[Transcript] – Respectful Parenting, Eye Movement & Physical Training For Infants, Co-Sleeping Pros & Cons & Much More With Joseph Anew & Emilia Run.

Affiliate Disclosure


From podcast: https://bengreenfieldlife.com/podcast/anew/

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:0055] Podcast Sponsors

[00:06:01] Who Joseph and Emilia are

[00:10:34] What is a highly respectful parenting style

[00:17:22] Age appropriateness and discipline

[00:24:23] What RIE stands for?

[00:33:09] The practice of slowing down and slowness in RIE

[00:34:47] Podcast Sponsors

[00:40:14] cont. The practice of slowing down and slowness in RIE

[00:42:03] What is a “Yes Space?”

[00:46:20] The importance of the eye movements

[00:56:46] The redirecting a child's attention

[01:06:40] Straying outside the RIE approach

[01:13:14] Joseph and Emilia's plans for education

[01:18:59] Closing The Podcast

[01:21:37] Upcoming Event

[01:23:45] End of Podcast

Ben:  My name is Ben Greenfield. On this episode of the Ben Greenfield Life podcast.

Joseph:  One of the guiding principles is trying to reduce. I want him to trust the world. I want him to be confident. And so, if he's hearing “No” too often, I don't remember the statistic, but the number of times, it's some wild number every day that the average toddler hears the word “No.” And so, this idea of the safe space, it's 10 by 10 feet. And, in there, there is nothing that can hurt them, there is nothing that can go wrong.

Ben:  Faith, family, fitness, health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and a whole lot more. Welcome to the show.

Hey, let's talk about shaving. There's a lot of weird different razors out there. The thing is razor blades, think about it this way, they're diving boards. The longer the board, the more wobble. The more wobble, the more nicks and cuts and scrapes you get when you're shaving. So, a bad shave isn't a blade problem, it's an extension problem. We're talking about the biomechanics of shaving. So, the other issue is that you want a blade that's secure and stable without vibration when you're shaving and that doesn't extend too far beyond the head of the actual razor handle.

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Alright, folks, it's time for Bubs. That's right, Glen and Sean, the co-founder at a company called Bubs were both coaches at SEALFIT in Encinitas owned by Navy SEAL Commander, Mark Divine. They put on this fantastic event called KOKORO, which was like a Navy SEAL-style hell week for civilians. These guys as coaches got to know each other. Tragically what happened was that Glen who was a best friend of hundreds wound up laying down his life-saving Americans in Benghazi, Libya. He was always about self-improvement about helping other people. And so, what Sean wound up doing was founding this company Bubs Natural as a tribute to Glen. As a matter of fact, Bubs donates 10% of all its profits to charity in Glen's honor. 

What does Bubs make? Well, Bubs has some of the best collagen you'll ever have. Collagen is like the glue that holds your body together. It's truly unflavored, but it's extremely soluble. So, you can put in anything and it's better than a lot of the collagens out there because they use the purest form of collagen, sustainably sourced from grass-fed and pasture-raised cows in southern Brazil and Uruguay. They also have an MCT oil that pairs very well with the collagen. It's actually the only MCT oil in the world that's Whole30-approved, meaning it is super clean. They make apple cider vinegar gummies, which are actually pretty amazing for just quelling your appetite at night, healthy digestion, blood sugar management. And then, they have their Fountain of Youth collagen where they take their really good collagen, they blend it with vitamin C and Biotin and maqui berry, which is a Chilean berry, very high in antioxidants. Put all that together, you got Bubs Naturals. It's supporting a very good cause, Glen, who was a larger-than-life personality glowed with enthusiasm, he loved to feel great and do good and that's what they created Bubs to allow you to do. So, BubsNaturals.com, B-U-B-S-Naturals.com. Use code BENG to save 20% on Bubs Naturals.

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Well, folks my guests on today's show, I actually have two guests, but the first guest has been on my podcast several times now. I don't even know how many times. Joseph, how many times you think you've been on the show, maybe three, four, 10? I don't know.

Joseph:  Three or four, Ben. Three or four.

Ben:  Yeah. Okay. Alright, so just to give you guys the background, Joseph and I first met way back when I was doing Spartan Racing and actually, I think even a little bit before that at an Ancestral Health Symposium and he was basically the coach and the go-to guy for Spartan fitness. He worked for years and years as the head of sport and training at Spartan Race, and then he went on after that to found this event that's this cool epic intimate health and wellness style private events that a limited number of people attend called RUNGA. The doors open to that a few times a year. Me and my family usually go to it to present and help out and just go through this whole cool epic experience that currently takes place down in Austin, Texas. If you're interested in any of that kind of stuff, I'll make sure I link to RUNGA and the events that Joseph now puts on if you go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/Anew. It's Joseph's last name, A-N-E-W, BenGreenfieldLife.com/Anew.

So, Joseph, on this podcast is teaming up with Emelia Rún who is his wife. Emelia is a plant-based chef. She's a Kundalini yoga instructor. She's a mindfulness meditation teacher. She's also a big, big part of the RUNGA event. She went to law school and then wound up pursuing her dreams of working in food. And now, she has a private chef and cake business and makes these delicious organic spreads and raw desserts, many of which I've probably consumed too much of when I've been at RUNGA. But nonetheless, she is quite talented in her own right at yoga and meditation and making these amazing cacao things that I just still have difficulty wrapping my head around how good they actually are but they're amazing.

So anyways, perhaps more fittingly for this podcast, I should mention that Joseph and Emelia have a son. As I watched them go about preparing to bring their son into the world and also went on to witness their interactions with him and the way that they've been raising him, and the conversations that Joseph and I have had about his role as a father and my ability to be able to see Emilia as a mother when I've been at these RUNGA events, all of that inspired me to actually feature Joseph and Emilia in my new parenting book, “Boundless Parenting.” They have just a fantastic chapter that they contributed on raising a healthy child and some really interesting educational concepts that might be new to you and different ways to interact with a young human being in a way that really brings them into the world in a very mindful and just, I think in many cases, very outside the box way. 

And so, they have a wealth of knowledge and even though they're new parents, relatively speaking compared to some of the parents in the book who might have children who are 20 or 25 or 30 years old and beyond, what they're doing with their son is extremely mindful and I think is a great example of how to raise a kid. So, I thought it'd be cool to get on and not necessarily talk about fitness and raw cacao bites but to also talk about fatherhood, motherhood, and what the “Boundless Parenting” journey looks like and has looked like for Joseph and Emilia.

So, we're going to do this. You guys ready, Joseph and Emilia?

Emilia:  Yeah, great intro. Thank you.

Joseph:  Thank you so much, Ben.

Ben:  Awesome.

Alright, so I want to kick it off. As I do with a lot of these interviews I've been doing about parenting and just give you a humble brag moment to tell me about your son.

Joseph:  Well, his name is Leon Thor. And, I think he's amazing. It was funny, Ben, when you were talking about our conversations at RUNGA, what came up was when you actually taught him to foam roll at the last event, he's 2.5, and it was as a father for me watching you foam roll with my 2.5-year-old was just so beautiful. As you experienced, he's so receptive to learning and he's probably the only 2.5-year-old that's taken an ice bath. He's got this amazing–we'll dive deep into respectful parenting and some of the sort of principles that we raised him with, but I think also being exposed to fathers like you and people at RUNGA and some of the activities and biohacks that make makes me wonder, what happens in 20 or 30 years when he's been doing ice baths, red light, foam rolling since he was 2.5? So, I appreciate your contribution to him as well, Ben. You've been an inspiration for me as a father as well–

Ben:  I can tell you what's happened is he's going to totally rebel against all this health crap and wind up being some kind of a ChatGPT AI programmer creating fantasy video games living with a neckbeard in your basement eating Cheetos. That's probably what's going to happen.

Joseph:  I hope not, Ben. I mean, that's a good segue. So, I think Leon Thor, he'll be 3 in May. It was amazing from the time he was born. Emilia and I were so aligned on our intention and how we were going to do things. That was a real blessing. But, part of our parenting style and part of what has made him into the person he is now and that he's becoming is this highly respectable parenting style. 

So, it's really amazing when, I don't necessarily as an example pull him into the red light with me in the morning, I say “Daddy's going to do the red light.” He'll often say, “Can I come too?” And, I'll say, “Sure, bud.” He'll sit there with me. It's a challenge and I know we'll get into this more, but I recently, as a parent, it's about from a physical standpoint, what sports, what activities, what do we want to get him involved with at a young age. And so, I went and signed him up for soccer. When we would take him, when I would take him down to soccer, I had this vision of what it was going to be like. It was very challenging to just keep him anywhere close to the field. I know he's only 2.5, but that's part of our philosophy is that we're going to expose him to things, whether it's red light or cold or soccer or anything else. But, we really allow him to kind of meander with purpose so that he develops a healthy relationship with the activity and it's never forced and it's never pressured. He's very free to come and go.

It's challenging as a parent, mostly because in the context of a lot of the more conventional parenting styles, when I'm not forcing my son to sit and put his head on the soccer ball, when I'm not forcing him to stay for the duration of the soccer practice, and I am allowing him to meander and maybe end up at the playground halfway through the soccer, it's a little bit challenge you explain to parents why we have that approach when they're not in the same space. But, to your point, making sure that he develops healthy relationships, my first gym way back was with high school baseball athletes. Many of them had scholarships on the line. Baseball dads are probably the most notorious for twisting particularly their son's arms into practice and throwing a certain amount of pitches each day. The kids, what I would hear is that a lot of those kids did begin to resent the sport and they were in it more for the father. And so, that has been for me as a dad, it has been a major pillar in how I want his and I relationship to kind of unfold.

Ben:  Yeah. That's something that I've tried to do with River and Terran as well based on what you just brought up regarding resentment. Rather than requiring them to do a certain activity or shoving something down their throats, I try as much as possible to lead by example. And, of course, that has to be married to this idea that sometimes kids don't know what's going to serve them really well later on in life. So, there are certain elements of education like say math or reading or writing that they might not really want to do but that you require of them on a daily basis from an educational standpoint. And, you don't just say, “Hey, dad's going to sit down and read some books for a while. If you feel like joining me, you can.” There's actually a certain amount of reading that they're required to do each day as part of their curriculum. 

But then, I think for a lot of these softer skills, whatever, baseball or foam rolling or let's say breathwork, for example, a lot of people hear that River and Terran do breathwork with me regularly but it's never required. I mean, usually what it looks is, “Hey, dad's heading down into the sauna to do breathwork, do you guys want to come with me?” Or, sometimes I'll just announce that I'm going down in there and see if either of them show up and they consistently do 95% of the time. 

I think that at least for a slightly older child, sometimes marrying that to the positive or negative consequences of whether or not they're going to join in an activity is important. Right now, when I go down into the sauna to do breathwork, I also mentioned to them a couple of times a week, “Hey, this is really, really going to help with our upcoming freediving trip that we're going to go on in May.” The longer your inhale and exhale times are, the deeper you'll be able to go, the longer you'll be able to stay in the water, and the better the experience that you'll have. And so, they understand that it's not just about joining with dad to do breathwork, but there's going to be some positive consequences down the line.

So, with Leon though, are there certain things that are non-negotiables that you would say you do have him do that would kind of stray outside the idea of disrespectful parenting concept?

Joseph:  Yeah. And, before Emilia takes this one, I just want to add–thank you, Ben. You're absolutely right. One of the concepts that my wife who's about to chime in here has really taught me is about age-appropriateness. So, putting ourselves, our son is 2.5, and so as it relates to River and Terran as an example, you're so right. You have to make sure they can do, there's I think you said, the hard and the soft activities. And so, at his age right now I think it's a disproportionately soft because his level of understanding, when I look at kids his age that they just don't quite understand why do I have to play soccer. We're in the realm of soft activities right now. But, as he gets older and you can with your sons as an example, you're communicating. They can cognitively process the value and the reward and make an informed decision. And so, I think you're absolutely right and I'm so glad you layered that in because as they age and develop and their perspective expands, it's time to add some structure.

Ben:  Yeah.

Joseph:  In answer to your question though, the sort of hard things for me, and then I want Emilia to chime in–Leon and I get up most days and we always have a glass of water before we do anything else. It's one of our hard activities because I want that to be something I try to get him outside as soon as I can after he wakes up. So, again, they're a little loose. It's just, let's have some water, let's go outside. There's no quantification or qualification, it's just sort of these habitual routines that I'm trying to ingrain in him from a very young age. And, I'll defer to Emilia here.

Ben:  Yeah. By the way, if I could jump in real quick about the water thing. Yeah, I think from a health standpoint, there are certain things that I do tell River and Terran to do. I don't get up in the morning and announce, “Hey, Dad's going to go have a big glass of water. Anybody else want to have a glass of water along with me?” I do that same thing that I think you might have just alluded to, Jo, to where I have a glass of water and I tell them, “Hey, get your water” and they drink. That one's not an option just because I know it's so important, it's a habit that's really going to serve them well in life that they might not think of doing on their own or understand the science of why they need to do on their own. I mean, I don't know about you, Jo, but I wish I'd have grown up just understanding and knowing that starting my day was anywhere from 20 to 32 ounces of water is one of the simplest and most crucial health hacks, if you want to call it that that you can start your day with. So, I think there's some things where you just say, “Hey, do this along with me versus I'm doing this, do you feel like having water, too?”

Joseph:  Right on, right on. Do you want to chime in, Em?

Emilia: Yeah. All I wanted to say with the discipline is actually it doesn't stray away from respectful parenting. I mean, there's a lot of age-appropriate discipline. And, when I say discipline, what I really mean is boundaries and expectations that we have of our children. So, it's actually very, very consistent with the respectful parenting approach to have a lot of these boundaries that we can get more into what this looks like. But, yeah, it's really very respectful of both of you to have these things that are non-negotiable. I think it just comes down to what are they ready for, what are they willing to understand. And then, there's things like the water, the whole thing that you can over time start to teach them about the benefits of. But, I definitely think it's consistent with, for sure, everything you're saying, Ben.

Joseph:  Yeah. And Ben, I know you on the anti-aging side, I think on Twitter you've shared a few times. There's always the article of the 120-year-old person. And, they always when they're asked how they lived so long, it's always such a distilled truth. I've taken a cold shower every day since 1943. That's the secret. I've had a dozen eggs a week. 

And so, in part as well with our son, and again, he's so young that the communication, the boundaries, they're softer but it's more about developing, just making that his normal. As you said, we know it's going to be important when they're later to kind of add context. But, if at this age he begins this habit, he just knows the first thing he does when he wakes up in the morning is take a glass of water, I don't need to pressure him to have a certain amount or anything else, it's more that habit. So, when he's 100 years old, he says, “For as long as I can remember, I've started every day with a sip of water.” That's kind of my approach too. 

When he comes out into the garage with me to do the cold, I've got to plunge out there and I do the cold plunge everything single morning. He'll come out with me. I don't put him in there, it's just too cold, but I'll often say, “Do you want to put a hand in or a foot in?” He'll say, “I don't want to do it.” And then, I'll say, “One, you have to pick a hand.” I'll only make him just touch the water with his hand or foot and then he runs in the house and he says, “Mommy, I did the cold water. I did the cold water.” It's just such a beautiful experience. Yeah, I'm really going at this age for just planting the seeds and making sure he's a very willful participant.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah, I love that Jedi mind trick tactic of making them feel they're in charge by giving them an option. I have done that all the time with River and Terran like, “Do you want to do, whatever, a bodyweight workout or you want to put on a backpack and go for a walk with Dad?” Or, “Do you want the sardines or the avocados?” Or, “Do you want to read you know this book or that book?” I mean, even since they were about 9 years old, I have a book assignment. And typically, that book assignment occurs every one to four weeks depending on the length of the book. But, I'll often choose three to four books, set them on the dining room table, call them down on a Monday morning and say, “Okay, which books do you want to do your book report on for this next series of weeks?” So, you always give them some amount of ownership over the task.

And, you guys mentioned a couple of times an acronym. I think you said RIE when referring to respectful parenting. I don't think we actually define what that is. What's RIE stand for?

Emilia:  So, RIE stands for Resources for Infant Educators. It was founded by Magda Gerber who learned with the woman called Emmi Pikler who had her very unique approach to parenting. It was actually caring for children in a joint care setting was how it was initially developed. And, Emmi Pikler was a doctor, I believe. And, Magda Gerber brought this philosophy. I'm not an expert in the history unit, but my understanding is she brought the philosophy to California, founded an institute of some sort there. And, that's where I was exposed to as a nanny because there were some RIE classes and workshops that I had the opportunity to participate in.

Ben:  Is it very popular because I hadn't come across it until I was reviewing your chapter in the book? I mean, it seemed very intuitive, but is this a new thing or has this been steeped in certain educational principles or countries for some time?

Emilia:  I believe package this way. I would say it's relatively new. It's not very well known. If you think about respectful parenting like this idea of respectful parenting, I would say have been around for a long time, especially in mindfulness circles. But, RIE, as a whole, I feel is beginning to gain more and more popularity. And, what it really is, it's basically a guide for the first two years, setting a foundation for a really beautiful relationship, and it's really effective but it's also not so rigid that you can't make it your own. I can tell you a little bit about it. So basically, we're focused on what's most respectful starting from day one. So, as an example, the first way we communicate with infants is through touch. So, touching really gently, very lovingly. That's the language of its own. And, we're communicating with our infants through that.

And then, our words, the other first principle of the RIE is just asking for permission. Even way before a baby has the capacity to respond, they learn to anticipate changes in their environment through our work. So, stating, “I'm going to pick you up now” and then leaving a pause for them to process, they start to anticipate your actions in a way that can lead to a lot less overwhelm. So, yeah, there's a lot of tools like that. And, there's different tools that apply at different ages. 

Even toddlers can get overstimulated. So, there's so much here that actually leads to a very just beautiful relationship with your child. It's actually also based on this idea that what infants and babies need, it's actually what every human being needs. That's to experience someone's full and divided attention. What's also true is that no one can pay full attention all the time. So, it's this idea of balancing that. It offers us this framework and this opportunity to witness how these two competing values, like what we need what they need how they can actually be consistent with each other. That balance between being together and being a part and meeting both babies needs and your needs. 

So, that's why as a nanny, I fell in love with it because the families I worked with that did RIE. It was a completely different experience than the families with babies and toddlers that did not work within that framework.

Ben:  So, is there a book or a website or a curriculum, if there are people listening in whether grandparent or a parent or an educator who would want to learn more about what RIE is and how to implement it?

Emilia:  Yeah. My favorite book is called “Dear Parent: Caring for Infants With Respect.” This is the main book by Magda Gerber. There's another one called “Your Self-Confident Baby.” Those are the two top ones. And, ironically when I was given this book by one of the families that I worked with, I let it sit on my nightstand for two months before even picking it up because I was just kind of uninterested. I was very intuitive with the baby that I was with at the time and I did not expect to resonate so deeply with what was being shared.

Ben:  Yeah. 

Joseph:  Ben, it was really interesting. So, when Emilia was doing some nannying in L.A. and she was attending these classes and these programs; for me, kind of coming from a more conventional understanding of parenting, it made a little sense but I wasn't super convinced, I'll say at first in some of what I was hearing. And then, we went to a birthday party and there was a 3-year-old and she was the most self-confident. 

And Ben, you know you and I both are so into the physical body and just how it functions and how it connects with the ground, it looked like this 3-year-old, it looked you wouldn't be able to push her over if you wanted to. I could just see in her physical body and the way she walked that she was so connected, just so confident. As you know, the outside body, the external body is a reflection of the internal body. And so, just to tack on, that's what really convinced me and I said, “Oh, my goodness, I've seen a lot of kids in my life and I've never seen a kid, a child act with, again, the self-confidence and just stability and groundedness of this little girl.”

To just piggyback what Emilia was saying when Leon was born, for me at first when I heard that we're going to talk to him the day he's born and let him know, “We're going to pick you up now,” and we're going to give a pause so that once he develops, he's used to that pause, he will have the option to object at some point. But, when we put it into context, a child goes from a fish to a person in an instant when they're born. And so, they're getting used to this world. They don't quite understand it and they're just trying to find safety. 

If you imagine that, this little soul is seeking safety, seeking nurture. When he or she is just relaxing, maybe playing or lying on the bed, and suddenly someone just picks him up, we can put ourselves into the baby's eyes or into their mind and say that might be jarring. That might be quite jarring. Most importantly, they're not going to trust their environment, they're not going to trust their environment as they age because, at any time, they might get picked up. They might get disturbed. They might get their diaper ripped off them. And so, disrespectful pause to me has probably been one of the most profound insights of this program and this concept that Emilia kind of brought into our world.

Ben:  Yeah, that's interesting. Because if you look at it from a physical development standpoint, a lot of animals tend to physically develop at a slightly faster rate than humans such as dogs and cats. And so, their motor development is more advanced and so they might be able to display this physical reaction a little bit better than say a newborn baby who's just in many cases like a limp lump of flesh. But, if you pick up a puppy or a kitten that's very young or not very far after newborn status, they do struggle. When you first pick them up, a kitten might be clawing and scratching and a puppy might be struggling and trying to get out of your arms. And so, you see this in other species. If you approach say a puppy or a kitten at least in my experience in a very kind of slow and controlled fashion, they almost get this warning sign that they're about to be picked up or touched. There seems to be a lot easier transition to being able to physically interact with them. 

So, it makes sense. It makes a lot of sense. Starting from an early age even before they might be able to, like a human baby might be able to physically display the resistance or the shock effect of the physical interaction or something you might say to them kind of getting ahead of the curve does really seem to make sense.

It seems to relate a little bit to this idea of slowness. I think you guys even have a quote from Magda Gerber that one of the RIE developers in the book about slowing down how a parent can never go too slowly. So, what does that exactly mean, the part about slowing down and slowness as a parent?

Emilia:  Yeah, absolutely. It's exactly what you're saying. It's this idea that babies and toddlers get easily overwhelmed, overstimulated. We even know what that feels to get overstimulated sometimes. So, whenever we had any sort of struggle, it was always an invitation to slow down because I remembered that quote from Magda Gerber and really what it is is it's quality time because if we're moving too fast and our child is being overstimulated, then we're not enjoying the time together. If I'm moving too fast for him, I'm also getting stuck in this idea of just outcome-based idea of our time together. 

In RIE, one of the cornerstones of the philosophy is this idea of quality time. It's broken up into two categories. There's one, something quality time where you're paying full attention but you also have expectations. So, that's bathing, feeding, diapering. And then, there's one, nothing quality time. Where slowness comes in especially when you have expectations in this want something quality time, there are these moments that you actually are going to be spending with your time with your child anyway. I was actually reading the other day that on average a baby gets diapered 6,000 or 7,000 times in their life.

Ben:  Hiya. No, seriously, Hiya. That's kids' multivitamin. It's amazing. Most kids' multivitamins, I got 5 grams of sugar or more. They can contribute to health issues paradoxically. This Hiya stuff, they make it with no sugar, no gummy junk, but it tastes amazing. Kids love it. It's a pediatrician-approved superpower chewable vitamin. Okay. Again, typical children's vitamins, they got two teaspoons of sugar in them. They're basically candy in disguise. 

But, Hiya not only fills all the common gaps in modern kid's diets to provide the full body nourishment that children need with the yummy taste that kids love but they've got vitamin D, B12, C, zinc, a whole host, 15 essential vitamins and minerals to support immunity and energy and brain function, mood, concentration, your child's teeth, their bones, but it's also guilt-free, non-GMO, vegan, dairy-free, allergy-free, gelatin-free, nut-free, everything else you can imagine. They designed this for kids of all ages. They send it straight to your door, so parents have one less thing to worry about. My kids love it. Everybody that I've showed it to, all the parents who've children have tried it swear by this stuff. It's a multivitamin that parents can give to their kids guilt-free and it fills all the gaps in, so you don't have to worry about your children's nutrient and micronutrient status.

Now, here's the cool thing. You can get a bottle with your first order and then they send you eco-friendly refills every month. To do this and to get 50% off that first order, you go to hiyahealth.com/Ben. That's H-I-Y-A-H-E-A-L-T-H.com/Ben. That will allow you to get your kids the full body nourishment they need to grow into healthy adults and gives you amazing savings. So, hiyahealth.com/Ben.

Hey, Organifi, my friends, who make this amazing superfood organic powdered elixirs. They have one product that actually my kids absolutely love it because they're hot chocolate junkies. I like to put it in smoothies even though it was designed for hot chocolate, but what it is is called Organifi Gold Chocolate. It tastes delicious in warm water and amazing in milk or as a milk alternative like coconut milk, almond milk, oat milk, you name it. Use a latte frother. You get it nice and foamy. 

What's going on here is the average hot chocolate has 200 calories, 6 grams of fat and 25 grams of sugar. But, the Organifi has just 23 calories, less than 2 grams of fat, and 1 gram of sugar. So, it's a superfood blend, but it's packed also with gently dried herbs and ayurvedic roots like turmeric and ginger. It's got a powerhouse mushroom in it, also reishi, doesn't have all the blood sugar spiky ingredients like other hot chocolate alternatives, and they also threw turmeric and ginger in which you would think would make it taste not that great but it is so good. It's so tasty. And, of course, turmeric and ginger on their own are amazing for their anti-inflammatory potential, reishes, and adaptogen. They put some lemon balm in there, which is kind of calming and relaxing for stress and anxiety. The thing is just very well-formulated, all USD organic, non-GMO, certified gluten-free, glyphosate residue-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegan, 100% organic whole food. It's the best fanciest most guilt-free hot chocolate on the planet.

Go to organifi.com/Ben for 20% off your order. That's Organifi with an i.com/Ben.

Alright, folks. It's coming up. It's right around the corner. It's the Health Optimisation Summit. Me and my entire family are headed to London for this thing and it is crazy, amazing. It's this massive expo full of the best biohacks.

You get to be ahead of the curve and see this stuff before it even hits the streets. You get entrance and access to all stages and breakout talks by an amazing variety of speakers. They've got 35 world-class forward-thinking speakers from the biohacking nutrition longevity fitness functional and preventive medicine fields. They've got next-level exhibitors and workshops, amazing VIP experiences with parties, with gadgets, with refreshments, with priorities, seating with upgraded goodie bags, and the list of speakers at this event is crazy. So, it's happening June 17th and 18th this year.

So, it's coming up quick. Jim Kwik, Vishen Lakhiani, Mimi Ikonn, my friend and dentist and former podcast guest Dr. Dominic, Dr. Jolene Brighten, Dr. Mark Atkinson, Kris Gethin, Dr. Christopher Shade, the list goes on and on. Some of the best of the best speakers, the coolest crowd and the exhibition for is absolutely mind-blowingly amazing. Plus, London is fun, great restaurants, cool people, and it's a party.

So, if you want to go to this year's Health Optimisation Summit, here's how to get in with a discount that's going to give you 10% off of all the regular and the VIP tickets. So again, it's June 17th and 18th. So, the Business Design Centre in London. And, here's your code, BenGreenfieldLife.com/HOS23. That's BenGreenfieldLife.com/HOS23 for this year's Health Optimisation Summit. Enjoy.

For people who aren't parents when you say diaper, do you literally mean changing their diaper?

Emilia:  Yeah. Yeah.

Ben:  Okay. You said 6,000 to 7,000 times from what age?

Emilia:  In their lifetime. I don't know what that was, Leon's not in diaper anymore, so I don't know how much time that is before they get potty trained. But, it's this idea of that's a lot of time that you're going to be spending with your baby. Making these moments a time of quality time and connection, it allows you to start cherishing these moments and it also makes it less likely you're going to have struggles in these areas with lack of cooperation. 

Slowness is just a key ingredient because when we're moving slow enough for them, we actually get to enjoy the time. We also can enjoy the moments of playfulness in between. They're still children. I don't define cooperation as doing exactly the task at hand quickly. I have age-appropriate expectations, so even if he teases me or puts his pants in his arm or something when he's getting dressed, I think that's totally age-appropriate and can be playful. I also hold the cards and that I can invite him back to the topic at hand at any time. But, me giving myself permission to be slow and spending that quality time with him, it just makes it so nourishing. It fills both of our cups so that that is part of our one-on-one time. And then, we also have one-on-one time when we're together and we're playing and I'm responsive being there not entertaining but still there present with him. That allows us to step away when needed.

When he was a baby, I mean, he was very, very young when we were leaving him alone in his safe space. He was probably, I mean as soon as we moved into this house, we set up a gated safe area in our house. He would learn to play in there by himself. It's funny because parents would come to our house and they would see the space and this enclosed area and think–well, I've had a lot of conversations, I don't know what everyone thinks. But, I have had conversations with parents where they say, “Well, I want my child to feel free.” It's so interesting because babies are natural explorers limit on their space actually offer a sense of safety because you have this idea like you don't say no. If they're not hearing no all the time–

Joseph:  That's the big thing for me to chime in on this is I'm very aware of any time I say “No” or make him wrong. With that as one of the guiding principles is trying to reduce. I want him to trust the world. I want him to be confident. And so, if he's hearing “No” too often, I don't remember the statistic, but the number of times, it's some wild number every day that the average toddler hears the word “No.” And so, this idea of the safe space, it's 10 by 10 or something like that for most people, 10 by 10 feet. In there, there is nothing that can hurt them, there is nothing that can go wrong, there's nothing they can't play with, there's nothing they can't climb. Sometimes I as a parent I'm in there with him and he might be playing independently, which is kind of how we've how we've trained him. But, I might be in there with him reading a book and just being not present with him. He doesn't need me in there. But, other times, he'll play in there for an hour or two by himself. You might find it interesting, Ben, sometimes I play with music with him.

There's a YouTube channel called Meditative Mind, and they have a three-hour ocean sounds audio track on YouTube. He plays twice as long independently when I have that on softly.

Ben:  Wow.

Joseph:  And so, there's a powerful idea here to train our kids to be independent, to train them to play by themselves and also “biohack” I suppose their safe space with things like music and things that add to the sense of safety and calm of the space.

Ben:  Yeah.

Emilia:  Sorry, can I just add on a little bit? This ties in with meeting our own needs as well because then when I need to go to the bathroom or I want to make dinner, I want to make some tea, I can actually step away and know that he's safe. 

Ben:  It really made sense when I read that. In the book, I think you called it a yes space. I don't know if you had mentioned in the book how many times that an infant hears the word “No” and how that can kind of cognitively program them in a negative way, but it seems so readily apparent and intuitive and makes sense to just have a parent set up a space in their house where kind of like nothing could go wrong potentially and the child's pretty protected and they just don't have to constantly hear the word “No.” Of course, it's far easier than Taylor fasting them a giant bubble suit that they can walk around in and go everywhere without hearing the word “No.” It seems far more sustainable than that. But yeah, just like a small yes space, it's such a cool idea but you don't hear about that too often.

Well, I was seeing a couple things. First of all, the 6 to 7,000 opportunities for diapering and the advice that you've given to go slow during those moments is probably directly influenced by a child's diet because the shittier the diaper stinks, the more likely you are to speed up. So, maybe it's a sneaky way to get parents to teach their kids or to feed their kids healthy food so that those diapering moments can go by slowly without you having to implement a nose clip.

But, the other thing I was thinking about was when it comes to slowness and the idea of safety, I remember when I was being trained by you, Joseph, for my kettlebell certification and you have me doing these death-by-carries long periods of time with the kettlebell overhead and then react at the chest and at the side, and one day, you told me I should try putting a popsicle stick in my mouth, and we can link to that previous podcast episode because you kind of get deep into the science of that and the effect on the nasal breathing and the humming and the increase in nitric oxide. But then, you also told me to be breathing through my nose, popsicle stick in the mouth. We got into a little bit of a discussion about the cranial nerves. 

I'm just curious, for example, back to the breath work, I don't recall where I learned this, but when River and Terran and I do breathwork, when we finish the session, which is often quite invigorating in the sauna and could almost be a little bit stressful, I suppose or at least put you into a different mental space, when we come out of that and they open their eyes, I have them move their gaze to the left without moving their head and back to center, then to the right and back to center, then up and back to center, then down and back to center. I think that tactic comes loosely from something called eye movement desensitization training, which is a way of reprograming the brain, dealing with trauma, or shifting from activity to activity without much stress. 

I'm just kind of throwing this out there, Joseph. I'm curious if you've come across anything in terms of eye movement or [eyesocating] or training a child as far as the eye movements where your eyes might go or where their eyes might go when it comes to slowness or decreasing stress.

Joseph:  Great, great question, Ben. I'll just say when you were chatting with Em, I did a quick Google search. According to Google, today, it says that the average toddler hears “No” 400 times a day. And so, trying to get that– 

Ben:  Oh, my god.

Joseph:  Yeah, it's crazy. And so, just to kind of add context to that. And so, yeah, Ben, and you know what, so I'm a big believer in eye movement many years ago. We have a eBook. It's still on the website, right, “Breathe Better, Move Better.” So, we have an eBook that I'd be happy to share with you Ben and you can put it in the shownotes called “Breathe Better, Move Better.” One of the exercises in there or two of them, one of them is an eye movement exercise. Just like you're doing with River and Terran, it's fun to assess people's vision in terms of, can you stay to the perimeter of your eyes, perimeter of your vision and do a full circle or do your eyes kind of jump and skip and move? That's kind of an indication of, of course, how we use our eyes but also a little bit into the state of the nervous system. We know that the suboccipitals, which are in the back of the skull are directly influenced by eye movement. The fact that in a modern world, us adults, we're looking down so much, we're looking at screens. We absolutely affect our body's perception of the world, our central nervous system. We disrupt our cranial nerves for sure.

Now, what's really interesting about Leon and the woman that I learned a lot of this from, her name is Lois Laynee. I've got a couple of podcasts–

Ben:  That's right. I remember you talking about her. I haven't interviewed her, but you have on your podcast, right?

Joseph:  Yes. I've done two or three shows with her. She's brilliant. She's out of Arizona. We did some sessions for Leon when he was really young because, yeah. I'm so glad you asked this. When he began walking and again, because I'm an exercise scientist or an anatomist, whatever you want to call me, I don't think the average person would have seen any issue with my, however old he was, gait pattern. But, I said, there's something going on with his right foot. Call me crazy, but there's something going on there and I don't think it's ideal and I want to get a better understanding of where that signal is coming from.

In terms of movement and everything else, Ben, birth is a traumatic process for an infant. And so, doing things at birth, we did little exercises, what Lois calls the Swedish swirl when he was born to kind of activate some of the nerves in his mouth when he was born. But, when he began to walk and I saw a little bit of a gait disturbance or at least that's what I felt it was, of course, I called up Lois, we did some sessions with her and she did a lot with him on Zoom during COVID with different colors and different things she was holding in her hands and moving his eyes around and getting him to focus. We also ended up doing some work on the vibe plate, which we have in the garage with him, which is amazing to reboot the cranial nerves and get things fired up.

Ben:  Wow.

Joseph:  Yeah. The other thing that she did, we did some exercises. Long story short, she did some exercises. She taught us how to do them that involved his tongue and using a Q-tip to kind of tickle different regions of his mouth that turned on these crazy old nerves. And Ben, his gait straightened out. His gait straightened out. Over the course, as I was monitoring him, it was beginning to look like it was almost a club foot. He was going to have a stomp on the right and a normal gait on the left. And after, how long did it take, two or three months of these exercises, he's great, he's perfect. It was just an amazing experience.

And so, I guess what I'm saying is as it relates to the cranial nerves, I think appreciating birth as a traumatic experience and any traumatic experience can tune down some of the functionality or the connections or the order, the cranial nerves are supposed to kind of like a Christmas tree, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, I believe there's 12. I'm a little rusty on this. But, sometimes due to trauma, some of those switches get flicked off.

Ben:  By the way, I can tell you it's on Old Olympus towering tops of Finn and German viewed some hops. That was the mnemonic we used in anatomy back in college. So, it's olfactory optics so on so forth. But yeah, it's 10 to 12 of them. But, that's a total aside Cocktail Party Trivial Pursuit type of facts. But, keep going.

Joseph:  Yeah. I'll say that sometimes they get turned down, sometimes they don't fire sequentially. All these things can create patterns in the body or in the mind. And so, as it relates to you doing the breathwork, the nasal breathing, the popsicle stick between the teeth, your teeth, you could think of them almost as when your teeth are together, even if you're nasal breathing, but if you don't have a popsicle stick between them, they're conducting electricity more or less. And so, when you are trying to reboot the system, putting that little tiny on Amazon, you just type in tiny popsicle stick, they're about 2 inches long, they work perfect for this, keeping the teeth separated or wearing a mouth guard at night especially if you grind, those teeth, it's almost completing a circuit when your teeth are together.

And so, as it relates to the nerves also being electric, you can get some really profound benefits and profound stimulation to the parasympathetic system. So, if you're in overdrive kind of reducing the number of variables by separating the teeth is a great idea. Humming is an amazing, which I know and you've probably talked about at length on the podcast in terms of activating the parasympathetic system. And, of course, nasal breathing, both for the nervous system and nitric oxide production. The mouth is kind of the panic button. So, keeping it closed is just generally a good idea. 

The last thing, Ben, I'll say is that–and, I read this, in one of the breathing books I read, this was years ago, but it talked about how Native Americans if they ever caught their child sleeping with its mouth open, what they would do is just kind of tickle above their mouth and a little below their mouth just kind of gently touch and automatically it taps into the nerves, and the mouth kind of automatically closes. And so, that's something I've also monitored with Leon. Anytime I see him if he is sleeping with his mouth open, I'll kind of give him that little tickle and his nerves will reflexively just shut his mouth and he'll start breathing through his nose again.

And so, yeah, just all things to be kind of mindful of as parents because you don't want to let bad habits go too long, I suppose, with the gait and the breath. So, yeah.

Ben:  Yeah. I suppose that's probably good you're not mouth-taping Leon. I feel that could possibly be a little bit traumatic. By the way, the Swedish swirl sounds some kind of drink you'd order at a northern European coffee shop or something. I can't help but ask, what is the Swedish swirl?

Joseph:  So, the Swedish swirl is essentially when we were in the hospital, I did it with my finger, but you could use a Q-tip. You're basically just tracing, you're inside the lips and, here I am doing it on the podcast, you're just basically tracing and making sure that just touching something, just like touching above or below the mouth is going to reflexively turn on some nerves and shut and seal the lips doing the same thing inside the mouth with a clean hand and just kind of moving your finger around the outskirts of his mouth and then doing a little line down the tongue. That's the Swedish swirl. It's just to get those cranial nerves that just went through a little bit of a trauma to hopefully sync back up.

Ben:  Oh, fascinating. Now, I know you get deep into this stuff in your podcast with Lois. So, if you're listening to the podcast right now, what I'll do is in the shownotes, I'll hunt down those episodes. If you go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/Anew, A-N-E-W, I'll link to those because I think they'd be a pretty interesting listen for a lot of my listeners.

There's another interesting thing. I guess, maybe it's from a disciplinary standpoint. But, in the book, you talk about redirecting a child's attention. I think the example you give if they were throwing sand was you said something that we don't throw sand, but we put the sand into the bucket like this. I'm curious if that's something you guys learned or if you can expound a little bit more on what this idea of redirecting the child's attention refers to and how it's done.

Emilia:  Absolutely. First of all, redirecting the word itself sometimes has a negative connotation because it sounds like you are distracting. So, we're not doing that. But, we are allowing and basically allowing our son's natural urges as much as possible. When we see something that isn't okay, maybe it's not sustainable, it makes too much of a mess or it's dangerous, those are usually the two things that make me stop and come in and set a boundary. Instead of saying no, and of course, I did say no when he was really young in the living room and there were off-limits objects, we really didn't have a lot of them, but we had, for example, our plants and I didn't want him to stick his hands in our big plant and get dirt all over the place. So, that was a firm no. 

But, in the case of where he's doing something like throwing sand, that can be a really good opportunity to redirect instead of just saying no, which stifles that natural urge to be curious and explore and just to say like, “Hey, you can't do it this way but you can do it this way.” This is such an incredibly effective way, especially under the age of 18 months, they don't even realize that you've redirected them, they're like, “Oh, great idea, Mom.” There's no struggle. There's no power struggle.

So, that is a really, really simple way to get what you need. And also, you do have to be consistent. Any time we set a boundary, we set a limit. We don't do this, but we do this, but you can do it like this. Those types of things. You do have to be consistent so that the child naturally continues to play with that object in a way that's appropriate. You also can do another thing other than redirecting attention. You can also praise when they're doing something in a way that you like. That's another way to encourage that kind of behavior.

Ben:  Yeah. It seems to me that a lot of parents engage in–not that I want to throw a whole bunch of parents under the bus, what I guess you could call lazy parenting. It's easy to say, “No.” It's easy to say, “Eat this.” It's easy to say, “Do this.” It's a little bit harder to creatively come up with options when you want them to proactively be a part of the choice-making process or alternatives when there are better things they could be doing than say throwing sand. I think a big, big part of it is embracing creativity as a parent and understanding that despite, I don't know about you guys, but the way I was raised was very much; yes, no, do this, do that, don't ask questions, follow marching orders. 

I think there's just so many advantages to giving a child in a creative manner options and alternatives. And, I think that honestly if you think forward from a legacy standpoint as far as raising a child in that manner, not only of course are you ensuring that they learn some of those skills for their own children but I personally been thinking a lot about this emergence of particularly things like GPT and AI-driven algorithms and the fact that I think some of the more successful humans, particularly the creative humans, the makers of the world so to speak, are going to be those who can write effective prompts to machines and robots and who can delegate effectively and give instructions effectively. 

And so, I think in kind of a sneaky way perhaps, when you raise a child in the way that you're describing, you're also enabling them, this might sound a little bit of a far reach, but to interact with the emerging technology in the world that they're going to grow up in in a more intelligent and creative way. I mean, I honestly been thinking a lot about how I can teach River and Terran to delegate and write [prompts] effectively because I can already see it's going to be a massively important skill for humans going forward in the next several years.

Emilia:  Yeah. That's so interesting. What you said a little bit earlier makes me think of also this idea of discipline really how we define it. Because you're right, it's these lazy parenting, but I think it comes from this idea that my children are my property and I want them to do as I say. The problem with this approach is that it doesn't honor the whole child. I come back to what's really your goal. You set you set limits. But, if the goal is to have a child that listens to you, you're stifling a lot of these natural behaviors like creativity like you said. But, if your goal is self-disciplined, self-confidence, and having a child who enjoys cooperating with you, then you don't get a child who enjoys cooperating if you're not honoring the whole child and if you're not honoring his urges and his needs and his nature. And, also having age-appropriate expectations, you have to make it easy for them and they have to be ready for the limits that you're setting. In that framework, you can really nurture this creativity and this natural exploration that they want to do. That's exactly it. It's going to set them up for being really creative in the future.

Ben:  Yeah. Go ahead, Joseph.

Joseph:  I'll just say that in a way, when I look at the sort of hypothesis of RIE, and I'll say that if you're creating a scenario where we're saying no a lot as an example to the child and they're not developing, they're missing those opportunities for age-appropriateness and to learn why, they'll deduce maybe why sand throwing isn't okay if we say you can't do that but you can do this. Over time, they'll start to make those connections. 

So, I guess part of the hypothesis of this parenting approach that we hope pans out is, just kidding, is that there's a little more work up front, a little more awareness, a little more intentionality with the idea being that you're raising not only a confident kid and a stable kid, but a child that you really enjoy being with that it's not driving you to drink a bottle of wine at the end of the day because you're exhausted because you've said no 400 times. And so, just to kind of, I guess, set that frame is that as Emelia said, what's the goal? The goal is to create a person that is independent and can function in the world. That's kind of the approach here. 

I'll say as Emelia said, I just want to reiterate the importance of consistency. I've learned this as a dad when I let things slide and how quickly things can unravel. This gets into really vetting child care and making sure that they're on board and things like that because the consistent boundaries and the consistent theme is really vital to the success of this parenting approach.

Ben:  Kids thrive on consistency. It's something that is probably one of the hardest parts for me as a traveling father is to maintain things like the morning and evening meditations, and the Bible verse that we typically memorize once a day, and the evening meetings to discuss the chapters in the books that they've been assigned, and the morning workouts, and the later afternoon breath work. It's like I know how good the consistency in these routines and daily habits and rituals are for young people not only to learn but to feel they're in a safe place and also to just kind of keep the family together. 

But, it's actually hard. It's almost like gardening. You're never done pulling weeds. You're never done organizing. You're never done managing. You're never done planting seeds. And yeah, when I travel, especially in the past few years, I've just been more and more effectively using text, emails, phone calls, video calls, really good communication with Jessa so that if I'm gone six days at a conference or whatever and I come back, it's close to us not having skipped a beat. 

But, I just want parents to know like a lot of parents struggle with this, including myself when you're trying to implement a lot of positive habits for a child with maintaining consistency because it's easy to forget and it's easy to lose track and it's easy to take that all or nothing approach of, “Hey, I just traveled for six days and we missed a few.” Oh, what the hell, it's all going to go to pot. But really, it's so important to maintain consistency with a lot of these habits. I just want to encourage people listening in that you can do it, everybody struggles with it, but you can do it, you just have to really proactively manage it in the same way that you might go to the gym each day or choose a healthy meal for breakfast each day.

I wanted to ask you guys, oh, by the way, Jo, you mentioned if it pans out. If it doesn't pan out and Leon winds up in juvenile detention, I'm just going to delete this podcast and pretend this conversation never happened.

Now, the RIE approach, I recall there was a point in the book where you said that you do stray outside that approach and you mentioned that particularly you do that when it comes to sleep. You said that you don't perfectly follow the right parenting note when it comes to sleep. Can you explain what you mean by that?

Emilia:  Yes. I don't like to give sleep advice in general because there's so much. Sleep is a really hard area.

Joseph:  It's a controversial topic.

Emilia:  Yeah. We're still breastfeeding. He's almost 3 and we're still not fully weaned. He's obviously not relying on it for nutrition. I'm pregnant, I'm due in June. So, I'm really trying to get that gone out of my routine before then. 

But, I ended up just in this a lot of breastfeeding moms. You end up bringing the baby to bed with you. And, I still think this is the most respectful way to sleep and at least for us, this is absolutely what was the right fit for us because when a baby wakes up a lot during the night, if he's right there next to you, then you don't have to get up, it's not a whole ordeal getting up to feed the baby. So, that really, really worked for us. I do believe babies thrive being close to their mothers at night if you're comfortable with that. Of course, there's safety concerns and there's also precautions you can take to make sure that it is definitely safe and the right fit for your family. 

But, we are in this phase right now that's interesting. And, I think we are just kind of going with the flow. I love right now the snuggle and the conversations when we're falling asleep at night and the cuddles, it's so worth it, and the intimacy and the connection, it feels so good. But, there were times, especially in the first year where I was like, “Man, I need a sleep train.” I'm not getting anything done. It takes me too long to put him down. It's the big sacrifice. At the same time, I recognize being a parent is you do sacrifice things, and that's part of it. Right now, it's so easy. Our routine is so easy with the co-sleeping that I'm not. I don't need to change anything right now, but I think when baby number two comes, we're going to be changing some things up. I just don't know exactly what that's going to look for us yet.

Ben:  Yeah. You can only fit so many kids into a bed. But, all joking aside, we know that heart rate variability syncs up when humans are in the same space. We have these unique sinking capabilities like you hear about how women's periods and menstrual cycles will sometimes align possibly based on moon cycles when a whole bunch of women are together in the same place for an extended period of time or you'll hear about how a horse jockey's heart rate variability will sync with that of the horses when they enter into the stall, if they've established a trusted relationship with that horse. We also know that the heart rate variability of a human emanates about 15 feet out from their heart's area as an electrical field and directly influences the hearts and the brains of others around them. 

I don't know if this has been studied, but I'm pretty confident that there's a certain amount of brain wave synchronicity that occurs between a child and a parent when they're co-sleeping. And, the reason I say this is not based on research that I've done, but some of the best naps that I've ever had in my life and siestas and sleeping periods I've ever had in my life were during the period of time that River and Terran were co-sleeping with Jessa and I. It was really odd. We just all fall asleep. Sure they wake up, they thrash, sometimes they cry, but particularly for naps, we would sometimes all climb into bed and normally first, yes, I'll sleep 20 minutes. I'd sometimes be scrambling with work and missed appointments because I'd wake up two hours later just because, and I think this is the case, there is some type of a brainwave sinking that occurred between the sleeping infant's peaceful brain and my own ramped up stressed beta brain waves that probably slipped pretty quickly into theta or delta with the kid right there in the bed. I just sense that's the case, but I'm not sure–

Joseph:  You just hope you don't give your kid the beta.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah, exactly. Maybe it can flow both directions or maybe it's because there were two of them, they overrode mine. I don't know. 

Joseph:  Kids like, “Dad just have a coffee.” Yeah, Ben, what's so interesting because the HeartMath science, the HeartMath Institute, they have some research. And, I think it was on dogs. But, when you bring the dog and the person together, both of their HRV and coherence sync. But, when you bring them apart again, they drop below baseline levels. 

And so, there's something to be said as well just from a primal evolutionary perspective that what are the chances that a baby ever would have been left alone truly, right, in a more ancestral way of living. They never would have been alone. We never would have thrown them in bed and let them cry and let them because they have no protection, they have no security. So, there's something to be said as well. I think part of the reason I was opposed to certain types of sleep training even though I mean there are experts and there are people that do this and swear by it and they could be on the podcast and convince your audience of the other side of this coin, but for me being such a sort of I'm always looking in the more kind of what seems in alignment with the way we've been doing things the longest. I just didn't feel that leaving a child alone say in their own room or leaving them to cry would be consistent with the level of protection and nurturing and security that they would have received in a more sort of wild upbringing.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. I agree. I doubt our caveman ancestors had a separate cave for the infants with ancient stone EMF radiating wireless baby monitor in the baby's cave. So, yeah–

Joseph:  Goodness, you could have a podcast on that, Ben.

Ben:  Yeah. Oh, my gosh. Yeah, baby monitors and EMFs are a thing, folks. If you aren't aware of that, you should be.

No, I got to ask. I know we're starting to run short on time here a little bit. But, I've observed the mindful research that both of you have done with your parenting and the growth of Leon and I've been very impressed with his stability even done with his biomechanics, Jo, as you noted probably due to that internal confidence when I've spent time with him down at RUNGA. Although he does need to work on his foam rolling skills, we'll work on those next time.

But, I got to ask you, what are your plans for education? What are your plans for school? Because certainly, you've looked into this or thought about it, I would imagine.

Emilia:  Great question. It's something that we have been kind of struggling with a little bit in terms of my initial instincts for wanting him to be in an environment playing with other kids was so that it would free me up a little bit because he still is at home with us. And recently, we got a nanny who comes twice a week and gives me just enough time to kind of catch up with work. So, for now, I've stopped thinking about school. 

At the same time, I do see I think around the age of three, there's some farm schools in our area, there's a Waldorf school that is absolutely beautiful. We're really, really fond of it. We're going to be exploring those options a little bit more. I think for me, what it's going to come down to is I don't necessarily–I don't know when he's going to be ready for a full-time program, I would love a two or three days a week program and then have him at home doing things with me. This is such a great age to get them involved baking, cooking, cleaning, laundry. There's so much we can do together.

Joseph:  He made a cake yesterday. 

Emilia:  Yeah, we made a chocolate cake. It's so fun. He is learning and it's very age-appropriate. There's so much to learn at this age as it is just getting dressed by yourself, potty training, cleaning. There's so much that he's learning just about what it means to take care of a home. Even my expectations, he plays independently and he's often aware of what I'm doing while he's playing independently. He's learning about that, what happens in the household, what happens when daddy goes to work. He walks the dog. He feeds the dog. He just participates so much in the household that I think that this time, the next two years, I think with a new baby, you're going to be very indicative of what we do schooling-wise for him. But, at this age, it feels very right to have him as much with us as we can.

Joseph:  It feels right. And, right now, Ben, we've–and, we've put him into a couple of schools and just we haven't totally aligned and so we've pulled him out again. But, there's a Waldorf School here in Austin that we visited and we suspect he'll end up at. But, a lot of the schools that are in alignment, there's just long wait lists and things like that. 

And so, I suspect the big thing I think for me just to tack on with Emelia, the big thing for me is we have another one coming and so we want to make sure what we do with Leon is sustainable to the other children that we have in the future as well. And so, yeah, that's part of it.

Emilia:  We have friends with homeschool co-ops and who are unschooling. We have friends doing a ton of different things on the spectrum of homeschooling. That to me is just spending more and more time with them. I'm starting to get an idea of what my options are, what can I do. I think a hybrid approach is probably going to be where we end up in a two-day-a-week program. Maybe joining a homeschool co-op on one or two days as well, just little things like that. I feel Austin's a great place for us to be right now because there's a lot of families who are like-minded doing things like that.

Joseph:  Might have to build a RUNGA school.

Ben:  I think that'd be cool. I'm doing kettlebells and ice baths and Kundalini and meditation all day with the occasional organic farm-to-table dinner.

Now, it's interesting because River and Terran are enrolled in a program called APOGEE, A-P-O-G-E-E. Every Friday, they have a two-to-three-hour mentoring session and Q&A with the new guests who's typically a creative entrepreneur or a Navy SEAL or an inspirational super athlete, or something like that. and, they just get to sit and be mentored by that individual along with about 20 to 30 other, in their case, boys who are part of this APOGEE program. 

And then, each month, they have special assignments such as creating a resume or going out into the local community and finding three people who they can conduct a 15-minute interview with about how that person got to where they're at in their current career, et cetera. And then, they also have assigned workouts each day that all the other boys are doing and discussing in this private online workspace that they interact in. 

It's a really fantastic program. They do it for a couple years, but the guy that runs it, Matt Beaudreau, he co-founded something called Acton Academy. I think he might have co-founded with Tim Kennedy, the other co-founder of APOGEE with Tim Kennedy or the Acton Academy Tim Kennedy–

Emilia:  I've heard of that.

Ben:  Yeah. And apparently, even though I don't have any personal experience and I haven't visited the academy, it does a fantastic job with extreme ownership principles with a child or a young student taking responsibility. The kids are typically grading each other's papers and speaking from the classroom just as much as the teachers are. I've heard nothing but good reports of this Acton Academy, A-C-T-O-N. I think they may have a location in Austin. So, I just kind of crossed my mind as you guys were talking about schooling options. I don't have any experience with it, but I have been impressed with Matt's APOGEE program. So, just different thought.

Emilia:  That sounds amazing. The program that the boys are doing. I have heard of Acton Academy. I haven't looked into it yet though, but I do know they have a location in Austin.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. I don't know what the waitlist looks. But, anyways, I know we're about out of time. There's so many other questions I could ask you. And, of course, in an act of shameless self-promotion, I have to say you do have a chapter in the “Boundless Parenting” book, which folks can find on my website. 

If they want to learn more about your guys' unique parenting principles, I think that your chapter would be a really good one to digest. Like I mentioned, Joseph has a podcast and I'll link to some of those episodes we discussed in the shownotes at BenGreenfieldLife.com/Anew.

And then, also this RUNGA event, I mentioned the introduction that it's private but what I mean by that is that each participant is vetted, is interviewed, and typically you're surrounded by a group of really great people who Joseph and Emilia have reviewed and made a part of this typically about a three-day event. And so, if you're interested in that and getting to know Joseph and Emelia a little bit better, then I recommend you look into those RUNGA events also.

Let's see, am I missing anything, you guys?

Emilia:  I don't think so. Well, I did want to say we have a very exciting shift to the model. I haven't even told you about Ben, but we're hosting our first-ever conference in October. So, it's going to be a micro-conference, so still super intimate, 100 people, and a lot of different experts, workshops, panels, keynotes, therapies, all the things that we've been doing over the last few years slightly on a larger scale. 

The theme is going to be gut health and inflammation. So, we can really dive deep. I think this is going to be life-changing, especially for people for who those issues are pervasive.

Ben:  All the attendees get microdoses, micro machine toys, and small microcirculation recovery boots?

Emilia:  I don't know about that.

Ben:  At the micro-conference.

Joseph:  Yeah, all of the above, Ben.

Ben:  Alright, great. I'm in. Well, you guys, it's been fantastic to have a chat and to learn about what you're doing with Leon. I think there's going to be really informative and inspirational for a lot of parents. If you're listening, you have questions, comments, feedback, anything you want to add or if you want to access the resources for this episode, you can go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/Anew. That's BenGreenfieldLife.com/A-N-E-W. 

And, Joseph and Emelia, thank you so much for coming on and sharing your wisdom.

Emilia:  Thank you so much for having us.

Joseph:  Ben, it's always so great to connect. Thank you so much for all you do.

Ben:  Thanks, man. I appreciate it. For everybody listening in, I'm Ben Greenfield along with Joseph Anew and Emelia Rún signing out from BenGreenfieldLife.com. Have a wonderful week.

I am coming to London June 16th through the 18th and I'm going to be a part of the Health Optimisation Summit over there. If you go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/Calendar, you can check out that event. Fantastic. Kind of like biohacking meets wellness meets massive health technology expo. But, while I'm there, I'm going to be in London with my whole family and we're actually going to head to Italy afterwards and cycle through Italy. But, I decided to put on a very special private, intimate VIP event with me while I am in London. It's at this crazy place called HUM2N, HUM2N, like human except of the 2.

So, HUM2N Labs, they are a creme de la creme biohacking facility. I mean, the best hyperbaric chambers, amazing selection of IVs, super nutrient cocktails, cryotherapy, red light therapy. We're basically going to party and biohack and do a Q&A with me and the fine proprietor of that facility, Dr. E, who's a wealth of knowledge in and of himself at that event. It's Monday, June 19th, so it's going to be private networking, live Q&A, great food, great cocktail/mocktails, experiential biohacks, a variety of healthy gourmet foods is just going to be really amazing. You're going to get a swag bag too. Your swag bag includes super nutrient IV, cryotherapy, red light therapy, and hyperbaric oxygen. That's worth 750 pounds alone. Then you got the H2MN supplements. They're going to give you their brain sharpener and their super blend protein. You get a travel voucher to take you to and from the event, meaning using a company called UONO. They will bring you to and from the event if you have trouble finding it or don't want to drive.

So, there's a lot more that go into those swag bag too. But, right now, I have to tell you, this thing is going to fill up fast. It's in London, June 19th, and you get there by going to BenGreenfieldLife.com/HUM2NLondon. That's BenGreenfieldLife.com/HUM2NLondon. And, that will allow you to claim your spot at this fantastic event. So, BenGreenfieldLife.com/HUM2NLondon

More than ever these days, people like you and me need a fresh entertaining, well-informed, and often outside-the-box approach to discovering the health, and happiness, and hope that we all crave. So, I hope I've been able to do that for you on this episode today. And, if you liked it or if you love what I'm up to, then please leave me a review on your preferred podcast listening channel wherever that might be, and just find the Ben Greenfield Life episode. Say something nice. Thanks so much. It means a lot. 



Since their son's birth, Joseph Anew and Emilia Run made an effort to change his diapers sloooowly, paying close attention to him and communicating throughout the process.

However, they went through a difficult phase during which their son would resist diaper changes. If you're a parent, you may identify.

Remembering the advice to “Slow down, you can never go too slowly” from early childhood educator Magda Gerber, they slowed down even more, giving their son more attention and tickling him. Within a week, their son was happy to have his diaper changed and even began changing his own diaper. Diaper changing may seem trivial, but this is just one example of the many, many unexpected tips that I learned from the parents I interviewed for my new book Boundless Parenting. As contributors to the book, Joseph and Emilia shared advice on discipline, boundaries, self-sufficiency, and much more.

Joseph Anew is an international speaker, fitness expert, entrepreneur, and lifestyle coach. During his eight years as Head of Sport and Training at Spartan Race, Joseph worked full-time with professional endurance athletes and taught seminars worldwide. From there, Joseph went on to found RUNGA, an experiential lifestyle brand empowering individuals through highly effective and sustainable practices that fuel health, wellness, and performance.

As a coach of 18 years, his teachings focus on ingraining profound mindset shifts, giving guests the courage and the tools to align their actions with their objectives throughout daily life. After a traumatic brain injury, Joseph dedicated his life to finding health again, stopping at nothing to regain his full potential. Today, this experience shapes him as a coach and educator and fuels his purpose for creating transformational experiences through RUNGA. Joseph believes that vibrant health is possible for everyone, and he embodies that truth in his own story of overcoming significant adversity. He shares his teachings and interviews inspiring guests on his podcast Intuitive Warrior.

I've also previously interviewed Joseph in the podcasts:

Emilía Rún is a plant-based chef, Kundalini yoga teacher, and mindfulness meditation teacher. After law school, Emilía moved to Los Angeles to pursue her dreams of working in food, the seeds for which were planted while working at a health food restaurant during her teenage years. Emilía quickly found herself making cakes for various raw food establishments, teaching cooking classes, and consulting with coffee shops and restaurants. In 2018, Emilía started her own private chef and cake business, quickly becoming known for her beautiful organic spreads and delicious raw desserts.

With nutrition as her primary focus, Emilía also credits yoga and meditation as pivotal to her healing from a lifelong painful autoimmune disease. Since stumbling into a class at 18 years old, the teachings of Kundalini yoga, and later mindfulness, have allowed her to cultivate an unbroken connection to the heart, which serves as a compass in her daily life. Eventually becoming a teacher in both herself, Emilía has trained under Tara Brach, Jack Kornfield, Tej Kaur Khalsa, Krishna Kaur, and Siri Bahadur Khalsa.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-Who are Joseph and Emilia?…06:00

-What is a highly respectful parenting style?…10:25

  • Leon Thor, Joseph's and Emilia’s son will be 3 in May and has already done ice baths
  • Highly respectful parenting style
  • Exposing him to things and letting him choose
    • never forced or pressured
  • Goal is to develop a healthy relationship with the activity
    • avoid resentment
  • Ben’s experience with his sons regarding activities
    • Leads by example
    • Avoids resentment
    • Emphasize benefits

-Age appropriateness and discipline…17:43

  • Very young kids need mostly soft activities
  • As they grow up and their perspective expands, add some structure
  • Joseph tries to ingrain habitual routines
    • Drink a glass of water
    • Go outside
  • Discipline does not stray away from respectful parenting
    • Age-appropriate discipline
    • Boundaries and expectations
  • Consistency is essential
  • Creating good habits at a young age
  • Offering several options and giving them some amount of ownership over the task

-What RIE stands for…24:25

-The practice of slowing down and slowness in RIE…33:13

  • Babies and toddlers get easily overwhelmed, overstimulated
  • If we're moving too fast and our child is being overstimulated, then we're not enjoying the time together
  • Any sort of struggle is always an invitation to slow down
  • Quality time is one of the cornerstones of RIE
  • Categories of quality time
    1. Something quality time – paying full attention but you also have expectations
    2. Nothing quality time – moments that you actually are spending with your child anyway; slowness and enjoying time with a child
  • Slowness is a key ingredient because when we're moving slow enough for them, we actually get to enjoy the time

-What is a “Yes Space”?…42:00

  • A safe space where nothing can hurt them, nothing that can go wrong, nothing they can't play with, nothing they can't climb
  • Leaving the kid alone in his safe space
    • Learning to play by himself
  • Meditative Mind
  • The child plays twice as long independently with Meditative Mind
    • Music adds a sense of safety and calm to the space
  • Easy to step away for a few minutes to prepare dinner knowing that he's safe

-The importance of the eye movements…46:20

  • Average toddler hears “no” 400 times a day
  • Joseph is a big eye-movement believer
  • Breath Better, Move Better e-book
  • Eye movement exercise
  • Lois Laynee
  • Lois Laynee on Joseph's podcast
  • Swedish swirl exercises
  • Leon had a gait disturbance when he started to walk
    • Lois had the Swedish swirl exercises with Leon
    • Eyes and mouth
    • Leon's gait straightened out after 2-3 months
  • Cranial nerves can be dysfunctional due to trauma at birth
  • Activating the parasympathetic system
  • Separating teeth when sleeping or exercising
  • Tickling the mouth when a child sleeps with mouth opened
  • The Swedish Swirl

-Redirecting a child’s attention…56:46

  • Lois Laynee – Redirecting is allowing natural urges as much as possible
  • Redirecting instead of saying “no”
    • You can't do it this way but you can do it this way
    • Especially effective up to 18 months
  • Saying no stifles the natural urge to be curious and explore
  • Be consistent in setting boundaries and limits
  • Encourage good behavior
  • Give options and alternatives
  • The goal should be to develop self-discipline and good cooperation
  • Nurture creativity and exploration
  • Don’t miss opportunities for a child to learn
  • Consistent boundaries are essential
    • kids thrive on consistency
  • Ben’s struggle to maintain consistency

-Straying outside the RIE approach…1:06:40

  • Straying when it comes to sleep
  • Sleep is a controversial topic
  • Breastfeeding and co-sleeping
    • Great for intimacy and the connection
  • Ben’s experience with co-sleeping
    • Brain wave syncing
  • In ancestral living, babies would not be left alone
  • HeartMath

-Joseph's and Emilia’s plans for education…1:13:15

  • Got a nanny twice a week
  • Exploring options
  • Would love 2-3 days of program
  • Waldorf school in Austin
  • New baby coming
  • Friends with homeschool coops and who are also unschooling but most probably a hybrid option
  • Ben’s sons are enrolled in APOGEE, a program  founded by Matt Beaudreau and Tim Kennedy
  • RUNGA is hosting a gut health and inflammation micro-conference in October

 -And much more…

Upcoming Events:

  • Health Optimisation Summit: June 17th – 18th, 2023

Join me at The Health Optimisation Summit in London! This is your chance to be part of a community of 2,500 like-minded people and learn from world-leading health speakers. You'll be able to fast-track your health journey, discover cutting-edge secrets and hacks, explore the latest tech and gadgets, and find the cleanest and healthiest supplements and nutrient-dense foods. Don't miss out on this incredible experience! Use code BENGREENFIELD for 10% off regular and VIP tickets. Learn more here.

  • HUM2N Event: June 19th, 2023

Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to learn from the best in the field and take your biohacking journey to the next level. You’ll get the chance to be involved with a private network of biohackers, a live discussion with myself and Dr. E, a live Q&A, an experiential biohacking experience, tasty food, and a chance to win some mind-blowing prizes! Learn more here.

32 Questions For Boundless Parenting

The following questions were posed to Patrick and Laurie Gentempo, and the rest of the wise parents interviewed for my upcoming book, Boundless Parenting.

  1. How many children do you have, how old are they, what is their profession or passion, and why, in particular, are you proud of them?
  2. Are there any elements of your parenting approach that you would consider to be particularly unique?
  3. What books, systems, models, or resources do you rely heavily upon or consider to be indispensable in your own parenting?
  4. What traditions, habits, routines, or rituals are most important, memorable, or formative for your family?
  5. What rites of passage or significant moments of maturation to adolescence or adulthood have your children experienced, if any?
  6. Who do you look up to as parenting mentors?
  7. What have you taught your children about raising their own children?
  8. Do you have any philosophies or strategies for educating your children outside of traditional school, such as homeschooling, unschooling, self-directed education, or other alternatives, creative, or “outside-the-box” forms of education?
  9. What has been your proudest moment as a parent, and why?
  10. What do you wish you had known before first becoming a parent?
  11. Have you ever experienced imposter syndrome as a parent? If so, how have you coped with that?
  12. How have you achieved a balance between mentoring and passing on wisdom without “living vicariously” through your children?
  13. Have you ever faced any big parenting decisions that kept you awake at night worrying or that you feared you would mess up?
  14. What do you regret, if anything, from your experience as a parent?
  15. What is the biggest mistake you have made as a parent?
  16. What, if anything, from your parenting experience would you go back and change or improve?
  17. If you had multiple children, what did you think was right at the time with one child that you then went back and changed with the next child or future children?
  18. Have you ever sensed or feared that your children would grow up too different or weird as a result of any “outside-the-box” parenting approaches you used? If so, how did you deal with that?
  19. Have you ever differed from your spouse on parenting principles, techniques, or approaches? If so, how did you manage that?
  20. Warning: This question is long but important: As a parent, have you ever felt conflicted about wanting to share a book, teaching, resource, or method with your children as a means of impacting their future success, but feared that it might “overload” them, especially at their age? If so, how did you balance bestowing this valuable knowledge to your child without causing them to worry too much about adult concerns? How did you decide when to just “let a kid be a kid” versus nudging them towards responsible adulthood and the attainment of valuable wisdom?
  21. How have you balanced being a present, engaged parent while preserving your own identity, taking time for your own self-care, tending to your career, or pursuing other interests that did not include your children?
  22. How have you engaged in one-on-one time or created space for dedicated time with your child, especially if you have more than one child?
  23. If your children have grown up and moved out of your house, what strategies have you found most helpful for maintaining and building your relationship with them?
  24. If your children have grown up and moved out of your house, do you often miss them, fear for them, or think of them? If so, how have you coped with any loneliness or desire for their presence?
  25. Do you have non-negotiable rules for your children?
  26. How have you disciplined your children, if at all?
  27. How have you helped your child to establish responsibly, moderated, or conscientious consumption or use of books, media, entertainment, screen time, and social media? This is not my favorite question because the focus on “limiting screen time” seems a bit blown out of proportion these days and I think causes kids to get obsessed with the “forbidden fruit” of screen time, but it seems to be on the minds of many parents today, so I’d be remiss not to include it.
  28. Have you emphasized or encouraged any health, fitness, or healthy eating principles with your children? If so, what has seemed to work well?
  29. If your child or children could inscribe anything on your gravestone, what would you hope that they would write? What would you most want them to remember about you?
  30. What do you most want to be remembered for as a parent?
  31. What do you think your child or children would say is their fondest memory of being raised by you?
  32. What message for parents would you put on a billboard?

Resources mentioned in this episode:

– Joseph Anew And Emilía Rún:

– Books:

– Other Resources:

Episode sponsors:

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

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