[Transcript] – The Lost Art of Storytelling, Why We Should Love Mondays As Much As Fridays, Why You Need A Health Coach & More With Made To Thrive Founder Steve Stavs.

Affiliate Disclosure


From podcast: https://bengreenfieldlife.com/podcast/steve-stavs-podcast/

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:00:56] Guest Introduction

[00:01:43] Podcast Sponsors

[00:05:59] Steve's description of the Comrades Marathon

[00:09:13] Fear vs. purpose-based motivation for human action

[00:15:27] Ubuntu and the spirit of community

[00:20:33] An environment that facilitates success

[00:27:33] Podcast Sponsors

[00:31:40] Storytelling as a means of building community

[00:42:19] Arts and music as a means of healing

[00:45:21] Gathering and preparing food that sustains community

[00:48:53] Putting biohacking in its place regarding our quality of life

[00:51:34] The most important biohacking metrics when it comes to stress and anxiety

[00:56:08] The importance of having a health coach

[01:00:19] Embracing suffering to bring joy

[01:04:48] Ben Greenfield's message of hope for the future

[01:07:55] Closing the Podcast

[01:09:15] End of Podcast

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

But, because we all of a sudden love God so much, back to what I was saying earlier, that we have no choice but to be able to love Him through obeying His commandments and living a remarkable life.

Steve:  Community on this side of eternity for you to serve with your purpose because we want people to sustain their transformation if they don't have those things in place. But, actually, it's motivated by love and appalling and a purpose that every single person has been given.

Ben:  Consuming Netflix, consuming food, and never actually creating, you're missing out on a big, big part of what it means to be a true authentic human being.

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

Hey, what's up, everybody. The interview that you're about to hear is with a new friend that I made when visiting the Health Optimisation Summit in London. As a matter of fact, I'm recording this introduction for you while in the back of a taxi cab on the way to Heathrow to fly back home. But, Steve Stavs runs a podcast called “Made To Thrive” podcast. The shownotes for everything you're about to hear are going to be at BenGreenfieldLife.com/MadetoThrive. He's from Johannesburg, South Africa. He's a health and wellness coach. We had a fantastic discussion. I think you're really going to enjoy. It was very wide-ranging and, of course, we were walking around the park for this one. As you know, I'm prone to do these days, walking and talking on the podcast. And so, you'll hear the sounds of nature. So, that's free. You're welcome.

Hey, folks. Let's talk about one of the most impactful things you can do to defy aging and be healthy. I think the two most valuable things to keep track of if you're really trying to live a long time and have a good combination of health span and lifespan is how high your inflammation is, which is a little bit difficult to measure unless you go to the doctor and get a blood test or go to a lab and get a blood test. But, the other measurement is actually surprisingly easy to track. It's your blood glucose. And, you can actually do this. This is how I do it using real-time feedback with a continuous blood glucose monitor.

There's a company called Levels, and it's been a game-changer for me in understanding how my food affects my health, and how my lifestyle affects my health, and how my exercise affects my health because I can see exactly what's going on my blood glucose when I'm in the ice bath, when I'm in the sauna, after I've had green beans, or eggs, or steak, or a cocktail, or anything like that. There's a lot of people who are actually using Levels not only to track their blood glucose but to run cool tests because Levels has this built into their app where you can test oatmeal for breakfast versus chia pudding for breakfast. You'll find, in the case of that, oatmeal for breakfast spikes blood sugar, chia pudding which has fiber and omega-3s and healthy fat and protein sometimes doesn't. And then, it's super weird too because some people, based on their unique biome, won't have a blood glucose spike from oatmeal. You don't know any of this though unless you test. So, the continuous blood glucose monitors are tough to get your hands on, but Levels has opened up access to them. And, they're giving all my listeners access to these blood glucose monitors.

To get your access, here's the link. It's my special link. Go to Levels.link/Ben. That's Levels.link/Ben. Enjoy.

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Alright, here we are. I'm here with Steve Stavs walking through London baby, walking through London. So, if we get hit by a double-decker bus or a trolley, folks would know what's up on this podcast. We're hunting down a nice little park here to record. 

Steve:  It's take two.

Ben:  Yeah, Regents Park. Yeah, we already talked for five minutes and actually deleted it. That's what happens when you go on a walk with a microphone.

But, Steve, this is actually your rodeo. This is your podcast. You met at this Health Optimisation Summit here in London. Fantastic event, over 2,000 people and a bunch of vendors, and an expo, and people running around with injections, and IVs, and portable little cryotherapy, and laser light setups. And, it's quite the event. But, you and I met, you got a podcast, you want to chat and I told you if you could put on your walking shoes and keep up with me, we could do it. So, here we go.

Steve:  Well, off the 11 Comrades and 40,000 kilometers. That's 28 years.

Ben:  That's right. Yeah, you've run the Comrades Marathon, which by the way describe to people what Comrades is for folks who might not be familiar with that one —

Steve:  So, 56-mile endurance race. It's the most popular ultra-endurance race. You get about 25,000 people on the race line. And, the best about Comrades is it bring South Africans in the world together, levels of playing fields. It's not about the equipment you've got, but really a camaraderie of note where you can come together. And, the most grueling races, I think of Tim Noakes and just as evolving the Comrades and —

Ben:  Tim Noakes, yeah. Yeah, he used to be a podcast guest. I've interviewed him a few times. I think, he actually mentioned the Comrades because I think he did some work with some of the athletes there. It's not something I think you'll be able to talk me into anytime soon, Steve. But —

Steve:  Maybe one of your boys.

Ben:  At least I know you can make it through a podcast.

Steve:  So cool. So, after 23 years of practice, what I've noticed is people often just make changes in their lifestyles because they're either suffering with some type of disease or pain, just a chronic area that they're not happy with whether it's sleep, whether it's weight. And so, they make these changes. But, six months, nine months later, all the things they've put in place, they've dropped and they've regained the weight. In fact, the research generally shows that people regain the weight within five years, 80 to 95% of people regain the weight that they've lost. So, to sustain change and transform your life over the long period is not an easy task and at the health of —

Ben:  Maybe or maybe they're pursuing a weight that's not actually their homeostatic weight. That's the other thing too. There's a little variable there where people could try to lose weight but not realize they're healthy, fertile, homeostatic weights like 180 and they're pushing to get to the cover model of a magazine, 160. And, it's like, “Well, actually, you're not even naturally supposed to be at that weight.” So, sometimes that's the thing too but I get what you're saying, I'm just playing devil's advocate.

Steve:  Sure, absolutely. But, whether it comes to weight loss, whether it comes to a new eating plan, whether it comes to improving your sleep or sleep hygiene, people battle to maintain their transformation. I didn't see any internal/external drivers that people mentioned. They got all the tools, they got all the hacks, but actually what drives you to make those changes in the morning, what drives you to make those changes in the evening. And so, I want to look at the internal drivers in terms of what helps people sustain the transformation. And, really, a story that I want to share with you is 26th of March is the first day of lockdown.

Ben:  Okay.

Steve:  I'm going to work because I'm essential services not a car in the road, there's no one. And, as I get into the practice in the line, the patients are being lined up. I feel the sphere, this force, this electromagnetic field and it was so real because uncertainty and stability in people's life was just so evident. And, I think you're a big believer in electromagnetic fields and biomagnetic fields but it's something that was so evident. And, fear, fear can just oppress you, fear can sort of immobilize you. So, can we harness fear? Can we harness life to sustain the transformation? Because I think it's the emotions that often help us drive that momentum in our life. So, tell me, Ben Greenfield, what is your greatest fear?

Ben:  My greatest fear? I don't know, I never really think about it that much, to be honest with you. It's interesting because I obviously fear God because I'm a Christian and I feared displeasing the Creator, and I fear not living out my purpose in life in the way that I'm supposed to. And, I fear that I might be prioritizing the wrong things or not being as impactful as I should be. That's not really a fear like a shark attack, fear of heights, or fear of snakes type of fear, but certainly, I fear God and I fear that I might not be living up to God's expectations of me. That would be one thing.

Steve:  Okay.

Ben:  And then, as far as physical fears on this plan, I mean, if there's anything I kind of fear being out of control like tumbling through space, somersaulting and jumping from high cliffs and things like that, I sometimes struggle a little bit with the body awareness piece beside that. But, really, yeah, there's not a whole lot I'm afraid of. Why do you ask, good sir?

Steve:  Because I think most people are often fear-based in terms of their motivation and they're not calling a purpose base. You asked a question at the summit in your first lectures, “Why do we do all this stuff?” Most people say just to feel good but we've got a purpose, we've got meaning that we want to establish. And so, if that's our driving force is purpose and meaning and love to change the world and inspire and transform people's lives is our motivating factor, then we're going to look after our brain, we're going to look after our mind, we're going to look after our body, we're going to do the things like moving in sleep hygiene because we want to transform and change the world; not out of fear of disease, not out of fear when you're struggling with a condition, not of that fear that you'll get Alzheimer's because your parents had Alzheimer's but actually it's motivated by love and appalling and a purpose that every single person's been given. I think that's the uniqueness.

Ben:  Yeah. Do you think that's because fear is not a strong enough motivator compared to having a purpose and a why like eventually your own willpower or lack of willpower winds up overriding the fear that might have driven you to want something? Whereas, if your desire for something is driven by a deep purpose and a deep why or a deep love, then you're a lot more likely to stick with a habit.

Steve:  Well, I think fear has got such a low frequency. And, I think what it does, it actually causes contraction in your body both emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Ben:  Yeah.

Steve:  And, I think eventually what happens is you talk about homeostasis and all these biochemical processes that happen in the body. I think they stop working. And, eventually, what happens, it doesn't matter how much you're using fear to motivate yourself, you end up just in another disease pattern. And, I think of Chinese medicine, it just finds another avenue, it finds another way. If you're fear-based and your foundation of your soul is fear-based, there's only so much you're going to be able to do, and the route is to ensure that you've got a foundation of your why, of your purpose and in your meaning.

Ben:  Yeah. It reminds me a little bit of the idea that a lot of people are like, “Well, to be a good person, I'm highly driven because I fear going to hell, I fear being punished.”

Steve:  Yeah.

Ben:  And, a lot of people will ask me like, “How do you make the choices, do good things, stay a Christian,” which I am, following the Ten Commandments, et cetera, et cetera. And, it's really something I don't do. Okay, it's not my willpower. What happens is once you decide that you love God, the only thing that your heart truly and authentically wants to do is obey God. And, if it's driven by this fact that, “Oh, my gosh, I love my Creator in this universe and the people also that were created in so much,” there's nothing I want to do except make the right choices. Whereas, the opposite factor saying, “Well, I just don't want to go to hell so I'm going to try to do good things,” that never really pans out because it's not driven by a deep love, it's driven by a deep fear.

Steve:  Yeah, that's right. And, I think people listening now in Africa and beyond is that just think about the first day of lockdown, what are the feelings, what are the thoughts, the thoughts, the language of the mind, the feelings of the language of the body. What did you experience because the research shows that anxiety has gone up by 350% in the last two years in Africa and beyond? That's a huge statistic to put out then to sign this corporate deal with one of the biggest banks in South Africa and find out that the team of this executive team had to take long leave that's over three months because of burnout, and adrenal fatigue, and tiredness, and autoimmune. So, it's definitely impacting people and we're seeing a lot of post-traumatic stress disorder rather than post-traumatic growth, which is really what we want people to embrace when they go through suffering. So, think about what happened to you on that first day of lockdown, how did you feel? What were your thoughts? What was going through your mind with regards to your future? Were you at peace? I mean, what price did you put on [00:14:54] _____?

Ben:  I was spraying down the mail with a cleaning solution, disinfecting when I go down the mailbox to get the mail. That's how fearful I was of rampant zombie apocalyptic infection invading my household until I realized all the requirements for being masked and proceeding with caution seemed to disappear any time a mass riot or a protest seemed to want to take place. And, that was when I started to scratch my head a little bit and wonder if it really was as bad as it was being enough to be.

Steve:  Yeah, exactly.

So, we've discussed purpose and, I think, probably the most important internal driver with regards to putting all the hacks in place, changing your lifestyles, improving your nutrition, your movement. But, I want to talk about community and I don't know if you know this word called “ubuntu” but it's an African word.

Ben:  Ubuntu.

Steve:  Ubuntu.

Ben:  Oh, ubuntu. I think I've heard of that before. How do you spell that?

Steve:  U-B-U-N-T-U.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. I've either seen it in writing or heard it before.

Steve:  It's an African understanding of community, of closeness, of compassion, and empathy. And, if you directly translated it, it really means “I am because we are.” And so, you really can't be healthy on your own. People have individualized their health and their wellness. You can only really be healthy and truly whole within the community perspective. And, think of Nelson Mandela, the community that surrounded him and his why and his purpose is something that was able to take him through 27 years of prison and come out with no resentment, anger, or hatred. Here, we have a man who went through just ostracization, he went to university, he couldn't find work and eventually, he made a stand. And, in the stand through his community and his purpose with the two greatest drivers, he gave up a lot of his freedom so that he could go into prison to make a stand against a wide apartheid government that had taken away all their rights that had really taken all the opportunities. You couldn't go to a beach, it was just for White people. You couldn't go to a public toilet, it was just for White people. You couldn't go to university, it was just for White people. But, as a man who knew his purpose, he a man who knew his why and he had a close community to commune in unity, that's the word community, is to commune in unity with others that understand your why and come around you and surround you.

Ben:  Yeah, I never thought about the root word. Is that really what community means? Community in unity? Oh, wow, it's interesting.

Steve:  Yeah.

Ben:  Alright.

Steve:  So, let's talk about your closest community because my closest community is the trinitarian God. My second closest community is my family and the people that I really love. The third is friends. The other is a coach. The other is a mentor and then the general populace. So, these circles of community are so important with regards to us sustaining transformation because they become the internal drivers. Just think of your boys, you do things for your boys, think of your wife, how important it is to serve them with your why. But, if they weren't then you want to honor by yourself, very difficult place to sustain transformation or key lifestyle habits.

Ben:  Yeah. So, was there a question hidden in there exactly?

Steve:  Well, let's unpack it. How important is community and purpose with regards to, well, especially community because I think that becomes another driver in terms of helping people sustain transformation.

Ben:  Yeah. Well, I mean you just said it yourself, community is important. I don't think anybody's going to deny that community and love and relationships are important and that they're connected to your purpose and your wives. Yeah, I would totally agree with you.

Steve:  But, I think the point I'm trying to make is if you focus on those two foundations, purpose and community, I think they become the reasons why you're going to continue the biohacking, you're going to continue things. And, I think of the —

Ben:  Yeah, yeah, because obviously if you're equipping yourself with your goals for fitness or nutrition or a better body or better brain or whatever with the goal of being able to love other people more fully, obviously the only driver that's going to exist to be able to do that is if you have other people who are the avatars in your life you can think of who you actually are equipping yourself to be there for whether it is your close-knit family or friendship neighborhood or larger community. And so, yeah, I agree that you have to have a community in order to be driven by the sense of community. And, if you do have that, then yeah, I think if your purpose or your why — and, I tell my sons this, “Whatever your purpose or your why is, you create art or you're going to make music or you're going to write books or you're going to teach people or you're going to engineer new creations, it all has to be driven through the lens of how am I going to love as many other people as possible with this purpose with this why. And then, once you've decided, ‘Okay, here's my purpose and I love God and love other people with that purpose,' then obviously you got to have people to be able to love.”

Steve:  I mean, there's one thing that stands out is there was one thing that was not good in the garden. There was one thing that God said was not good and he said it's not good for men to be alone. Was he alone? He actually had a Trinitarian God surrounding him but he still said it's not good that's why He created women.

Ben:  Yeah, and a lot of animals.

Steve:  And a lot of animals. But, even when he had the animals, he still said it's not good for man to be alone. So, there we have an example of how important it is to have a community on this side of eternity for you to serve with your purpose. So, those are the two things that we focus on that Made to Thrive why because we want people to sustain their transformation. If they don't have those things in place, they —

Ben:  What did you call it, “Made to Thrive?”

Steve:  Made to Thrive, yeah.

Ben:  What's Made to Thrive?

Steve:  That's the company that does the empowerment of all the products. We've got eight consultants online. They help us with sustained transformation. So, Steve Stavs fits in the company of eight other consultants.

Ben:  Oh, okay, got you. So, kind of like a health consulting company. So, at Made to Thrive, these are the type of things you teach people?

Steve:  Absolutely, that's the foundation.

And then, let's put fear, anxiety, overwhelm, panic with regard into the next pillar at Made to Thrive, which is environment. Now, how important is your environment, your external environment with regards to your light and anxiety obviously related to sleep? But, what are the key sort of environmental factors that would help people who are really struggling with fear, or anxiety, or trepidation, or overwhelm, or ruminating the whole time? What would you say in terms of environments?

Ben:  Are you asking me what elements of the environment would facilitate success?

Steve:  Well, it would facilitate helping someone who's got an overactive mind or an anxious mind.

Ben:  Oh, oh.

Steve:  So, what I'm saying is if someone looks at the big picture, they look at their purpose, that's where we start, we look at the community, we were born from community through community and for community. We look at purpose and then we look at environment or sleep or nutrition. How does that impact the mind? How does that impact your thoughts? How does that impact your feelings? Because that's the next pillar that we would want to move on to if we're taking someone through a process.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. Well, when you say the environment, what are you referring to exactly? Because there's a lot of elements of environment: air, light, water, electricity, food, movement. They all impact it. I mean, we could unpack any of those. But, for —

Steve:  Radiation and light and that in high —

Ben:  Right, right. So, for example, exposure to non-native electricity can open up calcium channels on the cell membrane allow for an influx of calcium into the cell. You get a little bit of a thrown-off depolarization gradient across the cell membrane slightly more positive charge on the inside than should necessarily be there. And so, that can limit metabolic activity including metabolic activity and neural tissue which when combined with some of the ionizing or non-ionizing radiation that you might be getting exposed to from such devices like a Wi-Fi router, for example, you get a recipe for a little bit of brain fog. And, obviously as anybody knows, when you're a little bit brain fogged, it's much, much more difficult to have the right amount of resistance to decision-making fatigue or to making the right choices. So, yeah, I think something as simple as the presence or absolute non-native electricity can have a direct impact on your motivation levels, which is, well, I think it's funny besides the bedroom with all the devices and gadgets. One of the places people get bombarded with a ton of EMF and dirty electricity is the gym. If you think about all the treadmills, all the devices, all the cardio equipment, everything, it's all got Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and everything else built in. so, I think some people even go to the gym and walk out feeling crappy not cause they got their butt kicked physically but because they got their butt kicked electrically.

Steve:  Yeah, yeah. So, that's radiation, good. What about light? So, there's a lot of studies in terms of causing anxiety and depression, especially at night from Bluetooth, so blue lights and green light that affects melatonin. Melatonin affects obviously your quality of sleep. That's going to make you more anxious. That's going to make you feel more stressed.

Ben:  Yeah, potentially. Blue light is fantastic for circadian rhythmicity as much sunlight, blue light exposure, screen exposure. As long as you're allowing for eye break, so your eyes aren't strained, constantly looking at an object that's close to you. But, all of these elements of blue light that sometimes I think get unfairly vilified by all the biohackers who want to wear their red-tinted blue light blocking glasses all day long.

Steve:  Okay.

Ben:  It's one of those things where you want all of that type of lighting in order to remain alert and in order to have an optimized circadian rhythm. The flicker in the lighting as you alluded to, and the fluorescence of the lighting, the temperature of the lighting, and even the condescence of the lighting can be important. I'm a big fan of either OLED lighting or natural incandescent lighting instead of normal LED lighting due to the amount of flicker, that low-level retinal irritation that can occur during the day, and back to the idea behind purpose and motivation can leave you a little bit drained, can leave you a little bit brain foggy. And so, I think blasting yourself with lots of bright light early in the morning, making sure your lighting environment as much as possible is incandescent lighting or OLED lighting. And then, of course, as you touched on reducing the amount of blue light you're exposed to later on in the evening, I don't think that's a secret most people know. That's important now to turn the whole house into a red cave. I was talking about this in my talk, a red headlamp.

Steve:  Yeah.

Ben:  Whenever I'm walking around at night just to make sure that I'm not getting exposed to much blue light, it's a great, great little cheapo investment to get a red light. But, yeah, I mean, lighting is another one, it's really interesting. Even the monitor, the flicker, and the temperature of the monitor. There's some monitor companies EIZO or BenQ that make monitors that are eye-friendly, they're software, of course, like Iris or get f.lux which can help out quite a bit as well. And, again, I think you're probably preaching to the choir telling people that sleep is important and, of course, I've covered many times on my own podcast, things about the lighting, the temperature, the presence or absence of sound, how much business or business-like activities you do in the bedroom. All that stuff can be impactful. But, I think also some people who may have a job, or working environment, or a family situation which they're unable to sleep, sometimes almost placebo themselves or nocebo themselves into thinking that they're not going to have a good day if they've got five or six hours of sleep and they think they're supposed to get seven to nine. The fact is I think that you can actually function on lower amounts of sleep. It's almost a disservice to people that sleep is made to be so important and shoved so far towards the top of the totem pole now that people get into a self-defeating style of thinking when they don't get enough sleep. When I don't get enough sleep, I tell myself, “Hey, this is practice, this is a training day, this is a chance for me to push your fatigue, for me to train my brain, for me to engage more perseverance and endurance. I know that even if I'm low on sleep if I can duck away for anywhere from even as short as five up to 45 minutes, a meditation or Yoga Nidra, or napping, or some type of a biohack, a BrainTap or a NuCalm or a Sensate, I can literally achieve what's close to an extra full hour and a half long sleep cycle just by using one of these devices to basically get a whole bunch of rest in a short period of time.

So, yeah, I think sleep is important but I also think people shouldn't beat themselves up too much if they're not getting a ton of nighttime sleep. You can still be highly productive. I mean, I tell my kids that a lot of the world's greatest leaders, they actually are tired a lot of the time because they're shorting their sleep so they can make maximum impacts. And, I think you draw a line but you have to draw a line between optimizing your health so you can help other people, putting your own oxygen mask on first. But, not being that person who's just so interested in living to 160 years old and crushing your health optimization that you sleep nine hours a night and honestly don't get as much done as you probably could if you'd shorten it up a little bit.

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Hey. So, have you ever heard of this stuff called urolithin? Spelled U-R-O-L-I-T-H-I-N. And, if you haven't heard of it, you're going to be hearing a lot more about it. It's the brand-new darling on the anti-aging scene. It's based on this concept of postbiotics. So, postbiotics are what the bacteria in your gut, for example, can make. A probiotic would feed on a prebiotic, but it'd make a postbiotic. And, some postbiotics can actually kind of upgrade your body's cellular power grid giving your body the energy that it needs to optimize, to build strength, to build endurance, and even to fight aging. So, these postbiotics your body makes them during digestion, but you can also consume Urolithin A as an anti-aging hack.

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If you're struggling waking up in the morning knowing what to eat, what to do, how to exercise, what biohacks to use, how to care for your spirit, how to care it for your soul, for your mind, for your body and you want it all spelled out and written out for you with someone to hold your hand and guide you along the way with zero guesswork, that's what the Ben Greenfield Life team of coaches is for. All these folks have trained under me. They have monthly office hours with me. I trust them implicitly with the people who reach out wanting to implement my philosophies, my training programs, my recommended tools and pieces of gear and supplements, and diets. Basically, it's tough to cut through the confusion. I know. And, I will admit, I'm not the least expensive trainer to work with on the face of the planet, I have an executive coaching program but it's not inexpensive; however, there are a variety of budget-friendly options A to Z all over at BenGreenfieldCoaching.com.

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Steve:  I want to move on to self-quantification. But, before we do that, let's look at the ancestral practices because a little 6-year-old and she's living mainly through the pandemic and she used to run around in the beginning really struggling to see the virus, where the virus was and obviously, they were talking about it at school. But, we used five ancestral practices and possibly we can speak about that being storytelling, she loves stories. And, telling stories is just a really amazing way to just decrease her anxiety and help us sort of process what's going on. And then, dance, my wife's a Zumba instructor. So, dancing really helped her and specific music tracks and worship songs and gospel track music, and then arts and crafts. So, she did a lot of painting using pottery. And then, the last one, the procuring of food or the gathering of food and the preparing of food, and then the cooking of food, and then eating together as a community. There's definitely a change in the biomagnetic field of eating together and celebrating food together as an ancestral practice. So, maybe walk us through those five ancestral practices that are very common in African culture because —

Ben:  You want me to walk you through your motto? Okay.

Steve:  No, because I think —

Ben:  I don't have to memorize, you're going to have to tell me each one, yeah.

Steve:  I think it's important because I think you do know them and maybe you —

Ben:  Okay. Alright, so what's the first one?

Steve:  Storytelling.

Ben:  Yeah. Storytelling, it's interesting, it reminds me of this idea that when you look at the death rate or death age of post-menopausal women, you often see in societies where the mother or the grandmother or the woman is giving a more matriarchal and respected honor and venerable role in society that those women actually wind up living longer despite from an evolutionary standpoint them no longer being “useful” because they're no longer fertile. But, you take a matriarch and you transform her into a storyteller into the person who passes on knowledge, and all of a sudden, that develops this purpose, this why, it keeps that person existing for a longer period of time in a way that that's contributory.

Now, I think that if you were to ask me what my favorite part of my job is that I am a little bit of an order or a storyteller. I package up information. I'm high on input. I turn around and I figure a way to present that to people in a story format whether a podcast or a book or an article that makes their lives better. And, I also, of course, love to just tell stories and write stories that are fiction-based, was that something I've always loved to do. But, human beings, not only do we thrive on the idea of sharing information, passing on wisdom via stories, but we also have woven into us this connection to the idea that life is a story, life is almost the hero's journey where you have the heroes called out of the ordinary world to achieve something greater and to go on and to somehow do something for the world that pushes them outside their comfort zone. I mean that's a story that resonates with so many people. That's why a lot of famous Hollywood-flix like “Rocky” or “Star Wars” or “Frozen” are all built around this concept of the hero's journey story. But, sharing stories, engaging in experiences, and then having those stories in your memory bank to rely upon during dinners, during car rides, during chats with the family, I mean, I don't know about you but besides playing games together as a family at night, one of the most common things that we do is we tell each other stories about what happened to us that day. Or, sometimes the children will bring up something that they experienced that day, and mom and dad will pull a memory from our memory banks of childhood and share funny stories about, “Oh, here's how dad used to run around with my little homemade bow and arrow and homemade spear in the forest, my dog Bruno, the boxer, and chase after imaginary enemies and I had a little chicken named Albino who tool around after us, was a blind white chicken.” And, you tell these stories and the kids love it, but it's a way to relive experiences, relive life.

That's very interesting because in many cases, from a storytelling standpoint, accessing past memories is a way of processing anything traumatic or problematic or troubling that might have been associated with that memory. And so, this idea of telling stories also allows you to just process life a little bit better. And, that can be even down to something as simple as experiencing the same neurotransmitters and chemicals and hormones that were released in the time you were experiencing that story or that trauma, they get released again. Even slipping to the positive side away from trauma, even something like a gratitude practice. So, a gratitude practice when you visualize what it was that you were grateful for, you actually get that same chemical surge that occurred when that moment first happened to you. And, I mean, it can be something as simple as a love making session with your spouse the night before that you're reimagining your riding town and gratefulness, the morning after where it can be a wonderful, beautiful hike in the sunshine that you did with your family the day prior or just a hug from a child and their soft skin against your face in the morning. When you write that down and you visualize it and you dwell upon it and you breathe into your heart center, there's actually a shift that occurs biochemically that simulates what you experienced before.

So, yeah, there's a lot of elements of storytelling that I think dictate that in an era of short-form social media and constant distractibility and the inability to be able to sit down and weave a story, it's a little bit sad. I think people should actually learn to make stories, to memorize stories, to visualize stories and to tell stories a lot better.

Steve:  For sure. I've got a practical example. If I just think of my daughter just with a little anxiety that she's had over the pandemic telling her story about where I was anxious and I had fear and what did I do, who did I trust. And, it was my foundation and she's looking up to dad and saying, “Well, dad also felt like that. Well, what did he do?” And so, I think that's really, really important. I know you're writing a parenting book, but storytelling being one of the most important you help guide and lead and help your children —

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. It's also important for legacy too. I mean, that's part of the Greenfield family playbook is that we have traditions around Christmas, around Thanksgiving, around east, or around certain elemental times of a child's upbringing at eight years old, at 12 years old, at 16 years old, certain elements of the family value, in the family crest. And, basically, that is the story of the Greenfield family. Even our family trust and our family constitution, family bank, it's all built around telling the Greenfield story. And so, it gives the children a sense of identity. And, when a child has a sense of identity, that also gives them a sense of purpose, it gives them a sense of pride. And, I was even having an interesting discussion last night at dinner with a friend who was explaining to me that he feels that the recent school shootings that seem to be occurring with increasing frequency in America are interesting because I was unaware of this. I thought, “Well, gosh, part of it's got to be not just our access to guns but our access to guns paired with our access to heavily violent Hollywood-flix and video games and entertainment that desensitizes us to violence.”

And, there's a wonderful author, I forget his last name, his website's killology.com where he talks about how even the military will use these type of first-person shooter games to desensitize someone to death into violence. And, I thought, “Well, gosh that's the problem in America.” But then, when you look at countries like Sweden would be an example also some access to guns. I believe that's the country that he was using as an example. There might have been another country as well some access to guns, also similar access to violence. But, the differentiating characteristic between the two is a sense of national pride and identity that a child or a young person is able to identify with. They get a little bit less disconnected or independent angst as a child in America might feel unless they're less likely to do something like a school shooting. But then, if you think about it, even in a country like America if we are a genetic melting pot and you're never going to have a sense that's quite as concrete and strong of national identity as you might in another country. If a family is doing a good job building legacy, building tradition, building family values, then the child grows up feeling as though they actually are in a safe interdependent cooperative environment where not only are stories told but where there's a sense of pride that keeps that child from wanting to grow up and just go AWOL at school with a gun.

And so, yeah, I think it is interesting thing about it. I think there's many, many elements of story that are so important for our happiness and our health.

Steve:  I think just finishing this off now is, I think, it's AJ Phillips. I don't know if you've ever seen in the art of communication and he talks about just the different hormonal processes when you tell a story that if you tell a story and you just build up to dopamine and they've measured dopamine at a certain part, and then you connect with someone from a vulnerability perspective and oxytocin is released, and then when you make someone laugh, which is what you're really, really good at in terms of your keynote, you release these endorphins, and it's this journey that through storytelling where there's these neural transmitters that are released. And, this engages people, and I really believe it starts breaking open this art shell where people don't really see their revelation. And, when they see it and they grab hold of it and they believe it and then they act on it and become the lifestyle, it's often through stories. And, I just think about the Health Optimisation Summit, there was a lot of information. But, when someone said a story and when someone shared their heart, oxytocin was released —

Ben:  Yeah, it's the reason that if let's say you're trying to raise money for a village in a third-world country that's underprivileged and you pull out statistics and say, “Hey, there's 10,000 children in this country who are hungry, who are starving, who are malnourished, who are dehydrated, who need clean water and who are unhealthy” and you compare that to displaying a photo of one little girl and you say, “This little girl's name is Sarah and she lives with her parents or whatever, Phillip and Juanise, and look at her skin conditions, close up of her face and her eyes are sunken and swollen and she only gets to eat the equivalent of a piece of bread and a little bit of rice each day, and this little girl needs your help,” well, that story resonates far, far more deeply with people than does that individual statistics. So, yeah, use examples and use stories for many things in life and its human beings are just we're wired up to connect deeply to stories.

Steve:  Well, let's run through music, let's run through dance, possibly arts and crafts, how important for those practices with regards to healing and helping people with transformation and becoming whole.

Ben:  Yeah. Well, that's all. It's very similar to the quote that I gave by Nikola Tesla in my keynote on Saturday that we're light beings or energy beings, we're frequency beings, we're vibrational beings. And, many of these activities such as music and sound and dancing and clapping and whistling and percussion, they actually allow us to not only to be able to communicate with each other but they allow our bodies to receive many of these healing vibratory frequencies and energy. Certainly, there's lymph fluid circulating, certainly, there's people in relationships and smiling and laughter and love and even telling story through many of these forms of art. But then, there's also the vibratory frequency component that can be incredibly healing, especially related to music and to sound. But, photons of light are also something that can stimulate our mitochondria that can stimulate our neural tissue that can cause for ATP release and can also shift our emotive state. And, you've seen this with light sound brain stimulators like the BrainTap was one that was at the conference. And, that can actually shift your state into one of happiness or one of love or one of better recovery.

Well, what else are photons of light? Photons of light would include not just sunshine, but it would include something you brought up as we got on this topic of music and the arts, it would be art, coloring, painting, watercolor, looking at art, making art, drawing. This is another thing that's very therapeutic to a human being not only because of the interaction with particles of light and colors but also because it allows you to dissociate from your troubles a little bit better. It's very difficult for the mind to shift out of a flow state when you have a paintbrush and you're looking at perhaps something that you're drawing such as a still and you're coloring it in. It's one of the reasons why art can be so therapeutic for stress and such a wonderful stress-relieving activity, very similar to playing a musical instrument, to reading a book of fiction. It takes your mind to a different place, put you in this state of flow. And, I would argue that human beings were designed to be creators, designed to be creators to contribute to not just be consumers but to create. I always ask myself that each day. Well, am I creating more than I'm consuming? And, this act of creation, whether it's creating art or creating music or creating food or creating a story, these are all things that deeply connect us to our purpose and our why as a human being. If your work is consumptive, you're just, let's say, going to a 9:00 to 5:00 job consuming Netflix, consuming social media, consuming food, and never actually creating, you're missing out on a big, big part of what it means to be a true authentic human being.

Steve:  Absolutely. And, I think this is what I want to sort of link it to sustaining your transformation is, can we use these ancestral practices when we're having those days where we don't feel energetically strong? We're lacking the motivation because these have been ancestral practices.

And, I want to move on to the last one of, well, gathering of food, preparing it, cooking it together because there's a lot of people that will do it on their own but something happens. And, from a different perspective, when you cook together, you prepare that food, think of the hunters that they used to hunt together, they weren't an island on themselves. And, that community of coming together and preparing that food, I think there's a lot of healing to, and it can help people with regards to continuing this transformation.

Ben:  Yeah, I'm glad you brought that up because when us just coming off of this biohacking summit where there's a lot of people who are mildly orthorexic about their diet, they not only are they very, very picky about their food but food is used as a chemical, it's a functional fuel. There's even this term now and the nutrition is functional food, and this idea that that food is meant to just be a bunch of biochemicals and particles that we consume to achieve a certain mental or physical state. And, furthermore, many people are afraid of food because there's so much of this bandied about, this idea of food being just this functional chemical fuel that they're afraid in the same way that if you pull up to the gas station and you don't have a diesel vehicle and you put diesel in your car, and they're checking the gas but make sure I put the right gas in the car. People are like that with food sometimes, which I think has its time in its place especially if you're engaged in something like human performance or you're trying to lose weight or build muscle dramatically as a bodybuilder or something like that. But ultimately, aside from a few cases where you do have to be very, very strict about your diet because you've chosen something performance-related that requires you to be very strict about your diet, we often view food as this isolated fuel when in fact, food is a much, much bigger part of life.

Steve:  Yeah.

Ben:  And, you've brought that up. So, food is something people gather around, food is something that nourishes us not just physically and mentally but also spiritually the difference between a fresh bed of salad that's been recently harvested from a garden and exposed to a multitude of biophotons of light and bacteria and fungi from the soil is far, far different than a snack pack of kale chips that you grab from the convenience store that you're eating and stuffing into your face while you're driving 60 miles an hour down the highway on a commute to work versus enjoying that lovely salad with your family in a parasympathetic state seated at a table, blessing the food, having emotions of love, peace, and joy, emanating over that food, choosing for each meal for that food to actually be an experience, not just a physical experience and mental experience, again, but a spiritual experience. And then, a lot of people simply view food as too much of a chemical substance and not enough as a potentially life-changing part of beauty and story and existence.

And so, yeah, I mean, I'm highly cognizant whenever I eat unless I'm really truly on the fly. At the expo yesterday, just go, go, go, go, go, and I might grab a little piece of beef jerky here and there, and that's functional food. But, 80 to 90% of my meals are actually planned out so that they are an experience and that they're actually either with people, or something new, or there's a deep prayer session before a meal and a celebration of my dialogue with God after I've done that jumping into the meal. So, yeah, there's a lot when it comes to food that I think especially in the health industry, we neglect because we're just too focused on it being this functional fuel.

Steve:  Brilliant.

So, in terms of should people out there that are listening to this, they've got anxiety, they've got depression, they're really struggling, embrace those five ancestral practices first before they start doing that blood tests or leukemia, HIV, so their sleep scores because I think we're just starting to use a lot of the tech which has its place, but I think a lot of people will become orthorexic because they're looking at the numbers instead of what have been people doing for generations.

Ben:  Yeah.

Steve:  Look at prayer and look at meditation, that's another area in terms of really restoring the soul and ensuring that you can live out your why.

Ben:  Yeah. In my opinion, I don't think that it's asking too much to be able to pull off both to be able to say, “Well, I'm going to quantify and I'm going to track my sleep, and I'm going to track my HRV, I'm going to track maybe some blood and saliva metrics, but simultaneously, I'm going to focus on a lot of these ancestral practices.” I don't think there's any reason you can't combine ancestral wisdom and modern science. The two are not incompatible, it's just a matter of a lot of people realizing the deeper almost sacredness of some of these five core principles you brought up like storytelling and in your environment and your relationship with food or art or music or creativity, understanding that these feed the soul. I would consider them to almost fall into the same category as another thing that I think people neglect the spiritual disciplines. So, prayer, a silence, solitude, meditation, worship, singing, fasting, a lot of these are soul-feeding type of activities. And, I think that the other activities that come from science, the rational logical elements of science such as weight training, or the type of nutrition, or your macronutrient ratio, or the supplements, or different biohacking modalities, these are all feeding the body or the brain. And, I see no reason why you can't open up your refrigerator of health optimization and have access to all the tools. I think a part of this is due to the ease of commercialization of a lot of the biohacks, and the fitness, and the nutrition principles, and the diet books, and the cookbooks, et cetera, that makes that stuff a little bit more — it causes it to permeate into health culture a little bit more than some of these things that are free easily accessible, not quite as sexy but far more transformative despite not being monetized can pull off. And, that would be the spiritual disciplines, the fasting, the meditation, and some of the things you brought up, the storytelling, music, the creativity, et cetera. So, I personally say, “Why not have both?”

Steve:  Yeah. Let's talk about possibly you're putting in both in place and maybe you want to just touch on what are the most important markers from a biohacking perspective. Is it HIV? Is it oxidative stress like the HSC? Or, is it your T3 to reverse T3 ratio? Is it your GGT? Let's look at some of those markers but then move us into a place of how important it is to have an accountability partner whether it's a health coach, which we —

Ben:  You're asking two-part questions. It's a podcasting, no, no. Let's not get too into the weeds here because those are two totally different things.

Steve: Sure. Okay. Let's talk about what's the most important biohacking markers with regards to stress, anxiety —

Ben:  Okay. Oh, yeah. That's simple. So, let's say because there's obviously a lot of companies out there like Inside Tracker, or Wellness FX, or Doctor's Data, and many, many functional medicine docs now are running some pretty comprehensive testing protocols, they can be expensive, they can be complex, they can sometimes be confusing if you don't have someone to interpret your data. but, I think that the most important things to track if you're going to track anything, number one would be a regular test of inflammatory levels.

Steve:  Okay.

Ben: HSCRP, cytokines, creatine kinase, fibrinogen, homocysteine, a lot of these markers that would indicate whether your body is or is not chronically inflamed. Okay. So, I would say that one's super important. Next would be glycemic variability. How often is your blood glucose fluctuating during the day? Very achievable via either a continuous blood glucose monitor or via just one of these test strips from the average drugstore that will allow you to look at what you're eating and say, “Okay, how much is this food or this pattern, this lifestyle habit, this hack, et cetera, affecting my blood sugar? How long is the blood sugar staying elevated because of transient elevation oftentimes is not a big deal? And then, how stable is it throughout the day? And, what's the average blood glucose? On average, is it relatively low?” Well, hopefully.

And then, in addition to the inflammation in the blood glucose, heart rate variability, because it's so easy to measure now, so many tools such as the Oura, or the Whoop, or this new company Hanu Health, they're doing a good job. But basically, this idea of being able to monitor your nervous system readiness and preparedness, it correlates so much to things like potential for infection, illness, injury, autoimmune issues. It's a catch-all for many, many issues for people. And, if it's constantly low, that can give you clues that you may need to do further testing. Okay, is there a food in my diet I'm allergic to that I'm frequently consuming? Do I have some type of a thyroid or a hormonal issue that would dictate that I need to go do a little bit deeper digging via blood test or urine test? And so, I think the HRV can give you clues to decide whether or not you need to either adjust something dramatically or go test something to see why the HRV is low.

And then, I think that the other two things that are super important to track would just be sleep quality and sleep metrics, but that should be painted in the light of what I said earlier that you don't want to be obsessive over the data but you want to be aware of the data and understand if there are certain things that you're doing such as say the type of book you might read at night or what you do or do not eat for dinner, that's affecting your sleep. You can make very, very simple changes that will improve the quality of the sleep. And then, the last one be just activity levels. I think, yeah, speak of the devils, we're walking as we're doing this podcast, I think that people should be getting 10,000 to 15,000 steps a day. And, I tell people this and a lot of folks will go to a really hard workout at the beginning of the day like a really hard CrossFit workout or they'll be at the gym for an hour and they'll say, “Oh, I'm highly physically active,” but their step count might be three to four thousand steps a day because they almost use that activity session early in the day as an excuse to sit on their butt the rest of the day. And so, I think that you got to be hyper-aware of just I would much, much rather somebody never go to the gym and just walk a lot, have a little kettlebell on the floor their office they lift every once in a while, sprinkling some push-ups and pull-ups here and there, et cetera, than I would somebody go to the gym every day but not have a natural physically active lifestyle which also, of course, the nature of a natural physically active lifestyle. What does it do? It forces you outdoors so you're getting sunshine, you're getting fresh air, you're getting —

Steve:  Environment, yeah.

Ben:  Nature bathing. Ideally, those 10,000 or 15,000 steps unless your complete masochists are not all achieved on a treadmill.

Steve:  Yeah. Great. So, that's the biohacking markers which is incredible.

Let's talk about the importance of a health coach to help you walk alongside you and just really help you be accountable in the process of your transformation so you don't feel so alone or you don't have guilt or shame if you drop off the back.

Ben:  Yeah. Well, I mean, you're talking to a guy who's a little bit jaded. So, I don't have a mentor, I rarely work with a coach. I mostly go to the gym by myself, total lone wolf, but I've just always been intrinsically motivated to move and eat healthy. And, I think part of it is education like I know so much having spent so much time in the sector that it's hard, it's people who are like, “Man, do you ever get tempted by that big basket of French fries that comes out the restaurant?” I'm like, “Well, no, I don't because I almost know too much, I've seen too many clogged up arteries and seen too much inflammation.” And, for me, it's not even attractive to be saying, “Aren't you tempted by that giant pile of steaming dog poop somebody brought to the table?” It's like, “Well, no, I just know that it's crappy for you. So, I'm not even tempted.” And so, I think —

Steve:  What about the average person [00:57:09] _____?

Ben:  Right, right. But, that's what I'm getting at. So, that's why I say I'm jaded. But, the average person, yeah, I mean not only is accountability important but I find one of the number one things that keeps people from taking action is they don't know what to do. My goal for all my clients because I write out training plans and nutrition plans for people, my goal is for them to wake up in the morning and have zero guesswork about what stretches do I do today, what's my workout today, what's my cardio today, which biohacking modalities do I do today, what are my options for breakfast, what are my options for lunch, what are my options for dinner, what are the foods that are amazing for me, what are the foods I should avoid, which supplements from all the 20 different bottles in my cupboard, what do I take and when? And, once that education is in place, sometimes that's the barrier to achieving success is sometimes it might not be that that person doesn't have a strong purpose or why that we talked about earlier, but that person just might have a large amount of decision-making fatigue. And, I think that's one of the best parts about a health coach whether it's nutrition, or fitness, or a trainer, or physician, or whatever else, is it eliminates a lot of that decision-making fatigue. And then, if you pair that and this would be like I have an app that I'm on called Ladders, and Ladders is an online fitness training app but it's got a community, it's got a whole chat room, it's got a whole board behind it that I'm shooting motivational videos with people each week, they're having chats and in the group chat around the workouts.

And so, this idea that, “Hey, somebody else out there is hurting even if I'm by myself in the gym, somebody else if across the globe who I talked to earlier this morning, they're doing the same 50 burpees that I'm doing. And then, they're going over to the bike and somebody else is –” Even if they're not right there with you, this idea of being in a group and being a part of something bigger, being a part of a tribe is very similar to storytelling, something that people naturally just feed on.

Steve:  Yeah. And, I think I'm going to challenge you and praise you a little bit because I mean the greatest athletes in the world have often got coaches and they missed something, I think got the Knees Over Toes guys. Possibly if you had a coach, they would have seen a bit earlier, maybe that would help your knee, maybe you would have —

Ben:  Yeah.

Steve:  We've all got [00:59:09] _____ in there. Sometimes what happens, they call it the Dunning-Kruger effect that when you're in immersed as an expert, sometimes you don't see things.

Ben:  Yeah, exactly.

Steve:  And, that's —

Ben:  Dunning-Kruger effect is basically, it's the assumption that you know more about any given topic than you actually do. And so, yeah, you're right that I might do better if I had a health coach, if I had a mentor. Obviously, my life is in total crap right now because I don't, but it's not something that I've ever really had. I guess the best way to describe it is the time or the motivation to mess around with. I go to people for advice sometimes, but I write out all my own workouts, I create my own diet, I take care of my own injuries. And so, yeah, a lot of this stuff is stuff I just managed myself. But, I realize also I'm an anomaly in that sense.

Steve:  Absolutely. And, look, we're coming to the end of the show and I think there's a lot of people that are struggling mentally and just in fact of just waking up. Made to Thrive, we've got a little acronym, we're trying to get across called TGIM, thank God it's Monday. People have TGIF and they're waiting for weekends, they're waiting for holidays, and they just want to move into pleasure.

So, maybe you want to expand on the thought that people think this life is really hedonic and it's really dopamine based. It's not about embracing suffering and going through the hard times. And, often, those times bring contentment and fulfillment. So, possibly it's a perspective change and thought change, and an attitude change. What does life's about? Because we really want to get to a place where you're enjoying Mondays as much as you enjoy Fridays, and you celebrate Mondays as much as you enjoy Friday.

Ben:  I know. It's funny. I love Mondays. Now, I take a sabbath. I go so easy on Sunday that by the time Monday rolls around, it's an athlete, you give a recovery day to and they're just ready to go crush the gym the next morning. Whereas, if they don't have that recovery day, they're still going to go to the gym but they're a little bit stale.

Steve:  Yeah.

Ben:  And so, I'm like that with Monday. So, Sundays is a total rest I'm with family all day, I'm relaxing, I'm honoring the sabbath. By the time Monday rolls around, I'm like, “You can't keep me out of bed, I'm jumping out of bed, leaping out of bed.” But, even in the absence of the consideration of the day before being a full rest day, there's also this idea that I have a deep connection to my purpose and to my why and I'm very self-actualized in my work. And, specifically, I've identified how my work can help other people, how can your work deliver to the world something that the world is asking for and how can you do so using your unique skill set.

And, there's great books. Probably one of my favorites right now is called “Ikigai 2.0.” It's a guidebook for finding your purpose in life. And then, that's the last one that me and my sons went through because we're always going through purpose finding books, or at least I intentionally make it a point to bring them through something related to purpose at least once a year because we're always reading books together. And, this “Ikigai 2.0” workbook we went through, it allowed us to even more deeply connect to our strength's finder assessments, our natural abilities that we're good at, what it is that we want to deliver to the world, the mechanisms or the platforms or the avenues via which we want to deliver that. And so, yeah, I think that it's not just about having a purpose statement or why, whatever, I want to make art that makes people laugh and smile. That's a great why or purpose, but then, you got to also ask yourself, “Okay, how is it that people actually want that delivered? How am I going to deliver it? What's the commercialization part of that flywheel not just the content part of the flywheel?” And so, yeah, I mean it does require some planning and structuring out of your purpose and your why statement. Once you do that, yeah, TGIM could definitely set in a lot more effectively.

Steve:  Yeah. I think doesn't it go against the sort of the American dream that'll ask me if you just filled with pleasures, and the white picket fence, and the holiday home in Florida and then [01:02:54] _____ —

Ben: Oh, yeah. Yeah, no. I'm a fan of the combination between the puritanical work ethic of hard work, nose to the grindstone chop wood, and carry water. But, at the end of every day, we play hard. We work hard, we play hard. At the end of every week, we rest. Super-duper hard. I think you have to pair a certain amount of nose to the grindstone hard work ethic with almost this concept of what I call Christian Hedonism where you're basically appreciating the fact that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. The very best thing we can do with our lives as the author of Ecclesiastes and the Bible writes is to do our hard work to the very best of our abilities to put our hand to our work with all of our might and then to sit back and enjoy the blessings, the food, the drink and the lifestyle that results is part of that hard work. So, yeah, it's both. And, that doesn't mean that you fear the hard work, that doesn't mean you do with a frowny poopy face, but it means that the hard work is embraced along with the rest and you're able to embrace the hard work because back to the beginning of our podcast, it's contextualized with a deep purpose and a why based on loving other people and loving God.

Steve:  Brilliant. And, that's a Papa quote that I love and I've read too John Papa about eudaimonia. It's this Christian hedonism and this Christian eudaimonia. And, eudaimonia, the [01:04:12] _____, which is the Greek thing. It's contentment, it's fulfillment, it's getting up serving others, it's not about the quick dopamine and it is about the quick dopamine. We want the dopamine from the motivation and the reward. We want the oxytocin, we want the serotonin, we want those neurotransmitters that come in with regards to contentment. They come in with sacrifice. They're often coming when we're suffering and we're going through a hard time and we overcome that. So, I want to add to that eudaimonia or [01:04:38] ____, which is the Greek plus Christian hedonism. And, I think that combination is really powerful.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. Word, brother. Well, this has been quite the walk.

Steve:  Cool. So, let's have a message of hope from Ben Greenfield because I really feel that people are really struggling just mentally and emotionally. There's a lot of despair, depression's up, anxiety is up by 350% over the African continent just because many people have been impoverished by the pandemic, been isolated as well. There's been a real struggle and crime back home. It's been really very tough because just people are really struggling from financial aspects. So, give a message of hope to those people in Africa and beyond because [01:05:17] _____, but give us that message.

Ben:  Yeah. We as humans, and Jamie Wheal talks about this a little bit in his book, “Recapture the Rapture,” we're hardwired to be waiting for the next disaster to be assuming that the world is going to hell in a handbasket and perhaps some God, or some leader, or some tribe is going to save us. But, really, in the end, disaster is looming and the only thing that we can hope for is the eventual rapture. And, while I do think as a Christian that there will be a time when Jesus returns and we're all caught up into heaven, I also in what's called the post-millennialist what that means is that I believe the world is getting better and better. I believe death has been conquered. I believe sin has been conquered. I believe Satan has been bound. I believe that when Jesus died on the cross, the world became a brand-new place and a new kingdom was ushered in. Not a kingdom that requires us to follow special rules or to sacrifice animals or to do all these crazy things to allow ourselves to become sanctified or saved but instead a kingdom that resides in our hearts, an ability to be able to speak with God each day, an ability to be able to be anointed with the holy spirit, an ability to be able to lay down our burden at the foot of the cross, believe in the name of Jesus and then go forth and live an amazing life. Not because we're all of a sudden able to but because we all of a sudden love God so much, back to what I was saying earlier, that we have no choice but to be able to love Him through obeying His commandments and living a remarkable life. And, because of that, because this new era that we live in, the world is going to get better and better. The knowledge of the glory of the Lord and this message of salvation will eventually cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. 

So, you don't have to despair that some COVID, or monkeypox, or new world order, anything like that is going to destroy life as we know it or that there's going to be some massive solar flare that wipes out the entire planet and we go back to the dark ages. These things, they're over with. Okay, they're not going to happen. The whole telling of the destruction of the world, in the Bible, that's the foretelling of the destruction of Jerusalem, it's not a foretelling of our life getting worse and worse and worse. Now, we live in a magical beautiful area. Death has been bound. Our magical beautiful era, death has been bound, Satan has been bound, free salvation is accessible to all with something as simple as believing on the name of Jesus Christ. And, because of that, anybody in the entire world no matter what situation that they're in has the greatest hope ever imaginable and the full promise of love and eternal life no matter who they are or what they've done.

Steve:  Amen. And, can't add anything to that, incredible, just sharing the Gospel and sharing the good news. Just let the audience know in terms of where they can find you, where they can connect with you. You got incredible podcasts. It's my favorite podcast out there in terms of health and performance and where people can just engage with you. 

Ben:  Oh, yeah. Sure. I'm at BenGreenfieldLife.com. If you search my name, you probably find my social media accounts and everything. But, yeah, BenGreenfieldLife.com is where all my books, my podcast, all that stuff is. And, I'm honored that you have this chat with me, Steve. This is great.

Steve:  Brilliant. And, I just declare favor and blessing over you, over the Greenfield home, over your boys that will live out the calling that God's given them that they would glorify the King of Kings and delight in Him as they go along the journey, and your wife too. I know that your wife is probably a coach that speaks into your life and she just reflects the things that you need to grow and you need to strengthen in. So, I'm grateful for your family and who you are. And, you've been an inspiration to the people in Africa. So, thank you so much.

Ben:  Awesome. Well, thanks, man. Hopefully, I'll make it down there some time to visit South Africa and say hello to everybody there. We'll do something someday I'm sure.

Steve:  Absolutely.

Ben:  Alright, folks. Well, if this winds up on my website, it's going to be at BenGreenfieldLife.com/MadetoThrive. That's BenGreenfieldLife.com/MadetoThrive.

And, Steve, let's go figure out how to get out of the park.

Steve:  Absolutely. Thanks, Ben.

Ben:  Alright.

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. 


Welcome to the show. Today's episode is with biohacker and podcaster Steve Stavs from South Africa, whom I met at the Health Optimisation Summit held in the latter part of May 2022.

Steve Stavs’ philosophy is one of researching to reveal. He has spent his life immersing himself in knowledge and then turning these insights into actionable strategies designed to enhance the human state.

He is a successful entrepreneur, leadership coach, international lecturer, and holistic practitioner. Steve continues to run his wellness practice Regenerative Health, which he started 20 years ago. Steve then launched Made To Thrive in 2019 with the purpose of inspiring and empowering people to Superhuman Health and Performance, and—together with his team of eight coaches—ensures that people do not walk out their health journeys alone. He has aided many to reach their highest potential in all aspects of their lives and this has inspired him to take both his message and his mission to a wider audience. (You can save 15% on coaching and consulting with code BEN15 along with 5% off products in the shop with code BEN5.)

Steve draws on his background in Western Medical Practices and integrates the best of this knowledge with the profound teachings of Ancestral Living and Chinese Medicine. Thousands of patients can testify to the effectiveness of this comprehensive approach, which combines an understanding of ancient traditional cultures while including the most researched science in biochemistry, physiology, psychology, and nutrition.

An avid athlete, Steve is dedicated to exploring the boundaries of physical ability and pushing his body to its optimal performance. He is a Green Number Comrades runner and one of his ultimate goals is to run the Comrades Marathon at the age of 100. Steve supports the Community of the Hope Risen Foundation–a nonprofit organization founded by Tabitha and Rob Lage, who are passionate about ensuring humans have absolute freedom to live out their true purpose, know their why, and live according to this ethos.

Hope Risen has a vision to spread Hope, Love, and Justice in the quest to end modern-day slavery and exploitation. They are passionate about helping survivors of human trafficking shine again. The foundation runs a number of prevention and awareness initiatives alongside direct interventions to rescue, restore and reintegrate women, men, and children who have been exploited.

Steve asked me if he could interview me for his podcast, The Made To Thrive Show. I told him he could, but only if he can keep up with me on one of my aerobically and intellectually challenging “walk & talk” podcasts.

“Not a problem,” replied Steve, and I believed him—as he has covered over 40,000 running kilometers in the last 28 years. So Steve can take some steps!

And thus we took to the backstreets and parks of London during some free time from the summit and discussed many topics, such as:

  • Fear vs. purpose-based motivation
  • The African word for “community” and how it differs from our conception in the West
  • The lost art of storytelling
  • Why the “free” biohacks are just as important as the expensive gadgets found at your favorite conference
  • And more…

I enjoyed our conversation so much that I wanted to share it on my podcast feed as well. So I hope you enjoy it (and you'll hear that Steve was able to keep up with me just fine!).

In this episode, you'll discover:

-Steve's description of the Comrades Marathon…06:12

  • 56 miles
  • 25k participants
  • Promotes camaraderie and community among S. Africans
  • People make changes only because they get sick, not necessarily for positive effect in life
  • Podcast with Tim Noakes:
  • Pursuing a weight that's not ideal for their homeostatic status
  • March 26, 2020: first day of Covid lockdown; felt a field of uncertainty and fear among the people

-Fear vs. purpose-based motivation for human action…09:56

  • Body awareness
  • Motivation vs. purpose-based fear
  • Doing good out of a healthy fear of God vs. fear of going to hell

-Ubuntu and the spirit of community…15:30

  • Meaning: “I am” because “we are”
  • Community: “Commune in Unity”
  • You can only be truly healthy in a community perspective
  • Community becomes the internal driver
  • God said it's not good for man to be alone; created woman for community
  • Made To Thrive

-An environment that facilitates success…20:27

-Storytelling as a means of building community…31:42

-Arts and music as a means of healing…42:37

  • Nikola Tesla: We're light, energy, frequency beings
  • Vibratory frequency can be healing
  • Photons of light can stimulate the mitochondria
  • BrainTap
  • We're designed to be creators, to contribute, not to consume

-Gathering and preparing food that sustains community…45:07

  • We often view food as an isolated fuel, when it's a part of life
  • Nourishes us physically and spiritually when consumed among the community
  • View food as a part of your story, not a mass of chemicals to fuel the body

-Putting biohacking in its place regarding our quality of life…49:00

  • Focus on spiritual disciplines; feed the soul as well as the body
  • Ease of commercialization for biohacks, cookbooks, etc.
  • Things that are free are just as important as expensive products

-The most important biohacking metrics when it comes to stress and anxiety…52:02

-The importance of having a health coach…56:15

-Embracing suffering to bring joy…1:00:09

  • Enjoy Mondays as much as Fridays
  • Ben takes every Sunday off (needs a recovery day)
  • Ikigai 2.0
  • Work hard, play hard
  • Christian hedonism

-Ben Greenfield's message of hope for the future…1:05:17

-And much more…

-Upcoming Events:

Resources mentioned in this episode:

– Steve Stavs:

– Podcasts And Articles:

– Books:

– Other Resources:

Episode sponsors:

Levels Health: If you want to better understand how food affects your health and try a continuous glucose monitor yourself, go to levels.link/Ben to learn more. (01:43)

Lucy Nicotine Gum: If you are looking for a cleaner and tastier alternative to other nicotine products, then this product is for you. The gum comes in three flavors – Wintergreen, Cinnamon, and Pomegranate – and the lozenges in cherry ice. To save 20% on any order, just use discount code BEN20. (03:28)

Kion Aminos: Building blocks for muscle recovery, reduced cravings, better cognition, immunity, and more. (04:27)

Inside Tracker: Created by leading scientists in aging, genetics, and biometrics, Inside Tracker analyzes your blood, DNA, and fitness tracking data to identify where you’re optimized—and where you’re not. (27:34)

Timeline Nutrition: Timeline is offering 10% off your first order of Mitopure. Go to timelinenutrition.com/BEN and use code BEN to get 10% off your order. (28:35)

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. (30:29)




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