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As we pass the arbitrarily chosen date to mark another successful pass around the sun, it is traditional for residents of this Big Blue Marble to reflect upon the year that's passed and make resolutions, of varying degrees, to attempt improvement in some facet of our lives.

Today on the Health and Wellness Show on the SOTT Radio Network we'll be looking into the phenomenon of New Years resolutions, but more specifically, we'll be picking out some good ones for turning around one's health in 2016. Whether you're not in the best state of health or are just looking for ways to take your body, mind and emotional health to the next level, there will be something we cover that will address ways you can make your 2016 your healthiest year yet!

Join us Fridays at 10 am EST for the SOTT Radio Network's Health and Wellness Show. With us, as always, will be resident animal health expert Zoya, with her Pet Health segment.

Running Time: 02:12:00

Download: MP3

Here's the transcript of the show:

Jonathan: Welcome everybody to the Health and Wellness Show. My name is Jonathan and I'll be your host for today. We have almost a full complement of hosts today, Tiffany, Erica, Doug and Elliott are with us but Gaby is missing today so we will miss Gaby and think about her. Happy New Year!!

Elliott: Happy New Year!

Doug: Yeah happy New Year, guys!

Jonathan: I hope everybody is feeling ok today and that you didn't stay up too late last night. Today we are going to be talking about just the general phenomenon of New years'resolutions. Our theme is bio-hacking 2016, so we're going to be talking about some of the things you can be doing about your health and turning it around. We are definitely welcoming input and we have a call-in number 718-508-9499 and that is a US number, so if you are calling from overseas you need to use the appropriate extension or use skype.

So let's begin - the last show we did we talked more about news topics and I was wondering if you guys want to start with a little discussion about anything you did this year. I can say for my self that I explored the ketogenic diet more than I had in the past. I am not going to lie, I did cheat and fall off the wagon a number of times and I also learned how damaging and how much of a bummer that can be. When you are doing the keto diet and you cheat, it hurts worse than it does normally. What about you guys, is there anything special that you did in regards to your health this year?

Tiffany: Well, it's not very hard to fall off the wagon, for some people. You can have one night of Christmas cookies thinking you can remain in keto, and then realize - oops - I am not in ketosis anymore. Well I can't say that I did anything new, it's just more of the same stuff.

Doug: Well I think in those situations it's important to forgive yourself, not get too obsessed, not get too down on yourself. Realize you do the best you can and in certain situations you're not going to do as well as you hope, and you just get back on that wagon and get back to it.

Tiffany: Sometimes angsting about it afterwards is worse than actually whatever transgression you crossed. You shouldn't get wound up about it and worry too much about it and think, I've failed, I am just a failure and I will never make it - I think that's half the battle.

Doug: I think that's true.

Elliott: I think when you start on this kind of diet its very easy, well I found it was, to come at it really religiously, speak to it very obsessively and religiously.If you make one little slip-up, then you go into these thought loops, you beat yourself up about it and it's the end of the world, when in fact, its worth remembering that you've lived most of your life on the standard diet and so slipping off it for one day or two is not really the end of the world, you need to cut yourself some slack sometimes.

Doug: I agree.

Jonathan: That's a really good point; I have certainly done some things in the past that were much more damaging to my health in the long run than this past year.

Tiffany: Well this is my tenth year anniversary of not having a McDonald's. Well, I am exaggerating I have no idea how long it has been.

Doug: Well, Congratulations anyway.

Tiffany: Thank you, for congratulating me on my false, made up McDonald's speech.

Jonathan: One thing I did want to ask you guys about that I have noticed this year, and maybe I was just paying more attention to it, but I definitely noticed more so than in the past, and my girlfriend and I were talking about this just the other day: young people with old diseases. A lot of people in my family, people that I have known, or people I have heard about just kind of tangentially, people in their 20's are having diseases that are generally ascribed as being to the older generations. It's starting to hit young people a lot more. I wonder if you guys have noticed that too?

Elliott: Yeah, one of my lecturers in nutrition, her daughter who is only nine years old, has actually been diagnosed with systemic arthritis in every joint in her body and she's only like, nine or ten years old. This is practically unheard of.

Doug: I think this is just part of a general trend, with the collective health of the world kind of going down in the tanks.

Erica: Yeah, the diseases of civilization.

Doug: Yes, exactly.

Tiffany: I don't deal much with younger generations, but it seems everybody is sick. Everybody has thyroid trouble, everybody is diabetic, everybody has high blood pressure. These are the three main things, probably because I see it every day, it seems like nobody is healthy.

Doug: And even those who to tend to think of themselves as healthy, when you really look them, you think, "You know, you're not quite as well off as you think you are". It's like the collective perception of what healthy is has also degraded and keeps on degrading.

Tiffany: It's like the people who aren't lying in bed sick,they think they are healthy because they don't take more than just a couple of medications, they are healthy.

Doug: Yeah exactly, 'I am only on three medications; I am pretty healthy.'

Elliott: Or even just things like eczema, or psoriasis or asthma, these things have been so normalized that people just think it's normal, modern medicine just tells you that it's normal. Yes, it's normal to have asthma, not breathing properly, it's normal to have lesions on your skin, that's just normal, don't worry, its so normalized, isn't it?

Tiffany: People think it's normal to not be able to sleep and to only have a bowel movement every three days.

Doug: I know a naturopathic doctor who has brutal seasonal allergies, just terrible, but she's always talking about how she's good and she's healthy, she's lucky because she doesn't have any major health issues. And I am looking at her thinking - are you really looking at yourself? It's not normal when the seasons change to have these horrible allergies and to be completely out of commission, not be able to breathe, to have watery eyes. That's not a normal state of health for a healthy human being.

Jonathan: I guess it is the new metric if you are not holed up and laid up, that you are healthy.

Doug: Exactly. Well, I was just going to say that with going with our theme of New years' resolutions, it seems that in order to resolve to improve yourself in some way, its assumed that you have enough self awareness to actually realize where things are actually wrong.

Jonathan: Right.

Tiffany: It seems like the standard resolution for most people is, "I want to lose weight in the new year, and you can tell in the TV commercials coming up to the new year, there's all these Weight Watchers, you look at the store ads at weight loss and exercise equipment like treadmills and dumbbells that go on sale right before the new year.

Doug: Yes, even on that, I watched a little bit of the New Years Eve from Times Square last night and it was all sponsored by a gym, a really terrible gym actually, and it's like - oh wow and what are they promoting here?

Jonathan: Talking about the new standard of health kind of thing, it reminded me of something that I heard on the radio. I popped on NPR as I do once in awhile and they were talking about how Donald Trump had gotten a physical and his doctor proclaimed that he was in perfect health. I don't know if they were being cheeky or not, because they are not usually very satirical on the standard NPR, the but he said that said he was the healthiest man he had ever seen, the doctor!

Doug: Come on!

Jonathan: I don't know anything about Trump, he might be physically healthy but if he was really healthy I think his brain would work better, I don't know.

Tiffany: If anything is indicative of his poor state of health, you only need to look at his hair.

Doug: Exactly - that's not healthy hair.

Tiffany: It's not healthy in the way it grows out, but what kind of sane person would have a hair style like that?

Erica: Maybe that's where he gets all his power. He's got super human hair.

Doug: Like Samson. (Laughter)

Jonathan: I definitely don't want to stray too much into the political candidates, so I guess we can leave that where it lies. So, we have some notes on what we'd like to talk about today and I think one that would be fun to get into is disaster preparedness. So now of course, you had the great scare of 2000 where all the clocks were going to reset and then you had the great Terrence McKenna scare of 2012. So people have been talking about preparedness for quite some time, but it seems to always be couched in this idea that right around the corner everything is just going to completely collapse and that may or may not be true. I am not arguing that point of view, I honestly wouldn't be surprised if it did happen but I think that mind set leads into the ideas of preparedness. Thinking that that you have to immediately spend $5,000 dollars and stock up your cabinet, and and get like three cows and two freezers forall of this. You know, get a bug out bag, and a back-up bug out bag for everyone in your family and all this stuff. You know, those are all good ideas, but we were going to talk a bit about making small changes as opposed to trying to stress yourself out; make massive changes and completely change your life or drain your bank account to get all this preparedness stuff. I wondered what input you guys have on making small changes to preparedness. For me, one thing is to just add things to the medicine cabinet over time if I can. I will get just a bit more of this one thing. We've talked about iodine and we'll have a show on that in the future, but making a batch of iodine so you can have extra, and some small steps to take. Is there anything else like that you guys do, to make small steps toward that?

Elliott: Definitely, I think that's the best way to approach it and when you read about economic collapses or whatever. I think it can make people quite fearful if you act on that fear and think, 'I need to drain my whole bank account' and stock on this 'who knows what'. But, I think one of the best ways to approach it, as you said, is to take small steps and implement changes into your life with what you have available. For instance, just adding one more thing to your medicine cabinet or taking up a new skill. You spoke about it in another show just a few months back, taking steps to build relationships with people in your community. Say for instance, just going over and saying, 'hello, how are you doing'; just getting to know your neighbors and small things like that,I think are some of the best ways we can approach this.

Doug: Yes, I think that's the best way to approach this. I think that being prepared is more of a state of mind than it is about loading up on a bunch of food and stocking guns and that sort of thing. I think what you said Elliott about fear, that acting out of fear is actually the opposite of being prepared. Being prepared means keeping your brain malleable. You have a plan, but you are flexible enough to deviate from that plan if you need to. You have things in place ahead of time where any number of possibilities could be accounted for. Like you said, Jonathan, we aren't necessarily going to see some massive collapse of society or anything like that, but I think that anybody who is paying attention can see that we are on a downward trend and that things are getting worse. But reacting to that in a state of, not of expectation but just hoping for the best but preparing for the worst, I guess is what it is. Not giving into that fear mentality and holing yourself up in bunker because I really think that if things do go down, those people who are holed up in a bunker probably aren't going to be much better off than those people who weren't even considering things at all.

Jonathan: Yes, that's a good point. I am a big fan of adding skills, Elliott, like you said. So, pick something and take a month or two months and really get into it. Like canning; learn everything you can about canning. Don't necessarily fill up your entire pantry, but can a few things and get into it. Or pick an activity that you have not done before, like martial arts; Aikido or Tai Kwando. Most cities or residential areas have some sort of class like that you can take. Seek out activities like that or things like - do you know how to sew? If you have never sewed anything in your life, get a ripped garment and get a needle and thread and just start practicing, just learn how to repair things and stuff like that.

Elliott: Or take the day out and go fishing with friends or something, or with a family member, go fishing. Learn how to fish.

Doug: There was an interesting article on SOTT about this actually called; 'Daily habits of prepared people' written by Daisy Luther at the Activist Post. I won't go through it in too much detail, but I thought one of the most interesting things that she talked about was situational awareness. We talked about that in the past when we did a show on preparation, and I think preparing yourself psychologically is good and this is where things like martial arts classes can come in handy. By going to a martial arts class you are not necessarily going to learn how to fight your way out of a situation, but one of the valuable things that is useful about martial arts is that it teaches situational awareness. That you are aware of what's going on around you and that you have a baseline of normality. So that when things deviate from that baseline, you're aware and able to react to the situation and not fall into the normalcy bias. Which is; even when things go wrong and your brain shuts down and you think, 'Oh, this is normal, this is ok'. So I think, having a psychological awareness, may be almost as important as having an escape plan, a store of food and a bug-out bag and all that sort of thing.

Erica: I agree, and she said in the article that prepared people spend their time before an emergency. And that is key to survival, as you were all saying, how your daily life reflects what you would do in an emergency, so canning, having situational awareness. Physical activity - so people think they are going to be able to hike 60 miles to safety and they don't even walk at all during the day. So having a realistic expectation of your fitness level and what you can handle if you need to bug out, so to speak.

Tiffany: You need to think of the basics of what you need to survive. You need food, you need water, you need shelter and you need a well-functioning body. Those are the four things are what you need to focus on. You also need a network, like Elliott said.

Doug: I think the health aspect of that is what tends to be overlooked. Like the article posted on SOTT a couple of years ago that talked about; 'Are you prepping your diet?' Are you getting yourself in optimal functional order? If you are dependent upon a whole lot of medications, what is going to happen if you no longer have those medications? So getting yourself in an optimal state of health is a really, really important step.

Erica: I was just going to say, being able to be calm in a situation too, that even applies to daily life. Having again that idea of situational awareness and being calm when you see things start to slope downwards, you know it can even be a storm. There were all these people travelling over the holidays and who got stuck in airportsfor days on end because of weather - knowing how to calmly be present and think through the situation instead of getting caught up in all the crazy emotional sense that people get, panic really. Being able to think critically,too.

Elliott: I think this is where stress management techniques come in. Also to some extent, if you are on a high sugar diet and consume things like gluten and dairy products and you're having insulin spikes, up and down all of the time with unstable blood sugar, how are you going to be able to think properly anyway? I think this is why the diet is really so important, just to be able to deal with a stressful situation like that. And even when it comes to things like storing food, like canning, dehydrating, curing, and preserving meat, one of the great things about a ketogenic diet is that your main fuel source can be stored so easily. Like lard, ghee, butter, beef tallow or any kind of animal fat. You can basically just stick it in a jar, put it in the cupboard and you can be sure that it is going to keep for a very long time. Whereas,say you have massive bags of rice. I mean how much rice can you consume in a day? Most people can eat a plate of rice to fill them up. Even though you may have a bigger bulk of non-fatty food like that, there's not as much sustenance in that. It's much better on many levels, I think.

Erica: And also being able to intermittently fast, not needing to eat three meals a day. And depending on your situation, if you need to leave and you don't have to carry that 50lb bag of rice with you; but being able to sustain energy on a minimal amount of fuel, with prepping your diet that we talked about.

Tiffany: You're being satisfied with less food, and even the thinnest person - I think it was in Nora Gedgaudas' book or someone's book, that even if you are very lean, you can still have up to 40 K calories of fat that your body can access, just from your own person. So being prepared with the ketogenic diet. There's going to be food shortages perhaps, so that's another thing to consider.

Jonathan: Yes, I think we have all experience of that moment, when trying to do the ketogenic diet or paleo diet and after doing it for a while until you fall off the wagon. You notice that when you eat a surplus of carbs you get much, much more hungry. Just anecdotally I can say, and other people can say that too, if you are on a high fat diet with very very low carbs, with little to no sugar, you can go a lot longer without getting hungry. And in that way not only are you sustaining yourself and being more effective but you are also not draining on the resources of whatever your community has, so each person can be more effective, longer lasting. It will help your mood, because when you get hungry you get grumpy. We have talked about this many times, there's a lot ancillary benefits to the high fat diet, and especially in a preparedness situation I think that's really important because we aren't going to have boxes of crackers and 50 gallon tubs of rice and that kind of thing available. Some people might, but the people who do stock up on those things are going to be reliant on those kinds of things. When it comes down to it, when your body is running on carbs and sugar, you're going to have much shorter half-life of being able to sustain yourself.

Doug: That's definitely true and just getting your brain in the most optimal functioning state is really one thing. Another benefit of being on a Ketogenic diet, a brain that runs on fat is just more functionally sound than a brain that's running on sugar. So, being in some kind of emergency situation, you need your brain. That's what it really comes down to; so aside from from just using less food and being able to sustain yourself for longer without food, being able to think your way out of situations where otherwise you might devolve into panic or just not seeingthe bigger picture is really the prime reason for going ketogenic.

Erica: And I like how the article said that preparedness is not some finite goal that is achieved when you have amassed a certain amount of beans and bullets. It's an ingrained part of your personality or your life and our habits become such a natural part of us that we don't think about them when we find ourselves in the midst of an emergency. The way you live your day to day life is the real key to survival and this is something that no amount of money can buy.

Tiffany: You can be that one person who has all this gear and tons and tons of food, and you have your bunker but when things finally go down and you freak out and go nuts, then what good are you?

Doug: Yeah, there's nothing more terrifying than a prepper who's stocked up enough bullets to take out the entire U.S., panicking. That's a terrible scenario right there.

Tiffany: Or even just stupid mistakes or accidents that you can fall into, if you're just not aware, not even aware of your own environment. Like you forgot to stock up on epi-pens and you're allergic to bees. You fall into a hole and you break your ankle, just because you are not paying attention.

Doug: Yeah, exactly.

Jonathan: Well, I think something that also connects to that and something that we were talking about on the show today is cold adaptation. And if our listeners are not aware of that, it's a pretty simple concept, you basically subject your body to gradually more and more lengthened exposure to cold and not only does it strengthen your will and steel your resolve, because it's hard to do but it also changes a lot of the functions in your body and turns on certain functions for healing, for repairing DNA and things that your body is capable of doing. So that is something that a number of us have been experimenting with for awhile. I have to admit and be honest that I have not been able to do it for an extended period of time. I have done it from time to time but have not been able to continue for long periods of time.

Tiffany: I am with you, Jonathan.

Doug: Me too!

Tiffany: It seems like about 2 - 3 months of steady cold adaptation is about as far as I can go. Then I have to take a break and then come back to it, and then it is especially hard in the winter time when it is already cold outside. I don't want to come back to it. In the summer time, I am all over it.

Jonathan: Honestly I can't even tell you that I do that, It's like I try it once in awhile for maybe like three or four days and so I have never been able to do it for an extended period of time. But I always always end up thinking like I have this excuse, because I live in a cold environment. I live pretty far north and we have very cold winters and we are always dealing with the cold and I am somewhat cold adapted already. So I am like, I live in a northern climate so I don't really need to do that, which is not entirely true. I also live in a heated house, so I could definitely stand to do it a lot more. I think that's one of the things that I am going to do this year, is to do more of that cold adaptation. Doug, you tried it for awhile, right?

Doug: Yeah, I did. It was kind of the same type of thing that Tiffany was saying, it was three or four months or something like that when I was doing it fairly regularly but then the weather started getting colder and I found myself standing out at the bus stop and just being absolutely freezing, and I thought I just cannot keep doing this, I have to take a break from it. It's just too much and it's interesting because the cold adaptation when you read about it, people's experiences, they start talking about how they notice their body adapting and that this internal heater kicks in where suddenly they are much more able to tolerate much colder temperatures. I personally, I don't know if my cold adaptation system is just broken or or it needs a little bit longer to adapt, but, I never got to that point. I was doing it like I said,for about three months and I never got to a point where I was entirely comfortable with it. I would be in a somewhat cold environment and I would just be freezing. So I have got some work on that front, I think. Maybe the iodine protocol will help with that.

Tiffany: When I first became cold adapted, when I first started out, I always took baths, I never took the showers and the showers for me were just intolerable. When you take baths, you can get in there and just be still and sit there and then once your skin went numb, it wasn't that bad. But sometimes I would feel that I felt a little warm, in my trunk area especially after eating. At night in bed, I would get hot. I used to sleep with a bunch of blankets on top of me all throughout the year but now I have to throw the blankets off of me. And I noticed that when I was doing the cold adaptation but also I think I probably noticed it more after starting the iodine versus the cold baths. People at work were always complaining about how cold it is in the office and I just felt completely comfortable, so they were complaining and complaining and finally this week they turned the heat up, I just thought it was completely stifling, it's usually not the way I operate.

Elliott: I completely agree about the showers because when you turn on the shower on a really cold setting and then you stand under it, I used to find that that my body would naturally just curl into weird positions under water. Whereas when you're in the bath, once you submerse, you have no choice and you just have to basically wait it out and then your body goes completely numb and once its numb its really quite comfortable in the bath. I was doing it for about six months, I sort of did it religiously and I don't think I even had a warm shower in the space of about four months. I basically just had the cold baths and like you Doug, I didn't notice any difference in my internal temperature gauge, I still got really cold. It was in the middle of winter and I would be standing outside and I would be absolutely freezing; I'd be inside and I'd be absolutely freezing. So it just got to the point where I just decided that either I am not doing this properly or there is something wrong with my system, it's not working so I'm just going to give it up and do some more research into it and learn about it and do it properly in the future at some point. For me anyway, that's one of the major new year's resolutions.

Erica: At least until February, right?

Doug: I am actually hesitating on making a resolution to get cold adapted, that's how averse I am to it. To do that, I don't know. Elliot I have to say that I never got to the point where I found the bath comfortable in any sense of the word.

Tiffany: There were times when I thoroughly enjoyed it but that only lasted about the first three to four weeks, and then the novelty wears off.

Doug: Well once thing I did notice with it is that I actually started to tolerate warm showers a lot less, that was one thing I did notice. The thought of taking a hot shower was really unappealing, so that even taking a shower that was less than cold, what you would consider lukewarm was kind of ugh, this doesn't feel so good. So, I guess there were some changes going on there.

Tiffany: In this article on SOTT it said, "Mild cold exposure stimulates good fat energy expenditure" and they say that exposure to cold activates brown fat and that brown fat contains mitochondria so the more mitochondria you have the more energy you have. When I first did cold baths for the very, very first time and this was maybe two to three years ago. I did notice extremely increased, noticeably improved mood. I was giddy at times, it was that striking and I would take a break and go back to it but I never got that same cold bath high that I got the first time. I have been trying to go back to that and repeat it but it has never been repeated. So I thought I would just point that out.

Jonathan: I noticed that for myself and that probably just supports my excuse for living in a northern climate but I wonder if cold adaptation works better for those who live in warmer climates. I am not entirely sure about that, I am speculating because here, I live on the shores of Lake Superior. So we are pretty far north of the United States and it gets really cold here. Like last year, it was regularly about 20 degrees below zero Fahrenheit and when the Spring comes around it's extremely cold and you actually have to be very careful about going outside. This year it's not so much but last year it was pretty bad. But when the spring comes around and it tops 30 degrees Fahrenheit, people are breaking out the T-shirts and they are saying, 'wow, its warm'. That would normally be extremely cold for a lot of people, but I notice here that as soon as it tops freezing and it gets into the 30's and even the low 40's in the Fahrenheit scale it actually feels very warm. People are doing work outside in T-shirts and starting to sweat a lot and stuff like that. So the spring is definitely a welcome time here. I wonder if that has to do with the cold adaptation because generally once you are in the cold for awhile you definitely get adapted and the warm temperatures feels a lot warmer. But we also swim in Lake Superior which is about 45 degrees Fahrenheit normally, even in the Summer. So once you jump in the water and you are done hyperventilating, and screaming for a little bit and then you get used to it and then you can hang out there for awhile. So that's another way to do that if you live on a cold northern lake but of course not very many people do.

Elliott: I think probably that does contribute and maybe to some extent there is some level of cold adaptation. Jack Kruse, in his book called; Epi-Paleo Rx. I finished reading it about a month ago and he has a whole chapter dedicated to his individually designed cold therapy protocol. It's up on his blog online as well. He states here, that water is 24 times more effective than just cold air. So to some extent I think living in a cold environmentwould get you relatively cold adapted but I think in terms of getting the full benefit of cold adaptation I think you would probably have to expose yourself to freezing cold water.

Tiffany: I think so too.

Elliott: I think also, I know I certainly didn't prepare myself in any way for the cold adaptation. I basically just jumped into the cold bath straight away and according to him in this book, he basically says that's really not a good thing to do whatsoever. He's got a four-week plan. As I said there's a whole chapter dedicated to it and I have taken some notes. He says that before you are going to start cold adaptation, every day you are going to start off with a high fat/high protein meal and he also says just before you enter any water, you are going to drink 16-32 ounces of ice cold water. Now what this does is raises your metabolic rate and it basically sets your internal body temperature, it gets your fat burning mechanism working. He also mentions leptin resistance and leptin sensitivity in it but I won't go into that too much because it does get quite into depth. He does mention three main steps to getting totally cold adapted and when I read this I was a little bit intimidated.

I will just quickly overview it; he says, the first step: you have to take is you'll need is a skin thermometer, you need lots of ice, you need a bathroom sink and you need a watch with a timer or a stopwatch. He said, basically the idea of cold adaptation is to cool the skin but it is very important to maintain core body temperature. He says this is the main reason why it takes so long for the body to adapt to cold adaptation.Your body needs to learn to regulate its internal body temperature while being exposed on the outside to an extremely cold environment. So the first step is to fill your sink up in your bathroom or kitchen, fill it with one standard size bag of ice, and you are going to dunk your face in the ice water for as long as you can and at the same time you are going to try to measure your skin temperature and you want to keep it above 50 degrees Fahrenheit and preferably below 55 degrees. So in between the 50-55 degrees F, that is supposedly the perfect temperature for your skin to be at when you are cold adapting. He says you want to record the time it takes until you need to take your head out of the ice water. He says when you can stay submerged in the water until you need to take a breath, so that's roughly about 45 seconds, that is when you are ready to move on to the next stage.

The next stage, Stage Two: you need to buy a compression shirt and you want to place 20-40 pounds of ice on and around the torso. He says it will be tough at first, but you want to try to increase the time of each session by five minutes until you reach 60 minutes. That's basically bags of ice, 20-40 pounds of ice directly on your torso for 60 minutes. He then says you want to continue to check the color of your skin because if your skin turns white or pale, then it that means your internal body temperature is lowering too much and that is when it gets dangerous so you always want to maintain a skin color which is pink or cherry red in color. That means that your internal body temperature is lowering the proper amount as it should.

Then the final stage: is immersion in a cold water bath and once you've gotten used to 60 minutes in the compression shirt and the ice around your torso that is when you are ready to get in the bath. You don't want to get in the bath before you have done these two steps because that can make you quite ill. You need to fill the bath up completely with the cold water, ice cold water preferably, and then you want to get in the bath and add 20-40 pounds of ice on your torso and you want to remain submerged for as long as you can handle it, and your skin temperature always needs to remain at 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit. He's been doing this for a few years as he states in the book he has to do this when he gets home from work at night. He has a high protein meal and then he gets in the ice bath. He says that one night he got in the bath and he woke up twelve hours later, perfectly fine. His internal body temperature had not gone down whatsoever. He says what you can expect from following this specific protocol is that you can go outside in the winter in snow and you will be warm. He's a neurosurgeon so he treats all of his patients with cold adaptation because it increases fat loss, it can treat diabetes, it regulates your leptin and it's also really great for healing. So, I thought I would just let you guys know about that. What do you feel about that?

Jonathan: Wow, that's quite a story!

Doug: I don't know if I could do that. Yeah, I don't know. I don't know if could do that, it sounds like quite the extensive protocol.

Tiffany: When I first started it, I did do a lot of that stuff, maybe not completely to the letter. I didn't go out and buy ice every single day, this wasn't going to happen for me but I did put ice on me every once in awhile. Like put two shirts on and put the ice in between. But he also talks about this other method that he has where you sit in a warm bathtub and you put the ice on your chest, so that temperature differential makes the water and the oxygen in your body flow from the warmth in your body up to the cold part and you put on a cap and then put ice on your head which increases blood flow to your brain. I tried that too and I think it was worse than doing just the straight cold bath because I was really hot just sitting in the warm tub with the ice on my top and on my head.

Doug: So Elliott, we've got a question in the chat here from Sue La Rue. She asks, "What about cryogenic chambers? Are those worth it, they are becoming more popular lately?" Does Jack Kruse talk about cryogenic chambers at all?

Elliott: No, in research, I haven't come across anything on cryogenic therapy.

Tiffany: Just from what I've read on his site, he doesn't really advocate it very strongly. He says that cold water is a lot more effective than cold air, if at all. I have tried a cryogenic chamber though, I had four or five sessions. You stand in this metal tube and you are either naked or in your undies and they blast you with sub-zero air and you are supposed to turn around slowly so the cold air will touch all parts of your body but I did not feel the same effects that I did from cold therapy, plus it is expensive.

Elliot: Yes, he does say that say that water is 24 times more effective than just cold air. So I I don't know how cold you would have to get the air to be able to match the level of cold adaptation that you would be able to achieve with water. I am not sure.

Jonathan: This reminds me of a story I read awhile back about a Russian woman who was quite old, I think she was in her 90's, and she had slept outside for many many years. She had actually gone and put her bed in her garden outdoors, and would sleep outside even in the winter. Of course, she used a blanket, but she would sleep outdoors in her garden. She was so cold adapted that she would walk down the street wearing a dress in the middle of winter.There was one occasion, where a police officer stopped her and thought that she was homeless and in trouble, so he offered her some clothes, and she said, "I don't want your clothes, I'm fine".

Tiffany: Well, there are some Scandinavian countries where the women have their babies in the strollers or prams, they go to the café or whatever to do their shopping and they actually have a space where you can put your stroller there and leave your baby outside while you're inside at the business shopping. It can be in the middle of winter, but I guess it is just part of their culture where they put their babies out in the cold and everything's ok.

Doug: Wow, here I think they'd call child protective services if you tried that.

Jonathan: I wonder how much of this has to do with genetics because as we were talking, I was thinking about where I live; there is a large Finnish population. A lot of Finns emigrated here back in the day and I know and have known a number of old Finnish people, by old I mean 70's and 80's and even older who are extremely healthy. They have beautiful skin, are very active and have very little fatigue.There is a tradition in the Finnish culture of taking saunas, a steam sauna and then jumping into the snow when you are done, alternating back and forth. And also, of course, they live in northern Europe or the northern United States and are used to being very cold all the time. But that's not to discount, I am aware that there are also a lot of extremely healthy older folks who live in southern climates and who are adapted to that, who might live in South America or the Caribbean or something like that, so that's what makes me wonder how much it has to do with genetics, what your lineage is and what your genes are adapted to that determines what works best for you.

Tiffany: I think it depends more on the environment in which you live. I think that the more you are in sync with whatever environment that you happen to be living in, the healthier you are. So if you are in a cold environment and you adapt to that no matter your genetics, you will be ok. I think the same would go for living in an equatorial climate.

Doug: I think it maybe has more to do with epi-genetics. That we all maybe have that inherent potential in us to be cold adapted, but depending on what your environment is, certain genes are turned off and others are turned on. So, by doing the cold protocol you are turning on those genes that make you cold adapted. So I guess someone living in an equatorial environment, probably doesn't need to do the cold adaptation because they aren't really going to counter that in their environment. Although that doesn't mean that they wouldn't benefit from doing the cold adaptation, and getting the kind of Jack Kruse hard core cold adaptation protocol, just because of all the benefits that happen form turning on those genes.

Tiffany: Well, I think from the present standpoint of all the climate changes we are going through and all the talk and scientific research that is coming out that we may be going into a mini-ice age, that it may be a good idea to prepare yourself physically and mentally to adapt to the cold. And another thing about the cold, is that if you purposely make yourself uncomfortable, it gives you psychological benefits, not just because you can sit in a cold bath for an hour but because you know that you have the strength to endure discomfort for that long. I think that can apply to a bunch of different situations in your life.

Doug: Yes, strengthening your will and strengthening your resolve, that kind of thing. That's one of the things I think I am laming out on by avoiding the cold protocol, not strengthening my resolve and giving in to that part of myself that is saying, "Nah, I don't want to do that".

Jonathan: Well, Doug maybe you just have Caribbean ancestry.

Erica: For all of you who live in the snow, dig a nice hole and jump in and let the snow cold adapt you, forget going and buying the ice.

Elliott: Get used to the weather, man.

Erica: Yes.

Doug: Well my roommate actually played around with the idea of jumping into the snow and he actually ended up with frostbite. So I don't think I like the idea of snow in my underwear and that's one thing we need to say, you need to be careful on that front, for sure.

Tiffany: Even with putting the ice packs on yourself, you have to take it off every few minutes just to make sure because I have I blotched a couple of areas on my body.

Jonathan: Yes, we also have here what is called the polar bear challenge and I don't know if any of our listeners are familiar with it but on a frozen body of water, cut a hole on the ice and jump in and then jump out in literally freezing water. But usually that's done in a public setting and it is usually a community thing. They always have a portable sauna right there and they have an ambulance ready, in case anything goes wrong. I do think that's wise; it can be fun, especially if you're slightly masochistic. I like the idea of jumping in the snow as well, but you do have to be careful as you can get frostbite by overdoing it.

Doug: Well, it's funny you mention that Jonathan, because this is New Year's Day and there's a tradition here in Toronto that a bunch of people will go and jump into Lake Ontario on New Year's Day. You know this year is probably not as cold as it has been in past years because we are just now starting to get into something that resembles winter. It's been quite warm here, but as far as I know this year they are doing it as well. They might be in there right now, as we speak.

Tiffany: Yes, I am all for cold therapy, especially cold therapy in a natural body of water. But I draw the line at jumping into a freezing body of water, a hole in the ground - I am not going to jump into it.

Doug: Fair enough.

Elliot: If you've got a high body temperature, like say you have a big fluffy coat on and then you take it off and you straightaway jump into an icy cold river, you can give yourself a heart attack and put yourself into shock. So, you do have to be careful with those things, I think.

Jonathan: Yes, it's good to have supervision, for sure. Well, I guess one of the other things that we are going to talk about today is the general idea of New Year's resolutions, and so we've been talking about some of the things you can do in the New Year. I wanted to raise the question with you guys just to spur the discussion a little bit. What do you think is the psychological mechanism of the New Year's resolution? We talk about this from a mental health perspective and we've talked in the past about how to change how you approach certain situations, how to change your outlook, how to inspect your own mental health, observe yourself and what your reactions are. I am very curious because on the whole I think it is a generally positive thing to make New Year's resolutions. I think it can also be a negative too, because it's just a rote thing that we do and when you say, "Ok, I am going to do that this year" and then you forget about it because it was New Year's and that is what you do. You say you are going to do stuff. So, I don't know, what do you think? Do you think it is generally positive, or a mix of the two?

Doug: Well I think you need to prepare, you need to do more than just say, "Ok, this year I am going to do this". It's interesting because I have been reading Dr. Joe Dispenza's book called, Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself and Zoya actually turned me onto that book. At first I thought, this is just another 'you create your own reality' or 'the secret' type thing, but it's actually really good and he gets into a lot of the neurobiology behind these sorts of things. One thing that he points out that I really like about it, that draws a lot of parallels in my mind between some of the more esoteric works, like Gurdjieff's work and that of Ouspensky. He gives a neurological basis to a lot of the stuff that Gurdjieff was talking about. One of the things that he talks about is that we have these neuronal connections in our brain that are what we have established over years of life.

So, that when you have a thought it will always go over this same path, this well worn pathway that you've put into your brain. So, if you ever want to change that, it's actually quite difficult because your body is totally primed to go in the same direction. So you are primed that when you see a piece of chocolate cake, to just eat it. The connections there are really established. So, if youjust mentally say, "Well, I'm not going to eat chocolate cake anymore" a couple of times you might be able to do that but because those connections are so ingrained, it's very easy to just fall back into that pattern of doing what you have always just done in the past. Which is why I think most New Year's resolutions, and I don't have statistics right now in front of me, but I think this is why most people fail in their resolutions because there is just the habit of being themselves that is so ingrained. So, I think you need to have the right mental attitude going into these things and be prepared to work to change those habits.

Tiffany: I think you have to know yourself well enough to know how you think and how you operate, what excuses and what narratives you might come up with to justify you falling off the wagon or deciding to not follow through on your resolutions during any given day. I wonder about a lot of these New Year's resolutions; when did it even start? I think a lot of it is just tradition. Everybody knows that it is just tradition, so they say, "Well, I am going to make a New Year's resolution too, but I wonder just how serious people really are about resolving to do something just because it is the New Year? I make resolutions, but not necessarily on the New Year. I purposely don't make them on the New Year just because I don't want to be a part of the crowd.

Erica: Well, to answer your question Doug, there was an article on SOTT about why people fail to keep their New Year's resolutions. I think it was from a journal of Psychology. They said about eight percent of people keep their resolutions.

Doug: Wow! Those are not very good odds.

Tiffany: Well you can't discount the other times of the year when people actually resolve to do something and they succeed. Just because it's not on New Year's, I don't think it should be praised or pooh-poohed.

Doug: Yes! Well, I was reading another article recently that was in one of those, I don't know if you have those in your city, but Toronto has these kinds of newspaper things that they hand out on the subway. It's kind of a quick read, it's mostly fluff; actually it's all fluff really. But, there was an interesting article in there where a psychologist was talking about the phenomenon of New Year's resolutions and one of the things he was saying is that it's actually not a good thing because people will put off making changes in their life until New Years. So maybe around the end of November people might be thinking, you know I need to lose weight in the new year but you put that off until New Year's Day and up until then you feel justified in keeping your old habits the way they were. To really make changes, its much better to just work in the moment, not procrastinate or put things off because you're putting all the burden on your future self. And leading up until that point, you're ingraining those bad habits. Then comes New Year's and it's going to be that much more difficult to actually make a change.

Erica: It's just being realistic and setting realistic goals for yourself. When you set this huge expectation for yourself, the possibility of pulling this off is a lot slimmer than if you are realistic in your goal. Like my goal for this year is to go to the gym at least once this year. That's my realistic goal.

Doug: Set that bar high!!

Erica: But you know this idea of biting off more than you can chew, right? Or it's almost like you set yourself up for failure, instead of being realistic about what you can do. Maybe that's why they don't get fulfilled.

Doug: Well in that respect it's easy to see why so many people fail, too. Because they probably do set unrealistic goals, and they go through two or three weeks of torturing themselves to achieve these massive goals and then say, "Ah, just forget it!" They give up on it, so setting realistic goals or giving yourself a timeline to achieve something. If you want to lose weight in the new year, don't expect to go on a hard-core diet on January 1st. Maybe work up to what you are doing, take small steps. That's a better way to approach it.

Elliott: I think one of the problems with putting off making changes in our lives is to say, with a New Year's resolution, "Well, I'm going to stop eating chocolate cake in the New Year, on January 1st!" Well, up until January 1st you're probably going to eat so much chocolate cake that you're going to make it ten times worse. You are going to be thinking, well I can't have any more chocolate cake in January, so I'm going to eat as much until then as I can possibly fit in my mouth. You're going to get into a state where it's going to be so hard to actually do it; whereas you could just say, I am going to try and cut down my chocolate cake over the next few weeks and then eventually my end term goal is to eventually have no chocolate cake.

Erica: Yes!

Doug: Don't eat an entire chocolate cake on December 31st.

Tiffany: And expect to not crave chocolate cake on January 2nd.

Erica: Exactly! But it's also recognizing that habitual nature. We talked about this and we talked about it on the addiction show, having these habits. Like eating instead of eating the chocolate cake, you'll go run a few circles in your yard or sit down and drink a cup of tea, replacing those habits of eating chocolate cake with something positive, different.

Doug: Yes.

Elliott: Keto cookies!

Jonathan: I think Doug, what you said about tackling something right away is also important as opposed to waiting. One example is cleaning. I know there are a lot of people who automatically clean and just do that without having to think about it too much. I am not one of those people, and so if there's something on the floor and I go with my habits, I am more prone to go with, "Oh, whatever, I'll get to that later." But if I am more on top of things; I'll think, "You know, it takes me two seconds to put that shirt away or take that tissue and throw it in the garbage or whatever it is, so I am just going to do it right now". If you get into the habit of doing that, then you are much more effective and it causes much less stress, because when you are thinking about doing stuff later, you have all of these line items piling up the in back of your mind and I think that applies as well to any other changes that people want to make.

Doug: Yes, for sure.

Jonathan: And the other thing it makes me think of, that I know for me, I am very research driven. I am a curious person and I like to look into things, and learn about things. I am generally much more effective at whatever it is like gaining a new skill or learning something if I take the time to sit down and read about it and learn about it. Like learn about the history of whatever it is and what other people have done in this regard, what do the journals say and what's the consensus, what's the opposition to the consensus and do a lot of research. That's what turns my brain on and that is what gets me into a mode of thinking about whatever it is. And applying that to the diet, if people want to lose weight, as an example, in the new year, instead of saying, "I am not going to have any more chocolate cake or I am going to run a mile a day" or something like that; instead of just jumping in to something like that, if you are like me, I think sitting down and beginning to read about it first and look up what these things are. One example being the ketogenic diet. I was extremely surprised when I first got into it. I am a moderately active person, I like to ride a bike and go for walks and stuff like that, but I am not at the gym everyday. But once I started cutting down on carbs and sugar, going towards the high fat end of things, the weight just dropped off. It was really amazing, I lost a lot of weight the first time I got into this a few years ago. And that was really surprising. I think other people would be surprised in the same regard if they looked that up and got into the information around the topic, got interested in it and it sparked that curiosity, they would be thinking, "Now I am mentally prepared, so I am going to try this thing."

Doug: That is interesting, because that is what Joe Dispenza talks about quite a bit. What he talks about is transferring these thoughts into a state of being. In a lot of cases, you will have a thought and you think, "I would be better off if I lost some weight" but it ends up staying in that realm of thought where you think about it a lot but it doesn't actually translate into action. What he talks about doing is actually working on the state of being, where you embody that. Your body lives in the present, it doesn't actually look into the future at all, that's the realm of your thought. So you have to almost embody that state in order to make that change. So you have to embody the lifestyle of a person who does exercise regularly or who does have a better diet, rather than just sitting around thinking about it. Although I think the research is very important like you were saying Jonathan, I think in a lot of cases that can actually inspire you to make those changes but the actual change doesn't happen just in thought alone. You have to embody it so its incorporated in thought, and emotion and in the body as well. I think it's the way to actually make yourself successful with these kinds of resolutions, you have to make yourself embody that state, not just keep it in the realm of fantasy.

Erica: So is it, 'fake it until you make it'?

Doug: Yeah, kind of!

Jonathan: Yes, I think people would be more effective if they were to really engage fully like you were saying. You can't just fantasize and on the other side, you can't just jump into something without having knowledge about it. So you need to have this holistic approach where you learn about it and apply at the same time.

Doug: Yeah! And getting the emotions involved, the emotional component of it too because new neural connections are made not by though alone, but by the combination of thought and emotion. When you think about the memories that are clearest for you, they are going to have a lot of emotional weight behind them. So, changing those neural pathways involves not just about thinking about it and wanting it really bad but by getting the emotion behind it. Like, thinking about what you would be like in that state and how much better you would feel and how much healthier you would be and really getting that emotion involved.

Elliott: Doug, since you've read that book, would you say that through actually learning about something, gaining knowledge about something and thinking about changing one of your behaviors is not enough. You said that there needs to be an emotional component involved as well. Say, through applying your knowledge and almost reaping the benefit from the fact that you have actually changed one of your behaviors, would that constitute that emotional component? Do you know what I mean by that?

Doug: Yes, I think so. I have to admit I am not done with the book yet; I am only halfway through. It's pretty fascinating though, so I guess I couldn't help but talk about it somewhat and I am hardly an expert, but I think so. I think that getting the emotional component behind it, just getting yourself into a state of being where you are in that future self, where you are in that result, I think is the idea behind it. I don't know if that answers your question.

Elliott: Yes, sort of. I'll have to read the book.

Erica: What's the name of the book again, Doug?

Doug: It's called, Breaking the Habit of being Yourself and the author is Dr. Joe Dispenza. He's actually got a really good Ted Talk on Youtube that's worth checking out, it's about 20 minutes long. If you just look up 'Dr. Joe Dispenza Ted', you'll probably find it. It's really worth watching, he talks about the neuroscience, but its really not complicated, its fairly easy to grasp.

Elliott: Doesn't he speak about your inbuilt behaviors? I'll bring you back to my favorite example, eating chocolate cake. When you see a chocolate cake, your automatic behavior is to eat that chocolate cake because you have neural pathways that are so deeply ingrained, that it's like the path of least resistance for your brain to go down. Whereas if you actually take a step outside of yourself, if that makes any sense, and use what is called metacognition, so instead of identifying with your thoughts, you take a more impartial third-person perspective and you observe yourself thinking and the way that you are thinking. I think that's the description of metacognition, I am not entirely sure.

Doug: I think so.

Elliott: By using metacognition, what you can do is actually bypass the normally ingrained pathways that are deeply set in your brain. By using metacognition, you can essentially bypass those pathways and form new ones, but it's not an easy thing to do. That's what it said in the video, it was really interesting, Doug.

Doug: Yes, I think that is what he is basically saying and it's that state of metacognition is where you have to work from. It's like in Gurdjieff parlance, he talks about being identified and the act of being identified is being in those neural pathways. When you are in those well-worn pathways, you can't see out of it. It's like you're on a highway with no exits and you will go in that direction that you've formed a habit of going in all the time. But it's from that state of metacognition where you are looking at the highway, and you see maybe before you even get on that highway that there's another route and you can take that instead. So its getting yourself into that state of self observation, or metacognition where you can actually make those changes.

Jonathan: Well we have the link to that talk in the chat and Zoya has also shared with us a link to another interesting interview there, so if you have access to the Blog Talk Radio chat, check that out. So, let's talk a little bit about dream work. That was something else we wanted to talk about today and I think it's pretty interesting, something that people may have not tried out yet and something on the fascinating side of things that you could delve into in the new year. Erica, did you have any information for us about watching TV, I think that might be an interesting place for us to start out as watching TV actually makes you less able to remember dreams.

Erica: It's interesting when you get around people and the topic of dreams come up. People say, "What did you dream about last night, or did you dream, or I had the strangest dream." Everyone has them and there's been research done in the Jungian psychoanalytic view that you dream five to seven dreams per night and that's about thirty-five to to forty-nine dreams per week. So the question is - what are your dreams and what is the message, it can be an insight. Mentioning the thing about TV, I have personally been doing some dream work and if I watch television before I go to sleep or spend too much time on the computer late into the evening, I don't remember my dreams. It's almost as if the blue light or the electromagnetic impulses in the eyes, well, I am not sure what it really is. I find that if I turn off all the electronics an hour to two hours before I go to sleep that I have a much better chance of remembering my dreams. Does anybody else have that experience? I know there is definitely people who say they never dream, which is not true apparently, everyone dreams.

Tiffany: I notice that if I watch a movie before I go to bed or stay too late on the computer, whatever it is that I am reading can influence what I dream about. Sometimes that can be a good thing or a bad thing, but there were times when I had some dilemma that I wanted to work through and I particularly remember, not that this is a dilemma or anything but when I was in junior high school and we had to give a presentation in French class about some topic. I had no idea what to talk about so I was just thinking about it and thinking about it before I went to bed, and I dreamed in French about what I would talk about and the next day presented it. I guess that would be - if we are talking about resolutions - if we are talking about accomplishing some goal, maybe we could ponder on that before we go to sleep and our dreams can present us with some solutions or scenarios to accomplish it.

Erica: Definitely.

Doug: Yeah, there are examples of people; I can't remember the scientist but the one who discovered the shape of the benzene molecule. Apparently he was working on this problem for awhile and it actually came to him in a dream. So, I do think that there is potential for your dreams to communicate somethings from your subconscious, maybe even outside of that, like the collective unconscious. I don't actually know but I think there is valuable information that can be gleaned from dreams. When you think about dreaming, you are in this dissociated state where you aren't in the habit of being yourself and open yourself up to other possibilities or even just other viewpoints on certain things. It can be really valuable, I think.

Erica: For our listeners, who are interested in what Doug was talking about, there was an article that was carried on SOTT back in 2014 called, "Dreaming can lead to amazing creative breakthroughs" and they do talk about the molecular structure of benzene. August Kekule von Stradonitz's discovery came to him in a dream but also the invention of the sewing machine, Einstein's theory of special relativity and even James Cameron's 'The Terminator' movie came to him in a dream. What you are speaking about is so true, Doug. We've talked several times on the show about Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes and she has a great little audiobook for people who are interested in what she calls fishing your dreams for insights and clarity. It's based on Jungian analysis and a realistic way to approach using your dream work for insight. She's such a great story teller and she says, dreams are like a letter from home, from a deep place in the psyche and it's a picture of yourself, your life and your psychic state of the moment that you may not be able to see. So, just your own ego perspective, dreams save people from blindness and blundering, from failing to see or sense something important. She talks about how dreams tell us stories, stories that aren't obvious in daylight. She does say that everyone dreams and they give information about a reality that's not normally available to your conscious mind, so they help us find our way in everyday life. They lead us forward in certain ways at times and dreams seem like an important instruction from the divine. The dream channeling or what she calls the dream maker is your psyche showing you stories and bits and pieces. It's never an outline or what the conscious mind would look at but its more images, archetypes and flashes.

For our listeners if you are interested, she gives three insights on how to work with your dreams. She talks about how remembering your dreams is like strengthening a muscle, just like exercising. You need to continually work with it to strengthen the effects. I have been practicing the last few months and I definitely notice with practice you can recall more. As I said we have five to seven dreams a night and maybe you won't remember all of them but even if you remember one she said that it's great to have a notebook and a pencil by your bed, and maybe even a little pen with a light on it so when you wake up first thing in the morning, you start to write down all the nouns that are associated in your dreams, so person place or thing. Then you can go through this little strategy of going back and making associations with those nouns. So, say if you dream about a field, what in your memory does a field represent to you, and you start putting adjectives in and descriptions. She really emphasizes the importance of staying away from dream dictionaries and a 'one fits all' approach to it but it's very individualized. As you start repeating and writing down and making these associations with small little things that you see in your dreams whether it's a field or a person or food, that you start to strengthen those memories and as you write, some of those pieces start to come back together. She used the analogy of elephants hooking trunks, each elephant holds the other elephant's trunk and the same comes with dream interpretation. You start to remember little bits and pieces and if you write them down then more starts coming to it. She also mentions that if you aren't so much of a writer, to have a little tape recorder by your bed. Just wake up and say, "I had the strangest dream, a zombie apocalypse" or whatever it is, just really start to work that muscle of the brain. She said that there's three important things about dreams, there's insights into our real lives, its absolute knowledge for your own inner world, what might be going on and what is really going on. Things that sometimes we don't admit to ourselves. She said it's important to call a spade a spade, you know if you have toxic people in your life and your dreams are sending you these messages that you need to look at something that you are not willing to look at in your waking life. Dreams strengthen us, gives us this resolve and helps us move forward. So, as we were saying earlier if you are struggling with something, you say to yourself before you go to bed, "Dream maker I want to remember my dreams, I have this issue, do I take this job or do I make this move?" Then fish your dreams at night to find some solution. Does that make sense? Has anyone had that experience?

Jonathan: That totally makes sense to me. I have had the experience of finding solutions to problems, like for work overnight. I do design and write code and oftentimes there is a really particularly nasty code issue that I am not able to figure out and I'm up late working on it. If I come away from it, calm down, turn the computer off it, then go to bed and think, let's figure this out while we're dreaming, maybe not in that literal of terms but I am going to sleep on this. More often than not when I wake up, it's not like the answer necessarily came to me in my dream, but that when I wake up I am aware of what I need to do. So, it is an interesting dynamic. What you were talking about reminds me of an exercise I used to do years ago and haven't done in quite a long time, which is very similar to what Clarissa Pinkola Estes says, establishing a trigger. This is also something that I had read years ago, which is putting something like a glass of water on the bedside table, and then before I would go to bed I would say, "I will remember my dreams tonight", and then concentrate on the water, get into a meditative state and concentrate on one particular place, or imagine the molecules of the water to get into a meditative state, then declare this intention and take a sip of the water. Upon waking up in the morning, take a drink of that water, and that worked as a trigger. I did find that when I did that with intent that the dreams would come back, the ones that I had forgotten.

Doug: I think that intent is the big thing there. I have read lots of different methods for remembering your dreams. Of of which is throughout the day, is to think about it as well, to come back to it and set that intent that I want to remember my dreams. I think there are a lot of different methods for actually remembering dreams, but I think that putting that effort behind it and setting that intention is a lot of what the Work is all about.

Jonathan: Yeah, for sure. It's interesting what you said when we started to talk about this. That you have an average of five to seven dreams per night, because I usually remember about one to two, and they will stick with me unless I am concentrating on something else, like if I wake up and have to concentrate on something else, then it will fade from memory. But if I have a slow morning and I am not having to focus on something else, then they will stick with me and I will start thinking about it and when I think about it and wonder what that dream meant, then I will remember it more throughout the day. I don't know if this is the case with everybody, but my dreams are usually pretty weird, they're like animated on the spot things.

Erica: I think most people have those kinds of experiences, because again it's your subconscious. It's all these images and motifs and weird things. I've had experiences where I think about someone and then that night they are in my dreams. For many years, if I watched movies, again back to that idea of TV, especially violence, I dream about the movie all night long. It's that psychic space, you have to be wary of that junk messaging that comes in.

Doug: It's interesting, I know I've noticed with myself, I will have different types of dreams, in some dreams I'm the direct participant in the dream and I inhabit the dream world and I am moving through out it but I have other dreams where it's almost like I am watching a movie where everything is happening in front of me but I am not a direct participant, I'm just watching it. I don't know what that means, I don't know what the difference is there but it is pretty interesting. Another thing I just wanted to mention, when we were doing the prep call for this show, Gaby mentioned that she had to set the intention of making the dreams decipherable to her to be able to understand it. So, she had to be able to set that intention because otherwise it would just be a bunch of really crazy symbolic stuff that she didn't really know what to make of but by setting that intention that her conscious mind would be able to at least partially interpret what was being said in her dreams was important. It was an important step for her to do.

Erica: It's taking the essence, where do these inner reactions or things that are happening, where are they taking place in my daily life. I don't know if that makes sense.

Doug: It does, for sure.

Jonathan: Yes, it does. I think the idea practice is really important. If you take anything else, for example you wouldn't expect to just lift 200 pounds without first working your way to that, without practicing and learning the technique to lift that weight. It's the same thing with dreams. People say they cannot remember their dreams, but well it's practice. For my part, it something that I would like to try for this year, to pay more attention to that. Erica, I really like the technique you suggested about writing the nouns from the dreams, because for me, I have done writing in the past and have done creative writing in school. In the past when I have tried to write my dreams down, I wake up and I start writing in this narrative and then it goes away from what the actual dream was because now I am thinking of it like a story, so it is a very interesting technique.

Erica: In this audio book that she has, she talks about how there's not only one valid interpretation. So you dream about an eagle and everyone says, "Oh, that means you are soaring high". Whatever!

Doug: It's America!!

Erica: Yeah! Dream interpretation is like translating a foreign language, right? So there's things that get lost, just like you were saying Jonathan, when you are trying to take the imagery that you experienced in the night and translate it onto paper, you start to get lost in the narrative instead of just looking for those messages or motifs. She also explains how culturally, I am just using the eagle as one example, but for people in different cultures, an eagle represents different things, or a feather represents different things, so not getting lost in the translation.

Doug: And I think what's interesting there, is that she talks about not relying on these dream dictionaries or online interpretations of what the symbols mean because they can be so personal. So I think that's another important step. One of the methods I have been doing, well I haven't been doing dream analysis recently, but when I was a bit more active with it, I would try and look at the emotional weight behind certain symbols - try and ask what does this actually mean to me, look at more of the emotional tone of the dream rather than specifically the actions that happened within it. If you wake up from a dream and you dreamt about a specific symbol, whether you were experiencing anxiety in that dream or a peaceful state of calm, will change a lot how you interpret that and what is actually being communicated to you. So, I think that looking at it from a more holistic perspective is important as well.

Jonathan: Yes, that is definitely important. In the Chinese culture, generally white represents death. So if I dream that I am in a white room, does that mean that I am going to die? Well, I am not Chinese, I didn't grow up with that same reference. It probably means I need to paint the second floor of my house because I have been putting that off for six months.

Erica: It's a letter from home, Jonathan!

Doug: I was just going to say, bringing this back to New Year's resolutions, I think where a lot of people trip up on making resolutions or making changes, is a lack of guidance. Not really knowing what to do, what steps to take and what's going on in your life that needs to be worked on. So I think this ties back in because the dream analysis is like getting that outside perspective. Well, it may not be completely outside but at least it's outside of your habits and your conscious self. So it's a way of getting some guidance or a way to point you in a direction of something that you should be paying more attention to.

Erica: She talks about how the dream maker doesn't have the censorship mechanism that the waking ego has. And she just uses dream maker as a term to give language to the process. The dream maker will put together odd and unusual associations linking symbols together in ways that the ego really has a hard time thinking of when you're awake. So it's this whole other world you're experiencing in the night, and in the day. You try and apply this more rigid censor mechanistic way of thinking and you lose the deeper insights that may be there.

Jonathan: It's a fascinating area, the idea that you could pull realpractical information out of your dreams, not prophetic, not necessarily the Edgar Cayce thing. That may happen, but not to approach it with that in mind, but just practical feedback from your subconscious mind about your daily life and the things that are going on.

Erica: I agree.

Jonathan: Let's talk a little bit about, just briefly because we are running short of time and we need to go to Zoya's Pet Health segment, but journaling. We've talked about things we can do in the new year and up until now we have talked about preparedness, changing your diet and changing the way you approach and prepare for different disaster situations, cold adaptation and dream work; just some interesting things that you might be able to try this year. Journaling is another one and something I know I have had a lot of benefit from. I don't do it every day but when I do it's extremely helpful and often times for me it manifests as just writing my thoughts down. It helps me to process things much more. Just a quick aside, when I was younger my dad was a professor; so he would help me with my school work. He always said if you are trying to memorize something or you are trying to remember something for a test, write it down. Because when you write it down and you go through the action of translating that from your mind onto paper and the physical motion and concentration that it involves cements it much more. So I think it can help much more just with thinking on a daily basis. Do you guys have any experience with that?

Erica: Yes, there's a great article on SOTT that addresses just what you mentioned, Jonathan. It's called, 'Developing your thinking skills through writing' by the IncreaseBrainpower website. They talk just about that, writing clarifies your thoughts. It also helps you establish firmer memories, right? As you were saying, that's why we're all advised to take notes in school. It helps your thinking and then you get the pen and paper, the whole fine motor connections between your brain and your hand and getting it down on paper gives you new insights. I found it excellent help, that's how I do all my studies. I write everything down. Maybe as I get older my memory is failing, so at least I can say, "Well let me check my notes; I know it's there somewhere." But it comes from practice and you have to practice it. I do a process called the morning pages, and for our listeners who are interested, you can just google 'morning pages by Julia Cameron'. It's a writing activity that was developed to help creative people break through blocks whether you are a writer, a painter, an artist. It's basically just three pages every morning right when you wake up, what they called stream of consciousness writing. So you just get the paper and you start writing. Don't worry about spelling or punctuation, you just get it out. It doesn't have to be three big binder papers; it can be a little tiny notebook. I've come to term it the 'daily dump'. So you get up first thing in the morning and anything that's on your mind or plaguing you,it can even be your dreams, you just start writing and it takes about ten or fifteen minutes. I will say, some days you don't want to do it, she talks about this in her book. It's called; The Artist's Way and she said, some days you just don't want to do it but the whole time you can just write: I don't want to do it, this is stupid. But you just keep writing, you just keep doing it. I have found it's fantastic; it's a great, emotional and mental release. So things that may be plaguing you, you just write it down. "I hate my dog, it's on my nerves" whatever it is - just get it out! And you can go back and read it or not, I don't go back and read it.

Tiffany: Perhaps if you read it you would worry that you are completely insane. I read that in schools they are not teaching longhand or cursive writing anymore. That's another example of how schools are not for education anymore, they are just for dumbing people down.

Doug: Yeah, totally! I've used journaling a little bit but I haven't done it as much as I should. I'd like to get a little bit more into it but maybe I'll make a New Year's resolution for that one. But I've found that when I am trying to work out some kind of problem in my life, like some issue that is going on, the writing exercise; there's articles on SOTT about this called; The Pennebaker writing exercise, it's basically on three consecutive days you write about something and I've found that doing this actually gave me amazing insights. It's kind of like doing dream work, a way of working through this and getting a different perspective on things like to see how your perspective changes from day to day in what you're writing. By the end of the exercise you have a much wider view of the problem. I find it to be really helpful and something I need to start doing more.

Jonathan: Yes, I've noticed too, it is very helpful, and just a note that what I have experienced because I am on the computer so much I've tried journaling in Microsoft Word and saving all my journals to a folder with the dates, but it doesn't have the same effect, and I've definitely noticed than in a stark way that oftentimes I will forget about what I wrote and that the typing, for me personally is not really an effective way of doing that. On the other hand, if I go to the office shop and find a nice notebook, or order a really nice notebook like leather bound or something that is attractive, or an object that you can have an attachment to and journal in by hand, that that has much more of an effect in cementing what you are writing down. So, I would personally recommend writing down by hand, much more so than trying to type the journals.

Elliott: I completely agree, like when you are just studying, not necessarily studying just journaling. When I have been studying in my lectures, taking notes in a laptop, none of it sticks. I am basically just trying to keep up with what they are saying and I am not processing anything. Whereas, when you've got a physical notebook, an attractive looking notebook and you have your pen in your hand, there's that connection. Perhaps it stems back to something to do with DNA or something. I mean we have been writing for how many thousands of years, there's definitely a real big difference between typing and writing. You just don't really get that same experience.

Jonathan: Another thing I find helpful in that regard in writing is to ask myself questions, kind of like a little Q&A. Just to be very clear, this is not like any form of channeling. I am not trying to forecast from over the Pleiades or anything like that. But basically, like I did something dumb the day before I'll write down, "What the hell were you thinking when you did that?" and then I'll answer myself and then I will get into a Q&A conversation with myself in my journal and that also brings up a lot of insights that I didn't have when I was just thinking about it and stressing about it in my mind. Getting that down in a conversation format on paper usually helps with that pretty well.

Tiffany: I do something similar; I call it just interviewing myself. I'll just present a situation and ask myself what I really think about that situation or person and try not to be politically correct, no one else is going to read it so you don't have to worry about hurting someone else's feelings, but to get to the nitty gritty about what you really feel about something.

Jonathan: Of course there are some further ideas for what people can try out in the New Year. We've talked about resolutions, and by all means make your resolutions. I am not discouraging that, but just keep in mind what it entails and don't stress yourself out. Be realistic about your goals and sometimes like we've been talking about, your resolution can be just about trying something new. Let's say you've never done journaling before. So you say I'm going to give that a shot and just try it with some effort. If it doesn't work out, it's not like you have failed horribly, you just keep trying new things and keep trying to expand your horizons and your skills, exercise your brain. I think that is something that is missing from our modern society; we get sucked more and more into entertainment and into our devices and into these petty squabbles and things like that. So we have really gotten away from embracing creativity and exercising our minds and doing things in our physical environments, so that's my rant about that. So, put your phone down and get a journal.

Erica: Rant on, Jonathan!

Jonathan: Start writing on paper with a pen. Get a nice pen. Well, we have a segment from Zoya today, so let's go to that and when we come back, we'll wrap up. So here's Zoya and we will be back after this.

Zoya: Hello and welcome to the Pet Health segment of the Health and Wellness Show. Happy New Year 2016, daily listeners; my name is Zoya and in today's segment I am gong to share with you a very interesting talk by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, professor of medicine in the division of Cardiology at UCLA medical school. She shares how a species spanning approach to health can improve medical care of the human animal, especially when it comes to mental health. Now, why did I find this talk particularly interesting? Because as a student in the course of my studies, I had an opportunity to observe more and more how similar we are to other inhabitants of this planet. And I'm not talking about the pretentious post-modernistic notion that we are all just animals but I am talking about the idea that we are all interconnected and the well-being of one species has an influence on the life of other creatures. What is also true is that in many cases the animal world can teach us things that we have gotten disconnected from and which are essential for our optimal life on this rock. So here's the talk and hopefully, you'll find it as useful as I did. Have a great and insightful year, everyone.

Barbara Natterson - Horowitz: "Ten years ago, I got a phone call that changed my life. At the time, I was a cardiologist at UCLA specializing in cardiac imaging techniques. The call came from a veterinarian at the Los Angeles Zoo. An elderly female chimpanzee had woken up with a facial droop and the veterinarians were worried that she'd had a stroke. They asked if I would come to the zoo and image the heart to look for a possible cardiac cause.

Now, to be clear, North American zoos are staffed by highly qualified, board-certified veterinarians who take outstanding care of their animal patients. But occasionally, they do reach into the human medical community, particularly for some specialty consultation, and I was one of the lucky physicians who was invited in to help. I had a chance to rule out a stroke in this chimpanzee and make sure that this gorilla didn't have a torn aorta, evaluate this macaw for a heart murmur, make sure that this California sea lion's pericardium wasn't inflamed, and in this picture, I'm listening to the heart of a lion after a lifesaving, collaborative procedure with veterinarians and physicians where we drained 700 cc's of fluid from the sac in which this lion's heart was contained. And this procedure, which I have done on many human patients, was identical, with the exception of that paw and that tail.

Now most of the time, I was working at UCLA Medical Center with physicians, discussing symptoms and diagnoses and treatments for my human patients, but some of the time, I was working at the Los Angeles Zoo with veterinarians, discussing symptoms and diagnoses and treatments for their animal patients. And occasionally, on the very same day, I went on rounds at UCLA Medical Center and at the Los Angeles Zoo. And here's what started coming into very clear focus for me. Physicians and veterinarians were essentially taking care of the same disorders in their animal and human patients: congestive heart failure, brain tumors, leukemia, diabetes, arthritis, ALS, breast cancer, even psychiatric syndromes like depression, anxiety, compulsions, eating disorders and self-injury.

Now, I've got a confession to make. Even though I studied comparative physiology and evolutionary biology as an undergrad - I had even written my senior thesis on Darwinian Theory - learning about the significant overlap between the disorders of animals and humans, it came as a much needed wake-up call for me. So I started wondering, with all of these overlaps, how was it that I had never thought to ask a veterinarian, or consult the veterinary literature, for insights into one of my human patients? Why had I never, nor had any of my physician friends and colleagues whom I asked, ever attended a veterinary conference? For that matter, why was any of this a surprise? I mean, look, every single physician accepts some biological connection between animals and humans. Every medication that we prescribe or that we've taken ourselves or we've given to our families has first been tested on an animal.

But there's something very different about giving an animal a medication or a human disease and the animal developing congestive heart failure or diabetes or breast cancer on their own. Now, maybe some of the surprise comes from the increasing separation in our world between the urban and the nonurban. You know, we hear about these city kids who think that wool grows on trees or that cheese comes from a plant. Well, today's human hospitals, increasingly, are turning into these gleaming cathedrals of technology. And this creates a psychological distance between the human patients who are being treated there and animal patients who are living in oceans and farms and jungles.

But I think there's an even deeper reason. Physicians and scientists, we accept intellectually that our species, Homo sapiens, is merely one species, no more unique or special than any other. But in our hearts, we don't completely believe that. I feel it myself when I'm listening to Mozart or looking at pictures of the Mars Rover on my MacBook. I feel that tug of human exceptionalism, even as I recognize the scientifically isolating cost of seeing ourselves as a superior species, apart. Well, I'm trying these days. When I see a human patient now, I always ask, what do the animal doctors know about this problem that I don't know? And, might I be taking better care of my human patient if I saw them as a human animal patient?

Here are a few examples of the kind of exciting connections that this kind of thinking has led me to. Fear-induced heart failure. Around the year 2000, human cardiologists "discovered" emotionally induced heart failure. It was described in a gambling father who had lost his life's savings with a roll of the dice, in a bride who'd been left at the alter. But it turns out, this "new" human diagnosis was neither new, nor was it uniquely human. Veterinarians had been diagnosing, treating and even preventing emotionally induced symptoms in animals ranging from monkeys to flamingos, from to deer to rabbits, since the 1970s. How many human lives might have been saved if this veterinary knowledge had been put into the hands of E.R. docs and cardiologists?

Self-injury. Some human patients harm themselves. Some pluck out patches of hair, others actually cut themselves. Some animal patients also harm themselves. There are birds that pluck out feathers. There are stallions that repetitively bite their flanks until they bleed. But veterinarians have very specific and very effective ways of treating and even preventing self-injury in their self-injuring animals. Shouldn't this veterinary knowledge be put into the hands of psychotherapists and parents and patients struggling with self-injury?

Postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis. Sometimes, soon after giving birth, some women become depressed, and sometimes they become seriously depressed and even psychotic. They may neglect their newborn, and in some extreme cases, even harm the child. Equine veterinarians also know that occasionally, a mare, soon after giving birth, will neglect the foal, refusing to nurse, and in some instances, kick the foal, even to death. But veterinarians have devised an intervention to deal with this foal rejection syndrome that involves increasing oxytocin in the mare. Oxytocin is the bonding hormone, and this leads to renewed interest, on the part of the mare, in her foal. Shouldn't this information be put into the hands of ob/gyn's and family doctors and patients who are struggling with postpartum depression and psychosis?

Well, despite all of this promise, unfortunately the gulf between our fields remains large. To explain it, I'm afraid I'm going to have to air some dirty laundry. Some physicians can be real snobs about doctors who are not M.D.'s. I'm talking about dentists and optometrists and psychologists, but maybe especially animal doctors. Of course, most physicians don't realize that it is harder to get into vet school these days than medical school, and that when we go to medical school, we learn everything there is to know about one species, Homo sapiens, but veterinarians need to learn about health and disease in mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fish and birds. So I don't blame the vets for feeling annoyed by my profession's condescension and ignorance. But here's one from the vets: What do you call a veterinarian who can only take care of one species? A physician.

Closing the gap has become a passion for me, and I'm doing this through programs like Darwin on Rounds at UCLA, where we're bringing animal experts and evolutionary biologists and embedding them on our medical teams with our interns and our residents. And through Zoobiquity conferences, where we bring medical schools together with veterinary schools for collaborative discussions of the shared diseases and disorders of animal and human patients. At Zoobiquity conferences, participants learn how treating breast cancer in a tiger can help us better treat breast cancer in a kindergarten teacher; how understanding polycystic ovaries in a Holstein cow can help us better take care of a dance instructor with painful periods; and how better understanding the treatment of separation anxiety in a high-strung Sheltie can help an anxious young child struggling with his first days of school.

In the United States and now internationally, at Zoobiquity conferences physicians and veterinarians check their attitudes and their preconceptions at the door and come together as colleagues, as peers, as doctors. After all, we humans are animals, too, and it's time for us physicians to embrace our patients' and our own animal natures and join veterinarians in a species-spanning approach to health.

Because it turns out, some of the best and most humanistic medicine is being practiced by doctors whose patients aren't human. And one of the best ways we can take care of the human patient is by paying close attention to how all the other patients on the planet live, grow, get sick and heal. Thank you. "

Jonathan: I will never get tired of those goats! Well thank you Zoya for sharing that with us, it was a great talk and very interesting. I love the great joke about the veterinarian who can only look after one type of species as a physician.

Doug: That was great!

Jonathan: Well, that's our show for today. We don't have a recipe today but we are running a bit short on time, so that works out just fine but we will have one for you next week. So we want to say thank you to everybody who listened today, to our chat participants. Thank you very much for engaging in the chat, we had a busy chat today so that was nice. I encourage you to check out the other two shows on the SOTT Radio Network, the Truth Perspective tomorrow at 2PM Eastern time and Behind the Headlines on Sunday at 2PM Eastern as well. We also are sort of marking our one-year anniversary next week, our first show was actually January 12 of 2015 and our next show will be on the 8th; so it's not quite there but it's close enough for horseshoes, so we will be celebrating that next week. So just want to say thanks again to everybody for tuning in and be sure to check out the show again next week, and Happy New Year to everyone! Have a great week.