Needs vs. Wants with Guest Cliff Hodges

Some of us think we need that cup of coffee in the morning or the newest gadget, but is that really a need? This week Pedram Shojai and Sara Gottfried welcome Cliff Hodges of Adventure Out to The Health Bridge. Cliff runs a survival training program that aims to re-acclimate the 21st century human back to our primal instincts.

When we’re worried about actual survival, how does the list of needs vs. wants shift? Is that coffee still a need to stay awake? Or does it become a need to sustain ourselves. Is the smartphone still important? Or should we worry more about staying warm after the sun sets? What can spending time disconnected from the 21st century out in the woods do for our perspective of the world?


The Hike to Chino Canyon, Palm Springs


Our journey began on an arid Tuesday in Palm Springs. Most of us (Pedram, Summer Bock, Tom O’Bryan, Dave Asprey, Abel James and Alyson Bridge) had been stuck at this golf resort for over four days and we were looking for a sweet escape. We were sane enough to feel the insanity creeping up and we had to do something about it. So we decided to take the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to the top of Chino Canyon at Mt. San Jacinto State Park and unplug for the day.

We thrive in the presence of nature and suffer in its absence. Only when we reached the top of Chino Canyon and looked down at the miles and miles of endless forest did we realize that we had deprived ourselves of real nature. Yes, the golf course at the resort was nicely designed and maintained, but we weren’t hungry for that. We needed something wild… something worth exploring.

The trip to Chino Canyon really did feed us – emotionally, mentally, and physically. We hiked a good six miles. Stopped at a peaceful meadow to enjoy our lunches. We packed lots of organic blueberries, bananas, cucumbers, carrots, wild salmon, and almonds. We shared everything. And it was awesome! We kicked off our shoes and soaked in the sunshine. There was no cellphone reception… and I was so grateful for that. It was so refreshing to be “off the grid”, even if it was only for eight hours.

I wanted to share some photos of our hike with you in the hopes that this will inspire you to go out and have a journey of your own.

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Is Being Healthy a Revolutionary Act? Pilar Gerasimo Explains.

Revolutionary Act

We are all influenced by a large variety of inputs. From the opinions of our friends to our co-workers to TV and movies, we’re always taking in information, even if it’s in our subconscious. It’s no wonder then that sometimes when we try to make an informed decision about our health we run into confusion. Sifting through a lot of different information can be a troublesome task.

Who’s right?

What’s right?

What should I do?

This week Pedram Shojai and Sara Gottfried welcome Pilar Gerasimo on The Health Bridge to talk about how we can fight negative influences and take control of the inputs we allow in our lives. Pilar and Sara also introduce Pedram to the “thigh gap phenomenon”.

Talking Trash: How to Sort Your Waste

That’s a lot of waste:

Did you know that the average person produces 4.3 pounds of waste per day? No? Now, imagine how much waste is produced if there are 7,253,563,313 billion people who live on this Earth.

It’s time to take out the trash.

Waste Management

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Resolving Energy Dips with Qi Gong by The Health Bridge

As our days progress we ride between the crests and the troughs of energy waves. When we fall into the troughs we may find ourselves reaching for that second or third… or fourth cup of coffee.

But what if there was a way to gather energy during these troughs so that was can rise out of it and get back to our days? Pedram Shojai shows Sara Gottfried a Qi Gong exercise that allows a moment of rest to gather back some energy.

Staying Cool and Saving Water


We’re pretty much all the same. What make us different are our experiences. Whether you’ve been environmentally conscious since you were a kid or if you just started using reusable bags to carry groceries, it just takes a smidge of conscious effort to make an impact. It doesn’t have to be hard. You might need to change your old habits, but it will definitely be worth it.

I realized the importance of taking care of the environment and everything around us when I was in middle school. This passion of mine began as a small flame and little did I know that it could ignite a fire inside me. Today, I am a student at UC Irvine who is pursuing a degree in Urban Studies and a minor in Global Sustainability. Here’s my perspective as a student… I want to share with you some small changes that you can make to save water and energy this summer!

I have been fortunate enough to meet some amazing people and work with inspiring individuals who constantly push me to work harder and to never forget to be thankful for all that I have. In this day and age, I feel that a lot of people take things for granted. Not just our loved ones, but also our time, our health, and the environment we call “our home”. Why not take that extra step, and hit two birds- excuse me, four birds with one stone?

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The Health Bridge Show: Sofa Series Episode 1

Sofa Series
Last fall, Pedram Shojai, Ken Cook, and Abel James all visited Sara Gottfried at her home and we recorded a long conversation that lasted nearly two hours. Here is the first two parts of that conversation. They discuss how Ken started the Environmental Working Group and what EWG aims to do. How can we live sustainably? Are we aware of all of the various toxin and chemical exposure events that take place through everyday life? Can technology help control certain issues?

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Why Laxatives Give False Relief

Did you know that each year, Americans spend more than $700 million on laxatives? The United States supposedly has the highest rate of laxative use compared to several other countries.

Yet, statistics show that as many as 40% of people use laxatives incorrectly. At least 15% of diarrhea cases are due to incorrect laxative use. (1) Furthermore, laxatives are often abused by people who seek to lose weight. The individual mistakenly believes that the laxatives can work to rush food and calories through the gut and bowels before they can be absorbed.  But that doesn’t really happen. Let’s explore this question: Why do laxatives give a false sense of elimination? What are healthier alternatives to laxatives?

What are laxatives?

laxativesLaxatives are substances that can help an individual have a bowel movement, an indication that the body is cleansing. They are used to relieve and prevent constipation. Because different types of laxatives work in different ways, their effectiveness can vary from person to person. In general, bulk-forming laxatives (also referred to as fiber supplements) are the gentlest on the body and safest to use long term. Stimulant laxatives are the harshest and should be used sparingly.

When a bowel movement is forced, it can disrupt the body’s natural mechanisms. Laxatives should only be taken to relieve or prevent constipation, because they can produce adverse reactions that can physically impair the digestive system. Constant intestinal movements as a result of  using laxatives tend to give individuals a false sense of waste elimination. While it is true that some of the individual’s bodyweight does shed during the process, it is important to keep in mind that ultimately it’s really just water weight.

A common misconception of laxatives is that they can help with weight loss. What you really need to know is that overusing laxatives can be dangerous. Diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting are potential side effects. Diarrhea causes too much water loss. This could lower the blood pressure, increase the heart rate, cause dizziness and fainting. Laxatives can also change levels of important minerals in your body. This can lead to kidney stones, heart and muscle problems.


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Show me the SKIN Facts!


Now that we know what’s in them, do they actually work? Don’t leave that makeup counter without asking for the ‘SKIN Facts”! No really, we tried this and unfortunately didn’t get the response we were hoping for.

Dr. Vesna Petronic-Rosic, dermatologist of the University of Chicago Medical Center, shares that most companies rarely publish studies that display the effectiveness of their product. They tend to focus more on potential side effects, such as skin irritation and allergic reactions.

So why is our knowledge of the ingredients in skincare and cosmetic products so sparse? To what extent do these products deliver their desired effects? If data from research and tests were more readily available, we’d all be more educated consumers. Unfortunately, companies tend to cite scientific evidence to help prove that specific ingredients in anti-aging products actually work, but they keep these studies private and decline to present them to the general public.

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Easy Ways to Improve Digestion and Speed Up Metabolism Naturally

DigestionIt’s 1 pm and you just finished your lunch not too long ago. Now it is time to get back to work, but all you want to do is take a nice, long nap. Your body feels heavy and your mind is starting to fog. Sorry to break it to you – but you may be in a food coma.

Food comas are no joke! They can be especially dangerous in the workplace. Known as post-prandial somnolence  (Fancy huh?) to the medical world, a food coma is defined as a normal state of drowsiness following a meal.

To break this concept down even more, think of it as a series of chain reactions. When you consume food, your body goes into a general state of low energy due to the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system in response to the increase of mass in your gastrointestinal tract. This then leads to a specific state of sleepiness caused by hormonal and neurochemical changes related to the rate at which glucose enters your bloodstream and the downstream effects it has on the transport of amino acid in the central nervous system. In other words, your energy is being diverted to aid in digestion, so “non-essential” functions such as, exercise and muscle exertion are placed on the back-burners.

As a general rule of thumb –  the bigger the meal, the harder it will be for you to stay awake! When you eat a lot at once, your parasympathetic nervous system ends up shifting more of its energy to help with digestion. What you eat also matters. When you consume foods loaded with fat and sugar, they are quickly broken down into glucose (the simplest form of sugar). Your body uses glucose for fuel and this increase of it will cause a spike in your bloodstream. To counteract this surge in blood sugar, your body then releases more insulin to clean up the excess glucose. However, the increase in insulin causes your brain to produce more serotonin and melatonin, which are neurochemicals that make you feel sleepy.

If you’re concerned about feeling sleepy after eating, we have some tips that can help you improve your digestion and overall gut health…
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