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The Soul of Life
45 minutes | 7 days ago
The Daring Doctor: Treating Food Allergies with OIT
1 in 13 kids have food allergies in the U.S. This scary condition that can lead to fatal anaphylaxis (the sudden constriction of airways) is debilitating to live with. Today on The Soul of Life I speak with a doctor that is part of a handful of allergists in the U.S. that are revolutionizing the way anaphylactic food allergies are treated. Dr. Manav Segal is an allergist based in Philadelphia to which my family owes a debt of for curing our son’s debilitating allergy to dairy by offering a treatment for food allergies called Oral Immunotherapy or (OIT). OIT has been around in the U.S. for many years now but it is still far from being widespread among physicians who treat allergies, many of whom continue to warn their patients that a lifetime of strict avoidance is the only treatment. I speak to Dr. Segal to share how this too-good-to-be-true story could be true for your family, and we talk about why the rate of food allergies has accelerated rapidly in the last two decades. "The American Academy of Pediatrics and Allergy Societies speculated, 'Well maybe it’s because we’re introducing peanuts and tree nuts and milk and egg too soon.' They just got it wrong." We talk about the budding culture shift among physicians toward widespread acceptance of OIT. It wasn’t until about 2017 that the American Academy of pediatrics changed their recommendations based on research that had come out around that time that said early introduction is what may help slow down the increased numbers of food allergies. What’s the latest pediatric advice about early introduction of food allergies to babies? What percentage of kids will outgrow food allergies? What’s the difference between Celiac Disease characterized by wheat intolerance and a wheat allergy?
47 minutes | 14 days ago
Today on the Soul of Life I call in a professional hypnotist to help me keep my head in the game of tennis. I think you’ll get a kick out of seeing Taylor Sherman try to improve my tennis game and you can follow right along as he uses a deep relaxation technique and guided imagery that may also help you deepen your own sharpness and energy level in your life. People know hypnosis for really three things: stopping smoking, losing weight and lowering stress, but Taylor performs hypnosis to help people change all sorts of habits, and he specializes in using hypnosis for improving athletic performance. We talk about how hypnosis works in the brain, what kind of people are most likely to benefit from hypnosis, and where is hypnosis less effective?
51 minutes | 21 days ago
Film & TV Reviews with Sandie Angulo Chen of Common Sense Media
Do the phrases “feel good movie” and “rape culture” ever belong together? In this episode of The Soul of Life I speak again with Sandie Angulo Chen, a film critic and writer for Common Sense Media, about several new films and shows that handle some fairly radioactive cultural themes, like the Amy Pohler-directed Moxie, and Promising Young Woman. Then Sandie and I totally shift gears, into sci-fi escapism, to talk about the new Marvel Universe series on Disney+, WandaVision. We talk about several other noteworthy series like Boy’s State, a documentary about the Texas chapter of this national civic education group for teens across the U.S. Sandie reviews Raya and the Last Dragon, and we talk about the 2021 Oscar nominations, Judas and the Black Messiah, and some films Sandie thinks got snubbed.
49 minutes | a month ago
How Running Makes Us Human
Why do we run? When Vybarr Cregan-Reid set out to answer this question, he began a journey into the science and psychobiology of the human body which—he says—is born to run. "We’ve been runners for probably about 2.3 million years." In this episode of The Soul of Life we talk about Cregan-Reid’s book, Footnotes: How Running Makes us Human, and a passion for running that took him to the world’s most advanced running laboratories and research centers to learn why natural running—running barefoot—is being embraced by running enthusiasts as the solution to foot, leg, and knee injuries that some scientists attribute to modern running shoes. Cregan-Reid says your body knows more about running than you ever will and our discussion is equally for those who say they can’t run or hate to run as much as it’s for running enthusiasts.
55 minutes | a month ago
Marijuana: Facts and Fiction
In the United States, the non-medical use of cannabis is decriminalized in 16 states and legalized in another 14 states. Enthusiasts say pot helps them deal with life better, manage their anxiety, and helps them with sleep. But what are the facts about marijuana? And are we ready for large-scale commercialization this is following the rapid movement to legalize weed? Today on The Soul of Life I speak with Dr. Samoon Amhad, author of Medical Marijuana: A Clinical Handbook (2020), that provides up-to-date scientific guidance about how marijuana may be an appropriate treatment for some medical conditions. We also examine the persistent belief among a vast group of people that marijuana is harmless. Do the benefits outweigh the risks associated with withdrawal, addiction, and the rebound effects on anxiety and depression? We'll address important questions, such as: - How effective is marijuana at treating anxiety, depression and PTSD? - How easily addictive is marijuana? - How often does regular marijuana use lead to long-term psychosis? - Is it true that your IQ drops from regular marijuana use? - Why is THC intoxication so different and difficult to self-assess than alcohol and how does this affect how states are enacting sober driving tests?
50 minutes | a month ago
Tessa Velazquez: Baked & Wired Coffee Shop
Americans (and particularly Washingtonians) love coffee and they love cafes. You only have to look at the monopoly that Starbucks has created worldwide to see this phenomenon. But is the era of Big Coffee over? Is it possible that artisanal boutique coffee shops could be clawing back into the Green Giant’s market share the way craft breweries have surprised behemoth beverage conglomerates? That’s where the Velazquez family has a unique edge. With their locally beloved coffee outposts, Baked & Wired located in the Georgetown neighborhood and A Baked Joint and situated near Chinatown, they have shown over their 20 years of growth that their personal touches can be successful. In 2019 the Velazquez family—Tony and Theresa and their adult children Tessa and Zak—opened La Betty restaurant next door to A Baked Joint. Today Tessa Velazquez joins me on The Soul of Life to talk about their success taking a stab at Big Coffee in this caffeine-fueled city, surviving as a boutique café and restaurant during the pandemic, and of course, we’ll talk about some of your favorite things like baking, bread and flour, sweets, and our relationship to the work and art of food.
49 minutes | 2 months ago
Loving Someone With an Eating Disorder
Eating disorders have a reputation for wrecking emotional havoc in a family and trigger strong emotional reactions by loved ones and therapists who can end up in a tug of war to make the disturbing symptoms stop. But eating disorder specialist Dana Harron says love and compassion are key ingredients to successful treatment. In this episode of The Soul of Life, I speak with Dana about the most common types of disordered eating, and we separate eating disorder facts from fiction. "My partner said that I look really healthy today, and that sounds like a really good thing to say but—oh—that’s going to trigger the eating disorder really badly." We review some of the most common eating disorders, like bingeing, bulimia, anorexia, and exercise addiction and what may be at the root of these symptoms. Dana explains how disordered eating affects sex, often shutting down a fully in-the-moment sensory experience in place of performative detachment. And she updates us on the wildly inaccurate under-calculation of the prevalence of disordered eating among boys and men which has historically been thought of as 1 in 10 males.
54 minutes | 2 months ago
Rising Star: The Music of American Idol's Alec Shaw
When you hear the music that 23-year old Seattle musician Alec Shaw is writing and performing you know he’s headed somewhere big. But whether he knows that yet is a different story. Shaw had already dedicated himself to being a full-time musician and had cut three albums by the time the pandemic shut down gigs and performances that were just starting to give him a following in the Northwest. I ask him how he’s using this downtime when stages are dark, and discover that he's currently a contestant on this year's American Idol (Season 19). To my delight, Alec obliged when I asked if he could grab a guitar and share a song with me, and he performed an unplugged version of I’ll Just Let You Down, a new song from his upcoming album. Several of Alec's most popular songs are featured throughout our discussion as we banter about about his romantic life, his (super talented!) creative process, and how he's dealt with stage fright and performance anxiety.
46 minutes | 2 months ago
At Home in Your Voice: NPR Funding Credit Voice Artist Jessica Hansen
Jessica Hansen is the voice of NPR's funding credits, and serves as in-house voice coach at NPR headquarters. She coaches voice for NPR, member stations, corporate groups, executives, professional theater companies, as well as hosts, journalists, and private clients nationwide. Jessica began acting at age 5, and was a cast member of a tween TV series at 12. She's performed Guest Star roles on NBC’s Parks & Recreation and HBO’s Veep. In today’s episode of the Soul of Life, I speak with Jessica about how she’s helping performers work with new challenges while working from home. "That separation of your home life just doesn’t exist now. Your kid is in the room with you. The baby’s on your lap while we’re doing this work.... …You can’t curl up in a ball under a bed spread, you can’t breathe that way you can’t make sound that way.” What kind of vocal tips does Jessica give to people like Ari Shapiro, Mary Louis Kelly, or Sylvia Poggioli? What’s in a voice anyway? Does the way we make the sound of our voice really convey what we think it does? Bob Ross' voice is discussed, as is "vocal fry," the lowest register (tone) of your voice characterized by its deep, creaky, breathy sound. "I think it goes back to Paris Hilton, [saying with heavy vocal fry sound] 'That’s hot.'"
44 minutes | 2 months ago
Ellen Langer, Mother of Mindfulness: Can noticing new things reverse effects of ageing?
"Mindlessness is pervasive. Virtually all of us, almost all of the time, are not there. But when we’re not there, we’re not there to know we’re not there." Dr. Ellen Langer is a professor in the Psychology Department at Harvard University where she was the first woman to be tenured in the department. She has been described as the "mother of mindfulness" and has written extensively on the illusion of control, mindful aging, stress, decision-making, and health. Her books, written for general and academic readers, include Mindfulness, The Power of Mindful Learning, On Becoming An Artist: Reinventing Yourself Through Mindful Creativity, and Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility. Her most recent book The Handbook of Mindfulness is an anthology that brings together the latest multi-disciplinary research on mindfulness. She is the recipient of four Distinguished Scientist Awards and the Liberty Science Genius Award. In this episode of The Soul of Life I speak with Dr. Langer about how a comfort with uncertainty and curiosity--mindfulness--creates powerful changes in the brain. We discuss her famous "counterclockwise" studies and her claims that mindfulness leads to powerful improvements in health generally, and specific improvements in memory, vision, and hearing. Among Langer's six academic books and 200 research articles is her extensive work on the placebo effect. "So you take that sugar pill and you get better. The question is what’s making you better. And the answer is you’re making yourself better. A good deal of our research is devoted to getting rid of the sham. You don’t need someone to give it to you. You don’t have to make believe that it’s effective. You can actually control your own health."
52 minutes | 3 months ago
The New Monogamy: Tammy Nelson, Author of Getting the Sex You Want
Dr. Tammy Nelson is a sex and relationship expert, and author of many books on sex including Getting the Sex You Want: Shed Your Inhibitions and Reach New Heights of Passion Together. She's a psychotherapist, Director of the Integrative Sex Therapy Institute, university teacher, TEDx speaker and is the host of the podcast The Trouble with Sex. Tammy is also a Board Certified Sexologist, an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist, a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Certified Imago Relationship therapist, and a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor. Today on The Soul of Life I speak with Dr. Nelson about what it takes to have a vibrant sex life with a monogamous partner and how cheating during COVID has taken on new proportions. We talk about the mindset that’s required to prevent or recover from infidelity and why it can be an opportunity. We discuss several myths about infidelity, sex, and eroticism: "Women actually do cheat for sex. Men tend to cheat for emotional reasons." - Do all affairs happen because of sexual problems? - Does communication and empathy have the power to fix sexual frustration? - Why does emotional closeness sometimes seem to kill erotic passion? - And perhaps the million dollar question: Why does Oprah call it her "vajayjay?"
51 minutes | 3 months ago
The Grungiest Place in Seattle
"Kurt Cobain had actually referred to The Dutchman as ‘the grungiest place in Seattle.'" That's from Gary Mula, former owner of the storied Duchman recording studio, an artsy warehouse recording/rehearsal facility where Gary lived and made records until 2009, when it burned to the ground. We talk about the way music changed his life and how he developed his skill as a producer by learning when to push his ideas and when to sit back and just be wallpaper. "The reason I decided to call myself a producer was I couldn’t just keep my mouth shut. And it wasn’t good for me to keep my mouth shut. I wasn’t honoring the artist or the music if I was....Sometimes with bands, everything’s flowing and there’s no conflict. And other times you have to fight for an idea." I exhibit some of Gary's favorite artists like Sun Crow, Chris Orlowski, and Kevin Sur and Andrew Jocylyn; We go down a couple of musical rabbit holes talking about Tov Lo, Scientist, Wo Fat, and Courtney Marie Andrews; And I pick Gary's brain about the best mic for vocals.
52 minutes | 3 months ago
Pigs Can Fly: Cancel Culture, Conspiracies, and How to Stay Hopeful in an Age of Identity Politics
Are we really such a divided country? You’ve heard me speak before about how our mindset—what we choose to focus on—determines the results we get. The more afraid and divided we feel, the more we tend to see fear and division in others. I wonder, can we actively cultivate peace and confidence in our own minds and hearts and call on our leaders to do the same? Today on The Soul of Life I speak with Dr. Matthew Green, a professor of political science at Catholic University in Washington, DC, about cancel culture, conspiracies, and how to stay hopeful and connected to one another in an age of identity politics. Dr. Green is an expert on the American Congress and I ask him if it’s possible to ever imagine our leaders practicing the discipline of relationship building and compromise in the political process. Green says, “Compromise is central to how our country was created, it’s how we’ve lasted as long as we have. And you can’t really succeed in politics—particularly in Congress—if you don’t compromise.” We touch on the history of identity politics, and political paranoia in its latest form, “cancel culture.” Green recalls the Red Scare of the 1950s and we connect the dots of culture wars in the U.S. going back to Puritanism. Can we stay focused on things that build our connection to our common goal of solving problems? Tune-in to this fascinating conversation to get our ideas for simple steps that can bring us closer to each other as citizens in this great union.
49 minutes | 3 months ago
Our Place in the Universe: NASA's John Mather on the James Webb Telescope
Dr. John Mather is a Senior Astrophysicist in the Observational Cosmology Laboratory located at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD. He is also the Senior Project Scientist on the James Webb Space Telescope, which will be the largest, most powerful and complex space telescope ever built and launched into space. It will fundamentally alter our understanding of the universe. Mather was winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize for Physics with George Smoot for their work in the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) mission in the mid 1970s to measure the heat radiation from the Big Bang. Mather and his team measured the cosmic microwave background radiation—basically very faint radio noise astronomers had theorized could only come from the most distant events at the beginning of time as we know it—and their measurements confirmed the Big Bang theory to extraordinary accuracy. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is a large infrared telescope will be the premier space observatory of the next decade, and Mather has been the Senior Scientist on this project from it's origin in 1995. The James Webb is scheduled to launch in 2021 and will study every phase in the history of our Universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System. We discuss Mather's long career at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, his work on COBE and JWST, the Hubble Space Telescope, and the planning of the Nancy Roman Grace Space Telescope.
6 minutes | 3 months ago
S2 PREVIEW - The New Monogamy: Dr. Tammy Nelson, author of Getting the Sex You Want
Coming soon in Season Two of The Soul of Life on February 26th, 2021. Dr. Tammy Nelson is an erotic recovery expert. She’s a leading expert on infidelity and the healing of sexual relationships. Today on The Soul of Life I speak with Dr. Nelson about what it takes to have a vibrant sex life with a monogamous partner and how cheating during COVID has taken on new proportions. "If I am a mom stuck home, homeschooling my kids, and I’ve bene in my yoga pants in seven months, and haven’t worn make up, and my life is about cheerios and how to figure out algebra. And then I meet someone online who thinks I’m sexy and alive and charming and beautiful and just wants to make out with me—I’m a totally different person for ten minutes a day and that makes you feel alive for those ten minutes." Dr. Nelson is the author of Getting the Sex You Want, and The New Monogamy: Redefining Your Relationship After Infidelity. We talk about the mindset that’s required to prevent or recover from infidelity and why it can be an opportunity.
4 minutes | 4 months ago
S2 PREVIEW: The Grungiest Place in Seattle
Coming soon on February 19th: "Kurt Cobain had actually referred to The Dutchman as 'the grungiest place in Seattle.'" In this preview of Season Two, Episode Three, I speak with Gary Mula, former owner of The Dutchman. “Everybody has a different way of finding meaning in their life. When I found music, everything was answered.” We talk about his time sharing practice space with Nirvana, his journey from musician to producer, his favorite music, and his favorite recording gear. "Sometimes with bands, everything’s flowing and there’s no conflict. And other times you have to fight for an idea."
4 minutes | 4 months ago
SEASON TWO PREVIEW. Pigs Can Fly: Cancel Culture, Conspiracies, and Staying Hopeful in an Age of Identity Politics (coming 2/12/21)
Coming soon on Season Two of The Soul of Life on February 12th, I speak with Dr. Matthew Green, a professor of political science, about cancel culture, conspiracies, and how to stay hopeful and connected to one another in an age of identity politics. "There are things in American politics now that are not pretty. But there are things that have happened that have been worse, in our history.” Dr. Green is an expert on the American Congress and I ask him if it’s possible to ever imagine our leaders practicing the discipline of relationship building and compromise in the political process. "Compromise is central to how our country was created, it’s how we’ve lasted as long as we have. And you can’t really succeed in politics—particularly in Congress—if you don’t compromise."
5 minutes | 4 months ago
Inspired and Humbled by Our Place in the Universe
Can the secrets of the universe inspire and humble us to bring us together in gratitude? My conversation with Nobel laureate and top NASA scientist Dr. John Mather reminds us of how the Apollo program in the 1960s united a nation's eyes toward the heavens. Mather is the Science Director of the James Webb Space Telescope program at NASA, scheduled to launch in October of this year. He is the only member of this 15-year effort that was present on day one of the project. Listen to this special preview of my full conversation with Dr. Mather, the premiere of Season Two of The Soul of Life, which will be released on February 5th.
16 minutes | 4 months ago
Why I’m Optimistic About 2021: Possibilities from Connection
Like you I’m ready to wrap 2020 and move on to a new year this week. This Soul of Life bonus episode will dive into very practical ways to mindfully reflect on being who you want to be in 2021. I started this podcast when I was unmasking how my brain wasn't lighting up the way I'd always expected it to. Today, I talk about how the brain is a connection machine and how you can use moments, like little prayers, to help your brainbody connection flow and generate energy and focus. I also reflect on wrapping Season One of The Soul of Life, with 18 episodes, and preview some of Season Two which launches February 5th. I'm so excited about my guests for Season Two. Here's a sneak peek: NASA scientist and Nobel laureate John Mather The "Mother of mindfulness," famed psychology researcher, Ellen Langer Jessica Hansen, actress, voice of NPRs funding credits, in-house voice coach at NPR Tammy Nelson, author of Getting the Sex You Want Leading up to the February 5th launch of Season Two. I'll be releasing bonus episodes like this one, teaching key themes about mindfulness, stress reduction, and 101 for a healthy mind. And if you appreciate this show please consider showing me your appreciation by becoming a Patron of the show—a financial supporter. Go to https://www.patreon.com/souloflifeshow. Thank you! Donating at any level of support gives you access to the brand new Discord group, a private online community where you can get access to bonus content, ask me questions, and meet like-minded fans of the show to expand your curiosity about the mind and consciousness in this amazing life. Becoming a patron of the show can also give you other cool perks like monthly Livestreaming AMA (ask me anything) sessions with me. Check it out! If there’s one thing that I promise you with all my heart that I know will not hurt you or I in 2021, it is prayer and reflection! Nostrovia!
62 minutes | 5 months ago
The Edge of Fear: Rock Climbing Phenom Alex Honnald's Mom on the Free Solo Mindset
At the age of sixty-six, Dierdre Wolownick became the oldest woman to climb El Capitan, the iconic 3,200-foot granite "big wall" in Yosemite National Park.* For her this wasn’t just any climb. Yes, The Captain is perhaps the most prized big wall climbs in the world. It was in June that same year that Dierdre’s son Alex Honnald stunned and terrified the world by climbing without ropes—a free solo assent—this vertical wall that rises one half mile out of the earth in Yosemite National Park. Alex is no stranger to making news for his death-defying ability to speed climb routes, without protection, that give other expert climbers nightmares. Dierdre's son is indeed a rock climber in a special club: He's still alive. Says Honnald's friend and rock climbing legend Jimmy Caldwell, "All the other free solo climbers in the world are dead." Add this all together and you get the media sensation of Honnald, a paradox that his friends and family know couldn't be more opposite of his aloof and down-to-earth personality. National Geographic's blockbuster documentary of Honnald's assent of the Freerider route of El Captain, which won 7 Emmy’s and an Academy Award for best Documentary Feature in 2019. I speak with Alex's mom, Dierdre, to deconstruct the public's polarized reaction to her son's lifestyle and to talk about her book The Sharp End of Life: A Mother's Story, about her journey as a parent who joined her son on his adventure, pushing the limit's of what's possible. Should we see Honnald's climbing as reckless? A sophisticated dance with passive-aggressive self-harm? Or does our strong emotional reaction to his mastery and success in this solitary sport say more about our own denial of the risks we take every day flying in airplanes, living with firearms, or any number of questionable health and dietary choices we make. Do we envy Alex's clarity and focus and lack his courage to squarely face our own limitations and accept our own mortality? **The YouTube version of this episode, has some really cool footage of Alex climbing in the intro**
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