The Drew Pearlman Show features an entertaining blend of ancient wisdom, empowering ideas, and cutting edge healthy living science. The podcast dives deep into topics such as food, natural healing, meditation, movement, mindset, purpose, nature, play and much more.
Think of the show as your antidote to the fear and talking heads in the news.
Relaxation On Demand with Stig Severinsen
Stig Severinsen has a PhD in Medicine and he is also 4x Freediving World Champion and Multiple Guinness World Record Holder. He is the Founder of Breatheology and author of the best selling book, “Breatheology- The Art Of Conscious Breathing.”
In the beginning of our conversation, Stig talks about his record breaking dive in the ocean, swimming with fins underwater, on just one breath, for 202 meters (662 ft 8.7 in). He wanted to end 2020 on a positive note, as the dive was meant to give people hope and inspiration, since “people were thirsting for some positive news, not just the scare campaigns all of the time.”
Stig explains that breaking these records is much more mental than physical. It starts by having a clear vision of what you want to achieve, followed by steps of action.
For Stig, breathing is the perfect antidote to all of the fear in the world today. There are so many challenges in life. “Breathing gives you the ability to take the power back to yourself.”
Even more overlooked than breathing is relaxation. He says you can actually train yourself to relax. For example, when you breathe with a slow, controlled exhalation, you trigger the vagus nerve and an automatic relaxation response. “With breathing, you have an incredible tool right under your nose.” It’s a switch you can flick – what he calls Relaxation on Demand!
Whether you are competing in sports or just living your life, you can take advantage of moments during the day to check-in with your breathing. This is what Stig refers to as finding “the break in the break.” In other words, you take little moments or “breaks” in the day to check-in with your breath and breathe in a more conscious and controlled way.
According to Stig, your breathing is your life. He says that you can’t fake your breathing, it’s a truth-tester. He continues: “Your breathing is a reflection of your state, physical, mental, maybe even spiritual.” Bad breathing habits produce various downstream negative health consequences. In fact, this is a major reason why so many people struggle with sleep apnea and poor sleeping patterns.
During Stig’s research over the past 20 years, he’s been surprised that no one is talking about breath-holding and its benefits. In his recent TED TALK, he calls “breath-holding the new black.” Breath-holding goes hand in hand with conscious breathing; it’s the Yin to the Yang or Light to the Dark ~ and you can’t have one without the other.
Stig says breath-holding offers tremendous potential for PTSD. In his work, he teaches people to “become comfortable in an uncomfortable situation.” Even in the chaos, one can still find that place of inner quiet and peacefulness, like the eye of a hurricane. Incredibly, breath-holding allows us to get to know ourselves from a new perspective: “With breath-holding you have this amazing opportunity for an inner journey.”
Although you can’t change your nervous system overnight, if you are willing to take baby steps, over time you can re-condition it. Not to mention these breathing techniques can also improve mental health and rejuvenate the body.
You can learn more about Stig, his book and his Breatheology programs right here: https://www.breatheology.com/
Conquering Autoimmune Disease with Dr. Terry Wahls
Dr. Terry Wahls is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Iowa. She is also a patient with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, which confined her to a tilt-recline wheelchair for four years. Dr. Wahls restored her health using a diet and lifestyle program she designed specifically for her brain and now pedals her bike to work each day. She is also the author of numerous books including The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine.
In the beginning of our conversation, Terry tells her story of being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis back in 2000. She was eventually forced to do her hospital rounds in a wheelchair and was headed for a fate of being bedridden and possibly demented.
All of the medical experts told Terry that recovery was impossible. And yet, she never lost hope. Every night, she continued to dive into the research.
It wasn’t until Terry applied everything she learned from the medical literature, the Institute of Functional Medicine and her knowledge of the Hunter-Gatherer diet that her health finally began to turn around.
For Terry, “disease (and health) begins at the cellular level.” She recognized that she needed to design a diet for healing her cells, in particular her Mitochondria, the energy factories inside her cells.
The foundation of her diet is to cut out sugar and processed foods and replace them with leafy green vegetables as well as other colorful veggies. She says: “The average American has less than 2 servings of vegetables a day. We are clearly starving ourselves for nutrition.”
Unprocessed fat is also incredibly important for the body and the brain. She says: “When we went on the low fat craze for heart disease, we inadvertently started starving our brains of the fats we need to make myelin [insulation of nerves in the brain and spinal cord]. And that may be part of why there is such a dramatic increase in anxiety, depression, learning disorders and cognitive decline.”
Terry also recognizes the role of gut health in her autoimmune disease, in particular the community of trillions of microorganisms dwelling in her bowels. She says that “we depend on the microbes to help us run the chemistry of life.” The overuse of antibiotics, plus a high sugar and low fiber diet, contribute to an imbalance or dysbiosis in the gut. Thus, we are missing many of the important microbes needed to produce optimal health, energy and vitality.
In her book The Wahls Protocol, she writes this empowering message: “Your doctor cannot cure your autoimmune disease. Your medication can only ease your symptoms, sometimes with side effects that make you feel even worse… The power of healing is within you.” According to Terry, “The first thing we have to do is make the decision that I’m worth the effort, that I’m important and it’s worth it to me to take better care of myself.”
Terry offers the reminder that even during her darkest days when her body was steadily deteriorating, she realized that her young children were still watching her, and she could model resilience for them. This gave her the meaning, purpose and motivation to keep going.
Back in 2007, it was assumed that Terry would never get better from her disease, because it had never been done before. However after redesigning her diet and lifestyle, she transformed her health and did what all of the “experts” considered to be impossible.
Dr. Terry Wahls' story has inspired people all over the world. I hope you enjoy our wonderful conversation!
You can learn more about Dr. Terry Wahls and her inspiring work here: https://terrywahls.com/
Diving Deep into Meditation with Bob Roth
Over the past 45 years, Bob Roth has taught Transcendental Meditation to thousands of people all over the world, and is the author of the 2018 New York Times bestseller, “Strength in Stillness: The Power of Transcendental Meditation.” As CEO of the David Lynch Foundation, Bob has helped bring meditation to more than a million students in underserved schools in 35 countries, to military veterans and their families who suffer from post-traumatic stress, and to women and children who are survivors of domestic violence.
In the beginning of our conversation, Bob talks about the path that led him from politics and working for Bobby Kennedy to transcendental meditation. During his college days at Berkeley in the 60’s, Bob recognized that politics would never heal the soul of a deeply divided nation.
Bob explains how the practice of Transcendental Meditation (TM) works and how it varies from other forms of meditation. He says that TM recognizes “deep within every one of us right now is a level where your mind is perfectly settled, calm and wide awake.”
In the words of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who developed TM and brought it to the world 60 years ago: “do less, accomplish more; do nothing, accomplish everything.” For Bob, doing less and accomplishing more are like those times when you are in a flowing, relaxed state and everything just falls into place. He compares it to what athletes call “being in the zone.” According to Bob, TM gives access to your deepest, quietest inner nature which is in alignment with the larger Nature as a whole.
The motto of the David Lynch Foundation is “change begins within.” Bob elaborates: “Start with healing the individual…and that’s how I see transcendental meditation, a medical intervention, just like any medicine but much healthier, and give everybody those tools to heal their trauma and also to actualize the full potential of the brain.”
For Bob, if we want to disrupt the current health care or disease care system, then we must give people the tools to prevent illness and allow them to become resolutely and powerfully healthy.
While we can’t always control the stressors that come from outside, like losing a job or a loved one. We do have the ability to choose how we respond to that stress. In fact, so much of the stress response depends on how we take care of ourselves. For example, are we eating healthy foods, exercising, and meditating twice a day?
Later, Bob shares two poignant stories of individuals who have utilized the power of transcendental meditation to help heal their pain and trauma.
In the end, Bob says that it is no longer a luxury to bring powerful tools like transcendental meditation to people, particularly young people. He reminds us that suicide is now the number two cause of death among teenagers in America: “We’ve got to bring these interventions, violence interrupters, brain awakeners, stress reducers to everybody, but particularly children. We are in danger of losing an entire generation.”
You can learn more about Bob, the David Lynch Foundation and Transcendental Meditation right here: https://www.davidlynchfoundation.org/
Trust Your Journey with Dave Romanelli
Dave Romanelli is a #1 best selling author, international speaker, and a guide to bringing old wisdom and ancient healing practices to modern life. His books are Happy is the New Healthy and Life Lessons from the Oldest and Wisest.
In the beginning of our conversation, Dave shares an incredible story from his childhood about why it’s so important to show up fully in life. He says: “it’s a reminder that we are missing the important moments in our lives,” mainly because we are all so distracted and pulled in so many directions.
Dave finds meditation to be a game-changing tool for becoming more present. It allows the mind to unhook itself from all of the stimuli in the world. He also speaks to the immense power of gratitude: "To me, that’s the number one: how deep is your level of gratitude?” He also says you need to be a "bad-ass" to be grateful. It’s so much easier to focus on problems and what’s wrong with our lives.
According to Dave, there’s a difference between “being happy and doing happy.” He says it’s about turning happy into an action, doing a good deed and helping to bring out joy in someone else.
His best selling book Happy is the new Healthy was inspired by a one hundred and eleven year old woman that Dave befriended for the last three years of her life. When Dave asked her about the secrets to her long healthy life, she attributed it to three things: sex, vodka and spicy food.
That joie de vivre and taking time to enjoy life are common themes for all of these super long-livers. In fact, this attitude of appreciation can be a skill that one can develop. Dave says to remind yourself each day: “When you put your head on the pillow to go to sleep at night, do you have one moment that you remember from the day gone by that you cherish and treasure…”
Dave talks about his early morning meditation where he takes time to clear his mind, look up at the stars and reflect on what’s great in his life. This helps him re-charge and experience pure joy.
Later, Dave speaks about some of the life lessons he learned from interviewing elders for his last book, Life Lessons from the Oldest and Wisest. He says that they have a sense of humor and appreciation and gratitude for all of life.
In the end, Dave offers this simple advice: trust your journey. He says: “take your hands off the brakes and enjoy these times in life,” even if you don’t see how all of the pieces fit together.
You can learn more about Dave, his meditation programs and his books right here: https://davidromanelli.com/
Unleash the Power of the Breath with James Nestor
James Nestor is an author and journalist who has written for Outside Magazine, The Atlantic, National Public Radio, The New York Times, Scientific American, Dwell Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, and more. Nestor’s new book, Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art, was released in May of 2020 and was an instant bestseller in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Los Angeles Times, and Sunday London Times.
In his new book Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art, James conducts one of the great experiments of all time. He blocks up his nose and breathes exclusively through his mouth for ten days. During this time, James chronicles how his health deteriorates: elevated blood pressure, snoring, sleep apnea, fatigue and diminished athletic performance. These results bolstered decades-worth of scientific studies.
James explains why nose breathing is so powerful for optimizing human health. The nose is perfectly designed to filter, clean, humidify, pressurize and heat the air. He says it's also far more efficient: “we get 20% more oxygen breathing through our noses than we do equivalent breaths through our mouths.”
Another key element of nose breathing is that it increases levels of Nitric Oxide (NO). In fact, the nose produces 6x the amount of NO as opposed to breathing through the mouth. This is important because there is research showing that NO has a powerful effect on circulation, and it’s shown to prevent stroke and heart attack. Furthermore, NO possesses powerful antiviral properties to help defend the body against pathogenic viruses.
Fascinatingly, breathing also relates to longevity. James points to research from the Framingham Heart Study, a cardiovascular study that has been going on for 70 years. He says that in the study, the best indicator of life span wasn’t genes, diet, or exercise, but rather lung capacity. Lung capacity was basically the same thing as living capacity!
James also touches on the phenomenon of mask breathing during this most recent pandemic. He says people assume that they aren’t getting enough oxygen, but after reviewing lots of the latest research, he says that there isn’t so much a drop in Oxygen, but rather a rise in C02 levels.
But interestingly, the more C02 in a healthy person can actually have some advantages, such as increased circulation. Similarly, this increase in CO2 also happens when we breathe slowly. James explains: “I take mask wearing as an opportunity to focus on my breath, to breathe more slowly, and to gain a little more CO2 in my body.”
Bottom line: whether you are wearing a mask or not, the key is to breathe through your nose, since this is our first line of defense. If you wear a mask and breathe through your mouth, this can lead to lot of health problems and can even make you more susceptible to viruses.
In the book, he profiles a fascinatingly eccentric group of Pulmonauts, from the chorus director Carl Stough to the hair dresser in his 90’s Maurice Daubord and the Ice Man Wim Hof. Many of these pioneers in the world of breath discovered something extraordinary but over time, much of their research was forgotten.
Regarding the power of the breath, James says: “It just shows you that the human body is amazingly adaptable depending on how we treat it, depending on how we hone it, and breathing is just a great way, a good foundation of health to start with.”
While writing the book, James had the opportunity to explore many pre-industrial skulls and modern skulls. What he found is that most of the modern skulls had crooked teeth and most of the ancient skulls didn’t: “Why are we now the only species on the planet with chronically crooked teeth? Why did our ancestors all have perfectly straight teeth?”
In short, Nestor points to industrial processed foods which have caused our mouths to shrink
Dancing with Anxiety and Robert Gerzon
Robert Gerzon is the author of the groundbreaking book Finding Serenity in the Age of Anxiety. A Boston-area psychotherapist and life coach, he draws upon a diverse background in holistic medicine, psychology, philosophy, and spirituality. Robert just released a new book called Human Earth Awakening.
In the beginning of our conversation, Robert talks about the decision to sell his home, put his things in storage and become a nomad in Europe, along with his wife. He reflects on lessons he learned from his travels.
In 1997, Robert wrote the groundbreaking book Finding Serenity in the Age of Anxiety. He says that he’s been fighting anxiety his entire life. However over time, he learned that the better solution is to make friends with it: “Anxiety is a form of life energy and I’d be much better off if I learned to dance with it, rather than being afraid of it and trying to get rid of it, medicate away, suppress it, or let it dominate me and drive me crazy.”
Instead of wrestling with anxiety, Robert learned to dance with it. He realized that anxiety could actually be a friend as well as a foe. He says there are three (3) types of anxiety: toxic, natural and sacred anxiety. Toxic anxiety drives us crazy and serves no useful purpose; natural anxiety helps to keep us alive and warns us of danger; sacred anxiety is derived from the deeper questions in life, such as purpose, life, and death. He says: “I learned to change that toxic anxiety into natural and sacred anxiety, so it became a fuel for my own growth.”
Robert also explains into the power of our inner talk. He says that the first step is to become curious about our self-talk and to pay attention to that voice in our head. For example, if I’m feeling anxiety, what is the inner talk in my head that is making me feel that way. Or if I’m feeling happy, what inner talk is making me feel that way.
Paying attention to that inner talk helps to bring some of the subconscious stories, beliefs and programming to the surface. “Once I became aware of that inner talk, I realized that I had a choice about it, and I could choose my own inner talk rather than repeating things that had been told to me by authority figures in the past.”
Robert says that if you don’t like the inner talk that you are hearing, the next step is to ask yourself this simple question: what would I rather be hearing right now? It’s important to identify whether your inner talk is draining your energy or increasing it. Is it healthy and life affirming or is it sending you in the wrong direction?
Robert talks about his new book Human Earth Awakening, in particular the role of story in our lives. Stories help us make sense of the world, and we make decisions based on those stories. Every culture has its origin stories and we also have our personal stories.
Unfortunately, most of our stories are out of date and often times, negative and disempowering. Robert says: “We are running on a confusing mishmash of stories that’s really getting in the way of seeing clearly.”
Robert reminds us that if you think back to the role of story in traditional cultures, these stories were life affirming and designed to help us navigate the different phases of life. “We need more of a global story that can bring us together as homo sapiens, as a species, and help us meet the challenges that are there today.”
For Robert, the pandemic has the potential to serve as an incredible wake-up call. It’s given us an opportunity “for deep radical self-reflection.” We can use this time to ask some important questions, like “what is our life about, what is our purpose here on earth. And on a larger level, as human beings, what kind of planet do we want to have.”
Robert says that what’s happening today is really big because every system we depend on is