February 16, 2023
From podcast: https://bengreenfieldlife.com/podcast/angi-arlynd-fletcher-parenting-podcast/
[00:00:38] Podcast Sponsors
[00:04:41] Guest Introduction
[00:06:43] Angi's normal upbringing and experience with grief at a young age
[00:13:09] How Angi almost died on the bathroom floor in her tiny apartment in Los Angeles
[00:16:25] Angi's journey to becoming a competitive triathlete
[00:22:24] The traditions Angi created as a single mom raising her first-born son, Oliver
[00:27:03] How Ben turned things around for his sons when they weren't able to go on their family vacation
[00:29:54] Travel does expand the mind in both children and adults
[00:32:08] Podcast Sponsors
[00:36:59] Oliver went to public school and Angi's younger children are homeschooled
[00:42:40] How Ben and Jessa set up the education perimeters for their sons' learning and schooling
[00:51:38] Ben's family mission statement
[00:54:34] What a typical day looks like for Angi and Arlynd, and how they balance work and self-care
[01:00:25] The epic activities Ben does with his sons and the importance of including them
[01:03:37] How Angi prioritizes the things that bring her joy so she is able to be her best self for her children
[01:06:12] Angi's messages included in Boundless
[01:11:57] Closing the Podcast
[01:13:18] Boundless Retreat
[01:15:31] End of Podcast
Ben: My name is Ben Greenfield. And, on this episode of the Ben Greenfield Life podcast.
Angi: Constant depletion not knowing, not being educated, not being resourceful, not having the tools, having no idea that growing a baby depletes me of so–like I download, what, 70% of my minerals to my child while I'm pregnant.
Ben: Faith, family, fitness, health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and a whole lot more. Welcome to the show.
Let's talk about blood tracking. There's a really, really slick platform called InsideTracker. They not only test your blood but they give you this amazing action plan that gives you personalized guidance on your exercise, your nutrition, your supplementation. You can connect with your Fitbit or your Garmin. Basically, that means you get real-time recovery pro tips after you complete your workouts. This thing's like having a personal trainer and nutritionist and blood work interpretation expert in your pocket. And, they do blood, they do DNA, they do fitness tracking data, and some really smart cookies, specifically, scientists in aging and genetics and biometrics designed the whole platform.
So, if you want to know exactly what's going on inside your body with no guesswork, InsideTracker is the company that does that and they do it really well. You go to InsideTracker.com/Ben. That gets you 20% off their entire store. That's InsideTracker.com/Ben.
So, I do red light. I just got done doing 10 minutes ago. It's amazing. Full body red light, sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the evening, sometimes both. But, the science behind red light therapy for supporting thyroid function, for supporting testosterone production, for supporting collagen last and boosting cellular energy via triggering the mitochondria, healing damage cells that have been under oxidative stress, helping with sore muscles, helping your joints to bounce back fast as you can get back in the gym faster. Red light does this and so much more.
But, not all red lights are created equal. The one that I use has undergone third-party testing. It has safety marks from nationally recognized testing laboratories. It's made from one of the highest quality materials including medical grade components and it is, in my opinion, the best of the best and gives you the highest dose in the shortest period of time. It's called Joovv, J-O-O-V-V. I use their Elite. It allows me to treat my entire body in 20 minutes front and back. They also have Joovv Go, which you can take on the go. Any of the Joovvs, you get a steep discount on. How? Go to joovv.com/Ben. That's J-O-O-V-V.com/Ben to pick up a Joovv today, J-O-O-V-V.com/Ben. Quality, true medical grade, safety testing and results from this stuff, joovv.com.Ben.
Let's talk CBD. I use it, I use it, especially at night, I sometimes double up on it when I travel. It's hard to find the good stuff, the stuff that actually works not only to manage inflammation and pain, but also to help you sleep like a baby. I go full spectrum, and not only do I go full spectrum, but I go with CBD that's small batch, super high quality harvested from these very specialty farms in Kentucky. It's made by Element Health. I've been using this CBD since 2018. Total game changer for me. With sleep, with recovery, their full spectrum CBD is by far the most potent stuff on the market. It's all handcrafted on family farms, the quality is second to none, they got a gummy also, which is amazing. I popped two of those gummies and I'm out like a light within about 30 minutes. They also have their Maximum Strength bottle, which is holy cow, it works one dropper full and I'm out. Even on a plane flight, whopping 4,800 milligrams of full-spectrum CBD, insanely powerful stuff. And so, if you're looking for CBD that actually works, it's powerful, that's clean, that comes in either, like I mentioned, a super tasty gummy or an oil–they even make, not a vaporizable formula, it's like a smokable formula, almost like CBD joints, this company has all figured out. My buddy, Adam Wenguer runs it, he's been on the podcast before, really smart dude.
So, here's how you get 15% off of any of the Element Health CBD products. Go to elementhealthsupply.com/ben and use code BEN15. That gets you 15% off. elementhealthsupply.com/ben and use code BEN15. I'll get you 15% off, so enjoy.
Well, folks, it is time to talk to another amazing parent, a parent who was in my book, is in my book, “Boundless Parenting.” She was kind enough to give her perspective as someone who has been through a divorce, through financial ruin, through the death of her parents, through pre-debilitating anxiety and depression and kind of found a new life in terms of health and wellness through detoxing and cleansing and just rebuilding her entire existence. But, she's also a mother and she's actually pretty well-known now in the wellness sector. She's a model. She's an actress. She's a blogger. She's a triathlete. She's a pretty well-known wellness and health authority. She was an international model from the time she was 18 years old. And, that led to a lot of interesting developments along the way that she's going to share with you on today's show. Her name is Angi Fletcher, Angi Fletcher. And, everything we talk about, the shownotes are going to be at BenGreenfieldLife.com/Fletcher, F-L-E-T-C-H-E-R.
Like a lot of these interviews with the people who are featured in “Boundless Parenting,” I didn't want to just rehash everything that she covers in that chapter about her experience as a single mother, and then a married mother, and the elements of her parenting approach that are unique, and then the educational and disciplinary approaches that she's used, rites of passages, teaching her children about raising their own children, a whole lot more. But, I also want to get into her own pretty unique and I think pretty inspiring backstory. So, we're going to jump into all that and plenty more.
Angi, welcome to the show.
Angi: Hi. Thank you so much for having me. Those intros are always so crazy.
Ben: Yeah. Well, I do my best. I try to strike a balance between making you look really good and just making stuff up about you.
Angi: Yeah, I appreciate both.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. Hopefully, I was mildly accurate.
So, you actually have a pretty crazy story leading up to the point you even became a parent. So, you were a model, huh?
Angi: I was. Yeah. I mean, I grew up very, very, I would call, normal middle class, other than my dad died when I was 10. When I was 11, sorry. So, I grew up very, very normal German-Swiss parents, living in Canada, all the normal things that I thought was normal like eating Lucky Charms in the morning and–
Ben: Well, for me, it was Captain Crunch but I get you.
Angi: Yeah, exactly. Well, to be accurate, it was No Name Froot Loops. But, anyway, my mom would shove a tablespoon of cod liver oil down my throat before I left for school and then I'd be burping up fish. But, that was the healthiest part of my growing up was that one tablespoon of cod liver oil. Other than that, my mom, because she was a widow at 38, she did the best she could with the tools that she had. And so, we grocery shopped on discount Tuesdays once every month and got what we needed. A lot of it was frozen. We lived in the upper Northwest of Canada. So, I always thought that my mom kind of labeled me as dark as dramatic as not depressed but we didn't really know that word back then. But, just very dark, I was very low. I had a ton of physical ailments. Like, my period, I had period cramps, so severe for three days out of the month that I'd be in the fetal position. I missed school three days–
Ben: It's probably cod liver oil, by the way.
Angi: Exactly, a multi-faceted stuff happening. But, for me, what I look back on now is a lot of my grief, my untalked-about grief turned physical for me, which now we know that there's obviously such a connection between physical and emotional and mental spiritual health, all of that. But, back then, I didn't, so my missing three days a month of school really was my body processing as a young girl, a pubescent girl who lost her father, her hero. And so, it was almost like my body giving me those three days to allow myself to be in the fetal position and cry and really grieve my dad.
Angi: I didn't make that connection until 20 years later. But, looking back, I was hypoglycemic, I was labeled all these things, which really, again, was just depletion for me because I didn't have the right nutrients, I didn't have movement, I didn't have all these things, didn't have sunshine, didn't have all these things in my life that I do now. So, I went through school, I became a model at 18, and started working internationally and started living in Europe. I moved to New York. I got married at 19 to another model and we lived in New York, we lived a blissfully naive happy time. I had my baby in New York. I started my mothering journey, my motherhood journey when I was 24–
Ben: I got to ask you real quick, being a model and then getting pregnant and having a baby, did you have a lot of the common nutritional deficiencies like fatty acid deficiencies, the hypothyroidism from low-calorie intake, a lot of those things you would expect from being a model?
Angi: No. No, I didn't at all because I ate about a tub and a half of Chubby Hubby Ben and Jerry's every night. So, I got some good calories in that way.
Angi: No, I had zero clue, zero about nutrition, nothing. My postpartum season with my first was almost as horrific as it gets with postpartum depression, which, again, now, I know is postpartum depletion. But, I talk about my first postpartum time as fair as one of the darkest times of my life, and don't really need to get into it here much because I go over it a lot on my website and in different places. But, just depletion, constant depletion, not knowing, not being educated, not being resourceful, not having the tools, having no idea that growing a baby depletes me of so–like I download, what, 70% of my minerals to my child while I'm pregnant. Like so many things I had no idea how to recover myself just thinking, “Oh, everything's about the baby, everything's about the baby.”
Ben: You mean after you had your baby, you didn't know how to replenish?
Angi: No. Even during. I mean, like I said, I was 24, I was a model, I had no idea about anything nutritionally wise. I would not eat to stay in the sample size. I didn't know anything. This was 25 years ago. Wait, I'm not 50, I'm 44. This was 20 years ago.
Ben: Should have included that in your bio. So, even before you had the baby or during, as a model, you didn't experience anything in terms of like that you would label nutritional deficiencies from being excessively lean or anything like that?
Angi: Absolutely, yeah. Again, because I didn't know anything else. I grew up so old school and so calories in, calories out. And, for me, staying a sample size, I was taught normal model size. I'm 5'10, but to stay a zero or a two, for me, I just became anorexic. And, I hate labeling it that because obviously, that's so severe, but I really was. I was so deficient, which obviously aided to my depression and my anxiety because I would eat. I would walk all day long in Germany going on [00:12:34] _____, going on castings working, and I would eat maybe half an apple dipped in some Nutella. And, that would be my nutrition.
And then, again, not knowing anything about cycles, hormones, female cycles, I would then start craving pasta and then I would binge on pasta. Yeah, it was me not having any tools, not having any resources, and just trying to stay in a sample size, which would mean that I didn't eat.
I was reading a story on your website about how you wound up in the hospital after the firemen had to come into your apartment, you're on the bathroom floor naked. Was that before or after you had your baby?
Angi: That was after my first baby. That was after my divorce, actually. So, that's about cutting to–that's 10 years later around. So, I had our baby in New York, we moved to Los Angeles. I got separated in Los Angeles and divorced. And, as a Christian growing up, I didn't have any family members that were divorced. The D-word certainly wasn't in my vocabulary at all growing up.
So, getting a divorce for me seemed much more extreme than for a lot of other people. It seemed a lot more dramatic because I stopped talking to my mother for three years. She didn't agree with my divorce, so I stopped talking to her because I knew that I had to go through that divorce. And so, during that time when I wasn't speaking to my mother and I was alone with my baby going through financial hardship because my ex-husband wasn't–anyway, I don't need to throw him under the bus, but I definitely was going through a lot of financial hardship. So, I was in this one-bedroom apartment and my husband at the time, my ex-husband, we shared custody.
So, at the time that I didn't have him, I lived for him, I did everything for my son, like everything. And, when I didn't have him, those were times where I turned to substance abuse. So, I was doing a lot of stuff that ended me in the bathroom in my apartment alone and it was so small that I was sitting on the toilet. I had massive diarrhea. At the same time, I was vomiting in the sink because the sink was that little pedestal sink that was quite close to the toilet.
Angi: So, I was coming out from both ends until I ended up passing out. And, I don't know how I grabbed my phone. I don't remember. But, I grabbed my phone, called 911. And, the next thing–you know those traumatic moments in your life where all you really have as memories are those little flashes of memories?
Angi: So, I remember a guy, I remember a male voice coming in and then he had to call a female attendant. Not attended, he had to call a female because I was naked covered in my own feces and who knows what else. So, yeah, at one of the lowest points in my life where I couldn't even afford to pay my rent. I ended up with probably around a $10,000 ambulance bill and stayed the night in the hospital as they were resuscitating me and filling me with IVs and all that. So, it was a dark time. That was a low wellness moment for me.
But, it was one of those pillars, one of those foundational pillars that just changed the trajectory of my life. It was either I could keep on living that life or I knew that I had to make a change, I had to stop doing stuff. That didn't happen overnight. It still was a couple years after that. But, I started making changes like quitting smoking and just making little changes that led to huge lifestyle changes.
So, how long did it take you to get from that point to starting to jump into things like triathlons and really become almost a wellness authority? What happened that kind of pushed you in that direction?
Angi: Well, I wouldn't call myself an authority by any means, I definitely am an expert in my own experience. And, triathlon saved my life by far.
Angi: Everyone asked me how I quit smoking because now, of course, we're in a season where anxiety is so prevalent that people turn to old habits or new habits to try and soothe that. And, for me, the only thing that helped me quit smoking was doing something that was harder than quitting because I tried to quit for over a year and I would throw the pack in the garbage, I would throw them in the sink, and then I would go back in the middle of the night and ground round in the garbage can to try and find that half of a butt and still smoke. I wasn't able to quit until I completely changed my lifestyle. And, training for triathlon, doing those six-to-eight-hour rides where you think you're going to die but you still have to make it home so you find a way, that mental and physical training was harder than quitting. So, quitting seemed easier.
Angi: And, that's kind of how I lived the rest of my life. I kept on doing hard things so that what once was hard now became easier because I've done something harder.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. And, at what point along the way did you get remarried and start a new family?
Angi: So, I've been married now for eight years. So funny, right? COVID makes you skip time. We're like, “Wait, that was three years ago.” No, it was five years ago. So, during triathlon, my coach in triathlon was a guy that I knew from 20 years prior. And, he coached me and he was going through a divorce at the same time and we became good friends again, rekindled, and then fell in love. And so, I got married to him probably about eight years ago, my mom died six years ago. And, right after my mom died, I got pregnant. And, subsequently, pregnant again, so I had two babies back-to-back.
Ben: So, the guy that you married, you're talking about Arlynd? Is that how'd pronounce his name?
Angi: Yeah, yeah, Arlynd.
Ben: Okay, cool. And, you guys operate this whole wellness website now, but he was originally a triathlon coach?
Angi: No, he was originally a model as well. He's a farm boy, grew up on a farm, a huge family farm, and was discovered much the same way that I was up in Canada, just kind of doing his thing, and then was catapulted into the international world of modeling, which used to be before Instagram modeling. Modeling actually used to be a thing where you used to travel and actually be this international model. So, he was a very, very well-known model for every designer. He was the classic Zoolander, the classic Zoolander, lived in New York, L.A., Europe, everywhere.
And then, he started doing triathlon as well, which he was always very athletic. So, living in New York as a model, you worked out at the Reebok Club, and it was just kind of part of that lifestyle of being a model is you would as a male model especially, he was very fit. And, his wife at the time was doing triathlon, so he started doing triathlons as well and she started coaching me and he taught me how to swim. I was terrified of the water, like beyond terrified. I couldn't even open my eyes in the water because I remember my brother used to tell me that in the back where those filters were, that's where the killer whales, that's what kept the killer whales. So, I couldn't even open my eyes in the pool, never mind in open water. And, because of my husband now who was my coach at the time, I actually did escape from Alcatraz Triathlon and came in first place as an age grouper in the Los Angeles Triathlon where they had such overwhelming waves at the time that they rescued over 200 people in the water. And, I was became a quite a strong swimmer just again from constantly overcoming, constantly doing hard things.
And then, I went to China for World's and came in sixth place on the bike because bike cycling is my passion. I used to bike with my dad. So, that was kind of a connection to him. And so, I did that for years and years probably around 10 years, was one of the top age group athletes. I never went pro just because I was too old. I started in my 30s, so I never got my pro card. But, it was, like I said, it saved my life, triathlon saved my life because it became my lifestyle, training became my lifestyle, and I stopped going to parties, I was in a big celebrity circle in Hollywood, and when I was smoking and drinking and partying, I just had to quit that lifestyle in order to overcome my social anxiety because once I quit smoking, I couldn't go out anymore because I had such social anxiety because I didn't know what to do with my hands.
Angi: And, with quitting smoking, I also quit drinking because the two went hand in hand. There was such a wire in my brain that when I had a glass of wine, I had to have a cigarette because it was the pairing of the two was just so amazing for me that to this day, it's very hard for me to have a glass of wine without craving a cigarette.
Ben: Yeah. Well, it sounds like you discovered and you brought up to me movie, so I'm going to throw out the line from it that there's a lot more to life than being really, really ridiculously good-looking.
Angi: Yeah, a lot more.
Ben: I'm pretty sure that's Derek Zoolander. And, he plans on finding out what that is.
Angi: Nice quote.
Ben: Yeah, exactly. There's a lot of good quotes to that movie, that eugooglies.
Angi: The eugoogly.
Ben: Yeah, delivering the eugoogly. Yup.
So, anyways, you raised your first son, his name was Oliver, right? Or, is Oliver?
Angi: Yes, Oliver Jay. Yeah.
Ben: And, one thing that I thought was really interesting in your contribution to the parenting book was where you talked about the kind of the tiny traditions that you formed as a single mother, the things that you did with him to come closer together. And, that's like a repeated theme I saw a lot in “Boundless” was parents stepping out of the way to create these traditions and rituals even if they were small. Tell me a little bit about the traditions that you had with Oliver.
Angi: Yeah. It's so cool. First of all, I didn't even thank you so much for having me be a part of that book. I think it's such an incredible tool for parents because there is no tool book, right? There is no one book. And, you putting this together with however many parents, I just love that it's this one toolbox that people can go and see what different people are doing and that parenting isn't a one-size-fits-all, nothing is obviously.
Ben: Yeah. And, that was the goal, by the way, was like I wanted you in there because you have experience as a single mother, as a divorce mother, and then later on as a married mother. And, I didn't want to just have my voice or my wife's voice or say I also was raised Christian, I know a lot of pastors and teachers who are Christians that they have a different perspective than others. And, I wanted to get a full spectrum of people, so I have from Paul Chek who has two wives to single fathers, to divorce mothers, to a whole subset of people so that people can kind of borrow from the best of the best. And yeah, one thing about that is the traditions and the rituals. So, what kind of stuff did you do with Oliver?
Angi: Yeah. Well, it's so fun, like I said, answering those questions because it feels like a million years ago. He's almost 20, so it was a full lifetime ago for me. And, I did such different things in that season of my life than I do now in this new parenting season for me. So, back then 15 years ago, I didn't have any money, so I remember being so embarrassed because I was driving in the car with a guy at the time and Oliver was in the back seat and we were driving up La Brea Boulevard in Hollywood and we passed the dollar store. And, Ollie from the back seat goes, “Oh, mom, look, it's your favorite store.” And, I was like. Yeah, kids say the truth. And, because I would go there, that's where I would grocery shop with him, that's where we would get all of our supplies, and so he knew that store. And, life was–it was really, really hard but it was also extremely simple.
So, on Friday nights, some of our little rituals would be we would roller skate and he would ride his little bike to Blockbuster. Again, aging myself, but we would ride our bikes to Blockbuster go and get a movie. And then, on the way home, we would grab ice cream and come home and make little root beer floats while we watched a movie. And again, for me, at the time, I was so embarrassed and so low and depressed because I was like, “All my friends are taking their kids to Disneyland and taking their kids here and there. And, here I am on Friday night all I can afford is to rent a movie and sit down with him.” And, it's funny because also what I found in parenting is our kids have such a different perspective than we do.
So, as Oliver was growing up, I would ask him like, “Hey, what do you remember?” Because I remember that time being so dark and I remember putting him to bed early so I could smoke my cigarettes out on the balcony. And, he just remembers these sweet different things. So, my ex-husband stayed in the big million-dollar house that we had in Hollywood and I decided to leave and I just had a mattress on the floor in our little apartment. And, Ollie just, he literally tells me, he's like, “Mom, I had the sweetest time with you because our apartment was so small I felt so close to you, I felt I was all that mattered.” And, we would have sleepovers on the mattress on the floor because we didn't have AC, so there was a little upstairs and the downstairs, we would bring the mattress down for the entire summer and sleep on the floor. And, he remembers that as being such a sweet time. And, I look back at it now too going, “Oh, my goodness, that was a sweet time.”
Angi: Because it was just little simple things became big traditions because it was just us.
Angi: There wasn't big distractions.
Ben: Yeah, it's a really good point. We think that our kids need fancy epic vacations to some exotic beach locale or a different country or even a different state. And, this is fresh on my mind because we recently had kind of a little bit of a nightmare where we were going to take a family vacation to Costa Rica, and this was a week and a half ago, we flew all the way to Costa Rica and got turned around and sent home at immigrations because somehow my passport had been reported as lost or stolen, which is crazy because I just traveled with it the month prior. So, there's some kind of snafu in their system and their protocol there was they just send you packing on the first flight back to the U.S. They flew us back to Newark and we went to fly to Denver and we eventually 30 hours later got back to Spokane.
And so, now I'm sitting at home with my sons who were expecting this amazing vacation to Costa Rica. And, I thought, well, I got to make this a special week for them. And, we wound up doing basically card games and board games every night going out to little diners and local hot spots for acai bowls and waffle brunches. We did an escape room. We went on Hikes almost every day. We would do breathwork in the sauna in the evenings. We watched a couple of movies and had movie dinner nights. We did a couple of one-on-one date nights. And, all in maybe during that entire week, we probably spent maybe $250 more than we would have spent during a normal week at home just making a special week for them. But, it was basically just a staycation and they loved it. We got to the end of the week and they were like, “This was probably better than Costa Rica.” And, we were just at home the whole time just making do in our local community. And, I mean, kids just want to be with their parents. And, this is a repeated theme in the book, they want presents, they want time, and they really don't care if it's in some spendy hot spot halfway across the globe.
Angi: Yeah, I totally agree. I think it's totally the opposite. I think that they want that simple life, it's the intention behind it. My kids have no idea if they're in the middle of Africa or if they're in a tent in our front yard because their imaginations are so huge that we think we need all these big things and all this extroverted stuff where really if you sit down–all my daughter wants to do is talk with her little Barbies or her little cars. “Mama, can you talk cars? Mama, can you talk rocks?” Their imagination is so huge that often when we think of all these things that we have to do for them, we're actually stunting their imagination, making a movie out of a book or doing something instead of just sitting there and putting little twinkle lights in their room and making it this African safari.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. And, granted that there is something mind-expanding about travel for both children and adults. When we do travel leading up to any vacation that we go on, we make it a point to cook foods from the area like an international hot spot if we're going to, I don't know, Japan or Thailand, we'll cook meals from that region, we'll do language studies like we're currently 100 some days in the Duolingo because we're going to go ride our bikes in Italy this summer. And, we'll study the history of that place. And, it fits perfectly homeschooling or unschooling, this idea of using travel as a lot more than just hopping on a plane and going to the place. There's months and months leading up. We're making it a part of the educational experience and the unknown elements of travel having to speak new languages go to new places, figure out how to get there via planes, trains, and automobiles. I think a lot of that's very mind-expanding for a kid or an adult. But, at the same time–
Angi: Oh, the best education I–
Angi: Yeah, the best education I had was travel.
Ben: Yeah, exactly. I think some parents they put pressure on themselves thinking that that's what you have to do for a special time for a kid. And, we he had this dream when our kids were young of being that nomadic family who would work on the beach in Thailand from our laptops while our kids ran around with the monkeys or whatever. And, we realized there's kind of a dark side to hypermobility. It's hard on kids' circadian rhythms. They don't form roots in the local community. There's so much in your local community that you take for granted and don't go out and explore like the museums and the restaurants and the classes and the things that are right there under your nose because you're kind of glancing sideways at the Joneses who are traveling all over the world and thinking that's what your kids need. But, I don't think any parent needs to guilt trip themselves. I think a lot of parents realize this during COVID. There's so much that you can do right at home in your local community.
And so, despite there being a huge element, I think probably a good 50% of the parents in “Boundless Parenting” do a lot of travel with their kids. I think that you have to strike a balance in teaching your kids how to find meaning in terms of just service and experiences and learning in the local community is something that I think could be emphasized even more.
Are you ready to get a golden milk latte without spending 8 bucks at the local coffee shop? There is this stuff. It's this gold latte premixed blend, delicious and filled with superfoods and medicinal mushrooms. It is one of the best nighttime tonics. Keeps your mind off of ice cream and other sweets at night. Kind of heals your body while you sleep. I shouldn't say heals. I don't know if I can say that heals, cures. All I know is it makes you feel amazing because it promotes restful sleep and supports physical recovery. You wake up refreshed without drowsiness, taste delicious, and like a little bit of warm coconut milk. So good. Low sugar, so it's a dessert like tea that's guilt-free. 100% USDA-certified organic. It's called Organifi Gold. Organifi makes these amazing juice powders. Organifi Gold is turmeric and ginger, reishi mushroom. It's all blended together and tastes so, so good. They've got lemon balm in there and turkey tail as well, which are super nourishing to your gut and your immune system. You get 20% off of this stuff. You go to Organifi.com/Ben. That's Organifi with an i.com/Ben and that will get you 20% off your order from Organifi. And, that's the gold juice powder I just told you about.
Alright, you may have heard the rumblings about this event as actually happening. So, get out your calendar, March 10th through the 12th, March 10th through the 12th, 2023, of course, I am doing a big event in the hot spot of Sedona, Arizona. If you haven't been to Sedona, it's amazing. The hiking is amazing. The food is amazing. The energy is amazing. And, my friend, two-time former podcast guess and an amazing expert in breathwork and self-discovery, in movement, and all the cool things that happen as far as body, mind, spirit connection down there in Sedona is putting on an event, her grand opening event at this place called Shine in Sedona. And, I'm going to be there giving a keynote talk, teaching you all about breathwork, and biohacking.
But, that's not all, she has so many experts coming in. We have a freaking cacao ceremony. If you've ever done a cacao ceremony, it's drinking really good chocolate in a very ceremonial way. You're going to love it. They got mind-body reset sessions using quantum energetic technologies, infrared rays, negative ion therapy, crystals, these special mats that you lay on as you do special forms of breathwork. They've got a heart expansion coaching session where you actually learn using neurofeedback technology, how to guide and modulate your nervous system. The list goes on and on, but what's cool is there's even a VIP dinner with me. I'm bringing my entire family to Sedona and we are going to cook you a Greenfield-style home dinner right at a private location. It's a VIP part of this experience. Not only that, but my sister is going to be playing live music there. So, the whole thing's just going to be amazing.
Anyways, if you want to get in, we're only opening up the dinner to 25 guests and Shine has limited space, so tickets are very limited for this. They're going to go fast. And again, it's coming up quick, March 10th through the 12th. You can fly into Phoenix if you need to get to the area. If you're already in Phoenix or the Sedona area, you know where you're going. So, here's the address, BenGreenfieldLife.com/ShineSedona. That's BenGreenfieldLife.com/ShineSedona. You can get in. You can grab your ticket. There's different ticket levels. There's the tickets for the VIP dinner experience. You can even attend virtually at a fraction of the cost if you can't make it there live even though there's a lot of cool things happening, of course, if you are there live. So, one more time, BenGreenfieldLife.com/ShineSedona. If you don't know how to spell Sedona, just go google that, ShineSedona. I hope to see you there. Alright.
I've worked to achieve many things in life, but my greatest yet most humbling work, I think, has been with my role as a father. Parenting is blissful. It's brutal. It's far beyond anything I ever could have anticipated. My sons are now teenagers. And, the people around us who engage with them often ask if I could write a book on raising children in education and legacy and discipline and all this stuff that goes into raising a good child, a good human.
Now, I didn't feel that qualified to write a parenting guide, so I gathered a team of parenting superstars, dozens of my friends; entrepreneurs, authors, neurologists, psychologists, family coaches, a whole lot more. I got all their best tools, techniques, perspectives, habits on again, everything from education, to discipline, to travel, to rites of passage and beyond, and I put it all in one massive book that's like the guide to parenting. So, it's now available. It's at BoundlessParentingBook.com, and that's where you can pre-order your copy today. So, BoundlessParentingBook.com. It has been an absolute adventure putting this thing together. I think you're going to love it.
Angi: What I always say in my stories on Instagram is do what you can in the season you're in, because everything that you're talking about with expansion and travel and everything leading up to it, if I took that as a parenting goal when I was single going through a divorce where I didn't want to move 5 miles from my ex-husband because my goal as a single mother to be able to alleviate my guilt of actually leaving and separating the family. I stayed close to my ex-husband so that my boy could grow up with his dad. So, those were my choices. But, I couldn't give him the life that I would have wanted to, which is exactly what you described, but they're seasons and I'm now able to give my children a different life than my firstborn. I almost have a little bit of–I'm like a grandma now because I'm able to make different choices. But, do what you can in the season you're in because anything that you do, you can be intentional with that and your children will thrive.
Ben: And, you talk about that in the chapter how Oliver went to public school in Los Angeles just because that was the decision that you had to make. But now, your other kids, you have two other kids right now, right?
Angi: Yeah, I have a 5-year-old and a 4-year-old.
Ben: Yeah. And, in the book, you talk about how now you're homeschooling them and nature schooling them and I think you use the term “world schooling” them at home there in Texas. So, I'm curious, what's that look now in terms of the type of educational experiences that your two younger kids are having, especially in terms of nature schooling and world schooling. I'd love to hear you explain a little bit more about what those are.
Angi: Yeah. Again, it's totally just a different season that I'm in, so I'm able to give, yeah, from a different place. And again, dual parenting is a lot easier in some aspects. In other aspects, it's not because when you're a single parent, you are able to just do whatever you want and not have someone check you on it and not be frustrated at night because the dad's keeping the kids up when you're like, “The kids need to go to bed” and you're frustrated. So, there's pros and cons to both.
But, right now with our kids, we're just outside all the time. We're building our homestead here. So, my 5-year-old boy knows how to use a chainsaw. He knows how to use a bulldozer, an excavator, a skid steer. He knows how to chop wood. He knows how to make a fire. At five years old where–
Ben: Careful you're going to have a social worker wind up at your door with a chainsaw comment there.
Angi: Believe me, I get in trouble in my DMs all the time because I show him driving this big machinery. But, he just knows how to do that–not right now, but he's going to know how to ferment his own bread and how to make his own bread. And, my kids are both going to know how to, I don't know how much I, well, I can say a lot and here you always say a lot. They're both going to know how to shoot a gun, how to protect themselves, how to do what you do with your kids as well. Just so many different hands-on things that Oliver wasn't able to experience hands-on and wasn't able to make that connection because it was just such a different regimented idea. And, for my kids, they're so confident in doing what they know how to do because they don't have any tests telling them what they're good at or what they're not.
Angi: So, they're still young. Obviously, we're going to be doing kind of more of a regimented thing as they get older. But, for right now, we're honestly just outside 90% of their waking hours, they're outside, they're just playing, they're exploring, they're working with us, they're doing chores. They have a schedule. It's basically our home schedule. And, while we're out there, we're counting rocks, we're adding rocks, we're subtracting rocks, we're multiplying trees, we're just doing everything where they're learning math and learning different skills.
Ben: Now, do you have a general idea–and the reason I asked this is is like Washington state, for example, where we are homeschooling/unschooling, they have a list of 12 core subjects that a child has to demonstrate proficiency in, and then there's also the fact that if they want to go to a college or university, there's certain elements of an entrance exam that they might have to understand like let's say algebra or calculus or logic or some element of say computer programming or science, chemistry, physics, et cetera. How do you tackle that? How do you make sure that they're also learning what it is that the world, so to speak, kind of expects them to need to know for success later on in life if they do need to jump through the hoops? Do you keep track of that at all? Do you have a plan or a curriculum in any rough format at all?
Angi: I will. I don't right now because we're just doing so much with our business and with starting over here in Texas. But, I absolutely will. There's tons of books. There's tons of resources online just for your area, just for our area here of Texas because everything's, like you said, different in every state. So, once I get more specific, which is within this year because Alakai is turning six this year. So, within this year, we'll definitely be looking into all of that because, yeah, we're not just completely off the grid, we're in society, we're doing it here, we want to do it right for them. But, yeah, we'll be looking into all that, I just don't have anything right now.
Ben: Yeah, we try to check a balance.
So, what we do is we usually set things up as quarterly blocks almost early semesters and each of those at the beginning. And, we have a meeting with our kids, and this person who we hire to kind of be the educational coordinator to help us keep track of everything on a spreadsheet and they scan their journals and their activities for each day and send them to her. And, she makes sure that we not only have pretty robust records to where we could demonstrate what it is that they've learned each day or each week or month or block, but then she also figures out, okay, well, they've shown an interest in, let's say, glass blowing. So, which part of this year is going to be a good one for them to go in and enter a glass-blowing class or these are the 12 core subjects that Washington State requires them to be studying which block are they going to or which time of the day or time of the week are they going to actually do those things that might not be the intense passions and interests and desires that they have.
Let's say math or learning a language like Spanish or physics or chemistry. So, there's a little bit of programming in there to where they'll wake up and there's typically a couple of one-hour blocks during the day where they are learning in a more traditional sense of the word. They're actually with books or with an online tutor or taking an online class or doing something that would be considered traditional education. But then, aside from those couple of hours, everything else is based on them, in our meetings with them, and with their educational coordinator explaining to us what it is that they're actually really, really interested in, what it is they're curious about, and then us figuring out activities in the local community or tutors or online classes or things we can order from Amazon in terms of games or books or toys or projects for them to do during the day.
And then, the other thing is that there's also things that you might come across as a parent that you think would be cool for your kids to learn. For me, a lot of times, it's books. So, for example, I just finished “The Creative Act” by Rick Rubin. And, both of my sons, great book by the way, both my sons they're really into writing fiction, they're really into making music, they're super into art. And so, I knew right off the bat, oh there's a lot of really good information in this book as far as co-writing and co-authoring, working with other collaborators on a project, expressing your true authentic art versus what you think the world expects looking at things from a passion standpoint versus a monetization standpoint, et cetera. And so, typically what I do is each month, there'll be one new book that I've read that I then take them through. And usually, it's right before we have dinner, we go through and cover the chapter, the couple of chapters from that book that they've read. We have a discussion about it before dinner and then typically they're writing some kind of book report on that book.
Another example would be I recently discovered some videos that I from a guy named Dennis Prager who runs PragerU in these little five-minute videos. And so, when I discover something like that, I will email their educational coordinator, I'll say, “Hey, these are really cool videos, I want my sons to be able to watch them too.” And then, she'll look over their schedule and be like, “Okay.” So, these are five-minute long videos, so she'll be like, “Oh, they have a morning slot on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during which they could squeeze in that five-minute video and then write down in their journal that they didn't scan later on and send to her one paragraph of what they learned from that.”
And so, it's this balance between what the world expects them to know that they do need to know if they want to go to college later on or pass an entrance exam or something like that. Plus, what they've expressed in terms of their own passions and interests and desires, which is honestly probably 70% of what they do, plus what you've discovered as a parent that they might not have discovered on their own but that you think would be really, really beneficial for them and you figuring out a way to finally squeeze that into the day.
So, those are kind of the three elements that we weave in to their unschooling or homeschooling or alternative education wherever you want to call it.
Angi: And, your boys, are they teenagers yet?
Ben: They're 14, yeah.
Angi: 14, yeah. And, did they write their own cookbook or something too? Can I see that?
Ben: I think it's good for every kid to be encouraged to have some kind of a business because A, they learn how to take whatever their purpose statement is in life and weave that into some type of work that could be monetized or could pay the bills or could at least get the information that they love to learn and deliver that to the world in some meaningful way.
And, this is something that another repeated theme in “Boundless” like a lot of these parents' kids, they have a YouTube channel or they have a mini-podcast or they have a blog where they're writing articles and putting them out there in the public. And, the reason I like that is, A, it teaches them how to take what they've learned and teach that to others or deliver it to the world in some meaningful way. But then, because they have a cooking podcast and cooking videos that they put out and affiliate accounts and sponsors and expenses in terms of paying a social media manager, et cetera, they now have to review their profit and loss statements each month. They have to decide if they want to hire someone one to delegate something to, let's say, making a new website versus learning how to do that themselves. And so, in that way, they have to decipher doing what it is that they're good at versus spending time in the weeds on things that might not be their best purpose or their best calling.
And so, who knows, they might drop this whole cooking podcast when they're 16 or 17, maybe it'll branch out into some other website where it's not just cooking, it's writing, it's fiction, it's painting, whatever. But, the idea of giving your child some kind of a platform–and, they've had that platform since they were seven years old, to be able to publicly give stuff to the world and then be able to track a lot of the ins and outs from a business standpoint of what's going on with that, I think it's more beneficial than a paper route or some other traditional job. So, I think from an early age training a child in some way to take their passions and weave entrepreneurship into that is a really good idea. So, yeah, to answer your question, for them, it was a cooking podcast.
Angi: Well, you're teaching us so many different skills, like a multitude of skills in that one self-employment experience. So, that's what I love about the generation that we are even, but especially our kids with the whole COVID thing that happened because growing up, my mom was a nurse and when my dad died, she always said to us, girls–I have a sister and two brothers and she always said to us, “Girls, doesn't matter who you marry. Make sure you have a career. Get your career. Don't only have your husband making the money. You need to have your own career.” And, I was always in the back of my mind as I was modeling because I was like, “Shoot, this isn't really a career. I need to get that classic career.” And, my sister became a nurse.
And so, a part of me always felt like my mom was more proud of my sister because I was just a model. And, even though I was making money, it wasn't this secure career as it were. But, what's funny, not funny at all but ironic is so my sister was a nurse for 21 years and I was a model and an actress and an athlete and now an influencer, all of these classic really not careers, all these self-employed things. And now, my sister after 21 years of being a nurse was just recently fired for mandates. So, she now lost her job and I am thriving in my way of how I'm monetizing.
And, Arlynd just brought it up last night where he's like, “Do you think your mom would be so proud of you?” And, I was like, “I'm not sure.” I'm not sure. I don't know if she would still have it in her brain that I should have had a career, but it's so funny because my entire growing up, I was like, “Oh, I need to have a career, I need to have a career.” So now, I love that you said that about your boys because it's exactly what we're doing with our children too where it's like you want to teach them all of these different skills so that they don't need to choose a career because we've all seen in 2020 that you can lose your career of 50 years just on a dime.
Angi: So, having teaching skills instead of teaching mindset and teaching skills so that they can be resilient and adaptive because the world is changing at such a rapid pace now that there's not really one thing that you can do to survive. You need to do a multitude of things.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. And, this might not be perfect for every parent but we have this family constitution. It's got our family mission statement, values and everything else in it. But, as a part of that constitution, it's written in there that by the age of 16, a child needs to have developed, a Greenfield son or daughter needs to have developed some way to be able to be financially independent.
And so, my sons have known that since they were about 10 years old. And, I kind of remind them about it every month like how is your merchandising account on Threadless going? And, how's that book that you're developing going that you're learning how to write a book proposal for that you can get out to a publisher for eventual sales? And so, they know at the back of their mind that they can't just play. And, you don't want to adult them too soon, but they know that at some point, they have to be able to monetize some of their passions to be able to bring in money to help to support the family, to help to pay the bills, to help to save up for college if that's what they want to do, to help to support their business if that's what they want to do. They know that the money from mom and dad starts to get cut off at age 16.
And, I mean we even have a family trust in any wealth that's distributed from dad or mom and that family trust while it's slowly bled out between the ages of 18 and 35. They wouldn't get it in all one lump sum. So, we kind of are trying to create a scenario where they realize they have that slight mild pressure, not stressful, but enough pressure to know that they need to develop some form of financial independence by the time they're 16 years old.
Angi: Well, I think the biggest point of that is monetizing their passions. You're not a slave driver. They're passionate about something. And, the goal in life is to monetize from something that you love do. Love what you do or love how you work and it's never work, what's that?
Ben: Yeah, it's Mark Twain. Yeah, “Love what you do and work becomes play” or something like that.
Angi: Yeah. It's never work. Yeah. I mean, I wake up every single morning so filled with passion because I love my work so much. I don't need coffee to wake up. I don't need anything to wake up. Now, at 44 years old, I'm literally waking up before my kids because I'm so passionate about teaching and about what I do that it's not work. I've become a workaholic because I love my work so much.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. And, I agree with all of that except the coffee part. I still love my coffee.
Angi: Well, I have my coffee daily obviously. I just don't need it. If people ask me, “Well, when do you have your coffee?” I'm like, “Probably not till about 10:00 o'clock in the morning after I've had my breakfast.” My coffee is a bonus, it's a treat, it's something that I look forward to. It doesn't wake me up in the morning.
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
Now, one part on your website speaking of coffee and habits and routines is you guys, you and Arlynd have a really great blog and wellness platform and a lot of education for people out there. And, you have one section of your website where you talk a lot about the tools that you do, everything from movement like walking and stretching and exercise and hiking, connection with nature, and then you get all the way into self-care like meditation and breathwork and hot baths and brain training.
So, I'm curious for you from a routine standpoint. And, you being someone who really prioritizes and optimizes wellness, what it looks like for you as a mother and as a parent weaving a lot of these wellness routines and even some cases what people might call biohacking, et cetera, into a daily routine. I guess, this is one of those rote questions but I think this is always an interesting question. What does the day actually look like for you in terms of especially how you're weaving in caring for your own body and brain? Because my audience just loves the health stuff and also often ask me how do you squeeze it all in with the kids and everything else. So, what does your day look like, you and Arlynd?
Angi: Yeah, I get that question every single day as well, “What's a day in the life? What do you eat?” blah, blah, blah. And, I never answer the question simply because there is no simple answer. For me, everything is seasonal. It's cyclical and it's seasonal. So, for me, being a 44-year-old woman, everything is in a cycle. So, my schedule is very flexible. It's much like what you said with your kids too where you have these increments and you have routine but with flexibility. So, I have this list of what I know I want to do within my cycle. So, whether I'm in my follicular phase or luteal phase or menstrual phase, every day will look different within that phase for me. And also, it'll be flexible with my two kids. so, I have a teenager–
Ben: Wait, wait, I got to interrupt you right there just real quick. How do you actually map your cycle? Are you using a temperature?
Angi: Yeah. I use my Oura Ring. I use temperature. I also have an app on my phone. So, I do those three things. I also check my mucus.
Ben: Okay. Wow.
Angi: I know, yeah, my discharge. I don't know how else. There's nothing cute about that and how to say that, but I do check my discharge to see when I'm ovulating and what phase I'm in because your body is a miracle and it tells you everything you need to know. So, I use a multi-faceted approach to fertility into checking my seasons or my cycle.
Angi: And now, I just got thrown off because I just said there were discharge and moist and I don't like that, but–
Ben: I was just keeping my mouth shut but go on. Moving on from the discharge, what else does the day look like?
Angi: Yeah. Once I've checked my discharge, I usually like to get into the cold plunge. So again, no day looks the same because if I were to be so regimented that I need to wake up at 5:00 o'clock in the morning and then go for a run and then do the cold plunge. And then, if I was up till 2:00 o'clock in the morning with one of my kids, then I'm going to give myself grace and I'm not going to wake up at 5:00 o'clock in the morning.
So, every day looks different, and also whether I'm weight training on the day or whether I'm walking or whether I'm running. I cold plunge and I sauna on different times in my cycle as well. I talk about this right now because cold plunging has become such a hot thing for people. And, it's so funny because you and I have done it for years that now when I'm talking about it, people are like, “Oh, how long do you stay in?” And, I'm like, “Well, it's not a PR,” especially for women, it's extremely harmful to think that you have to go in there and set a PR because it's not a competition. Some days it's much more beneficial for me to be in for 30 seconds than it is for me to be in for nine minutes because of my body composition, because of what part of my cycle I'm in. There's going to be negatives for me to stay in longer. I stayed in for nine and a half minutes at 30 degrees and I almost died one morning because I did it alone, I became so hypothermic that I couldn't even warm up in the sauna and I started going into convulsions because I'm so competitive with myself and I didn't know those diminishing returns.
Angi: So, you need to know your body. And, I mean, I'm a biohacker in the true sense of the word that I experiment on myself. I have for the last 10 years. So, I read and I research and I do stuff, but I'm my own guinea pig. So, I'm not reading. And, there's also not a lot of stuff out there right now for women with cold plunging and with saunas and stuff like that. So, I'm doing my own experiments on where is that point of diminishing returns, where is that point where it's too far, and then I see what part of my cycle am I in. And, I want to get the most benefits and stacking those benefits.
So again, going back to what does a day look like, it's all over the place. All I know is that I have certain things in certain seasons of my life that I know will be beneficial for me with where I'm at.
Angi: And, I know that like sounds the most general thing, but right now, I have these small kids, so I'm not training for triathlon. I don't have these big goals where training would take me away for four or five hours from my kids during the day. I'll be in that season. I'm going to be training for an Ironman when my kids are more independent and when they don't need me as much. I would love to do an Ironman in my '70s. I just don't want to training for that right now when they're so small.
Ben: That's something I think about a lot too. There are certain epic hunts up in Alaska that I want to go on and some different climbs I've been invited on. And, for me, it's been a process of telling myself, “Well, your sons are going to be grown and out of the house at a certain point. You'll have many years to engage in these solo mildly selfish activities that are big epic adventures you couldn't take a 12-year-old boy on.” Second, they're becoming of the age to where we can do a lot of this stuff together. We have a free diving and a spearfishing trip later on in this year. We're going to do a Navy Seal beat-down-style weekend in California in March. We're doing a hunt in Molokai, a bow hunting Molokai for axis deer later on in the spring.
And so, it's kind of funny because as they get older, you can start to do a lot of this stuff with them. And, for us, from the get-go, even when I was training for Ironman when they were kids, it was a double jogging stroller up and down a hill and it was dragging the double bike stroller behind me on the bike. And, it was literally swimming with them on my back. And, when the YMCA lifeguards didn't like that, I would do kickboards and they would kickboard behind me or they would sit on the edge of the pool and watch me and cheer for me and help me to count laps.
And now, when I do breathwork, I'm dragging them into the sauna and we're all sitting there and sweating and we're all going out to the cold pool. And, even though I sometimes have my workouts that I do and they're part of this little club called Apogee, which is a group of young men who challenge each other with workouts and have monthly meetings with a mentor, et cetera, or actually it's weekly meetings every Friday with some new mentor like a military specialist or an inspirational speaker or whatever. And, as a part of that, there's workouts that are assigned to them. And, there are a lot of times push-up, squat, burpee, pull-up style workouts, but I'll find out from them in the morning when we do our family meditations in the morning, which is also kind of the family huddle to find out what everybody's up to during the day, what are we going to have for dinner, what time is mom going to yoga, what special activities do the boys have during the day. I'll find out what their workout is and then I'll either do it with them or if I've already got my own thing planned because I'm doing a lot more kind of, I don't know, old man-ish super slow training now and things different than burpees and pull-ups. I'll simply go out to the gym with them. They do their workout, I do mine. I put a podcast on a big Bluetooth speaker or an audio book or some nice music. And, we're out there together.
And so, from the get-go, from a very early age, from when they were very early age, I've tried to figure out a way as inconvenient as it can sometimes be to creatively include them in as many of my physical activities as possible even if that means scaling the workout or even just letting them do their own thing by having me be around as a part of it. I mean, even for Spartan racing, I used to go out on fitness walks where I do bear crawls and log lifts and burpees and they would just be extra weights that I'd drag around with me. So, if you get creative and again, I see this a lot with the parents in the “Boundless Parenting” book, they try to include their kids along with them versus pressuring themselves to get up at 4:00 a.m. and get to the gym and get it all done so that they can be home and be with the family. If you're creative, you can include the family with a lot of this stuff.
Angi: That's exactly what I've done my entire life as a parent as well is giving yourself enough grace to know that there's seasons. And, I did the stroller thing as well. I would put on a packed weighted vest and do the stroller. And then, my kids always have done stuff with us. And, there's again seasons now where they're a little bit older where Arlynd is at home so he's able to, like this morning, he's able to be in the house with them if they were to wake up. But, I wake up early because that's my sweet spot. I go for a run. I do my whole cold plunge sauna. Everything come back by the time they wake up and Arlynd is here but I couldn't do that for a while. And, I certainly didn't do that when Ollie was young either. But, they watch you.
I think the biggest thing for me that I keep on talking about is do what you can in the season you're in and do what brings you joy. Because if it doesn't bring you joy–it brings me so much joy to wake up and watch the sunrise and to be going for my run and the sunrise. But, if it doesn't, if that's not what you like to do, then don't do it. Do something else that brings you joy and your kids will see that and they will witness that. Like, the other day they were playing with Orbeez and they put them in this big black container. And, Ocean, my four-year-old, runs up, she goes, “Mama, can we put water in this? It's our Orbeez cold plunge.” She knows that it's a cold plunge. And, sometimes you can do it with them, sometimes you make sure that they're taken care of and then you prioritize yourself, but they know that as well. It's not out of guilt. It's out of knowing that you're prioritizing yourself so that you can be in a place where you can then keep on taking care of others. So, I don't put my kids to bed every night, Arlynd does but I don't. So, I'll do the nighttime routine with them and then I'll kiss them good night. And, a couple nights ago, I kissed them good night and Alakai goes, “Okay, mom, have a good enema. I love you.” Because he knows that I'm going into the bathroom–
Ben: That's funny. My son say the same thing. They see me walking upstairs Wednesday mornings with the stainless steel bucket that smells coffee and I come out a half hour later and like, “Hey, dad, how was your enema?” I don't know how many kids grow up with their parents just walking out of the bathroom with an enema bucket, but it is funny, like kids, they assume it's normality and I don't imagine when they go over to their friend's houses for slumber parties that a lot of the other parents are doing coffee enemas in the morning. But, that, the family meditations, the breathwork, the sauna, the cold, they're growing up in a different environment, but I think that that's better than them being a square peg in a square hole and just fitting in.
Angi: Yeah, I totally agree.
Ben: Now, you have some really cool kind of closing statements in your chapter of “Boundless” where you talk about the message for parents that you would put on a billboard. One is be the example for your kids that you wish you had for yourself, which goes along the lines of what many other parents said like “More is caught than taught” or be an example. They'll just talk to them but show and demonstrate. And then, you also have the message to slow down, your kids are only so young for a tiny season of your life. But then, you also say you want to have a huge billboard that just says “Grace.” Now, we all need to give ourselves more grace. I'd love to hear you explain what you mean by grace and giving yourself more grace as a parent.
Angi: It goes exactly along with do what you can in the season that you're in because exactly what we were just talking about of, do you wake up at 6:00 o'clock in the morning? Do you do this? Do you do that? And, we now more than ever before because of social media, being this huge platform of comparison and anxiety, it can obviously be used for good, for motivation, inspiration, resources, education. But, I would say the biggest thing that it's used for is comparison unfortunately. And, there's so much paralysis in thinking that–and, that's again why I love this parenting book because there's so many different modalities. Nothing is going to look the same and it doesn't have to. You can do what's best for you in the season that you're in.
I have two completely different parenting styles that I did with Oliver than I do with these kids, which is completely different than how I grew up. But, when you focus on seasons and on cycles and knowing that the season is going to change, and if you're doing the best you can with the tools that you have in that season but constantly keep on growing those tools so that you can be better in the next season and giving yourself grace along the way, that's my biggest message is don't compare yourself, do what you can in the season that you're in, give yourself grace because if you don't give yourself grace–and I'm preaching to the choir. But, if you don't give yourself grace, you're going to lose all the intention that you have and completely burn out and you're no good as a parent anyway or as a human being because you just burnt out.
Ben: Yeah, it's such a good point. I mean, we hear that mantra, how you live your days is how you live your life. And, I think some people take that and try to set up the same daily routine, especially parents, day after day, and then guilt trip themselves when they have a season of life where they don't get, whatever, for our audience, like the workout or the cold plunge or the red light or the meditation. But, I think what's more important, like you've just explained and perhaps that phrase should be rephrased for a lot of parents, how you live your seasons is how you live your life. It doesn't have to be the same.
And, for me as a creature of habit, I've had to give myself permission to make calls on the fly when it comes to how the day is going to go and to still have the general perspective, “Hey, I want to move, I want to get hot, I want to get cold, I want to get access to sunlight, I want to get access to the planet Earth, I want to eat good nutrient dense food,” but it doesn't have to be, I got to get my 20-minute meditation at exactly 7:30 in the morning. Or, I have to do the heat and the cold plunge right before dinner to optimize my glycemic stability before dinner. Or, I have to have my superfood smoothie for breakfast versus taking the kids out for waffles or having a cinnamon roll with them while we play cards at the breakfast table.
You just have to understand that it's going to fluctuate, but the days if you have this general theme–and, I love that article. I'll link to it on the on the shownotes if folks go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/Fletcher. You have an article, 51 different things that are part of your wellness routine. Well, it's not as though each of those need to be rigidly scheduled every day, it's just that the general outlook, “Hey, I get hot, I get cold, I move, I breathe,” et cetera, is just woven into the season. And then, from there, you got to have a great amount of flexibility, especially if you're a parent.
Angi: It shouldn't be a daily thing because I think for a daily thing for me, the goal is to be fruitful. And, being fruitful looks different in the four different seasons. So, if you want to be fruitful in the winter, you're not going to put your pot out in the middle of the field with the sun. You need to bury something in the winter. You need to bury it in the dark and cover it so that it can do what it needs to do to be fruitful in the winter so it can be fruitful in the summer. You know what I mean? Like, spring, everything looks different in different seasons. You do different things in the spring than you do in the fall. The season of the fall is so beautiful because we celebrate death.
Angi: So that we can celebrate new life. But, if you did the same thing–as a farmer, if you did the exact same thing throughout all four seasons, you wouldn't have a crop.
Angi: But, to be fruitful, to actually have a crop, you have to use different tools, different modalities for the different seasons of life that you're in.
Angi: And, that's just become so valuable for me because it's not monotonous, it's not overwhelming. You know that there's a season to slow down. There's a season to just go hard and make hay while the sun shines. There's these different seasons and it keeps it attainable rather than just overwhelming and paralyzing.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. Well, I know we're running out of time, but I absolutely loved your chapter in the book like all of the chapters, it's just got a fresh unique perspective and you have that unique standpoint of having been a divorced single mother all the way to being a married mother now. And, your story is just super inspiring. So, I recommend if people want to read that, you can go of course to BoundlessParentingBook.com, shameless plug. And, I'll also link to Angi's website where she does, like I mentioned, have some great articles and really good perspectives as far as maintaining wellness as a parent and as a busy working mom. And, that's all at BenGreenfieldLife.com/Fletcher, F-L-E-T-C-H-E-R. And, when you go to BenGreenLife.com/Fletcher, you can ask Angi more questions. You can ask her more about her routine. You can leave your own comments or thoughts or questions or feedback or tips of your own. So again, it's all at BenGreenfieldLife.com/Fletcher.
And Angi, thank you so much for coming on the show and for sharing all this with us.
Angi: Yeah. I'm so grateful. I've been inspired by you for over a decade personally and with your parenting and everything. So, it's a great honor to talk to you today. Thank you so much.
Ben: Awesome. Alright. Well, folks, I'm Ben Greenfield along with Angi Fletcher signing out from BenGreenfieldLife.com. Have an amazing week.
Just imagine a hotel surrounded by nature, vineyards, and gardens, this forest classified as a historical garden in a very special country at a hotel located in the oldest demarcated wine region in the world. Imagine this place has a state-of-the-art spot, 2,200 square meters, 10 treatment rooms, an indoor pool with underwater sound and chromotherapy. Imagine a kitchen team that brings to the table not just delicious food at this place but values environmental sustainability and wellness and local sensitivity and global sensibility. Imagine being able to be bathed in luxury and being able to be local, to buy a local and to eat local, not caged off of some fancy tourist but it's a part of the community and part of the torar of the region.
Well, that's exactly what you experience in Portugal at their Six Senses luxury retreat. And, I'm going to be there for a special event that you can read up on at BenGreenfieldLife.com/SixSenses. It's called the Boundless Retreat. And, at BenGreenfieldLife.com/SixSenses, you can see everything we're doing. Every day starts with a healthy farmhouse breakfast, morning movement session with me, you get access to three different 60-minute spa treatments that you can choose from throughout the day, indoor pool and vitality suites, meditation, sound healing, an alchemy bar with Kokodama and yogurts and pickles and sprouts workshops, retreat meals all made from locally sourced organic produce, Q&As and sing-along sessions with me. This is going to be an amazing remarkable once in a lifetime experience. You get four nights full board accommodation in a deluxe room there at the facility. And, this thing, as you can imagine, is going to fill up fast. It's in Portugal at the Six Senses retreat in Portugal.
Again, all the details are at BenGreenfieldLife.com/SixSenses. And, the dates are February 27th through March 3rd, 2023, February 27th through March 3rd, 2023. I hope to see you there.
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.
My guest on this podcast, Angi Fletcher, is featured in my new book Boundless Parenting. She is a model, actress, blogger, triathlete, and well-known wellness and health authority. A full-time international model from the age of 18, Angi lived in Europe and New York before settling in Los Angeles. Difficult circumstances in Angi’s life, including a divorce, financial ruin, the death of her parents, and debilitating anxiety and depression, eventually led her to seek health through detoxing, cleansing, and rebuilding her life.
Angi’s husband Arlynd Fletcher is a functional movement and biomechanics specialist. After watching his mother suffer from back injuries throughout his childhood, Arlynd developed a drive to understand how the body works and what causes dysfunction. He has worked with many experts in the field in his research, and has been called a modern-day “body whisperer.”
Angi and Arlynd’s website is devoted to sharing their multi-therapeutic approach to wellness that was shaped by personal experiences and years of research. This approach includes mindset shifts, physical tools, income opportunities, nutrition tips, and more. Angi and Arlynd live in Texas with their three children.
During our discussion, you'll discover:
-Angi's normal upbringing and experience with grief at a young age…6:52
- Her father died when she was 11
- Her mother gave Angela a tablespoon of cod liver oil each morning
- She had terrible premenstrual cramps and had to miss school regularly
- Hypoglycemic and nutrient-depleted
- Unprocessed grief resulted in physical symptoms
- Became a model at age 18 and married at 19
- Became a mom at 24
- Had no clue about nutrition
- Ate a tub of Ben and Jerry's Chubby Hubby every night during pregnancy
- Suffered from post-partum depletion
- Had no idea about nutrition while pregnant
- Starved herself to stay model-sized
- Would eat half an apple dipped in Nutella a day
- Alternated starvation with binge eating
- Didn't have the tools or resources to stay healthy
- Starved herself to stay model-sized
-How Angi almost died on the bathroom floor in her tiny apartment in Los Angeles…12:55
- She started using substances to cope with her divorce and co-parenting
- Ended up calling 911, naked and covered in her own feces
- Needed to be resuscitated in the hospital
- This experience became a foundational pillar that helped Angela make changes to her lifestyle
- Quit smoking and using substances
-Angi's journey to becoming a competitive triathlete…16:25
- Triathlon saved her life and was her reason for quitting smoking
- Fell in love with fellow model and triathlon coach, Arlynd Fletcher
- They run their company together: Angi and Arlynd
- They have two children together
- Overcame her fear of water and learned to swim
- Competed in the World Triathlon Championships in China
- Came in sixth place on the bike
-The traditions Angi created as a single mom raising her first-born son, Oliver…22:30
- Parenting isn't one-size fits all
- The book Boundless covers a full-spectrum of parents
- Even though Angi had to shop at the dollar store, she made everyday things feel special for her son
- Friday night bike rides to Blockbuster to rent a movie
- “Sleepovers” on the living room floor
- Even though this was a dark time for Angi, Oliver remembered this as a special time in her life
- Simple things became big traditions
-How Ben turned things around for his sons when they weren't able to go on their family vacation…27:17
- Flew all the way to Costa Rica and had to turn around and go home due to an error in the system
- Made the week special
-Travel does expand the mind in both children and adults…30:00
- Study a country's food, language before going for a vacation
- The importance of learning other languages
- Cooking regional foods
- The balance between travel and learning within your local community
- The dark side to hypermobility
- The importance of doing what you can in the season you're in
- Be intentional
-Oliver went to public school and Angi's younger children are homeschooled…38:20
- Her kids are outside all the time and are learning how to chop wood and use tools
- Plans to teach both children how to ferment foods and hunt
- Nature schooling and world schooling
- Her children will have more structured education when they get older
- They don't live completely off-grid; still part of society
- Now they learn by being outside in nature
-How Ben and Jessa set up the education perimeters for their sons' learning and unschooling…42.44
- Quarterly blocks and semesters
- Meetings with kids and education coordinator
- Well-documented records of everything they learned
- Programmed one-hour blocks of traditional learning
- Everything else is unstructured learning based on their interests
- Books recommended by the parents to the kids
- The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin
- Expressing yourself authentic art
- Ben will discuss a book a month with his sons
- His sons will write a book report on the book
- The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin
- Dennis Prager
- Education is a balance between what the world expects them to know, their own passions and desires, and what the parents see as a good fit for them to learn
- Ben and Jessa's expectations for their sons to embrace entrepreneurship
-Angi's gratitude for the ability to thrive in her online career…50:00
- Her mom's advice to Angi and her sister to get a career and to not be reliant on their husbands
- Modeling wasn't a secure career
- Even though her sister chose a traditional career, she lost her job
- Angi is now thriving in her non-traditional career
- Skills and mindset are important concepts to pass on to children
-Ben's family's mission statement…51:40
- By the age of 16, a Greenfield child must be financially independent
- Monetize their passions to help pay the family bills, pay for college, etc.
- The quote: “Love what you do and work becomes play”
-What a typical day looks like for Angi and Arlynd, and how they balance work and self-care…55:33
- Everything for Angi is seasonal and cyclical
- Flexible schedule based on her menstrual cycle
- Everyday is different depending on where she is in her cycle
- No hard rules around cold plunging after almost dying by staying in too long
- Her children are her priority now, so she plans her day around their needs
- Oura ring
- Cold plunge
-The epic activities Ben does with is sons and the importance of including them…60:25
- Epic trips and planned activities
- Free diving and spear fishing
- Navy Seal training
- Hunting trips
- Podcast with Ted Harty:
- Podcast with Mark Divine:
- Podcast with Marc Warnke:
- Including your family in your training and lifestyle routines
-How Angi prioritizes the things that bring her joy so she is able to be her best self for her children…64:05
- The importance of taking care of ourselves as parents
- Children understand on some level the importance of this
- We are better parents when we take care of ourselves
-Angi's messages included in Boundless Parenting…66:00
- Boundless Parenting
- We need to give ourselves more grace as parents
- Do what you can in the season you're in
- Grow your tools while giving yourself grace along the way
- Don't compare yourself
- Avoid burnout
- How you live your days is how you live your life
- Do what you can in the season you're in
- Her article: Fifty-one different things that are part of your wellness routine
-And much more…
- Six Senses Retreat: February 27, 2023 – March 3, 2023
Join me for my “Boundless Retreat” at Six Senses from February 27th, 2023 to March 3rd, 2023, where you get to improve on your functional fitness, nutrition, longevity, and the delicate balance between productivity and wellness. Complete with a healthy farmhouse breakfast, yoga spa sessions, and sound healing, you learn how to live a boundless life just like me, and I'd love to see you there. Learn more here.
- Shine Event / VIP Dinner: March 10th – March 12th
I want to personally invite you to an intimate VIP dinner experience with my family and I in beautiful Sedona, Arizona. I'll be in AZ during that time presenting as a keynote speaker at the Breath, Body & Beyond ‘Shine' event from March 10th to the 12th, and I'd love to see you there for my formal dinner on the 11th. At this dinner, you'll be presented with an exquisite home-style dinner personally prepared by the entire Greenfield family, a free signed copy of Boundless Cookbook, a personalized Q&A with me, and entertainment by local vocal artist and my younger sister, Aengel Greenfield. Learn more here.
- Keep up on Ben's LIVE appearances by following bengreenfieldfitness.com/calendar!
32 Questions For Boundless Parenting
The following questions were posed to Angi and Arlynd Fletcher, and the rest of the wise parents interviewed for my upcoming book, Boundless Parenting.
- 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?
- Are there any elements of your parenting approach that you would consider to be particularly unique?
- What books, systems, models, or resources do you rely heavily upon or consider to be indispensable in your own parenting?
- What traditions, habits, routines, or rituals are most important, memorable, or formative for your family?
- What rites of passage or significant moments of maturation to adolescence or adulthood have your children experienced, if any?
- Who do you look up to as parenting mentors?
- What have you taught your children about raising their own children?
- 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?
- What has been your proudest moment as a parent, and why?
- What do you wish you had known before first becoming a parent?
- Have you ever experienced imposter syndrome as a parent? If so, how have you coped with that?
- How have you achieved a balance between mentoring and passing on wisdom without “living vicariously” through your children?
- Have you ever faced any big parenting decisions that kept you awake at night worrying or that you feared you would mess up?
- What do you regret, if anything, from your experience as a parent?
- What is the biggest mistake you have made as a parent?
- What, if anything, from your parenting experience would you go back and change or improve?
- 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?
- 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?
- Have you ever differed from your spouse on parenting principles, techniques, or approaches? If so, how did you manage that?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- Do you have non-negotiable rules for your children?
- How have you disciplined your children, if at all?
- 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.
- Have you emphasized or encouraged any health, fitness, or healthy eating principles with your children? If so, what has seemed to work well?
- 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?
- What do you most want to be remembered for as a parent?
- What do you think your child or children would say is their fondest memory of being raised by you?
- What message for parents would you put on a billboard?
Resources mentioned in this episode:
– Angi Fletcher:
– Podcasts And Articles:
- The Ultimate Guide To Freediving, Legal Blood Doping, Wim Hof Breathing, Increasing Your Breathhold Time, Underwater Ear Equalizing, Spearfishing & Much More!
- Potent Breathwork Tactics From A Navy SEAL Commander, Staring Down Your Wolf, Operating Calmly Under Stress & More With Mark Divine.
- How To Get Into Hunting, Build Hunting Fitness, The Most Challenging Hunts & More!
- How To Blast You (And Your Child’s!) Physical, Mental, & Spiritual Resilience Through The Roof With Breathwork.
- Ben Greenfield’s Favorite Workouts, Building a Generational Legacy, Biohacking On a Budget, & Much More: Part 2 of Ben’s Talk at the Health Optimisation Summit.
- The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin
- Boundless by Ben Greenfield
- Boundless Parenting by Ben Greenfield
– Other Resources:
Inside Tracker: InsideTracker provides you with a personalized plan to build endurance, boost energy, and optimize your health for the long haul. Get 20% off the entire InsideTracker store when you go to insidetracker.com/ben.
Element Health CBD: Full-spectrum CBD and by far the most potent stuff on the market. If you’re dealing with sleeping problems, anxiety, or stress, you got to try it. It’s been a game-changer for me. Go to elementhealthsupply.com/ben and use code BEN15 for 15% off your entire order.
Organifi (Gold): Get the restful sleep you need with the most soothing ingredients! Gold is a delicious superfood tea that contains powerful superfoods and mushrooms to help you sleep and recover so you can wake up feeling refreshed and energized. Go to organifi.com/Ben for 20% off your order.
Shine Sedona: Join my family and me in Sedona Arizona from March 10-12, 2023 at an amazing event hosted by SHINE. I'll be giving a keynote talk on breathwork and biohacking, and hosting a VIP Greenfield-style home-cooked dinner prepared by my family. For tickets to the Shine Event where I'll be a keynote speaker visit bengreenfieldlife.com/shinesedona. To book your spot for our VIP dinner visit bengreenfieldspeaking.com/sedona-dinner.
Boundless Parenting Book: Everything you need to know about family, parenting, and raising healthy, resilient, free-thinking and impactful children. Go to boundlessparentingbook.com and pre-order your copy now.
Six Senses Event: Join me in this beautiful 19th-century wine estate in Portugal and enjoy treatments that go beyond the ordinary in Six Senses Spa. Ten treatment rooms and an indoor pool with chromotherapy and an underwater sound system offer a unique and layered wellness experience. Try delicious food made with local sensitivity and global sensibility. Head over to bengreenfieldlife.com/sixsenses and claim your spot today.