Healthy Eating & Fitness For Kids, How Unschooling Works, Top Book Recommendations, Common Kitchen Mistakes & Much More: Ben Greenfield Puts His Sons River & Terran In The Hot-Seat.

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River and Terran Greenfield are my twin 12-year-old sons. They are unschooled, hyper-creative, can survive in the wilderness with a knife, backpack, and wool blanket, know more kitchen and cooking tricks than most adults (and have an amazing cooking podcast), and they are generally crushing life.

So, in this very special episode, I put my twin boys in the podcasting hot seat to discuss life, creativity, cooking, healthy eating for kids, fitness, and much more.

During this discussion, you'll discover:

-Best breakfast to crush the day…4:40

-How to tell River and Terran apart, especially on audio…6:50

  • The twins address each other by name…

-Books River and Terran like to read…8:15

-Unschooling and becoming self-directed learners…19:04

  • Essay by Naval Ravikant that Ben mentions on the 5 core skills needed for life
    • Reading
    • Writing (long-form)
    • Logic and/or computer programming
    • Arithmetic
    • Rhetoric/persuasion
  • Poor Charlie's Almanack by Charlie Munger
  • Mathnasium program River and Terran use for their schooling
  • Unschooling allows learning how the world works alongside the subjects being learned (math, logic, etc.)
  • Advantages of AI and robots outweigh the negatives (skills becoming obsolete)
  • Rhetoric game (board or the app)
  • Tell 'em what you're gonna tell 'em; then tell 'em; then tell 'em what you told 'em

-A typical evening in the Greenfield home…35:00

-An average day for River and Terran…37:35

-Favorites things River and Terran do for their fitness…44:30

-River and Terran's diet tips…50:45

-Whether or not there exists a perfect diet all humans should follow…54:40

  • Mediterranean diet seems more agreeable than other diets
  • Eating with people, long family dinners
  • Making your own food helps you appreciate it more
  • Easy to overeat from packages vs. food prepared yourself

-River and Terran's views on screen time and video games…57:00

  • They both have an iPod Touch, which is for business purposes (podcast)
  • Computer used mostly for school

-About the GoGreenfields cooking podcast…59:15

  • Started 4+ years ago
  • Began learning to cook at age of 3 (made mom eggs for Mother's Day)
  • The Four Hour Chef by Tim Ferris
  • Eggs are a great starting point for learning to cook
  • Favorite recipes:
  • Top baking tip from Terran: Don't overcook; don't rely on looks to determine if it's done
  • Top risotto tip from River: Keep stirring, pay attention constantly
  • Top tip from the chef: Don't add too many seasonings; keep it simple
  • Clean up as you go
  • Pay attention to recipes

-Tips on hunting and plant foraging…1:09:30

  • Do it a lot at home to appreciate the diversity in other locales
  • Bowhunting is more natural and dependent on physicality than hunting with a rifle

-How to care for yourself spiritually…1:12:45

  • First thing in the day: read Bible, express gratitude/ journal
  • Sing doxology every Sunday
  • Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Calhoun
  • Abide app
  • Self-examination at the end of each day allows you to reflect on how you did that day

-River and Terran's own life purposes…1:15:30

  • “To make the love and joy of God through writing and art”
  • “To use my art to make people feel strong emotions”

-River and Terran's take on 2020 with COVID-19, lockdowns, masks, etc…1:16:35

  • They enjoy seeing dad more
  • Different reactions with kids vs. adults

-One thing River and Terran think everyone should know or experience…1:19:40

-And much more!

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources from this episode:

– River and Terran's podcast GoGreenfields

– Podcasts and articles:

– Books, graphic novels, and games:

– Food and supplements:

– Other resources:

Episode sponsors:

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Do you have questions, thoughts, or feedback for River Greenfield, Terran Greenfield, or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

Ask Ben a Podcast Question

12 thoughts on “Healthy Eating & Fitness For Kids, How Unschooling Works, Top Book Recommendations, Common Kitchen Mistakes & Much More: Ben Greenfield Puts His Sons River & Terran In The Hot-Seat.

  1. Bryan B says:

    Hey Ben,

    This was such a great podcast! I started to homeschool my son in Oct 2020. I love your idea about having them read a book a week. Is there any good books you recommend.

    I also wanted to ask if you could read 2 books on breathing. What 2 are the best in your opinion.


  2. Melody says:

    What a great episode! Terran and River, you are so well spoken. I loved listening to your opinions and thoughts.

    I’m curious how you both balance your friend time with everything else you do. My 6 year old daughter, who just recently began homeschooling, misses her friends who are all in public school together. I don’t want to send her back to school, but I want to make sure she gets enough time with her peers too. Any thoughts on how to better handle it or just get over it because they probably aren’t having much fun/social time together in school anyway?

    Also, do you have any advice for her regarding how to handle junk foods? What did you do when you were younger? It sounds like we have similar diets to you at home, but when she goes to a family or friend’s house or to a birthday party, she wants to eat what everyone else is eating- processed junk, and all. You mentioned drinking Izzy, but what about the foods?

    I’d love to hear your mature 12 year old opinions about how you handle these situations. Take care!

    1. Hi! This is Terran! personally I really miss my friends and being with them all day, but sometimes friends move on. I obviously can’t go to school with them but i can still call and do playdates. But, I still have my church friends, and other friends that I meet while doing classes so friends don’t ALWAYS have to be made at school. Also it is probably easier for River and I since we have each other. Sometimes friends just move on and you have to find new ones, which is REALLY hard (I cried) but sooner or later it will happen.

      About the junk food part, when we were younger we just didn’t have it around so I really never had the chance to even have some (although I REALLY wanted some). But, I also think that you can make junk food healthy. We have burgers and pizza at our house, we just. make it with sourdough bread and good beef, for french fries we don’t deep fry them but we bake them. The occasional junk food is also ok but our dad taught us that vegetable oil (which most. junk food is made out of) stays in your system for 90 days, which I don’t really want. So we do eat cake and junk food at our friends birthday parties. But, we try to stay away from it pretty much all the time. But there are always usually healthy substitutes, you just have to look or make it yourself.

      So… yeah! I hope that helped a little bit River might have some other tips though.

      1. Melody says:

        Thanks Terran. What an insightful response! It’s encouraging to know other kids are thriving with healthy foods, outdoor activities, and real-world educations. I really appreciate your thoughtful reply.

  3. Chris says:

    I really enjoyed this podcast, even though I don’t have children myself. I learned tons of valuable tips.

    One tip that I’ve been implementing the past few months is to write one page book reports. I think it allows me to be more present with the book. I also believe that it helps me to put more of the material into action.

    I also love Telestrations. Great game choice!

  4. Laura says:

    This was so so lovely. What a beautiful family. River and Terran are such intelligent and thoughtful boys. I feel very inspired to implement some of your family rituals to bring some calm and connection to our household. 💗

  5. Sami says:

    One of my favorite podcasts! I even started listening to their cooking show and it is so great! Would love if you had them on again!

  6. Jim says:

    You’re a good dad.

  7. Hope says:

    Hi, I was wondering what do they use for learning Spanish?

  8. pei says:

    They seem to be well rounded kids and a role model for their younger generation. I haven’t read fit soul book yet but like to know whether there is a chapter being written by them is included. It could be something you can work on for next book with your sons.

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