[Transcript] – Working Out Hard With “The Big Pygmy”, Saving Villages in the African Jungle, Animal Psychology & Much More with Justin Wren.

Affiliate Disclosure


From podcast: https://BenGreenfieldLife.com/podcast/justin-wren-podcast/

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:00:56] Guest Introduction

[00:02:19] Podcast Sponsors

[00:04:30] Working Out with Justin and Amy Edwards

[00:08:30] Ben's workout and diet while on the go

[00:11:01] Boundless origin stories

[00:17:05] Ben's journey as a human guinea pig and investigative journalist

[00:21:39] How Ben defines “biohacking”

[00:33:19] Non-negotiable elements of high-quality sleep

[00:42:11] Justin shares stories of saving villages in the African jungle

[00:45:16] Podcast Sponsors

[00:51:49] cont. Justin's Stories

[01:10:55] Preparing mentally and physically for living in Africa

[01:19:55] Motivation for Ben's new parenting book

[01:33:05] Secrets to a great relationship with your spouse and children

[01:40:51] Justin does the animal psychology quiz with Ben

[01:59:52] Closing the Podcast

[02:06:14] Upcoming Events

[02:07:14] End of Podcast

Ben:  My name is Ben Greenfield. And, on this episode of the Ben Greenfield Life podcast.

Biggest thing I've learned that has been the best most magical thing for our family was this idea of branding the family the same way that you would brand a business.

Justin:  We're moving them out of that environment into a little bit more rural area where three other communities are welcoming them there because we're going to have a community hub with the health center, the school. We're doing a business marketplace like a little shotgun. Just from one sting, I would have all these whelps all around and their neighbors too. Their neighbors would say, “We will die if we try to do that.”

Ben:  Wow.

Justin:  But, they don't.

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

Well, hello, everyone. Today's podcast recorded on the road once again, which is why I'm recording this introduction for you on my crappy little portable microphone. Hopefully, you don't mind.

The episode is with Justin Wren, Justin Christopher Wren, W-R-E-N. The shownotes for everything Justin and I talked about are going to be at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Forgotten. That's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Forgotten. Why forgotten? Because Justin has done a number of charity drives and expeditions for his charity called Fight for the Forgotten. He's been featured on the Joe Rogan experience multiple times where he talks about this work, which is fascinating. We talk about a little bit on this show and we also just delve into a very wide-ranging conversation, everything from fitness, to parenting, to even animal psychology. Wren is a great guy. He's a Christian brother. He's a professional mixed martial artist. He's competed in the heavyweight division of Bellator MMA and been a professional competitor since 2006 in the realm of fighting. You may have seen one in the UFC. He was also on the Ultimate Fighter heavyweights. And, he's just a great guy. He's a great guy.

So, again, all the shownotes are going to be at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Forgotten. This is a dual episode where we didn't know who was interviewing who, but we just decided we have a chat and turn the mics hot as they say for you. So, I hope you enjoy.

If anything I'm saying to you sounds mildly funky, it's because I'm on the road. I'm hiking in the Grand Canyon during the month of April and recording on the fly. But, that doesn't mean that I can't still not tell you about the delicious tastes of organic crisp apples, organic whole apples that are sourced, handpicked from the golden delicious state of Washington. And then, they are converted along with ashwagandha into this amazing new powder from Organifi. That's right, what Organifi has done is created a green juice crisp powder. So, it's got ashwagandha, moringa, spirulina, chlorella, all designed to hydrate, to energize, and even support normal endocrine function, your cortisol balance. This stuff is pretty cool and it taste like a fresh juicy slice of green apple in every sip. It's really good. And, they have a little bit of mint that they've thrown into some of their juices as well, which kind of amplifies the flavor in my opinion just a little bit more. So, check these guys out. Organifi.com/Ben gets you 20% off. That's Organifi with i.com/Ben.

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Justin:  Well, hey, man, thank you for being here. I really appreciate your time on the podcast. But, man, earlier today, that was–

Ben:  I was got to say thank you for not throwing up on me.

Justin:  But, yeah. Amy, this is the first time I carried a trash can add on it. I carried it around with me. There's two trash cans that put them–

Amy:  Oh, because you thought you're going to throw out?

Justin:  Yeah, because Ben was working me. It was cardio and it was great.

Ben:  I don't like to eat before I work out in the morning.

Justin:  I made the mistake. You see what I walked out the door with?

Amy:  A bunch of sausages.

Ben:  And, he has sausage.

Justin:  Yes.

Ben:  And, it was so concerning to me that he had the trash can. And, I am kind of an asshole. I wasn't going to stop the workout or say, “Okay, well, let's go do some crunches instead of burpees and everything else.” And so, I was a little bit concerned seeing there's a trash can. And then, I made a joke and I was like, “At least you didn't have any spicy sausage today.” And, he looks at me and he's like–

Justin:  I said, “Can you smell it?”

Ben:  You know I had for breakfast.

Justin:  Yes, can you smell it?

Ben:  And then, my heart sunk. And, I was like, “Oh, no, he actually did have spicy sausage, and I'm just destroying us with this cardiovascularly demanding work”–

Justin:  We were on the rower, the Airdyne bikes, in the SkiErg and–

Ben:  Yeah. Okay. So, if I'm traveling and I just want to squeeze a lot in a short period of time, usually I'll mix cardio and strength. But then, if you're at a gym that you're unfamiliar with and you don't know who's going to be using what equipment, it's just a very, very basic and simple equation. You choose any piece of cardio and you do two minutes as hard as you can on it. And then, you choose some kind of a functional movement like kettlebell swing, or a bent row, or a pull up, or a Spider-Man push up or whatever. And, you just go back and forth from the cardio to the one exercise. And so, what Justin and I did today was we did the Airdyne to Spider-Man pushups, and then we did the concept to upright SkiErg thing to kettlebell swings, and then we did rowing machine to sled pushes, and then we did bent rows to reverse hypers. And then, for dessert, we finished with two minutes as hard as possible on the rowing machine to 20 burpees to the concept two. So, it was a pretty solid workout–

Justin:  We did four rounds of each thing.

Ben:  No, we don't stop, it's no rest. It's an hour with no rest.

Justin:  Yeah.

Amy:  So, four rounds of when you say Airdyne to kettlebells, it's four rounds of that.

Ben:  Yeah. I find at least especially maybe as I age, this might be a factor, but I don't do well with heavyweights. I go for a few months, I'll just tweak something, back squatting or pull the back deadlifting. I find though that the high-intensity bodyweight stuff long amounts of time under tension high reps, I can roll with that for months on and I feel great. So–

Justin:  Yeah, well–

Amy:  How old are you?

Ben:  I'm 40.

Amy:  Okay.

Justin:  He's 40, he looks younger than me, acted younger than me in the gym today. That's for sure. I did have 12-hour days on the motorcycle–

Ben:  Yeah, he was on the motorcycle.

Justin:  And, in between it, I was eating barbecue and Mexican food and all that. And, I think I probably would have changed. We're in these little country towns, there wasn't anything else to get, but I probably would have packed my own food or something if I knew I was going to work out with Ben today.

Ben:  Yeah.

Justin:  And, not eaten the spicy Italian sausage or turkey sausage? 

Amy:  I don't know. I know you pretty well, I think you might have just done it anyway.

Justin:  Well, it's funny. I was listening to him and Rogan just prepping today and they were talking about salt intake. And, I'm like, “What do we have that's salty?” There was really nothing in the fridge because we've been out of town and that was what was there. And so, I decided to eat the sausage for salt to do that.

Ben:  Yeah, which is good. And, Justin saw that I travel everywhere with a bag of salt. I just always have a bag of salt in my bag. And, I've done that for years. And, the reason for that is I feel really good high salt, like 6 grams plus of salt per day. I just salt everything very heavily. And, when I was racing in all these Ironman triathlons, we used to have a physiologist who would come and test the athletes and they tested what's called your sweat sodium analysis, the amount of sodium that you lose in your sweat. And, the levels that I was losing was two or three times higher than the other people on the team. That's just a genetic thing. I just lose a lot of salt in my sweat. And so, I just started sweating or salting all my food pretty heavily after I got the results of that test. And, I started sleeping better and I couldn't hear my blood kind of pounding in my ears when you lay down at night, your blood pounding in your ears plus you've been training heavy. That went away. Dizziness from sitting down or laying down and then going to a standing position, that went away. And, I feel great. And, of course, my blood pressure is great. It's fantastic. So, the issue with the salt is if it's isolated sodium chloride says you would find a table salt. That's what you want to be careful with. But, if salt is balanced out in a really good salt like a Florida cells or we were doing a Colima salt today, or some electrolyte blends that are full spectrum minerals, not just isolated sodium chloride, you feel amazing.

Justin:  I think I'm that way too where I just lose a lot. I mean, in a wrestling practice, I can lose 13 pounds of water weight.

Ben:  Yeah.

Justin:  So, I got to put the salt back in. But, tell Amy what you did with your smoothie today. It was a PB cup, some peanut butter cup and he just took it off and dumped salt into it. I did it in mine and it was excellent. It was great.

Ben:  It's so good.

Justin:  She loves peanut butter, so I thought she would–

Amy:  Oh, I can salt it too.

Ben:  Yeah. The other thing that I do a lot of times is when I'm traveling because sometimes when you're traveling your food options are limited. The salt can take kind of a cheap ass airport salad and make it taste halfway decent. And then, you throw olive oil into the mix. So, I usually will have a little bottle, really good spicy pungent extra virgin olive oil. So, I know if I wind up at a restaurant where things aren't that great, I can order the fricking roasted vegetables and put some salt and olive oil on there and be good to go.

Justin:  I think we're going to have to get your cookbook, “Boundless,” right?

Ben:  “Boundless Cookbook.”

Justin:  Cookbook. I think that'd be really good. What was what was “Boundless,” the book about?

Ben:  Well, “Boundless” book–

Justin:  I have an idea, but–

Ben:  I originally wanted to write a book on antiaging and longevity, things like stem cell mobilization, and staving off cognitive decline with age and staving off some of the loss of the T-cells and immune function as you age, and some of these peptide therapies that people are doing, and regenerative medicine therapies. And, I started to write it and I realized that there's so many physiological mechanisms that are associated with the process of aging that you really can't write a book that thoroughly addresses longevity and antiaging without kind of addressing every aspect of the human body like cognitive function, and muscle maintenance, and fat loss, and mitochondrial density, and the immune system and the gut. And then, oh, you start to look at the blue zones where there's old cigarette-smoking, gin-chugging grandmas who are healthy and they're not doing any of the peptides and the stem cells and stuff and they just have love and relationships. Or, in Okinawa, old men and old women who don't lift weights at all and don't do peptide injections but they have a really strong ikigai or life purpose in addition to whatever eating purple potatoes and fish. So then, you have the whole spiritual dynamic. And ultimately, the book wind up being just kind of more of a manual to just life optimization and health optimization than just antiaging and longevity and just kind of took on a life of its own. But, yeah, the original idea was going to be antiaging and longevity, and then was just like, “Alright, it was just the whole human blueprint.”

Justin:  Yeah. Well, I thought I had stem cells and peptides in there. I've had some great results. I broke my knee, the tibial plateau six weeks before I was supposed to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. I was doing that with Chris Long who won the Super Bowl two weeks before and we were doing it for charity, for Waterboys and Fight for the Forgotten, we're raising funds for it. I break my tibia plateau and they say I have to be non-weight bearing for six full weeks. And, we just raised over $200,000 for the climb and we're going to drill a bunch of water wells after that.

Ben:  So, you hired somebody to push up Mount Kilimanjaro?

Justin:  Yeah. No, actually, I got stem cells at two weeks, I had the mesenchymal or mesenchymal, where they–

Ben:  Yeah, mesenchymal, the MSCs, they call mesenchymal stem cells. Yeah.

Justin:  Yeah, they got it from my bone marrow.

Ben:  Yeah.

Justin:  And then, they–

Ben:  Which by the way, sorry to interrupt, for people listening in, the MSCs, that's usually kind of the more potent version of the stem cell that can differentiate into other tissue. And, you got a really low MSC count typically if the stem cells are non-autologous, meaning they come from a tissue other than your own. And then, if you take your own marrow or your own fat and concentrate that, you get a higher level of the MSCs, which sounds like what you did.

Justin:  Yeah. And, I've had that twice. And, the one in my knee, I got it two weeks, and they took enough to where they could do it again and two weeks after that because I wanted to go on the climb still. And so, I got it at two weeks, at four weeks, and then five weeks, I wasn't able to train for the climb. I was trained in MMA and stuff so I was in pretty good shape. But, five weeks, I was at the top of Mount Elbert and the NFL films were following me doing a little bit of a documentary on the whole climb but talking about the struggle there. And, I got to the top of Elbert, which is the tallest fourteener in Colorado. And, it was in the winter. It was January, so I'm snowshoeing up it.

Ben:  Oh, wow.

Justin:  And then, at six weeks, I was at the top of Kilimanjaro and I'm supposed to be non-weight bearing for six full weeks and virtually pain-free. And, I don't have any problems anymore. Then PRP helped me in my bicep, but I was young, I was for the Ultimate Fighter finale and I tore my bicep like a camel's back toward right in the middle.

Ben:  Oh, you could actually see curl up.

Justin:  Yeah, yeah, it was bad as two humps. And, they put PRP and something else in there. I think it might have been PRP and the Regenokine or Regenokine, and I fought three weeks later. And so, I'm a big proponent of Virginia medicine. I just had some in my shoulder that was the bone marrow. And then, what else have I done? I've done stem cells in my neck, my knees. And, those were from, what is it, the umbilical cord and the placental stem cells. And, those seem to help a lot too.

Ben:  The only thing that's left for you to do now is to get the Wolverine claws embedded in your knuckles.

Justin:  Yeah, yeah, from the BPC. Isn't that what they call that?

Ben:  You may need their steak cut. 

Justin:  I heard him coming on top of that. Absolutely. So, it's been great. I'm really impressed by the results of like where modern–

Ben:  Regenerative medicine is very cool.

Justin:  Yeah.

Ben:  What you can do now in a minimally invasive manner and Tony Robbins and Peter Diamandis, they just wrote a new book called “Life Force” that gets into a lot of these cool cutting edge modalities that you can grow new organs and you can lay down stem cell scaffolding almost a spray into different joints, a cartilaginous resurfacing. They're getting to the point now where they can print custom. They can take a measurement of your joint and make a custom covering of it for a joint replacement–

Justin:  That is wild.

Ben:  Because when I graduated from college, I wanted to be a doctor and I didn't get accepted to the medical schools that I wanted to get accepted to. And so, I took a year off and sold hip and knee surgical equipment, did hip and knee surgical sales for a company called Biomet.

Justin:  Okay.

Ben:  And, actually during that time, realized I didn't want to be a doctor, I didn't enjoy the medical system at all. All the doctors, I was rather like, “Dude, don't be a doctor.” But, I saw a lot of these hips and knees get installed. And, apparently, how far hip and knee joint replacement has come since that time is just staggering as far as the ability to be able to hyper customize joint replacement.

Justin:  Yeah. I'm trying to think about this question because I don't want to sound bad, but how did you get into all this? And then, not that you've been a lab rat, but you've been in an experiment where you're just going and seeking all these things and allowing these breakthrough procedures on yourself and seeing the benefits of it. Where did that interest in that quest for knowledge come from?

Ben:  Oh, well, I don't have a sexy little wounded healer story or anything like that, I've just always been into physical culture and the outdoors and healthy living. And so, I grew up just out in the sticks in North Idaho, home-schooled, me and my four siblings, and we'd spend a lot of homeschooling for us at least. I get up and I'd read my books and do my school work. And, I'd typically done with school by 11:00 a.m., and I'd just be outdoors playing and soaking up the sunshine and hanging out outside. And, also since I was homeschooled, I was kind of a nerd and I played the violin. I was in the chess club and I–

Justin:  I think you might be the toughest after making me throw up almost, you're the toughest homeschool kid.

Ben:  The toughest homeschool kid. Yeah, yeah. I'm not as good as crocheting as some of the other homeschool boys. But yeah, homeschool is interesting. Yeah, it is. You go to prom by yourself and you risk getting accused of incense of your classmate or teacher.

Justin:  Oh, yeah, yeah.

Ben:  Your teacher sleeps with the principal.

Justin:  Yeah.

Ben:  Yeah, it's a weird pee-pees dragging all your sibling's cloth diapers up and down the stairs. But, anyways, the thing with homeschooling is I had a real appreciation for academics. It was very, very, very academic. But then, I also loved all this physical culture stuff. And, I originally actually wanted to be a computer programmer. I like to design video games and play video games. And, I was one of the first guys who play the online World of Warcraft and then World of StarCraft. That was my world. I love to do that and create first-person shooter video games. And, my parents had hired me a private computer program or tutor and lined me up with this job with this guy who had retired from Microsoft to work for him. And, what happened was I started playing tennis, a lot of tennis, and got super into tennis like four or five hours a day and got really good, and played high school, and played club tennis.

Justin:  Seems you had a good frame for it too.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah, I'm kind of long and lanky, but big enough to be kind of explosive. And so, I taught tennis lessons. That was my job though, so I was saving up for college was I would literally built a tennis court in our backyard and I painted all the lines in it, and I would plaster posters up around the neighborhood to get people to come over for tennis lessons. Now, I would email all my parent's friends to see if their kids would sign up for tennis lessons. I actually did pretty good. I would teach tennis lessons for four or five hours a day from the time I was 14 until I was 16 years old to save up for college. And then, went to college, started playing tennis. And, at that point, just because I was so into how could I eat to be a better tennis player and what do I do with these dumbbells to get stronger serving the tennis ball? And, what are the supplements and the electrolytes, things that people use for tennis? And so, I just got so into it that I thought, “Gosh, this is amazing. I want to study more about how to get a lot out of the human body, the human brain, athletic performance, sports performance, things like that.”

And, I also had a couple of friends. One who was the Washington State powerlifting champion, Rafael Escamilla, and then another guy named Barry, who was a professional bodybuilder. And, Barry and Rafael, they would take me to the gym and teach me stuff. And, I just thought it was super cool and get to hang out with the big bodybuilders and powerlifters and learn stuff from them.

And so, I went to college and I decided I wanted to study exercise. So, I studied exercise physiology and biomechanics. And then, I got interested in medicine, did pre-med, and really thought I wanted to be a doctor, a sports medicine physician, orthopedic surgeon, and wound up not doing that. But, I got my master's degree in physiology and in biomechanics, and then after that little stint in surgical sales and realizing I didn't want to go on in the medicine, I just jumped straight back into fitness. And, all through college, I was working as a personal trainer and as a nutritionist and teaching sports camps. And so, it just fit for me. And, I've literally since I was 14 years old pretty much 80% of all I've done is just study the human body and performance, optimization, and health. And now, anti-aging and longevity and things like that.

Justin:  Yeah. For people that don't know what necessarily the definition is, what do you think biohacking is? How do you explain that?

Ben:  Oh, biohacking?

Justin:  Yeah.

Ben:  It's just putting butter in your coffee, everybody knows that.

Justin:  Okay, yeah.

Ben:  You're a professional biohacker if you wake up and you put some–

Justin:  Because I've heard people say there is no hack for this. But, there's a lot of people that swear by it.

Ben:  Yeah, biohacking is just the concept of using some form of technology or science or external tool to either get the body to do something more efficiently than it normally would be able to or to get the body to get to a level that it wouldn't have been able to get to in the absence of that technology or tool. And so, the original biohackers, they were called grinders and they called their body wetware and things that they would put on their body or into their body, the hardware. And so, you'd have guys like Kevin Warwick who was the original human cyborg who had magnetic implants in his fingertips to be able to interact with technology kind of Tom Cruise did in “Minority Report,” screens, and things like that. And then, there was another guy who got chlorophyll injected into his eyeballs for night vision. And, you could get a compass that was installed in the skin on your chest that would vibrate when you'd face true north. All these crazy things. And so, that was the original biohacking. And now, biohacking has become more of this kind of idea that you just use technology to enhance the body without necessarily having to get an implant, or a surgery or whatever, Wolverine claws into your knuckles or something like that.

And so, the way I like to think about it is let's use a few examples. Let's say light, infrared light, which is a very popular thing now, this concept of using what's called photobiomodulation and shining light on the skin to do something like increase the mitochondrial production of ATP or improve your collagen or elastin health. Or, it's this thing in the news right now, a lot of guys will shine the red light on their balls to increase their testosterone or on the thyroid–

Justin:  Does that work?

Ben:  Thyroid hormone production. Anecdotally. And, based on a few small rodent studies, there is some evidence that 600 to 800 nanometers of light shone on the gonads increases the mitochondrial activity in the testes and could potentially increase testosterone.

Justin:  Okay.

Ben:  It could also be just standing naked in front of a red light for 20 minutes. I don't know. But, you look at practice like that, and really, you could go out into the sunlight and get full spectrum infrared light and UVA and UVB and all the benefits that you'd be looking for from a red-light panel by being out in the sun. But, let's say you can't get out in the sun or you're like me and your house is in the forest on a north-facing slopes, you only get sunlight from 10:00 to 2:00, or you got to be at work and you aren't able to get out in the sunlight that day, or it's just dark and gray and cloudy day, or you don't have a lot of time to be out in the sunlight. Well, just basically standing in front of one of these red light panels for 20 minutes gives you all the benefits you'd be looking for from the sunlight, but in a very short concentrated period of time. Hence, I would consider that to be a biohack while you're using light to hack your physiology, to get what you'd normally be getting from sunlight but more efficiently or more quickly.

Another example would be a lot of people will do the grounding or the earthing, go outside barefoot, or hug a tree, or climb rocks, or whatever to get all the anti-inflammatory benefits that are derived from the natural electrical conductivity on the surface of the planet. These electromagnetic signals of the planet puts out are helpful EMS. We always hear about how bad EMFs are for you, and your cell phone, and your Wi-Fi route, but the planet Earth makes EMFs, rocks and trees have electromagnetic properties, and they're actually beneficial for you. You can go outside barefoot and you could lay down your back and meditate in the backyard. But again, let's say that kind of sunlight, you aren't able to do that. One other example of a popular biohack is people sleep on these grounding mats or have a grounding mat that you stand on when you're at work or some people will use more concentrated pulsed forms of this electromagnetic energy called PEMF, pulsed electromagnetic fields. And, these are used for injuries, and for healing, and for cellular function, and for blood flow. And so, that would be an example of taking a natural activity like earthing or grounding and turning it into a biohack like using technology and science to help your body to be able to experience that more efficiently or more quickly, especially if you can't get outdoors and be barefoot.

So, what I'm getting at is it's a pretty broad term biohacking. I think you can apply it to a lot of stuff now and it's almost a way to make some things that normally people would just do for health sound sexy. I kind of joke about the butter in your coffee, but technically I mean, a lot of biohackers will do that, they'll blend their butter in the coffee. That's not really bio, that's just cooking. It's not biohacking, it's just putting butter in your coffee. But then, you can say that you're a biohacker and it sounds good.

Justin:  Yeah, yeah. Well, on the earthing grounding, you reminded me, for the first month or two, I lived in the Congo and I was in the rainforest, so under the canopy. I brought these big clunky boots, but I didn't think about how incredibly hot and humid it is there and then how wet my feet would get and sweat inside these boots. And, no one in the village wore shoes at all, hardly, and if they did, they call them papas, which are just flip flops. And so, I just went shoeless unless I was on the well drilling site where something heavy could just drop on my feet.

One of my favorite things in the morning was just go outside, put my feet on the ground and I didn't even know about grounding, earthing at that time. But, yeah, I mean going on hikes through the forest hour, two-hour hike and just being with the tribe and the pygmy people just being barefoot out there, and going across the logs, and walking through rivers, and all sorts of stuff, it was just–

Ben:  Have you ever done it after you've gotten off an airplane? Oh, my goodness, I think it's one of the best ways to beat jet lag. So, when you're in a body of water, a natural body of water especially one that has a high amount of salinity like an ocean, that is grounding on steroids. It's 20x the amount of electrical conductivity that you get absorbed into your body that's basically anti-inflammatory if you're swimming say in the ocean. And so, if I'm traveling and I'm crossing a lot of time zones, one of the first things I do is get outside barefoot or just go lay on my back outside the hotel if the hotel has one little grassy places, or do some yoga, down dog where both of your hands and your feet are touching the ground. But then, even better than that, if you're jet-lagged and wherever you've traveled happens to have an outside body of water or a lake or an ocean or something like that, it's one of the best ways to feel really good when you travel. I wish more people knew about it.

Justin:  Yeah, motorcycling yesterday, we went through Kerrville and we rode along the Guadalupe River. We're on the bikes all day, we're sweaty like crazy, went on those twists and turns, 200 turns and we did it twice. And then, the sun came out, we went and jumped in the Guadalupe River and we went swimming. And, it was epic, it was so refreshing and it's spring-fed so it's natural clearwater and it was the way to top off the trip just jumping in the lake or at the river.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. It's amazing. It's interesting the whole idea with travel because I know you travel a lot. And, actually, I think you should tell a little bit more about what you're doing over in Africa that you're telling me on when we were in the cold pool.

Justin:  Sure.

Ben:  That sounds just fascinating, but it's really interesting how many things can help you feel better when you travel. It's part of the whole biohacking thing is, well, you're crossing multiple time zones, you're fighting like this, battle, this, what would be called an evolutionary mismatch. In a post-industrial era, we've got all these evolutionary mismatches. We live in boxes and we have overhead bright LED fluorescent lighting and all these signals emanating from our Wi-Fi router that are the standard square waveforms when the body is more used to random waveforms and it can't really deal with that type of Hertz frequency quite as well. And then, we've got these things are breathing in, household cleaning, chemicals, and personal care products. I'm not saying this just to make people think they should live in a bubble or something like that. But, you got to do a lot these days it seems like to actually feel good because there's so many things that aren't natural for the human body or that we haven't really grown accustomed to be able to deal with. And, of course, flying 40,000 feet above the surface of the earth in a metal tube is one of those things. People just feel kind of shitty after they fly.

And so, yeah, getting outside barefoot and grounding is one thing, but then I have a little stack that I take when I fly because you look at radiative damage and you look at in response to all these little cell phone signals and wi-fi routers and everything in that little metal tube that you're flying through sometimes for hours on end. You get a high amount of calcium influx into the cell, which causes this electrochemical gradient that's a positive charge inside the cell when it's supposed to be a negative charge inside the cell. And then, you also get some of the DNA damage that can occur in response to the radiation. So, I thought, “Well, you can regulate some of the inflammatory pathways and satiate the appetite so you don't have to eat crappy airplane food or airport food if you use ketones.” Alright, so I put a little bottle of these, it's a little Ziploc bag and take with me on the flight, little bottle of these ketone esters, these drinkable liquid ketones. And then, the next thing to offset the calcium influx is you take some magnesium capsules and just whatever magnesium product that you like. And then, for the DNA damage, you take a little bit of NAD, which is really, really great for helping to repair and protect DNA. And so, it's NAD, magnesium, and ketones. And, I'll just take a little bit of that when I'm on the flight. And then, dude, grounding or earthing when you get to where you're going and you feel pretty good.

Justin:  Yeah.

Ben:  And then, the only other one is a ton of melatonin, the first night I get to where I'm going like 200 to 600 milligrams of melatonin. Really high dose but just for the first day. It's a melatonin sledgehammer, resets everything, and then you feel good.

Justin:  Really? I didn't know you could take that much.

Ben:  You can take a lot. Melatonin is interesting. It's anti-inflammatory, it's got a lot of protective activities for the cell. And, a lot of people think if you take a whole bunch, your body is not going to make its own, which probably theoretically chronic high-dose melatonin use for a really long period of time could cause that. But, just doing a huge bolus of melatonin right when you get to where you are traveling just to reset the circadian rhythm, I mean, whenever I do international travel, I do it and you sleep like a baby the first night and then you're just good to go.

Justin:  That's interesting. Amy is a sleep freak, self-proclaimed sleep freak.

How important is sleep for the body recovery? If you had one or two things that are an absolute non-negotiable must for getting better sleep, what would you say?

Ben:  Well, I mean, sleep is important, everybody knows that and everybody knows, I think, at this point that things like appetite dysregulation, and weight gain, and poor mood, and poor immune function, all these things happen when you don't sleep properly. And, a lot of people also are aware, I think, thanks to people like Matt Walker who wrote the book, “Why We,” what's it called?

Amy:  “Why We Sleep.”

Ben:  “Why We Sleep” and there's a lot of other really great sleep researchers out there. I've had a few of them on my podcast before. There's another really great guy, Dr. Nick Littlehales and Dr. Michael Breus. And, there's some pretty good sleep researchers and sleep books out there. And so, now, a lot of people are aware of the basics of sleep hygiene, which would basically be you sleep in a cold environment, on a cold surface preferably. You sleep in a dark environment without a lot of external light input from a phone or lights or anything else. You sleep in a safe place, meaning that the bed is not a place where you do a lot of business and thinking and working, it's a place for relaxation, for sleeping or for sex. That's basically what the bedroom should be for. And then, you want a quiet place that doesn't have a lot of audio distractions unless it's soothing sounds like white noise generators or sounds of whales or whatever else people listen to these days to help to sleep even though I never understood the idea of the whales, just the large sea mammals that relaxing.

But then, you look at the subtle nuances, I think that's where people stumble. It's like, okay, so I heard that cold is important but a lot of people they're just like, “Okay, so I'm not going to sleep in a sweatsuit.” But, no, I mean you can do a lot of things. If you guys hadn't seen this ChiliPad before that people sleep on. 

Justin:  I had a ChiliPad.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. So, ChiliPad–

Justin:  I don't have it anymore, but I had it and I loved it.

Ben:  Yeah, it's great. It circulates the cold water. A lot of companies. There's a company called Essentia, there's a company called Intellibed, they make these mattresses that naturally stay more cool. They don't collect as much body heat. We always turn off the heat in our house. If you sleep with wool socks on that helps to cool the rest of the body paradoxically.

Justin:  Really?

Ben:  Yeah, it cools the core when you keep the feet warm. Same thing for the hands, you have these things called arteriovenous, anastomoses in your hands, in your feet, in your forehead that if you keep those warm, the rest of the body stays kind of cool, which is kind of interesting. So, the hack is you can sleep with the wool socks on. You could take a lukewarm shower before bed. Okay, so this is what I'm doing while I'm here in Austin. So, if I'm traveling, I don't have my ChiliPad and I don't have my special mattress that doesn't collect as much heat, so I take a lukewarm shower before bed because it doesn't seem to be super cold. And, the problem if it's too cold is you get this sympathetic response. If you've done cold plungers, you know about this, you have a bunch of energy afterwards which you want before you go to bed. So, it's lukewarm shower and then pull socks on preferably wearing little else except socks and you get into bed and you actually stay pretty cool with that strategy.

So, the temperature is one thing. The light, like I mentioned, a lot of people know, okay, don't look at your cell phone in bed, don't watch your TV in the bedroom, but there's so many other things. Your circadian rhythm starts, it begins in the morning. So, most people have sleep problems are not getting a lot of bright light specifically sunlight or full-spectrum light in the morning. You should be getting within an hour of waking up about 20 minutes or so like bright light exposure. If you can't get outside into the sunlight, then that's where the biohacking comes in. This is the case in my office. I have the red lights that I flip on when I get into my office in the morning. But then, in addition to that, I have the blue lights and everybody thinks, “Oh, the blue lights are bad for you, I hear people wear the blue light blockers and you're not supposed to see blue light.” But, the thing is that's at night. In the daytime, in the morning, blue light is actually wonderful, it's fantastic because it gets your circadian rhythm jump-started. I mean, even if you do that high-dose melatonin that I was talking about, well, a lot of people will say, “Wait, I'm going to be groggy in the morning if I take a bunch of melatonin.” The best way to get a bunch of melatonin out of what's called the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the brain is to get exposed to light. So, even if you do that melatonin sledgehammer if you're traveling, you're like, “I'm so groggy, I don't know what to do,” literally, you stare at the sun for 10 minutes or get out in the bright light and you just feel a new person, the grogginess is totally gone.

And so, what I'm getting at here is a bunch of bright light in the morning is really good whether it's getting out in the sunlight or flipping on infrared lights in a room in your house and then pairing that with staring at a screen that's emanating blue light or even using one of those seasonal affective disorder boxes that produces blue light. That's a really good combo because you got the blue light plus the infrared light. You blast yourself with that in the morning and then in the evening, you just get rid of as much external light as possible. Okay. So, that's when the phone goes into night mode function. I have a program called Iris that's installed on all the computers and that gets rid of all the blue light on the computer screen. And then, you can wear the blue light blocking glasses. And then, what my wife and I did in our house is we replaced all the bulbs in the areas of the house where you'd want to sleep or be relaxed. We replaced all those bulbs with red incandescent lighting, which is this really soft orangish-red spectrum that doesn't block melatonin production and doesn't keep you awake at night. And so, if I get up at night to pee and I flip on the bathroom light, it's just red, it doesn't jolt me away and I get back to sleep really well. And so, it's the presence of ton of light in the morning and really going out of your way for absence of light. You should just be thinking at night how can I turn the room and technically preferably even the house into a cold dark cave with the only type of light in that cave being what my ancestors would have perceived as torchlight or firelight, which is why red incandescent bulbs are the way to go. They're a little bit more of an energy hog but they're just like torchlight.

And then, the temperature and the light is really important, but like I mentioned, the other two would be business and busyness in bed being something you should avoid and then the sound. And, for the former, I used to be that guy who would check into a hotel room and like to laptop, you use laptop on the bed and jump on the bed in your stomach, start banging out emails. If you're hanging around at night in the room, maybe you're working on a few things or you have a business book next to bed, I have nothing like that now in my life as far as the bed being associated with anything except sleep or sex. Just basically no TV in the bedroom, no computers in the bedroom, no business books in the bedroom that make you think about business, you just want the bed to be a super safe place.

And then, for people who don't feel safe in bed, have high nighttime cortisol, and things like that, what works really well is a gravity blanket. Have you seen these before?

Justin:  Yeah. Yeah, weighted blankets.

Ben:  Yeah, it makes you feel safe. That's why it works. It's this protective mechanism. You feel like you're an armor when you have this giant gravity blanket on top of you. And, there are even companies like that that ChiliPad company that I talked about, they make a gravity blanket that circulates cold water wow through the blanket so it doesn't heat you up as much. It's kind of cool.

And then, the last part, the sound, I actually think that not enough people know about how much sound can help you to sleep. And so, what I do is I play this app called Brain.fm and it's these special sounds that induce your body into a state of relaxation that don't necessarily have to be played through headphones. So, I can just play them without wearing headphones. And then, if I wake up at 2:00 a.m. or 3:00 a.m. or get up to pee and get back to sleep or whatever, then I have this other program called NuCalm, N-U-Calm and I'll literally put in headphones and even make soft headphones for side sleepers like me. They're called Sleep Phones like a headband that goes around your ears. And, I'll play the NuCalm tracks through that and those things just lull you back into a deep state. I have to be careful because if I wake up at 5:00, I'm just going to lay in bed a few more minutes, I put on the NuCalm, I'll sometimes wake up at 7:30 like, “What just happened?”

So, those are the basics. I think those are the important things for sleep.

Justin:  It's really important. I see Amy over there taking notes.

Amy:  I just jotted that down.

Justin:  Yeah.

Ben:  Or, just drink a bottle of wine.

Amy:  No.

Justin:  So, I can relate so much of this to my time in Africa because I was in a twig leaf hut that was only 4-, 5-foot tall, and the dirt was my bed, and the fire was my blanket for the most part. And, I wouldn't think that those are conditions where I had to learn to sleep there the first couple weeks. But, after that, I slept like a baby because everybody woke up as the sun was coming up just naturally. No alarm clocks and you fall asleep. I mean, you start getting sleepy when the sun goes down. You're in the rainforest, so it goes down even earlier, right?

Ben:  Right.

Justin:  So then, they'll sit around the fire. We'll share stories. We'll sing. We'll dance. We'll eat. And then, after that, everyone just goes back in and it's just conked out and you're going to the sleep or you're going to sleep to the sound of the jungle, the rain forest and it's never quiet. So, there's birds chirping, monkeys. I mean, just it's–

Ben:  Right, there's not whales in the rainforest.

Justin:  No whales, not whales, but hippos, you're going to have hippos sometimes. And, that was somewhere where I didn't feel like I– no, I had so much purpose. But, me and my life in my journey, I've struggled with depression, with addiction, with different stuff. But, when I was there, there's so much purpose, and so much community, and there wasn't so many distractions. I mean, I don't have any self-service at all, so my phone was just a camera. And, I think that having all those factors where you're not fighting the light, you're not doing work at night, you're just with each other.

Ben:  Yeah.

Justin:  And, you can't be drilling wells in the dark. We did once just because we had to go through the collapsing zone and we had a fire next to it so we could drill by firelight basically. But man, that right there was a time that I felt I connected back to, I guess, our original man or our ancestors because they're still hunter-gathers. And, it was so cool. Like dining, they would come back in like a king after or I mean just a celebration whenever they brought home a wild hog, or a monkey, or an antelope, and/or honey. They would risk their lives to go climb trees. And, African bees are killer bees. And so, they're climbing sometimes over 100 feet in the air to get this honey down and they're sending it down in a basket and there's smoke going up. The smoke really doesn't take out the bees, they're getting stung like crazy. All their neighboring tribes don't understand how they can do it.

Ben:  They're killer bees?

Justin:  They're killer bees.

Ben:  Are they dying when they get stung?

Justin:  No, no. Some reason, the Mbuti pygmy people in the Batwa pygmy people–

Ben:  Oh, they have some kind of a–

Justin:  Some kind of thing that probably from generations and generations. They can get stung by them. But, anybody else I mean, I would–

Ben:  Naturally immune.

Justin:  I would welt up like I got a little shotgun almost. Just from one sting, I would have all these welts all around and their neighbors too. Their neighbors would say we will die if we try to do that.

Ben:  Wow.

Justin:  But, they don't.

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Do you get, I guess you maybe you don't anymore, but when you first started showing up over there, was it weird for that? Because you're a big hairy white dude. Was it weird for them? Were they interested in just the fact that you're just so much different than them?

Justin:  Yeah. So, I lived in a probably, I would say, I lived in six villages, but we have helped drill wells in 80. And so, I would spend time in a bunch of others as well. But, the first time I came to one of the pygmy villages, they ran and hid behind trees when they saw me coming there.

Ben:  They ran from you?

Justin:  Ran from me.

Ben:  Oh, wow.

Justin:  And, they had bows and arrows drawn, they had spears over their shoulders–

Ben:  Did you think they were going to shoot you?

Justin:  I had learned a Swahili saying “Niko hapa kukupenda. Rafiki yangu,” like, “I'm your friend, I'm only here to love you.” And, they're like–

Ben:  That's what “rafiki yangu” means?

Justin:  Yeah, Rafiki yangu, I'm your friend.

Ben:  Okay.

Justin:  And then, “Niko hapa kukupenda,” I'm only here to love you.

Ben:  Niko hapa kukupenda. 

Justin:  Yeah.

Ben:  Okay.

Justin:  Niko hapa kukupenda.

Ben:  I'm here to love you. Was that what you were saying?

Justin:  Yeah. And so, hands up showing them. You know what's funny is the person they picked to come up and meet me, she was pregnant, probably seven, eight months pregnant and she had an infant that was maybe a year or a year and a half on her side. And, she came up to me and was real timid, real scared kind of showing me, “Hey, I'm pregnant, I've got a baby, don't hurt me, don't kill me” kind of thing. And then, she touched me, she touched my forearm. I didn't know why, I thought it was because I have hairy arms, and they don't have body hair, the men don't have facial hair.

Ben:  Really?

Justin:  Yeah. I've seen one or two grandfathers that had a little bit of a stubble, a little bit of a goatee, but never a beard.

Ben:  Okay.

Justin:  So, I'm going in there and they've literally nicknamed me the Vanilla Gorilla, the Albino Rhino, all sorts of stuff. And, my fight name–

Ben:  The Hairy Hippo.

Justin:  The Hairy Hippo, I should be a very, very hairy hippo. But, they call me [00:54:02] _____. And so, [00:54:05] _____ means “the man that loves us.” I love that one. And, [00:54:08] _____ means the “big pygmy.” And so, I'm just the big pygmy. [00:54:14] _____ also is what sometimes I'd say and that's, “He's one of us.”

Ben:  Wow.

Justin:  But, yeah, at first, they were terrified. There was a video that was on YouTube that Jimmy Kimmel played in the today show, and it was the kids touching my arm hair, my beard hair, my hair. Whenever I bent over my hair, they scattered and ran and were scared I was going to do something, I guess. But, they came back laughing, giggling, feeling my beard and everything.

Ben:  Wow.

Justin:  And so, I'm from another planet to them because I was the first white guy they'd ever seen in their lives. And so, very, very deep, very remote into the rain forest. But, I'd heard of their suffering and the United Nations had said there was 34 counts of cannibalism against their tribe. So, the warring rebel groups there think that if they can hunt, kill, cook, and eat someone from the pygmy tribe that they will become invincible in battle, that bullets will fly right through them. And, there's, I think at the time, there's 38, now there's 44, 45 warring rebel groups. These rebel groups, I've seen some of them that finally their leader got killed, their gold mines either ran dry, they ran out of ammo. And so, they were taken out and I saw them walked through this forest, it's not even a street, it's red dirt. I've never been on a concrete or tarmac road there. And, they were being walked through there with their elbows tied behind their back, almost handcuffs where their elbows were almost touching in their heads, their necks, were basically a rope to each one of their ankles. And so, they're literally walking hunched over with their head almost as low as their knees and their elbows basically touching behind their backs. And, 40, 50 guys who committed some of the worst human atrocities, rape, murder, all sorts of cannibalism.

This wasn't the copra matata, it was the mai-mai. And, they would drink from the pygmy people's skulls before they go into battle, they would have a skull or two hanging from their belt loop and they've got all the ammo across and machine guns and they've got skulls hanging on the side of them. And so, in the day that that rebel group was taken out and walked, marched by us, two or three days before, we were scared that we were going to have to flee because they had attacked a village nearby.

Ben:  Yeah.

Justin:  And, what was it? That was the first day we got a water well in there. And so, man, the celebration that night was epic because first time they had clean water, this rebel group had been taken out, they were all arrested and we sing and dance. They say the three things you can't take from the pygmy people is the forest, the fire, and their singing and dancing. So, we sing and danced until the sun came up that night.

Ben:  Wow.

Justin:  And, I went to bed drenched in sweat, hot humid rainforest. It's so humid that you can see your breath, almost cold.

Ben:  Wow.

Justin:  But, it's 100 humidity. I was never dry there. And so, you're breathing, you're seeing that, my cheeks are hurting from smiling so much and finally went to bed when the sun was coming up. And, I just remember falling asleep smiling. And, I've never done that in my life just like–

Ben:  When you're over there, are you personally digging the wells?

Justin:  Yeah. So, I helped drill the first 13 wells, but the whole goal–

Ben:  And, it's a drill.

Justin:  So, there's different methods.

Ben:  Okay.

Justin:  We do manual drilling and we do mechanized rigs. So, manual drilling is where we can't take a truck because you can't get these big drills into the rain forest or up a mountain. And, these well drilling trucks can be $500,000, $750,000. And, anything shiny there basically attracts trouble, those rebel groups. And, they get so beat up on the roads because they're not even roads.

Ben:  Yeah.

Justin:  The maintenance on them is astronomical. Local parts aren't really accessible. So, we do a lot of manual drilling. And, the sweet spot in the rainforest is anywhere from 60 to 90 feet deep. We can go 150 feet deep with a manual drilling rig, but that's augers, chisels, single prong, triple prong chisels, it's rock breakers that we're using, literally a caterpillar tooth and we put it into a 6 or 8-inch casing pipe. And then, you have a tripod and it's either it's on a rope or a chain to give it a little more weight and you just keep pulling that, letting it go, pull it, let it go. And, it's basically a machine gun or a bullet in a barrel hitting the earth if you're in a granite zone or something. Then, you have to wrestle out whatever you break up down there. It's the hardest manual labor. I could ever imagine. It's tough.

So, our well drillers there. If I'm in jiu-jitsu like a level, I'm a blue or purple belt in well drilling. Probably more of a blue. But now, the guys we've been training since 10 years ago, 11 years ago, those guys are brown belts, black belts, they're experts, and they're training other teams.

Ben:  I got a well drilled at my property in Washington state and we actually had a well witcher come up.

Justin:  Really?

Ben:  Where they hold a dowel, and that dowel rotates in a certain manner when the well witcher is standing over a location where apparently two different waterways cross or a place where there's an area where there might be a collection of water underneath the surface. And, I remember just being absolutely astounded when the well witcher walked around the property, reached a spot about 50 feet from the front door of where we plan on building the house, and just stamped his foot and said, “Drill right here.” And, we drilled. And, I don't know what happened. Would have drilled 10 feet away or an acre away or whatever, but that was right where we hit really good water with a flow rate that was perfect for our house.

Over there, how do they know where to drill?

Justin:  So, we have EVS machine, electronic vertical sound. And so, we use that and it's basically a pretty primitive tool where we've got some prongs we put in the dirt, and we've got a car battery, and we've got a laptop and it basically sends these sound waves down. And, it shows you kind of the geological layers.

Ben:  Okay, yeah.

Justin:  At least of what you can expect. It shows you the density of the soil and kind of what to expect because it's going to be a little–

Ben:  Yeah. Well, that makes sense. I mean, that's how people who have had their body fat tested by those scales that you stand on or the handheld bioelectrical impedance monitors. Those are just pushing some kind of an electrical wave through the body that's bouncing off of fat, and bone, and muscle at various rates, and coming back into the machine to be able to approximate your fat percentage. It sounds to me like it's something similar when you're drilling the wells, you're just literally shooting a sound wave down in the earth. And then, the rate at which that bounces back up or how it bounces back up is reflective of whether it's hit dirt, or rock, or water, what have you.

Justin:  Yeah. And, it's actually have VES. I got that right now, so vertical electronic sound.

Ben:  Okay.

Justin:  And so, we didn't have that the year I was there. And so, that was a guessing game. I wish we could have had a witcher from Washington come over because there's guys in Oklahoma that swear by it and they're like, “No, this dude is legit. And, he knows it every time.” But, we would drill and normally would do it where their huts were set up and try to do it in the center of the village, but sometimes the earth doesn't want to cooperate with you while you're wrestling it. So, we'd have to pick it up and move a football field away, and then we'd hit water there.

One time it took, oh, we drilled for 28 days and we thought we had it and the whole thing just collapsed on us. There's a lot of clay and silt. And, we got through it, but it just wasn't going to be a viable option. So, after 28 days of drilling, we had to pick up and move. And so, the difference between mechanized drilling and manual is we can do wells in five to ten days with manual drilling, but it can be longer. And then, with the mechanized rigs, you can bust them out in a few days.

Ben:  Once you get the well in the ground, are you putting a pump system or something right there where you've drilled?

Justin:  It depends on what is best and most sustainable for the locals there. A lot of times a hand pump serves them really well. I mean, it can serve up to a thousand people. I mean, that's not putting it through a lot of stress, it takes time, it takes two minutes to fill up a 20 liter, 5-gallon Jerry can or 4-gallon, I think it's 5 gallons. And so, it takes about two minutes of a person or a Jerry can. And so, if there's a thousand people that can take a little bit of time, there can be a line. It's basically hand pump where the pump's just at the bottom. We have slits in the side of the casing and then we put a gravel pack down on the side of it. And then, at the top, we have impermeable clay for about 3 meters, so 9 feet. And then, we have another 3 meters or 9 feet of a cement seal because what you don't want is groundwater going down into the well. This impermeable clay, each meter takes a hundred years for surface water to go through it. And so, it could take 200, 300 years to just get through that impermeable clay. But, if you don't put that there, now it's a highway of pathogens that can go from–

Ben:  Because the groundwater carries the pathogens down into the well.

Justin:  Yeah.

Ben:  Yeah.

Justin:  So, we have to make sure that they don't have that. Actually, the wells are the same, but we make sure we drill well at least 15 meters away from any sort of trash site and make sure we train the village let them know, hey, there's no dumping trash within this radius.

Ben:  Yeah, that seems prudent. Don't pee in this hole.

Justin:  Yeah. Make sure that there's no latrines close by.

Ben:  Yeah.

Justin:  I mean you'll see that people don't educate a lot of the locals there. And, a lot of the old-fashioned even still today traditional well-drilling model or non-profit model is there's a lot of funds and a high quota, and so they just fly in there, bust in. I call it the show-up, blow-up and blow-out technique. So, there's no locals that are trained on one, how to drill the well. So, that's why we train all the locals how to drill the wells. Maintenance it, repair it, and it becomes their business. It's their livelihood.

Ben:  Yeah.

Justin:  And, it's their buy-in. And, we have a local contribution for the village to say, “Hey, we want you guys to come here, we make an agreement,” then they provide food, and shelter, and accommodations for our guys or even a contribution of 100, 200 bucks even though it's 5,000-, 10,000-dollar well, something to say they have some skin in the game. And so, just coming in and doing it for free. And then, if they think it's our well not their well, then if it breaks, then they think, “Well, they'll come back and fix it.” But, a lot of the traditional models with other NGOs, none of the local villagers have the phone number for the guy that lives in Georgia or whatever. Then, he has to fly back out there, fix it again. There's over 230,000 broken wells in Africa right now and that's billions of wasted charitable dollars because the locals weren't empowered, they weren't equipped with the tools, educated with the knowledge. It was like they were put on the sidelines.

Ben:  Could the well still function?

Justin:  Yeah, you could go and repair.

Ben:  Just the pump mechanisms are broken?

Justin:  Yeah. Sometimes it's just a coupler or a coupling that it just needs to be replaced. That's a 50-cent fix.

Ben:  Yeah.

Justin:  Or, $2 fix. It depends on what pump it is. It can be $1,000. But, most of it is it's locally affordable for a village to contribute and fix it themselves.

Ben:  And, is this the primary thing that you're doing with Fight for the Forgotten is the wells?

Justin:  We do community development. So, stateside, we do bullying and suicide prevention in schools, but overseas where we started, we do land, water, food initiatives. Right now, we're building a community hub. So, we've done 80 water wells, we've gotten back over 3,000 acres of the rain forest for the pygmy people. And then, also in Uganda, we have more than 50 acres that we're building. We've already built 28 homes, there's going to be 32 homes total because the Batwa pygmy people were kicked out of the rain forest. They were kicked out of the Semuliki National Park. It was their traditional home for thousands of years. And, I won't say the organization, but there's a lot of people lobbying saying, “We need to get them out of there.” And, it's corruption because they say it's for protection of wildlife, really it's for safaris. Or, it's–

Ben:  Really?

Justin:  Yeah. Or, it's protection of the rainforest. And, they're still going in there and cutting down trees.

Ben:  Yeah.

Justin:  So, they take the indigenous people out of their environment which they've always thrived in. There's over 300 people from the Batwa village of King Zito that we work with. Over 300 people put on 1 acre of land, 1 acre of land behind a slum. And, that slum is thrown out there, sewage, it's by these bars and clubs. People are drunk, they come there, they assault them, rape them, all sorts of terrible things. And so, we got them 50 acres a little bit away from there. It's a two-hour walk, but they're wanting to go there anyways because there's their homes. They're going to have farms. So, we're starting up sustainable farms. There's clean water. There's power with solar in each family. Each household has a home. But, that over 300 people in just a few years from sickness disease, they dropped and even suicide, they dropped to 158 people because they were, yeah. And, the chief was like, “I think we're going to go extinct. Our people won't survive. We're just going to die off because we're not in the forest.”

One day we'd like to get them land back in the forest in Uganda, but right now, they're not working with us for that. So, we're building the school, they have the homes. The nearest school to them now is over two hours away anyways. Nearest hospital is over two hours away anyways. And, whenever they were going to the hospitals, they're being denied hospital treatment that's why I bury that young man that I told you about.

Ben:  Yeah.

Justin:  And, when they die and they're not even treated, they're not letting them reclaim their bodies. So, they're literally saying, you have to you pay $100 bribe. And, these are people that, A, either don't get paid in money or B, they might make 3,700 Ugandan shillings in a week, or eight, or nine days of work. That's a dollar. Now, they're asking them for you to be able to bury your family member with honor. It's going to be $100.

Ben:  Wow.

Justin:  Yeah. So, we're moving them out of that environment into a little bit more rural area where three other communities are welcoming them there because we're going to have a community hub with the health center, the school, excuse me, and then we're doing a business marketplace. So, there's going to be vocational training there. We're going to be working with a lot of American universities that are Skyping in so there'll be a technology center where they'll be teaching the nurses and doctors best practices, better procedures, things like that. And so, we'll be low-hanging fruit, tackling malaria, water-borne disease.

Ben:  Who funds all this?

Justin:  So, we do it through raising funds with donors. Luckily, we've had over 10,000 donors from all 50 states in 60 different countries. And so, a lot of them are one-time donors but right now, we're trying to push and get people to join our Fight Club which is our monthly giving club because if we know these many people are given $5 a month, or $25 a month, or just this amount per month, we can plan out our budget and make sure, “Hey, this health center is going to be built here at this time, and it will have the maternity award, and the pediatrics unit, and the dental suite, and it's going to have the ER and the triage center.” And, if we have this many people given a month over the next year, the school will be built by this time. And so, we're really excited about it, man. But, it's all been donations.

Ben:  When we were driving over here, you said that you gotten a parasite over there and some pretty significant infections that even affected your brain and some of these medications that you had to be on were pretty nasty as well. When's the next time you're headed over?

Justin:  Supposed to be going in June.

Ben:  Okay. So, June and it's May right now, so pretty soon.

Justin:  Yeah.

Ben:  Do you get nervous thinking, “Gosh, I wonder what I'm going to get this time, I wonder what I'm going to get?” It's got to be kind of harrowing just going all the way over there and especially the guy who's kind of into health like you are, not knowing, “Gosh, what kind of crazy critters going to wind up with my gut or my brain this time?”

Justin:  Yeah. Well, I always thought it was part of it but now that as I age and that I'm coming back to fighting, I want to be a lot smarter where when I lived there for the full year and I built up two years in total now, I mean, there was just no way to make sure what I was eating was safe because the person that washed the knife like you think it was clean, but when they slice into whatever it is. So, basically, if you can't boil it, if you can't cook it or peel it, don't eat it. But, I did that rule last time went to Uganda and I got food poisoning. Still I think it was just probably a little bit too aged of meat, chicken, and tasted fine. But then, afterwards, I was just sick–

Ben:  Just have a giant backpack full of Keto Bricks or something.

Justin:  Yeah, yeah. I'll probably take my food with me this next time. But, it's just different, man, going into a village when they want to prepare this food for you, they want to make sure that you're taken care of and it's sitting around the fire having those conversations, eating their food that they worked hard to prepare for you. But, they know me and so now I can say, “Hey, I've got to protect my gut, it's not been doing good.” And, it's going to be a shorter trip this time, it's going to be two weeks or so.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. Well, that'd be good.

Justin:  Yeah.

Ben:  Actually, I was just hiking with my family in the Grand Canyon and in Sedona for about 10 days.

Justin:  Oh, nice. That's where we met, Sedona.

Ben:  Beautiful area. I think we covered 80, 90 miles of hardcore hiking about 10 days as a family which is great. But, that's actually what I was eating. But, literally, just a couple of these a day and that was 99% of my diet was Keto Bricks. They're these thousands calories–

Justin:  Keto Bricks.

Ben:  They're a thousand calorie, 90% fat energy bar.

Justin:  Okay. I'm probably going to take–

Ben:  Not really a bar, they're like a brick. And, I'm serious. On a normal week, if I open a Keto Brick and I start to eat it on a Monday and maybe put a few little chunks of it on my smoothie or whatever, it will last me until Friday or Saturday. It takes me four or five days to eat a whole bar. They got flavors like peanut butter, and chocolate cream, chocolate peanut butter. They're actually pretty good.

Justin:  Did you take a note of that?

Amy:  I looked it up.

Ben:  It just pure freaking fat. Yeah, great idea. There's a guy–

Justin:  Can we show that, Mike–

Ben:  You probably can. There's this ketone researcher named Dominic D'Agostino and he's really well known for being one of the smart guys in keto. And, I heard him talking about these. He's like, “Yeah, the only energy part is the Keto Brick.” So, I ordered a few. And, as advertised, they–

Justin: It's a brick.

Ben:  You could eat one, but it's literally a thousand calories. If I eat a whole one, I kind of feel sick.

Justin:  Okay.

Ben:  [01:14:12] _____.

Justin:  Well, I might take those with me. And, that'd be smart, that'd be really smart. No. but, I've had malaria three times. I've had dengue fever. I've had shigella, which is an intestinal–

Ben:  Yeah, I've heard that one. That's pretty nasty. Yeah.

Justin:  Real nasty.

Ben:  Yeah.

Justin:  Had a bunch of other stuff. Schistosomiasis, which is a parasite in the skin. I was bathing in a creek and there's snails in the water and those have that parasite–

Ben:  Now, do you know about oil of oregano, using the oil of oregano?

Justin:  I took it with me–

Ben:  [01:14:42] _____ top of the totem pole for parasites in my opinion.

Justin:  Okay.

Ben:  Yeah. And, parasites are interesting because they have these life cycles in which they kind of breed and pop out their ugly heads at different times throughout a 24-hour cycle. Because I've actually had a cold parasites myself, nothing near what you've had to deal with, but these parasite eradication protocols, a lot of times you're dosing three to five times a day just hoping that at some point the parasites there like the oregano is going to hit it. But, oregano has a component in it called carvacrol. And, carvacrol is just kryptonite for parasites. And so, a typical protocol is three times a day, you put a few dropper fulls of a really good potent pungent oil of oregano into a glass of water and just drink it down.

Justin:  Wow.

Ben:  Yeah. You got to be careful though because oregano is super caustic. It's super caustic. If you get 100%, it'll burn holes, get blisters. A lot of people order essential oil and not realize it's not diluted. So, you want to make sure it's a good, diluted oil of oregano, but that stuff, it's pretty potent for traveling, for parasites, for gut issues. It's one of those things that's been in my medicine cabinet since I read this book called “The Cure is in the Cupboard.” And, “The Cure is in the Cupboard,” all that whole book is about is the wonders of oil of oregano which even in the Bible, there's a verse in the bible that says something like, “Cleanse me with hyssop and I will be white as snow.” I think it's in the Psalms. And, hyssop, H-Y-S-S-O-P is oregano.

Justin:  Okay.

Ben:  Yeah.

Justin:  Have you heard of the book “Where There Are No Doctors“?

Ben:  No.

Justin:  It's a book that a lot of missionaries and humanitarians that go to Africa, everyone has it with them. And, I learned about it there when I was sick. So, what I did take was a bunch of KIND bars with me and a bunch of almonds, took pounds and pounds of almonds with me. But, what I didn't know was that almonds can trigger…

Amy:  Shingles.

Justin:  Shingles.

Ben:  Really?

Justin:  Yeah, it can trigger shingles, herpes, cold sores, all that. If you eat too many of them and you get depleted and it can trigger herpes virus type stuff. So, while I was there, I was eating pounds of almonds and I got shingles three or five times in the year that I was there. Three or five times. I've had it five times. So, I think I had it three times there. And, the other two times in it, it would be in my hairline all the way down to my ear. And, it was brutal. I mean, I was in my 20s when I lived there for a year. And–

Amy:  It says it contains the amino acid arginine. Am I pronouncing it right?

Ben:  Yeah, arginine, arginine. I mean, that's not necessarily something that's harmful, that amino acid. But, honestly, I can't even begin to know what the mechanism of action would be. I know almonds like high, high dose almonds kind of apple seeds. You can get some amount of cyanide from them.

Justin:  Oh, really?

Ben:  Maybe something like that.

Justin:  Maybe that's what they give me.

Ben:  Anything is bad for you if you [01:17:46] _____.

Justin:  Yeah, I was eating copious amounts. But, this pilot and his wife opened the book and she said, “Take lysine.” They were trying to give me–

Ben:  Oh, they're amino acids.

Justin:  Yeah. Trying to give me some sort of not antibiotic but antiviral. And, they only had small ones of them and they were old and they're like, “Don't take that, take lysine.” And, it was the third time that I had it and I take lysine and it cleared up so fast, the shingles, so fast. Now, I take lysine as a preventative to make sure I don't get shingles again.

Ben:  Yeah.

Justin:  And, the other two times I've had shingles, I just took lysine, it went away real quick.

Ben:  My mom takes lysine for cold sores. It's something you use that for.

Justin:  Yeah.

Amy:  Yeah.

Ben:  Yeah.

Justin:  So, cold sores, shingles, I think herpes they say lysine helps with. So–

Ben:  Yeah. Wow. Wow. That's crazy.

Justin:  But, where there are no doctors, they had tons of homeopathic or natural to treat things.

Ben:  Yeah.

Justin:  And then, talking about your oregano, does your wife like it when you kiss her after the oregano?

Ben:  Smell like a giant Italian pizza. No. Actually, my kids are in the corny dad jokes now so you just reminded me. Did you hear about the Italian chef who died?

Justin:  No.

Ben:  He passed away. So, anyways, back to the–

Amy:  I don't get it.

Ben:  Oh, no, you don't get it. It's a bad joke. I have to explain it. You'll get it eventually.

Justin:  He passed away.

Ben:  You think about it he passed away, he passed away.

Amy:  Oh, he passed away.

Ben:  So, I'll use oil of oregano preventively when I travel. And, half the time I travel, my wife isn't with me anyway so I don't have to worry about it. But, no, it's not too, if anything, it's a little minty like peppermint. So, it will make your breath smell.

Amy:  We have some. 

Ben:  Yeah.

Justin:  Alright, unless you're taking it.

Amy:  But, I'm careful with that.

Ben:  My wife and I are not the dragon breath. We'll kiss each other in the morning sometimes, but each of us on our respective sides of the bedside, there's this company called The Dirt and they make breath spray. And, we both have our minty breath spray that we spray in our mouths before we kiss each other in the morning just to be nice to each other.

Justin:  Yeah.

So, you have a parenting book coming out. And, what was the motivation of that? And then, also I'd love to talk about you and your relationship with your wife. I told them–

Amy:  How are your kids?

Ben:  Oh, they're 14 years old.

Justin:  They're twins.

Ben:  My wife Jessa and I have been married for 19 years and she's amazing. Oh, my goodness. She's just an angel.

Justin:  She's a track star at Idaho–

Ben:  We love each other so much. She went track and field at University of Idaho. And, it's kind of funny because now she plays a ton of tennis. She plays tennis every day. And, I don't play at all anymore. So, for me teaching her how to play tennis, now she plays all the tennis and I sit at home.

And, yeah, I have been asked so many times about writing a parenting book because my sons, they're just so cool, they're so special and they're amazing. And, I don't think I've done anything that special with them. We have certain rituals and routines and methods of parenting that we can get into if you want to. But, when people have been asking me to write a parenting book, to write a family book because I've been talking a lot about parenting and family because just my life. I mean, my purpose statement in life right now is to love God through prayer and worship and to love my family by preparing and providing. And, the business is an afterthought.

Justin:  By preparing and providing.

Ben:  You got to make money. Yeah. But, the business is inevitable. I just want to be there for my family during this formative chapter of my son's life. And, as a parent, you do have to accept the fact that if you want to really raise impactful resilient loved children, there are some of your own dreams and passions and desires you have to put on hold for a little while. I've accepted the fact there are certain adventures I was going to go on a 10-day fishing and bow hunting trip up in Alaska, a solo trip, and I thought, “Gosh, it's 10 days without my sons, there's no reason I can't do that trip when I'm 46 or 40 when they're in college or when they're out of the house.” So, this phase of my life I've realized, gosh, aside from just loving God and building my faith up, which is so fulfilling to me, I just want to be there for my sons and for my wife. And so, that's my number one purpose in life right now over and above business and books and podcasts and speaking all the stuff that's kind of like Ben, Ben, Ben. It really is about my family.

And, because I've been spending so much time with my family and just really, really focused on what a good parents do, and how do you raise young impactful resilient children who are going to grow up to make this world a better place, and how do you stay in love with and married to your spouse. A lot of people started asking me to write a book that my next book should be a parenting book. And, I thought, “Well, gosh, my sons are only 14, who's to say they're not going to wind up in prison when they're 16 or 17–“

Amy:  You're not done yet.

Ben:  Yeah. I'm not done. They're not cooked yet. Cake isn't out of the oven yet.

Justin:  You're in this process.

Ben:  So, I thought, well, geez, I could at least talk about and my wife could talk about things that we've learned up to this point, consequential based parenting, and legacies, and playbooks, and rituals, and routines, and rites of passage, and all the things that we've woven into our sons' lives. But, I thought, “Gosh, I should just make a list of the most amazing parents I know, with the most amazing kids I know and then ask them all a bunch of questions about parenting.” And, that's what I did. I developed a year ago about 32 different questions that I think are just the best questions for parents like, “What kept you awake at night worrying that you were messing up with your kids? Or, did you ever have imposter syndrome as a parent? Or, how did you handle passing on wisdom to your children without making them feel at the same time that they were having to adults too early based on everything you're trying to teach them? And, how did you carve out one-on-one time with your kids? And, how do you engage in your own self-care?”

So, I identified about 60 parents figure and maybe get a 40, 50% return rate on the number of parents who'd actually want to contribute to the book. And, I think last count, I got about 28 of them, parents, really, really great parents. And, they're all replying and sending me audio. So, I spend half my day now just editing down audios and transcripts from all these parents and learning all sorts of cool, cool techniques and tactics that they're using for just making amazing children. It's interesting. You see these common threads pop up. Every single parent has some type of scheduled intentional one-on-one time calendared with their child on at least a monthly basis. Every couple who's happy and together has either a quarterly or a bi-annual, I forget, a bi-annual, is that once every two years or twice a year. I don't remember. but, twice a year, they'll get off and they'll go off together on an isolated couple's retreat for family planning. Like I was telling you about the sauna, Justin, like me and my wife do, and most of them use a form of parenting is based on consequences, educating your child about the natural consequences of any decision that they might make in life and then letting them deal with the consequences of that decision rather than just telling the kid, “No, don't do this. No, don't do that, just follow my orders” versus “Here's what's going to happen if you eat gluten, do drugs, watch porn, whatever. Now, you go out and figure out if you want to do it, I'm just going to warn you. Here's the natural consequences.” Then, you let them live with the consequences unless they're super dire a two-year-old at the edge of a cliff or something. You're obviously not going to tell them cliff might hurt a little bit, you pull them off the cliff.

But, I'm learning all these common threads and piecing together this parenting book and it's just amazing. I really think it's a book I wish had existed when I first became a parent because I'm just learning so much from all these parents. And, gosh, I think the biggest thing, the biggest thing I've learned that has been just the best most magical thing for our family and for my own purpose and legacy as a parent was this idea of branding the family the same way that you would brand a business. Okay. So, I hooked up with this guy named Rich Christensen in Utah who has a company called Legado. He used to be a business branding expert. And now, all he does is he helps families build strong families and brand their family. So, we went and spend about–

Justin:  So, it come from the name like legacy, Legado?

Ben:  Yeah, Legado legacy, I'm pretty sure. And so, we went and spent a few days with him after I read this book called “Habits of the Rockefellers” and about how a lot of these wealthy successful impactful families have certain elements like a family trust, and a family constitution, a family legacy. And, a lot of kind of behind the scenes corporate structures in place that allow for the family to basically continue to accumulate wealth, to continue to accumulate values and traditions that get passed down from generation to generation so that you don't create an all too common rags to riches to rags scenario which is a lot of times what you see especially in America like a set of parents are not super well off, they work really hard, nose to the grindstone, put in the work, chop wood, carry water, accumulate wealth, and then their children are raised in a wealthy family, given a silver spoon, they kind of get lazy, they slack off a little bit, they squander the family wealth, they get poor, they mess up, and then their children are poor. And then, you start that whole rags to riches to rag scenario again, which really ultimately never really builds up generational impact, generational wealth, generational health. Any of those type of things that you'd ideally want in your legacy as a parent. When I think about my great-grandkids and my great-great-grandkids, I think, “Gosh, I'm not just raising my kids, I'm raising my grandkids, I'm raising my great-grandkids.” What I do with my sons is what they're going to do with their sons is what they're going to do with their sons and daughters.

And so, what we did with Rich was we developed family values, a family mission statement, family crest, family rituals and routines and traditions that are playbooked. They're all in a book. Here's what we do with our kids when they're eight. Here's when we have the sex talk. Here's when we go through their rite of passage into adolescence. Here's when they go through their rite of passage into adulthood. Here's when they quit getting money from mom and dad and have to make money for themselves. Here's what we do at thanksgiving. Here's what we do at Christmas. Here's what you do at easter. It's literally and it sounds like it sucks all the passion and sacredness and enjoyment of parenting and makes it sound stale and business-like, but it's not like that at all. This is just a playbook for our family. And, I know that when my sons get married and they have kids, they can just take that playbook and be like, “Oh, my gosh, it's amazing.” These are all the Greenfield family values and we've got the Greenfield family logo. You come up to our house and there's flags on either side of the door with the whole logo with each of our colors, and symbols, and spirit animals on it. We've got our family crest hanging by the fireplace and the family mission statement prominently displayed in the living room. And, we're drinking out of mugs in the morning with our family logo on them. And, there's this pride. You're a Greenfield, this is what the Greenfield stand for, this is what the Greenfields look like, this is what the Greenfield logo is like. And, gosh, I think of everything that I've learned and done as a parent this idea of intentionally branding the family and treating almost a business has just been so impactful.

Amy:  What do you tell families that don't have a name? My daughters each have a different last name than me and then Justin's there. We all have different last names. So, I mean, what do you tell families that are more mixed like that about we're not going to have a common name? Do we make up our own for our branding or what would that be?

Ben:  Yeah. Well, when you say you don't have a common name, what do you mean?

Amy:  Well, my last name is Edwards and I have a daughter that's a Weaver, I have one that's Green, and he has Wren. So, yeah, they each have different fathers that I'm divorced from. And so, I love the idea of creating our own traditions and things like that and building into that. So, we have a more far-spreading family on both their sides which I respect. My last name is their middle name. But, as a woman too, I my last name, but I don't necessarily have to brand with that.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah.

Amy:  So, I don't know what would that look like.

Ben:  A name is just a name. Name is just semantics. I think it's more important to recognize, okay, well, I've got this group of people, we're close and then we're blood bonded, we're relatives, we're a tribe, whatever and call whatever you want to call it.

Amy:  Just name yourself kind of.

Ben:  Call yourselves a wolf pack. But, it's more of the idea not necessarily–

Justin:  This is our family mission statement. I love that.

Ben:  Not brand being important, but the identity being important. We know about this. Seth Godin's written the book, “Tribe,” which is a great kind of business book. It's like, “Oh, well, you got to have a language, and you got to have an identity, you got to have a leader, and you got to have an enemy.” These are all the components of whether in business or in family or in community-based membership website or whatever, you create a tribe. And, that's basically what you're building is a tribe with a common language, and a common set of symbols, and a common set of values, and beliefs and preferably some type of common mission that the family is moving forward.

Justin:  It's like a North Star. This is where we're headed. This is the mission statement. I mean, with Fight for the Forgotten, we've got our vision statement is “To defeat hate with love” and our mission statement is “To defend the weak, love the unloved and empower the voiceless.” And, the way that we do that to the community development but that's been our guiding light where if we just drilled water wells, that would be in the mission statement. If we just do this but we do more than that. What does the community need? And, through that, being able to meet certain needs, we've been able to see 1,651 people transition out of literal slavery into freedom. And, it's like, well, this won't work in this community but this will because this is our guiding light. Is it defeating hate with love? Is it putting love and compassion into action? Then, we're going to do it if we can meet that need.

Ben:  Yeah.

Justin:  And so, that would be really great to have for our family. And so–

Ben:  Yeah, it's so cool. And, honestly, the coolest part of it, in my opinion, is the crest. We literally had a metal sculpture designed this crest that's got, it's a giant shield that represents our faith and it's got all these stones on the outside with each of our family symbols carved into it. And, every time that a new child or grandchild is added to the family, their symbol gets carved into these stones along the outside. And, the crest has all of our spirit animals on it, and our family logo in the center of it, and all sorts of little insider family secrets all within it hangs by the fireplace and just massive 200-pound piece of metal art. And, when I walk in the door and look at that, I mean, I get the whole idea these days especially of being flexible, and nomadic, and living in Airbnbs and working on your laptop from a beach in Thailand. But, I'm one of those guys like I won't be a king of a castle, I'm going to come home and my wife's there and she's happy, and my sons are stable, I got a castle, and a crest above the fireplace. That's just the kind of guy I am. I like to come home and just have this castle and I got a crest in my castle that just represents my legacy and my family, is so meaningful. It's so cool.

Justin:  That's really great.

What do you think is one of the most important parts to not just successful parenting but successful relationships? Maybe specifically with your wife, your partner.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah.

Justin:  They've been married 19 years.

Amy:  I know, I heard. It's awesome.

Justin:  And, I hope that we're going to married at least 19 years. Yeah.

Ben:  Careful what you wish for. No, it is pretty amazing. And, definitely our practice like I briefly alluded to earlier of carving out intentionally calendared retreats either quarterly, minimum of two times a year, we get off and we're just on our own for two or three days, my wife and I. And, the entire thing is it's not just go to fancy restaurants and drink wine, but it's more like us sitting in a hotel room on two chairs face-to-face talking for four or five hours. Or, sometimes we will partake in some kind of a plant medicine like MDMA or some kind of a heart opener and sit with each other in that setting for the first day of the retreat and then move on and just talk and integrate and discuss everything that's been in our minds for the past few months when we're in kind of that different state, away from business, away from kids, away from family, sometimes in a state where our egos are a little bit more dissolved and we're just together planning. That's a huge one.

Of course, the daily rituals, the daily comings and goings are super important too. And, what I mean by that is, for example, we meditate together as a family every morning. That's not long especially with kids, and family, and people going 10 different directions. You're not going to do 40 minutes of meditation in the morning as a family in most cases. So, we meditate for 10 minutes in the morning as a family. We're all sitting cross-legged on the living room floor at 7:30 in the morning and we're doing a gratitude and a service, and tapping, and breath work, and praying, and just basically coming together as a family to book end of the day. And, I mean book end because in the evening, same thing, 10 minutes in the kid's bedroom at night after I've read a story to them and played them a song, we finish up with evening meditation. And then, my wife and I pray together every night very last thing we do whether we've made love, or talked, or read books, or whatever, when our heads hit the pillow, the very last thing that happens is we pray together. And, we just basically just commit our lives to God and ask for wisdom and discernment in raising our sons and ask for health and energy for the next day, and even talk about struggles that we've been having. And so, we pray together every night. And then, at least once a month, which doesn't sound very often, but it's typically more often once a month but at least once a month, we do one-on-one dates, of course. Just go off on, which doesn't sound that frequent. But, yeah, when you have kids and a whole bunch of stuff going on, believe me, it's hard to carve out those one-on-one time for days. But, those are always calendared, they're on the schedule.

And so, it's a lot of intentional scheduling and calendaring, but those retreats and the nightly prayer times and the morning and the evening meditations are really crucial for us. And then, I would say the last thing, the last thing, and this is tricky because in America, there's this kind of “Keeping Up with the Joneses” type of mentality. You want to make sure that your children are for sport athletes and that if all the other kids are driving to jiu jitsu in the morning, and football in the evening, and baseball in the afternoon, swim lessons, whatever, your kids just got to be in all these activities all the time because otherwise, they're going to fall behind, they're not going to get a college scholarship. And, I mean the star quarterback. America is very much into what have your kids achieved and what did they have achieved in comparison to your neighbors, or your friends, your community? And, we don't really focus on any of those things at all as a family. As a matter of fact, every night at our house starting about 7 p.m. is a giant party. Our whole family. We come together. We're singing songs. We're dancing in the kitchen. We're dancing around the table.

Justin:  It's awesome.

Ben:  We're making food together. We're making desserts together. We're cooking. We're playing music. We drag out card games and board games. We play games. And, when I say party, I don't know how much people are, it's literally just me and my wife and my sons. And, we're just having an amazing time for two hours every single night. And, that idea of a family dinner that's almost a non-negotiable unless there's some crazy stuff going on that day. We have family dinners every single night. And, that process of coming together, gathering together, cooking together, dining together, cleaning together, and then heading up into the bedroom for story time and songs, it's so magical and so much more meaningful, and so much more stabilizing for my sons than just the family being scattered to the four corners of the earth all day long and passing like ships in the night. So, we're very nuclear, very bonded, very together. And, that's very ritualized.

Justin:  That's awesome. From 7:00 to 9:00, do you guys put phones down, put them away or do you guys have them?

Ben:  So, in our house, there's no rules on screen time. There's no rules on videos. There's almost no rules, period, in our house. Like I mentioned, we just educated on the consequences. Their mom and I set a good example. So, yeah, phones are around but nobody's using them. I'm of the mentality that if there's enough fun things around to do that give you an alternative to the screen, then you're going to engage in those activities.

Justin:  Yeah.

Ben:  So, yeah, we'll be eating steak at the dinner table and my phone will be over in the kitchen, it'll be on, it'll be even vibrating or whatever. It's not like I'm going to go do that thing or people put their phone in the freezer on ice or activate the app that locks you out for two hours. I think all that stuff is gimmicky. I'm like, no, just make it fun. And, if the phone's around, if we're playing Scrabble and somebody wants to look up whether it's a legal word in scrabble on Google, go for it.

Justin:  And, the new playlist, you got to change the song.

Ben:  Right, exactly. We change the playlist or whatever. Yeah, the phones are there as a tool. But, yeah, nobody's even into them because we're just enjoying each other much more than that.

Justin:  We've been having a lot of family game nights. I would say a lot. I mean, we can do it even–

Amy:  We always do it at least once a week.

Justin:  Yeah, Tuesdays. And, it's so fun.

Amy:  But, since they go to their dads and stuff and spend half the time, we have to prioritize it kind of in a different way.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah.

Amy:  But, it's important and even tomorrow, you were saying, “Oh, I want to record this podcast and stuff.” And, I was like, Tuesday nights, that's off limit. So, that's our family night, that's what we do. And, they know that, we know that. And so, yeah–

Ben:  It's the best 25 bucks that we spend every month because I usually about once a month, I'll take my sons on a date to Barnes & Noble. One thing in our house is unless it's Captain Underpants, or Diary Of A Wimpy Kid, or something like that, I'll buy them any book their heart desires. Books are the one thing. I'm just like, “Yeah, I'll buy that for you, I don't care.” I'll do that. I'll do that till I'm dead. If my sons want a book, I'll buy them a book.

And, I take them to Barnes & Noble, but we pick out a game, we pick out a new game. Average price with cool, cool new game–

Amy:  We do it too.

Ben:  Chameleon, or Telestrations, or new form of Scrabble or Monopoly, or whatever. It's 25 bucks. And, that will afford us hours upon hours of entertainment for the rest of the month as we all play this game. And, the kids learn game theory. They learn rhetoric, and logic, and reasoning, and argumentation, and strategy, and scarcity, and abundance, and demand, and price setting, and all these things you learn from playing games. And so, not only are they learning, but man, I mean, that's half the cost of what it would take to take the entire family out to the movie theater. And, we're literally for 25 bucks having amazing fun for the entire month. And then, when we kind of get tired of the game and hang it up, we go buy a new game and rinse, wash and repeat. It's super fun.

Amy:  Yeah.

Justin:  It's great.

I think I might try something with you. I've never done this on the podcast. I've done it with a bunch of friends.

Ben:  Yeah, arm wrestle.

Justin:  Yes. right now. No, I'm just kidding. It's payback for making me throw up–

Ben:  [01:41:01] _____ bad shoulder.

Justin:  No. but, have you heard of, I think, Carl Jung…

Amy:  Jung.

Justin:  He put his seal of approval on this or helped develop it. But, it's called Animal Psychology and it's this little quiz. But, I've been taught how to do it. And, I think, Amy could you pull up the little notes up?

Amy:  Yeah.

Justin:  Would it be alright to do this with you?

Ben:  Sure.

Justin:  Let's do it.

Ben:  As long as it's legal.

Justin:  It's legal.

Ben:  Okay.

Justin:  It's legal.

Ben:  Alright.

Justin:  It's interesting, it's interesting. So, there's a reason I'm doing it too you. You primed it by something you said earlier.

Ben:  Okay.

Justin:  So, there's a reason for it.

Ben:  Well, now, I'm pretty intrigued.

Justin:  Yeah. I've done this with 30 or more people and almost all of them are like, “Whoa” or “I can see that.” And, some of that taught me to do it was a clinical psychologist really good, renowned, and she was amazing. So, we're going to take a couple of notes for you so you can remember them later. And, I'm thinking you might be able to do this with your family.

Ben:  Okay.

Justin:  Because once you hear it once, you can do it with somebody else.

Ben:  Okay, cool.

Justin:  Alright. So, think of any animal, any animal in the world: land, sea or air, any animal.

Ben:  Okay.

Justin:  And, with that animal, you are going to, and think about things that you admire about it, appreciate about it, things that you can relate to, the ways that it lives its life or is in community however it is, but animal and three things, at least three things you appreciate about it.

Amy:  You can tell us.

Ben:  I'm going to go for a wolf.

Justin:  A wolf.

Ben:  Gray wolf.

Justin:  A gray wolf.

Ben:  And, the reason for that is because it's a very independent animal associated with operating as a lone survivor, a lone wolf, and is very resilient on its own and able to function on its own and stand up on its own two feet. But yet, it's also a pack animal, it realizes its interdependence and the necessity for cooperation with its fellow wolves. So, it's kind of this unique mashup of lone wolf independence with pack interdependence.

And so, in addition to that, of course, there's a great deal of bravery, and courageousness, and ferocity associated with the wolf. And then, there's kind of a little bit of a noble beauty especially if you look into the eyes, this noble savage beauty. And so, I would say that it would be a wolf, a gray wolf. Yeah.

Amy:  Okay. Love that.

Justin:  Okay. You got resilient on there. Is that right, Amy?

Amy:  I got the list, independent and the lone aspect, resilient, then a pack interdependency aspect, and ferocity, and a noble beauty.

Ben:  Okay.

Justin:  Alright.

Amy:  Two.

Justin:  So, think of another animal. Any animal in the world: land, sea or air. Three things you appreciate about it or you can just list them out again, but things that you appreciate about it that you relate to something that you admire.

Ben:  So, my second one would be the dolphin.

Justin:  The dolphin.

Ben:  Because the dolphin, it's highly intelligent, it's smart, but it's also fun-loving, it's curious, it's kind of relaxed and playful, yet at the same time it's not like it's stupid playful, it's actually a smart animal, the dolphin, or fish, or mammal, or whatever you'd want to categorize it as. And, like the wolf, there's a certain element of beauty and grace to the dolphin if you see that thing swimming and it's sleek and shiny and fluid in the water and just the way that it moves is graceful. So, it's intelligent, it's playful, it's graceful and it's also an animal that you feel safe around. And, I don't know if this is true or not, but from what I understand is that if you're swimming with the dolphins and a shark comes by, the dolphin will actually help to protect a human being against the threat of a shark, sometimes even by attacking the shark, which is really interesting. And so, it's not only intelligent, and playful, and fun, and graceful, and beautiful, but it's also protective. You feel safe around it, you're taking care of. So, I'm going to say the dolphin is my second one.

Justin:  Okay.

Amy:  I like it.

Justin:  That's awesome.

Amy:  Cool.

Justin:  That's awesome. And then, I'm going to tell you what this mean. But, before that, one more animal.

Ben:  Okay.

Justin:  Any animal: land, sea or air. And, this time, think about just three things you admire, you appreciate, things that you can relate to the way that it lives its life or lives community. Any of that stuff. Three things why any animal in the world: land, sea or air.

Ben:  Well, I would say the first and last one that comes to mind is, of course, the lion.

Justin:  The lion.

Ben:  Might be because I'm wearing a hat now on, it says Lion. And, one of my favorite songs now is called “Lion.” But, the reason especially lion is the lion roar reminds me of my own love for singing, and music, and vocalization, and kind of a theme in my life of late has been to roar like a lion. But then, of course, this comes as no surprise to people. Similar to the wolf, the bravery and the courageousness and the ferocity of the lion is another element. But, I would say above all and related to what I alluded to earlier, the lion is the king of the pride, is a leader of the tribe. It's, again, similar to the dolphin, something that you feel safe and protected around, something like the wolf, something that has a little bit of savage beauty around it. And then, of course, that component of just roaring and having a voice unabashedly expressing one's voice in one's character in a very brave and courageous manner. It would be a lion. And, of course, I also, like I mentioned growing up homeschooled and doing a lot of reading, one of my favorite books growing up. My favorite book series growing up was “The Chronicles of Narnia.” And, I love Aslan, Aslan the lion. I couldn't read anything about Aslan without just getting a warm fuzzy in my heart. So, yeah.

Justin:  Nice. That's awesome. Are you ready to know what this means?

Ben:  I suppose so.

Justin:  Yeah.

Amy:  And, people should pause it and do it themselves so they can know what it means.

Justin:  Yeah.

Ben:  It's going to be one of those like what's a dolphin-wolf-lion look like.

Justin:  No. No.

Amy:  That's your new crest.

Justin:  Yeah, that's your new crest.

Ben:  [01:48:12] _____ a wolf and a lion walk into a bar.

Justin:  So, yeah, if people want to pause and do it themselves, ask yourself that question and then write down three things if that's easier for you, just three characteristics why, three characteristics, attributes, three things you love about it. You can go back and do this after this where that's how you can do it to your kid. I might have forgot to say list three attributes why.

Ben:  Okay.

Justin:  But, you did great. This was awesome.

Ben:  Yeah, we got three-ish.

Justin:  So, we got this up and the gray wolf, the dolphin, the lion.

Ben:  How about that, she's got it all written down there.

Justin:  The three things this means is the first one is how you want to be seen, how you want the world to perceive you, how you want to show up in the world with people is like the gray wolf.

Ben:  Okay.

Justin:  To be seen as independent, a lone wolf that you're resilient, but also, you're a pack animal interdependency for ferocity noble beauty. And so, does that relate at all that you want to be seen as that, that you wanted the world to perceive you as kind of the gray wolf that I can do it on my own but I've got my pack, I got my family?

Ben:  I can't say I think a lot about what I would want the world to think of me.

Justin:  Yeah.

Ben:  And, the reason that I say that is because I'm very cautious about being who the world wants me to be versus who I want to be at my true authentic self. But, at the same time, I would say that if someone were to see me and they were to say like, “Oh, Ben's like a gray wolf,” I would totally be okay with that.

Justin:  Yeah, okay.

Amy:  I think it's very wolf-like to not care about what people think of you.

Ben:  Yeah, that's a good point. That's a good point. Yeah, kind of a paradox. Okay.

Amy:  Yes.

Justin:  So, I think this is going to be cool because I see some of these things. Maybe you want to show up as the gray wolf, maybe not, maybe, because you don't really care that much. But, two, the dolphin, you want to be seen as the gray wolf but the world really sees you as the dolphin that you're highly intelligent, you're fun-loving, playful, beautiful and grace, I relate that to your movement today. I was like, “Damn, that guy can move grace, fluid, protective though.” I would say that you would be a great protector even the way that you're talking about your family and that you're safe to be around. So, although some tendencies maybe one ego flares up something like that, I don't know. I don't even think any of these are anything bad, but you might want to be seen as the gray wolf but really people see you as the dolphin. They see you as fun-loving, your wife maybe she thinks you to have sex for fun like a dolphin. But–

Ben:  Slippery.

Justin:  Yeah, slippery when wet. Yeah, but highly intelligent, fun-loving, playful, graceful fluid protective and safe.

Ben:  Okay, that's interesting.

Justin:  Yeah. Did you relate to that at all?

Ben:  Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

Justin:  Okay. So, the first one is how you want to be perceived, second one is how you are perceived. But, the third one is who you really are. The lion is your spirit animal.

Ben:  Interesting.

Justin:  The lion is who you really are. I found this really interesting because it was roaring, singing, you like to sing, but unabashed about your voice.

Amy:  I think it's interesting too that one that speaks so much to him, he chose third. And, I, in mind, did the same thing. And, that's weird however–

Justin:  Yeah, that's the proven psychology part of this.

Ben:  Yeah, this kind of because I actually didn't know there were going to be three.

Justin:  Yeah.

Ben:  Yeah. So, that's interesting.

Amy:  Right.

Justin:  Yeah. And so, brave and courageous, bravery, the king, you were just talking about at your house, you like to be a king.

Ben:  Yeah.

Justin:  Have that on your crest: protective, safe, savage, beauty and oh–

Ben:  Aslan.

Justin:  Sorry, I thought you said Asian.

Amy:  Aslan.

Justin:  I was like, “Asian?” But, Aslan. And, that was one of your favorite books growing up with “The Chronicles of Narnia.”

Ben:  Yeah. Wow.

Justin:  Basically, first one, gray wolf. That's how you want to be seen. Dolphin is how people do see you, but really you're the lion, my man.

Ben:  Wow.

Amy:  Yeah.

Ben:  That's pretty cool.

Justin:  You're a lion.

Ben:  Is that a thing, this animal psychology? If someone were to look that up, google it or–

Amy:  I'm going to check it out right now.

Ben:  DuckDuckGo it, do you find animal psychology resources?

Justin:  I'm pretty sure.

Ben:  Because I've never heard of this before.

Justin:  Yeah. So, you want to know how I did this and found it? I was at treatment for rehab for substance use disorder. And, there was a speaker there and a therapist that was, I guess, everyone else kind of claimed her as one of the top 10 substance abuse therapists or doctors in the country. And so, she came in one day with 30 clients and she just all gave us a piece of paper, had us write these down, and 32 of us were just jaw-dropped. And, because we all knew each other really well, we'd been there for 90 days, stuff like that, we could see everybody. So, yeah, he wants to be seen as this, but I see him as that. But, this is who he really is, so then afterward, we will have these breakout sessions and talk about it and say, “Okay, if this is kind of a little bit of the shadow, what could be part of the shadow of this?”

Ben:  Yeah.

Justin:  Well, this is how people are seeing us as very good, bad, pros, cons. But, this is who I really am. How can I move more towards this because this is who I want to be on the inside and this is how who I really am. So, how can I match that up with how I show up and how people see me? I mean, it's great that people see it as playful, safe, protector, all that other stuff.

Ben:  Yeah.

Justin:  But now, hearing the king and just spending the day with you, I'm like, “The way that dude was working out was a king not a dolphin.”

Ben:  It's super interesting. It's super interesting. Yeah, part of me, this the skeptic part of me wants to say, “Well, gosh, what if I named a spider, and a dragon, and a hippo,” would we be able to take those same three and be like, “Oh, Ben, yeah, most definitely.” But then, at the same time, it really resonates what comes up there. So, yeah, it's interesting. I guess it doesn't matter if it's accurate, it's accurate. Yeah.

Justin:  Yeah. I think it's the way that they prep them. And, I might have forgot the part, the three attributes, but you did great because you gave even more than that. And, I think what was really cool about this, one thing that really helped me was that I was able to take that into meditation and basically pray and basically ask God and source creator like, “Hey, what do these three things mean? And, how can I become more who I really am?” And so, my three animals just real quick where first one, I picked was an okapi, an okapi. Can you pull that up?

Amy:  Sure.

Justin:  An okapi lives in–

Ben:  Why she'd pull it, everybody knows what an okapi is.

Justin:  Do you know what it is?

Ben:  I've no clue at that.

Justin:  Oh, okay. Okay. It's three animals in one.

Ben:  Oh, like a lighter.

Justin:  Kind of. 

Amy:  Sort of, yeah.

Justin:  It's got the head of a giraffe, the butt of a zebra, and the body of an antelope or deer. And, they're really rare. They're hundred species–

Amy:  You need to pull that up, Mike. There it is.

Ben:  You kind of cheated choosing three animals.

Amy:  Yeah. Well, yeah, he did, right?

Justin:  Oh no, it is one animal–

Ben:  But, it is what it is, it is an animal. This isn't a mythical–

Justin:  No, it's a real animal. One more time, Mike, so he can see that.

Amy:  Yeah, one more time, kind of–

Justin:  So, it's the only animal in a giraffe a day family that isn't extinct with the giraffes. And, there's only 100 or 200 of them left in the world and I got to see them in the Congo. They live right there.

Amy:  That's so weird.

Ben:  Well, A, I've never seen or heard of that animal before and that's absolutely intriguing and B, when I see an animal like that kind of a platypus, I think God has a sense of humor.

Justin:  Yeah, right.

Ben:  God is a creative guy with a sense of humor, holy cow.

Justin:  What do I do with these three parts? Let's just put them all together.

Ben:  So, we got agape.

Justin:  Okapi.

Ben:  Okapi.

Justin:  O-K-A-P-I, others call them the okapi depending on where you are. And, the reason I picked that was I said they're three things in one and I said they're a majestic creature. And, the third one was that the pygmy people love them. That's an animal they revere. And, I thought, that's weird, that's maybe how I want to be seen or something. And, I just love that animal. And, second was a Cane Corso, an Italian mastiff, a big gentle giant that has unconditional love and that's a protector.

Ben:  The Italian massive dog.

Justin:  Yeah, yeah.

Ben:  I mean, yeah, okay. I know what that is.

Justin:  Cane Corso, the Italian mastiff dog. They're big. They look like pit bulls on steroids. They used to be the Roman war dogs that they were taking the colosseum and they would show their prowess–

Ben:  [01:56:54] _____ knockout gene like the ultra-muscular big dogs. Yeah.

Justin:  Yeah. And, they would take them in there with a gladiator, and a lion, and the dog, and a soldier would show their military prowess at the coliseum with a Cane Corso. And so, I picked that gentle giant unconditional love and protector. And then, third was a bison. What were the three reasons? But, the first one was that they run through the storm. Have you heard that, be a buffalo, not a bull? Be a buffalo, not a bull. So, a bull run away from a storm. When a big dark storm cloud comes in thunder clouds, they run away and they get caught. This is real. They get caught in it longer and they get beaten down in it and they're in the storm longer. But, a bison and a herd of bison will turn towards a storm and they'll walk towards it slowly, confidently waiting for the rain to come. And then, when it comes, they barrel through the darkness.

Ben:  I like that.

Justin:  And so, they get through the storm quicker.

Ben:  Yeah.

Justin:  And so, I can–

Ben:  It's like facing their fears. Yeah.

Justin:  Yeah. So, I can relate to that almost like this podcast, Overcome, head towards it, move through it. You'll get through it faster and you'll be able to help others through it. So, the bison at the front provide a–

Ben:  Swallow the sausage chunks and just keep pushing through.

Justin:  Yeah, just keep going. Yeah. But, they'll provide a wake for the smaller or the calves of the bison and stuff, so they provide a path. And, like I said, their hide provides shelter.

Ben:  Yeah.

Justin:  And so, their skin even after they're gone, they provide a home or shelter. I've seen Native Americans. I was like, I hope that my life can provide a shelter or can go beyond my lifetime, can still help people.

Ben:  Yeah.

Justin:  And so, yeah, so I was just, wow, and everybody else like it was mind-blowing. So, anyways, you can do this with your kids. Or, do with–

Ben:  I got animal envy now. Your animals are cool.

Justin:  No, you got a lion. You got a lion. Like gray wolf, a dolphin–

Ben:  They're more fringe than mine. They're more fringe than mine.

Justin:  Oh, yeah.

Ben:  I got to step up my zoology game.

Amy:  I don't know. I just looked mine up too and I'm like, “I think mine need to be better.”

Ben:  What are yours?

Amy:  Well, I had a phoenix first, which I kind of like–

Ben:  Yeah, that's pretty cool.

Amy:  And then, I had a leopard and then I had a butterfly, which is actually accurate for me.

Ben:  Yeah.

Justin:  Because her podcast is all about personal transformation.

Ben:  Yeah.

Justin:  Butterfly.

Ben:  It's kind of funny too because the phoenix, like you and me and Justin, we had kind of a blend of yin and yang animals, the dolphin, the lion, and the wolf, and the first thing that you said though.

Justin:  Okapi.

Ben:  The okapi seems like it's a little bit more possibly of a yin-ish animal compared to the bison and the mastiff. And then, the phoenix and the butterfly and the leopard, those seem very and I might be stereotyping, but it's only very kind a feminine beautiful yin type of–

Amy:  Yeah, they have a female [01:59:40] _____.

Ben:  Yeah. Yeah, yeah, they do. Definitely. Yeah, that's so interesting. Alright, I'm going to have to do this with my wife and kids when I get home–

Justin:  Yeah, do it.

Ben:  This will be our dinner time game.

Justin:  Okay. Awesome.

Ben:  Yeah.

Justin:  Ben, I'm so–

Ben:  You save me 25 bucks at Barnes & Noble.

Justin:  Yeah, you're welcome. You're welcome. I'm so grateful you were here and on the show. And, thank you for sharing this with your audience too.

Ben:  Well, thank you too. It was awesome to meet you to work out with you, to ride in your tiny red car over the studio.

Justin:  Yeah, the red sled.

Ben:  So, you dressed up as Santa Claus and I'm just super stoked for my audience to be able to get introduced to you too.

Justin:  Thank you. If they happen to want to support, it's at fightfortheforgotten.org.

Ben:  Cool.

Justin:  You can join the Fight Club. And then, how can people find you?

Ben:  Well, I'll link to that in the shownotes, the fightfortheforgotten.org on my end. And then, people can just find me at BenGreenfieldLife.com.

Amy: Yeah.

Justin:  Okay.

Ben:  Yup.

Justin:  That's awesome. I'm really grateful for you, brother. Thank you for being here with us.

Ben:  Likewise, man.

Justin:  Yeah.

Ben:  Thanks, you guys.

Amy:  Thank you.

Justin:  Hello, listeners of the Ben Greenfield Life podcast, hope you enjoyed that show with Ben Greenfield himself on my show Overcome with Justin Wren. I'm so grateful he decided to share this with you guys on his platform. But honestly, I'm just so grateful for Ben. I've been a fan of his for a long time. I've listened to his podcast, his own shows, and him on Rogan's and all the other podcasts he's been on. Amy, my producer of my show Overcome with Justin Wren, but also the woman I hope to marry. We were introduced to his podcast or she was introduced to Ben's podcast with his Jamie Wheal episode and she was so lit up. If you haven't heard that, go back and listen. She was so lit up. She brought it home and made sure she shared it with me. I listen to it on my own, we listened to it together. It was just incredibly interesting. But, I'm grateful for the man that Ben is and the stories that he shared. And, he's a wealth of knowledge but I think what I really took away from this episode is how to live as a family unit. I think Amy and I both have been and will be continuing to talk about of how we can do that, the personal mission statement for our family. And, having that intention of what direction do I want my life to go and our lives together to go to have that blueprint or something that playbook like Ben said, always to be able to look back on.

I hope you enjoyed that animal psychology. And, really, this is just to book in the podcast and say thank you for tuning in. Thank you, Ben, for having this on your platform. And also, you can tune into more of my shows on Overcome with Justin Wren. We've had some very just incredible guests that all have a story of overcoming. And, we're all in the process of overcoming, but the purpose of the show is to remind us that you, me, we have overcome 100% of our darkest days. And now, it's our opportunity, our privilege, our joy, our pleasure to shine our light or share our love with the world, and how can we put love and compassion into action, how can we live a purposeful purpose-filled life because me being an MMA fighter, it's usually the person with the most reasons that wins. The person with most reasons usually wins. And so, life is a fight.

I'm a two-time suicide survivor. I've been to treatment twice for addiction. I grew up being bullied from 8 years old to 13 years old relentlessly. And, I have an ace score of 7 or 8 out of a 10, which if you have 4 out of a 10, you are 15 times more likely to attempt suicide in your life, you're 80 times more likely to suffer with substance use disorder or addiction. And so, this podcast really is hopefully to serve the world, serve you, and give us those tips, tricks drill down deep into the tactics of what it takes to rise up and overcome.

And so, thank you, Ben, for sharing this with your listeners. I just wanted to make a little bookend and say thank you. Thank you, Ben. Thank you to the listeners. And, you are more than welcome to come check out some of our shows. And, I would honestly love a review not just to help the show grow but also to hear what you liked about this episode specifically with Ben. What I could have done better and some of the other episodes I think you'd really love in the health and wellness space. Aaron Alexander from Align Podcast or Rafael Lovato Jr., world champion, undefeated MMA fighter and 12-time world medalist in jiu-jitsu like a six-time world champion, one of the best Americans to ever do the sport. Or, Zach Bitter, the ultramarathon runner, 100 miles five-time world record holder. And, he's about to run across America from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Golden Gate Bridge or actually reverse that, the Golden Gate Bridge to the Brooklyn Bridge trying to hit 70 to 80 miles a day, setting a new world record for the fastest person to ever go across America on foot.

And so, I was talking a bit about that in the sauna after he almost made me puke on it. And, I'm just so grateful for him. What a beast. I did not expect that. Maybe that's why I ate a little bit of those Italian breakfast sausages that were spicy that definitely wanted to come up during our workout. I don't know if we hit it in the podcast, but man, he was having me do the nasal breathing and I'm just learning about that. But, to do nasal breathing during the workout at the fourth round, that was very unique experience for me because I guess I'm more of a mouth breather whenever I'm doing cardio at the end. And so, that's something I'm going to take into my training for my comeback fight in Bellator MMA, UFC veteran if you guys don't know who I am. And, coming back to the sport fighting for a purpose, fighting for the non-profit I started, Fight for the Forgotten. And, anyways, I'm just so grateful to be able to have been on my show and that he is sharing this on his platform.

So, if you'd like to follow more, please follow on Spotify, or Apple, or YouTube, we have a channel there and it's just Overcome with Justin Wren. And, again, Ben, thank you, much love, many blessings over you, over Jessa, over the twins, and that family crest that you guys have in the castle. Thank you, brother. I appreciate you allowing me to share this with your audience.

Hey, in a few events that you can join me at RUNGA coming up May 12th through the 14th in Austin, Texas. Check it out, RUNGA. All these you can find at BenGreenfieldLife.com/Calendar. Intimate VIP type of event. Me and 50 other people that you can join in Austin, Texas, May 12th through the 14th.

Also in Austin, Texas May 10th, I'll be opening at a comedy show for my friend, Garrett Gunderson, over at the Creek and the Cave in Austin, Texas. That's Tuesday, May 10th at 7:00 p.m. if you want to come and see some standup comedy. I'll also put that over at BenGreenfieldLife.com/Calendar. As well as the Health Optimization Summit coming up in May 28th through the 29th in London, and even sooner than that, PaleoFX, April 29th through May 1st in Austin. So, links and details on any of those are all going to be at BenGreenfieldLife.com/Calendar. If you want to check them out.

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.




7 May 2022

Justin “The Big Pygmy” Wren is a mixed martial artist, humanitarian, and founder of the non-profit Fight for the Forgotten. A native Texan and a high-school wrestling powerhouse, Justin won 10 state championships and was a five-time All American and two-time National Champion before becoming one of the youngest professional MMA athletes at the age of 19. Shortly after, he became the youngest heavyweight cast on the most-watched season of The Ultimate Fighter TV show at 21 years old.

After battling depression, suicide, and drug addiction, Justin experienced a life-changing journey living with the Mbuti Pygmy people of the Congo Basin Rainforest. When he returned he founded Fight for the Forgotten, which today has expanded their impact to serve the Batwa Pygmies in Uganda, and stateside initiatives including bullying prevention and character development programs for public schools and martial arts academies.  
Justin has inspired millions through his appearances on the Joe Rogan Experience, Mike Tyson's HotBoxin', the Ed Mylett Show, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, NBC, CBS, and TEDx Talks, along with his book Fight for the Forgotten. Today he is the host of his own inspirational podcast, Overcome with Justin Wren. A 15-year veteran of professional MMA, Justin is on a six-fight winning streak and is currently training at Onnit Gym ATX in preparation for a comeback in Bellator MMA in 2022.

In my conversation with Justin, we dive into everything from fitness to parenting to animal psychology, and even our soul-crushing cardio workout at Onnit Gym in Austin, TX prior to our podcast, during which he walked around with a trashcan in case he felt the need to vomit (we'll blame it on the spicy sausage he had for breakfast).

By the way, here is the workout that almost made The Big Pygmy puke, in case you're curious, which was at least 4 rounds of all-out cardio with a functional exercise in between each set:

  • 2-minute sprint on the Airdyne bike to 20 Spider-Man push-ups – 4 times, no rest.
  • 2-minute sprint on the rower to sled push and pull – 4 times, no rest.
  • 2-minute sprint on concept 2 ski ergs to 20 kettlebell swings – no rest. (use code GREENFIELD to save 15%)
  • Bonus: the last 2-minute set of each cardio was nasal breathing only.

Justin was also joined here by his life partner and producer of Overcome, Amy Edwards, host of The Amy Edwards Show. Enjoy!

In my conversation with Justin Wren, you'll discover:

-Ben's workout and diet while on the go…08:32

-Boundless origin stories…11:01

-Ben's journey as a human guinea pig and investigative journalist…17:05

  • Homeschooled in Idaho
  • Keen on tennis as a player, coach
  • This led to an interest in human physiology

-How Ben defines “biohacking”…21:40

-Non-negotiable elements of high-quality sleep…33:19

-Justin shares stories of saving villages in the African jungle…42:12

-Preparing mentally and physically for living in Africa…1:11:10

-Motivation for Ben's new parenting book…1:19:56

-Secrets to a great relationship with your spouse and children…1:33:05

  • Scheduled 2-3 days retreat minimum twice a year
  • Meditate 10 minutes at beginning and end of day
  • Pray together before going to bed
  • Does not focus on the achievement obsessed culture
  • Teaching life skills via game nights

-Justin does the animal psychology quiz with Ben…1:40:51

-And much more!

-Upcoming Events:

Resources mentioned:

– Justin Wren:

– Podcasts And Articles:

– Books:

– Other Resources:

Episode sponsors:

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Ben Greenfield Coaching: Personally vetted and trained by Ben Greenfield, these coaches will personalize your diet and lifestyle, and get you looking and feeling your best. (50:13)


Ask Ben a Podcast Question

One thought on “[Transcript] – Working Out Hard With “The Big Pygmy”, Saving Villages in the African Jungle, Animal Psychology & Much More with Justin Wren.

  1. David says:

    Hi Ben, once again … a really cool Podcast. Thanks for bringing us such a large range of topics ! And talking about Wolves … it would be great to have you and Philip Folsom talking about archetype, the hero’s journey and … wolves. He is an expert in cultural anthropology, and has very interesting knowledges about how wolves helped us, humans 35.000 years ago. He is also an expert in resiliency : https://www.linkedin.com/in/philipfolsom/

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