November 17, 2018
[0:00:00] Podcast Intro
[0:00:59] About the Podcast
[0:05:07] Podcast Sponsors
[0:06:32] Start of Audio Recording of eBook: Children as Superhumans
[0:09:12] Let Them Get Dirty
[00:13:10] Let Your Kids Eat Lots of Fat
[0:15:10] Let Your Kids Fight
[0:16:56] Let Your Kids Stand A Lot
[0:18:33] Let Their Feet Free
[0:21:18] Letting the Kids Be Free
[0:24:06] Podcast Sponsors
[0:26:52] Let Your Kids Join In
[0:29:11] Less Time on Electronic Devices
[0:31:18] Let Your Kids Sleep
[0:33:50] Let Your Kid Relax
[0:36:12] Quick Coherence Technique
[0:37:59] End of Podcast
Ben: I have a master's degree in physiology, biomechanics, and human nutrition. I've spent the past two decades competing in some of the most masochistic events on the planet from SEALFit Kokoro, Spartan Agoge, and the world's toughest mudder, the 13 Ironman triathlons, brutal bow hunts, adventure races, spearfishing, plant foraging, free diving, bodybuilding and beyond. I combine this intense time in the trenches with a blend of ancestral wisdom and modern science, search the globe for the world's top experts and performance, fat loss, recovery, gut hormones, brain, beauty, and brawn to deliver you this podcast. Everything you need to know to live an adventurous, joyful, and fulfilling life. My name is Ben Greenfield. Enjoy the ride.
Hey, what's up? It's Ben Greenfield. I sound a little funky on the audio. Sounds a little funky it's because I'm snowed in in New York City. I'm in my buddy's condo, his loft here in Tribeca in New York City with snow coming down. Got snowed in last night, thus I'm not in my recording studio. Also, it means I'm bringing you a very special episode today. I decided that I wanted to give to you, to gift to you, this holiday season the entire recording of my book, “How to Raise Tiny Superhumans.” Now, I wrote this book when my children were young, when they were about 5 years old. I, in no way, professed to be the ultimate parent. As a matter of fact, the one area that I questioned myself in most is my ability to be a good father. That's what leaves me awake at night sometimes. That's my pain point. That's the area where I lack confidence. Every day, I ask myself have I been the father that I want my kids to grow up and remember fondly. Every day, I feel like I fall short. I wanted to share that with you because I don't think I'll ever think I'm the perfect parent. I think that's what continues to drive me to discover everything I can about, not only how to raise healthy, young, resilient children, but how to develop amazing relationships with them. This book, being something that I wrote when the children were 5, contains a lot of tips for parents of young children. But, interestingly, a lot of these concepts from biomechanics to exercise to the hygiene hypothesis to many of the things you're about to hear also work for adults. So, this is something that, even if you don't have kids, I think you can get a lot out of. This is also something I'd recommend you send to someone you know who does have kids or is planning on having kids or wish they had kids because many of these concepts can even increase fertility.
Hopefully, you get something out of today's show. I really thought this would be a special one to give to you, take a sip of my coffee here, this is not Kion coffee. This is the coffee from the Laughing Man Coffee Shop down the street. But, you can get yourself some of the fantastic pure antioxidant rich Kion coffee that I have available for you over at getkion.com. But here's the deal, this Black Friday. You knew it. You knew I'd do a Black Friday. Right now, when you're listening to this, Black Friday is just a few days off. But what I've got for you is I have a coffee package, a special coffee package you can go check out at getkion.com. We give over 20% off of your order. I've got a recovery bundle that I put together which are very pure amino acids, Kion Flex, which is the most potent super fuel for your joints that you can put into your body. Everything I've been able to discover to assist with joint inflammation and recovery is in Kion Flex. Then, we combine that with some very fine pure triglyceride-based fish oil, exactly the same as you'd find in fish in nature packaged with acids and then Vitamin E. That's our recovery bundle. And that one's running over 10% off. Then, we also have our daily Kion Life Bundle where you get the aminos, the coffee, the bar, and then my favorite weight management supplement that we have over there, Kion Lean. You get all that.
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The shownotes for today's podcast, by the way, the shownotes for today’s podcast, you can find at bengreenfieldfitness.com/superhumans. If you want the eBook version of what you're about to hear, you can get that there, along with any resources that I mentioned. So, that's bengreenfieldfitness.com/superhumans.
Welcome to the audio recording of Tiny Superhumans, written by Ben Greenfield and narrated by Ben Greenfield.
I have twin boys. Their names are River and Terran. They're 6 years old. They love to do things like triathlons. They also do Spartan races. They swim 500 meters at a time, run 5ks quite slowly with stops to play in water fountains and balance on curbs, play the piano, act in theatre musicals, cook pad Thai, program LEGO robots, breakdance, and dance overall much better than their father.
Now, whether you have children, you plan on having children, or you know children, the wonderful fact is that you live in this privileged era in which you have the ability to enable the kids in your life to be tiny superhumans who look, feel and perform like optimized human machines. Do you have kids, grandkids, nieces, or nephews? Are you expecting a little one? The fact is if you answered yes to any of those questions, you're in a unique position to give the child or children in your life every physical and mental advantage possible. I don't know about you, but I really, really want that for my children. If you don't want children, you don't like children, and don't know any children, then the cool thing is that the same things that make your kids superhuman make you superhuman, too. So, you don't have to tune out or quit listening if kids are just not your thing.
Now, think about this. Mozart learned to play the piano at the age of four, composed his first piece at age five, and wrote his first symphony at age eight. Picasso, when he was 12, had a complete grasp of the fundamentals of art and was producing photorealistic anatomical sketches. A couple of weeks ago, when my wife and I took our children to an art gallery, there were amazing and intricate sculptures of fish and bears and bighorn sheep created by some man who had spent his entire life studying sculpture. Then, my wife who studied art in college, explained to me that some guy named Bernini was turning out sculptures just like this when he was eight years old. I looked it up and it turns out she was right. It's amazing. But these folks aren't special childhood prodigies, idiot savants or some kind of weirdo autistic geniuses. They're just normal human beings.
In our modern era though, we've forgotten how to nurture and grow an amazing human body and mind. We've instead settled for a generation that winds up on people of Walmart.com, attached to leashes, chewing on Ritalin. Yikes. Well, let's begin. Shall we?
So, we'll start with number one. Let them get dirty. Now, let me ask you a question. Did you eat your own boogers when you were a kid? Well, it turns out we may actually be hardwired to eat our own boogers. An Austrian study, from last year, showed that kid not actually harbors bacteria that when eaten helps to strengthen the body's own natural immune system. My kids kiss our dogs on the lips, they lick the floor. I've seen them to do this at public coffee shops. Of course, that was when they were a baby. They take an actual real bath about once every three days. I have observed them to rip diapers off and eat their own poop and crawl through entire airports. You know what? I don't really care. See, it's no coincidence that in our modern era of antibiotics, antibacterial hand soap, bottle boiling and daily bathing, we're experiencing new and unparalleled occurrences of problems like autoimmunity, autism, ADD, food allergies, leaky gut and obesity in our kids. The reason for this is that a child's immune system gets stronger when it's exposed to dirt, germs, bacteria, viruses, and even parasites. So, if you protect your kid from things like animal poop, dirt, farm animals, lots of other kids, and of course, boogers, they don't develop their immune systems the right way. They grow up more likely to have issues like skin disorders and gut issues and allergies.
Now, on a very related note, I was actually pretty bummed that when we had our twins, my wife got a C-section. And it wasn't because it ruined her abs, because it didn't. I have to say that because she might listen to this someday. It's because babies born via C-section have been proven to have weaker guts, worse immune systems, and lower amounts of good bacteria. This is also why babies who are breastfed develop healthier immune system, since breast milk contained good bacteria that colonize the gut. Incidentally, this is also why if you weren't breastfed or never shot down your mom's vagina, you can actually benefit quite a bit from using probiotics, eating fermented foods, and even using a type of supplement called colostrum which comes from animal breast milk. So quick, take a break, go call your mom and ask her if you were breastfed or born vaginally, and then act accordingly.
Now, when I pick up my kids from kid care at the YMCA, I sometimes get strange looks from the other parents because I go out of my way to remind my kids not to use the antibacterial hand soap. That stuff can create nasty superbugs that can actually hurt your kids, so can antibiotics. I, also, only use soap in the shower once every two or three days. The rest of the time, I just rinse with water. Same thing for my kids. Let those dirt and soil-based organisms thrive on your child's skin. If no-soap showers are just not your thing, then you may be interested in this New York Times report on AOBiome. This is a biotech startup that created a refreshing cosmetic mist which contains billions of cultivated bacteria commonly found in dirt and untreated water. So, now, you can basically pay for an expensive skin cosmetic to get the same thing you'd basically get from rolling around in your lawn.
So, how else can you get your kids dirty? Well, consider that kids who grew up on farms and large families have been shown to have stronger immune systems. So, go get a horse. I'm just kidding, you don't have to get a horse or chickens, but you should let your kids have pets that they can get down and dirty with, even a dog or a cat or guinea pig or hermit crab or goldfish or snake or tarantula isn't an option for you, I did have a tarantula when I was a kid, by the way, then, at least let your kids play with as many other kids as possible.
By the way, have you ever eaten natto? It's this slimy, snotty, gooey fermented soybean mix. Most of them come in this little white cup with an orange Japanese cartoon character on the side. Just the other morning, I walked in on my son, Terran, eating a giant spoonful this natto stuff he had found in a container in the fridge. It appeared he had dumped a little organic ketchup on there. Now, I personally prefer natto with a little white rice and mustard, but to each their own. Natto is a fantastic dirty food. My kids eat lots of other fermented bacteria rich foods too like kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt, and kombucha. Your kid should do the same, and you should, too. That's all bacteria. It's dirty and it's awesome for you.
So, speaking of eating weird foods, let's take this one step further. Let your kids eat lots of fat, too. Now, my kids eat bone marrow. Bone marrow is chockfull of healthy fats, DHA, and fat-soluble vitamins, which are all incredibly important for your kids' brain, hormones, and nervous system. In her book, “Deep Nutrition,”
Cate Shanahan, who works with the LA Lakers professional basketball team, outlines four important factors that have been proven to determine beauty and symmetry in facial development of babies and kids. Those four factors are vitamin A, D, E, and K. You know what makes all those vitamins similar? That's right, they're all fat-soluble vitamins.
Let's take Vitamin K2 for example. It keeps kids from getting calcified growth plates. Calcified growth plates will stunt the kids’ growth, but K2 is only found in animal-based fats that kids are rarely eating these days. So, my kids drink bone broth. They eat sardines out of the can and drink the oil. They consume plenty of egg yolks and the grass-fed butter. You know how walnuts are shaped like little brains? Those are also really good for your child's brain. My kids have a big handful of raw walnuts every morning right before they eat egg, scrambled and bacon fat. So, what should your children not eat and what do I keep my kids away from? Well, they shouldn't eat egg whites. They shouldn't eat fat free cereals, and they shouldn't eat low-fat yogurt. They should eat brain food instead. Incidentally, this is also why I personally test my blood four times a year to make sure my total cholesterol stays above 200, because I know, as author Nora Gedgaudas points out in her book, “Primal Body, Primal Mind,” that cholesterol below 200 is actually associated with low IQ. By the way, kids who have low intake of essential fats also have higher levels of ADD, autism and aggression, but some aggression is actually okay, which leads me to point number three, let your kids fight.
Now, at home, we have this game we play with my kids. It's called, “takedown.” I get down into a low squat position and then my boys run at me and try to take me down. Another game we play is I lie down on the ground on my stomach and both my boys get on top of me, and my task is I simply have to try to throw them and their friends off and stand up. Then, of course, we play the one where I put the “Rocky III” soundtrack on Pandora Streaming Radio. We just fight for rounds until we're all exhausted. Anything goes. Although the boys know that if they bite, scratch, claw, or go for any cheap shots, that it hurts Daddy.
Roughhousing and fighting are so, so important for your kids. It teaches them how to adapt quickly to unpredictable situations. It teaches them how to deal with pain and discomfort. Even losing sometimes, especially, if you don't always let them win, which you shouldn't do. How about this? Did you know that the amount of roughhousing that kids do actually predicts their achievement in first grade better than their kindergarten score tests do? This is because roughhousing increases levels of something called brain-derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF. That increases neuron growth. Now, you might think that roughhousing would make your kids more violent, but that's simply not so. It's actually the opposite. Kids who roughhouse are more socially and emotionally mature than kids who don't, because they understand the difference between play and aggression, between kindness and hostility, and they learn to stick to the rules of morality better. Roughhousing also makes you bond stronger with your kids because it causes both of you to make more oxytocin which is the same bonding hormone that gets released during things like sex and breastfeeding. Of course, roughhouse can get your kids physically active, which I don't have to tell you is a huge missing component of kids' lives these days. That leads me to point number four, which is to let your kids stand a lot.
Now, I have a poster that hangs on the wall of my office called, “Think Outside the Chair.” It comes from this book called, “World Distribution of Postural Habits.” I first learned about this book and this poster when I interviewed a bio-mechanist named Katy Bowman on my bengreenfieldfitness.com podcast. The poster shows you over 50 different positions that you could be in during your work day. It's like the Kama Sutra of standing workstations. I'm going to try a new position right now while I'm talking. I just switched into a lunging position.
Now, you've probably seen the news that sitting is the new smoking and that having your butt planted in a chair for eight plus hours a day, or even for two hours at any given time, is one of the worst things you can do for fat loss and heart health. It actually doesn't even matter how much you exercise at the end of the day. It just matters how much you got up and around during the day. That happens to be one of the reasons that I'm both standing and lunging as I record this for you.
Well, they've done the same research in kids. One study last year gave kids the option of using standing desks for an entire school year. Over 90% of the kids chose to stand and those that did burn nearly 100 extra calories a day. Another study found that totally irrespective of the total time kids spent sitting or standing, the more frequent the breaks in sedentary time, a.k.a. recess, the lower the health risk for everything, weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, bad cholesterol. Everything. So, recess is good so are standing workstations. They make them for kids. Check out websites like Updesk or Focal Upright or Varidesk.
Now, next, let their feet free. When your kids are standing, you might as well let them not be wearing these big overprotective shoes. Now, I'm very uncomfortable when I'm standing around at a party or a social gathering wearing shoes. I don't like them. As a matter of fact, I avoid shoes, and actually sometimes pants too, when I'm working at home. I'm that guy who sits around writing and recording in my boxers. Now, my kids also rarely wear shoes like ancient tribes’ been or their own dad. They have these ugly calloused tough bulletproof feet, but they play outside, hike, runs, stand, move, and of course, do their hotel gym treadmill prowler workout. That's running on a treadmill with the motor turned off, all primarily barefoot.
The reason for the importance of letting your child's feet free is that the shape and density of your kids’ bones are a direct result of the loads and geometry placed on your kid's body. This means that the way your child's foot is loaded will affect the lifelong shape of their pelvis, their hips, their knees, their ankles, their back, and even the space in their chest that their lungs are in. This is why kids with poor posture grow up to be adults with poor posture. Kids who haven't had their bones exposed to a variety of loads like running or lifting or moving object have been shown to have lower bone density later in life. They suffer from flat feet. Pediatric research is now showing that overprotective built up stabilizing modern footwear can interfere with the development of your kid's foot strength, ankle stability, and movement patterns for the rest of their life. Your child's foot muscles atrophy and their foot bones degrade.
Now, this is all reversible. Of course, you can't reverse it in just two weeks by buying Vibram FiveFingers, getting a stress fracture, and then filing a lawsuit which has been done. It takes patience. Most of my clients need one to two years to make a full transition back to developing strong and natural feet if they've been wearing cushioned overprotected shoes much of their life. But with kids, things happen faster. Kids can reshape and redevelop foot structure and bones within just three months.
Besides avoiding modern built-up shoes, what else can you do to give your kids superhuman feet? Well, choose shoes that are super flexible or minimalist. Good brands are Vibram, Vivobarefoot, Happy Little Soles, Bobux, Merrell, and Nike Free. Play foot games with your kids to encourage motor skills and healthy foot development, like they can pick up marbles with their feet and put them into a cup. Massage your child's feet for a few minutes before bedtime. Use Happy Feet socks which are a special kind of sock that spread the toes and strengthens the feet. You can wear these too yourself. If you live near sand, let your kids run and walk in sand which is one of the best ways to both strengthen and stretch the feet.
So, now that your kids are eating boogers, breastfeeding and barefoot, it's time to kick them outside and walk away. There's this article that appeared in the Atlantic Magazine called “The Overprotected Kid.” The article goes into and describes this little adventure playground in a housing development in North Wales. There's no fancy playground structure with a shiny metal slide and a bright red steering wheel and a tic-tac-toe board. There's no yellow seesaw with a central balance to make sure nobody falls off. There's no little rubber bucket swing for the babies. There's basically just some old tires and pieces of wood. There's a frayed rope swing that carries you over a creek if you can make it that far.
The article talks about how the day the journalist was there researching the article, the kids were mostly playing with an elderly person's walker that was, at any given time, used as a scooter, a jail cell, and a gymnastics bar. Well, a preoccupation with safety has stripped our kids of independence, risk-taking and discovery. Kids who don't have a chance to solve their own problems, control their own decisions, and follow this internal moral compass, grow up feeling less in control of their own lives and fate. They don't learn to, as this author, James Altucher says, “To choose yourself.”
Now, there's an essay called, “The Play Deficit.” There are movements like free schooling and unschooling. There are books like “Free Range Kids,” “Baby Knows Best,” “Duct Tape Parenting,” “The Kids Will Be Fine,” and other books. They all show how the loss of unstructured free play and a set of strict rigid play and schooling rules has resulted in depression, narcissism, and a loss of creative thinking and empathy in our kids.
Now, I grew up on six acres of land. I was home-schooled. I'll finish school by 11:00 and then play outside until it literally got dark. My parents never called me in for dinner or came out to find me. I just showed up somehow alive and having learned a heck of a lot about the world around me, about making decisions, solving problems, exerting self-control and following rules set by me and my tribe of friends. Look at me. I'm pretty messed up, but I'm at least still alive and doing what I passionately love, which is mostly still just playing outside.
Now, my kids are now growing up on 10 acres of land. We do the same thing. We just kick them out the door and they go. Their exercise and physical activity aren’t always supervised by a soccer coach and sidelined, and their playground isn't always lined with fences and that special soft rubber gravel substitute stuff. Of course, we try to make sure there's no major hazards like mountain lions and bear traps in the general vicinity our kids are playing in, but we also understand that there's a big difference between avoiding major hazards and having our kids grow up in a protected bubble. See, growing tiny superhumans isn't about creating perfect kids. It's about creating resilient, free-thinking, free-spirited kids who can survive in unpredictable situations and who, perhaps, even think beyond the realm of growing up to be a factory worker or drone, completely devoid of creativity.
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Next is let your kids join in. Now, there is this very interesting study done at the University of Essex. In the study, they asked kids to rate how active they thought their parents were. Then, they have those kids complete a test of their own cardio fitness, in this case, a bleep test where a loud bleep sounds, you run about 20 meters, and the bleep sounds again, and you run again. Basically, running back and forth with increasingly shorter recovery times until you're completely exhausted. What researchers found was that how well a kid did on a bleep test was directly influenced by how active and fit that child perceived their parents to be. In other words, the fitter and more physically active your kid thinks you are, the fitter and more physically active your kid will be.
So, how can you include your kids in your workouts? Well, we do push-ups, bodyweight squats crawls, crab walks, overhead presses and hill sprints with our kids wrapped around our backs, torso, and chests. Obviously, if your child is 15 years old, this may be a fast track to a hernia, but if you've got young children, you can simply use them as your weights. They love it, and you get more of that oxytocin released I mentioned earlier too. We play follow-the-leader with our kids, where we'll go on a hike in the forest or walk in the neighborhood. We use the world as our playground. Balancing on fences, picking up heavy rocks, climbing on obstacles like walls and park benches, carrying each other, crawling, jumping, rolling, walking backwards, walking sideways, and moving in as many fun ways as possible. I even swim with my kids on my back, especially when we're traveling as a family at these short little hotel pools. Since our kids were born, we've also used jogging strollers for uphill sprint repeats and runs and pool kick boards for the kids to kick beside us when we swim laps. We have a local neighborhood family yoga class that we sometimes take our kids to. We drop in for family Zumba at our YMCA. We have mini kettlebells and mini medicine balls at home for the kids to join in our living room workouts. We play tennis at the park and basketball in the backyard. I'm even learning how to breakdance right now with my kids using a breakdance DVD. When it comes to making your kids a part of your workout, the sky's the limit. If you want to grow tiny superhumans, you must think beyond confining yourself to a treadmill and your mp3 player and doing your workout at 4 a.m. when nobody is watching.
Now, as your kids begin to get dirty, do more unstructured free play, do workouts with you, and sit less, you're going to find that they, and hopefully you, naturally spend less time on devices, especially electronic devices. This is a good thing. See, every phone has a warning label on it that tells you to keep the distance between the phone and your body at a few inches, in most cases. It's why my phone is either always an airplane mode or, if I'm using it, hooked up to a special kind of headset called an AirTube headset. It's also, why based on the absorption of a cell phone signal through a child's skull being twice that of an adult skull, that I take special steps to ensure I'm not frying my kids from neural degradation, to insomnia cancer and ADD. There are thousands of studies on electromagnetic fields or EMF's, particularly with regard to children's health, from smartphones, to Wi-Fi routers, to computers, to game consoles, to smart meters, to microwaves, television and cell towers. EMF's can be prevalent in just about every aspect of your child's life. You know what's scary? Kids absorb far more EMF than adults because their body has a higher water content, which makes them more conductive to radiation. They've also got thinner skulls, a growing brain and rapidly dividing cells, making them all the more susceptible to damage.
At our house, we have dirty electricity filters plugged into each room of the house. We have electrical kill switches installed in every bedroom of the house. We don't use our microwave ever. We play outside instead of using gaming consoles like Wii and PlayStation. Our kids don't use smart phones, iPads or laptops. We won't be introducing these until they understand the importance of keeping devices clear of their ears, heads, and the little growing gonads in their laps. It's funny because I tell people we have a completely stupid home, the opposite of a smart home. There are almost zero wireless signals or Bluetooth signals. As a matter of fact, right now, while I'm talking to you, my wireless router is unplugged and I'm instead hard-wired into the router. This quiet stupid little home is also very important for another thing that's crucial for creating a tiny superhuman, sleep.
Let your kids sleep. Every night, week after week, month after month, year after year, we have the same bedtime routine in our house. Our kids put on pajamas. They brush their teeth using fluoride-free toothpaste, of course, and then we snuggle up in their bed and I read them a story. We each list one thing we're grateful for and, finally, I sing and play them a song on my guitar. For that bedtime routine, there's no blaring television, no phones, no iPads, no bright lights, and no other such melatonin disruptors.
Occasionally, the kids will even come curl up in my bed where I have a full body warming red light bulb. That's actually one of the best little $10 sleep-packing investments you'll ever make for your own sleep quality.
Sleep is when your cells and your nervous systems repair. That's why I geek out on sleep so much. It's when memories form and the day's important lessons are cemented. So, by cutting down on sleep, you'll learn less, you develop less, you're less bright, you make worse decisions, you accomplish less, you're less productive, you're more prone to errors, and you undermine you and your children's true intellectual potential. Sadly, a kid sleeps an average of an hour less a night than they did 30 years ago. A big part of this is our post-industrial infatuation with productivity. We think it's okay to use an alarm clock to cut sleep short, okay to work in shifts, okay to travel people, including kids, around the world through multiple time zones and assume their body just bounces right back, okay to save time by sleeping less and working more, okay to pull kids out of bed in time for school. It's even been shown that daylight savings time, designed by our government to save energy and fuel, actually alters your child's fragile internal body clock twice a year. That results in lower S.A.T. scores compared to states like Arizona, which observes standard time all year long.
Probably, the worst part of all these is that little kids around the world are woken up early in the morning to go to school to learn. Not only do these kids get stressed and cranky, but their immune systems get undermined and their growth is blunted. Some sleep researchers who understand this problem are now trying to battle the establishment for more school schedules that allow kids to go to school one or two hours later. I realize that a giant groan is growing in the throats of those of you who would rather not have your kids still be hanging around your house at 8 a.m. in the morning. But, my optimistic prediction is that sooner or later, government school authorities and parents will realize that late bedtimes due to overloading with homework and the use of an alarm clock to rip kids from their beds, contradicts the very goals of education. So, if you want your kids to become superhuman, then let them sleep.
Finally, let your kid relax. Have you ever been laying next to your spouse or significant other at night and just felt like something wasn't quite right? You felt the energy in the room was just off, or maybe you had hot crazy wild sex and everything seemed so right. It's like you're one. It's like your hearts are beating in rhythm. Well, the amazing thing is that your hearts, literally, are synched.
See, your heart is the most powerful generator of electromagnetic energy in your entire body. Your heart's electrical field is 60 times bigger than your brain's. Your heart is also connected to your brain via something called the vagus nerve. This means that your heart signal can directly affect other people's hearts, their brains, their mood, and their entire body. This also means that an intimate connection of heart-brain synchronization can occur between two people or even between a person and an animal. Your heart's electrical field extends out in all directions in space around you and it touches anyone or anything with an 8 to 10 feet of where you're sitting right now.
So, just imagine you're playing at home with your kid and imagine that your heart is racing, you're stressed, you're running from a lion that's jumping out from your email inbox, rushing around the house with your phone clutched to your neck and hurriedly trying to make dinner all at the same time. Well, your child feels that. It affects them. Your heart signal has a direct impact on your children's stress levels. This stress affects their brain long-term.
That's why every morning, before I get out of bed, the first thing I do is measure something called heart rate variability, which is a direct quantification of the heart's electrical rhythms and gives you instant feedback of whether you have a healthy balance between your fight and flight nervous system and your rest and digest nervous system. If my heart is out of balance, I don't get out of bed until I fix it, because I know it affects my family, my kids. It even affects my dog. If I find myself engaged in shallow chest breathing or irritable or moody or rushed or stressed during the work day, I stopped again and fix the imbalance. I have a home office and I know that if I'm stressed and if my children are in the vicinity, they can instantly sense that without me saying a thing. It's just the way us, humans, are wired.
Do you want to know how to instantly fix stress and bring your heart's electrical rhythms back into balance? Well, it's done via something called the Quick Coherence Technique. You can easily teach it to your kids, and I'll teach it to you right now. Do you want to learn it?
Okay, let's do this. Close your eyes. Okay, good.
Now, with your eyes closed, breathe, deep nasal breathing, deep from your belly. First, focus your attention on the area around your heart, the area in the center of your chest. If you want, you can place your hand over the center of your chest to help keep your attention in your heart area. If you're teaching this to that kids in your life, have them put their hands on their heart. It's important that you teach your children to feel their heart and know right where it's physically located.
Now, imagine that your breath is coming in and out through your heart area. Just find that natural breathing rhythm that feels good to you. Every breath is coming in and out through that heart area, every breath of oxygen feeding right into your heart.
Next, think of a positive feeling. Let's be even more specific. Think of a child in your life, your son, your daughter, your niece, your nephew, your grandkid. Imagine their face, their laughs, their smile. Imagine their soft hair up against your cheeks as you snuggle them. Hold them tight. Feel their smooth skin. Let those positive emotions wash over you and breathe those emotions, feel those emotions going straight into your heart.
Now, when you're ready, open your eyes. What you've just learned you can do anytime, anyplace. You can teach yourself to achieve that feeling within just 10 seconds. It's the most powerful stress-reducing, relaxation technique I can give you. And better yet, if you take just one thing from this recording, go to the child in your life and teach that technique to them. Give them that gift and they will become superhuman and I hope you will, too. Thanks for listening.
Whether you have kids, plan on having kids, or know kids, you live in a privileged era in which you have the ability to enable the kids in your life to be tiny superhumans who look, feel, think and perform like optimized human beings, and you're about to hear exactly how.
Mozart learned to play the piano at the age of four, composed his first piece at age five and wrote his first symphony at age eight. Pablo Picasso, when he was just twelve, had an astonishing grasp of the fundamentals of art and was producing photo-realistic anatomical sketches. Giovanni Bernini was churning out intricate, life-like stone sculptures at only eight years old.
But these folks aren’t special childhood prodigies, idiot savants, or some kind of unique autistic geniuses.
These are normal human beings.
Sadly, in our modern era, we’ve forgotten how to nurture and grow an amazing human body and mind and instead settled for a generation of kids that wind up on peopleofwalmart.com – attached to leashes and chewing on Ritalin.
The fact is, we have the capability to enable the children in our lives to become tiny superhumans and grow up with optimized physical and mental capabilities.
But unfortunately, it’s very easy to make parenting and teaching mistakes that create a host of issues in children, including lack of proper muscle and brain growth, immune system weakness, low IQ, stunted growth, obesity, depression, attention deficit disorder, social anxiety, and other frustrating problems that parents now accept as all-too-common.
In today's podcast, I'm giving you the entire recording of my 2014 book “10 Ways To Grow Tiny Superhumans“.
In it, you'll learn things like:
-Cutting-edge research on how birth methods, bacteria, dirt, germs, farms, pets, and families make a life-long impression on a child’s immune system…9:00
- We're actually hard-wired to eat our own boogers; strengthens our immune systems.
- Babies born via c-section have lower health quality than natural born.
- Colostrum is important.
- Dirt isn't necessarily dirty.
- Natto. Tastes terrible, but it's great for you and your kids.
-Why the modern paradigm of low-fat food is one of the worst dietary practices possible for a growing child’s brain and nervous system…13:10
- You want lots of fat; my kids eat lots of bone broth.
- You want them to eat “brain food.”
- Total cholesterol below 200 is associated with low IQ.
-How to foster an ideal combination of play, healthy competitiveness and a desire to succeed in a child through strategies such as roughhousing and wrestling…15:05
- Roughhousing teaches to deal with unpredictable situations; how to lose gracefully; how to deal with pain.
- People who roughhouse are more socially mature.
- Stronger bond with your kids; releases more oxytocin.
- Gets them more physically active.
-Ways to enable your child to spend more time on their feet and wearing the proper footwear – two important decisions that will affect their posture for life…16:50
- “Think outside the chair.”
- Standing workstations for kids.
- Rarely wear shoes.
- Kids with poor posture have poor posture as adults.
- Overprotective modern footwear inhibits foot health for life. (check out minimalist footwear from Vibram, Merrell, etc.)
- Kids can reshape and restructure bones in just a few months.
- Choose flexible shoes. Foot games to develop motor skills.
- Massage feet; happy feet socks.
-How to immerse your child in healthy and safe forms of unstructured free play that enables kids to solve their own problems, control their own decisions, and follow an internal moral compass…21:09
- Preoccupation with safety has stripped our kids of independence, risk-taking and discovery.
- Feel less in control of their own fate.
- Free schooling, unschooling
- Recommended books: Duct Tape Parenting, Baby Knows Best, Free Range Kids
- We're not creating perfect kids; we're creating kids who can't think for themselves.
-Creative methods of exercise and fitness that make your children a part of the process…26:50
- Use your kids as weights while you workout.
- Play “follow the leader”
- Jogging strollers.
-What modern electronics can do to a child’s developing brain and body, and how you can protect a child without completely unplugging or disconnecting them from technology…29:00
- Air Tube Headset
- EMFs hazardous to children's health. Kids absorb more EMF than adults.
- We have a “stupid” home.
-How to enhance a child’s sleep cycles, decrease stress, increase relaxation and even optimize brain waves…31:15
- Have a bedtime routine.
- Kids sleep an hour less than they did 30-40 years ago.
- Lose sleep to go to school.
-Everything necessary to nurture and grow an amazing young human’s body and mind…33:45
- Your child feels your stress levels; hearts are synced.
- Measure heart rate variability (HRV) (Listen to my recent podcast with Will Ahmed, founder of WHOOP about this.)
- Quick Coherence Technique
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4 thoughts on “[Transcript] – 10 Ways To Grow Tiny Superhumans – Ben Greenfield’s Top Tips For Raising Strong, Resilient, Happy Kids”
My wife and I follow your podcast and visit your website. We have an eight-month-old daughter. It is our first child. I was wondering if you can recommend a brand of melatonin safe and effective for babies? Our daughter has trouble sleeping through the night without. We appreciate your time and attention. Matthew & Kelly Mckissick
This is something I would advise you speak with your doctor about. There's little long-term data on melatonin use in children.
Beautiful podcast! Wise words. I loved the heart meditation in the end.
What $10 lightbulb are you referring to?? Where can this be bought? what are the benefits of this bulb? Thanks for everything Ben!!