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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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT