[Transcript] – 10 Tips For Raising Healthy, Smart and Successful Kids.

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Podcast from:  https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/lifestyle-podcasts/best-healthy-kid-tips/

[00:00] Introduction

[03:30] Magnesium Flake Baths

[06:29] Roughhousing With Your Kids

[10:20] White Noise And IQ

[14:05] Regulating The Sugar Intake With Coconut

[18:28] Frozen Banana Ice Cream

[21:46] Books

[25:37] Amazon Subscribe And Save

[28:39] Essential Oil Use

[35:50] IFTTT And Zapier

[40:06] Exercising With Your Kids

[52:23] End of Podcast

Ben:  Hi!  I'm Ben Greenfield!

Ari:  And I'm Ari Meisel!

Ben:  And I have twin boys.

Ari:  I too have twin boys!

Ben:  And the reason that you are hearing both Ari and myself then in this special podcast episode is that we decided we want to bring you our top tips for parenting because I specialize in things like fitness, and sports nutrition, and some health concepts.  And Ari, you also specialize in this stuff and also, what's kind of your gig?

Ari:  Yeah.  I think that my real will house is productivity.  And so in addition to my twin boys, I have another son as well.  So three boys originally under the age of one and a half.  So productivity is my obsession and I believe that health is a big part of that.  So we really kind of meshed our knowledge together to create something special here.

Ben:  Yeah.  So we're going to give you, in today's podcast episode, our top 10 tips for raising healthy, and smart, and successful kids.   And we're also going to give you something at the end of this podcast episode that you're only going to get if you listen to the podcasts episode or, incidentally, watch the video.  Because we are putting a video recording of this up on YouTube.  So if you're watching us on video, I am sitting here wearing my dorky, stalker-like blue light blocking glasses and sitting in my mom's coffee shop-slash-pub in Moscow, Idaho with a dart board behind me.  And I believe Ari's, is that a prison that you're in Ari?

Ari:  Yeah.  Prison, or my lab, or my gym.  It depends whose perspective you take.  The people who work out here with me might call it a prison.

Ben:  Awesome.  So you may want to check this one out on YouTube.  And of course I've got my teeny tiny pellegrino that I'm drinking, which is quite appropriate because we're going to be talking about teeny tiny people today.  So what we're going to do is kind of go back and forth.  We're going to tag team this.  I'm going to give you my top five tips and Ari's going to give you his top five tips, and we're just going to try and make this stuff super practical for it.  And like I mentioned, at the end we're going to give you guys something kind of special.  And of course, whether you are listening to this on Ari's podcast or on my podcast, we will make sure to put lots of resources for you in the show notes at our respective websites, bengreenfieldfitness.com or lessdoing.com, which is Ari's website.  So that being said, Ari do you want to go ahead in jump in with your first tip for raising healthy, smart, and successful kids?

Ari:  Absolutely.  Thank you, Ben.  So my first one, we're going to kind of run the gamut here.  We cover so many different topics, but I think that both of us have chosen sort of a good variety.  So my very first one is about magnesium flake baths, basically.  So a lot of people, and a lot of people probably listening into our podcasts are very familiar with Epsom salts and magnesium chloride, but you can actually get magnesium flakes, which are a little more expensive but it's a much purer form of magnesium.  And what I like to do is when I either give my sons baths or take baths with them is I really like to put in a whole bunch of these magnesium flakes and it's very, very calming.  It's a very soothing experience.  Just like if you use Epsom salts to deal with muscle lightness and soreness, it actually helps to infuse magnesium basically through the skin into your bodies and that of your children.  And a lot of people are magnesium deficient.  It's one of those nutrients that people tend to really not get enough of.  The nighttime bath routine having a sort of envelopment of magnesium seems to work really, really well for helping kids calm down and also to help with any, well not completely, but help at least a little bit with any possible magnesium deficiencies.

Ben:  That's really interesting.  I've used magnesium flake baths myself as an athlete, post-workout, post-long run, post-hard weight training session.  I have never once in my life, or in the six years of my children's life given them a magnesium flake bath.  So you've found that this actually helps your kids to sleep.  Do you permanently do that at night?

Ari:  Exactly.  And it's noticeable.  It really is noticeable because there's a lot of, first of all, and I'm sure you know this, but you really need to use a lot of Epsom salts.  A bag, it's like one cup per gallon.  So you might end up using a pretty big bag.  So when you put the right amount in, I do find it really does act as a calming experience.  In fact Ben, my son Ben who is two and a half now…

Ben:  I love how you named your son after me, by the way.

Ari:  Well, yes.  Of course.  I changed it once we started doing this together.

Ben:  I'm flattered.

Ari:  What I really did notice, sometimes you get in the bath and they play around, thrash around, which is fine in itself.  But when we do these really good magnesium soaks, they'll just lie on me and just relax.  It's just a nice experience.  But one thing I learned from you, which was that you really don't absorb the magnesium above 102 degrees you say, or 104.

Ben:  It's between 103 and 105.  Basically when you touch it and it's uncomfortably hot, you're not going to absorb the magnesium chloride.

Ari:  Right.  And just generally you wouldn't really want to put your kids in a bath…

Ben:  You wouldn't want to toss a child into that environment anyways.

Ari:  Right.  Exactly.  And just for, sort of a reference point, most hot tubs and max out in 104 degrees, and that's pretty hot.  So anyway, that's my first one.

Ben:  Cool.  I like it.  And the fact that you take a bath with your kids is really interesting because it relates to the first tip that I wanted to give folks, and that is that my kids, or I make it a point with my kids to rough house and wrestle with them several times per week.  And it's really interesting, the research that's been done on this is you get this release of brain derived nootrophic factor, or BDNF, the same thing that gets released when humans, kids are humans too I guess, when adults go for a run or something like that, this increases neuronal growth.  But they've done studies on roughhousing and found that rough and tumble play does the same thing in kids.  Both boys and girls.  And then of course this made me think of this when you talked about taking a bath with your kids.  Oxytocin is this other hormone that gets released.  It's the bonding hormone that brings you closer to your kids.  You also get that.  So you get this one-two hormone combo when you wrestle and rough house with your kids.  And we have all sorts of ways that we do it.

So for example, one of the things that I'll do is I'll cut a workout short.  So I'll cut work out short by anything from five to 15 minutes, take the kids out in the front lawn and tell them that their job is to try and knock me down.  And then I get into all these different positions, isometric squats, isometric lunges, and I have the boys basically run at me and trying to take me down.  I've got another one where I get down into like a low pushup position on the ground and have them get on top of me and they have to just hold me down.  We've got another one where we play zombie where I chase them around the house and I'm wearing a giant blanket over my head and basically trying to grab them and hunt them down.  But we fight a lot.  We also, and I'll try and find some links for folks to put them in the show notes, we also have Thai kickboxing gear.  So all of us have the special shorts that you kind of pull above your belly button and the special gloves, and we do Thai kickboxing, we each get in a corner, mom does the ding, ding, ding, rings the bell, and we all go at each other.  What research has shown is it doesn't make kids more violent.

Ari:  No.  Quite the opposite.

Ben:  Yeah.  It teaches social skills, it teaches them the difference between play and aggression, it teaches them about kind of hostility versus kindness, it teaches them how to play by the rules, it teaches them how to deal with things like pain and discomfort because they are going to experience that a little bit.  But if you aren't currently kind of going out of your way to wrestle around with your kids, even if your kids are a little bit older, I would make it a point.  There's a reason that I'm picking the things that I'm picking in today's podcast.  This is one of the more powerful things that I've seen in terms of both research as well as personal experience to really bring you closer and to advance the development of both boys and girls.  So roughhousing-slash-wrestling-slash-rough and tumble play.

Ari:  I want to just add to that too.  It's interesting about the oxytocin issue, or connection because there is a study that, I think I shared this with you but I remember, recently that came out that said that fathers who are very involved in child care, it actually rewires our brains to be more receptive to oxytocin, which is really interesting.  It almost makes us more maternal in some ways.  But I mean there's nothing wrong being receptive to oxytocin.   It's the cuddle hormone, basically.

Ben:  Yup.  Exactly.  And incidentally we are we are also in the process of hanging a punching bag in the gym as well.  So we're going to add that component in again.  All meant not to make the kids more aggressive, but to instead teach them how to deal with other people in physically responsible ways and help them to almost release pent up energy and aggression.

Ari:  And quite honestly to learn healthy limits, actually.  In that situation, you really do learn the difference between playing around and hurting.

Ben:  And how hard you can hit things before your wrist breaks.

Ari:  Yeah.  Exactly.  So my next one is about sleep, actually.  You don't want to have white noise machines running all night long.  I know it's a very common thing.  And the issue with that is that just as Ben was just talking about BDNF, that brain-derived nootropic factor, white noise raises that as well for babies and you actually don't want that when babies are sleeping.

Ben:  Really?

Ari:  Yeah.  Basically it supposedly, and I don't know how much faith I can put in this, but apparently it can lead to a lowering of IQ later in life.

Ben:  So you mean excessive BDNF while a child is asleep from playing these wind noises, and whale noises, and stuff like that, that's what you're talking about?

Ari:  Well, no.  So not the wind noises and the whale noises, actually.  It's more the white noise.

Ben:  Okay.

Ari:  The white noise is almost confusing.  You really can't pinpoint a sound.

Ben:  Interesting.

Ari:  Yeah.  Because by the way, if whale noises or wind noises cause people to lose intelligence, the whole world would be in a deficit.

Ben:  No one can go camping anymore.

Ari:  Exactly.  But of course, especially with twins, you do have to try to mitigate one waking up the other as much as possible, or dog barking, or dropping, it's an issue.  And otherwise if they're waking up all night long, you're never going to sleep and that's a whole other issue.  So we've found, there's only one company that I found that makes this actually, but it is a noise activated noise machine.  And it does the white noise, but it can do sounds and it can do rain, and I find the rain to be the most soothing personally and to them.

Ben:  So what do you mean it's noise activated?  Like it's only going to a play when they're rolling around in their beds and stuff like that?

Ari:  Exactly.  So basically if one of them starts to rouse a little bit, or roll around, or yelp basically, it turns on, and I had it set the lowest timer which was 15 minutes.  So basically I felt very comfortable with that, very effective.  They kind of like make some noise, it turns on and it soothes them back to sleep, but it's not running all night long.

Ben:  Interesting.

Ari:   Yeah.  So that's sort of a little bit of a tech hack, I think, that has really, really helped.  Because again, you really don't want it running all night long.  It's just not ideal for their brain development, for overstimulation.  And also they can get used to it, basically.

Ben:  What adults? Do you think that adults should not be listening to white noise all night long?

Ari:  No.  So for adults, it's completely opposite basically.  For adults, it drowns out that issue.  Or it drowns everything out and it actually does have that sort of calming effect.  And it's almost like because of that confusion that happens because of the noise, it's basically signaling your brain that it's okay to juts sort of let go and give in.  Interestingly enough, and this is completely unrelated but since we like to talk about health anyway, there's this test, and I forgot the name of it, but basically you put on white noise and then you take a ping pong ball, and cut in half, and put one half over each eyeball so it's sort of like a diffused white light.  And apparently that will cause a visual and auditory hallucinations within about 15 minutes.

Ben:  You put a ping pong ball over both your eyes, and you play white noise, and it causes visual hallucinations?

Ari:  And auditory.  It's a half a ping pong.  So you're cutting it in half, so you're basically making goggles out of the ping pong.  Essentially sensory deprivation is what you're doing and your brain fills in the gaps, and people have reported like unicorns jumping around, and colorful rainbows, and all sorts of stuff.  So, yeah.  Basically that's…

Ben:  Don't do that to your kids, people.

Ari:  Don't do that to your kids.  Absolutely not.  But if you had a really bad night, you maybe want to do that to yourself.

Ben:  I'm going to try this.  This is interesting.  Okay.  I'm going to pull a total 180 here and talk about something that we use quite a bit in our house because we like to make sure that our kids' blood sugar levels are stabilized.  I've personally done genetic testing.  I know I'm at higher-than-normal risk for type two diabetes.  I've seen my mom's lab results, she's got blood sugar levels that are through the roof.  Sorry, Mom, if you're listening in.  Both of her parents had type two diabetes.  So we're really careful with sugar in our house.  And we use coconut quite a bit, and three of kind of the go-to things that we make as almost like desserts for the kids that have fats that slow down the sugar release but also have less sugar than the typical desserts that you might buy at the grocery store when you're making them yourself, one is coconut popsicles.  And these actually have gelatin in them, which is really good for a kid's bones and joints and also their stomach.  And it's very easy.

You just need a normal popsicle mold and then you get a can a full fat coconut milk, so we use a BPA free coconut milk, a brand called Native Forest is what we use.  You get a can of coconut milk and you mix that with about a tablespoon or two of, what we use is a real organic maple syrup.  So it's still a relatively nutrient dense sweetener, there's not a lot of it in there.  That just gives a little bit of sweetness and that's for, I believe it's an eight popsicle mold.  It might even be a 12 popsicle mold.  I don't remember.  But it's not that much maple syrup.   A couple tablespoons of maple syrup, about a tablespoon of regular, real vanilla extract.  You put about a tablespoon of shredded coconut flakes.  We use Bob's Red Mill.  We just buy this off Amazon, Bob's Red Mill Shredded Coconut Flakes.  And then two tablespoons of gelatin.  So you can use Great Lakes Gelatin.  Bernard Jensen is another brand.  And all you do is you just mix all that together, and you pour it into the mold, and then you throw it in the freezer, and this makes these really tasty coconut popsicles that the kids love.  So that's one thing that we do with coconuts.

The other thing that we'll do is a coconut ice cream.  And it's very, very easy to make, a basic coconut ice cream.  It's actually, I say coconut ice cream but it's more like this coconut, chocolatey pudding-type of stuff that we put in a freezer and freeze.  Basically all you do is you blend an avocado with some coconut milk to desired texture, a little bit of dark cacao powder, some cinnamon, some vanilla extract.  And then if you want, you can throw in about half of banana in there.  And you just blend all that up, and you can eat it right away as a pudding, or you can put it in the freezer and it literally tastes just like chocolate pudding and if you freeze it, it tastes like chocolate avocado coconut ice cream.  So that's number two.

And then last thing that we do with coconuts is my wife makes coconut macaroons, and these are really good.  What you do is you mix a couple of eggs and a little bit of honey into a mixing bowl, and you can in put a little bit of salt in there, and then you stir in a bunch of coconut flakes or shredded coconut, one to two cups of that.  And then you just chill all of that in the refrigerator, and this makes this coconut flake batter.  And basically you can take that batter, and you form it into these little macaroon shapes, and you just bake that in the oven for about 10 minutes.  Put the oven at about 350, bake it, the macaroons turn golden brown, and they're not super sweet, and the kids love 'em.  So I'll put recipes to all three of those in the show notes for folks, but we are big fans of coconut flakes, shredded coconut, coconut milk as ways to make tasty little treats for the kids that slow down the release of sugars and that are also chock full of healthy fats.

Ari:  Yeah.  Those all sound really delicious.

Ben:  Yeah.  I like them too, actually.  Of all the ones I just described, the one that's the least sweet is the chocolate avocado pudding stuff.  And I'll make that, leave the banana out, and it pretty much has no sweetener whatsoever.  You can put a little stevia in there if you want, and I like that as just a way, I can stay in ketosis eating that.  So really good stuff.

Ari:  Yeah.  I know you like your stevia.

Ben:  That's right.

Ari:   Okay.  My next one is actually a food one also and it's sort of similar, but again I have to go with a gadget sometimes.  So there is a frozen banana ice cream making machine.  It's a very specific thing and we'll have a link to that and all the resources, of course.  But it's almost like, it looks like a very small meat grinder basically.

Ben:  Really?

Ari:  Yeah.  So what you do is you freeze bananas and then…

Ben:  Peel them first, right?

Ari:  Yes.  Please peel them first.  I made that mistake twice.  I don't know how I did it twice after learning from the first time, how ridiculous it is.  So have frozen bananas, and usually what we'll do is we'll just buy a bunch, you have like the dozen frozen in the freezer.  And then this thing, it's pretty hardcore.  It's a plastic thing, but basically it looks like a juice press almost and you're pushing the banana down to it, and it really grinds down to a very smooth, almost frozen yogurt-like texture.  And if nothing else that could be at it.  That's one ingredient banana ice cream and you're done.  And the kids can do it…

Ben:  What's this thing called that you're using?  Is there a specific brand or is it just called the banana ice cream maker?

Ari:  Well, yeah.  It's called, I'm going to have the links.  We'll put it in the show notes 'cause I'm blanking on the name.  But it's a specific one, oh, it's YoNanas.  That's what it is.

Ben:  YoNanas?  Okay.

Ari:  YoNanas.  So what it does, obviously, so it makes the frozen banana.  That is sort of the base for everything.  So you can mix in whatever you want, including dark cacao nibs for instance.  You can put some coconut in there.  What we actually do a lot is we'll put some sort of greens in there.  So spinach surprisingly goes really well with banana.  They cancel each other out in an odd way and it's really delicious.

Ben:  It sounds kind of horrible when you describe it, the spinach-banana.

Ari:  I'm surprised to hear you say that.  It's really good!  Because, I don't know.  It's just it really tastes good.  But you can throw in the cinnamon.  I feel like you can put a lot of this stuff in there that you may want to sort of sneak into a kid's diet.  Or not sneak in, but just give it to them in a subtle way.

Ben:  I think the cool thing about bananas is kind of like coconuts, they offer this creamy-like texture, which can really, I'm joking when I say it sounds horrible with the spinach 'cause I could actually see it giving it a creamy kind of sweet taste that a kid might like.

Ari:  Yeah.  So then the other thing that you can do with it, and this is sort of going a little bit deeper on the nutrition scale, but if you want to, and I don't necessarily think that this is for kids, you could try it, but using green bananas and then you basically get sort of like a resistant starch ice cream.  So whenever I use bananas in my smoothies…

Ben:  And a child with horrible gas.

Ari:  Well, yeah.  Maybe.  Whenever I use bananas in my smoothies, I almost always use a green banana for that resistant starch and a little bit less sugar.  But it's something that you could try if you were worried about digestive issues.  Although if you follow our tips, your kids shouldn't have too many digestive issues anyway.

Ben:  Yeah.  Yeah, exactly.  Okay.  Cool.

Ari:  So Yonanas.

Ben:  Cool.  I like it.  Alright.  So here's my next time.  I really purchase my kids a lot of books.  I personally purchased a lot of books.  I see them as very valuable investments in my mind, and my body, and my life.  When I read a book on parenting, a lot of times as I'm taking notes as I'm reading that book, and a perfect example’s a very good recent book that I read called “Mindful Parenting”.  And when I read “Mindful Parenting”, it gave a suggestion in that book, I think during the course of me reading that book, I came across 10 different books that you could get a child that will help them become more mindful, that will help them to meditate, help them to breathe deeply, help them to engage in gratefulness practices, and help them do all these things that I freaking wish my parents had taught me when it comes to, these are the things that help people to live longer, that help people to destress, and frankly you don't have to wait until you're 30 years old and have a stress attack or a panic attack to realize that mindfulness, and meditation, and deep breathing is actually good for you.

So the problem though is that whenever I come across a bunch of books, and I also homeschool my kids so I've always got these different curriculums that I'm ordering for them, it's a little bit time consuming for me to go and find good deals on books.  So one thing that I do is I've actually outsourced book buying.  So I have a virtual assistant, and in my case I hired a virtual assistant off of Craigslist, but you can also get virtual assistants on all sorts of different websites.  I know you talk about them quite a bit in your book, Ari, and on your podcast.  When it comes to productivity, you talk about Fancy Hands and…

Ari:  Zirtual and Fancy Hands.

Ben:  Zirtual is another one.  And so what I do is I send my VA a list of 10 books and I'll say, “Find the best deal on these books, I don't care if they're used or they're new, and have them sent to my house by X date.”  I outsource knowing my lawn so that I can do the things that I'm good at 'cause I'm crappy at mowing the lawn.  So I outsource that.  I outsource people mailing mail at the post office and all of these things.  But book buying for my kids, that's turned out, oddly enough, to be something that has been really, really nice.  ‘Cause I'll read a book like this, come up with 10 books for my kids, send them off via e-mail, and immediately they just start to roll in via the mail at a really really good price.  And interestingly, kudos to Ari because I learned about this for Ari actually, this new app, this Fetch app.

Ari:  I was hoping you'd mention that.

Ben:  Yeah.  And you told me about this.  It's this app that you can download to your phone, it's called Fetch, and what happens is you can just take a picture of something that you want to buy or just type in a quick description of something that you want to buy, and somebody finds the best price on it and it gets sent to your house.  And the app is free.  Like you don't pay anything.  I don't know how they make money exactly off of it.  But anyways, outsourcing the purchasing of books specifically is something that I do quite a bit with my kids, and we have tons of books, and I don't mind.  I would rather my kids have tons of books than tons of toys, and we're constantly reading them, and I'm not spending all my time looking for a good price on books.

Ari:  Books are one of those things that you can get a huge range of pricing with books.  You get a slightly used book that has no signs of wear and tear except there's a corner off of one page and it's a quarter of the price of the brand new, it's really kind of crazy the range that you see with books.  So, yeah.  If you've got somebody working on it, that's great.  Well, okay.  So my next two are going to be a productivity-based.  So the first one is Amazon Subscribe and Save.  So a lot of people are not familiar with this service 'cause Amazon doesn't market particularly well, but essentially with Amazon Subscribe and Save you can subscribe to any nonperishable item that Amazon stocks in its warehouses and you pick how often you want to know how many units you want to come.  They give you a week's notice and you can cancel at any time.  You get an immediate 15% discount and you can get extra deliveries whenever you want.

So what can you subscribe to? So in the last four years I'd say, my wife and I have not had to shop for things like paper towels, diapers, dog food, batteries, toothbrushes, toothpaste.  They have such a wide variety of products now.  All cleaning supplies for our house, they have lots of Organic Options green cleaning products.  Amazon really stocks a lot of great stuff.  And the thing is you don't have to think about this stuff anymore.  We've literally saved thousands of hours and thousands of dollars by doing this because not only do we not have to worry about when we go to the store and forgetting something that we thought we needed, but we also have to come back from the store and having bought something that we already had and didn't need either.  It's just a real waste of time.  And then the other side of it is that things that have a timing associated with them, for instance we don't have one of these anymore, but having a Brita water filter that you have to change every 60 days.  Why set a reminder that you then have to get reminded, then go get it, and then do the thing.  Why not just have it show up every two months?  You're supposed to replace your toothbrush every three months.  I don't even think about it.  Every three months we get an order of toothbrushes in the mail.  It's like, “Oh, okay.  Throw out the old ones or recycle the old ones and take the new ones.”  So it's just a huge stress reliever, time saver, and money saver honestly.

Ben:  Yeah.  A couple of things that I've already mentioned we have on Subscribe and Save.  Coconut milk, BPA free coconut milk, I've got that on Subscribe and Save.  I've got Bob's Red Mill Coconut Flakes on Subscribe and Save.

Ari:  Oh, they have all of Bob's Red Mill stuff.

Ben:  Yeah.  It's pretty cool.  So if you if you haven't yet tapped into Amazon Subscribe and Save, I totally agree.  So…

Ari:  Sorry, I have one other thing actually about that that I forgot.  The newest Amazon app has a search function called “Flow”.  Have you seen this?

Ben:  No.

Ari:  Okay.  So you're always used to be able to scan a barcode with the Amazon app and they actually got into kind of a lot of controversy about this 'cause they were stealing business from places.  But with the Flow app, you pull it up and you use the camera to look at something, and it has all these blue dots in it.  It basically recognizes the product, whether it's a Thomas the Train toy, or a book, or whatever it is, and you literally just go like boom, boom, boom, boom, and it makes a whole shopping list based on that.  And then usually it's a better price on Amazon.  And then you can just go add them all to your cart.  It's really cool.

Ben:  Nice.  I like it.  Amazon Flow.

Ari:  Yup.

Ben:  Cool.  Alright.  So my next tip is about essential oils.  And the reason that I want to talk about essential oils, and this is a perfect illustration, I was over at one of my friend's houses a couple of weeks ago and on his kitchen counter was this giant plastic box that was full of drugs.  Ibuprofen, Advil, Pepto-Bismol, freaking kids Tylenol, adult Tylenol, anti-histamines, like you name it.  And I don't know how many Americans have a similar medicine cabinet, or box in their closet, or in their home, or maybe on their kitchen counter, but it's shocking what's going on when it comes to kids' guts, kids' livers, kids' immune systems, and everything else that happens when you're dumping need these drugs and of course things like antibiotics, et cetera as well, which was completely turn child's gut and an adults gut into a floral wasteland.

So one thing that I really tapped into, I actually came down with a staph infection a couple years ago, I did a triathlon out in the wilderness, I got some cuts, it got infected at the gym a few days later, and I got this nasty MRSA staph infection.  And I didn't want to go on these big gun antibiotics necessary to knock it out because I knew what that was going to do to my gut.  I also wanted to make sure that I protected my kids and protected my family because it is a fairly, it's something that your kids can catch.  It's kind of nasty, but skin to skin contact, that type of thing, MRSA can spread.  So what I did was I started to research essential oils.  And initially what I did in our home back then was to kill off MRSA and to kill off staph.  I bought a cold air diffuser and in that cold air diffuser, I put these special botanical blends.  So I used oil of oregano and then I used an anti-fungal blend and an anti-bacterial blend of essential oils.  And I'll put a link in the show notes to kind of like the story of exactly what I used.  I ended up, I'm not part of this multi-level marketing company, but there's this company called Be Young Essential Oils and they sell these different blends that are very, very good for addressing certain sicknesses, certain illnesses, certain bacteria, certain fungus, mold, et cetera, and it's amazing that when you take a plant extract and you concentrate it into an oil, how effective that can be and how safe that can be for either topical or diluted oral use.

So in our house some of the big ones that we use, we use lavender oil to help with sleep.  And that's something that you can put on a kid's pillow.  When our kids were babies, my wife actually made these little lavender oil pillows.  We use oil of oregano to help with fungal and bacterial issues and we also use that as a household cleaner.  We have another blend of essential oils called Thieves essential blend.  And that's a blend of cloves, and Rosemary, and basically a bunch of these ingredients that are very, very good as antibacterials, antifungals.  They can be put in a cold air diffuser when somebody's sick in the house.  It can also be used orally, like in a glass of water.  But if you as a mother or father have not yet started to tap into essential oils or educate yourself on the use of essential oils as an alternative to common medicines, then you're really missing out on a huge, huge part of what the planet Earth has to offer us when it comes to health.  So essential oil blends are really important.  So we basically, we go to either this Be Young website to get essential oils.  And there's another really good website that sells certified organic essential oils called Mountain Rose Herbs, and both of those websites have really good resources on them that help to educate you on which essential oils are good for what.  But I would recommend that you go to those websites, that you start to outfit your house.

And if you open the pantry, not the pantry, it's the hallway closet, the linen closet in our house, we literally have this this plastic container, kind of like the one at my friend's house, except it's not full of pharmaceuticals and drugs, it's just full of about 20 different bottles of different blends and different essential oil extracts.  And those are incredibly powerful for a wide variety of conditions and I highly recommend that if you've got kids, that those form the crux of your health treatments rather than rather than drugs.

Ari:  Yeah.  I can't second that enough.  And actually I really like this company called Edens Garden, it may have 140 different oils.  I mean it's just kind of shocking, actually.

Ben:  You said that one was called Edens Gardens?

Ari:  Edens Garden.  And they're therapeutic grade essential oils, and my wife really got into that too.  I personally love eucalyptus oil for anytime I get stuffy or anything, eucalyptus oil is great.  But it's pretty amazing.  There's a lot that you've probably heard of and there's way more beyond that that you haven't heard of.  And as Ben was saying, there's blends that these companies make that just magnify the power of these things.  It's pretty incredible.

Ben:  Absolutely.  And by the way, two that I didn't mention.  Kids get warts.  It happens.  Lemon oil is awesome for warts.  It'll knock out a wart in literally like three days.  You just put lemon oil on it in the morning and at night, and it makes kids' warts disappear.  And then another one that's really really good if you as a parent have bacteria, yeast, fungus, overgrowth, that type of thing, peppermint oil in a glass of water a few times a day is super effective.  So I'm kind of geeking out on oils right now and studying them more, and I'm a huge, huge fan of these.

Ari:  Well, have you so and I know that this is going to touch on another topic that you like, but have you tried lemon balm?

Ben:  Lemon balm as a topical?

Ari:  No.

Ben:  I have not.

Ari:  Okay.  Well, so lemon balm, first of all, has nothing to do with lemon.  It's actually more of like a mint, but it's actually got nootropic factors to it.  It's supposed to be, I mean it is very helpful actually for calming anxiety and stress to some extent, but it actually has memory improving qualities to it.  And you can have it as a tea.

Ben:  Interesting.  So lemon balm.  Is this something that you can just purchase on Amazon or something like that?

Ari:  Yeah.  Totally.  Totally.  You can get lemon balm tea and even one of the blends that Onnit Labs makes has lemon balm in it.  It's really interesting and there's really good evidence actually about its memory enhancing effects.

Ben:  Interesting.  Okay, cool.  Man, the show notes are going to be golden today.

Ari:  Oh, yeah.  Totally.

Ben:  I've got 20 things written down already to look into myself.

Ari:  So many other topics.  Alright, so my last one is two websites which are very similar, actually they're identical but they work with different services.  So one of them is called IFTTT and the other one is called Zapier.  And IFTTT stands for “If This, Then That”.  And as I said, they're both identical services.  But what they do is there's a trigger and an action and what I mean is that you have, with IFTTT, there's like 90 different web services or so, and a lot more consumer-based stuff.  And on Zapier, there's more of the business side of things.  So with IFTTT, you'll see things like Twitter and Facebook, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Dropbox, that kind of stuff.  And then with Zapier, you're going to see more of the Harvest invoice tracking, and Salesforce, and Yammer, and those kind of things, which, depending on what you're doing, they're both very useful.  But IFTTT is free and you can create these automations that, it's the kind of thing that you'll find yourself saying, “Oh, but that just takes me a minute to do that.”  It just takes a minute.  But that's the problem is that not only do you do that probably 50 times a day and those minutes really do add up, but it's just like when you have a stoppage of traffic on the highway, one minute of stoppage of traffic on average takes 40 minutes to have traffic flow return to normal.  If you take a minute to stop doing what you're doing, that high level thing that you really should be doing, it takes about 20 minutes to get back into the flow of what you were doing.  So there's a huge opportunity cost there.

And of course when you're taking care of two kids and you're going crazy with all sorts of things and you have a lot of stuff going on in your life, the more that you can automate, the better.  So things as simple, as I said, as like if you post something on Twitter, then it can automatically post it on Facebook.  That's a very, very basic one.  You can get weather alerts, very specific weather alerts.  It actually integrates with the Philips hue light bulbs that can do color changing, the Nest thermostat so you can change temperatures.  Personally I have an alert that's set up that if the temperature gets to a certain temp, we're very conservative, not conservative but eco-friendly about using our air conditioning and heating.  So I have these alerts set up so that if the temperature gets too high or too low in the kids' bedrooms, I get a text message immediately.

Ben:  Really?

Ari:  Yeah.  Which is just one of those things that you can act upon really quickly.  There's the Belkin Wemo Switches, which is an automated, or it's a WiFi controlled light switch, and we have that at our front door.  So it's a basic light switch, it'll turn on and off the light obviously.  But if you hook it up with IFTTT, first of all, you can use it still to do the basic stuff.  But if you hold the switch for two seconds, that's a different trigger.  So in my case, if I hold the switch for two seconds it sets the temperature in all the boys rooms for basically sleeping temperature.  So 68, 69 degrees.  It can change all of their lights to a nice low, reddish light, which is not going to affect their sleep.  And all of that just from pushing one button.  And again, it's like these things are so, you might say like, “Oh, well what's the point if it's kind of scrupulous?”  But it really does add up and save you a lot of time and it's just great.  So there's the personal stuff there, of course, but then you can use it in your business as well because as far as I'm concerned, if you can save a minute anywhere in your day, it'll add up and it will make you more effective and allow you to focus more on the things you want to do.  So this is one of those things that's like a secret weapon that can just get so much stuff that you do on a only basis out of your hands and out of your life.

Ben:  You're like George Jetson, dude.

Ari:  I know, I know.  It's crazy.

Ben: It's crazy.  Okay.  So before I give my last tip, let me remind you that once we finish up, we're going to be giving you guys this pretty cool thing that, again, nobody except for the people who hang around for the end of podcast are going to get to grab.  If you have kids, you are going to dig this.  Okay.  So my list tip is, and this is going to sound really simple but let me give you specifics.  I work out with my kids a lot.  As recently as this morning, we were practicing on the monkey bars at the park up by the house.  Now some of the things that I do with my kids, for example, we go to a park with soccer balls and Frisbees.  And the way that it works is they practice their soccer ball kicks.  So they'll kick the soccer ball, they'll both kick, and what I have to do is, I'm standing behind them.  As soon as they both kick, I have to sprint and retrieve one soccer ball, sprint and bring it back, sprint and grab the other soccer ball, bring it back, and then we all do five burpees together.  We'll do the same thing with Frisbees as well where one of them will throw a Frisbee, I got to run and try and get to the Frisbee before it lands, and then I run and bring back the Frisbee, and then we all have to do five squats.  It's basically like fetch with a dog, except dad is the dog.  And then we just throw in these special bodyweight exercises.  So I get a really good workout and they get to practice their soccer skills and their Frisbee skills.

We've got this other one that we do where when we're traveling and we're at a hotel pool, what my wife and I will do is we'll do hypoxic sets, we'll do kick sets, and underwater sets with the kids riding on our backs.  So it's like weighted training in a pool, 'cause hotel pools are short, they're crappy, they're no good for lap swimming.  But this adds in an element that's really hard.  So what we'll do is this hypoxic set where we'll swim underwater with the kids riding on our back, like daddy and mommy turtle or daddy and mommy whale.  And then when we get to the end of the pool, we do pull-outs.  So we'll do pull-outs with the kids on our back and then go back, hypoxic, and then we'll get out of the pool and we'll do some of the things like crocodile crawls with the kids on our backs, and pushups with the kids on our backs, and we do overhead presses with the squats as we push the kids.  But basically using your kids as resistance, and specifically using your kids as a resistance in the pool, 'cause I know we have a lot of triathletes and stuff who listen in, that's another really, really good one.  And again all this stuff also, similar to roughhousing, increases oxytocin and brain-derived neurotrophic factor and things like that.

The other thing that I'll do is since I'm out in my garage a lot of the time doing things like kettlebell swings and medicine ball slams, both of my kids have a mini kettlebell and a mini medicine ball, and you can just get these off of Amazon or wherever.  So when I'm doing those exercises, they know that it's total free rein, they can come out and they see me doing it, like my kids have been doing kettlebell swings since they were three years old, and they see dad doing it, and they have their own equipment.  If your kids don't have this equipment, they're not going to do it.  But if you just kind of add a few little kid things to your home gym and your kids see you doing something, the cool thing is that as a kid sees their parents exercise and they themselves, and research has proven this, are more likely to be physically fit and active.  It's this switch in them.  And I found that as my kids get older, they are more and more excited to come and join with me in my workouts.

I'll give you one more than I do with my kids.  I take them on hikes, but I can hike way faster than a six year old can.  So I've got a 50 pound weighted vest and a elevation training mask that I wear.  My kids love.  It's like hiking with Bane from Batman.  But I'll take them on a hike.  I get killer workout and my kids like it 'cause they're getting to hike, they're getting to be in nature, they're with dad, and I of course am just getting killed trying to keep up with them.  And I'll even make it harder by picking them up when they get tired and letting them take turns riding on my back or having me carry them over my head like a weighted sandbag.  But basically what I'm getting at here is that the sky's the limit when it comes to working out with your kids.  And there are some people that think that kids are a barrier to working out, they want to get everything done in the morning before the kids get out of bed or at night after the kids go to bed.  But I've found that I've been able to spend a great deal of quality time with my kids and get myself very fit in the process.  So everything from double jogging strollers, to bike trailers, to any of the other tips that I just gave you, I highly recommend that folks work those in and work out with your kids.

Ari:  I pulled all three kids three miles today in a Radio Flyer wagon, and that was interesting.

Ben:  Yeah.  It's tough hauling kids. We had the double bicycle stroller for a while, so it was really tough.  And I remember my kids, I don't drag them in that anymore just 'cause they're too big for it now, but they used to just shout at us and shout at us as we were going up hills, “Go!  Go!  Go!  Faster!  Faster!”  It was like having these tiny little mini bald personal trainers at the back of your bike trailer.  So, yeah.  Those are, shall we give folks a recap of our tips?

Ari:  Yeah!  Perfect!  So you want to start or me?

Ben:  Go for it.

Ari:  Alright.  So my five tips were the magnesium flake baths.  So that's really calming to your kids and gives them that nice sort of rush of magnesium.  The noise activated noise machine so that you're not getting white noise running all night.  You still get sort of that soothing effects and the sound masking effects that you get from those machines.  The banana ice cream maker from YoNanas, that becomes a base for all sorts of stuff.  The Amazon Subscribe and Save service.  You can subscribe to all those different products that you might otherwise have to spend time buying.  And then the last one was those two websites, IFTTT and Zapier, which will help to automate an enormous amount of the things that you do on a regular basis for your family and your business.

Ben:  Sweet.  And my five tips are roughhouse, wrestle, and rough and tumble.  Use coconuts and coconut products frequently for your kids, especially for desserts.  Outsource and get your kids a lot of books by outsourcing book purchases.  Use essential oils and educate yourself on them, and we'll put all of these resources in the show notes for you.  And then work out with your kids.  So there you go.

Ari:  Awesome.

Ben:  So the moment everyone's been waiting for you.  Here we go.  So Ari and I, for the past three months, have been working on a brand new online curriculum called “Double Dad: The Twin Dad's Ultimate Guide to Raising Healthy and Smart Twins”.  And in this guide, kind of like what you just listened into today, we go into everything.  We go into how to bulletproof your kid's immune system, to sleeping tips, to holistic nutrition, to tons more.  Ari's like a genius with these productivity and money saving hacks.  I've honestly learned a ton from him the past three months just recording these videos, audios, and transcripts that we're doing.  Creating socially enhanced children, pregnancy tips.  We go into everything.  It's pretty much the most comprehensive course that a dad could ever have access, any parent could use this.  We're calling it the Twin Dads Ultimate Guide to Raising Healthy, Smart, and Successful Kids frankly because we want to differentiate it from all the other parenting products that are out there, but it's called Double dads and it's a Udemy course.  Ari, you introduced me to Udemy.

Ari:  Yeah.  I've had all my courses on Udemy for a while now and it's a really great online learning platform.  It's a great platform.  It's self-paced.  Once you have access to it, you can access it forever and you can go through it as you want, you can download.  So what we've done is we have the videos of us talking about all the stuff and we have just audio, and then we actually have the transcripts in PDF of all the things that we talk about.  And every lesson has the resources that we talk about.  I think we've got a total of 29 lectures.  There's several hours.  We put a lot into this.  And as Ben said, we've been working on it for three months.  And also this is not obviously just for people with twins.  It's also not just for people who have kids.  It's people who are thinking about kids, or are around kids, or grandparents, or aunts and uncles, and singles and multiples who just happen to both have twins.

Ben:  So here's the deal.  First of all, if you're listening or you're watching this on YouTube, your code that you can use, first of all it's not an expensive course.  It's 49 bucks. We're giving you guys a $10 discount code that you can use on it and the discount code that you can use over udemy.com, that's U-D-E-M-Y, udemy.com/doubledads, udemy.com/doubledads, your coupon code is PodcastVIP.  And if you use code PodcastVIP, you get that entire course for 39 bucks.  And it really is, we spat out all the knowledge that we've accumulated, that both of us have accumulated trying to basically get our kids as healthy, as smart, and as successful as possible.  And I don't know about you, Ari, I'm actually pretty dang proud of the course.  I think it turned out really well.

Ari:  I am very proud of it.  As I said, we put a lot of time into this and we covered a lot, including pregnancy, how to make them smarter, and socially enhanced, and fitness for them and fitness for you, and productivity.  We covered a lot.

Ben:  And we sat down this afternoon to record this for you because it just went live this morning.  So this course literally just launched.  So you're going to dig it.  Check it out at udemy.com/doubledads.  If you're listening to this episode on my bengreenfieldfitness.com website or on Ari's lessdoing.com website, we are also going to have some handy dandy show notes for you for the stuff that we went over today, which is kind of new stuff, a little bit of what we covered in the course, and a lot of this stuff is new.  So it's almost like a little bonus episode for the course.  So that being said, I think that's about everything we wanted to cover.  Did we get it all, Ari?

Ari:  Yeah.  Absolutely.  So check out the course, we'd love to hear feedback.  That's another thing, by the way.  Once you get into the course, it has its own sort of built-in question answer thing.  So if there's questions that specifically come up on a specific video or a specific lesson that we talk about, you can actually ask it right there and one of us will probably get in there and answer you personally.  So it's a really great value and I think that it's the kind of thing that you could probably share with anybody you know who wants to help do better with their kids.

Ben:  Sweet.  So check it out, udemy.com/doubledads, code PodcastVIP, and you could take us when your kids are 30 years old and you can retire because they're so successful and healthy.  So there you go.

Ari:  Ben, I just want to say it was really fun making the course with you.  So I hope people like it.

Ben:  Oh, nice.  I'm getting all teary-eyed now.  Yeah, it was fun too, Ari.  And Ari and I ever recorded a special video when we got together in Toronto a couple weeks ago so you get to see both of us in the same place.

Ari:  Exactly.

Ben:  So there you go.

Ari:  With steel drum music in the background.

Ben:  With steel drum music in the background.  That's right.  ‘Cause we were in a mall and a band was playing, but we still banged it out.  So thanks for listening folks and best of luck to you and your kids.

As a parent living in a modern era, you have the privileged ability to enable your kids to become amazing human beings who look, feel and perform with optimized bodies and minds.

But unfortunately, it’s very easy to make parenting mistakes that create a host of issues in your kids, including immune system weakness, low IQ, stunted growth, obesity, depression, attention deficit disorder and other frustrating problems that society now accept as all-too-common.

As you may know, I have twin boys.

Incidentally, my friend Ari Meisel (who originally appeared on the podcast episode “10 Top Tips for Optimizing, Automating and Outsourcing Everything In Your Life.“) is also a father of twins.

So in this podcast episode, Ari and I decided to combine our knowledge of health, fitness, nutrition, biohacking, productivity and parenting to give you our top tips for raising healthy, smart and successful kids.


Resources mentioned in this podcast:

The brand new Udemy course taught by Ari and Ben: “Double Dads: The Twin Dad’s Ultimate Guide To Raising Healthy, Smart & Successful Kids”


Magnesium Flakes

Noise Activated Noise Machine

YoNanas Banana Ice Cream Maker

Coconut Macaroons

Coconut-Chocolate-Avocado Pudding

Coconut Popsicles

Mindful Parenting book

Fetch app for having other people buy stuff for you

Thieves Essential Oil Blend

Ben’s MRSA/Staph Story

Oil of Oregano

Cold Air Diffuser for Essential Oils

Lemon Balm

IFTTT & Zapier

Mini kettlebells

Mini medicine balls

Kid’s kickboxing equipment

During this episode, Ben and Ari also give you a $10 discount code on their brand new “Double Dads: The Twin Dad’s Ultimate Guide To Raising Healthy, Smart & Successful Kids“, so be sure to listen in!

This new course gives parents of twins everything necessary for raising healthy and smart twins, including how both mothers and fathers should eat and exercise during a twin pregnancy, how to bulletproof your children’s immune system, twin parent sleeping tips, healthy holistic nutrition for twins, productivity and money-saving hacks, keep yourself healthy and fit while raising twins, creating socially enhanced children, and much more!

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