The Urban Monk Podcast

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

A lot of different exercise and nutrition programs get summed down into simple sayings. "No pain no gain" and "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" are often thrown around, but what's the truth behind those? Pedram Shojai welcomes Ari Whitten to The Urban Monk to talk about the exact science behind weight loss. What is happening in the body on a cellular level that tells it to keep fat or to lose it? How does this differ between people and how do we know what works best for us without having to try everything? And when it comes to "no pain no gain," are we really supposed to be in pain to get gains?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk055AriWhitten1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

We live in a fast society. There's fast food, fast internet, even instant streaming of TV. Health fixes we expect to be fast as well. But sometimes the best solution isn't the fastest. In fact, quick-fix solutions might exacerbate certain health imbalances. Today's guest, Dr. Michael Finkelstein advises a slow medicine approach – identifying root causes of our symptoms and then creating a step-by-step, long-term response. Is a slow medicine approach always appropriate? In what ways does this benefit? If a fix takes so long, how are we sure that it's even working?

Direct download: UrbanMonk054MichaelFinkelstein.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:17pm EDT

Sometimes a family member or close friend might drop a bombshell on us that leaves us speechless. Sometimes it's great yet unexpected move like hearing a friend is moving across the country for a job. It might be something awful like hearing a relative has cancer. Melissa Moore received news that very few of us are likely to ever hear. As a teenager, she learned that her father was a serial killer. He was in fact the nationally known serial killer, the Happy Face Killer. How does anyone possibly even react to that sort of news? Melissa was stigmatized for years after the conviction of her father. Did she have any clue? How did other people react to her? How does someone's life fall apart after this sort of news? And more importantly how was Melissa able to pull herself back together?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk053MelissaMoore.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:36pm EDT

A lot of life seems to be about trying to be in the right place at the right time. Is there any evidence to that? Today's guest, Dr. Michael Breus, would argue "Yes!" And he comes with a lot of studies to back it up. In his new book, "The Power of When," he explores how timing is everything. The catch? The timing varies from person to person. Does this mean we have to uproot everything we do and spend a lot of time just to figure out how to time things? Dr. Breus simplifies the process so that grasping the "Power of When" isn't about a massive change, but making a simple shift that can have big effects. He talks about different chronotypes. What are chronotypes and how do you know which one you are? What differentiates one chronotype from another? How possible is it to maximize productivity by looking at your own chronotype?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk052MichaelBreus.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Sometimes the biggest obstacle in the way of achieving goals we set for ourselves is, well, ourselves. How can we get out of our own way? Today Pedram welcomes back to the program Dr. Carl Totton who was Pedram's kung fu master. Carl is not only a professor of psychology but also a kung fu grandmaster. How can we maximize our energy into usable energy to help us achieve our goals no matter how big or small? How do we know if we're the ones responsible for falling short of our goals? How can we recognize that and make adjustments so that we can live our lives the way we want to?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk051CarlTotton.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:48am EDT

Trash is a part of everyone's lives. When consuming products, there's generally some waste that goes with it. We might make a big effort to recycle as much as we can, but there will always be something that just can't be recycled. At least in the United States, there is a lot of space for landfills. But what about other countries? Sara El-Yafi is the granddaughter of a former Prime Minister of the country of Lebanon. The entire country is about the size of Connecticut. There simply isn't enough space to just create more landfills and no one else wants trash dumped in their country. So what's the solution? Well, Sara has been working with various groups that have been spearheading new techniques that take everyday garbage and transforms it into useable energy. What does it mean to recycle something? What is up-cycling and how is it different? Is it enough to just use recycled goods and products?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk050SaraElYafi.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

When watching the news, do we consciously take into the possibility of a bias in reporting? We might know about media bias, but how are we to take in information if there's a possibility that all the sources have some bias? Today on The Urban Monk, Pedram Shojai welcomes Larry Atkins, a journalist and lawyer who wrote a book, Skewed, tackling media bias. How do we separate agendas from facts? What is the purpose of agenda-driven news? What do the networks get out of reporting beyond the facts? Are there any neutral news sources available?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk049LarryAtkins.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Addiction is an issue that affects many people, but what is the cause of it? Why do some people seem to be more prone to addictive behaviors than others? Do some people really have an "addictive personality"? Well, this week's guest, Maia Szalavitz, joins Pedram Shojai on the Urban Monk to challenge the idea that some people just have an addictive personality to be suppressed or that the brain is broken in some way leading to addiction. If we are to look at the brain as not being broken per se, how should we treat addiction? Maia dives into the topic and opens up about her own history with an addiction to cocaine and heroin. What treatment got her to finally kick her addictions? Is it still a present issue in her life? Does addiction and addictive behavior seem to be more present in certain people than others?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk048MaiaSzalavitz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Religion is an important part of many people's lives. It can provide moral grounding, a sense of identity, and even a sense of purpose. But in recent years there's been a growing number of people that count themselves among those without a preferred religion. Whether atheist or agnostic, large numbers of people are leaving their churches, synagogues, temples, or mosques. But as religion can play a large part in someone's life, what does it mean to have the absence of religion playing an equally large part? To help dive into what it means to form an identity absent of religion, Pedram Shojai welcomes Katherine Ozment on The Urban Monk. Katherine is the author of "Grace Without God" which explores her own journey of raising her three kids in a mixed-faith household and what that meant. How does someone without religion find purpose and meaning?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk047KatherineOzment.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

People have reported in near-death experiences having an out-of-body experience, but is there any science behind these experiences? This week on The Urban Monk Pedram Shojai welcomes someone who actually has personal knowledge regarding Out-of-Body Experiences (OBEs). Luis Minero is the President of the International Academy of Consciousness. He's also the author of "Demystifying the Out-of-Body Experience." What are OBEs? What happens and how do they work? Is it possible for anyone to have an OBE? Are they dangerous? Is it possible for your consciousness to leave the body and not be able to return? How is an OBE different from a dream? And is the process teachable to others?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk046LuisMinero.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EDT

When it comes to children, it's important to begin the development of strong motor and sensory skills from a very young age. For adults, maintaining some physical activity is very important, but for children it can be vital in developing proper physical coordination. Today's guest is a pediatric occupational therapist who has been noticing a rise of children coming to her office with issues ranging from poor balance to anxiety, hyperactivity, and emotional fragility. Seeing this on a daily basis, Angela J. Hanscom is a believer in the importance of getting children outside. She discusses the major problems she's been seeing in young children. What is causing these problems? What is active free play? How does that help solve the issues? Why are children nowadays seemingly unlike to participate in physical activity? What motor skills can be underdeveloped if children don't engage in movement from an early age?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk045AngelaHanscom.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

When playing sports, we all want to tap into every bit of energy we can get. How do we achieve peak performance? Today's guest teaches athletes to optimize performance by fixing their mental game. Jonathan Fader is the team sport psychologist for the New York Mets and a resource doctor for the MLB rookie program. Jonathan explains how performance psychology evolved in sports. What is the process of working with athletes to psychology prepare them for a game? Can this process be used by people who aren't elite athletes? Can the right psychological preparation help doctors, lawyers, chefs, and cashiers? What can we do when stress seems to take over and how can we stop a negative dialogue that might occur in our heads from time to time?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk044JonathanFader.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Sometimes some of us may feel completely lost in life with no idea what to do. When we get really lost without a sense of purpose it can really bring us down in many ways, emotionally and physically. How can we go about trying to find a purpose? To help navigate this, Pedram welcomes Vic Strecher, an award-winning professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and author of the book "Life on Purpose." How does he define purpose? What is the difference between finding "purpose" and "meaning"? Do we choose a purpose or does it find us? Vic also speaks about a personal tragedy and how such events can shift what purpose can be. Can having a purpose help make someone more resilient to adversity?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk043VicStrecher.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

We all want to be happy. Seems like a simple goal, but what does that actually mean? Happiness isn't something at all tangible so what does it mean to pursue happiness? Is it even possible to be happy all the time? To help figure this out, Pedram welcomes Kristi Ling, a life and business coach, to discuss how to create more happiness, love, and success in our individual lives. Is happiness something we create for ourselves or do we find it from outside sources? Is being happy a skill we can hone and perfect? What role does our individual biology play in how happy we are?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk042KristiLing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Pedram has been meditating for years and teaching meditation for just as long. It keeps him centered, focused, and helps him manage his stress! To go deeper on the topic, Pedram welcomes Dr. Norman Rosenthal who is an expert on Transcendental Meditation. He's a firm believer in the power of meditation, but he also comes as a research psychiatrist who has woven decades of clinical research with compelling personal stories into a new book titled "Super Mind." How does transcendental meditation (TM) differ from other types of meditation? What does it even mean? What are some benefits from TM? With how busy all of us are, how much time does a person need to be meditation a day to actually get the benefits?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk041NormanRosenthal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:56pm EDT

How aware are you of the use of chemical herbicides and pesticides? When it comes to food, you may be very aware. But what about the use of pesticides on the grass and plants at a nearby park? On this episode of The Urban Monk, Pedram Shojai welcomes three guests from Non-Toxic Irvine, a group that was concerned with the use of chemicals in Irvine, California. The guests are Ayn Craciun, Kim Konte, and Professor Bruce Blumberg. They share their story of how they became organized after they saw the declining health of people in their community. Irvine is frequently at the top of the list for safest large city in the United States, but that's regarding crime rates. It's a completely different story when it comes to personal health and safety against chemicals and pesticides. What was Non-Toxic Irvine able to accomplish? Are others being exposed to pesticides unknowingly in other cities? How can you check? And what can you do if you find out chemicals and pesticides are being used in the public areas near you?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk040NonToxicIrvine.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

It's difficult to make the adjustment when you're a new parent. Even though his son is now two years old, that balance can still be tricky. To talk and swap stories about starting a family while trying to run a business, Jake Carney of The Alternative Daily joins Pedram on this episode of The Urban Monk. What are their experiences as parents? What have they learned in their years as parents? Were they ever able to finally strike that balance between work and family?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk039JakeCarney.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Dr. Robert Rountree is one of the pioneering practitioners of functional medicine. Today he's here to talk to Pedram about the human microbiome and how it can affect our health. What is the microbiome? What is the composition of micro-organisms that make up the human microbiome? What has been the impact of new technologies on our understanding of the composition of the human microbiome? What new information have we learned as a result? Is everyone's microbiome similar? What are the differences? And what are the implications of having to work with unique microbiomes? How does this affect the development of disease as well? What environmental factors affect the microbiome? How much control do we have on the microbiome?

Direct download: UrbanMonk038RobertRountree.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:05pm EDT

How can we achieve sustainability in commercial real estate? This is a major, major issue to change the way engineers design and construct buildings to ensure our personal health along with the health of the planet. Today on The Urban Monk Pedram Shojai welcomes a man who is at the forefront of this issue in California. Chris Jafarieh heads up the Green Diamond division of the Blaqk Diamond Group and he'll give us an insight into how traditionally constructed buildings are impacting us and the planet. Can only new buildings be completely sustainable? Is it possible to retrofit old buildings? How much would that cost and is it worth it? What is a green, sustainable building anyways? And what does the future hold for sustainable buildings?

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Direct download: UrbanMonk037ChrisJafarieh.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Ever wonder why some people have an amazing ability to learn fast and remember numbers, dates, names, details, while other people can't remember the name of someone they just met at a party? Today on The Urban Monk Pedram Shojai welcomes Jim Kwik, the CEO of Kwik Learning and the founder of Superhuman You. He's a widely recognized expert in memory improvement, speed reading, brain performance, and accelerated learning. He has also been an advisor and mental coach to many of the world's top CEOs and celebrities. Is having a super mind a skill that people are born with? Or can it be taught?

For more on Jim Kwik's Memory Course, visit: http://www.JimKwik.com/UrbanMonk

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Direct download: UrbanMonk036JimKwik.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:19pm EDT

Boundaries in regards to relationships determine what you have the authority, responsibility, and accountability to do and not to do. How can we set clear boundaries? How important are they to set? Today on The Urban Monk, Pedram welcomes Dr. Damon Bayles, a clinical psychologist who approaches his work with his clients in an empathetic, collaborative, and mindful way and is a big believer in setting boundaries. How can boundaries create different systems? And how can we create different roles for different systems? That is, do we act differently as a spouse than as a parent and as a co-worker? What impact does this have on a person to shift between different roles in different systems?

For more on Dr. Damon Bayles and his work on Boundaries, visit http://damonbayles.com

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Direct download: UrbanMonk035DamonBayles.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:42am EDT

Many of us spend our lives trying to accrue wealth. We think it'll bring stability and happiness. For some that may be true, but for Jason Wachob, it just led him towards more stress. Pedram welcomes Jason this week to The Urban Monk to talk about his time as a trader on Wall Street and how he left that world to create mindbodygreen and later write the book "Wellth: How I Learned To Build a Life, Not a Resume." That's not a misspelling, rather than focusing on wealth and stability in the past sense of finances, Jason wants to focus on "wellth," as in the well-being of our lives in regards to health, happiness, and abundance. Why do many people focus on financial success at the cost of their own health and happiness? What can we do to get ourselves on track?

For more on Jason Wachob's new book, visit http://www.wellth.mindbodygreen.com/

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Direct download: UrbanMonk034JasonWachob.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01pm EDT

We've heard it before and some of us struggle and understand deeply the importance of sleep. There's a new book with a lot of new research by someone who's always bringing us the latest news and points of views, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington! This week she joins Pedram Shojai on The Urban Monk to talk about her experiences running The Huffington Post, writing books, and even acting while trying to get enough sleep! She mentions that there is a sleep crisis. Are we really in crisis? How many people have issues with sleep? Are people sleeping less on average now than in previous time periods? Arianna dives into "pre-industrial sleep" and how sleep habits were different long ago. But living in the current world, how can we master sleep? What affect did mastering sleep have on people like Andre Iguodala, basketball player for the Golden State Warriors?

For more information on Arianna Huffington's new book, "The Sleep Revolution," visit http://ariannahuffington.com

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Direct download: UrbanMonk033AriannaHuffington.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

We've all had those moments. You know, the ones when we just seem to have failed at everything, nothing is going right, there doesn't seem to be anyone around to help nor would they understand. What do you do when you fail and fail hard? Giving up always sounds like a good plan, but eventually we pick ourselves up. But where do we begin? This week Pedram Shojai welcomes a guest who found herself hitting rock bottom, but turned herself around to become a sports nutritionist and certified personal trainer, Natalie Jill. She talks about her mission and the background that led her to become the person that she is today. How did she rebound from life's disappointments, setbacks, and tragedies?

For more information on Natalie Jill's new book, "7 Day Jump Start: Unproccess Your Diet with Super Easy Recipes" visit http://nataliejillfitness.com/book

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Direct download: UrbanMonk032NatalieJill.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:49pm EDT

Earth Day is tomorrow and to help celebrate, Pedram Shojai has welcomed Tero Isokauppila, co-founder of Four Sigma Foods, to come talk about mushrooms! What could be more earthy than mushrooms? They're a super food that was used by many ancient cultures and are in fact used in about 40% of the medicines we use today! Unfortunately when people think of mushrooms nowadays many think about psychedelic "magic mushrooms" but there is so much more to them than that! What are the myths and misconceptions surrounding mushrooms? Did you know they mushrooms exist in their own kingdom classification? They don't belong to any other plant kingdom and there are literally millions of mushrooms on earth! When using mushrooms medicinally, what can it help? How can mushrooms help adrenal fatigue? What about as a stress reducer or a sleep aid? How can we all introduce mushrooms into our daily lives?

For more on Tero's work and Four Sigma Foods, visit http://FourSigmatic.com

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Direct download: UrbanMonk031TeroIsokauppila.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

What are tonic herbs? As a Doctor of Oriental Medicine Pedram Shojai has a strong interest in tonic or adaptogenic herbs. To help explain what they are is Daniel Moriarty of Sun Horse Energy. He has spent years searching the planet for adaptogenic herbs and blending them to help improve health. What sorts of different herbs are there? What can they be used for? Who discovered tonic herbs and who was using them? More importantly, how do they work? Are they safe? Are they effective? How much scientific research has been done on tonic herbs?

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Direct download: Urban_Monk_Podcast_030_Daniel_Moriarty.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:46am EDT

This week on The Urban Monk Pedram Shojai welcomes a man he met when he appeared on The Dr. Oz Show, Donovan Green. He's a certified ACE and IFA personal trainer, a black belt martial artist, a kick boxing instructor, an integrative nutritionist, and author the book No Excuses Fitness. Donovan is also Dr. Oz's personal trainer! It's hard to imagine that he grew up in a tough part of the Bronx. How did a young man growing up in the Bronx in the mid-1980s amidst the crack epidemic tough it out, resist the peer pressure, and get into the world of fitness? On top of all of that, he wasn't a fit child. How did fitness become a passion for Donovan? Now that he's a very fit person, is training and teaching still a passion for Donovan? How can someone struggling with their environment break through to find their own path to success?

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Direct download: Urban_Monk_Podcast_029_Donovan_Green.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

We all know of its importance, we know how terrible life is if we don't get enough of it, we all know we need to get some sleep! How important is sleep? What sort of health detriments can occur if we don't get enough? To help understand, Pedram Shojai invites Shawn Stevenson to The Urban Monk. Shawn has literally written a book on sleep and talks about the incredible ways getting more and higher quality sleep can affect your body to run at a healthier normal. What other changes can a person make to help get more rest? How do the activities we partake in while awake affect the quality of our sleep? How does sleep help detox the brain? How can caffeine disrupt the sleep cycle? And how can good quality sleep affect the way our bodies operate during waking hours?

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Direct download: Urban_Monk_Podcast_028_Shawn_Stevenson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Coming up starting on April 4th is National Youth Violence Prevention Week. What is considered youth violence and bullying? This week Pedram Shojai welcomes various members of SAVE, Students Against Violence Everywhere, to address this complex issue in a roundtable discussion. Joining Pedram are Jim Wise, Kit Evans, Maggie Adams, and Gerard Wheeler. In a national survey, the CDC reports that 8.1% of high schoolers report being in a physical fight in the last 12 months; 6.9% report being threatened or injured with a weapon; 19.6% report being bullied at school; and 14.8% report bullied electronically. What is SAVE and how does the organization work to reduce youth violence and bullying? How has bullying changed over the years? What role does technology play in bullying nowadays? Where does youth violence and bullying come from? Are there signs that can be identified to prevent bullying before it even occurs?

If you or someone you know is dealing with violence, you can reach out to SAVE at NationalSave.org and find a chapter in your state.

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Direct download: Urban_Monk_Podcast_SAVED_27.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

This episode of The Urban Monk is a special one. Pedram Shojai welcomes his kung fu master, Dr. Carl Totton. He is a martial arts grandmaster, a taoist priest, and clinical psychologist. Pedram and Carl discuss the teachings of martial arts and its focus on health, including physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual health. Kung fu, despite being popular in movies, has never been about aggression and violence. It's about being in balance, detecting danger, and keeping out of harm's way. What drew Carl to the Chinese arts? What are the origins of the martial arts and what led to its surge in popularity, especially in the 70s? What is "chi" and what is its importance? How can we all be in balance both physically and mentally?


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Direct download: Urban_Monk_Podcast_Carl_Totten_26.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:58pm EDT

Most of us purchase our food. Not very many of us grow every single thing we eat. So then were DOES our food come from? Food companies may make bold claims about the healthfulness of their foods, but are they verified? Can we trust these corporations? This week on The Urban Monk, Pedram Shojai welcomes Ocean Robbins, CEO of The Food Revolution Network, to the show to discuss the state of food systems and what it takes to ensure healthy eating. How does the quality of the foods we buy affect the quality of the planet? Can the items we buy each week really make that much of a difference? What about the difference in purchasing regular foods versus organic food? And what about foods containing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)? How do crops of GMOs affect the planet? And what of trying to get more organic foods in regular supermarkets as opposed to having to go to a specialty supermarket or a farmer's market? What actions can people take to help spur this movement on?

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Direct download: Urban_Monk_Podcast_Ocean_Robbins_25.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

This week Pedram Shojai welcomes guest Lisa Garr of The Aware Show. On the program Lisa opens up about a near-death experience she had following a bicycling accident. The experience resulted in a traumatic brain injury. She discusses how through EEG and neuro-feedback she was able to make a full recovery. She went on to find her purpose in communication messages of positive growth and change on the radio and through the internet. How did this lead to her discovering light therapy? What is light therapy? What can treat and has it been shown to be effective? Are there any side effects to light therapy?

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Direct download: Urban_Monk_Podcast_Lisa_Garr_24.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:12pm EDT

The brain is an interesting organ. We all have one, we use it every day, we might even think about it from time to time, but in reality it sits in darkness within our skulls. Have you ever thought about how you might analyze the activity within your brain? This week on The Urban Monk, Pedram Shojai welcomes Bill Harris of Centerpointe Research Institute. What neuro-technologies are available to study the brain? What do we know about how the brain functions? What are brainwaves and what types exist? Are certain brainwaves associated with certain types of activities? And is it possible to train and change our brain?

For more information on Bill Harris and the Centerpointe Research Institute, go to:

http://www.centerpointe.com/t/ped103

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Direct download: Urban_Monk_Podcast_Bill_Harris_22.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:58pm EDT

The subject of women’s menstruation is not often spoken, and when it is, it’s quietly framed as “her monthly cycle”, “her period” or “having lady time.” On this episode of The Urban Monk, Pedram Shojai welcomes Stasha who is a certified holistic health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She is on a mission to trash that taboo of silence, bring menstruation front and center, and use it as a foundation for success in both business and personal life. Rather than just dealing with painful periods, Stasha works with her cycle. What are the phases of a full menstrual cycle and how can we all adjust our schedules to work with it for a full productive and happy life rather than falling victim?

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Direct download: Urban_Monk_Podcast_Stasha.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

While nations fail to commit to reducing carbon emissions to levels that scientists recommend, the soil offers another solution. Joining The Urban Monk host, Pedram Shojai, to tell us about it are guests Jimmy Sinton, CEO of The Fair Carbon Exchange; Molly Haviland, Soil Conservationist and Microherder with Applied Soil Technologies; Dr Elaine Ingham, a world-renowned soil biologist and founder of Soil Foodweb Inc.; Ryland Englehart, soil activist, co-founder of Kiss The Ground and owner of Café Gratitude in LA.

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Direct download: The_Urban_Monk_2015-12-03_Soil_is_Our_Savior_Podcast_Edit_Audio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:32pm EDT

There's a great effort to create businesses and hold events that will impact communities on both a small and large scale. How do you do that? What are the skills you need and how do you develop them? It’s an essential set of skills if you really want to make a difference, be heard, and win support. To help acquire the proper skills, Pedram Shojai welcomes guest Sage Lavine to The Urban Monk. Sage is the CEO of Conscious Women Entrepreneurs and has helped hundreds of people with the skills and confidence to lead both small and large live events that make a difference.

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Direct download: Urban_Monk_Podcast_Sage_Lavine.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

So many people today are involved in entrepreneurial businesses. The demands of time and energy to operate and work in an entrepreneurial business can be endless and exhausting. And when you succeed and get there, or fail to get there, what’s left of you, the original you? Where did all that time go? Do you even remember the source of your identity, where your sense of self-worth came from? Joining the conversation on The Urban Monk is Matt Lowman who has known the exuberance and the emptiness of entrepreneurial victory and loss. Talking to Pedram Shojai, he now wants to advise others on how to stay whole.

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Direct download: Urban_Monk_Podcast_Matt_Lowman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Per Bristow has been voice coaching Hollywood’s elite for years. His unconventional approach really stems from roots in something very deep. Per’s take on this revolves around letting go of outcome and finding a relationship with “play” again. It’s ok to be off key – just sing.

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Direct download: Urban_Monk_Podcast_013_Per_Bristow.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Some of us might make a strong effort to eat clean foods. We may try to eat organic and bump up the ratio of fruits and vegetables in our diet but as we do so do we think about the actual origins of those foods? Soil expert Molly Haviland joins Pedram Shojai on The Urban Monk to discuss how caring for soil can have great affects on the environment. When it comes to crops, what role does the health of the soil play? What makes soil healthy? How does soil composition affect the crops that are grown in it?

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Direct download: Urban_Monk_Podcast_016_Molly_Haviland.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

In this follow-up interview with Lt. Col. Scott Mann, we delve deeper into the wounds of the Middle East and how we can look at fixing this situation. Part of it is a battle of ideology. Mann's opinion is that certain elements can't and won't change because they believe they're ushering in the apocalypse. Not much sense in having a rational conversation with that it seems.

What about women and elders? How can we strengthen communities? How can we learn more about the local history of the places we have issues?

We covered a lot of topics and, as a former Green Beret, he brought some powerful insights back from 14 years of war he has waged against terror.

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Direct download: Urban_Monk_Podcast_015_Scott_Mann_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

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