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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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT