[Transcript] – Jessa Greenfield’s Morning Routine, Unschooling, Podcasting, Tongue Tacos & More: A Family Dinner Conversation With The Greenfields & Robin Shirley.

Affiliate Disclosure


From podcast: https://bengreenfieldlife.com/podcast/robin-shirley/  

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:01:35] Podcast Sponsors

[00:04:59] The Greenfield Family Eating Traditions

[00:09:05] The Core Message Of Ben's Upcoming Parenting Book

[00:11:53] Ben's Morning Routines

[00:15:13] Jessa's And The Boys' Morning Routines

[00:19:52] How Two New Children Affected Ben And Jessa's Lifestyle

[00:24:43] Solidifying Values And Purpose-Specific To A Family

[00:29:09] Podcast Sponsors

[00:34:04] cont. Solidifying Values And Purpose-Specific To A Family

[00:38:58] How River And Terran Spend Their Days

[00:44:26] Silver Linings Discovered Among The Capricious Clouds Of Covid-19

[00:48:28] End of Podcast

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

Jessa:  To me, that just sets my whole tone for my entire day. If I don't care for my soul, I can't really care for anybody else's.

Ben:  Certain traditions and comings, and goings, and rituals, and routines, I think that's very important not only for providing children with a sense of predictability.

Terran/River:  It feels nice to help you since you did do a bunch of stuff for us.

Jessa:  Yeah.

Terran/River: I think it's just doing everything just because we're family. So, we just do it all for each other.

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

Hey, the podcast episode you're about to hear is kind of interesting. You can access the shownotes at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/FreeRangeinterview, BenGreenfieldFitness.com/FreeRangeinterview of me and my family, we're interviewed for this summit. And, they had dinner with me and my family and came over via Zoom. And, it was a pretty interesting chat with me and my wife and my sons. And, I thought it was so cool and might be really interesting for you families out there who just want to know how we live and what we do and get a few quick tips from us and hear me talking with food in my mouth. You enjoy this show.

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Robin: Welcome, guys. Thank you so much. And, I want to start by asking River and Terran. Well, tell us what you're having for dinner. 

River:  Tongue tacos.

Ben:  It's Tongue taco night.

River:  Yeah, Tongue tacos.

Terran:  On Thursday.

Robin:  Awesome.  So, do you guys all cook together? Do you guys like to take turns? How does it work?

Ben:  Oh, we hate cooking together. We drive each other nuts.

River:  Yeah.

Terran:  Well, me and River usually make each other breakfast or lunch most of the time. Mom makes breakfast a lot of times too.

Ben:  We actually probably cook together almost every night as a family, somebody kicks in something, somebody makes a salad. I like to do meat, but I'm biased. And, River and Terran, they bake. They do all sorts of crazy stuff. Sometimes we make a dessert. Like dinnertime at our house, it's around 7:00 pm, it's pretty fun because everything just kind of starts into a pre-dinner song. And, sometimes we read a chapter from a book and sometimes we talk a little bit about our day as we're touring around in the kitchen and we put on some music. And then, we all eat together and usually play card games, or board game, or something like that. But, tonight, we're talking to you. So, I don't have a chance to beat anybody at a game tonight.

Robin:  That sounds so great.

Ben:  Although we crash Scrabble last night.

Jessa:  You did, you did. You smoked us.

Robin:  I guess I'm curious what's the food like that you guys eat? I mean, everyone's a little different.

Ben:  It's tasty.

Robin:  Yeah.

Jessa:  A lot of people, I think, consider sometimes it's adventurous like tonight, we're having Tongue tacos. Not a common staple.

Ben:  It's the best meat over tacos to tell you that.

Robin:  What animal?

Ben:  You don't need any specific diet, we just eat real food as close to nature as possible, widely varied. Typically, we try to go local as much as we can, usually some kind of good organic grass-fed, grass-finished meat or some wild-caught fish or work in organ meats little bit like we are tonight. Last week, River and Terran made us liver and bacon, which is really good. And then, typically some kind of healthy starch like a sweet potato or tonight, you get these little coconut flour, Tortillas from CFA. Jessa and I usually have a glass organic wine. Sometimes we have some bone broth. Yeah, we mix it up. And, yeah, usually it's some kind of vegetable, some kind of starch and some kind of really good meat. And, yeah. We'll do everything from like goat milk ice cream to dark chocolate, to these guys will bake something, Jessa made lemon bars the other night. We liked a little bit some sweet after dinner too.

Robin:  That's awesome. And, your cookbook, how recently did that come out, Ben, “Boundless Cookbook” because I'm sure you share a lot of your family recipes in there?

Ben:  Yeah. You know what, I don't know when that came out. It was last year at some point. But, I've always got this list of crazy recipes, and cocktails, and smoothies that I try and they're mostly kind of weird around the edges. But then, I combine all my crazy recipes with some of these guys. It's slightly more normal and sane recipes. And, we put all together a cookbook. It's called “Boundless Cookbook.” The only thing they raise an eyebrow at usually it's my smoothies because I'll put stuff like raw liver and crazy things in there. But, they still taste pretty good in my opinion. It's like having ice cream for breakfast.

Robin:  Yeah.

Jessa:  Kind of.

Robin:  I'm glad to hear that. I sneak desiccated liver caps into my kid's smoothies sometimes. So, you got to do it.

Jessa:  I'll swallow it in a capsule, but I'm not going to–

Ben:  You can just get straight up liver and soak it for like a day in Kefir or buttermilk or something that draws out some of the gamey flavor and tenderizes it. And then, you literally pureed in a blender, poured into molds, and you can have these pureed fresh livers that you can put into your smoothie. It's like lifeblood. It's so good. It's nature's multivitamin.

Robin:  Oh, that's awesome. Such a good tip.

I'm going to jump into the parenting topic now in terms of your book, and I really want to ask Ben specifically. When does the book come out? What's it called if you can share that? And, what's the message? What are the messages from the book? And, Jessa too, I'm sure you guys both had your hands in this project.

Ben:  Well, it's a book on parenting. I have a lot of people asked me to write a book about parenting. I don't know why. But–

Jessa:  These beautiful boys.

Ben:  River and Terran are 13, so who's to say they're not going to wind up in prison when they're 20? So, I didn't really feel that qualified to be a parenting expert or anything like that. But, I thought there's books out there like Tim Ferriss's “Tribe of Mentors” or “Tools of Titans” where he interviewed a whole bunch of other amazing people and topic. And then, that's what I'm doing for parenting. So, I found all these amazing parents, people I look up to, people who have great kids, people have proven that their kids don't wind up as truants. And, I created a list of a whole bunch of questions each of these parents gets about everything from discipline to rituals, to habits, to routines, to education. And, I'm interviewing all of them, collecting all the replies, which is super fun, going to get inside the mind of a lot of these amazing parents and see the common threads that are woven in each of their responses. And then, we're packaging it all together. And, basically, when somebody reads it, they're going to get a glimpse inside the minds, and the tactics, and the strategies, and the philosophies, and the habits of all these parents. And, it's going to, fingers crossed, because when you're doing book publishing, this is always dangerous to say this, when the books not done yet, but we're looking at September of 2022. And, it's called “Boundless Parenting.” “Boundless Parenting.” There'll be some kind of sexy subtitle too like “tips, tactics, and strategies from the world's top parents,” something like that.

Anyways, though. So, yeah, it's a super fun project to work on, honestly because I'm just getting to learn so much from all these amazing parents. I can't wait for people to read it. And, Jessa is in it too. She's being interviewed. I'd probably–

Jessa:  That's my mission.

Ben:  Yeah. I'd be in a doghouse if put a parenting book and left half the team out.

Robin:  Yeah. That's awesome. That is such a great concept for the book. I can't wait to read it too.

So, River and Terran, have you read the book yet?

Terran:  No.

Ben:  It's not even done yet. I'm still writing it.

Robin:  Yeah. Do you think–

Ben:  That's all I spend my morning. I'm down there 6:00 am in the morning in my office banging away at it. But–

Terran:  No, it's the same morning rush.

 Ben:  Yeah, 5:00 am.

Robin:  5:00 am.

So, that kind of brings me to another question I wanted to ask you guys. What is your morning routine like? Because I know, Ben, from your Instagram, it seems you're an early riser, of course, and you're doing workouts or working early in the morning. What's the rest of the family doing? And, how do you guys all fit in your self-care?

Ben:  I get up typically sometime between 4:30 and 5:30. And, I spend the first 15 to 20 minutes of my day, I do a lot of ayurvedic stuff like oil pulling, and tongue scraping, and washing my face with warm water and oil, and just do all my kind of self-care stuff in the bathroom for a few minutes. And then, I go downstairs and I prepare coffee, or tea, or whatever, maybe drink it for the day. But, I don't drink it, I just kind of prepare it and have it ready and take my morning supplements. I've a huge glass of water with some minerals added to it. And then, I'll spend about 15 minutes kind of waking my body up for the day like stretching, jumping up and down on a trampoline. I've taken River and Terran through these before. I'll do things like the five Tibetan longevity exercises, or some yoga moves, or some foam rolling. I always have 15 minutes carve out for just me time to wake up my body.

And then, after that, I start my morning devotions where I'm reading a devotional, I'm reading scripture, I'm praying, I'm going to God, and taking care of my spirit first thing in the morning. And lately, because they're getting older now, as a parent, you have to strike a balance between letting your children sleep when they're sleeping and growing but also making sure that they wake up in the morning and you start to teach them some of these valuable morning routines. So, River and Terran started to do that, that morning devotions and prayer with me, which is typically about 6:00 am. And then, once we finish that, we'll go into my office and I start to eat the frog, so to speak. Meaning, I tackle the hardest thing for the day. Usually, it's an article or a book chapter, something that I know. If I get nothing else done the rest of the day, I've at least done this.

And so, I'll usually spend 45 minutes to an hour working on the most important thing for the day. And then, once I've finished that, I pop upstairs and I gather the whole family and we meditate for about 10 minutes. We do a gratitude, breathwork. We do some tapping. We do an active service. And, we write it down a person we're going to pray for, or help, or serve that day. And then, we do the Lord's Prayer. So, we all pray together. And then, we finish with a giant family hug and kind of a team huddle. So, I'll go on the same page about what's going on that day like what are we making for dinner, and where are we driving, and who's got the cars, and what times this, what times that. And then, we just kind of scatter at that point and begin to go about our day. And, you are right, I typically squeeze in some kind of workout. I like to do a sauna session in the morning at some point after that meditation. And then, these guys go back to bed.

Jessa:  What?

Ben:  I'm joking.

Jessa:  He doesn't know.

Ben:  Why don't you tell them about your morning routine?

Jessa:  So, I normally wake up anywhere between 5:00 and 7:00. And, I generally will sleep until my body tells me to wake up, basically. I'll do all my morning routine, I brush my teeth, wash my face, put in my contacts, wake up, and always make the bed. That's a habit that I've learned since I was a kid. And, one of the reasons is because that's a space where I do my prayer, and my meditation, and my Bible reading and all that stuff. And, I don't like cluttered spaces. So, it has to feel and look a certain way for me to thrive. And, I just know that about myself.

Ben:  She's got good feng shui.

Jessa:  Yeah. I like to look a certain way and feel a certain way. And then, I'll go down and I'll do my coffee. I'll get that going and then I'll go upstairs and I will spend about an hour in prayer and in Bible reading. To me, that just sets my whole tone for my entire day is if I don't care for my soul, I can't really care for anybody else's. Especially prayer, it sets my mindset in a place of care and concern for other people other than myself. And, I think that's super important just going into the day. Because as believers, we're called to serve others, love God and serve others. And, that's a huge priority for me personally.

And then, if I'm really on top of it and I get up early, I'll come down, I'll start a fire, I'll burn some incense.

Ben:  She makes a pretty good fire.

Jessa:  I'll put on some nice soft music because I like my family, especially my kids to wake up to a peaceful home that is easy to enter into the day. So, that's my morning routine.

Ben:  She was really on top of it. She'd get up at 4:00 am so I could wake up to a peaceful home.

Jessa:  No.

Ben:  Yeah, she's kind of lazy.

Robin:  Next.

Terran:  My morning routine or, I guess, our morning-ish. We wake up at 6:00, we've been doing devotions with dad lately but other times we just do it by ourselves.

Ben:  Tell them about the alarm clock.

Terran:  It's just a little sunrise alarm clock. So, it goes from dim light to brighter light. So, it wakes you up slowly.

Ben:  Yeah, it makes the sun instead and birds singing, and the music. And, it's a pretty cool alarm clock.

Terran:  It's a little less abrasive than a normal alarm clock.

Ben:  Yeah.

Jessa:  Light switch going on.

Terran:  And then, after we've done our early morning devotions, we usually make the bed, wash our face, do all that stuff. So, with the dogs, read, look what we have for school today, and then we go down here and do our gratitude devotions like dad was saying.

Jessa:  Yup, forgot that part.

Terran:  And then, we usually, yeah, make breakfast and go take care of all of our chickens and goats that we have.

Jessa:  We do that as a team.

Terran:  Yeah.

Ben:  Yeah.

Terran:  Dad doesn't. He's–

Jessa:  Dad's not really part of that.

Ben:  Come rain, or snow, or shine, they go take care of the animals while I'm taking care of the business.

Jessa:  We have a goat that we milk.

Ben:  They milk the goats. They get chicken eggs. They just basically take care of the little, it's not a farm, but we take care of the animals.

Jessa:  Which is I think they've been really rewarding personally.

Terran:  Yeah. Yes.

Jessa:  Yeah.

Terran:  And, yeah. Then we start school.

Jessa:  And, the day begins.

Robin:  Next. Thank you. That was awesome. It's so specific and it just shows the intention and strategy there. You guys obviously live really intentionally. And, Ben with your success and your whole family being a part of this brand and this movement you've started, I think that this just shows how important it is to start your day off right if you guys want to be able to make that kind of change that you guys are making in the world.

Ben:  There's no way that you can equip yourself to be impactful to help other people if you don't put on your own oxygen mask first. It really is important to have some kind of a morning routine that enables YouTube before you go into reactive mode to take care of yourself and to set boundaries. I tell my team, don't schedule me on any phone calls until at least 9:30 am because I need that time for my family, for my spirit, for my soul, for my body. And, if I don't have that time, I really feel like the whole day I'm just flopping around like a muppet because I haven't actually warmed up the engine so to speak.

Robin:  Okay. So, this is maybe a question more specific to Ben and Jessa. But, if you can just kind of go back to infant-toddler years and tell me a little bit about, if at all, how did that disrupt maybe your business?

Ben:  Probably disrupted her life more than mine because she had two human beings inside of her. But, I think probably for me, basically, I quit my job because I didn't have a job that I thought would allow me to be around as a husband and a father in the capacity that I desired to be. I was working as a personal trainer with super weird hours all over the map. And, I'd sometimes come home at 8:00 pm and be working on clients' programs to midnight and just all over the map, not a very stable routine for raising a family. And so, I just basically reinvented my whole career during the time Jessa was pregnant and became a podcaster, and started to write books, and started to create content, which I kind of wanted to do anyways. This was just the time to start doing it.

So, by the time River and Terran were born, I was mostly working from home. I was still traveling a lot, but that was the big thing for me was I thought, “Well, gosh, if I want to be a family man, I can't keep working the job I'm working right now,” because I was super successful as a personal trainer but it wasn't a really family-friendly job. So, I think that was probably early on the biggest thing for me.

Jessa:  For myself, I would say it was probably the biggest life crisis I've ever had. And, that's not to say in a bad way, but I was a graphic designer before having our children, having our boys, and you get a paid check, and you have health insurance, and you have all these things that kind of measure your value and what you're contributing. And, suddenly, I was a stay-at-home mom and I didn't have a paycheck or I had health insurance obviously through other things, but you just didn't have that measuring stick that told you your value all day every month. And so, that was really challenging at first and especially because a lot of times your little babies don't even acknowledge you for the first three months of their lives, so you feel very used, not a bad way, but just you're giving, you're giving, you're giving, you're giving, and there's nothing that's measuring back to you. So, that was really, really difficult for me.

Ben:  Yeah, they're selfish little buttholes. They used her.

Jessa:  No. But, I mean, in all seriousness. And, I think a lot of women who do go through that really do know what I'm talking about. And so, I don't think it's abnormal and I don't think it's something to be ashamed of or to say that it didn't happen to you. It's a real emotion and it was hard, it was really difficult, but it was also really growing and really valuable in a lot of ways. I really learned how to put somebody before myself like the care of my children. I think motherhood is really sometimes a very selfless thing. And, that's really beautiful in a lot of ways. It's very sacrificial beautiful thing. So, it was super growing and the growing didn't always go super easy, but I think God got a hold of me eventually. And, yeah.

So, it was disruptive but in a really beautiful, wonderful way. And, I knew it would be. You just don't know and you don't have a baby.

Robin:  Yeah. I have two toddlers right now. Two years old and four years old. So–

Ben:  Lucky you.

Robin:  I definitely understand. Yeah, it's a life crisis of a different kind where you're really becoming something new.

Jessa:  A lot of learning that happens in a very short period of time.

Robin:  Yeah. Well, I think what is so beautiful and I can see some of this coming through when, Ben, you do your blogpost and your Instagram when you incorporate kind of some stories from your family. And, for example, you guys made the family crest and you shared a little bit about how–

Ben:  Yeah.

Robin:  Yeah. I mean, that's so cool.

Can you talk maybe just for a second, and all of you guys can share, the family crest and all the things that you do together as a family and referring to yourselves as a team? Has that always been that way? Have you just started incorporating more things? How has that changed things for you guys?

Ben:  Well, over the years, we've certainly developed an appreciation for habits, and rituals, and routines, and traditions, and a deeper sense of legacy building like this idea that we're not just raising River and Terran, we're raising River and Terran's kids, and their kid's kids in terms of our family values, and our beliefs, and what we stand for. And, more recently, even things that one might consider a business would do from a business branding standpoint but more from a family branding standpoint. Meaning, what's our family colors, what's our family logo, what's our family mission statement. You refer to a crest. We have a beautiful crest hanging over our fireplace over there. And, I'd show it to you, but I'd probably unplug you from the internet if I did. And, what are our family comings and goings. What do we do at certain ages? At what age does a Greenfield boy go through a rite of passage into adolescence? At what age does a Greenfield young man go from a rite of passage into adulthood? At what ages do we go on some kind of a gap year between high school and a higher education if that's something that a child decides to go on and do?

And so, we've certainly just built over the years certain traditions, and comings, and goings, and rituals, and routines. And, I think that's very important not only for providing children with a sense of some semblance of predictability, and safety, and control like knowing when you wake up in the morning what an average day in the house is going to be like or what do we do when Christmas rolls around, or Thanksgiving rolls around, or New Year's, or whatever. And so, we've almost got this playbook for the Greenfield family that spells out a lot of this stuff that River and Terran can use for their own family and that we use for our family. And, I just think it's really important to think, well, how we live our days is how we live our lives. I would to take credit for coming up with that saying. I don't know who did, but it's a great saying because basically, if we're just kind of waking up each day and be whatever, there's no meditation or journaling, and no devotions, and then there's no family dinner and family story time, and the entire day is just loosey-goosey, your entire life's going to be loosey-goosey. And, things that you want to see as a part of your legacy never get cemented in place. And, frankly, that's why a lot of families go from rags to riches to rags. Meaning somebody's born into, let's say a poor family or a family that maybe doesn't have a sense of legacy, they go into entrepreneurial mode, they build this amazing business and then this amazing family but they don't pass any of these values, or beliefs, or work ethics, or anything onto their children, their kids are just like, “Oh, we have money from dad and mom, and life is good.” And then, eventually, those kids grow up as spoiled brats, ruin all the family wealth, raise horrible kids, and then you've got that scenario where everything that you stood for and believed and had a chance to pass on to future generations and grow exponentially just off to the wind.

And so, I think it really is important to go about your day as a parent thinking, “Gosh, I'm raising generations to come and it's a pretty significant responsibility.” And, when you're thinking in that manner, you begin to take the idea of family really as heartless as it might sound a little bit more the same way you'd build a massive successful business. You have systems to a certain point. You have your rituals, and routines, and habits, and traditions, and defining values, and everything that goes into maintaining some semblance of togetherness and legacy. So, that's something that we really focus on.

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So, you go to getKION.com/BenGreenfield. That's getK-I-O-N.com/BenGreenfield to try the brand-new Kion Sleep now. It's flying off the shelf. So, get in fast getKION.com/BenGreenfield. Let's getK-I-O-N.com/BenGreenfield.

Well, I'm getting an interesting morning this morning because I am going to be jumping into my barrel. That's right. I have an ice barrel and I know I've talked about all these super cool, super spendy done for you cold bathing systems that exist, but the Ice Barrel sits in my backyard right now and it's super-duper simple, 100% satisfaction, 30-day money-back guarantee. You can pay as low as 100 bucks a month to get one. It's got a limited lifetime warranty. It ships in one to five days. It's made in the USA using 100% recycled material. It's durable. It's compact. It's portable. It's lightweight. It is literally a barrel that you get inside. Just get in and it's super simple. Fill it with water. Fill it with ice and just get in. You can even put a little bit of food-grade hydrogen peroxide in there when you get in or get out if you want to clean a little bit. It's that easy. And, they're giving all of my listeners 125 bucks off. It's got a sleek design compact footprint, get cold therapy from the convenience of your own home or your own backyard.

Code BEN. Here's where you use it. Go to IceBarrel.com/Ben, IceBarrel, B-A-R-R-E-L.com/Ben. They'll get you 125 bucks off a pretty sexy ice bath. So, check it out.

Jessa: I've always considered us to be a team. Team or tribe is the best way I can describe our family because I want every person in our family to be needed, genuinely needed. I need my kids, I needed them to go milk the goat outside. You know what I mean? I have needs and this household has needs and everybody plays into that. It's not just mom and dad fulfilling every single need. I need River and Terran just as much as they need me or their dad and vice versa. And, I think that really creates, yeah, a tribe or a feeling of a team because everybody contributes. And, we can't function without the other person. I mean, we can, but it would be hard. And so, that feels that I think a need in children of being needed because a lot of times it's like, “Oh, I'll just do it because you can't do it.” And, that's not true that you can't or totally capable. Yeah. It makes them feel needed and they have a place in the home and a purpose, they're purposeful people. They're supposed to be here.

Ben:  And, I think part of that too it seems like a subtle nuance. But, I know some parents who anything a kid does has an allowance tied to it. Any chore you do from emptying the dishwasher, to clean the dishes, to feeding the goats and chickens or whatever, here's your allowance for doing that. You get paid if you do it. And, we don't really do allowances that much in our house, this is just what you do as a contributing member of the team. It's not your special thing that you do to earn money. And, granted there are some things that we do have allowances for. If I've read a fantastic book that I know that River and Terran are going to love that I'd want them to have to read but I definitely want them to if they decide to do so be handsomely rewarded for doing so, I'll pay them some money to write a book report on that book. It's extra. But, as far as just basic household needs and basic household chores, we're all a team. Nobody expects to get paid to do what they're doing or for it to be special to go and pitch in. This is just what we do.

Jessa:  And, I think there's some things that they are life skills. Our boys, they have a cooking podcast. And, it really started out as I truly believe that being able to cook and feed yourself is just a life skill. And, every person should know that and that food doesn't just come out of a window or out of a microwave. So, it started out with simple things like peel the labels off of the vegetables and wash them. And, it graduated to something bigger and bigger. But, it was also teaching them a lifelong skill that they could carry with them through their entire lives. And, the dog is being very silly over here.

Ben:  There's a dog underneath the table right now and he's eating his jerky.

Jessa:  But, those things they're wonderful for contributing to our home but they're also going to be things they can carry into their life beyond our house because I want to equip them with the ability to care for themselves in the way that they're supposed to be able to care for themselves because that's just being a human in my opinion.

Ben:  Yeah. She used to make them change their own diapers when they were babies. You should have seen them.

River:  That didn't happen.

Robin:  But, you guys did–

Jessa:  You guys do your laundry at 4.

Ben:  You did do your laundry. You didn't have to change your diapers.

Terran:  I don't think we folded [00:37:32] _____.

Jessa:  I taught you how to fold, but it took a while. But, yeah, I just think those are just really good life skills just know and have.

Robin:  And, what I found so surprising and I mean, in a really great way, my daughter, she's 4, and my son who's only 2, they already want to start doing those things. They're begging me. And, they actually get frustrated if I tell them no, it's okay, I'll do it.

Jessa:  That's them wanting to be able to contribute. It's a gift. It's their way of giving. I really believe that. It's a contribution. And, they want to be part of the household.

Robin:  Yeah.

Ben:  I think it's a good way to look at it. I mean, some people would say that it's because a kid wants their own sense of control and independence. And, there's probably a little bit of that at play too, but I think in the right household. The kid just wants to be a part of the team.

Terran:  It's not as much contributing, it's just helping.

Jessa:  Yeah, yeah.

Terran:  It feels nice to help you since you did do a bunch of stuff for us.

Jessa:  Yeah.

River:  I think it's just doing everything just because we're family so we just do it all for each other.

Ben:  Yeah. You guys are good to change dad's diaper when I'm 80.

Robin:  That's really what you're creating though is a family that is going to be there for each other and supporting each other because you've just done that from the very beginning. It's just going to be second nature.

Can I ask River and Terran a question?

Jessa:  Absolutely.

River:  Yeah.

Ben:  No. Okay.

Robin:  I have two more questions and then I'll let you guys go do your board game family evening if you have time still. But, I want to ask River and Terran. How can you tell us about what you're doing during the day, your school lifestyle? Are you going to school? Are you doing unschooling? Are you doing homeschooling? What are your projects? What are you interested in?

River:  We're unschooled. So it's kind of what you choose to do, and then also Washington state has some requirements so also doing those but making them fun and stuff. So, we're really into art and language, arts like writing and stuff.

Terran:  I like music, art and writing. Those are my favorite.

River:  And then, cooking is but that's kind of an art. And, yeah. So, I guess one of the projects that we're doing, yeah, we're doing finance–

Terran:  We painted our walls.

River:  We're doing a finance project in math.

Terran:  I'm writing a story.

River:  Reading a bunch of old books like “Great Expectations” and “How To Kill A Mockingbird.”

Terran:  “Great Gatsby.”

River:  “Great Gatsby.”

Jessa:  Something about your wall.

River:  Yeah. We painted murals on our walls.

Ben:  They did a lot of art, a lot of painting. River is turning one of his into an NFT collection right now, online, is digital art. But basically, they have certain things they're interested in that they do during the day. And then, we try to package things into blocks. Right now, they're in kind of a finance block. And so, they're doing a lot of stuff regarding finances and investing in the mathematics of finance and even a little bit of crypto, et cetera, and sprinkle them between that. They're also just doing a lot of their passion projects like art, or writing, or their cooking podcast, or jujitsu, or tennis, or whatever. There's the things that happen every week and then there's special things that really focus on that they're in a block of learning based around. And so, it's kind of this mashup of experiential learning and life experiences with some amount of formalized curriculum like meeting with the math teacher or going through a certain book. And, it's also very, very book-heavy too. We just read a lot of books, period, at our house. And so, they're constantly kind of reading a great book, or a biography, or a how-to guide.

So, yeah, it's basically to answer your question, it's more or less unschooling. Meaning, we don't have a set formal curriculum. We just kind of make sure the boys have time to do what it is they're interested in and then give them a few extras that'll help prepare them to be ready for whatever life might throw at them later on.

Jessa:  Why don't you tell the Kamana and stuff?

River:  Oh, yeah, we do outside nature stuff too. We journal about animals. And, what else did we, Terran?

Terran:  Yeah. Sit spot awareness, nature awareness.

River:  And, just watching nature and stuff.

Ben:  Yeah. It's a nature immersion program and they have this school called Twin Eagles Wilderness School in Sandpoint, Idaho. So, they'll go off and do camps during the summer but then they do some stuff at home too like sit spots and studying up on things like animal tracking, and plant foraging, and nature awareness. And so, there's a pretty strong nature component woven in as well.

Robin:  And then, you guys obviously are teaching them a lot about, you have the animals there, the chickens and goats and kind of homesteading or–

Jessa:  Yeah, there's also a cultivation. Yeah. There's also cultivation. Last year, you guys started marigolds from seed. And, we have a big garden. And so, we get a lot of our food in the summer. Even stuff in the winter, we do can a lot.

Terran:  We just made a greenhouse too. So, we just started doing–

Jessa:  Yeah, they did help with the building of a greenhouse. And, we have the goats [00:43:03] _____.

Terran:  Our carrots give us $5 bills.

Jessa:  Yeah, they're weird. But, we did, the goat has been drained. We went and got the goat. We took her to a breeding farm. She got pregnant. They had the kids. She birthed them great. And, the boys have helped me train the goat on the milk stand. And, you have to be faithful about doing those sorts of things so you do have to really develop some discipline and have it. Even going out and milking. And, we lost a goat, which was really hard and really sad and we had to go walk through that whole process. So, we've seen every little aspect of that. And, it's for the most part been a really, really fun bonding experience, I think, with our animals and with each other. And–

Terran:  We've probably had seven generations of chickens.

Jessa:  We've got a lot of chickens. They're not really as close to us, the goats are. I think it's a really fun way to, I don't know, just have some real responsibility. There are things you can't neglect. You have to take care of that stuff.

Ben:  Yeah. That's basically the whole takeaway message of this whole podcast is eat tongue and buy a goat.

Robin:  So, I have one last question. I didn't put it in my email to you, but I want to ask you guys. Everyone is dealing with living through this really challenging period of time where this COVID conundrum is happening, and everyone's experiencing it a little differently. Can I ask you guys what has been a blessing from all of this for your family? What's the silver lining for you guys that COVID has brought?

River:  Dad gets to stay home more.

Terran:  Yeah, dad gets to stay home more.

Jessa:  You've actually had a lot of blessings, I think.

Ben:  Yeah. I mean, we were able to make stronger ties with the local community, throw more dinner parties, have more people over. I've been home more and traveling less, so just more time together as a family. A chance to make lots of new friends, try out more local restaurants. I think, a lot more focused on community for me, community and just being home. It's been really nice.

Jessa:  I would say those are the big ones. Yeah.

River:  It hasn't changed that much for me.

Ben:  Yeah.

Jessa:  No. I mean, we were already homeschooling so that didn't change anything for us.

Ben:  Yeah. River got COVID and lost his leg, unfortunately. That was probably the biggest pain. Sorry. He didn't lose his leg.

Jessa:  No. No, but I think having Ben home more because I mean, yeah, he used to travel a lot–

Ben:  Yeah. I used to be on airplanes a lot and I'm not very much anymore, which is really nice.

Jessa:  Yeah. I mean, I think it seems something that people are missing a lot of but I actually don't miss traveling.

Ben:  Yeah.

River:  Well, yeah.

Jessa:  I really don't.

River:  We still kind of travel [00:46:14] _____.

Ben:  Yeah. It's nice not having to put my pants on until about noon.

Jessa:  Yeah.

River:  When does that happen?

Jessa:  Every day.

Robin:  Well, yeah, I think that those sentiments are pretty widely shared and it's just really great to see. I think the way that the focus has shifted to community and family more. And, people are really working things out and changing things and making them work better for themselves and their families.

And, do you guys have anything else you want to say or add or share about parenting or family life?

Ben:  I think probably we should close the loop on the whole tongue thing. And, A, it's an amazing taco meat, probably one of the best taco meats ever. B, you got to slow cook it in a crockpot. That's the game with tongue. And, yeah, if anybody watching hasn't tried tongue taco night with their family before, that's the last tip I'll leave for people. Get a big old beef tongue and throw in a crockpot. It's so easy.

Jessa:  It is easy.

River:  It's good with pickled radishes.

Ben:  Good with pickled radishes too. That's going to change your life.

Robin:  You may have convinced me to try it. You may have.

Jessa:  You should do it, it's good.

Robin:  It's really good.

Ben:  Yeah, do it. Yeah. [00:47:33] _____ signatures too, that probably helps you talk. So, it's probably good meat for us to have while we were doing an interview.

Robin:  Yeah. Well, I hope the recipe is somewhere in your book, or your blog, or maybe I'll be able to find it.

Ben:  The recipes, if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com and search for tongue, you'd find either that recipe or some crazy article about all the diseases that you have if you stick out your tongue and you see a weird color. So, you got a 50/50 chance.

Robin:  Yeah. Alright. Well, I'll search and see what I find.

I really appreciate y'all's time. Thank you, guys, so much. And, River and Terran, thank you for sharing about your day and what you guys are working on these days. It's really nice to hear all the wonderful things you guys are doing.

Ben:  Thanks for hosting us. And, guys, now that the interview's over, we can go get our McDonald's which we really were going to eat tonight.

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. 



07 April 2022

Our kids need us now more than ever.

As someone interested in health and wellbeing, I want to give my children the healthiest start to life possible, and I know you do, too. But raising a healthy family is a little more complicated than it used to be. Chronic disease rates are skyrocketing among young adults, technology is encroaching on precious childhoods, and many parents find themselves too busy and stressed out to sit down to a family dinner.

In fact, the more I talk to other parents, the more I hear the following questions:

-Why are our children more sick, unfocused, and depressed than any generation before them? 

-Is a shift in childhood education happening, and what will it look like? 

-Why are more people homeschooling and “unschooling,” and could it work for a busy family?

-What is authoritarian parenting and schooling, and how will it hurt my child in their adult life? 

-If discipline doesn't feel right, what is the alternative? 

-How can we reverse autism and chronic disease and what role do vaccines really play?

These questions and more were all addressed in the recent Raising Free Range Kids conference, at which I was invited to give a presentation on parenting, along with 20+ other health experts and parents. This event explored how as parents, we can gently shift our children’s health, and even the trajectory of the world, through our everyday interactions with our children. It covers every single question you've ever had as a parent raising a child or children in this crazy world, including how to prepare your body and home for a healthy pregnancy and birth, to exploring the values you want to pass on to your children, to what you should feed your children for meals, and much more.

Now, the live event for Raising Free Range Kids has passed, but you can still buy tickets to get lifetime virtual access here.

So, what does Raising Free Range Kids have to do with this podcast episode?

Well, my “guest” just so happened to be Robin Shirley, the founding president of Take Back Your Health Int’l, a company that hosts health conferences and retreats across the U.S, including Raising Free Range Kids. She speaks, consults, and writes about The Take Back Your Health Lifestyle and how to reduce the symptoms of chronic illness, especially in children.

Robin is a mother of two beautiful babies, a passionate cook, a Medical Intuitive, a Reiki Master Practitioner, an Energy Healer, a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, and a member of the American Board of Drugless Practitioners. She has helped thousands of people overcome the symptoms of chronic Lyme disease, autoimmune disease, and depression through her energy healing sessions, intuitive readings, nutrition, detoxification, and healing protocols.

Robin grew up with chronic pain, headaches, rashes, depression, digestive discomfort, and out-of-control systemic inflammation, and was diagnosed with Systemic Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis at 11 years old. She tried everything to heal naturally. Food overhauls helped a little, supplements helped a little, but nothing truly took the pain away. At 23 years old, Robin was on track to file for disability and give up on her dream to run her own hospitality company.

Robin has personally experienced the power of a natural approach to reducing pain and inflammation. Fast forward and Robin is now 32 years old, a mother of two, a fiancé to the love of her life, and running the business of her dreams. She is in the process of writing her first book and launching online healing programs for chronically ill patients to get healthy from home.

You can check out this interview with Robin Shirley and Joel Salatin, where they discuss the collapse in health, community, and family values, or this interview where Robin talks about how to make events and retreats part of your practice, among many other topics, to get a feel for what Robin is all about.

This podcast episode is unique, however, in that Robin interviewed me and my family! Consider it a bonus sneak peek of what you'll experience from Raising Free Range Kids—it'll be just like sharing dinner with The Greenfields or being a “fly on the wall,” so to speak, as we eat (gross!).

Finally, please forgive the cow tongue meat occasionally stuck in my teeth… We did the call while we were having dinner. ;)

During this episode, you'll discover:

-The Greenfield family eating traditions…05:00

-The core message of Ben's upcoming parenting book…09:05

  • Boundless Parenting
  • Expected release is September 2022

-Ben's morning routines…11:53

-Jessa's and the boys' morning routines…15:15

  • Jessa's morning routines:
    • Sleep 'til the body says to wake up
    • Make the bed when you wake up
    • Prayer sets the mind to be in service to others, not to self
    • Taking care of the soul s\to be able to take care of others
  • The twins':
    • Sunrise alarm clock
    • Morning devotions
    • Make breakfast
    • Take care of the animals on the property
    • School

-How two new children affected Ben and Jessa's lifestyle…19:52

  • Ben was traveling a lot, but mostly working from home by the time River and Terran were born
  • Ben had to reinvent his life; started podcasting
  • Biggest life crisis for Jessa; had to quit her job to become a stay-at-home mom
  • No “measuring stick” to define your value as a person that you get from a job

-Solidifying values and purpose-specific to a family…24:42

  • You're not raising your children, you're raising your grandchildren
  • Family mission statement and crest

-How River and Terran spend their days…39:00

-Silver linings discovered among the capricious clouds of Covid-19…44:26

  • Ben gets to stay home more
  • Stronger ties with the community

-And much more!

Upcoming Events:

Resources mentioned in this episode:

– Robin Shirley:

– Podcasts And Articles:

– Books:

– Other Resources:

Episode sponsors:

My new book, Endure: Now available for pre-order! I’ll gift you the first three chapters of Endure as an instantly downloadable e-book and I'll give you a sweet discount on the exact journal my family and I developed and use each day, The Spiritual Disciplines Journal.

Qualia Mind by Neurohacker: To try Qualia Mind, go to neurohacker.com who’s offering Qualia Mind up to 50% off right now, and use code BGF at checkout for an extra 15% off your first purchase.

Vuori: Activewear and athletic clothing for ultimate performance. Vuori is built to move and sweat in, yet designed with a West Coast aesthetic that transitions effortlessly into everyday life. Receive 25% off your first order when you use discount code BEN2020.

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.

Organifi Apple Green Juice: The new green juice crisp apple is made with organic, wholesome, hand-picked apples. And tastes like a fresh juicy slice in every sip. If mint just isn’t for you, this refreshing new recipe certainly is. Making it the first of its kind the whole family will love. Go to organifi.com/Ben for 20% off your order.

Kion Sleep: Contains only natural ingredients with long clinical research history behind them that are safe to take every night. There’s no grogginess: You’ll wake up feeling refreshed, recovered, and energized!

-Ice Barrel: With its sleek design and compact footprint, Ice Barrel, allows you to experience the benefits of cold therapy from the convenience of your home.

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