from headaches and migraines. What old techniques was Nick able to try to relieve him of that pain?

Direct download: UrbanMonk065NickPolizzi.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

We all want the highest quality food for ourselves and our families. Some of us focus on trying to make as many meals as possible completely homemade. For Maria Rodale it's not a trend or fad that comes and goes, cooking homemade meals from scratch has always been her life. She joins Pedram to talk about cooking comfort foods that are innately health because all of the ingredients are real. For people who aren't masterchefs, is it possible to cook entire meals that are wholesome and healthy for the family while trying to balance life with work and kids and school?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk064MariaRodale.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Women approaching midlife have had had to be concerned about perimenopause and menopause for generations. One would think we know everything there is to know about the process. However scientists continue to conduct research and studies and doctors like today's guest Tara Allmen are staying at the forefront of information regarding one of the most challenging times in a woman's life. What is to be expected going through menopause? Does it affect all women equally? Is there a point through menopause where someone will feel like their normal selves again?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk063TaraAllmen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

There are 25 states along with the District of Columbia that have laws legalizing marijuana in some form. Four states have legalized it outright for recreational use. This upcoming November, California has a ballot that will legalize it for "adult" use. What is leading this shift? We already know the detrimental effects of using cannabis. Or do we? Because of its classification as a Schedule 1 drug by the DEA, studies using it are fairly difficult to conduct. To explain basically everything there is to know about cannabis and how it came to be a Schedule 1 drug, Joe Dolce joins the program and gives Pedram the run down. What is the history behind the usage of cannabis? How did the government get so involved in prohibiting its use? And what does it mean to legalize it on a state-by-state basis?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk062JoeDolce.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:03pm EST

We all know the importance of diet and exercise in living a healthy life free from aches and pains. But can exercise help relieve tension in our bodies caused from the stress of daily living? Today's guest, Sue Hitzman, talks to Pedram about the MELT Method which is intended to keep people healthy and live pain-free by focusing on often ignored components: a balanced nervous system and healthy connective tissue. What does MELT do to address these two areas and how does that lead to a pain-free day? What is involved with MELT? Is it something to do on top of the diet and exercise we already focus on? How soon can we feel results?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk061SueHitzman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:24pm EST

It's always an amazing privilege to get wisdom from one spiritual master, but it's a gift to be in the presence of two masters. Douglas Abrams was able to spend some time with both His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu to begin with rarely spend time with each other in person as being world leaders it's difficult to just hang out. So when it was planned to spend extended time together, Douglas Abrams was there to capture the moments while writing a book with both of them. The book is "The Book of Joy" and Abrams discusses how both men simply exude joy and spread it to those around them.

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Direct download: UrbanMonk060DouglasAbrams.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

Millions of us suffer from some form of an autoimmune condition whether we know it or not. An autoimmune condition can cause weight issues, brain and mood problems, and fatigue. The big issue is that it can take years for symptoms to clearly point back towards an autoimmune condition. Dr. Tom O'Bryan is a leading researcher who has spent years studying the effects of autoimmunity. Is it possible to reverse these conditions? What is the autoimmune system and is it possible to control? How do we know if we have an autoimmune issue?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk059TomOBryan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:37am EST

It is human to care. Well, it's a good human that cares. But sometimes we may be helping out and worrying about other things and people so much that it's detrimental to our own health. How can we, without turning into a monster, stop giving a fuck? Mark Manson joins Pedram on today's program to discuss how to bring focus back to yourself without being a selfish monster.

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Direct download: UrbanMonk058MarkManson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:32am EST

For some people at the beginning of their weight loss journey, it can be trouble just figuring out where to even start. Do we have to hop right into the gym? Do we immediately overhaul our diet? Do we do both? Is there more to it? Jennifer Cohen would just have you start! She's a lifestyle and fitness spokesperson and consultant for a variety of brands from Muscle Milk to KIND Bars to Weight Watchers. Having spoken about fitness on programs such as The Doctors, Dr. Oz, and even NBC's Today Show, what are the common trip-ups she sees as people take the first steps towards becoming healthier?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk057JenniferCohen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30pm EST

For a while ADHD seemed nearly like a national epidemic. Many children were being diagnosed with ADHD and were being prescribed treatments for it. More than 1 in 7 US children are diagnosed with ADHD, but many experts are disputing that number. Many experts believe that millions of children are being misdiagnosed and are currently on medications that they should not be taking. Today's guest, Alan Schwarz, has studied the effects of ADHD culture. What does it mean for the medical industry to be diagnosing ADHD so often in children? What role do big pharmaceutical companies play in the pressure to diagnose ADHD? What are the appropriate ways to address this crisis?

Direct download: UrbanMonk056AlanSchwarz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:13am EST