May 6, 2023
From podcast: https://bengreenfieldlife.com/podcast/nathan-riley-podcast/
[00:01:03] Podcast Sponsors
[00:07:26] Who is Dr. Nathan Riley?
[00:12:27] Dr. Nathan's background
[00:19:15] The development of modern medicine and hospitals
[00:27:01] The childbirth as a rite of passage
[00:33:59] Podcast Sponsors
[00:37:14] What should natural birth look like?
[00:46:34] Postpartum care
[00:50:32] Steaming recommendations
[00:56:55] Dr. Nathan's fertility program
[01:13:45] Born Free Method
[01:18:02] Use of cannabis and psychedelics in pregnancy
[01:32:12] Upcoming Event
[01:34:20] End of Podcast
Ben: My name is Ben Greenfield. And, on this episode of the Ben Greenfield Life podcast.
Nathan: When a woman gives birth and actually her partner, when you guys are going through this process, you are transforming. There's an old you that is dying, there's a new version of you that's being born just like with this baby that's coming Earth's side. When women come to me and say, “I felt like I was going to die,” you did die. There was this old identity that is gone. There is a transformation that's going to happen here. And, if we don't honor that as a true ceremony and we don't have a closing piece to that where we integrate the stress of this incredibly challenging experience, a lot of women are left with what they actually report as trauma.
Ben: Faith, family, fitness, health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking and a whole lot more. Welcome to the show.
Let's talk magnesium. Not only does it really, really help with things like constipation and smooth poops, but it is amazing for relaxation at night. And, when you're pushing your brain at high levels, you go through a lot more magnesium. If you're taking nootropic, smart drugs, coffee, stuff like that, magnesium deficiency sets in even faster. Now, the fact is most people are depleted in magnesium. Why? Because we eat food from crappy soil. Soil is overworked, it's mineral depleted, it lacks organic matter. All of those things would normally help plants get minerals from the soil, but now, they don't get as much minerals from the soil. I don't know if this is true, but I read that if you had to eat one orange now, you would have to eat 10 to get the same amount of nutrients and minerals. I don't know about you. I don't have time to unpeel any 10 oranges. And again, I don't know how much research there is behind that, but I do know that soil is less rich in minerals and I do know I feel amazing when I take magnesium.
There's a whole bunch of different forms of magnesium and magnesium can get confusing because there's glycinate and citrate and malate and oxalate and blah, blah, blah, -ate. So, what this company BiOptimizers did is they took the seven most studied and effective forms of magnesium. They shoved them all into one bottle, one formula, so you just get this shotgun formula of magnesium. I take five right now before I go to bed at night. I think the dosage is four to six, but it just solves all the magnesium problems all at once in one fell swoop. And, on a really cognitively demanding day, I'll take even more because magnesium, it works so well. I mean, I could probably take the whole bottle and have side effects, but ultimately, it's a pretty safe supplement too.
So, you get a discount. Not only do you get a discount if you go to MagBreakthrough.com/Ben and use code BEN10, that's BEN10, they're also going to give you a bunch of amazing promos and gifts if you use my code. So, MagBreakthrough.com/Ben and then use code BEN10. It's fun to shop at BiOptimizers because if you're one of my podcast listeners, you add stuff to your cart and all of a sudden all sorts of other amazing goodies you didn't expect wind up in there. You're welcome. So, MagBreakthrough.com/Ben and use promo code BEN10 to try this Magnesium Breakthrough.
Well, you probably know that maintaining muscle health is critically important to longevity and enduring good health in general. And postbiotics, which are the active nutrients your body makes during digestion, are also an emerging research driver of good health. Now, this compound called urolithin-A is one of the only postbiotics shown to have major health benefits and be bioavailable if you're able to get it into your system orally. It can also help to maintain your overall muscle health, which is, of course, very important for longevity and overall good health. That's one of the reasons why exercise and weight training in particular is so good as an age reversal strategy. But, getting high levels of urolithin-A puts the icing on the cake. It upgrades your body's cellular power grid. It gives your body the energy it needs to optimize. 500 milligrams of urolithin-A alone have been shown in clinical studies to significantly increase muscle endurance and muscle strength with no other change in lifestyle, which is pretty significant.
Timeline Nutrition makes this stuff called Mitopure. And, Mitopure is one of my go-tos for increasing my urolithin-A levels. I like to use their little powdered packet. I can just drop it in a smoothie. It's like putting pounds and pounds of blueberries in my smoothie without all of the fructose and carbohydrates and everything else. I have nothing against blueberries, but concentrating some of the good stuff that you would get from blueberries from a high intake of fermented foods et cetera, in one tiny packet of powder is amazing. That's what this Mitopure stuff can do for you.
They not only have the powder, but they also have soft gels and they have a protein powder that combines whey protein with the bioenergetics of Mitopure. So, for any of these, and you can get a mix of all three of them if you want to, you can get 10% off. You go to TimelineNutrition.com/Ben, any of the three products are going to be 10% off. That's TimelineNutrition.com/Ben, T-I-M-E-L-I-N-E-N-U-T-R-I-T-I-O-N, TimelineNutrition.com/Ben. I recommend trying that starter pack with all three formats. So, check them out. It's Mitopure for your urolithin-A.
So, a while ago I did a podcast with these folks that make oil. Now, you've no doubt heard me talk about how seed oils are a huge problem. Vegetable oils are linked to widespread health and environmental issues, yet they're in everything that we eat. They're cheap. They're found in most restaurants and packaged foods even fancy restaurants use them in their dressings and their sauces and their marinades and their cooking oils, but the problem is these seed oils are high in linoleic acid and omega-6 fatty acids. Two things your body needs but not in the amounts you're getting them from seed oil. They're very high in inflammatory promoting compounds if you're eating them in the amount that the average person sometimes even the average healthy person is eating them.
Now, when I interviewed these folks from a farm called Zero Acre, they described this super cool process where they are creating in a planet-friendly way, an oil that's like a vegetable oil but has more monounsaturated fat than even olive oil and avocado oil, 10 times less omega-6 fatty acids than these seed oils, incredibly high smoke point for cooking 485 degrees Fahrenheit, clean neutral taste, so it's perfect for cooking and baking and salad dressings. And, you just use it as a one-to-one replacement for any liquid oil. It's called Zero Acre, Zero Acre. And, at Zero Acre Farms, they make this cultured oil, has 10 times smaller environmental footprint as well. They use recyclable aluminum packaging when they send the bottle of this stuff to your house that totally blocks the UV light, which prevents oxidation of the oil. It's gluten-free, vegan and glyphosate residue free, certified allergen friendly, Whole30 Approved. And, when you get a bottle of this oil, they are going to throw in an exclusive offer.
What you do is you go to ZeroAcre.com/Greenfield. That's Z-E-R-O-A-C-R-E.com/Greenfield. Exclusive offer and discount. You got to try this oil. It's amazing to have on hand. And, I still use some extra virgin olive oil and some avocado oil, a little butter, a little ghee, but this stuff is a staple for anything you want it for. And again, it's neutrally flavored so it works for any recipe without kind of altering the flavor of the recipe. So, check them out, Zero Acre Farms at ZeroAcre.com/Greenfield. And, you can use discount code GREENFIELD.
Alright, folks. My guest on today's podcast, if you wind up watching the video version of today's show, has a neon uterus behind him. You'll learn why he has a neon lit up uterus behind him as we delve into today's show on all things holistic OBGYN. My guest is Dr. Nathan Riley. Nathan, welcome, man.
Nathan: It's good to be here, Ben. Thanks for having me.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. That isn't neon uterus, correct?
Nathan: Yeah. A lot of people, I don't know if they appreciate the complexities of the female anatomy, but just for clarity's sake if you're watching, this is the uterus here and these little tubes on the side, those are the fallopian tubes. And, at the end, you have these little fingerling things called fimbriae. And, on the left side, the fallopian tubes fimbriae are fashioned very characteristically into a middle finger which kind of represents the way I show up in my practice and supporting people who want to have an autonomous experience.
Ben: A uterus flipping someone off. Well, although I know that you kind of give the finger and we'll probably get into this in our show to some modern aspects of the way that baby management, childbirth, and women's health is conducted. So, probably it's fitting. And, if you want to see the giant neon uterus giving the finger or anything else that Nathan and I discussed on today's show, we of course for many of our podcast just now have the video version so you can go watch that and you can delve into the shownotes of everything that Nathan and I talk about if you go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/NathanRiley, Nathan Riley. Just like it sounds, R-I-L-E-Y, BenGreenfieldLife.com/NathanRiley.
And, you know what's interesting, Nathan, and I guess this might give you a little bit of a background on me is I have twin sons. They're 15 now. So, 15 years ago, my wife and I were already pre-tuned into holistic and alternative health concepts. We didn't know as much as we do now, but we knew we wanted to have some semblance of a natural birth. And so, we went to these birthing classes, I think, they were called Lamaze birthing classes where I learned to co-breathe with her. And, we set up one of those little swimming pools in the bedroom. And, we had a couple of doulas over and we had it all planned out as I think that many possibly disillusioned couples do that we're going to have this perfect natural home birth. And, it didn't quite go that way. My wife labored for 12 hours. Her petite hips didn't really seem to be able to get these big old twin boys out of her system. I wound up driving her to the hospital 3:00 a.m. as she's just covered in sweat. And, she's a tough cook. I mean, she's a gritty Montana rancher jean girl. And, I've seen her push through a ton, but she couldn't do it. I suppose in the wild, wild west day, she might have been that person who, no offense, died during childbirth.
And so, I brought her to the hospital, we got a C-section, delivered two beautiful healthy twin boys. I had to navigate through the entire hospital system of them sneaking into the room and taking the boys out. Well, mom and I were asleep and I'd wake up and have to go rescue them from their sugar and vitamin K infusions underneath the lights. And, I don't think anyone was evil at the hospital, they were just practicing what they've been taught. And so, we boogied out of the hospital as soon as we were able to.
Fast forward 15 years, I've learned a ton about natural birth. And, you're one of the leading voices that I found in this sector. Interestingly, you're a dude. I've had folks probably most notably, she's called the Natural Mama, her name is Genevieve on the podcast before and I'll link to that in the shownotes. I've done a few other podcasts on holistic principles for child rearing and having a baby, but I've come across your–well, you have a podcast. What's it called? The Healthy OBGYN?
Nathan: The Holistic OBGYN.
Ben: The Holistic OBGYN. Yeah. And also, you're a board certified, how do you pronounce that? Obstetrician? I always get that one wrong.
Nathan: Board certified obstetrician and gynecologist.
Ben: I'm just going to say OBGYN. And, you actually have a really holistic approach not only to pregnancy and childbirth, but postpartum care and menopause and fertility and fatherhood and this so-called sacred rite of passage, which I'd love to learn a little bit more about. I know you also have this new course that you've developed and I'll put all this stuff in the shownotes at BenGreenfieldLife.com/NathanRiley. But, I'm just stoked to get you on and talk about all this stuff. And, I'm just curious how you got into all this.
Nathan: Well, it starts off 14, 15 years ago. You decide you're going to go into medicine. You take all these tests. You're rewarded with more tests. And, if you rise to the cream, the cream rises to the top, you're rewarded with medical school, then residency. Residency is 100-hour work weeks for four years. You kind of lie about how much time you're spending working because there's these policies in place. They don't want doctors operating on people with no sleep. I also did, by the way, a fellowship in hospice and palliative care, so end of life care. And, I brought those communication skills into my practice as a birth worker as I say.
You look back down this long pathway after investing a half a million dollars in your education and you realize, man, the mystique that drew you into the birth experience. As a man, I'm never going to go through that. So, I'm looking back and it's like, gosh, the mystique has been kind of blown away.
Ben: That wasn't a very progressive thing to say, Nathan.
Nathan: Well, the [00:13:20] _____ is we have XX, we have XY. If you don't have a uterus like the one hanging behind me, it's going to be hard to carry a baby. So, I do care for a lot of people who identify as trans or they're even in heterosexual or let's just say not so heteronormative relationships, but at the end of the day, my expertise is in the physiology, the biochemistry, the neurochemistry of a person who has developed this incredible diurnal and otherwise rhythms within their endocrine system that help you gestate a baby in this sacred womb, this the second chakra, the center of your life force energy. That's a very, very important attribute that women bring into the world. And, it doesn't have anything to do with your divine feminine or divine masculine, of course, we have both of those within each of us, it's really a matter of honoring what is possible. And, women have been completely subjugated over the years whether in the healing professions or otherwise. And, as we've seen our cosmologies change and the women are either valued or devalued with that devaluation of women, we've actually seen the collapse of a lot of our greatest societies in human history.
So, when women say, “Hey, I don't want to hear words like chest feeding or birthing person or whatever,” I honor that. And then, if I have somebody come to me who's like, “Hey, we're in a slightly different arrangement here, I honor that as well, I really want to meet people with compassion and love.” But, at the end of the day, when we're getting into the scientific data, we can't apply data from men to women or to people who are biologically female and expect the same outcomes from those studies. I like to dance here in the gray, but at the end of the day, I stand with women who are pretty compelled to use women centric language. And, that's the language that I tend to use as well. So, that's a little disclaimer I suppose for everybody.
Ben: Yeah. Well, were you raised in kind of a holistic environment before medical school?
Nathan: No, not at all. My dad was a blue-collar HVAC guy, was a Vietnam vet and my mom was a nurse in the system through and through, was an administrator at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Hi, Mom. She was a very powerful administrator, but very much invested in the medical system.
That's why I wanted to go in. I was like, “Wow, these doctors are so great.” And, many doctors who meet me who see that I'm doing things outside of the conventional model, they actually don't have any disdain for me. They actually, I think, in their hearts kind of know that this is really what we all thought we would be doing, which is to see the whole person. I'm seeing you walk in on a treadmill. You're obviously pretty lean. I know that you eat well and all this other stuff. It's more than just there's this person in front of me let's pick apart their organ systems and try to manipulate the diols. There's a whole human history here, the whole human experience. And, that requires us to take into account physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.
So, with these guide posts that led me into medicine, I found that, man, my direct experience with life is not really in alignment with this reductive model that I learned in anatomy class day one of med school where we can cut the body apart and put it back together and we expect the same person to be there afterwards. So, I was questioning this stuff at a very, very early age. And then, by the time I was finished I was determined that I needed to do something differently. And, as a quick aside, the final nudge that I needed–well, I got fired a couple times during COVID for taking off my mask and that type of baloney. That was the final nudge where I was like, “I got to do this my own.” But, Paul Chek, who I think you also know.
Nathan: I was their OBGYN and showed up to take care of Angie not even knowing who they were. And, we ultimately ended up doing a C-section. Talk about long labor like your wife, she was in labor for 36 hours.
Ben: I know Angie. She's pretty tough too anybody married to Paul Chek.
Nathan: Yeah. If you're married to Paul, you better be able to hold your ground. So, Paul and I have become very dear friends ever since then. And, so much so, I've got a natural fertility course at the CHEK Institute and all of that. We can talk about fertility later, but Paul when we met, he was like, “Hey, I really appreciate you loving us through that really hard journey in the hospital. Can you come over and spend some time with me?” And so, I spent a day with him. And, during that, we were stacking some big stones in his rock garden and he said, “You know, you do things a little differently. I wonder what it would feel like to not be a part of the system.” And, the system guy is the medical, you could argue the medical military industrial complex. There's quite a bit of coercion happening within the medical system.
So, he planted that seed and then here I found myself during COVID shortly after the birth of our second baby who actually was born at home, the first was in the hospital. I was like, “We got to go. We got to take out all of the obstacles here and let's really dive into this sort of holistic way of caring for women because that's what they're asking for.”
Ben: Yeah. Yeah. Wow. I alluded to my wife and potentially her being a problematic childbirth especially in the old wild, wild west days, but I kind of think about this as a little bit of a conundrum, right? Because the modern health care system has certainly, and at least from my understanding, reduced a great deal of both mother and baby deaths and resulted in everything from a more hygienic environment to better care for problematic situations during pregnancy, et cetera. But, how do you kind of strike a balance between old-timey old school natural childbirth in which even there might not be epidurals thus allowing the mother to have a more complete and arguably for some people a more sacred experience including the pain of labor and align that with the idea that you don't want moms and babies dying right and left trying to have kids at home not knowing what they're doing.
So, in terms of a birth in a modern hospital, what problems would there be with that? And, how do you align that, I know it's kind of a big question, with the idea of doing things arguably more naturally in a home or in a different environment?
Nathan: Sure. That's a great question, Ben. I think a very, very short little history lesson is in order. You mentioned that, yes, with the advent of modern technologies, hospitals, doctors, training and residency training and surgery and all this stuff, yeah, we have saved quite a number of people as a result. And, by the way, guys, if you get hit by a car, if somebody stabs you in the neck, you're not going to pray your way or biogeometry your way out of that. No infrared sauna is going to fix that, you got to go and get that fixed by the professionals in the hospital. Thank God we have hospitals.
Ben: I'll bet Ayahuasca would fix it.
Nathan: Ayahuasca. I mean, I've heard some pretty profound things.
Ben: Yeah. That's what people are saying these days.
Nathan: Just lean into grandmother, great grandmother. I have no problem with psychedelic use, it's not the solution to your leg that was just amputated by a saw.
So, back around the turn of the 19th century or the 20th century, we had a big–a couple people in our country that had a ton of money compared to everybody else. These are the Carnegies, the Rockefellers, et cetera. There was all these different schools of thought as to what the best healing modalities were, but there was this interest in the German style of medical education which was four years college and then four years of medical school, the people at the time these philanthropists were looking to invest heavily into our medical education in the United States. So, they hired a guy named Abraham Flexner.
He published a report in 1910 after traveling the country looking at every medical training program out there: Homeopathy, chiropractics, Chinese medicine, herbalism, whatever. And, those schools that were most aligned with this German style of medical education were those that were heavily financed. Oftentimes, in historically at the cost of all these other modalities, they're now seeing a resurgence. I haven't been to a doctor for a long time, but I have been to a chiropractor. I've been to a homeopathy practitioner. I've gone, like you, we've kind of are exploring how can I fix myself using the most natural means possible to achieve homeostasis through the lens of salutogenesis. Meaning, what can I give you, Ben, for you to reharmonize with your surroundings?
Ben: Or, at least perhaps a non-pharmaceutical or preventive approach.
Nathan: Yeah, exactly. Pharmaceuticals and surgery are now the purview of this conventional medical model that we're talking about. So, when this happened and along with midwifery, all of these other programs kind of fizzled and there was this kind of outcasting of this is the right way to do it. The German-style medical education and everything else is inferior. And, the legacy of that has been perpetuated further and we know that.
So, let's go back a little further in history. Why was the German-style medical education so preferred? Well, way back, I mean, we're talking 16th century, we're looking at Rene Descartes, Francis Bacon, the church was in control of everything. And, in order for us to dissect into bodies, we had to philosophize our way around this dilemma that the spirit and the soul were intimately connected to the body. We couldn't separate those things. So, the church wasn't going to let us dissect. So, we were still using texts from a thousand years ago up until the 15th, 16th centuries when we finally had some of these philosophers argue perhaps correctly that, “Hey, the body is the body and then we've got the soul and the spirit.” And, when they effectively argued that, we could now understand the physiology of the cardiovascular system, et cetera, because we could dissect into dead bodies.
So, that sounds great. It led to incredible advents in our understanding of the complexities of physiology and anatomy. The problem was that we have actually doubled and tripled down on that over the past several hundred years. And, what that has resulted now in is in a maternity care system that sees the human body as merely a machine. So, physiologic birth is, “Hey, the physiology is the only thing that matters.” It doesn't matter what the experience of the person is. It doesn't matter if there's more to this than just a medical procedure or pregnancy seen as a disease, we have the tools now to control everything. And, we have seen how our attempts to control nature have failed us in agriculture and forestry and land management, and water management. We can mimic nature, but we can't do it perfectly.
So, why is this relevant to maternity care? At the turn of the century when this Flexner report came out and the midwives were forced, I mean let alone hundreds of years of midwives having to practice underground because they were the only people that peasant women in these feudalistic societies could afford. These midwives continue to provide care. But, when the modern hospital system emerged in the early 20th century, we actually didn't see a benefit to moms and babies. In fact, we saw a precipitous increase in maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity.
But, then germ theory entered. And, we actually developed septic techniques to clean our instruments and whatnot. And then, there was this burst of that bubble and we saw a precipitous decline in the mortality and morbidity. And, that was the final straw that our society needed to entrust everything to the medical-industrial complex. And now, we are 2023 and we're not doing much better than we were several decades ago with regards to maternal mortality, neonatal mortality. And, in fact, compared to the rest of the developed world, despite us spending trillions of dollars a year on our health care, we are not seeing any better results than a vast majority of developed nations in the world.
And, the reason for that is partly because we're doing way too many C-sections, one-third of babies are coming through the abdomen. And, that is not people like your wife who were really, really going for a home birth, for a vaginal birth. These are scheduled C-sections because babies better out than in. We can control that environment. We don't have to go through all the rigors of labor and all this other stuff. And, I don't believe any of that, but that's sort of the justification I think we as doctors are sort of led to believe. The other thing is we're inducing birth. We're getting birth going before the mom and the baby have had this sacred sort of union where they decide it's time to go into that experience.
So, when you start inducing a labor early, when you do a C-section that's perhaps unnecessary because the baby's butt down, for example, you set them up for all kinds of issues later with subsequent pregnancies. You also with induction get them on this cascade of interventions that leads to all sorts of crappy things that can happen later in that labor process that we as the heroes come in and say, “Thank God, you were here in the hospital.” But, they wouldn't even have needed that heroic support had we not done all these interventions that got them off of the path of nature.
Ben: That's interesting. Your description of the advent of technology and a more modern streamlined birth kind of reminds me of that old Monty Python skit where they got, I don't know if you saw that one, they got all these different pieces of technology over the birthing room and they're paying attention to their computer and the blip blips and everything. But, nobody's actually paying attention to the actual mom. I'll try and find a link to that skit because it just reminds me exactly what you're talking about. I'll put it in the shownotes.
But, the interesting thing when you bring up C-section, if you would rewind maybe, I don't know, 10, 12 years ago, I would have said, “Oh, well, the problem with the C-section is that the baby isn't getting exposed to the natural flora that they might get when passing through the vaginal canal. And therefore, there might be a little bit of a delay in the development of their immune system.” And, I think I even came across data that it takes until a child is around 7 years old or so to actually regain the normal flora that they would have gotten from passing through mom's birth canal. Arguably, you could probably fix that with exposure to farm animals, noots and probiotics and other methods. But, not nonetheless, I was concerned about it from a hygienic standpoint, the distinction between the C-section and the vaginal birth.
Yet now, and I think you might have some thoughts on this, it seems to me that scheduling a C-section and simply pulling the baby out of the mother reduces a lot of the sacredness and even as I mentioned earlier perhaps even the pain from the childbirth process. Talk to me about that. What we're missing out on was something a C-section when it comes to the full birth experience?
Nathan: Yeah. I mean, that's a big question, Ben. That's an hour-long conversation there. So, when I use the word “sacred,” let me let me actually use instead the word “rite of passage.” With any true initiation death is on the line, there was a West African author, I can't remember his name, Sumei is his last name, but he said that in one of his beautiful books, “In any true initiation, death is on the line.” And, when I say that around childbirth, people were thinking like, “I can die” and yeah, you could die but the likelihood of you physically not breathing and your heart beating after a birth is, at least in our country and really most of the world, it's way less than 0.01%. It's a highly unlikely scenario that a woman will die in childbirth.
However, when a woman gives birth and actually her partner, when you guys are going through this process, you are transforming. There's an old you that is dying, there's a new version of you that's being born just like with this baby that's coming Earth's side. So, what I mean when I say that it's a rite of passage, it's a true initiation, is that when women come to me and say, “I felt like I was going to die,” you did die. There was this old identity that is gone and there is nothing safe about that. It's just like doing a big dose of mushrooms or something. There's nothing safe about that if you go in with the wrong set and setting. There is a transformation that's going to happen here. And, if we don't honor that as a true ceremony and we don't have a closing piece to that where we integrate the stress of this incredibly challenging experience, a lot of women are left with what they actually report as trauma.
So, even women who have natural uncomplicated undisturbed births in the hospital, perhaps they had somebody shove their hand in their vagina without getting full consent, their body was saying, “No,” but somebody was holding their arms and legs back because I need to check on the baby, they shove their hand in there. And, even though they had an unmedicated birth, no epidural, nothing like that a vaginal birth, they feel something was wrong.
So, I'm helping women unpack this trauma and I'm realizing that because we're not honoring this experience of a person, I used to have attendings the supervising doctor knows and residency say, “This birth plan thing is ridiculous.” You don't bring in the flight plan for the pilot of the airplane. But, that reflects that we have some sort of control over this. This is something that is far deeper than a medical procedure. And, when we don't treat it as a medical procedure, that stress of this really exciting experience, sometimes ecstatic, sometimes scary as hell doesn't get integrated appropriately. And, that is probably a definition that even Gabor Mate would agree with that unintegrated stress is actually what leads to this trauma pattern in the future.
Ben: Trauma is just a long-term series of disconnections to true self as Gabor would argue.
As you bring this up, it makes me question a little bit what the alternative would look, what in your idea kind of like that, not there's a gold standard, but what a natural birthing process would look like and just one thing I'd throw into what you just described, although these may seem trite examples compared to a birthing process. It's like an Ironman Triathlon, I wouldn't pick you up in a helicopter and drop you off at the finish line, it's going to be a far more transformative experience to train for nine months leading up to that race and putting all the blood, sweat and tears and suffering during the actual race to actually make that metal that gets hung around your neck at the finish or I guess, in this case, Ironman baby a lot more rewarding.
And, there are of course hundreds of other analogies that I'm sure people could draw up in terms of the difficulty of a process resulting in a greater reward afterwards. Greg McKeown, his book, “Essentialism,” says that we should be asking ourselves the question, “What if this were easy?” And, trying to find the easiest way, but you also need to take that with a grain of salt and understand that sometimes the easiest way is not the most character-building or transformative way. And, sometimes doing things the harder way has some beneficial side effects.
Nathan: Yeah. And, let me spin on that for a minute because I love “Essentialism.” I think that actually is a bit of a reflection as to how I've been really trying to live my life since getting fired from the system for the mask thing.
And, by the way, in case you haven't heard that story, I was caring for a guy who's 95 at the end of his life; hasn't seen family, hasn't been touched for 18 months, locked away in a cell and people are sliding food through his door and closing it. He just was desperate to have some love at the end of his life and I gave him that. I mean, I would argue it's the right thing to do, but when that happened, I had to really, really kind of reconcile what is really needed for this person right now. What is actually happening here? And, what does an easy birth actually mean? On one hand, we have people giving birth at home. My wife, a very, very brief story, her water's opened at 5:00 p.m. on our guessed date, which is the due date. I call it a guessed date because you don't really know. It could be off two beats.
Ben: I like that, “guessed date.”
Nathan: Her water's opened at 5:00 p.m. We called our breathwork friend. She's an Effiji breathworker, Sarah Charmoli. She lives in Louisville. She came over. We started breathing at 6:00. I went into tetany. I was out in outer space by 6:45. We're talking an hour and 45 after labor started. Our baby was out. The portal opened. Baby Everly Rose came out asleep on my wife's chest and the portal closed. If we're going to talk about easy, that is way easier than having a C-section. It is way easier than being in a hospital, being induced for two days just under the semblance of this sort of notion, this illusion of safety provided by the hospital.
Now, that's not to say we don't need hospitals. There are some reasons why we should induce. There are some reasons why we should do C-sections, but we shouldn't be inducing one-third and doing C-sections on one-third of pregnancies. So, we have to reimagine what does “easy” mean. You are creating other issues by doing the C-section, especially if you're going to have multiple pregnancies, which could be far harder than actually going through this process of integrating the sort of sacred ritual of giving birth vaginally. And, it's also not for everybody. There's not a right answer here.
But, when women say, “Hey, I want to have a home birth, we in the medical profession should not treat that as a stupid, uninformed, naive decision.” There's a really, really good reason for us to honor birth. And, I would argue if we want to fix any of these big problems we see in the world and we can't even get birth right, the only thing that's helping us stay alive as a species and relevant here on this planet, I think we need to get birth right, I think we need to reimagine what easy birth actually means because my wife described hers as ecstatic. It was a pleasurable experience.
Ben: There is a delicious superfood berry blend of premium organic superfoods; adaptogens, antioxidants, a clinically proven dose of cordyceps mushroom, which is incredibly powerful in and of itself, total boost in nitric oxide levels, zero caffeine, and only 2 grams of sugar. This stuff is so versatile. Not only do I put it into an icy cold water Nalgene bottle, I can make a thick creamy coconut milk smoothie out of it. I can use it as a meat rub. It's so versatile and it's called Organifi Red Juice.
Everything that's good for your blood, they put it in there; high-quality freeze-dried berries. And, that freeze-drying process preserves nutrients that enhances bioavailability. 100% whole food beets and not just beets. Freeze-dried berry blend contains blueberries, acai, and pomegranates. Pomegranates are amazing, by the way. If you don't use that–I was looking at a study the other day, it literally scrubs the arteries in the heart. I mean, it's so good for the blood. Raspberry, strawberry, cranberries, cordyceps, like I mentioned, Siberian ginseng, reishi mushroom, rhodiola, and they pack all this together into one mighty juice that is 100% USDA certified organic, gluten-free, glyphosate residue-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegan, non-GMO, 100% organic whole food.
I'm going to give you 20% off this stuff. Go to organifi.com/Ben. That's Organifi with an i.com/Ben. And, that'll get you everything you need from Organifi including that Red Juice that I just told you about. It's absolutely amazing.
You guys know how I feel about fitness and nutrition and how your daily habits impact your health, your longevity, your productivity. What you may not know is that I have trained up a whole team of coaches. These are amazing individuals who have gone through a whole series of modules, and programs, and lessons from me. They meet with me every month and they are well, well-trained in all my methodologies. They can take all the guesswork out of planning solutions for your nutrition and your fitness. Whether you want to run a marathon, do a triathlon, or a Spartan Race. Whether you're just trying to sleep better. Whether you're looking for better brain performance. Whether you're looking for age reversal strategies, biohacking strategies, they know it all.
It's a huge waste of your time and energy to follow some random fitness plan or approach your nutrition without a thought-out personalized approach. But, you can take the guesswork out of it all and get the results that you really want by working with one of my coaches at bengreenfieldcoaching.com. All the plans totally customized to your lifestyle and your bio-individuality. We've got full levels of support from easy-to-follow plans all the way to constant support VIP status accountability from highly trained coaches. All the latest biohacking recommendations we dig deep.
It's more than just workout and here's what to eat. It's way more than that. You're going to be super-duper well cared for with any of our coaches. And, if you want to finally take the guesswork out of your training, out of your eating, out of your supplementation, out of everything you do and you want to implement a lot of the kind of stuff you hear about on this podcast that you read me writing about, then you definitely want to work with one of my coaches.
I can only coach so many people that's why I trained up these coaches to do the same type of stuff that I do using the same approach so they've all been vetted heavily. And, you can check them out at bengreenfieldcoaching.com and reach your goals more quickly, more safely, and more effectively today.
Let's put a wand in your hand and make you the home birth fairy and you were to kind of wave it around and implement a few things that you think would be recommended for a natural birth or a home birth. I don't know if you put scenarios like that together, but especially for people who might not even be familiar with that, or maybe somebody's listening and they're like, “Oh, I'd love for my baby” or maybe somebody's listening you want to talk to the children since their grandbaby, we want to talk about natural birth. What does it actually look like?
Nathan: Well, I'll take you through an exercise I do with all of my couples who come to me for pregnancy support. I care for people across the world.
Ben: Oh, you mean like telemedicine?
Nathan: Yeah, everything I do is remote, unless they're close enough to me and I can drive to their home birth which I do.
Ben: Yeah. And, you're in Kentucky, right?
Nathan: Yeah, Louisville, Kentucky. So, my last clients that I attended their home birth, they lived up near Lake Michigan in the Gary, Indiana area. And, they also had a 20-minute labor. I didn't even get there in time. It was so fast but they had really dialed in their lifestyle and everything. So, they had this really easy beautiful birth as well at home. But anyways, the exercise that I ask everybody and I'll ask you now is if you actually close your eyes, maybe not because you're walking on a treadmill, but if you really kind of tap into your inner space there, what do you imagine? Imagine you and–your wife's name is Jessica?
Ben: Jessa. Yeah, Jessica.
Nathan: So, imagine you and Jessa are going to have another baby. Let's just play hypothetical here. What does the room feel like to you as you're welcoming in this–let's say it's a little girl this time. She's coming, what does the room feel like to you? What does it smell like? What sounds you're hearing? Who is there? What are you tasting? So, just do that exercise for me. What would that ideal experience, that sacred experience feel like for you?
Ben: It would be peaceful. It would be ceremonial. There would be music for a really relaxing and peaceful music. There would probably be incense or aromatherapy in the room. There would likely be lighting but very soft natural lighting. There would be comfortable bedding and my wife would feel like she was in the place of safety and trust. There would be supported loved ones gathered around if that my wife wishes to have people in the room like her family members or my family members or me or our sons to support. And, there would probably also be someone there to help us feel confident whether a physician or a doula or a midwife to help out with the process. And, that would be very peaceful and ceremonial setting.
Nathan: Well, the reason I had you do that Ben is that when I ask people that question, they say the exact same thing.
Ben: Oh, and there'd be a lot of really white walls and bright overhead fluorescent light also.
Nathan: Oh, you forgot about that and the beeping.
Ben: Lots of beeps. Yeah.
Nathan: You left out all the stuff that we expect in the hospital.
Nathan: So, you mentioned a really important thing there, and that was where your wife feels safe. So, anybody listening, wherever you actually feel the most seen, the most witnessed, wherever you feel the best cared for, that is the best place to have a baby. It may be a free birth out in the woods or in the water with the dolphins or whatever. Wherever you feel that that's the best place, that is actually relevant because if you're not feeling safe, if you're feeling stressed out, we get this surge of catecholamines which actually counteracts the love hormone oxytocin. I won't get too far into oxytocin, but that is a lecture series all on its own. So, that safety piece is advertised by the hospitals, but all those things that you mentioned at the very end.
Let's actually just walk through what a hospital birth looks like. You're on your back usually. You're in this uncomfortable bed wearing the starchy kind of uncomfortable scratchy gown. Your baby emerges after they're yelling at you. They're pulling your knees back to your head. There's all this cacophony of noise in the room. The baby emerges. They immediately cut the cord although some hospitals are now finally opening up to the idea that we're going to let it pulsate for 60 seconds.
The last birth I was at just the one in Indiana, I think we waited 90 minutes before we even addressed the cord or the placenta or anything. So, they clamp the cord, they cut it, they get the baby dried off, they dress the baby up in a little burrito outfit. They put eye goop on the on the baby's eyes, a little hat. They maybe even stick in their foot injecting vitamin K. And then, eventually, they get the baby on your chest.
But, in the meantime, they're touching you, they're probing you. There's these bright lights. There's beeping for days on end. All this in and out, people coming in and out, maybe not even introducing themselves. That is the reality of what the hospital experience looks like. I think we should improve upon the hospital experience. And, is it possible to have the birth that you just described, your dream birth, or just as dream birth? Is it possible to do that in the hospital? And, many would argue no. And, my clients are sort of deliberately choosing home birth because they had something bad or something that didn't feel right in the hospital setting.
Ben: Yeah. You'd certainly have to change the birthing environment in a hospital. There'd have to be special rooms in the hospital in which they literally fabricated something close to a home scenario in order for something like that to occur.
Nathan: Well, yeah. And, I mean, the water in the hospital–so, Paul Chek, when he came in and was caring for Angie, he brought his water which he uses those big charging stations and whatnot for natural water that he charges. And, he was like, “Taste this water and taste this water.” And, he gave me a blind taste test, the Pepsi Coke challenge, or whatever. And, his water was effervescent. It tasted good. It felt good. That water felt dead. And, we won't get into Schauberger's work and a lot of the great. Well, heck, your dad freaking sold me my whole house system. I mean, there's a lot of great insights now, Gerald Pollack‘s work into the quality of water. But, let's then go to the food. We've got vegetable oil-laden food in the hospital cafeteria. We've got Coke and Pepsi products. We've got all this sugary crap there. Then, we have a building that is vibrating with EMF. We've got bright ultraviolet lights. No red light therapy in the hospitals. No amber lighting. The sounds are just piercing. Imagine dying in the hospital with those sounds. The environment in the hospital is great for acute care.
Is pregnancy a disease that needs hospital supervision? I would argue no. And, part of it is because our metrics are only looking at, is the mom and baby alive afterwards? And, if so, then we did a good job. But, the encumbered sort of essence that women come out of that experience with many women, not all women, and their partners and their babies and then get home, it's like a burden, they just shrugged the weight of the world off their shoulders. They're back at home in their bed with their kitchen with all their healthy foods with no EMF at night. They're turning their routers off. They're actually be able to be still for once.
In the hospital system, we've got important metrics. We're probably overly focused on blood loss and infection rates and everything at the cost of all these other aspects that I think are equally beneficial, not to mention least of which you mentioned when your babies aren't able to root around on the chest because they've got eye goop and they're bundled up like this. They're not able to root around and connect to them to their mother or their father immediately after birth. They've been inside there for nine and a half months and now you're going to strip them away and put them somewhere else. Babies do so well when they're just right on the chest.
I could go on like this for hours, Ben. I'll stop there. I mean, it's such a stark contrast, the two environments.
Ben: Why do you keep the cord attached?
Nathan: There's no reason not to keep it attached. So, there's this stuff along the cord. The cord has three vessels and there's this Wharton's jelly that coats the entire cord. And, the Wharton's jelly when it's exposed to slightly colder temperatures in the body than your core temperature, it actually contracts. It's sort of cooling Jell-o. It contracts. And, that actually causes a compression of the umbilical veins. So, the reason that that's relevant is that the cord will naturally stop pulsating and you have no transfer of anything thereafter. The reason we started clamping it early on was that at one point, we actually thought that colostrum was dangerous for babies. And, you and I both know that colostrum has come a long way since then, but we don't want the baby to get that colostrum. We don't know what that stuff is. It's not milk, whatever. I mean, we're talking 100-plus years ago.
Now, we know that colostrum is really, really healthy, but we haven't divorced ourselves from this routine habituated practice of clamp it as quickly as possible. Heaven forbid, the baby gets a little bit of extra blood. The big fear is that the baby's going to get too much blood and end up with hemochromatosis, way too much heme iron in their system and they end up cranking on us later, but I've never ever seen that happen.
Ben: Yeah. It's kind of funny you bring up colostrum because I thought it might be a good idea for some kind of a futuristic supplements company to simply specialize in birth care products because colostrum is fantastic for sealing the lining of the gut, which is one of the reasons it's in breast milk because babies have a little bit of a natural leaky gut. And then, there's this stuff called vernix. I think it's a bacterial flora from amniotic fluid. And, I do know there's one researcher, I forget his name, but he actually has a supplements company where they're developing what are called peri probiotics from this vernix from this amniotic fluid. And then, of course, you can sell some placental smoothie powder on the side and there you have it, all sorts of lovely nutrients in the birthing room.
As far as after the birth has occurred, are there any particular things that you really prioritize from a postpartum care standpoint?
Nathan: Yeah, absolutely. So, the first thing to remember, there's a great book out there called “The First 40 Days.” And, I have a friend who's a Chinese medicine doc who actually contributed to the course that I'm launching here in a few weeks, the Born Free Method (use code BEN10 to save 10%). Valery Jacobson, she's not out there in the space, she's just doing her work. She's actually pregnant as well. But, she contributed a whole 30-minute lesson on nourishing the yin and yang after you had a baby. And, some of the Eastern philosophies I think have a much better approach to what is needed in that postpartum period. So, you're depleted in yin and yang. You're depleted in life force energy through and through. And, those first 40 days, although I would argue the first 12 months is a time to really start to nourish yourself, to replete yourself not just of the nutrients. Let's not magnify this to individual nutrients. It's the entire essence of who you are needs to be re-equilibrated with your new environment with this new baby.
What I recommend people do is to try to nest and rest for those first six weeks. And, that doesn't mean you're just laying in bed lifeless, it means it doesn't mean you're not going outside, it means that you're actually just giving yourself some time to heal. And again, when we talk about holism, it's on my shirt right here, we're talking about physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. So, this is where we start to close the ceremony circle. This is where we really integrate what did I just go through, what was this to me. So, this is where journaling exercises from intimacy reconnecting with your partner this new relationship you have. And, I don't mean having sex, I mean, being still together, holding one another, listening to one another's heartbeats. Heart therapy can be very helpful at this time. But, first and foremost, if none of those things sound interesting to you, eating all of nature's multivitamins which are by the way the same foods I recommend preconception up to 120 days before birth. And, you're no stranger to this, neither is your audience, but really, really healthy organ meats, fermented cod liver oil, or really any really high quality fish oil.
Ben: Sounds like a Weston A. Price diet.
Nathan: Eat Weston A. Price and you're going to be covered. I'm giving those best bang for your buck from conception all the way through postpartum. Eggs and bivalve shellfish are going to be through and through. You're going to be as healthy as can be even if you're not able to go out to whole foods and spend $2,000 a month on groceries. There's some very, very easy ways here to nourish yourself.
Ben: And, by the way, I should include there's a one-pager that spells out the details of the Weston A. Price diet. I'll hunt it down and put it in the shownotes. Yeah, because you got ferments and bone broth. Were you just talking about teas?
Nathan: Well, I was just saying focusing on those foods that are going to warm you, externally warm but they may be cooling, very yin nourishing. So, a peppermint, hot peppermint tea, those types of things really, really go well in that postpartum period. If people are breastfeeding, staying very well hydrated, vaginal steaming can actually be really, really impactful in the healing process, which I can get into later if you'd like. You just became a parent. Whether it's your seventh baby or your first, honor this moment. This is such a great ride that you're on. And, you don't have to become a parent to stand in adulthood. I don't believe that. But, if you are going to become a parent, this is the ultimate initiation into adulthood that now this little person here is going to be looking to you to keep it alive and to love it through its ups, its downs. I should say his or her ups and downs. You are now a parent. And, for those dads out there, the roles and responsibilities of a father nowadays are more critical than ever. This is an opportunity to really lean into the experience and to consider that your time is not your currency, it's your presence that's your currency. That has served me through and through, Ben.
Ben: It's so cool.
By the way, you brought up steaming. I had read up on its benefits about three months ago for male prostate health and sexual health and also a pelvic floor relaxation prior to something like a morning bowel movement. And, I had a wooden box in the garage and cut a hole in the top, made some tea, put it in there, took the lid off the tea, and kind of sat there and played my Italian Duolingo for a little while. And, since then, I actually got to see, I think, a Leiamoon. I got to see. It's like Cadillac. It's got infrared light and a done-for-you steamer and it's a full meal deal. Two or three times a month, I'll still sit on that thing and do meditation or prayer or still, yeah, a little bit Duolingo. But, talk to me about steaming and especially how it fits into your practice, your recommendations?
Nathan: Right. Well, we've talked so much about pregnancy and postpartum. I will start by saying if you're pregnant officially, it's contraindicated to steam while you're pregnant. What we're talking about is boiling herbs. There's a hot pot of water and you squat over it or you get a stool like Ben has. There's a hole there and the steam comes up and flushes over your external genitalia. For a woman, that's the vulva, the perineum around the anus goes into the vagina, in through the cervix, through the tubes, hits the ovaries on the outside. It fills kind of the pelvis and abdominal cavity with this really healing, let's say, blood engorging steam. It doesn't burn you. It doesn't hurt. It's really a matter of getting blood flow to all these critical parts. I use this in my fertility practice. I use this across the board. This is something really, really important.
In pregnancy, you can actually use it to help prepare the tissues in the pelvis for childbirth. So, 37, 38 weeks, you can start doing this a couple times per week. It'll help to actually nourish those tissues, helping them become a little bit more elastic. It helps the connective tissue, all those collagen-containing constituents of your pelvis, which has to open up. It actually can help to kind of get the pelvis and the body ready. It's not on ways of inducing you, it's really a matter of preparing the body for this thing that's happening. So, that's one use.
And then, in the postpartum period, yeah, the steam actually–remember, it's not just helping to nourish the tissues by improving blood flow by opening up all these little capillaries and blood vessels, it's also whatever the herbal constituents are that you use there. And, there's a variety of different blends that the Steamy Chick on her website that she sells. I just send people there whenever I have an idea as to what they need. You can use these herbs to also provide some medicinal healing properties to the tissues themselves. And man, they've actually studied this in the postpartum period. Kelly actually helped lead the study with Kimberly and Johnson. And, women within a matter of days, their tissues are back together, their pelvic floor feels relaxed again. It's also a moment to just do some self-reflection sitting for 20 minutes on the stool, having some bend time to do some Duolingo. That's actually really important as a part of the slowing down process.
But, let me extend it further, because actually, the vast majority of women who I recommend steaming for are people who have the common women's health issues that their doctor is recommending either pharmaceuticals, especially birth control or surgery to fix. So, this goes from recurrent infections in the vagina or bladder, cervical infections, STIs, early cervical dysplasia, which can lead to cervical cancer if that viral message isn't fully integrated into your corpus. The uterine fibroids, abnormal periods for any reason, uterine polyps, early endometrial atypia, which is the precursor to endometrial cancer, tubal disease from maybe a past gonorrheal infection. We can clear out the scar tissue in the tubes. It can help to improve blood flow to the ovaries. So, a lot of my PCOS clients, they actually find that they can start ovulating again. In addition to the steaming, we're doing a lot of lifestyle modification. But, the applications for this are far-ranging. Endometriosis is a huge thing for women in our country. So, this steaming practice has a number of ways that it works. I think the mechanism is a little bit unclear still, but this is an ancient practice, Ben, that predates modern medicine by thousands of years.
Ben: Yeah. Just because I only have so much time, like I mentioned, do it two or three times a month. But, in an ideal scenario, how often are you recommending that women, for example, steam?
Nathan: Well, for most women, it's usually three days before their bleed and then three days after their bleed stops.
Ben: And, it's like a 20, 30-minute steam?
Nathan: Yeah. You could do it for longer. A pot of boiling water is only going to have so much steam coming out of it for so long. But, you can actually put it onto a heating element.
Ben: Yeah. That's what mine has, the Leiamoon just keeps it a certain temperature.
Nathan: Yeah. It's like a little, not a Bunsen burner, but a hot plate under there that just keeps it going. So, for most women, if it's your first time, I don't even recommend using any herbs. Just get a hot pot of water and boil the water and then squat over top of it with a blanket around your waist so the steam doesn't escape it just kind of goes up in there and just see how you feel. If you feel like a hell yes, I really like that, then we can go a little further. And, I always offer people, go to my website, send me an email and I'll set you up with a free steaming consultation because it's so–if I wanted to get rich, I'd be out doing C-sections and GYN surgery. This steaming thing is such an easy intervention that almost everybody's going to benefit even if you don't have an active complaint. I just think it's a really, really nice sort of self-care thing we can do whether you have a vulva or a penis. I actually steam myself.
Ben: I was just going to ask you if you steam.
Nathan: Yeah. Well, I had a really bad jock itch from probably stress, probably jiu-jitsu, whatever. It would come and go with stress or if I was eating too much sugar, of course. And, I was like, “Let me just try this out.” I got some of Keli Garza's cooling herbs. And, I made a little pot of water and I sat on there. I got a bedside commode that they used in old people's homes and whatnot.
Nathan: I got the commode for five bucks. The herbs were 10 bucks. And, I popped it under their hot water. And, within a matter of days, it was completely gone. So now, that doesn't address the upstream cause, perhaps I need to get my gut in order, maybe I had some other medical things that was under a lot of stress. But, for the time being, while we're trying to fix these other issues, your cervical disease or your endometrial issues, your abnormal periods, your painful periods, your endometriosis, we can use this as a far less invasive intervention than pharmaceuticals, birth control, surgery and whatever else your doctors have to offer.
Ben: Yeah. And, it feels really nice.
Although correct me if I'm wrong, I actually wanted to ask you about fertility. I would imagine just because heating the nether regions for a guy is contraindicated for fertility, which is why it's a good idea to avoid saunas and hot tubs, et cetera. I suspect that steaming for a guy, I think it's called lingam steaming. And, guys do it probably wouldn't be great if you're trying to maintain or upregulate fertility. Do you have any comments on that? Feel free. And, I'm just curious about your overall methods for fertility enhancement in general because I know that's also a specialty of yours.
Nathan: Well, fortunately, I currently have a track record of a 100% with my fertility program.
Ben: No way. Wow.
Nathan: I just stop and just say I have 100% track record and then I never have to change the numbers. People find me usually before or maybe after they had an IVF sort of process that didn't go the way that they wanted to. They find that if IVF didn't work or if they're kind of wincing at the IVF cost, which on average across the United States is somewhere between $12,000 and $15,000, the most recent couple that went through my fertility program, the lowest cost that they were estimated in their city was 18 grand and they got pregnant. My program is about 6 grand.
Ben: And, that's just like an online program?
Nathan: It's all remote. Exactly, yeah. And, they get a big box of stuff. So, I'll walk you through what I do so that you can understand. I'm not using hormone therapy. I'm not going to be doing any surgery. I can order labs and imaging, but usually, those things have already been done as a part of their OBGYN workup. So, what typically people have happen is they haven't gotten pregnant in a year of trying, meaning penis and vagina ejaculate, no baby in nine and a half months for a year. They haven't found that success and their OBGYN wants them to go and see the REI. So, reproductive endocrinology and infertility is what it used to be called. They may have changed their name a little bit since then. But, what that is is basically, we're going to hijack your hormone system in order to force your body to get pregnant. Failing to realize that there's a signal here. If you're not finding fertility to be easy as everybody else seems to have it, there must be something upstream that's causing that.
And, before I go into the women's side of this, men, 40 to 50% percent of fertility challenges are due to our relatively low sperm counts, low motility, low morphology. And, what all that means is that there is something that we men are doing that is causing this precipitous decline in fertility rates, specifically when we look at sperm counts and motility as that's declined over the past several decades. And, I don't think it would be any surprise to your listeners to know that, “Hey, you've got four powerful modems in this guy right here. You're putting it in your pocket and it's sitting centimeters from your gonads just blasting it with some pretty powerful radio waves.”
Ben: That's actually been fleshed out in research, by the way, if anybody wants to look it up in terms of sperm morphology and exposure to cell phone and close proximity.
Nathan: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So, the first thing I tell people is turn your Wi-Fi router off at night. Get this thing out of your pocket if you have to have it near you, just have it on airplane mode until you need it. That's already better than most others. But, we also have these 5G Towers popping up everywhere. It's something we should be concerned about. But then, some of the other things like you said, no more prolonged hot sauna use.
Ben: Or, if you do use that new–have you seen the ball-cooling underwear, Nathan? I'm not trying to have a baby right now, but I just suspect possibly there might be potentially downregulation of the activity of the Leydig cells in the testes with repeated heat exposure. And, I've thought about getting a pair of those just for my sauna. But, yeah, apparently keeps your balls cool.
Nathan: If you want to do it together, we'll do an NF2 trial and we can send our semen off and get [01:00:32] _____
Ben: It sounds like a fun trial, at least parts of it. Anyways, I totally derailed you. Keep going.
Nathan: Oh, it's okay, it's okay. So, that type of stuff, there's some research out of Scandinavia that has shown that prolonged sauna use is potentially going to be detrimental. If you're having fertility challenges, consider that. There's a variety of nutrients I get guys eating. Actually, I tell them to go and eat smoked oysters, three cans per week. That's my prescription ad. There's selenium, molybdenum, zinc, magnesium, fatty acids, all the stuff that your testicles are going to use in order to create as many great sperm as you can.
So, even if your doctor told you I have a normal semen analysis, consider the range of normal. It's like 20 million to 200 million per ejaculate. We want to get that number up as high as we can if we're sort of even contemplating going down the 18K route of IVF. So, adding those nutrients CoQ10 can help be helpful, a bunch of fish oil, that type of stuff can be really helpful along with the Weston A. Price's, their sort of foundational principles. I also tell people lose your bike shorts. I was also an Ironman distance triathlete. And, I still was biking to work in fellowship in San Diego every single day and my wife and I weren't getting pregnant. I lost the underwear. I lost the bike shorts. I started supplementing, doing some supplementing. I actually cut my exercise down because my adrenals were being skunked from too much exercise and too little sleep and too much stress at work as a fellow at UCSD.
So, improving sleep and all that other stuff, eventually my wife was like, “Listen, you're stressed out about this. Let me take this into my court.” And, she started tracking her cervical fluid and whatnot and I'll get into that when we get into the women's side. She started tracking those things which were physiologic markers of which of the four phases you're at within your menstrual cycle and within a cycle or tube band, we were pregnant. And gosh, the elation, it was sheer elation, I was so exuberantly stoked that we were pregnant. And, I really wanted to give that to other people, which is why I'm taking this approach.
Ben: Yeah. By the way, just a quick note for the minute, we conceived the week after my Ironman, one of my Ironman triathlons, but I always trained on one of those, I think it was Selle Italia I think made, S-E-L-L-A–although there's other manufacturers out there. I use one of those bike saddles that has kind of a hole for your balls and a split up the middle of the seat. So, there's very little pressure on my nether regions while cycling. Your sit bones take a little bit more of a hit. You got to build a little bit of a butt callous, but apparently, I was fertile after racing Ironman. I don't know how much of it was attributed to the seat, maybe I should write them a thank you letter but that was my method.
Nathan: Well, let's consider the whole picture, Ben. You've taken very, very good care of yourself, you like to optimize your nutrition. You're drinking healthy water, like a living water we should say. You're doing a lot of other things that also supports healthy spermatogenesis, the development of healthy sperm. If you take the average American and we add all of those factors in together, it's not just the bike shorts, you also have to stop eating some junky stuff. We have to get your body nourished. We have to get your stress levels controlled. If you're in a state of stress for man or a woman, all the time and you're dumping cortisol into your bloodstream, your HPA, your HPATG gonadal axes is going to prioritize resources towards getting away from the lion versus creating babies. It's not a good time to create babies if we're in this constant state of stress.
So, for both people, whether an Ironman distance triathlete or whatever, if you can do any of these things, it's going to at least improve the likelihood. I like to get everything dialed in. so, we're just talking about some of the basics.
Now, on the women's side, there are so many factors. There's vulvar, vaginal, cervical, endometrial, meaning the inside of the uterus, fallopian tube, ovaries, your other hormonal pathways, all of these is relevant. I want to pause there because we're getting into the nitty-gritty what actually I think helps most of all and we can talk, I mean, really all the stuff I'm applying to the men I'm also applying to the women. And, in addition, we do something called a DUTCH test, which is an incredible–I should totally talk to you about that at some point, a DUTCH test.
Ben: Yeah, I implement it with all my clients.
Nathan: Oh, perfect, amazing.
Ben: Dried urine test for hormones. And, I like it just because you get the same hormonal analysis as you do via blood work and saliva but then also upstream and downstream metabolites of those hormones. So, if cortisol is elevated, maybe you don't have excess adrenal output, you have poor cortisol clearance due to hypothyroidism or something like that. You can really unlock the hormonal picture or reveal it a lot more easily.
Nathan: That's right. That's right. And then, we can also see, are you ovulating? Are you getting enough progesterone from the corpus luteum that results in the ovary after you ovulate it? I mean, there's so much we can do with that. I also do a stool analysis on all of the women in my practice. And, part of that is, for example, if you have hyperactive beta-glucuronidase activity, which is produced by C. diff and some other species of the gut flora, you can actually cleave off a part of the metabolized estrogen and then it gets reabsorbed. So, you have people that are in hyper estrogenic state and we don't know why, your adrenals, your gonads, everything seems to be working well but it's actually a gut issue. So, those two together provide some foundational work for us to start dialing in lifestyle.
But, even before we do all of that, Ben, I include biogeometry signatures, I include tangerine quartz to work on some second chakra creative expression issues for these couples. I give them four different books. I mean, it's a packed supplements, organ meats, whatever. I give them all of that to start. But, the first thing I have them do is to write a mission statement. What are you guys doing here? What is your purpose here? What are we trying to achieve? And then, I follow that up with a 10-day connection challenge because a lot of couples who are on this fertility path, they have started to lose track of the big picture. Their sex has become mechanical. Intimacy is out the window. It's a matter of, okay, the pee strip turned, we have to have sex right now. It's time to have sex. And, that is not a fun way to make a baby. If we look at this through the lens of conscious conception, what if the spirit of this baby, the soul of this baby is waiting for the right time to come into your womb, but mommy and daddy are just not on the same page?
So, I do a mission statement. I have them write it up and paste it in their bathroom, in their kitchen, in their bedroom. This is what we're going to work on together hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder. And then, we do a 10-day connection challenge. And, it's really ramping up the sort of intimacy practices that I think are very, very critical for people who are on this fertility challenge. So, it starts with hand-holding, with foot rubs, with dancing in the room, not even touching, just dance to a favorite song together, start to express with one another, start to be vulnerable with one another. And, it leads all the way up to things like genital massage through your clothes, no orgasm, we're just going to play here. Getting people to reconnect, actually, I think is the most critical part and probably the primary reason that my program works so well.
Ben: Wow. By the way, breathwork also. My wife and I, we do breathwork sessions regularly together. There's even an app I like to use for this even though it's a little bit weird to have some random stranger's voice playing in the speakers walking through your breathwork, but it does seem to work. It's got nice music. We use an app called Othership for this. And, it involves just basically clothes or nude, tantric style breathwork with breath locks and eye gazing. And, it's a more intimate connection than we'd ever get on any random date night. So, I think breathwork is amazing for that as well.
And, when you talk about conscious conception, Nathan, it reminds me of a discussion that I had with my friend Adam Wenguer, and I'll link to that in the shownotes if you go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/NathanRiley. We talked for a while about fertility. He tried for a long time. He lists a whole bunch of his methods as well, which even included things like CBD and certain plant medicines, et cetera. But, he used a daily meditation and visualization to visualize his child being brought forth into the world. They successfully conceived and with many of these multimodal practices who's to say what worked and what stacked on top of each other. But, that was a fascinating interview.
And then, you just brought up biogeometry. I know that's another one of those hour-long discussions, but for those of you curious about it–speaking of Paul Chek, he and I talked about it and he also has a fantastic interview on biogeometry. So, I'll link to my interview with Paul Chek in which we discussed it and also his interview with Dr. Karim who came up with that. We've done a full biogeometry workup of our house as well and implemented that. But, in brief, why would you use biogeometry for fertility or for birthing, Nathan?
Nathan: Well, a big part of is, so a lot of people are like, “That's so woo-woo.” Well, I would conjecture people to think of about how little we actually know about conception. This egg is sitting there. It's this giant vacuolated egg. It's the only human cell that's visible to the eye. You can actually have it on your fingernail and you wouldn't be able to see it. It's still small but you could see it. When we look at it under a high-power microscope during IVF and we introduce sperm, we can look at the egg and see what happens. The sperm rushed this egg, they all start lining up around it until one breaks through. There's this explosion. It's zinc-mediated there's this flash of light and stuff starts working. And, another part of the mystery that I don't fully understand is the eggs always rotate counterclockwise whenever these sperm line up around it. I don't know if it's because it produces a centrifugal force that pushes out against the walls to prevent it from collapsing. I don't know but it's pretty fascinating.
So, anyways, now we've got these two gametes, the sperm and egg have met. Now what? We get these millions of divisions. These cells just start dividing rapidly. And, if you look at a zebrafish on a time-lapse, you'll see the cells divide, divide, divide, divide, and you can see them all kind of moving to a place somewhere in this little zebrafish organism. And, they don't know where they're going. We don't know where they're going, but there seems to be a plan here.
Now, you could say through the Christian lens, of course, there's a plan, God made it that way or we can investigate further, we could look outside of those bounds. And, we can ask ourselves, what perhaps could be happening here? These cells seem to be respectfully nudging against one another, finding their way. And, if you go to Cymatics videos where they vibrate a tin play with a bunch of sand on it, you get these incredible geometric patterns. You can see this in 3D with gel-like substances as well. When you course a certain frequency of sound wave through that body or on the tin plate, these patterns emerge. Well, it strikes me as very, very similar to that video of the zebrafish time-lapse where these cells are all going to some space within this sort of three-dimensional object without really knowing where they're going. There's something there that's helping to facilitate this. We can call it God's spirit, the field. I'm borrowing from Taggart's work.
And, the reason I bring all of that up is that right now, wherever you're sitting in the world, you're probably being sort of bathed in radio frequency. It's kind of that question. You can try to EMF the hell out of your house like Ben or Luke Storey or whatever, but there's still going to be something around in your wave, your space. Go deep into the Amazon, you're not going to have that. Why is this relevant? Well, if we don't have a better explanation as to how these cells know where to go, then interfering with this field that could potentially be the answer. Perhaps, let's just say it can be dissuade from its normal operations in this early embryogenesis when the embryo is forming. If biogeometry can mitigate the influences of this bath of radio waves that we're in, then perhaps it can actually lead us to less fertility challenges, let's just say. Of course, we have to consider everything else that's at play, but again, I'm trying to do it all in the most succinct and precise way that I can knowing that every single person is going to be very, very individual.
Ben: Yeah, it's fascinating stuff. I think it's both. I think it's the miraculous way in which God designed the universe combined with the advanced physics and mathematical algorithms built into the university, a fantastic book called “Quantum God,” which goes into this idea, and also if you're more of a visual person, the website inspiring philosophy. One of my favorite websites on religious philosophy has an entire 12-part video series called, I believe it's called Quantum God also or The Quantum of God, and it'd really help for folks who want to wrap their head around things like sacred geometry and mathematics in the universe, particularly quantum mathematics and physics. So, it's absolutely fascinating.
You brought up cymatics. I also love Cymatics. My wife and I recorded each of us saying “I love you” to each other. And then, I believe the website is Sound Made Visible. They'll turn that into beautiful poster art that's a graphical representation of the sound waves of digital voice signatures. And so, that's hanging in our bedroom, well, “I love you, Jessa” signature, her “I love you, Ben” signature. So, if you're listening and you haven't looked into Cymatics or Cymatics, it's also fascinating.
Nathan: It's really interesting, yeah.
Ben: Yeah. Nathan, do you teach a lot of this stuff? You have this Born Free Method (use code BEN10 to save 10%) I know you're in the process of launching or bringing to the world. You already do a lot of telemedicine as we've discussed and you have some programs on fertility, et cetera, that you alluded to and I'll hunt down links to all of that and have them in the shownotes. But, tell me about this Born Free method.
Nathan: Yeah. So, the Born Free Method (use code BEN10 to save 10%) was my answer and it's actually a collaborative effort with Sara Rosser who's one of the farm midwives. Ina May is sort of a spokesperson for the resurgence of midwifery in a contemporary lens in the United States. And, of course, midwifery did not start here in the United States. There's a lineage of women caring for women passing down this knowledge over the Millennia. And, mostly from the East Asian, the African diaspora, South America, all of this knowledge in traditional midwifery is honored by midwives. And so, I don't call myself a midwife because I feel that would be a little bit of a, I don't know, it'd be kind of spinning in the face of this incredible ancestral history. But, having said that, Ina May and a group of midwives traveled across the country back in the '60s and '70s, planted themselves in Summertown, Tennessee, and they have people from around the world that come there to give birth through the lens of autonomy historically.
We started as a commune cannabis farm, all of that, they had their own book, printing press, and all this other stuff. Well, the youngest midwife there is one of my dearest friends. Her name is Sara Rosser. And, she and I sort of shared frustrations with the, not just the medical industrial complex. That's easy. We were also frustrated with the resources that were available to women and men who were going to be getting pregnant or were currently pregnant as far as not just educating themselves on the information but applying that information through the lens of radical responsibility, informed consent, and really owning your decisions and the outcomes of those decisions, and really even more so than that, seeing birth not as a medical procedure but a spiritual opportunity, as a spiritual unfolding. There's a sacredness to this. If we can restore that in the ways that we've already said, we're going to see the world improve thereafter. So, a lot of courses out there do a lot of here's the evidence, the information, let's magnify it. And then, a lot of others are not talking about the evidence at all. So, we have people that are kind of they want a little bit of both and we put together, I think, the ultimate most comprehensive pregnancy postpartum support course in the world. I mean, there's nothing like the Born Free Method (use code BEN10 to save 10%).
Ben: Wow. Okay, cool. Man, I wish this had existed back in the day when I was going through all of this, it would have been a life send. I'll link to that. I'll hunt down all this stuff. I'll link to the shownotes if you go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/NathanRiley. That one's called the Born Free Method.
Nathan, I could probably fire questions at you about childbirth all day long, but I know your website's a fantastic resource, your podcast is holistic, OBGYN, right?
Nathan: That's right.
Ben: Cool. And, if you're listening and you have questions or comments or feedback and you want to add them to the shownotes, again, go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/NathanRiley.
Nathan: Yeah. For anybody out there who's interested in the Born Free Method, I also want to add that it's not just an eight-week course where we get into vaccines and vitamin K and there's a whole unit for dads, there's a whole unit on psychedelic and cannabis use in pregnancy and postpartum. These are resources that are not available anywhere. And, we really did a really diligent job in making it as unbiased as possible. In addition to the course, you're actually buying into a 12-month experience where you're going to be joining me and Sara for weekly calls for the entire 12 months that you're enrolled. So, this is a really great opportunity to have a journey with us in order to really lean into the upcoming parenthood that you're about to experience, the sacred unfolding that is birth. And, I just appreciate Ben for having me on and letting me spin my wheels a little bit. It's been a lot of fun.
Ben: Oh, amazing. Final comment since it's April 20th, I'll have to make it on Sunday three days ago, I was out with my buddies playing frisbee golf and we came up to the next pad and there was a couple there and they were high as a kite. You could smell some skunk weed about a mile away and they had a little baby stroller, they were just pushing down the path, and it just made me wonder about secondhand smoke exposure and babies. And so, when you're pairing cannabis with babies or cannabis with childbirth, please operate responsibly. I'm sure you talk about that plenty in the Born Free Method.
Ben: So, maybe I will throw this last thing in there.
THC, I believe that can have an impairment in fertility, can't it, versus some of the other cannabidiols?
Nathan: We actually don't know. So, the studies that have been done if they have been looking specifically at THC, they're using extracts. So, one of the only randomized controlled trials that was well enough done that I'm willing to cite, it was looking at 30 women who were non-users of cannabis, 30 women who were users. And, they were all smoking it. I don't smoke anything really ever. I vaporize and that type of thing, but not with a vape pen but with an organic tobacco drive vaporizer using a VOLCANO–
Ben: Right, like VOLCANO. Yeah.
Nathan: Yeah, yeah. These women in this study were actually smoking it and they were all in Jamaica. They were all from a lower socioeconomic background and they followed up with the kids that were born to these women five years afterwards and there was a wash in their assessments of their childhood development. And, if anything, there was actually a slight benefit on those seated through those studies for those babies that were born to women who were using cannabis. Can we use that study alone to justify anything? Hell no. We need far more data. What I will say is that as we're starting to modify these products, we're starting to synthesize and delta 9 and all this other stuff, we're messing with nature, which goes back to the very beginning of our conversation. The more natural something is, the more likely it's actually going to be safe, so to speak, and perhaps even beneficial.
There are communities–let's look at psychedelics. I know that you've had a mixed history with psychedelics, but there are certain communities in the Amazon River base in Santo Daime, these communities where they actually hold ayahuasca as revere, as a deity. Those kids there are getting exposed to ayahuasca before, during, and after pregnancy throughout. It's like part of their culture. And, they're not performing any worse and perhaps even better depending on the cultural lens as to what you would consider good or bad childhood development in the Amazon River base. And, you're not in the U.S., you're not stuck in this quagmire that is the U.S. society. In many regards, they might not want to be a part of that and perhaps utilizing ayahuasca helps keep them from this sort of the insanity sometimes, this productivity rat race thing where we're all siloed off and there's not a lot of community, who knows. But, we haven't found from at least psilocybin, ayahuasca, and cannabis, I haven't seen any definitive evidence that it's actually harmful.
Ben: Yeah. That's useful and who knows, maybe it's all those magic mushrooms in Jamaica inducing neuroplasticity in a child. That could also have an effect because that's all over down there. Yeah, my take on the plant medicine piece is basically I think that a scenario in which people are using it as an alternative to God as escapism or sometimes even just a noble excuse to do drugs is a sad and dishonorable use of these compounds.
I also think that the purposes of using psychedelics for divination which they actually work for, I mean, you can get a lot of interesting messages from the spirit world using psychedelics for divination is actually at least for Christians forbidden in the Bible is pharmakeia. So, although I think that they can be used for that, for me, it would be hypocritical for me to use them as such. For things like trauma, end-of-life therapy, microdosing, and responsible usage that doesn't involve one replacing God or replacing relationship community, family, or sometimes even just fasting and being in nature and doing the hard work I think that there can be a proper set and setting.
And then, where I really, really draw the line is taking a heroic dose of psilocybin, laying back, and asking the universe what would you have for me to see. Just for me, that's exactly what for my handbook for life, the Bible, expressly remarks could be dangerous, I suspect, because it is a very intense experiencing of God without a true knowing of God. That comes through things like prayer, devotion, chopping wood, carrying water, doing the hard work, et cetera. And, I've actually paradoxically seen in particular Christians who turn to plant medicine winding up having kind of a starved spiritual life outside of their use of plant medicine. So, there's something else we could unpack for a long time, but that's kind of my general take on it.
Nathan: Can I give a tiny little bit of resistance? Would that be cool?
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
Nathan: I remember reading, I think, it was a three-part series you did and it got me very thoughtful about it because I used to be the guy that was like the Johnny Appleseed of psychedelics like, “Everybody should do this” and then I started learning a little bit more about what my relationship was to that. I mean, this is years ago. And, since then, it's something that's very personal to me. And, I will say that your experience through growing up as a Christian and utilizing the Bible as a means of guiding you in life. I actually think that's very beautiful. I'm really curious about your take on this. Given how many times it's been translated, and cut and pasted, and re-imagined and rewritten, and whatever, stuff being omitted, stuff being added, could it be that sort of in the lens of “Stealing Fire,” Jamie Wheal, I'm sure you're familiar with that, could it be that that the original Eucharist was a psychedelic and perhaps that was a little too close to God and it would have tarnished these control systems that perhaps otherwise the church would have loved to utilize against the populations?
Ben: Yeah. Related to your first point, there are certainly a host of inconsistencies and errors in the Bible because it's been drawn from so many different manuscripts. Those errors primarily are things like geographics, present past tense usage, et cetera. Things like the Ten Commandments, for example, those are pretty accurate translations and things that appear to be very relevant and important in the Bible such as, did Jesus die or did he not? Did He rise or did He not? Are the Ten Commandments an actual thing or even the multiple uses in very kind of stern and forbidden language of the use of the word “pharmakeia” make me want to play it safe so to speak?
And so, the Bible does have on the flip side thousands and thousands of manuscripts that define the fact that it's got a lot of evidence behind it, but some things do get lost or mistranslated. However, those are not the things that are say relevant to one's salvation or the very big things. It's pretty tough to base on the manuscripts that exist, misinterpret something like pharmakeia or the Ten Commandments or the birth of Jesus.
So, that's one thing that I would think about. And then, there's a great deal of psychedelic usage especially in the early Christian Church. I mean, Brian Muraresku has proved that pretty definitively in his book, but yet, for example, one of the churches that engaged in that pretty heavily was the Church of Corinthians. Paul wrote a very stern warning to the Corinthians about their use of substances and some of the things like orgies and practices that were weaving their way into the church that did not seem to align well at all with the Torah nor with Jesus's teachings.
And so, despite it being a part of early Christianity, for me, this kind of falls into the category of, well, Christians and organized religion, in general, have done a great deal of harm to the world in the past. And, there's been many, many errors that have been made. You don't necessarily throw the baby out with the bath water nor do you say that just because something was practiced in a religion at one time that that makes it an acceptable part of the religion nor something that is approved by that religion's key text if that makes sense.
Nathan: Yeah. I think one of the big apprehensions I hear from people a lot who have really invested a lot of their life into the study of the Bible and whatnot is that they start to realize like, “Whoa, maybe the church didn't want us to take these–”
Ben: Yeah, hidden knowledge. Yeah.
Nathan: Because it would have allowed us to bypass their power structures. Do you have any thoughts on that?
Ben: Yeah. I've got a whole textbook, three-part textbook, “The Hidden Teachings of Christian Mysticism,” and I've read them all cover to cover. And, there was a great deal of mysticism as well as plant medicine usage early in the church as a way to unlock the keys to the kingdom, so to speak, or to divine with the spiritual world. And, that had certainly come across as sending a message to people that this is hidden or forbidden knowledge and it's protected from the people who might need it most or who might benefit from it.
Therefore, we should somehow make it public and get rid of the gate that holds it back from the people; Whereas, my take on it because I've read that entire series and absolutely fascinated with it, but when I read the Bible and it says that the only way to God is through Jesus Christ and also does things like forbid practices such as mysticism or witchcraft or the occult or pharmakeia, I find mysticism and the places you can go with plant medicine absolutely fascinating. And, I suspect that possibly when I receive Eternal Life and get to Heaven that I'm going to have a lot of foreknowledge and a lot of bliss that I can get from those things here on Earth, but that I potentially risk losing based on my interpretation of the Bible if I practice that stuff here in this life.
So, despite me being intrigued with it and seeing a lot of benefit from it, for me, it's just a big old red warning sign on a lot of the popular usages of it. And so, I do not think it should be open and accessible and heavily encouraged that specifically divination through plant medicines or entheogenic use in the church community nor do I think it should be gated and held only for the higher-ups in the church. I think it should be questioned altogether in terms of its religious context for things like divination.
Nathan: When was your first experience with mushrooms or plant medicines? I'm curious.
Ben: I was probably 30, 32.
Nathan: Do you think that those experiences helped to invalidate maybe some of your feelings about God or do you think it brought you closer to God and now you have the tools and you can say, “This is not actually the way I want to go”?
Ben: Yeah, yeah. I have no regrets, only gratefulness for all my experiences in life. But, if I could go back over again, I wouldn't use plant medicines for divination. I think that I was in sin in doing so based on the use of what would be called “pharmakeia” in the Bible. So, yeah, it's one of those things where I was fine. I had wonderful experiences, but I can't say I can come back from all that and recommend it to others at least in the context that I was using it.
Nathan: Totally. Yeah, I hear you. I hear you. Yeah, I wonder how many people may find they're like atheistic, there's nothing out there and then bam, they take a big dose of mushrooms and they're like, “I have things to explore.” I just wonder about that. I mean–
Ben: Yeah, there's very few atheists who will do a plant medicine experience and remain atheists. However, the problem with that is I think it does threaten to send a message to the world that you need these types of substances to find and experience God when I think that the message should be more simplistic than that.
Nathan: Yeah. I mean, not to mention so many people that are in the psychedelic space, they went to Burning Man, did some mushrooms and they come back and think they're a shaman. They haven't really done the integrative work and really kind of leaned inward. In fact, they keep chasing that. I used to work in the hospitals as you know and when I left, that was after our first baby. I had given a talk, a lunchtime talk around psychedelics for existential pain and distress at end of life.
And then, I left, but the chaplains that were there listening, they remembered my talk and when another chaplain was recruited from another hospital from out of state and they arrived there, they were excited about the prospect of maybe talking about psychedelics with somebody at the hospital that I used to work at. And, one of the chaplains said, “Hey, new chaplain, you should reach out to Dr. Riley, he used to work here. I think he would be helpful to you.” And, this is a person who has dedicated their entire educational process to divinity and trying to understand some of these ancient texts and how to relate to people from these various backgrounds. And, they were starting to be questioning a little bit like, “Am I on the wrong path?” They were starting to go through some rough life experiences. I offered them a journey and they came out of that and it re-established their faith.
Nathan: In other words, every single person's experience is completely different. Are there people that I think probably should do some more internal work before they do these medicines? Absolutely. Is this a way of escaping whatever you're not wanting to face? Hell no, you still have to do the work.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. And, I mean, you're talking to a guy who 20 feet away from us has an entire closet full of DMT, LSD, psilocybin, ayahuasca, everything that is out there I have all the way down to injectable ketamine and I use that stuff very precisely like a laser knife, and then extremely careful with it. And, I think the main thing that's changed for me over the past years is heroic dosages or the use of them for divination is a thing of the past. And so, yeah, but it's interesting what you talk about too for the fertility piece and what I talked with Adam about. So, I'm personally going to check out the Born Free Method (use code BEN10 to save 10%) and I feel like you and I could almost do a whole other podcast on plant medicines. So, maybe we lined that up for round two, and for the people who turned it off thinking that we were just about to wrap up for those of you who stuck around, there you go. But, there's what you have for desserts and things to think about.
So, folks, go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/NathanRiley to delve more deeply into everything that Nathan has to offer and to leave your own questions comments and feedback about the birthing process, about fertility, even now about plant medicines. And, I love and welcome all thoughts out there. So, Nathan, once again, thanks so much, man.
Nathan: Thanks, brother. Appreciate it.
Ben: I am coming to London June 16th through the 18th and I'm going to be a part of the Health Optimisation Summit over there. If you go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/Calendar, you can check out that event. Fantastic. Kind of like biohacking meets wellness meets massive health technology expo. But, while I'm there, I'm going to be in London with my whole family and we're actually going to head to Italy afterwards and cycle through Italy. But, I decided to put on a very special private, intimate VIP event with me while I am in London. It's at this crazy place called HUM2N, HUM2N, like human except of the 2.
So, HUM2N Labs, they are a creme de la creme biohacking facility. I mean, the best hyperbaric chambers, amazing selection of IVs, super nutrient cocktails, cryotherapy, red light therapy. We're basically going to party and biohack and do a Q&A with me and the fine proprietor of that facility, Dr. E, who's a wealth of knowledge in and of himself at that event. It's Monday, June 19th, so it's going to be private networking, live Q&A, great food, great cocktail/mocktails, experiential biohacks, a variety of healthy gourmet foods is just going to be really amazing. You're going to get a swag bag too. Your swag bag includes super nutrient IV, cryotherapy, red light therapy, and hyperbaric oxygen. That's worth 750 pounds alone. Then you got the H2MN supplements. They're going to give you their brain sharpener and their super blend protein. You get a travel voucher to take you to and from the event, meaning using a company called UONO. They will bring you to and from the event if you have trouble finding it or don't want to drive.
So, there's a lot more that go into those swag bag too. But, right now, I have to tell you, this thing is going to fill up fast. It's in London, June 19th, and you get there by going to BenGreenfieldLife.com/HUM2NLondon. That's BenGreenfieldLife.com/HUM2NLondon. And, that will allow you to claim your spot at this fantastic event. So, BenGreenfieldLife.com/HUM2NLondon
More than ever these days, people like you and me need a fresh entertaining, well-informed, and often outside-the-box approach to discovering the health, and happiness, and hope that we all crave. So, I hope I've been able to do that for you on this episode today. And, if you liked it or if you love what I'm up to, then please leave me a review on your preferred podcast listening channel wherever that might be, and just find the Ben Greenfield Life episode. Say something nice. Thanks so much. It means a lot.
-Dr. Nathan Riley…07:26
- Preparation for a natural home birth of Ben’s sons
- Ben’s wife ended up in hospital with C-section
- since then, Ben has learned a lot about natural birth
- Podcast with Genevieve Howland:
- The Holistic OBGYN Podcast
- Dr. Nathan Riley is an obstetrician and gynecologist
- Holistic Gynecology & Pregnancy Support (use code BEN200 to save $200 off the 6-hr fertility program package)
-Dr. Nathan’s background…12:26
- Medical school
- Residency – 100-hr work week
- Also did a fellowship in Hospice and Palliative care
- Expertise in gynecology
- Dr. Nathan’s dad was a blue collar guy and a Vietnam vet
- mom was a nurse and administrator in the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
- Questioned a lot of stuff he learned in medical school
- Decided to do things on his own
- How Nathan and Paul Chek became close friends
- Podcasts with Paul Chek:
- BioGeometry Protection Of Your Home, Plant Medicine, Parenting, Stacking Rocks, Stages Of Human Consciousness & More With Paul Chek.
- Heavy Rock Lifting, Building Your Own “Water Charging” Station, Biomechanical Fixes, Plant Medicine Journeys & More.
- The 3 Key Steps To Intuitive Eating, Ego Dissolution, Raising & Educating Children In A Modern Era & More.
- Why Humans Need Winter, How Too Much Christmas Is Dangerous, Rites Of Passage & More.
- Wanted to be out of the medical system
- Holistic caring for women
-The development of modern medicine and hospitals…18:47
- At the beginning of the 20th century, German style medical education became prevalent
- 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school
- Philanthropists wanted to invest heavily into medical education in U.S.
- Abraham Flexner
- Medical training programs like homeopathy, chiropractic, herbalism and other modalities were ignored as inferior
- Schools that were most aligned to the German style medical education were heavily financed
- pharmaceuticals and surgery
- Why did that happen?
- The church didn’t want to let doctors dissect
- Doctors were using very old texts up to 15-16th century
- Philosophers argued that there the body is separate from the soul and spirit
- made dissection possible
- Today we look at the body as merely a machine
- Physiology is the only thing that matters in birth
- pregnancy is seen as a disease
- The development of hospitals in the early 20th century was not seen as a benefit to mothers and babies
- Germ theory and septic techniques led to a decline in mortality and morbidity
- Today, we are doing unnecessary C-sections and inducing birth
- Monty Python's The Meaning of Life – The Miracle of Birth
-Childbirth as a rite of passage…27:10
- In every true initiation, death is on the line
- Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic, and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman by Malidoma Patrice Somé
- Childbirth is the same, but it’s highly unlikely for a woman to die
- Childbirth is a rite of passage
- the old identity dies
- a transformation happens
- If we don’t honor it, it leaves trauma even if it goes smoothly
- Giving birth is far more than a medical procedure
- Gabor Maté
- Ben’s analogy with Ironman triathlon
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
- Dr. Nathan's story about getting fired during COVID
- Dr. Nathan’s wife giving birth
- C-sections and induced birth
- sometimes needed
- can lead to other problems
- We need to reimagine what an easy birth is
-What should natural birth look like?…37:14
- Imagine the birth of your child and describe the experience
- Ben’s would be safe, peaceful and ceremonial setting, comfortable
- most people say the same
- The best place for birth is where you feel safe
- Hospital births
- on your back on an uncomfortable bed
- noisy environment, beeping, yelling
- people coming in and out
- bright lights
- People are deliberately choosing home birth because of the bad experience in the hospital
- The quality of water and food in hospitals
- Is pregnancy a disease that needs hospital supervision?
- Why does Dr. Nathan keep the cord attached?
- Colostrum was thought to be bad for babies
- VernX Peribiotics
- The First 40 Days by Heng Ou
- Dr. Nathan’s Born Free Method (use code BEN10 to save 10%)
- Valerie Jacobson contributed to the course
- Some eastern philosophies have a better approach to what is needed in the postpartum period
- The first 12 months is the time to replenish the whole being
- For the first 6 weeks – nest and rest – give some time to heal
- taking care of spiritual, mental, physical wellbeing and relationships
- Eating healthy food – The Weston A. Price diet
- Weston A. Price resource page
- Vaginal steaming for the healing process
- Slow down and honor the moment
- The role of the father is more critical than ever
- presence is the currency, not time
- How to steam genitalia?
- In pregnancy, it prepares the tissue of the pelvis for the birth
- In postpartum, the steam heals the tissue
- The Steamy Chick
- Treating common medical issues with steaming
- recurring infections in the vagina or bladder
- cervical infections
- Early cervical dysplasia – can lead to cervical cancer
- abnormal periods
- uterine polyps
- endometrial atypia which can lead to endometriosis
- tubal disease
- Steaming is an ancient practice that predates modern medicine by thousands of years
- How often is it recommended
- 3 days before and 3 after bleeding for 30 minutes or longer
- Boiling water can be used
- Go to Beloved Holistics, send Dr. Nathan an email for a free steaming consultation
-Dr. Nathan’s fertility program…56:53
- 100% track record
- Holistic Gynecology & Pregnancy Support (use code BEN200 to save $200 off the 6-hr fertility program package)
- IVF in the U.S. costs between $12k to $15k
- Dr. Nathan's program costs around $6k
- Modern medicine forces body to get pregnant
- There must be something that's causes infertility
- Men – 40% to 50% of fertility challenges are due to relatively low sperm count, low motility, low morphology
- Selle Italia bike saddles
- Women – vulvar, vaginal, cervical, endometrial
- tantric breath work
- Podcast with Adam Wenguer:
- Paul Chek's podcast interview with Dr. Ibrahim Karim
- Radio waves are all around us
- They can interfere into the early embryo genesis
- The Quantum Gods by Jeffrey Love
- Inspiring Philosophy
- Sound Made Visible
-Born Free Method…1:13:45
- Born Free Method (use code BEN10 to save 10%) is a collaborative effort with Sarah Rosser
- spokesperson for the resurgence of midwifery in contemporary U.S.
- Holistic Gynecology & Pregnancy Support (use code BEN200 to save $200 off the 6-hr fertility program package)
- The Farm Midwifery Center
- Ina May Gaskin
- Birth should not be seen as a medical procedure
- it should be seen as a spiritual opportunity
- Restore the sacredness of birth
- Unique pregnancy and postpartum course
- great opportunity for a 12-month journey
-Use of cannabis and psychedelics in pregnancy…1:17:27
- A study with Jamaican women smoking cannabis
- not enough data
- The more natural something is, the more likely it's actually going to be safe
- The use of psychedelics in pregnancy among communities in Amazon
- no definitive proof that it is harmful
- Psychedelics for divination is forbidden for Christians
- Dr. Nathan’s stance on psychedelics
- Stealing Fire by Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal
- Was the original Eucharist a psychedelic?
- Apostle Paul warned the Corinthians about the use of substances
- that doesn’t align with Torah or Jesus’s teaching
- The Hidden Teachings of Christian Mysticism, Part 1. by Jerry Johnson
- Ben’s thoughts on psychedelics and plant medicine
- Dr. Nathan and a chaplain’s psychedelic journey
-And much more…
- Health Optimisation Summit: June 17th – 18th, 2023
Join me at The Health Optimisation Summit in London! This is your chance to be part of a community of 2,500 like-minded people and learn from world-leading health speakers. You'll be able to fast-track your health journey, discover cutting-edge secrets and hacks, explore the latest tech and gadgets, and find the cleanest and healthiest supplements and nutrient-dense foods. Don't miss out on this incredible experience! Use code BENGREENFIELD for 10% off regular and VIP tickets. Learn more here.
- HUM2N Event: June 19th, 2023
Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to learn from the best in the field and take your biohacking journey to the next level. You’ll get the chance to be involved with a private network of biohackers, a live discussion with myself and Dr. E, a live Q&A, an experiential biohacking experience, tasty food, and a chance to win some mind-blowing prizes! Learn more here.
- Keep up on Ben's LIVE appearances by following bengreenfieldfitness.com/calendar!
Resources from this episode:
– Dr. Nathan Riley:
– Podcasts And Articles:
- Sex, Coffee & Chocolate While Pregnant, Babies On Airplanes, Eating Placentas & More: The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth
- BioGeometry Protection Of Your Home, Plant Medicine, Parenting, Stacking Rocks, Stages Of Human Consciousness & More With Paul Chek.
- Heavy Rock Lifting, Building Your Own “Water Charging” Station, Biomechanical Fixes, Plant Medicine Journeys & More.
- The 3 Key Steps To Intuitive Eating, Ego Dissolution, Raising & Educating Children In A Modern Era & More.
- Why Humans Need Winter, How Too Much Christmas Is Dangerous, Rites Of Passage & More.
- Fertility Secrets You’ve Never Heard Of, Overcoming Painkiller Addiction, & Meditation Tips With Adam Wenguer the Founder of Element Health.
- What Is The Perfect Human Diet? Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced Meal Plans From Ben Greenfield That Tell You Exactly How To Eat For Your Unique Body.
- How To Steam Your Nether Regions For Better Blood Flow, Pelvic Floor Health, Digestion & Much More: Rediscovering The Ancient Practice Of Vaginal Steaming For Health and Healing – Part 2.
- How To Steam Your Nether Regions For Better Blood Flow, Pelvic Floor Health, Digestion & Much More: Rediscovering The Ancient Practice Of Vaginal Steaming For Health and Healing – Part 1.
- The Big Problem With “Plant Medicines”: Part 2
- The Big Problem With “Plant Medicines”: Part 1
- Of Water and the Spirit by Malidoma Patrice Somé
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
- The First 40 Days by Heng Ou
- The Quantum Gods by Jeffrey Love
- Stealing Fire by Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal
- The Hidden Teachings of Christian Mysticism, Part 1. by Jerry Johnson
– Other Resources:
- Abraham Flexner
- Gabor Maté
- VernX Peribiotics
- The Steamy Chick
- Smoked Oysters
- Selle Italia
- DUTCH test
- Complete Gut Stool Analysis
- The Farm Midwifery Center
BiOptimizers Magnesium Breakthrough: The 7 essential forms of magnesium included in this full spectrum serving help you relax, unwind, and turn off your active brain after a long and stressful day so you can rest peacefully and wake up feeling refreshed, vibrant, and alert. On top of the promo code ben10 for a 10% discount, you can unlock a special gift with purchase – for a limited time only. Go to magbreakthrough.com/ben now and get your gift.
Zero Acre: Zero Acre Cultured Oil is an all-purpose cooking oil, with over 90% heart-healthy and heat-stable monounsaturated fat. Head over to zeroacre.com/GREENFIELD and use code GREENFIELD at checkout to claim this deal.
Organifi Red Juice: Recharge your mind and body with a delicious superfood berry blend of premium, organic superfoods that contain potent adaptogens, antioxidants, and a clinical dose of cordyceps. Increase energy and boost nitric oxide levels with zero caffeine and only 2 grams of sugar. Go to organifi.com/Ben for 20% off your order.
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. Visit BenGreenfieldCoaching.com to learn more about which plan might be right for you.