Podcast

#54: Bringing Relationship back into Mindfulness with Amaranatho

In my second conversation with Amaranatho, we talk about how to bring mindfulness more meaningfully into our lives and, specifically, our relationships. Westerners already tend towards individualism, and gravitating towards intensive meditation practice can sometimes reinforce the preference of Westerners for individualism, while failing to allow us to develop the valuable skills of mindfulness within social contexts.

This builds on a similar theme of what contemporary practitioners of insight meditation (from Theravada Buddhism) must contend with when they import a monastic model into modern life. Amaranatho also discusses the ways in which he thinks psychotherapy can complement meditation, and how both can help us to become more fulfilled, self actualized human beings.

Amaranatho’s bio:

Amaranatho was a Buddhist monk for 15 years who has spent long periods alone, dealing with uncertainty and contemplating the deeper questions in life. He has a degree in AI, been a world explorer and is a supervisor and mentor to mindfulness teachers, facilitators and spiritual leaders. He works one to one with contemplatives and meditators that are stuck in their practice you can find more at www.amaranatho.com

As a mindfulness based executive coach he helps leaders, teams and organizations to stay calm and connected in complex situations so they can awaken to their true potential, by using the PlayfulMonk approach he developed more at www.playfulmonk.net

#53: Coming back to Awareness with Amaranatho

This week I speak with Amaranatho, who was a Buddhist monk for 15 years under the guidance of a very well respected teacher in the Thervada Buddhist tradition, Ajahn Sumedho. Ajahn Sumedho was one of the original Western disciples under Ajahn Chah, one of the great masters of the Thai Forest tradition of the 20th century. At many points in our conversation you can hear through Amaranatho’s voice the simplicity and clarity of Ajahn Chah’s repeated instructions to “rest in the one who knows,” to recognize awareness itself as the ground of all experience.

As Amaranatho was a Buddhist monk for 15 years and has now been “in the world” as a mindfulness based executive coach, he is in a unique position to offer insight into this question in which I’m increasingly interested: how to interpret the profound wisdom teachings of Theravada Buddhism (a monastic tradition) to those of us living life as a “householders,” in the modern world? Which of these practices can serve us well? And what should be modified or discarded?

That’s a big question and Amaranatho and I only scratched the surface of it, but I think you’ll enjoy the depth of wisdom he had to share.

Amaranatho’s bio:

Amaranatho was a Buddhist monk for 15 years who has spent long periods alone, dealing with uncertainty and contemplating the deeper questions in life. He has a degree in AI, been a world explorer and is a supervisor and mentor to mindfulness teachers, facilitators and spiritual leaders. He works one to one with contemplatives and meditators that are stuck in their practice you can find more at www.amaranatho.com

As a mindfulness based executive coach he helps leaders, teams and organisations to stay calm and connected in complex situations so they can awaken to their true potential, by using the PlayfulMonk approach he developed more at www.playfulmonk.net

#52: The Paleo Way with Paleo Robbie Co-Founder Erik Verspui

I sat down with the co-founder of Bangkok based Paleo Robbie, a company that provides high quality wild caught fish and pasture raised meats, along with a host of other delicious and nutritious products. For those based in Bangkok they also offer a meal plan service.

Erik is a wealth of information beyond just nutrition. Brief background on Erik:

After a gritty 7-year career in finance in 14 countries, Erik was stranded in Bangkok after the global banking credit crisis in 2008 and went from a 90 hour work week to playing elephant polo and investing not so successfully in water recycling.

While training for 5 triathlons in 2010 and having nothing to do during the Thailand civil war he ‘discovered’ the paleo diet from Mark’s Daily Apple, and after his baby brother Robbie also had his Just Eat Real Food awakening and finally fixed all his chronic health issues they agreed to start up a paleo delivery service in Bangkok in 2013. Paleo Erik now eats one regular size Paleo Robbie meal a day from paleorobbie.com/mealplan and enjoys cooking sockeye salmon fillets medium rare from the Primal Grocery at paleorobbie.com/grocery.

Erik’s other hobbies include chess, crypto, climbing, coding, and Chinese.

PROMO Code: For those of you based in Bangkok Paleo Robbie has kindly extended a 25% off deal on the first week on the Meal Plan. Valid is offer until June 30th, 2019.

PROMO Code is: HACKINGTHESELF25

Links for those who want to follow Paleo Robbie:

Facebook
Instagram

5 Basic Principles to Optimize your Health

Last week I stayed with two friends in San Francisco, husband and wife. Both of them work demanding jobs in private equity and public relations, respectively. Like many of my friends in the US, their work is demanding and stressful.

As someone who worked in high intensity jobs in finance and in politics in DC, I know how difficult it can be to lose sight of one’s own health. Habits accumulate, many of them not conducive for our physical and mental health.

Knowing that I had become very conscious about my health, my friends asked me what my top 5 suggestions were for enhancing their health on a daily basis.

Here is what I came up with. I’d love to hear from our readers and listeners what your Top 5 are as well.

5 Basic Principles for Optimizing your Health



1. Time restricted eating (TRE). Maintain at least a 12 hour window between the last time you consumed calories the night before and the next time you consume food or a beverage besides water (i.e. zero calories), the next morning. Dr. Rhonda Patrick has helped raise awareness around the benefits of TRE, largely through her discussions with circadian rhythm expert Dr. Satchin Panda. Research from Dr. Ruth Patterson shows compelling advantages for expanding to a 13 hour window (her studies focused on women).

The BIG Question: What about coffee!? Coffee will disrupt the benefits of TRE, according to Dr. Panda. Try holding off for another hour or two. You’d be surprised what hydration and some movement will do for your energy levels.

That said, if you do consume coffee (with no butter, MCT oil, milk or sugar–i.e. ZERO calories) you can still reap some benefits of a morning “fast” for metabolic purposes. Consider substituting with an amino acid powder if you want to do a coffee only fast in the morning.


2. Hydration. Upon waking replenish yourself with minerals. 1/4 lemon wedge plus half a tea spoon of Celtic sea salt (this is preferable to Himalayan Pink Sea Salt according to fitness expert Ben Greenfield). In general consume more mineral rich water and electrolyte drinks such as smart water (though avoiding plastic is always a welcome idea for health and environmental reasons).

For high quality trace minerals consider supplementing with Quicksilver trace ocean minerals, either upon waking or in the afternoon. Best consumed on an empty stomach.


3. Movement. Take a morning walk in a fasted state. Yoga is also great. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. 5 minutes is A LOT better than nothing.

In the morning if you don’t have time to walk because you are rushing to the car to get to work do even brief exercise (1-2 minutes of intense jumping jacks) in a fasted state. Movement shortly upon waking helpful for waking up and getting your body’s internal clock going.

During the day: Every 20 mins at least stand briefly and move before sitting back down. Once an hour take 60 seconds to induce heart raising activity like jumping jacks, push ups or plank.


4. Light. Get exposure to sunlight in early am. Supplementing with Vitamin D helps but it’s no substitute for the real deal. Getting light before noon translates into better sleep (this tells your brain to reduce more melatonin in the evening).. Use the app D Minder to track Vitamin D levels. Supplement with D3/K2 from Quicksilver Scientific (K2 is also a great supplement for health, including bones, and many of us don’t eat enough K2 from fermented foods or the right animal products).


5. Hot/cold exposure. Shower in morning or evening, or both. Alternate for 5 rounds: 20 seconds cold/10 seconds hot. Yes this is intense and not for everyone. But like anything else it can be a learned behavior. Benefits of hot, cold exposure are numerous including reduced inflammation, improved mitochondrial function and enhanced blood circulation. Also this improves the burning of “brown fat,” particularly when you do hot/cold exposure in a fasted state. You don’t have to jump from your cyrogenic freezer into your infra red sauna. Your shower is much better than nothing.

What are your top 5 daily habits for optimizing your health?

#51: Reducing Stress with Chinese Herbalism: a conversation with Roger Drummer Part 2

This is the second half of my conversation on Chinese Herbalism with Roger Drummer. Roger is the founder of Herb Works and the man who formulated its various, exceptional products, such as Tian Chi and Inner Peace.

A brief description of Roger’s story from the Herb Works website will give you a taste of what you’re in store for in this conversation:

“I truly believe in the healing power of Chinese herbs. They have transformed my life, and I’ve witnessed it happen for countless others in my 26 year career. As a Diplomate of Chinese Herbology, I’ve put tens of thousands of people on herbal programs with great success.

What makes Chinese herbology unique, is its fundamental principal of recognizing a person’s core imbalance and correcting it. It also recognizes that a healthy constitution can withstand tremendous outside influence. Therefore, restoring and maintaining vitality is the foundation of Chinese herbology.

People are suffering from chronic stress and losing vitality, which typically leads to poor health. Through my work with Chinese herbs, I have been able to help people create an internal environment where they can thrive and enjoy life.”

Roger Drummer is a wealth of knowledge regarding the benefits of using adaptogens such as Reishi mushrooms, Shizandra Berry, and Ashwaghanda, among other herbs. These compounds are natural, powerful ways to down regulate your nervous system, reduce stress and improve your mental and physical health.

From my perspective, Chinese herbalism is an ancient form of biohacking and the use of these herbs continues to offer great benefits to the health of many people who work with these herbs.

If you’re looking for a healthy way to reduce stress and improve your health, I would highly recommend that you consider purchasing some of the high quality products from Herb Works.

I’ve been taking Tian Chi most mornings or early afternoons, as well as three capsules of Inner Peace after dinner. Tian Chi helps me feel focused yet calm and relaxed: a great combination for a productive day of work. Inner Peace leaves me with a deep feeling of relaxation, which is a nice transition into winding down and getting ready for bed.

Enjoy my conversation with Roger and, as always, we welcome your comments and questions on Facebook or Twitter.

#50: Reducing Stress with Chinese Herbalism: a conversation with Roger Drummer Part 1

This is the first of a two part conversation on Chinese Herbalism with Roger Drummer. Roger is the founder of Herb Works and the man who formulated its various, exceptional products, such as Tian Chi and Inner Peace.

A brief description of Roger’s story from the Herb Works website will give you a taste of what you’re in store for in this conversation:

“I truly believe in the healing power of Chinese herbs. They have transformed my life, and I’ve witnessed it happen for countless others in my 26 year career. As a Diplomate of Chinese Herbology, I’ve put tens of thousands of people on herbal programs with great success.

What makes Chinese herbology unique, is its fundamental principal of recognizing a person’s core imbalance and correcting it. It also recognizes that a healthy constitution can withstand tremendous outside influence. Therefore, restoring and maintaining vitality is the foundation of Chinese herbology.

People are suffering from chronic stress and losing vitality, which typically leads to poor health. Through my work with Chinese herbs, I have been able to help people create an internal environment where they can thrive and enjoy life.”

Roger Drummer is a wealth of knowledge regarding the benefits of using adaptogens such as Reishi mushrooms, Shizandra Berry, and Ashwaghanda, among other herbs. These compounds are natural, powerful ways to down regulate your nervous system, reduce stress and improve your mental and physical health.

From my perspective, Chinese herbalism is an ancient form of biohacking and the use of these herbs continues to offer great benefits to the health of many people who work with these herbs.

If you’re looking for a healthy way to reduce stress and improve your health, I would highly recommend that you consider purchasing some of the high quality products from Herb Works.

I’ve been taking Tian Chi most mornings or early afternoons, as well as three capsules of Inner Peace after dinner. Tian Chi helps me feel focused yet calm and relaxed: a great combination for a productive day of work. Inner Peace leaves me with a deep feeling of relaxation, which is a nice transition into winding down and getting ready for bed.

Enjoy my conversation with Roger and, as always, we welcome your comments and questions on Facebook or Twitter.

#49: What’s the difference between Classical Chinese Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?

In my fourth and final conversation with acupuncturist Ben Elan we learn about the differences between Classical Chinese Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Ben’s insights are highly relevant to anyone interested in Chinese Medicine, “alternative” approaches to Western Medicine, Medical Qi Gong or Daoism.

In particular, this information is highly valuable to anyone interested in seeking Chinese medicine treatment. It’s helpful to know the advantages and limitations of each school before committing to working with a practitioner without first understanding the different approaches of these two schools of Chinese medicine.

#48: Crash Course in Yin Yang & The 5 Elements with Ben Elan

In my third conversation with Ben Elan, Ben gives us a glimpse into two foundational pieces of Daoism and Classical Chinese Medicine: the concepts of Yin Yang & 5 Element Theory.

Guest Bio:

Benjamin Elan, Dip. Ac has been been studying and practicing Classical Chinese Medicine for 13 years. Trained in the Stems & Branches acupuncture tradition, he is a certified Acupuncturist, Herbalist and Medical Qi Gong instructor. He also holds a Masters degree in Narrative Therapy from Melbourne University.

Benjamin began his journey doing community and health work with indigenous tribes in Southern Israel. Today,  The scope of his practice incorporates elements of humanistic psychology, ethnography, shamanism and community work.

Ben is currently practicing and teaching Chinese Medicine in Northern Thailand.

#47: Chinese vs Western Medicine with Ben Elan

In the second conversation in our series on Ancient Chinese Medicine with acupuncturist Ben Elan, we cover the following topics:

  • fundamental differences in approach between Chinese & Western medicine
  • the pros and cons of each methodology
  • what kinds of problems or symptoms are each of these effective at treating
  • challenges in talking about, or comparing, these two systems

As always, if you enjoy the show please consider supporting the podcast by writing a review on iTunes or your favorite podcasting platform, sharing the episode on social media, and/or supporting Hacking the Self on Patreon.

I welcome questions, comments or any other constructive thoughts that you would like to share on the FB page for Hacking the Self. You can also email: hackingtheself@gmail.com.

Thank you for listening.

Adrian

 

#46: What is Chinese Medicine? with Ben Elan

This conversation is the first in a series on Chinese Medicine. I’m tinkering with a new format for the show in which I do a series of shorter (20-30 minute) conversation with one guest where we unpack one theme or topic over a number of shorter episodes.

Here is the overview of topics for the upcoming series on Chinese Medicine:

  1. What is Chinese Medicine?
  2. Advantages of Chinese Medicine vs. Western
  3. CM Theory: Yin & Yang 5 Elements
  4. Difference between kinds of Chinese Medicine

Guest Bio:

Benjamin Elan, Dip. Ac has been been studying and practicing Classical Chinese Medicine for 13 years. Trained in the Stems & Branches acupuncture tradition, he is a certified Acupuncturist, Herbalist and Medical Qi Gong instructor. He also holds a Masters degree in Narrative Therapy from Melbourne University.

Benjamin began his journey doing community and health work with indigenous tribes in Southern Israel. Today,  The scope of his practice incorporates elements of humanistic psychology, ethnography, shamanism and community work.

Ben is currently practicing and teaching Chinese Medicine at Tao Garden Retreat Centre in North Thailand.