MGU 97 | Anxiety Privilege

 

Don’t you just wish that you could have all day to do whatever you want? However, people, for the most part, feel that they’re short on time, and that can actually lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and less happiness. On today’s podcast, Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen talk about something that we have all experienced at some point in our lives – anxiety. Tune in to this episode as Jason and Whitney take a deep dive into the causes of our anxiety and other concepts such as time poverty, time affluence, anxiety privilege, and more.

Listen to the podcast here:

Anxiety: A Privilege Or A Limitation?

I have to admit that I feel low in energy. Oftentimes when Jason and I feel tired, we get energy by doing the show. I figured I’d be a little transparent with that because as I was gearing up for this episode, we got an email from one of our favorite companies called Pique Tea. They have two things that are worth shouting out that were cool and I didn’t know about. One, they have something called Sun Goddess Matcha. They claim that it’s the world’s purest matcha. That means it’s part of the screening that they do. It says that they’re quadruple toxin screened for radioactive isotopes, heavy metals, toxic mold, and pesticides. That’s super fascinating because I don’t think about those things being in matcha.

It reminds me of when I was reading about Bulletproof Coffee. I read a few of Dave Asprey’s books. When I learned about how coffee is commonly made, I was a bit appalled. Did you know this about matcha, Jason? Do you think about it having heavy metals, mold, or pesticides? One of the reasons that we like Pique Tea is that they’re entirely organic, but I’ve never tried their matcha powders. I love that it’s called Sun Goddess, but I love that it’s screened for all of these things. I thought it was an interesting thing to discuss at the beginning because I could use matcha.

I would classify myself as a matcha connoisseur. I got turned on to it maybe close to a decade ago, but it was nowhere near the cultural awareness it is now. I feel like with matcha bar and matcha showing up at pretty much every coffee shop. Every independent coffee shop has definitely a matcha option. I feel like it certainly exploded in the last decade.

You had it at a coffee shop.

My favorite matcha in LA for any Angelenos or anyone passing through Los Angeles, there are a couple of locations for Maru Coffee, which is also a nickname for my cat. I have never considered the heavy metal content or necessarily those higher standards. I’ve never heard those in reference to matcha. The only thing I’ve ever paid attention to are two things. Number one, the grade of matcha. Whereas if I’m going out, I’ve noticed that there’s a pretty substantial difference in ceremonial grade matcha versus ungraded matcha.

I’ve noticed that in a place like Maru Coffee, they have three different varietals of matcha that go up in price. If you want the highest grade ceremonial matcha they have, you end up paying $2 more for that matcha, but the taste and the way that my body feels, it’s potent. I can feel it. To answer your question, I’ve always looked at the grades of matcha, the flavor, the depth, how it sings on my palette, and then also how my body feels. With that higher grade matches, I feel my brain is turned on in a different way. I generally don’t have a caffeine crash with matcha. I don’t have that buzzy, tingly, anxiety-ridden feeling that I have when I drink coffee. It goes back to some of the things we’ve said on the show in regards to where you put your money and how you invest your dollars. When it comes to matcha, I have found that the more that you pay the better quality and better feeling you get from the matcha.

Matcha is interesting. I too got introduced to it pretty early on. I started experimenting with matcha heavily in 2012. I was working at this store called The Detox Market. That was one of my favorite little side gigs that I had because I was the only one working at the shop at any given time. I was surrounded by all these amazing products. We’ll shout out The Detox Market as well. They’re an amazing company. They have a few locations and they also sell online. They’re accessible to pretty much anybody. They pride themselves in curating high-quality products. I remember they had matcha and I didn’t know much about it. I was studying matcha while I was at the store so I could demo it to people. It’s fascinating when things like that are new. It also reminds me, I was having quinoa for the first time in a while. I was thinking back to when I first had quinoa. I don’t know if you remember this, Jason, but nobody knew how to pronounce it.

That was back in 2009 or so. That was also another job I had. I remember quinoa was on the rise at the time. It’s fascinating to see the trends shape over time. Much as it is interesting, it’s something I enjoyed the taste of. I liked the experience of it, but I get much more excited about coffee than matcha in most cases. I tend to drink matcha when I want more calm focused energy. It can also help with your mood. It can help with your metabolism. There are a lot of benefits to having it on a more frequent basis. If you check out the Pique Tea website, it’s fascinating what they’re writing about it on there. There are a lot of things I didn’t know, and granted some of this is marketing, but there are companies that Jason and I trust.

They’re highlighting a lot of the benefits of their specific matcha but also teaching you about matcha in general. One thing that they point out on their page is that over 300 tons of radioactive water are pumped into the Pacific Ocean every day from the nuclear disaster site of Fukushima. Farms in Japan are located very close to each other in order to maximize space efficiency. This creates a pesticide drift problem where dangerous chemicals are carried by the wind to adjacent farms. The highest quality ceremonial grade matcha on the market is not organic. Certified organic matches are never made according to the highest standards of ceremonial grade.

That’s something that I’ve heard a lot about too. This has to do with some of the old school traditions of making matcha and those don’t emphasize organic agriculture. You might be drinking matcha because it tastes great and it has these great health benefits, but it could also possibly have a lot of drawbacks. That’s why I wanted to shout them out because this is amazing. It’s similar to what Bulletproof Coffee has done for the coffee world, which is paying a lot of attention to the sourcing and how things are made. One of Bulletproof’s big benefits is the mold side of thing. I did not know that about coffee, like thinking of mold on your coffee. The same thing can be true with matcha as well as the heavy metals and all these other things.

It’s fascinating. You can go to their website and read more about it. You can read about matcha in general. One thing we recommend is to cross-reference any sources, especially if you’re reading something from a brand. Even though we love and trust a brand like Pique Tea would, I would say the same thing about Bulletproof and any of these great brands out there. You don’t want to just take their word for it, because part of their aim is to market to you, to convince you to buy their products. I have found in most cases that if you cross-reference the information, if you look at their sources and their resources, you’ll find a lot of this information is this true. It’s a great way to start to educate yourself about the food that you’re eating and anything that you’re consuming in general, things that you’re drinking, and all of that. What does this bring up for you, Jason? Is this something that you did or didn’t know?

I didn’t consider that. You mentioned Fukushima. I remember in 2011 when that disaster happened, how much concern there was for radiation poisoning and the drift coming over across the Pacific Ocean. Everyone was taking nascent iodine and lots of seaweed to protect their thyroid. I remember having a lot of discussions about anti-mutagenic food, anticancer foods, and anti-radiation foods. To hear that there is still radiation being dumped into the Pacific Ocean years later, it’s an SMH. For anybody who doesn’t understand the internet abbreviation, it’s Shaking My Head. How the fuck are we as humanity allowing that still to happen? I don’t know the ins and outs of it, but to hear that there are still radioactive materials being leaked and traced into the Pacific Ocean years after the disaster, it’s disappointing and frightening to hear that.

MGU 97 | Anxiety Privilege

Anxiety Privilege: Time affluence is the feeling that you have all day to do whatever you want, the opposite of which is time poverty.

 

What comes up for me is the conversation we had with our dear friend Max Goldberg who is the creator of Organic Insider and him talking about certification fatigue. I personally don’t feel that. I don’t think we mentioned that during that episode. We were talking more about a general consumer mindset when they see too many codes, labels, and certifications on a package, that there’s an overwhelm. As someone who wants to be as informed and empowered of a consumer as I can be, especially with food choices, supplements, body care, whatever I put in or on my body. The fact that a brand like Pique is going to a level I’ve never seen with matcha in terms of quadruple testing. It’s going to be interesting to me to see how the texture, flavor, and usability compare to some of the other matchas that I’m using.

I like to prepare it ceremonially. I have a special matcha mug. It’s almost like a ceremonial drinking vessel that I picked up at a cute tea shop in Pasadena, California called Bird Pick. It’s hand-formed and hand-glazed. I spent a decent amount of money on this and that’s my matcha drinking bowl. I’d like to put the matcha powder in, add a little bit of hot water, use the matcha whisk, and then use a frothy to make whatever, oat milk frothing. It’s going to be interesting to me to get my hands on this Pique and see if it performs the same way. The fact that it’s organic and quadruple tested, I love that brands are going the extra mile to provide something that what they perceive is the cleanest and highest quality out there. I love that and I encourage more brands to do it even at the risk of labeling fatigue or certification fatigue,

It is interesting and similar to what we discussed with Luke Storey when he was on our show. There’s a certain level of depth in which you go into researching products and deciding what’s best for you and how much money you spend on it. Matcha, in general, is not that cheap. If you buy a jar of it, it’s pretty pricey. I’m often surprised at that. If you get the cheap stuff, not only does it not taste as good, but who knows how it’s made. It’s one of those pay with your person scenarios that Jason and I often talk about. Sometimes people want to take the cheapest route to have something, but it’s not about the flavor experience. It’s about sourcing. That’s often why things are more expensive because so much goes into making a product.

I was looking into some gratitude practices and things like that. One thing that came up is being grateful and mindful of where your food came from as you consume it. Imagine you’re sitting there thinking this is a little on the pricey side. If you weigh out the pros and cons and decide to get it, then thinking about, why does it cost that much? If you start reflecting on how much work went into getting that product into your hands, it’s remarkable and it is something to be grateful for. You should be grateful for your ability to have access to something and your ability to pay for something if you’re willing to spend the extra money or just in general.

That’s something we often don’t think about, especially if it comes to something we consume on a regular basis. When it comes to food and drink or any type of habits that we have, it’s amazing when we step back and say, “I get to have this. I’m choosing to have this. I have the money to spend on this. I have the resources I learned about.” The fact that you’re reading this blog, there are many things that went into play for this episode. Also, our story of learning about Pique as a company too has been years in the making. When I start to reflect on the resources I have access to it, it’s remarkable. I don’t know if I spend enough time reflecting on that.

It’s like one of those things that you could turn into a daily practice like every time you sit down to eat something, every time you open up a package of the snacks or you make a drink like matcha, pause for a moment and give gratitude, then before or after. reflect on what you know of this. How did it come into your hands? What’s cool is this transparency conversation reminds me of another brand we love called One Degree Organics. They’re neat and we know the owners of that company as well. They’ve grown a lot over the years. They allow you to scan labels and find out exactly where the ingredients came from. They’ll have pictures and stories of the farmers. They go into major depth about all these things.

One other brand that does that who send me some products to try out is Gaia Herbs. That one, I feel the most connected to because I got to go visit their farm years ago and it was remarkable. It was the owner of the company. There was a small group of content creators that went out to the farm that day. He came and gave us a multiday tour of the farm. He took us around to see almost every single plant. He told the story about it and showed us how it was made. It was mind-blowing. One of the things they do similar to One Degree is you can scan the labels and see how it was made on their website. That to me is cool.

I remember also laughing about the memory of you going on that Gaia Herbs trip. There haven’t been many of these situations, but that was one of the trips where I had major FOMO that I didn’t go because it was so unique and interesting. How rare it is to have a company invite you to where they are growing the bulk ingredients that go into their products? That’s incredibly rare. I’ve always loved on several occasions when brands would invite me to their manufacturing facilities. I’ve been to Miyoko’s and Sweet Earth.

I was thinking about Sweet Earth because we both went there. Do you remember when we got to eat one of their burritos right off the production line and how good it tasted?

It’s interesting to see how the products are made and meet the people that are physically making the foods at the manufacturing facilities, the intention, craftsmanship, and how incredibly difficult, complex, and challenging it is to run a food manufacturing business. For anyone that doesn’t know and I’m glad you brought this up, Whitney, in terms of gratitude, awareness and acknowledgement of the food that ends up on our plate. To see these examples like Gaia Herbs, Miyoko’s Creamery or Sweet Earth Natural Foods operates. To see the level of complexity in manufacturing packaged food at that high of a volume, where they’re cranking out tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of units. On a major level with some food companies, it’s millions of units of product a month.

That is something that I am in awe of. I’ve always had a little bit of a dream to start my own food line. I’ve had a lot of different ideas to start and release products over the years, but I’ve never landed on something that I felt so passionate about or compelled to learn the ins and outs of that part of the industry that I almost know nothing about. I know about purchasing, ordering, and inventory from my days working at restaurants. On that scale, it’s staggering how much it takes to get that frozen vegan burrito into your freezer. It’s remarkable.

Time in itself is a privilege. Click To Tweet

It’s also true on the other side of it when we think about how inexpensive certain foods are. You can step back and think, how did it get so cheap? Are there subsidies involved, which is the case for a lot of animal-based products or non-organic products? Some people are manipulated in a way because if they are struggling financially, they don’t have as much of a choice. They simply can’t afford to buy higher-quality foods. It’s sad because a lot of the political side of things that go into making things less expensive so that more people will eat it because it’s more accessible to them, that I find incredibly disturbing. One of the big reasons that I’m feeling more and more passionate about making wellness in general more accessible, and not just something for the elite, is it’s a complex system here.

If you have the resources, whether it’s financial or other creative ways. You could be similar to Jason and me where we use our resources as content creators. In exchange, we often will receive free products in order to learn more about them and talk about them. That’s something that a lot of people can do. The whole content creation and influencer marketing world are pretty accessible these days. It would be neat if you’re feeling like you’re struggling financially, you can start to use your voice in order to not just get those products to try out without having to pay for them, but also be able to talk to other people who might be financially struggling. You can use your voice for good and use your situation.

One thing I’m also grateful for is people that talk about how they make their finances work and couponing is an incredibly fascinating world as well. The things that you can get access to if you know how to find coupons and discount codes online, which is becoming easier and easier like you can get so much. What you could also do strategically is let’s say there’s something that’s expensive and you don’t have a discount code for it or it’s not enough. You could put that into your budget or your wishlist. You can use coupons to buy other things. By paying less money for those, you have more money to spend on other things that you might not be able to find coupons or good deals on. I’m intrigued by stuff like that. If you want something, is there a way for you to get it?

It also goes back to the conversation we were having. I can’t remember which episode. It may have been an episode about Black Lives Matter. I was talking about food justice and how I’m becoming more passionate about food justice. When we talk about the real cost of things and we talk about my passion and my commitment to this is also increasing. We’re business partners and best friends. That makes sense that we’re in alignment on this. Taking wellness, real health, care for one’s self and sustainability out of a very narrow margin of middle to upper-class white women and making it more accessible and affordable to different segments of people and different ethnicities, which it hasn’t been.

I want to touch back on the idea of subsidies that you mentioned because a $1.99 value menu meal at whatever fast food restaurant you want to bring up. If we were to take away the subsidies and the government assistance, something like that is going to be more like $6.99 or $7.99. That puts it on par with pretty close to what you pay for a veggie burger or something at Veggie Grill to bring up an example. In a consumer mindset, then we have an even playing field. The disadvantage to that is there’s not a lot of people that can go out and feed a family of four spending $6.99 or $7.99 per person. If I was in charge of things, what I would probably do is take away a lot of the subsidy money and start siphoning it or funneling it to organic farmers, plant-based manufacturing companies, people that are growing organic sustainably, growing regenerative.

The comment would come, “What about all the people growing GMO foods and all the animal farmers and whatnot?” There are programs that help farmers and producers transition to what they call a transitional program, where they can go from growing GMO pesticide-laden crops to transitioning to organic. That’s an actual thing. If we took a different chunk of our federal budget, took it away from the GMO foods, the toxic foods, the deleterious animal foods that people are eating, and start siphoning and funneling those funds to other farmers, organic, regenerative, transitional. We would start to see the prices of those organic foods dropping. We wouldn’t see such prohibitively expensive prices on plant-based proteins on superfoods, on organic foods. We would then have a real even playing field.

Not where the prices are extraordinarily high for both conventional and organic foods, but maybe people could go to a Veggie Grill or whatever healthier choice that they have. Instead of paying, $7.99, $10 or whatever it is, it would be closer to that value meal they would be getting at a fast food restaurant. That’s possible. It’s just a matter of lobbying and it’s a complicated thing. I’m not trying to make it sound simple but there’s a way to do it. It’s just, are people willing, able, and open enough to see that people need to have healthier food choices?

It certainly is a simple thing. For the audience, our biggest advice is to do what you can. If you want to make something happen in the future, set that as your intention and not be attached to it. If money is a big concern for you, know that you’re not alone. There’s a lot of different strategies that you can do financially. I wrote an eBook called Healthy, Organic Vegan On a Budget for this reason. I noticed many people felt that money was getting in the way of them eating what they perceived as healthy, eating organic food, and eating vegan. It could be and/or. It could be one of those three things or all three combined. I found a lot of amazing strategies that you can use to eat those things without spending a lot of money. It can be affordable. It’s something that I’ve been interested in many years.

The other tip too, and I know you share this in your eBook, and we talked about it too in our video, Healthy Vegan Cheapskates that we did and is still one of my favorite videos we ever did on your YouTube channel. Buying in bulk at discount clubs is one of the best things you can do. A basic Costco membership is not that much money annually. I went to Costco and did a huge shop right before the lockdown was imposed and the quarantine here in Los Angeles. I went with my mentor, Michael, who I mentioned frequently, and I did a big shop at Costco. Costco had an extraordinary amount of beans, legumes, brown rice, quinoa, frozen vegetables, and fresh vegetables. I stocked up on so much.

When you buy in bulk especially at a place like Costco or Sam’s Club, your price per pound drops dramatically. If you buy a 20-pound bag of organic brown rice, dry lentils, or dry beans, in my opinion, you can eat a pretty well-rounded nutritionally balanced meal, whatever your preference is. You save a lot of money that way. I want to encourage the audience to look at buying in bulk, look at discount clubs, and buying in a higher volume of food. Whenever you do that, your price per pound goes down. You might have more food to manage, a higher volume of it, but you’re going to save a lot of money in the long run that way.

There are endless strategies. I’ve been wanting to update my eBook to a newer version of it because I wrote it in 2014 and so much has changed since that time. That’s something that I’ve been putting on the back burner for a while but hope to get to. This reminds me of a couple of other topics that I wanted to explore on the show. One of them is something that I hadn’t thought that much about, which is time affluence. Have you ever heard this phrase, Jason?

MGU 97 | Anxiety Privilege

Anxiety Privilege: When we feel like we’re short on time, that can lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, and less happiness.

 

No, I have no idea what it means.

What would you guess it means?

If I had to leverage I guess, maybe the amount of time someone spends focusing on a particular subject or gaining expertise is somehow statistically linked to the amount of financial affluence that they have in their lives. Am I anywhere in the ballpark?

Not quite right. Time affluence is a feeling that you have all day to do whatever you want. In other words, you have sufficient time to pursue activities that are personally meaningful to reflect and to engage in leisure. The opposite of time affluence is time poverty, which is the feeling that one is constantly stressed, rushed, overworked, and behind. This is interesting because as we pivot the conversation, the link is that we’re talking about the privilege that we can have to purchase certain things, the privilege that we have to live a life-based in wellness, which is often targeted towards the elite. It’s very targeted towards white people and a lot of women. It’s also something that tends to appeal or seem to be financially-driven by people that have a lot of money.

It’s interesting when we don’t think about food, drinks, and whatever else you’re purchasing. What about things that you don’t purchase like time and how time in itself is a privilege? We are not guaranteed any time in our life. None of us knows how long we’ll live. A lot of us live as if we have an endless supply of time, but we certainly don’t. COVID has opened a lot of our eyes to the way that we live, our priorities, and how our schedules run. Some of us are still trying to figure out a routine that works for us. Time feels all over the place. This idea of time affluence is fascinating to me versus time poverty. I haven’t dug into it much. As we’re discussing this, I’m going to go look up a few articles and try to better understand it.

As a jumping-off point, one way of looking at it is, is it just a feeling or is it a situational thing? Do you have time affluence that you can do whatever you want versus somebody with time poverty? Their job might be constraining, their lifestyle, or their situation. Whether it be they have to work long hours in order to make ends meet. Do they have children? They don’t have a lot of personal time because their time is going to their children or their families, all of these different scenarios that we could be in. If you think of it from a standpoint of affluence versus poverty, or privilege versus not having that privilege, it’s fascinating.

It brings up to me that movie that came out years ago with Justin Timberlake. It’s about how instead of physical currency, people would work to get time credits. It was somehow biologically implanted in their arm. If they ran out of time, they would physically die. Do you remember that movie?

Yes, I do. I don’t know if I watched the entire thing, but I remember one scene that’s very visually stimulating.

It’s almost as if in some ways our economic system, the way it’s currently set up. First of all, it’s a completely debt-driven economy. We can get into the depth of that, but if you look at how futures, short stocks, short-sellers, and prospection. If we get to the heart of it, it’s a debt-driven economy. The entire economy thrives on debt. The point is this. I think that we are in a loop. We talked about this a little bit in The Hustle Culture and the girl boss episode. It’s this mentality of if I work hard enough, I get enough money, I do the right things, and make the right connections, that I’ll somehow buy myself joy, success, and fulfillment.

The question comes up and this is a privilege too of asking ourselves, what does joy, success, or fulfillment mean to me? Unfortunately, we’re set up in an economic system where the people at the very top of the pyramid continue to benefit drastically and hold a ridiculous and exponential amount of more wealth than everyone at the middle and the bottom of the pyramid. It’s a never-ending debt-driven rat race, where we’re trading time for money all the time. It interesting you posit this Whitney because one of the reasons that I have been thinking more and more about living Los Angeles and not living in a big city is because of the insane cost of living.

The price of living in places like New York, San Francisco, London, LA, even places like Detroit where I’m from. Seeing what places are going for there. The point I’m trying to make is if you put yourself in a life situation where your cost of living isn’t so astronomical, then perhaps one doesn’t need to work as hard to buy oneself time and can have more leisure, contemplation or self-growth time, because you’re not constantly trying to make that monthly nut. That’s something that I’ve been meditating on a lot during this COVID period.

It’s fascinating too because one of the articles I pulled up about time affluence shares a survey that was done in 2019 when the article came out. It found that over two million Americans revealed that 80% of the people that took the surveys revealed that they did not have the time to do everything they needed to do each day. This felt to them like a time famine. That’s super fascinating because I certainly feel the same way a lot. It’s an interesting thing to reflect on because I make my own schedule and yet every day I feel like I’m trying to play catch up. One weekend, in particular, I decided to be a little bit more relaxed. Whereas most days of the week I stick to a rigid schedule. Sometimes I feel a little annoyed with myself that I’m choosing to try to pack so much into each day because it can get draining.

As I’ve talked about in a previous episode, my routine is based around things that are supportive of me. It’s having the same schedule every day like even we’re doing this now, I woke up at 7:00 AM. Whereas in the past, most times in my life I would sleep in on the weekends. A lot of data says that you should stick to the same schedule even on the weekends because it’s better for your body. I’m working on that and it’s tough. I probably have a little bit of a sleep debt because I’ve been trying to pack so much into my day. I’m compromising my sleep a little bit because I don’t feel like I have enough time. I work in time to work out because that’s good for my physical, mental, and emotional well-being. I’m making time to enjoy my meals, cook meals, and to check my priorities off my list. What’s fascinating to me and something that I’ve been stepping back to examine a lot is that I seem to have a lot of priorities. The reality is a priority is only a priority if other things aren’t a priority. If you feel like you have many priorities, something has to go. A lot of us feel like we’re short on time and that can lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, and less happiness.

We are not guaranteed any time in our life. None of us know how long we'll live. Click To Tweet

There is also evidence that says that people are not necessarily busier than before. It’s just that we feel busier. That’s part of what I’m super fascinated by and I noticed this a lot. I’ve talked about on previous episodes how I don’t like the word busy, but it’s an easy way to describe this feeling. I hear this word so much from people. We did a whole episode about this. I do think it’s a bit of an epidemic where so frequently when you talk to somebody and you ask them how they are, one of the most common things you’ll hear is, “I’ve been busy.” What does that even mean if we’re not necessarily any busier than before? It’s more like we have this feeling of being busy. If you dig in further, you see that there are so much tension and stress, and people don’t seem as happy. I wonder if it is this issue of time famine.

I would say also there’s a level of chemical or biological addiction to what is released and proliferated in the body when we feel anxious and stressed all the time. I’ve had to take a real look at periods of pretty dramatic, emotional, or physical burnout in my career and what led to that. If I look at perhaps the level of cortisol, adrenaline, or stress hormones, there is a level of chemical addiction people have to be stressed out, anxious, worried about things, and constantly feeling like never enough. I’ve spent this quarantine period. It’s interesting that you talk about packing as much into your day as possible because I felt the pull to do that. Naturally, certain things have dropped away.

You and I have a certain number of speaking appearances. I certainly did. Both of us did at conferences and festivals and whatnot. We had planned on doing a lot more traveling this year 2020 and vis-a-vis COVID, all of those appearances got canceled. We literally had the slate wiped clean from late February onward. That’s one big thing that I always look forward to, but also sometimes it’s stressful preparing for those talks, traveling, fatigue and all that. Beyond that, I’ve chosen to remove specific aspects of my business and my career and not focus on them as much because first of all, they don’t bring me joy. I was realizing that I was focusing on certain things to keep up appearances or the fear of losing momentum or relevance.

A lot of the things that I was doing as a chef or nutrition educator, I’m not doing anymore. I’m not sending out newsletters anymore. I’m not paying for that. I’ve canceled a lot of subscriptions to certain business things to save money, but also because I don’t want to have that in my mental sphere. I don’t want to be thinking about paying these seven extra bills or focusing on these aspects of my business when they’re not generating any profit. They’re costing me money. I have no desire to continue down that path. My point is that when you talk about your schedule being packed and feeling perhaps that there’s not enough time in your day to do everything. Going back to that Tim Ferriss’s article we read many episodes back. I’m looking for things to cut out and trim the fat proverbially speaking every single day of like, what does bring me joy. What’s not moving the needle forward. What’s costing me more money than I’m bringing in and what can I drop? What can I let drop away? That’s felt liberating to bring up this point about feeling busy. I’ve made a concerted effort to start cutting things away and it’s been feeling good.

There’s a great article I have been slowly working my way through. It was called something like 31 Things To Say No To. It goes into depth about how to say no to certain things so you can say yes to others. It’s a good read. It helps you step back, examine your life, evaluate it, figure out your priorities and all of that. This also leads me to another topic I was reading about called anxiety privilege. What do you think that means, Jason?

For people that don’t have to worry about necessarily putting food on the table or making sure the rent is paid or the lights stay on. That level of basic providing for one’s life, maybe a lot of the anxiety privilege is around more existential things that are not about day-to-day survival.

I was reading about this in an article called Panic is a Luxury. In other words, it starts to feel a little indulgent when you consider that certain people like doctors, nurses, cleaners, grocery store clerks who are considered essential. They are doing things that they have to do versus doing in their own anxiety. These people who have long-faced danger every day just by living in their own bodies. It seems like this article is saying they don’t necessarily have the choice of whether or not they get to do certain things. COVID is giving a lot of us the taste of what it feels like to be marginalized. Many of the limitations that are imposed on by Coronavirus like limited mobility, difficulty in seeing friends and family, restricted access to cultural and social activities are limitations experience regularly by the elderly, by mobility-restricted people, etc. What constitutes as a crisis for some of us may be everyday life for others. I thought this was an interesting thing because I’m sure that applies to lots of things that we experience in life, not just Coronavirus. This idea that a lot of people are so focused on the fact that they’re feeling anxious, but it’s a temporary feeling of anxiety and stress. Whereas for some people, they’re facing that every day of their lives.

It engenders a sense of gratitude for people in a central position. They don’t have time to indulge in a meltdown. They need to show up for work. That’s a very different reality than someone who I suppose is stewing in their existential dread. I keep using that phrase because there’s a lot of theories being passed around you. I have talked and dove into a lot of conspiratorial stuff and a lot of the divisiveness between the left and the right, and All Lives Matter and Black Lives Matter. There’s a tremendous amount of divisiveness. It’s not necessarily that essential workers feel perhaps any of that dread or fear about the future.

It’s like when you got to clock-in every single day and people are counting on you, your family is counting on you, and you’ve chosen this profession. I don’t know that you have as much time to indulge in those kinds of thoughts, enough time to repost conspiracy stuff, and do all that. It’s like, “No, you got to clock-in.” It frames my reality completely different where I’m on unemployment and I’m getting blessed to get benefits from other sources. I’ve applied for a lot of assistance programs and receive those. I know a lot of people aren’t receiving those and haven’t received those. That’s another frame of the reality of the immense gratitude and privilege I feel to have been the recipient of those programs.

There are many layers to this. The interesting thing though that I bring up if we talk about how people are compensated. We talked about warehouse workers bringing up Amazon, fighting for a $15 an hour minimum wage while Jeff Bezos inches ever closer to being a trillionaire. You have CEOs, wealth managers, and people on Wall Street at all. You have doctors, nurses, caregivers, and all these people struggling to make a living. It goes back to the stark and blatant income equality and the fractures of our economic system, but also what’s essential. Are stockbrokers essential? Are wealth managers essential? Are CEOs essential? What is the nature of an essential position? Because if we’re calling doctors, caregivers, delivery people, restaurant workers, food producers, farmers, and people in these “essential positions,” doesn’t that automatically imply that there are a lot of jobs that are unessential?

It is all a matter of perspective and it is very relative as well. That’s why it’s important to discuss these things and to take a step back because we can get so caught up in our own world and our own experiences. Pretty much everything that we feel and think is relative to what someone else is going through. The more that we can become aware of what other people are experiencing and the privilege that we have in our lives, we can be grateful for it. We can also do something about it. Not take it for granted, but see if we share that with other people. That’s part of where we can get to a point of more equality where we’re not leaving other people out. We’re not taking advantage of them. Going back to the original conversation about food, what did it take for that to get into your shopping cart, a literal or digital shopping cart?

Who was making that? Who are these farmers? Are they being paid a fair wage? Are they being treated well? At what cost and which do you get to save money? Whereas somebody else might not be making enough money to pay their bills. This is a big thing as well and why it’s important to be mindful of who you’re buying from. Going to Amazon, one thing that Jason and I have been working towards is using less and less affiliate links that point to Amazon. If you didn’t know this, oftentimes when we mentioned a brand or a product, we will link to an affiliate program. For many years, Jason and I individually have been using Amazon affiliates for two reasons. One, it’s easy to use Amazon’s affiliate program. You type in a product name, you find the link to it. There’s like a little shortcut you can use and you instantly have this link.

MGU 97 | Anxiety Privilege

Anxiety Privilege: Amazon is very convenient financially and time-wise.

 

If somebody buys something based on clicking through your link, you’ll get a commission for it. For example, if you bought matcha that we recommended, not in this case, Pique Tea because Pique has its own program. Let’s say a random company that sells on Amazon. We will get paid a certain amount of money for that. Here’s the catch. We also have to step back and look at this. You might not be paying us any extra, but the company is essentially they’re having to pay us as a thank you for recommending their product, but then Amazon is taking their commission too.

A lot of companies are struggling because they put up something on Amazon and they have to make the price competitive. They have to bring it down to a rate that makes sense where people who might compare two products would buy something not just because of cost. There are many factors that go into selling on Amazon, not to mention the environmental and worker concerns. As Jason’s mentioning here, somebody sells their product on Amazon. They might not necessarily be shipping it from their factory. It might go to the Amazon warehouse and it’s being shipped there. There are all these employees there. I’ve seen some behind the scene footage of what it’s like to work at Amazon. It’s pretty chaotic because there’s all this time pressure. How quickly can I get this product shipped to me? I don’t want to wait. We become impatient that we want things as quickly as possible.

You have services like Amazon Prime that guarantees you’re going to get it in two days or something. You have to look at what it takes to get that product, not just from the farm if it’s a food product or whatever it is, or even if it’s not. It could be cotton or something. It has to be grown, it has to be picked and processed. It goes through this whole factory, then it goes to the shipping warehouse. There’s somebody that has to put it in the box and do the accounting. There are all of these different factors and roles that people play to send you something through Amazon. There’s a lot of information over the years that feel out of alignment with us when it comes to Amazon because the workers might not be getting a fair wage. They might not be treated very well.

The companies that are selling the products might not be making as much money as they would like. There’s a lot of pressure to sell on Amazon because that’s one of the most popular places to buy. It’s tricky speaking of a complicated change that we have to make here. For Jason and I, we are trying to not recommend or link to products on Amazon. Instead, we’re trying to find them elsewhere. In the case of Pique Tea, for example, they do sell on Amazon, but we’re going to link directly to their website and we’ll be using our affiliate link. It takes a little bit more work on our end, but by doing that, you get to compensate that company directly. They get to make more money. They might be able to offer you a better price if not the same as Amazon.

It’s more contained and it’s a little bit more ethical in a lot of ways. Maybe they have better shipping practices. Maybe they pay their workers better. When I talk about this being a complex thing, it’s that there are many factors with people that are used to buying on Amazon. It is a big shift mentally to have to go to a different website and buy from there. It’s interesting because you’re seeing a lot of brands shifting the way that they’re shipping their products. They have to cut their prices in order to compete with Amazon. At what cost is that happening?

I want to bring up something I did that I don’t know if I’m proud of myself is the right adjective. My mentor, Michael, we have a biweekly group that we’ve been doing since I met him, where we are talking about how do we conduct ourselves with clarity, joy, effectiveness, and be good human beings on the planet. He calls it transformational anthropology. Oftentimes, he’ll recommend a book to me. He recommended this book and my first instinct was like, “I’ll check the price on Amazon.” I checked the price and then I thought, “I have not been to a bookstore.” There are three independent bookstores that I love here in Los Angeles. I haven’t been to them since the quarantine was imposed.

I’m going to call around to these bookstores and see if somebody has a copy of this. It was $10 on Amazon for a new copy of this book. I called around to Skylight Books in Los Feliz. There was Book Soup in West Hollywood. Probably my favorite is The Last Bookstore in Downtown LA. It’s a massive, beautiful, independent bookstore. It is gorgeous. If you’re ever in LA or any Angelinos who haven’t been, it’s a phenomenal experience. I called and they had a used copy for less money than Amazon. I’m not printing a new book. I’m not contributing to that. I’m buying a book that’s gently used for less money. I’m supporting the financial prosperity of an independent bookstore, which I want to have them stay around.

If our bookstores go away, that’s crushing to me. I feel like bookstores, libraries, and repositories of knowledge, information, and perspective are crucial. I drove all the way down there, which wasn’t that far of a drive. I walked into this bookstore, got to be in that beautiful energy, bought this book, saved money, and supported an independent seller. I want to endeavor to do more of that. To piggyback on what you’re saying, Whitney, did it cause me more time? Sure. Did I enjoy the hell out of it because I got to go to one of my favorite bookstores? Yes. I ended up saving money anyway. For us to think differently even if it requires more energetic output or effort, if we align our spending with our values, I think that we have a better sense of self. We lay our head down at night and we’re like, “I did something good,” even if it’s a simple innocuous act like that. My point is I want to see where I can do more of that in my life.

I wholeheartedly agree. We also need to address the fact that you were able to go do all of those things as a privilege. You needed to be close enough to that bookstore and feel comfortable going to that bookstore. The privilege or the luck that you had that something was in stock. The other side of Amazon that’s important to discuss too is it does have a major convenience factor. Much like going to a fast food restaurant is convenient financially and timewise, Amazon is very convenient financially and timewise. For me over the years, I haven’t felt fully in alignment with recommending Amazon as a place to buy. The reason I have done it is because it’s accessible and accessibility is incredibly important too. That’s very similar to me supporting fast food chains like Burger King or Carl’s Jr. As a whole, I wouldn’t recommend people to eat there, but a lot of people do eat there. They’re used to eating there. They find it very accessible.

The fact that there are plant-based products there is cool because it’s making plant-based foods more accessible. It’s the same thing with Amazon. If you want to go vegan or you want to live more mindfully or increase your well-being, if you want to buy something, whether it’s a book or a food product or a drink or whatever else you’re trying to find, knowing that you can quickly go to Amazon, read some reviews, get free shipping, and find a good price makes that an easier process. We have to remember as well that it’s not simple for everybody to switch to another place, just as it isn’t simple for us. We recommend a lot of books on this show and Amazon started as a bookseller. That was all they sold in the very beginning days of Amazon. Over time, it became known as a great place to get books.

If we’re going to recommend something, we certainly could link directly to the book author’s website. In some cases, we may do that, but in full transparency, a lot of the times we’re using our affiliate links. We feel like if somebody’s going to buy something, we might as well make a small commission from it because that supports our business and our work, which with the show, we’re not rolling in the dough with it. Every little dollar helps us. It’s part of the reason why we have a Patreon and that we work with sponsors and things like that. It’s been a big shift for us mentally to try to figure out like, “If we’re not going to recommend something on Amazon, where do we direct people?”

It's not always easy to change. You just have to do it in small increments and congratulate yourself on those small steps. Click To Tweet

The thing that is frustrating to me is it’s not that easy to find some of these sources. Even in recommending a bookstore, there’s no guarantee it’s going to be in stock there. I found a couple of websites for smaller book companies that you can be an affiliate for. It’s a complicated process to make a link for it, and then our time becomes a huge factor here. It comes back to this big point which is it’s not always easy to change. You have to do it in small increments and take a point, which is to congratulate yourself for these small steps, whether it’s going to a local bookstore and buying something or buying online from smaller business and saying, “I’m proud of myself for doing that because that wasn’t easy.” It wasn’t as easy as buying from somewhere like Amazon. If you go to Burger King, you can make a very easy decision to get their Impossible Burger instead of their meat-based burger. That’s a simple choice that you can make while sticking in your routine. That helps a lot of people when they have an option that doesn’t involve a huge change in their routine.

The other thing that I’ve been sitting with and it’s not a new consideration, is that progress over perfection in terms of our ethical choices or sustainability choices or trying to support companies, products, politicians, movements, are things that I suppose we feel are doing more good than harm. As we’re exploring that and certainly, you and I are having these conversations about ethics and how to make more ethical choices. There’s no such thing as being perfectly ethical. There is a certain amount of harm and we need to be honest about the reality of that in a lot of choices we make, even if they are “better choices” or more compassionate choices or more ethical choices. When we took our road trip in your Tesla, we killed thousands of bugs.

It was a reality. In the manufacturing of electric car batteries, and I’m not doing this to single out Tesla, but these are the thoughts that I have late at night. The extreme amount of environmental stress and stress on the workers who are mining cobalt for electric car batteries. As they move toward a million-mile car battery, I emailed you that great article that is going to be less cobalt or cobalt-free. There are steps with all of this. My point in this is in our crops that we’re farming, and people bring this up all the time like, “If you’re a vegan, you’re killing all these animals because the rototillers and the farming machines go through. They kill insects and mice.” The way that our reality is set up right now, whatever nature of the reality we’re in, there’s no such thing as do no harm. Can we reduce the amount of harm? Absolutely. That is one of my driving principles in being alive or a life mission perhaps. How can I lessen the amount of harm and extend more equanimity, fairness, respect, and compassion to other living beings, humans, and animals?

To think that we’re not going to do any harm based on the way we eat or the way we drive or what we consume, there’s harm in the cycle no matter what. Can we drastically reduce it? Yes, but to remove harm completely, I don’t think it’s something that we can achieve. At least not the way the system is set up and how many people are on the planet with almost eight billion people. There’s going to be harmed somewhere in the product cycle. Aiming to drastically reduce it rather than elimination is a more realistic perspective.

This has certainly been an interesting exploration for us. We hope the same is true for you, the audience. We’re going to wrap up this and move towards something that we do at the end of every episode called Frequently Asked Queries in which we explore some of the things that people are typing on the internet to find our show. It gives us a peek into people’s minds, thanks to Google Analytics. What we do is I have broken them down into a few categories. Usually, in our episodes, we end up talking about brands that we love and we’ve shouted out a bunch of them already. Something that ties into some of the queries that have been coming up. One of our most common things or subject matters that people find our show through is by searching for something sleep-related. There are a lot of queries that have the word sleep, rest or relaxing in it. That’s interesting for sure.

We’ve talked about a brand that we love called Swanwick Sleep. I want to start by shouting them out. They make the Blue Blocker glasses, which have been helpful for both me and Jason. It ties into the book conversation, the sleep conversation, and overall wellness. My routine is to wear my Swanwick blue light blocking glasses every night while I’m reading in bed. That’s a big part of my routine. I read for 15 to 30 minutes every night. That helps me fall asleep. I found that the blue light blocking glasses helped me become tired. That exposure to blue light can be so stimulating. There’s something very soothing about cutting that out by wearing those glasses. A lot of people seem to be struggling with sleep based on some of the queries I’ve been reading.

A few other brands that tie into queries. There were numerous queries about sleep masks, specifically like the blackout sleep mask and sleep mask that you can buy from Bed Bath and Beyond. Someone was thinking of that specifically as well as Bluetooth sleeping eye mask and sleeping eye mask with headphones. If you’re curious about these things, there are three brands to shout out here. Jason, let me know if I’m leaving out one that you wanted to bring up. One that we’ve both used is called Bucky. They make wonderful sleep mask that we did buy from Bed Bath and Beyond initially. What’s cool about them is they’re very comfortable. They block out a lot of light and they have these little pockets. They pop out and they’re not flat against your eyes. I initially thought they were there for not messing up your makeup. That was part of their marketing which if you were flying on a plane or something and you wanted to put on a sleep mask, it wouldn’t mess up your makeup or whatever. I don’t know if that’s completely true.

That’s precisely why I bought mine.

That’s what I was going to say. For men who choose not to wear makeup, it also helps with eyelashes if you’re blinking or something. It’s a little bit more comfortable to wear a sleep mask that extends beyond your eyes. Jason and I used to wear that brand a lot. I’m saying the name. They are called Bucky because they make other things. Are they called Bucky because they use buckwheat in some of their products or something or is that just a cute name?

I do not know, but I lost my Bucky.

I looked it up and they did have some buckwheat products. They sell a number of things, but they’re most known for their sleep mask. The fact that they help with being more comfortable and they call them deeply molded cups that allow you to blink freely. I liked those but another brand of sleep mask I became more fond of is called the Dream Sleeper. I think you have one of these too, Jason.

When I lost my Bucky, coincidentally I got the Dream Sleeper right after. I’ve been using that one instead.

MGU 97 | Anxiety Privilege

Anxiety Privilege: Some data says that sleeping without a pillow might be better for your neck and spine.

 

I liked the Dream Sleeper eye mask because it’s super thick in multiple ways. It covers a huge portion of your face. It’s also thick in terms of material and it’s incredibly comfortable. It goes flat around. There’s some Velcro and it’s very well made. I met the owner of that company a while back and he’s very passionate about this. They have a great guarantee. I remember there being some amazing assurance if you bought the products. They are sold on Amazon, but if you want to buy directly from their website, we’ll put that there too. They’re made from silky satin with a micro cotton interior. It’s designed to block out 100% of light.

The Velcro also helps make sure that it’s comfortable on any head shape or size. It’s hypoallergenic. If you lose it, they will replace it for free. I was like, “What do you mean if you lose?” I think they will replace it for you. That is if you buy it within one year, if you lose it or damage it, they will give you another one, which to me is shocking. They build that into the price. It’s about $30. It’s on the pricier side, but you know that if you leave it on the airplane or leave it at somebody’s home. Who knows what happened to Jason’s Bucky mask. They don’t have that guarantee. That’s one cool little perk of Dream Sleeper. I think they’re comfortable.

The only thing is that my ears get too hot. It is an issue because I sleep hot. My body temperature is pretty hot when I sleep. Consequently, I have a fan going and I have an air filter and there’s a lot of cool air circulation in the room. I’ve noticed that I love the Dream Sleeper, the comfort. I love how much light it blocks out, but my ears get way too hot. Maybe there’s a version with ear ventilation they can come out with. That’s very specific.

It is pretty specific but you can’t be the only one. The other product I want to shout out on this subject is SleepPhones and they are headphones that are designed to go flat against your ear. I have two pairs of them. One that has a core. I bought these originally for my trip to Greece because I was taking many flights and such long periods of time. I wanted to be able to sleep well. When you put your average headphones into your ears. They hurt if you lean on them and if you press your head against them. I wanted to be able to like block out noise on the airplane. I got them and loved them. I started wearing them to listen to white noise without disturbing somebody else.

If you’re sharing a room or a bed with somebody else and they don’t like white noise, the cool thing about the sleep phones is you can put them on. They have the Bluetooth version as well without the cord. Although the cord, I didn’t find to be a big issue. If you don’t want Bluetooth on your head, that is understandable. You can get the corded pair. They’re designed to be a long cord plus they don’t tangle very easily. I recommend both of them. You can listen to all sorts of music and nature sounds like thunderstorms or rain or whatever you find is calming. You can listen to different types of white noise. They might even ship with some audio tracks or something. They also have one that specifically designed for ASMR because many people like listening to ASMR to relax or to fall asleep, which is pretty neat.

The last thing is that I’ve used those headphones to put over my eyes. They’re not designed for that, but they can cover your eyes or you can wear them as a headband and then wear a sleep mask on top of them, which is pretty comfortable too. They are very effective for snoring. If you’re sleeping next to somebody or sleeping in the same room with somebody who’s snoring, the SleepPhones are fantastic. Those are my recommendations for sleep-related eye mask out there. Hopefully, that helps anybody who’s searching for that. We have the funny, the interesting, and the serious category here. I thought this one was funny. Somebody was searching for a show called Poop Problems Podcast.

Is this a real podcast?

I’m about to find out, but I would love to know what do you think this podcast discusses if it is in fact real?

Probably gastrointestinal issues, digestive health, how to optimize one’s digestion.

Is it a serious podcast or do you think it’s funny stories about poop?

I would have to think that maybe it’s both. If it was one or the other, I might be reticent to tune-in, but if it is giving me actual useful information about gut health and digestive health and also sharing funny poop stories, I am in.

You’re in luck because the Poop Problems Podcast is a real podcast and their tagline is, “99 problems but pooping ain’t one. Well, yes, it actually is.”

Indulge me in some of the topics.

It says, “We’re here to offer helpful humor. We laugh and joke a lot, but we also offer solutions to serious poop problems. Listen in to hear about daily struggles, ongoing challenges, and memorable poops.” I got to listen to this. It’s hosted by two women, which I also assumed it was going to be two guys or something, but it looks like it’s got a nice feminine touch, which is also interesting because women struggle a lot to talk about poop. It’s an embarrassing thing. Do you find that women are uncomfortable? I remember when we were dating, I felt so uncomfortable talking about anything poop or bowel-related with you, Jason. Do you find that women that you know as friends and or women that you’ve dated don’t like to talk about poop? Do you feel like you attract women that like to talk about it? What’s your experience?

The great majority of women that I know do not like to discuss poop and I’ve asked why. It’s because it destroys the illusion that they don’t poop. This is not me paraphrasing. This is what’s been told to me. There’s an illusion of dainty, femininity and sexual desirability that they feel will be ruptured and or shattered if I am too aware of the fact that they poop, which I know you do, but that they discuss it or fart around me or make light of the fact that they’re in the bathroom too long. I’ve been with two women off the top of my head that literally couldn’t give a shit. They were perfectly comfortable with it.

That makes sense. You can’t say they literally don’t give a shit because they do give a shit.

The great majority of women that I know are very hesitant to talk about it, discuss it, or even admit that it happens.

Is that true in your dynamic?

No, she’s totally open about it.

She’s one of two?

Yes, correct.

How does that feel? Is it refreshing to be with a woman that doesn’t care or could you care less how a woman handles her poop or shit?

It’s neither here nor there. I do find it amusing though of this illusion that wants to be maintained of like, “I’m a woman and I poop flowers, cotton candy, and unicorns.” It’s a bizarre link between defecation and desirability. It’s an odd link in my mind. I find that illusion of like, “We’re going to act like we don’t poop” is interesting. Is it a cultural thing? Is it a learned behavior? How do you feel about that?

It’s fascinating because there’s a lot of shame. I wonder if it’s just for women. There’s this idea with men that they are stinking up the bathroom, farting and burping all the time. It’s something that you don’t necessarily like, but it’s acceptable. For women, it’s weird if you’re the woman who’s comfortable with that and it’s this thing you skirt around. I’ve been like that. It’s something that I felt a lot of embarrassment around. There are very few people in my life that I feel comfortable talking about it with. I don’t mind talking about it when it’s not related to me. Talking about poop, in general, is not embarrassing for me. I don’t want people to know much about my specific situation.

Some people who have trouble sleeping turn on their phones or watch TV or do something; that actually is counterproductive. Click To Tweet

I feel very uncomfortable if somebody hears me going to the bathroom or if it’s smelly that day or whatever else, or I’m in there for too long as you mentioned. Those things I’ve built up a lot of shame around and especially true in romance. It’s not like I’m trying to convince anyone that it doesn’t happen, but there’s shame tied into those acts. It’s uncomfortable in those moments if you feel like somebody hears you or they smell it or something like that. That is still incredibly uncomfortable for me. I think it’s true for most people. No wonder there are products out there like Poo-Pourri that have become so popular. We’re big fans of the brand Squatty Potty. I have the portable Squatty Potty and the wooden or bamboo Squatty Potty.

Jason’s had his for awhile too. We love them and those are conversation pieces. When somebody goes into your bathroom and sees that. It’s funny like some people pretend it’s not there. They don’t ask because they’re too embarrassed. Some people turn into this whole conversation about it. That’s always interesting as well. I proudly travel with my portable Squatty Potty and that’s something that I’m not embarrassed about in relationships. I’ve found a lot of men that I’ve dated have been embarrassed about it as well. Jason, you were not, but certainly some guys were like shy about it. They didn’t want me to hear them going to the bathroom either. I’ve been with men that would never fart in front of me and some that proudly did it. I’ve been with guys that weren’t embarrassed about the smell, but some that were conscious about and always spraying air freshener, lighting candles or telling you not to go into a certain room or whatever. I think that men struggle with this a lot too. We could do a whole episode on this.

Do you know what it will be called? We’re down with OPP. That’s Other People’s Poop.

I feel bad for anyone who tuned-in to this episode, got a few minutes in, heard us talking about matcha, and they’re like, “This is boring.” They completely missed the poop conversation. It could have been the opposite. They loved hearing us talk about matcha, time, anxiety, and all that stuff. As soon as we talked about poop, they were out.

It’s going to be interesting to look at the metrics of listener abandonment.

We don’t have access to that, unfortunately. I’m sad that we don’t, but I’m still happy because I would spend way too much time looking at those.

You would send me texts being like, “People love the poop episode. They want more.” The next thing you know we’re talking about fecal transplants, our greatest poops, and relationship dynamics around it.

Off the cuff, do you have a greatest poop story?

There are a few.

Are you serious? Was it like where you call up somebody into the room to see it type of story?

It’s like where I’ve gotten up and I’d look down and audibly gasp at the sight of it like, “That came out of my body?” There’s been a few where I can’t believe that came out of my body.

I wish that people were more comfortable. There are a few people like my sister and I can openly talk about this.

That makes sense, knowing your sister.

Anytime, I get gross with my sister. I don’t think I could call her into the bathroom and show her something. There’s a boundary there. I don’t know anybody that I could do that with. Isn’t it funny how sometimes you have those moments where you want other people to witness something because you’re so shocked by it?

There’s definitely a communal aspect to humans where they’re like, “You have to see this astonishing thing that so happened to come out of my body.”

Do you know anybody who you could do that with? You could show them that and they wouldn’t be completely revolted?

I don’t know about in-person. If I were to take a picture on my iPhone and bombard them with it, that would probably be acceptable.

Who will that be?

I could probably do it to Laura who I’m dating or maybe our mutual friend, Ele.

That to me sounds like true love. If you could send somebody a picture of your poop and they wouldn’t be like, “I’m sorry you crossed a line.”

I don’t know that I’m keen to try that out, but I have a gut intuition that there are a few people that they’d be like, “Wow. Damn.” They’d send me the handclap emoji back. This is a very bizarre tangent. Welcome to This Might Get Uncomfortable. If it’s your first time, also tangential AF. This is real life. This is like Whitney and I sitting in a room talking about life. That’s essentially what this is.

Back to your point, Jason, since we aren’t able to see where people drop off with the shows and we don’t know what people like and don’t like unless they tell us, I would like to remind you, the reader, that there are a few different ways that you can share your thoughts and feelings on these episodes. One is social media. You can reach us @Wellevatr. You can direct message us. You can comment on photos or whatever else we’re posting. There’s a comment section at the end of every show notes that you can comment on. Jason monitors that. Do people comment often?

We’ve had a handful. We don’t get a ton of comments, but that’s apropos of people commenting on blog posts and show notes anyway. I’ve talked to colleagues of ours and it seems that comments on blogs and or show notes are not something people do. It’s more of a social media thing. Whatever your level of comfort is dear readers, you can shoot us an email to [email protected]. That’s probably the highest level of correspondence we get. We do get a lot of DMs. People will be sliding into those Instagram DMs as they do.

There’s also another great thing that we would love from you. Some of you have done this, so thank you to anyone who’s filled out our survey. We created a little survey through one of the services that we use for the show. It tells us some information about your habits and who you are. We use that information to better understand who our audience is to paint a picture. The information I’ve received so far has been enlightening. It’s at Podcast.Wellevatr.com/survey. We would love for you to fill that out. It shouldn’t take you very long. If there’s anything that we can do in exchange, ask us a question or if you want us to share anything with you, send us an email. We’d be happy to do that. It’s anonymous too. You can fill it out and share your information. We’ll never know who did it and who didn’t do it, but we hope that you do it. We’re going to do two more queries, and then we’re going to officially wrap up this episode. The first one ties into what we’ve been talking about here. This falls into the interesting category, in my opinion. Somebody searched, “How did humans sleep without pillows?” I wonder if that’s a rhetorical question or did they want to know how humans slept without pillows?

I was talking to Laura about this and laughing my ass off about it. I thought I want to thank whoever invented the mattress because at some point somebody was like, “This sleeping on the ground thing, I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to sleep on the ground. I’m going to spin this fabric, this cotton, and make a thing called a sheet. I’m going to take some wood and build a box and I’m going to stretch the fabric over the thing. I’m going to smelt these things called coils out of metal and put them in the box.” Can you imagine the first mattresses, how rudimentary and bizarre they must have been? What people must have thought like, “Horatio, what are you building?” “I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s going to be more comfortable than the ground.” That was an innovative person. I want to go and do a search and find out what is the etymology and history of the mattress. At some point, people were just sleeping on the ground, then someone was like, “This shit are not comfortable. Let’s make it more comfy.” At some point, people decided mattresses and pillows were a much more comfortable option.

We’ve all slept without a pillow at some point. Whether you’re leaning over on the tray table at an airplane and trying to sleep on your arms or lay on the side of the plane or somebody’s shoulder or something. I feel like most people have had that experience. You’re desperate to sleep. You could be sleeping in your car or on the ground. I’ve been in all sorts of funny scenarios desperate to sleep. One major memory that comes to mind for me is when I worked at the Apple store. I was always tired. That was because a lot of my shifts were in the morning and they were long and I would get bored because retail can be boring. I would try to take naps on my breaks.

Back in the early days when I worked for Apple, which was from 2005 to 2012, they were very lenient the first few years that I was there. When the financial crash happened in 2008, things got different. Apple, in general, is always evolving, but they were super laid back the first year or two that I was there. The managers and the culture of working for Apple, you could do whatever you wanted as long as you were helping people and selling things. It was like just have fun with it. We would do crazy things like sleep on top of the computer boxes. We build nests, caves, tree houses, and sleep on top of the big Apple computer boxes.

That was perfectly acceptable. In the backroom, we would build these forts out of the boxes and go take naps on them, whatever you wanted. Over time, they got a little stricter at Apple for better or for worse. I remember curling up in the corner underneath the desk and sleeping. It was like whatever, grabbing a sweater or something that I had and turning that into a pillow. It’s an interesting question. I don’t know if it’s rhetorical or not. It probably isn’t. If you’re going to google something, you probably want an answer. There is some data that says that sleeping without a pillow might be better for your neck and spine. There are all sorts of different types of pillows that you can use too. It’s a big experiment. Some people sleep on their sides. Some people sleep on their back. A smaller population of people sleep on their stomachs. It depends on what posture, what mattress you have, what scenario you’re in. There are a lot of factors that go into pillow choices. It’s fascinating. Maybe we need to bring on like a sleep expert.

That’s a wonderful idea. Having a whole episode on sleep would be amazing.

A lot of people are interested in that. Let me use a couple of queries that are related to sleep and on more of the serious side. Jason, you can answer these. I’m going to read you three because they all tie into each other. I feel like you would have some good perspective on this. The first query is, I couldn’t sleep because of anxiety. I’d love to know, Jason, when you’re experiencing this. I know that you’ve struggled to sleep sometimes because of anxiety. The second query is how to energize yourself after no sleep. This all ties back into the original topic and what we started with on this episode, which is about matcha and gets energy from things like that. The third, how to fall asleep when you’re not tired? What have you done in those times where you have anxiety and you can’t sleep? How do you fall asleep when you don’t feel tired? How do you energize yourself if you don’t get any sleep?

The anxiety part, there’s a combination you mentioned reading before bedtime, meditation before bedtime, and doing like deep cyclical breathing. We always talk about the benefits of breathwork. Also for me, taking specific supplements to help calm my nervous system. I’m a big fan of magnesium, whether it’s the calm brand or there is plenty of liquid ionic magnesium. My favorite brand is Mineral Life. I also like to take CBD before bedtime or in some cases when I have extreme anxiety, cannabis. There’s also a wonderful sleep formula and herbal sleep formula from a brand called Cymbiotika, and it’s a Rumi sleep formula. If I’m having a ton of anxiety and I’m worried about not sleeping, I will do a combination of all those things. I’ll meditate. I’ll do some reading to distract my brain from the anxiety, but then I will also take a litany of sleep supplements. Magnesium, elderflower is great in terms of eating before bed. I don’t recommend it. I have found that eating too close to bedtime tends to keep my brain awake and increase my anxiety. Quickly, I tend to rely on all of those things too and also taking a bath before bedtime. I found that if I have a lot of anxiety, if I take a nice hot bath with Epsom salts, that tends to relax me and allay some anxiety too.

I would also say Swanwick is a big part of your routine as well.

Yes, especially if I’m working at night or looking at screens or reading at night, I put on my blue blockers from Swanwick and that helps also. That’s also a fundamental part of my sleep hygiene. What was the second question?

The second two were how to energize yourself after having no sleep and how to fall asleep when you’re not tired?

I’ve had a lot of insomnia over the past three years. I’ve dealt with periods of not sleeping well. For me, in the morning, matcha has been great because I don’t get the caffeine crash. The key component in matcha that turns your brain on is an amino acid called L-Theanine, which helps with memory cognition, brain function. The L-Theanine in matcha has been great for me when I need to wake up after a night of no sleep. Also, the breath of fire technique, which is quick, short bursts of air that you go in and out through your nose very quickly helps to oxygenate the blood and turn your brain on. Breath of fire as a breathwork practice has been amazing for waking up. Also, moving the body, dancing, doing jumping jacks, running in place, getting the blood flow, and getting the energy through your body. Those are three basic things that would wake your ass up if you’ve had a bad night of sleep.

The third one was how do you fall asleep when you don’t feel tired?

I go back to a lot of the recommendations I said at the beginning. I recommend not eating 2 to 3 hours before bedtime, drinking something like camomile or elderflower tea, taking magnesium, hops, melatonin, or a GABA supplement, the Rumi supplement from Cymbiotika or one of the more potent magnesium. Also not working before bedtime. If you’re scrolling through your iPhone and you’re getting bombarded by Instagram or TikTok, which is a constant barrage of content, or you’re working late into the night. Even with your blue blockers on, you’re taking in too much information that gets stored in your subconscious. Sometimes that will be something you ruminate on sitting in your bed. I would recommend not looking at the news, not looking at social media, and not working too late into the night.

It’s interesting that you bring that up too because I’ve noticed some of the men that I’ve dated have done this, where if they’re having trouble sleeping, they turn on their phones and start scrolling, or they want to go watch TV or something. What they don’t often realize is those things are not going to help you want to fall asleep in most cases. It’s like the knee-jerk reaction is, “I’m bored. I can’t fall asleep. I’m frustrated so I’m going to go give myself a dose of pleasure through entertainment,” and that is counterproductive. I’d love to share a few practical and simple suggestions, Jason because everything you’re bringing up is great, but a lot of those things require more planning. You have to go buy something new like supplements or the blue blockers. You have to plan not to eat or work right before bed.

There are nights where even when you feel like you’ve done everything, you can’t fall asleep. In those cases, breathwork can be helpful. cycling through different breathing practices, you could do a guided breathwork practice from YouTube or audio-based breathwork. You can also listen to great meditations that are designed for sleep. Sometimes listening to certain types of music or certain sounds can be helpful. Luckily we have access to many apps. There’s the Calm app. There’s Simple Habit, which is one that I like. There’s also the Tapping Solution that can be wonderful. They have some great audio tracks you can listen to plus physical practices you can try out. I feel like I’m missing one of the major apps. Jason, which apps do you know of like the meditation and calming apps out there?

You mentioned Simple Habit. You mentioned Calm. There’s a third one that I’m missing that is a big one.

It’s Headspace. That’s the one with that cute little guy. The Insight Timer is nice too. All of those I’ve used. There’s a bunch I haven’t used before. If you look it up, there’s like the twelve best meditation apps. There are so many you can try out. Most of them are free. Some of them have paid upgrades, but you can still get a lot out of them. I’ll favorite some nice tracks so I always have access to them and they are lifesavers. We mentioned the SleepPhones. Those are great if you’re sharing a room with somebody. You can put on a pair of Bluetooth headphones or regular headphones work as well, but if you want to fall asleep with it, the SleepPhones are great for that. Use what you have and use the resources. It’s incredibly frustrating when you can’t sleep. Something as simple as breathing or listening to something. You could listen to an audiobook too. If reading helps, get a physical book or listen to the audiobook version of it. It’ll put you to sleep pretty fast if your body wants to sleep.

I’m glad you shared those simple techniques because I certainly don’t expect someone to go out and buy $100 worth of supplements, but it’s something that’s helped me. I know that herbs and taking the right functional foods have been a huge ally in getting consistently good sleep. I also think going back to removing distractions and removing stimulation, whether that’s food too close to bedtime or absorbing content too close to bedtime, that does require planning and it does require practice, but that’s something anybody can do. Anybody can start to build that habit for themselves.

With that, my dear friends, we appreciate you being here. If it’s your first time, we hope that you do return and take in more episodes. You probably got a great feel for how Whitney and I are very tangential, curious and experimental with life. That is the nature of life as we see it. It’s a constant experiment. It’s a constant dive into our curiosities and exploration of what it means to be human and all the ups and downs of being here on this planet. If you want to dig into all the resources that we’ve shared, you can go and dig in for this episode and all of the episodes as we approach 100 episodes and that epic milestone here on the show. Reach out to us on all of the social media platforms on Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook at Wellevatr.com. We will be back again soon with another episode that is sure to go off into many directions we do not even know about. Thanks for being on the journey with us. We appreciate you and thanks for reading!

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