Adventures In Humaning – Episode 2: The Calf Path

Calf PathGo right to this episode on soundcloud here.

Adventures In Humaning goes literary this week. We read and discuss a poem by Sam Foss (1895) called ‘The Calf Path‘. This is a poem about how it’s in our nature to take the path. Frank and I have a meandering conversation that includes references to and the topics of:

  • Escape Adulthood
  • Credentials
  • Science in general – how we tend to science the heck out of life
  • And how we receive the conclusions of ‘science’
  • Question even what you believe to be a credible source
  • Even though you might not want to be the expert…
  • It’s sometimes valuable to get your hands dirty to understand something better for yourself.
  • Kids & school. Our education system is a calf path.
  • Medical doctors, their path, and their constraints.
  • You are put in a box, risked for insurance, and medicated like others despite your uniqueness.
  • We tend to create solutions with no problems. Especially around the topic of cholesterol.
  • But there is value to the calf path, it is our human nature, maybe a simpler, more ancestral path would be easier on us.
  • Frank mentions the Weston A Price Foundation.

Come on over to the Adventures in Humaning Facebook page to introduce yourself, or leave us a review on iTunes… much appreciated!



Adventures In Humaning – Episode 1: What is Humaning?

Humaning 01-01

Go right to this episode on soundcloud here.


Welcome to Adventures In Humaning. We (that’s Meredith & Frank) would very much like to invite you to come along, with an open mind and a curious spirit, to get lost with us in a meandering adventurous conversation about what it means to be human.

We are excited to share this introductory episode with you! Many thanks for joining us.  We want you to get to know the vision we have for this podcast, get to know us and to provide you with a glimpse into our philosophies and musings on life and what we think it means to be human.

Come on over to our Facebook Page to human with us.

Here’s some information and ideas that are relevant to this show:

Geologic Time: A different perspective.

I took a class called Paleobiology in graduate school. It was the study of life on earth and how it changed through geologic time.

It was pretty fascinating. The fossil evidence of life on earth is spectacular. There has been all sorts of animal life on earth. Most of this life has become extinct. We are no longer graced by things like:

Trilobites  >>> behold the trilobite (photo from this source)


Conodont animals >>> I studied this guy (well, his mouth parts) as an undergrad (photo from this source… I took those photos – and just realized that there’s no scale on the image. These are microscopic – they’d fit on the head of a pin. These photos were taken on a scanning electron microscope.)


And the various crazy forms of the Ediacaran fauna (photo from this source)


Of course, there were dinosaurs too. We all know about the dinosaurs. They are gone – well, except for their bird-brain relatives.

Flutter the dinosaur

(Note: Felis domesticus in the window watching the flock)

This is all to say that life on earth has been diverse, it has been around for a lot longer than you might be able to comprehend, and there were a lot of life forms that are no longer with us.

During that Paleobiology class, we were assigned to discuss the following question:

Who is superior, Bacteria or Humans?

Hmmmm. Interesting question to ponder.

From a geologic perspective, bacteria arrived on the scene a fair bit before we did. They had a ~3.5 billion year head start on us.

Check this out.

All scientific evidence points to the age of the earth as ~ 4.6 billion years. If we compress the age of the earth down to 1-hour of time… this is what things look like. Notice in particular when bacteria first arrive on the scene (approximately 14:30 minutes into the hour – in comparison to, say, humans (at about 59:58.8 minutes into the hour).

Geologic Time

Let this soak in a bit.

Today – bacteria are found pretty much anywhere. From deep within the crust of the earth, to Antarctic ice, to deep sea trenches, to our very own guts… they have taken advantage of every square inch of this planet. And remain largely unchanged throughout their existence on this planet.

That’s a pretty strong case for bacteria.

Human life is pretty new on the scene – and life as we know it today is barely a blip on this clock. The first evidence of ancestral humans (of our species) is something like 250,000 years ago. And one could argue that we wouldn’t be as successful as we are without the aid of our bacterial friends.

Bacteria vs. Human question aside… let’s think about life on earth during the time that humans have actually been around.

Imagine what life was like for the bulk Homo sapiens history. It may be hard to do – because we’re used to a certain way of life today. But for simplicity sake – imagine a world where you had to ‘shop’ for your food by moving across the land to find it, your entertainment was probably song & dance & storytelling, the only way to interact with others was literally face to face, you slept when it was dark out, your bed was the earth, your ‘alarm’ was the sun, real estate was literally what you made of it, your ‘doctor’ was nature or time or maybe a shaman, babies were just born, your community all pitched to keep everyone safe.

Contrast that to today – we have so many interventions and conveniences and technological advancements that we rarely question. Because in our experience, we’ve always done it that way.

Sometimes… a lot of times… most of the time… opportunity lies outside of our experience. And in this case, an ancestral perspective provides a lot of ideas that we can attempt to bring in to our experience for the purpose of gaining health.

Welcome to my brain. 😉



Are you interested in experiencing more?

I’d love to chat more with you about this. Contact me to schedule a consultation, or join my (R)evolutionary Health Class if you live in the Madison area.

The Roots of Health – Episode 65: Nature School

Nature 65-01Click here to go right to the show in iTunes or on Stitcher or on

In the past 30 or 40 years, we’ve been getting really good at creating indoor activities. In part this could because of the advances in modern technology, maybe the comfort and safety of home, or maybe simply the convenience of the matter. Whatever the reason may be, our children are increasingly disconnected from nature, in fact, they may have a fear of nature. As our kids have moved inside, the rates of childhood obesity have tripled and the number of kids that are prescribed medication for ADHD have increased 40 times. This is what Richard Louv calls, ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ (I recently talked to ecotherapist Phoenix Smith about this).

A growing number of concerned people are doing something about this. They are starting ‘Nature Schools’ or ‘Forest Kindergarten’ to reconnect our preschoolers and their families with their natural environment.

I reached out to Kate Dawson and Emily Vera of Terra Nova Nature School in Richmond, British Columbia to find out what exactly a nature school is, why we should send our children to nature school, what a day at nature school looks like, and how to prepare for the outdoor classroom.

I’ve included clips from a Ted Talk by Ben Klasky called ‘Get Hooked On Nature, cited an article from the New York Times called, ‘Preschool Without Walls’, included clips from an upcoming documentary called ‘School’s Out: Lessons from a Forest Kindergarten’, and recommended that you check out the Natural Start Alliance to learn more for yourself.

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The Roots of Health: Explore the disconnect between your health, and your modern environment.

Opportunity Cost.

Your Opportunity Cost Might Be Your Health | Meredith Rhodes Carson, PhD, HHC | Forward Health CoachI like to look at things from every angle.

I like to not be dogmatic about things.

But I also like to interpret data 😉 Because, science.

You know what I consider to be the single biggest piece to my own personal health puzzle?

Re-defining food for myself.

When I first set out to figure out how to support my body to do what it had to do, I reasoned that a pretty direct way the cells in my body receive information is from the food that I choose to eat.

I think that’s a reasonable reasoning.

I know that there are a bunch of variables to that equation. It may not matter WHAT I eat if my digestive system isn’t working well enough to break down and assimilate the food, or if I lack the gut bugs necessary to assist me, or if I’m not moving in ways that nourish all of my body parts… But those variables aside, my first shift was to eat what I knew to be nutrient dense foods. Because…

My body was clearly screaming at me for nutrients. My heart was flipping out, my hair was falling out, my ovaries were clearly on strike, I was having ocular migraines, I was anxious, I was not right and I instinctually knew that medicating my problems was not solving them. And I feared that a lifetime of medication would simply lead to more and more medication. I’ve seen that slippery slope.

Back to nutrient denseness. Nutrient density is just like it sounds, the amount of bang for your buck. It refers to the nutrients per calorie really. A teaspoon of sugar contains pure energy that is devoid of nutrients, a teaspoon of liver contains pretty much pure nutrients. Those are two end members of the nutrient density spectrum for sure.

So what did I do? My approach was to ‘go paleo’. I understood this to be a whole foods approach that capitalized on nutrient dense foods while eliminating more energy dense foods. I still love this approach for people who are open to it… and most of all, self-aware. I caution people to understand the ‘why’ behind what they are doing and to not simply regurgitate paleo talking points. It’s important to feel comfortable eating food and to not fear it. It’s easy to get stuck in a paleo belief system and not be able to dig yourself out.

Case in point. My paleo belief was that ‘gluten is the devil’. That it is slowly killing us over decades, but it’ll get the job done.

Well – this may be true for some people… so I encourage everyone to understand their bodies, but the force is strong. And I spent years in fear of an isolated plant protein. That sort of anxiety can kill you quicker than gluten will. 😉

Full disclosure though, by adopting this paleo approach (grain-free, legume-free, sugar-free, refined seed oil-free, dairy-free), I was able to wean off of several prescription drugs, grow a crazy head of hair, take back control of my heart, kick my ovaries back into action, and lean out. And in my paleo-centric head, new found health was made possible by eliminating grains, gluteny gluteny grains.

Fast forward to today. I don’t consider myself ‘paleo’ anymore. I had to stop defining myself by the food I ate – it was stressful to give food that kind of control. However, I do still make choices on a daily basis that include upping my nutrient game. Whereas before, I attributed my health to the foods that I eliminated (read: a restrictive approach), today I attribute my health to the foods that I added, the foods that I now had the opportunity to eat (read: the abundance approach).

So when I order myself a burger-hold-the-bun-but-stick-it-on-a-pile-of-greens, it’s not because I fear carbs or grains or gluten… it’s because I choose the veggies every time now.

So, my point here is this. You may be experiencing an opportunity cost at each meal, and your health may be reflecting that. If you want to get some more nutrient bang for your buck with your meals, crowd out some of the more energy dense things (refined grains and sugars) with more of the nutrient dense things (all veggies & fruits in season, herbs, nuts, seafood, meats, beans).

And watch how your body thanks you.

You might need some Action Pants.

Do you need action pants? | Meredith Rhodes Carson, PhD, HHC | Forward Health Coach.I am about to suggest something that could make all of the difference for you.

You might need to change your clothes. :)

I don’t judge of course, my son wears the same thing nearly everyday.

He calls his pants, ‘Action Pants’. I love that.

He’s 8, and he is aiming to be a black belt in karate. He’s well on his way too. He’s a purple blue belt now. >>>

So, what are ‘action pants’? They are pants that you can move in. 

Even more – they are pants that allow you to move. 

I can’t get this guy to even consider jeans. His sister is the same way.

I can appreciate this more and more everyday. I mean, when you squeeze into a pair of jeans, you are limiting what your body can do naturally. Even if, or especially if, you have a pair of those über stretchy jeans.

How likely are you to sit on the ground if you’re in jeans? How likely are you to squat down to do anything? Hell, I’ve got jeans that are nearly threadbare in the knees… any more attempted squats and I’ll hulk out of them.

You are literally shaped by the pants that you wear. Seriously. Ever taken off your pants to see… the imprint of your pants? I bet so.

This is all to say that what you choose to put on your body on a daily basis influences the possibility of your movement. It also influences the movement of the life-giving fluids in that body of yours. In the words of Katy Bowman:

You are a body full of tubes, tubes with important jobs. When you push on a tube, the fluid inside of it has to move elsewhere and the flow through the tube changes.’

Friend, your pants could be influencing your digestion. True story.

If you want to increase all of the natural movements in your body and life… both inside and out, consider the influence of the clothes that you wear on a daily basis. Restrictive clothing is restrictive.

Now go don your action pants.

The Roots of Health – Episode 64: Kombucha 101 with Alla Shapiro & Vanessa Tortolano

Kombucha 64-01Click here to go right to the show in iTunes or on Stitcher or on

Cold and flu season is here. When it’s kind of cruddy outside and we tend to be sequestered indoors and more prone to attack by the cold and flu bugs. Now is really the time to ramp up your extreme self-care to boost your immune system. There are plenty of ways to do this, you can get good rest at night, you can move around a lot during the day, going outside is very important, as is eating and drinking immune boosting foods. So in your quest to create a bomb-proof immune system, you may want to include something known as the ‘tea of immortality’. Kombucha has a few thousand-year history as a health elixer.

I reached out to Alla Shapiro and Vanessa Tortolano of NessAlla Kombucha to find out what kombucha is, its history, why would you might want to consume it, how and why you should make your own brew, and about the hubbub around its alcohol content.

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The Roots of Health: Explore the disconnect between your health, and your modern environment.

The Roots of Health – Episode 63: Urban Wood with Josh Rice of Baraboo Woodworks

Josh 63-01Click here to go right to the show in iTunes or on Stitcher or on

Here on The Roots of Health, I like to explore the disconnect between our health and our modern environment, and it’s no secret that the health of your environment is directly related to the health of yourself. I like to approach the health of our environment from an ancestral perspective. Whereas we used to hunt and gather for our food, today we have a food system that brings us food from all around the world. The disconnect there is that we no longer eat local foods in season year-round, and that may some affect on our health for the long-term. And even more, the carbon emissions required to ship food around the world increase may be altering our climate in ways that we never predicted. But it’s not just our food system that has had major changes on our modern environment. Once upon a time, we harvested wood from our own land to build homes and furniture. Just as the farm to table movement is infiltrating our economies, so is the ‘wood to table’ movement, also known as the urban wood movement.

I recently talked with Josh Rice of Baraboo Woodworks about the opportunity and importance of harvesting urban wood to put to use locally. It’s about going back to basics, changing the way we consume and make things, creating quality, handcrafted artisan heirloom furniture, supporting your local economy, and sustainable environmental practices.

Learn about the modern disconnect with respect to your furniture, a piece from Skinner Auctioneers and Appraisers, a clip Greenovation TV about urban wood, the Wisconsin Urban Wood group, learn about the emerald ash borer, ideas about how to turn your tree into a table, and locate someone to build you a piece of furniture out of your own tree.

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You can subscribe to The Roots of Health at WebTalkRadio.netiTunes, and Stitcher.

The Roots of Health: Explore the disconnect between your health, and your modern environment.

The Roots of Health – Episode 62: Eating Mindfully with Dr. Susan Albers

Susan 62-01Click here to go right to the show in iTunes or on Stitcher or on

Human beings are hard wired for survival. Our ancestors probably went through some feast or famine process. Food was not readily available for them, they had to hunt for it, they had to collect it, and if they didn’t, they were hungry. If the hunt brought home some giant animal, they might all feast on that, and that might be it for a while. And you can bet, when they were feasting, they were grateful for that meal.

But today, food is plentiful, we’ve never had the kind of choice that we have in our modern environment. How do we choose to eat healthy when faced with what my guest calls, the 3-E’s, an abundance of easy, effortless, and economic foods? Our modern environment has set us up for failure. Not only do we have an abundance of food, but we have so many things demanding our attention that when we do choose a food, we might not even realize that we’re eating it. We have a problem with mindless eating.

My guest today is Dr. Susan Albers, who likes to help people with ‘how to eat’ and not ‘what to eat’.

We chatted about what mindful eating is, how it’s like we’re on autopilot, Dr. Albers provides us with five strategies to begin a mindful eating practice, eating mindfully is sort of a meditation, we chat about what to do with respect for mindful eating in an office environment, or what we might really need if we reach for food as a reward, how to navigate the abundance of food at holiday parties, and the importance of being mindful when you’re out with friends and in order to be a great role model at home.

Check out Dr. Albers book ’50 More Ways To Soothe Yourself Without Food’ and her website,


Dr. Albers bio:

Susan Albers, Psy.D., is a New York Times bestselling author and a clinical psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic who specializes in eating issues, weight loss, body image concerns and mindfulness. After obtaining a masters and doctorate degree from the University of Denver, Dr. Albers completed an APA internship at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana and a post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford University in California. Dr. Albers conducts mindful eating workshops across the country. Dr. Albers is the author of six mindful eating books including: EatQ, 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food, Eating Mindfully, Eat, Drink, and Be Mindful and Mindful Eating 101.

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The Roots of Health: Explore the disconnect between your health, and your modern environment.


It’s Called Switchel.

I’m trying to crowd out some alcohol in my life – with worthy substitutes. In fact, my sister and I are working on an ebook of worthy substitutes, stay tuned. 😉

This one is called Switchel, and it’s very flexible.

Switchel, none of the booze, all of the fun.

You can use water or fizzy water, you can use maple syrup or honey or molasses, you can add fresh herbs… I think the key is the water to apple cider vinegar ratio of 8:1.