The Rich Roll Podcast Episode: How Charlie Jabaley Lost 120lbs & Overcame a Brain Tumor To Become An Athlete

How Charlie Jabaley Lost 120lbs & Overcame a Brain Tumor To Become An Athlete

By: Unleash Your Best Self | Rich Roll | Bestselling Author, Ultra-Endurance Athlete & Wellness Evangelist





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“I knew I had to change everything in my life if I wanted to live.” Charlie Jabaley He dreamed of being a professional athlete. But Charlie Jabaley was always the fat kid, picked last for kickball. No matter what, he just couldn’t stop gaining weight. Resigned to this fate, he abandoned his athletic dream early. Throwing himself into business instead, it wasn’t long before CEO Charlie was born — an alter ego he created at age 13 that would soon become a self-fulfilling prophecy. By his mid-twenties, Charlie had overcome tremendous odds to achieve extraordinary success in the music business, collecting Grammys and counting Benjamins managing a stable of major hip-hop recording artists like 2 Chainz. The very model of the modern millennial entrepreneur, Charlie’s path provided the high gloss lifestyle of his wildest imagination — a world apart from his humble beginnings. What it didn’t provide? Health, happiness, or an authentic sense of wholeness. On the outside, Charlie was crushing it. On the inside, he was dying. A life-long junk food addict, he had swelled to over 300 pounds by the age of 29. But he wasn’t just morbidly obese. And he wasn’t just chronically depressed. Charlie Jabaley was lost. His health in rapid decline, he tried countless diets, but always gained the weight right back — plus a little extra. He tried running. He even ran three marathons. Ironically, Charlie nonetheless continued to pack the pounds on, rewarding his training sessions with shame-inducing binges. Out of control, Charlie’s waistline only expanded in lockstep with each successive 26.2 effort. Deep down, Charlie knew he would forever remain a prisoner to his seemingly hopeless food addiction until he could summon the courage to face the emotional dysfunction, mental imbalance and spiritual malaise that had been driving his unhealthy lifestyle choices for as long as he could remember. The inside job terrified Charlie. But it’s always darkest before the dawn. At the nadir of his hopelessness, Charlie awoke one day to find his bedroom spinning before suddenly collapsing to the floor. A visit to the doctor only brought more bad news. Charlie Jabaley has a brain tumor. But rather than treat his diagnosis as tragic, Charlie decided to embrace it as a gift — the push he needed to once and for all to face himself honestly, take willing inventory of his life, and finally undertake the measures necessary to save himself from himself. Charlie Jabaley only had to change one thing — everything. One year ago, he walked away from the company he started, leaving millions of dollars on the table to decamp Atlanta for Los Angeles. Completely restructuring his relationship with food, he’s lost over 120 pounds and kept it off. Without medication, his tumor has shrunk to almost nothing. And Charlie has finally achieved his lifelong dream, transforming himself from executive (CEO Charlie) to athlete (Charlie Rocket), training for his first Ironman in New Zealand this March. For the first time in his life, he’s both healthy and happy. But mostly, Charlie Jabaley is free. What he did, how he did it and why is the subject of today’s conversation. It’s a powerful exchange with an everyman hero who wants you to know that you do not struggle alone.  That it’s never too late to change. And no matter how far you have drifted from the person you aspire to be, there is both hope and help. Welcome to 2018 people. This is the new normal. Peace + Plants, P.S. The video version of the podcast is also available on YouTube.

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“You can’t get away from life’s challenges but you can meet them in a different way.” Julie Piatt Today’s podcast is a conversation and interactive audience Q&A conducted by me and Julie Piatt, excerpted from the first group session conducted during our recent retreat in Italy. For those brand new to the show, Julie is an accomplished yogi, healer, musician, mom of four, and host of the Divine Throughline podcast — musings on all things spiritual and living a life divine. She also happens to be my wife. This is a freewheeling exchange oriented around the theme of storytelling. It’s about the courage of vulnerability — how owning and sharing your story can serve as a vehicle to connect with yourself and others, cultivate community, and ultimately bring all of us closer. It’s about how to better meet life’s challenges and obstacles. And it’s an open conversation about the transformative power of holding the highest vision for ourselves and others. I sincerely hope you enjoy the offering. Peace + Plants, Listen, Watch & Subscribe                    Apple Podcasts | YouTube | Soundcloud | Stitcher | GooglePlay Thanks to this week’s sponsors Zip Recruiter: Search for jobs hiring in your area using ZipRecruiter’s job search engine – the best way to find a job. Find jobs hiring near you and apply with just 1 click. Visit: MeUndies: The world’s most comfortable underwear. To get 20% off your first pair, Free Shipping, and a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, visit Peloton – Discover this cutting-edge indoor cycling bike that brings the studio experience to your home.  Get a great workout at home, anytime you want. Go to, use the code RICHROLL and get $100 off accessories with your Peloton bike purchase. Quip: Your one stop solution for oral health! Buy a quip toothbrush from $25 and get up to $5 off your first refill pack by visiting and using promo code “ROLL” during checkout. Note: One of the best ways to support the podcast is to support the sponsors. For a complete list of all RRP sponsors and their respective vanity url’s and discount codes, visit my Resources page and click “Sponsors”. SHOW NOTES Background, Context & Reference * Connect with Julie:  a href="http://srimati.

“I don’t have the muscle of self-pity.” Utkarsh Ambudkar One day you get a call from your friend Lin-Manuel Miranda. “I’ve got this thing I’m working on,” he says. “Are you interested?” Without thought or question, Utkarsh Ambudkar jumps at the opportunity. That ‘thing’ happened to be a little play you might have heard of called Hamilton. And the part wasn’t just any part. It was the leading turn as Aaron Burr — a role Utkarsh originated on-stage at Lincoln Center. Unfortunately, the stage lights on Utkarsh would soon dim. Dedication was foiled by ego. Partying took precedence over the work. In a word, he just couldn’t seem to get out of his own way. And so before Hamilton even really became HAMILTON, Lin was compelled to let Utkarsh go. This role of a lifetime, it seemed, would not be Utkarsh’s to claim after all. It’s a turn of events that ultimately brought Utkarsh to his knees. Perhaps for the very first time, he was forced to reckon with himself honestly — one important link in a chain of events that would eventually lead Utkarsh to a singular, profound realization that would indelibly change his life forever: he had to change. Not just one thing, but everything. An actor, musician, rapper and NYU Tisch School of The Arts graduate, Utkarsh is best known for his standout performances in movies like Pitch Perfect, Barbershop, Million Dollar Arm and Basmati Blues as well as television shows like The Mindy Project and White Famous. One of many South Asian actors making a recent but undeniable stamp on Hollywood, Utkarsh’s latest movie is Blindspotting, a powerful new film starring Hamilton’s Daveed Diggs that rocked audiences at Sundance this past winter and will be screening in select U.S. cities starting July 20. When he isn’t in front of the camera, Utkarsh can be found on stage with his friends as part of Freestyle Love Supreme, the hip hop improv crew that includes none other than Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda himself, or making music — check out his EP Bang Bang and his ‘hauntingly beautiful’ cover rendition of The Proclaimers’ 500 Miles. Perhaps his biggest opportunity to date, Utkarsh recently decamped for a six-month stint in New Zealand where he is working on the Disney big-budget, live-action production of Mulan. Beyond his formidable performative gifts, Utkarsh has an infectious enthusiasm for life. A friend for several years, I have to come to really love this young man. It’s been a privilege to observe him mature into his talent, take ownership of his life, and share his huge heart and what he has learned for the benefit of others. Today he shares his story. This is a conversation about what it means to cultivate a creative life. It’s about confronting Hollywood stereotypes. And it’s a frank exchange about battling and overcoming an addiction that nearly destroyed a young life and a promising career before it barely even began. Raw and unedited, Utkarsh’s tale is powerful, certain to both move and inspire. My hope is that you see in him what I see — the power of true sobriety to shape a person into that which they were always meant to be. So together,

“The more we understand the deadly impact of stress, the more we’re looking at alternatives to just a pill.” Bob Roth Long-time listeners know well that meditation is a recurring topic of exploration on this podcast. Today I continue this tradition with a man who has played a very large role in pioneering meditation, specifically the practice of Transcendental Meditation (“TM”) throughout the West. Meet meditation legend Bob Roth. Bob first discovered meditation as a freshman at Berkeley during the height of the 1960’s – ground-zero for the anti-war movement and the many cultural changes that were sweeping the country at that time. Once a skeptic, he was soon hooked, ultimately training under the tutelage of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the legendary albeit controversial meditation guru made globally famous by the Beatles. Every day since, he has meditated twice a day every day, devoting his life over the last 45 years to teaching what he has learned to millions of people across the world. Today, Bob is one of the most experienced and sought after meditation teachers in America. A proper meditation teacher to the stars, his student roster includes such recognizable names as Oprah, Russell Brand, Jim Carrey, Jerry Seinfeld, Martin Scorcese, Ray Dalio, Howard Stern, Tom Hanks, Hugh Jackman, and countless other notables. But Bob would much rather talk about his work as the executive director of The David Lynch Foundation, where he has helped bring TM to more than 500,000 inner-city youth in underserved schools in 35 countries, as well as to veterans and their families suffering from PTSD, and women and girls who are survivors of domestic violence. Bob is also the national director of the Center For Leadership Performance, another non-profit which introduces meditation to Fortune 100 companies, government organizations and non-profit charities. And he has spoken about meditation to industry leaders at such gatherings as Google Zeitgeist, Aspen Ideas Festival, Wisdom2.0, and Summit. In addition, Bob penned the authoritative text on the subject of TM, a book aptly titled Transcendental Meditation, and recently released his newest book, Strength in Stillness – an accessible meditation primer that breaks down the science behind TM and provides a simple, straightforward roadmap for reducing stress, accessing inner power and building resilience. As you might expect, this conversation is a 360-degree primer on everything meditation. We delve into Bob’s introduction to meditation as a young Berkeley student as well as his experience training under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. We discuss how TM differs from other types of meditation. We talk about his work with the David Lynch Foundation, as well as his personal experience with the quirky, brilliant film director himself. And we cover the many scientific benefits of meditation, including how and why a consistent practice can transform your life by reducing stress and anxiety while simultaneously improving everything from focus, concentration, sleep, creativity, acuity, and productivity to emotional and physical resilience. But most of all, this conversation redresses the excuses that prevent you from meditating while empowering you with the tools and insp...

“Life, business, success . . . it’s just like a nightclub. There are always three ways in.” Alex Banayan The day before his freshman year final exams, 18-year old Alex Banayan hacked The Price Is Right, won a sailboat, sold it, and used the prize money to fund his quest to learn from the worldʼs most successful people. Over the next seven years, he pursued a graduate degree in persistence and perseverance from the University of Life. He snuck into Warren Buffett’s shareholders meeting. He chased Larry King through a grocery store. He celebrated with Lady Gaga in the hottest nightclub. Along the way, he landed remarkable one-on-one interviews with Bill Gates, Maya Angelou, Steve Wozniak, Jane Goodall, Quincy Jones, and many more. Alex’s major discovery? Each and every icon shared one thing in common: they all took something he calls The Third Door. Since that fateful day on the Price Is Right, Alex went on to become the world’s youngest venture capital executive, a coup that landed him on Forbesʼ ’30 Under 30′ list and Business Insiderʼs ‘Most Powerful People Under 30.’ He has delivered keynotes at prestigious organizations like Apple, Nike, IBM, Dell, MTV and even Harvard. He has contributed to publications like Fast Company, the Washington Post, Entrepreneur, and TechCrunch. And he has been featured everywhere from Fortune, Forbes, Businessweek and Bloomberg to Fox News, & CBS News. This week, Alex’s new book chronicling his wild seven-year adventure — aptly entitled The Third Door — hit bookstores everywhere. I first met Alex about 6 years ago. Just 19 at the time, he was in the very early stages of putting his book together. I liked him instantly, and left our lunch impressed with his rare mix of precociousness, infectious enthusiasm and raw authenticity. We stayed in touch. And that day I made him a promise: should he ever finish his book (something I doubted at the time) that he had an open invite to share his story on the podcast. Today I honor that promise. This is a conversation about one young man’s determination to find his way in the world. It’s about a quest to learn what cannot be taught in the confines of a classroom. It’s about never giving up. And it’s about always finding a way. But most of all, this is a very personal exchange between two friends about what it really means to pursue a dream. Peace + Plants, Listen, Watch & Subscribe                    Apple Podcasts | YouTube | Soundcloud | Stitcher | GooglePlay

“Make your default mode one of generosity. It’s a nice way to live, and it’s contagious.” Frank Lipman MD Health isn’t the absence of disease. It’s a total state of physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social wellbeing. Frank Lipman, MD gets it. And today’s conversation reflects this very ethos. A leading trailblazer in Functional and Integrative Medicine, Frank began his training in his native South Africa. Disillusioned with the limitations of conventional medicine, he then spent 18 months working at clinics in the bush. Introduced to local traditional healers (sangomas) kindled an interest in non-traditional healing modalities, catalyzing a passion for combining the best of Western medicine with age-old Eastern techniques of healing, including acupuncture, Chinese medicine, herbal medicine, meditation, and yoga. Today Frank treats patients holistically as the founder and director of Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City. In addition, he is a New York Times best-selling author of six books: Total Renewal*, Revive*, The New Health Rules*, 10 Reasons You Feel Old and Get Fat* and Young and Slim for Life*. His newest book is entitled How To Be Well*, a beautifully illustrated primer on improving and strengthening your resilience, functioning, and overall health. This conversation expands the aperture on what is required to live truly well. It’s about understanding food as the very building blocks of life. It’s about the primacy of sleep and movement. It’s about how to mitigate and prevent the invisible assaults of everyday toxins. It’s about the importance of carving out time to unwind and reboot. And it’s about our innate need to connect with each other in order to awaken and enhance a sense of belonging and meaning But most of all, this is a conversation about the power we all have to take better control over the quality of our health and lives. One caveat: Frank is not vegan or plant-based. Let’s just say we don’t exactly see eye to eye on everything. But we are great friends who extend a mutual respect for each other. We agree on the majority of things that contribute to wellness and disease. And we enjoy poking fun at each other over our differences. If we want to advance the conversation on the future of health, there is something to be said for building bridges.

“I think a lot of people look at ‘happiness’ as a decision and I look at it as how I choose to live my life — doing things that make me happy with the people that make me happy.” Jesse Itzler It’s easy to take risks when your back is against the wall. But it’s the rare individual that will continue to push the envelope, face fear and embrace the unknown when that person could choose to live without self-imposed obstacles. Jesse Itzler is one such human. After a barnburner appearance on the podcast back in 2015 (check RRP #197 if you missed it), the man who lives so far “out of the box” that there is no box returns for another stellar exchange that does not disappoint. For those new to the show, this is a guy who fast-talked his way right out of college into a recording contract, ultimately taking his music all the way to MTV, the Billboard 100 and even an Emmy. Jesse then takes a wild entrepreneurial left-turn, creating and ultimately selling big companies like Marquis Jet, the world’s largest prepaid private jet card company, and Zico Coconut Water, before wooing Spanx founder (and Shark Tank guest host) Sarah Blakely all the way to the altar. Despite his tremendous success as a serial entrepreneur, Jesse started to feel his life stagnate. Desperate to avoid the malaise of risk adversity visited upon many a prosperous peer, he embarks on a hare-brained scheme to invite adventure back into his life by convincing Navy SEAL David Goggins — the most popular episode in the history of this show — to move in with him. David relents on one condition: that Jesse comply with David’s every demand, no matter how severe. The insanity that ensues is hilariously chronicled in Living With A SEAL, Jesse’s well deserved New York Times bestseller. He eats only fruit before noon. He runs 100 mile races. He raises millions for charity. And when he isn’t playing super dad to his four kids (check his Instagram stories for daily dad episodes), he’s an in demand motivational speaker (check out his TEDx Talk) who just happens to own the Atlanta Hawks NBA franchise with a few friends. No biggie. So the question is: how does this guy have such an extraordinary life? Jesse boils it down to one singular mission statement: Live life full blast. Never be afraid to fail. And never, ever allow yourself to stagnate. In an effort to cultivate community around this ethos, Jesse recently launched Made of Challenges, a series of totally unique, end-to-end weekend experiences that are one part wellness retreat (complete with glamping tents and world-class speakers), one part next-level athletic challenge. Come August is Made of Denali, which entails jogging, hiking or crawling up a mountain in Utah, taking a gondola down, and repeating nine times until you have climbed 20,310 vertical feet — the equivalent of Mt. Denali, the highest peak in North America. In addition, Jesse has a new book coming out this week. An inward-facing sequel to his Goggins-fueled physical escapades, a href="

“Life is not about controlling the outside world. It’s about mastering perceptions from the inside.” Guru Singh This episode marks the first installment of Guru Corner — a spiritual version of my popular Coach’s Corner series featuring my favorite teacher on all things mystic, metaphysical and ethereal, Guru Singh. For those new to the show, imagine a modern-day Gandalf who rocks like Hendrix while dropping pearls of wisdom that beautifully fuse Eastern mysticism with Western pragmatism. A celebrated third-generation Sikh yogi, master spiritual teacher, author, and musician, for the past 40 years Guru Singh has been studying and teaching Kundalini Yoga. He is the author of several books, a powerful lecturer, and behind-the-scenes guide to many a luminary, including Fortune 500 CEOs, athletes, and artists. A peer of rock legends like Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead, Guru Singh is also a supremely talented musician who began his recording career on Warner Bros’ Reprise label in the 1960s. When he isn’t recording tracks with people like Seal, he’s bringing down the house on the daily at Yoga West, his Los Angeles home base. Today’s conversation is intimate exploration into cultivating compassion, developing discernment, embracing our divinity, and ultimately expanding our capacity to do what we are here to do – to love ourselves and love others to the best of our abilities. We discuss the root of psychic and emotional pain and the nature of violence. We imagine new educational modalities for future generations. We dive deep into the power of group consciousness to drive cultural change. And we consider the importance of maturing the social infantilism of our emotional infrastructure as a social imperative. Over the last couple years, I have grown quite close with Guru Singh, a beautiful and highly relatable consciousness I’m proud to call friend, family and mentor. It’s a privilege to share more of his powerful wisdom with you today. My hope is that this conversation will empower you to more deeply invest in the development of your conscious awareness, personal boundaries, and spiritual growth. Because, to quote Guru Singh, life is not about controlling the outside world, it’s about mastering perceptions from the inside. Note: If you missed our initial two conversations, you can find them here and here. Another Note: We recorded this episode back in mid-February, so the topical events we discuss are not quite as current as they were on the date of the conversation. Nonetheless, the wisdom remains timeless. Final Final Note: The visually inclined can watch our conversation on YouTube at: (just make sure to subscribe!) Let the master class begin. Peace + Plants, Listen, Watch & Subscribe                    Apple Podcasts | YouTube | a title...

“Let’s combine hacking with our history — and where we come from — to make sure we stay in tune with evolution.” Valter Longo PhD When it comes to longevity, the goal isn’t just to live as long as possible. The true objective is to live as vibrantly and energetically as possible for as long as possible. So how exactly do we do this? Valter Longo, Ph.D. has devoted his life to answering this question. Along the way, his groundbreaking discoveries hold the potential to change your life in truly dramatic fashion. One of the world’s leading scientific authorities on the subject of longevity, Dr. Longo is an expert in gerontology and biological science as well as the Director of the USC Longevity Institute and the Program on Longevity and Cancer at IFOM in Milan, both of which focus on developing a better scientific understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of aging, disease and, of course, longevity. In addition, Dr. Longo is the author of an extraordinary new book entitled, The Longevity Diet. The culmination of 25 years of research on aging, nutrition and disease across the globe, it provides an easy-to-understand, accessible and implementable road map to living to living well longer through improved nutrition. What differentiates Dr. Longo from many of his peers is that his focus is not purely academic, but practical. From his exhaustive research on aging in both mice and humans, he has created specific diet and lifestyle protocols scientifically proven to active stem cells; promote organ regeneration and rejuvenation; reduce the risk for diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s and heart disease; and ultimately extend that which we all seek: lifespan. As discussed at length over the course of our almost 2-hour exchange, Dr. Longo’s specific longevity prescription entails a daily diet regimen based on a studied group of centenarians (think Blue Zones). He then combines this with a periodic 5-day fasting protocol called the Fasting Mimicking Diet (undertaken 3-4 times per year), designed to reap the benefits of a true calorie free fast while still nourishing the body daily. This is a powerful conversation the explores all of the foregoing. It’s about what promotes longevity and what undermines it. Separating truth from misconception, it’s exploration of the benefits of fasting and the science that supports it. And it’s a primer on the optimal lifestyle protocols you can employ in your every day life to live well and long. Break out pen and paper because you’re going to want to take notes on this one. It’s an honor and a privilege to share Dr. Longo’s experience with you — one of my most important podcasts to date. I sincerely hope you not only enjoy the exchange, but employ his wisdom for your long-term well-being. Because we all deserve to live our best life. For the visually inclined, you can watch our conversation on YouTube at: If you are enjoying the video versions of the show, do me a favor and subscribe! I sincerely hope you enjoy the exchange. Peace + Plants, Listen, Watch & Subscribe a href="

“Balance is overrated. Forget about being balanced and work on being present.” Dr. Michael Gervais What are the consistent behavioral themes across the spectrum of high performing athletes, entrepreneurs, artists, and change makers? Is there a common thread connecting those who change how we understand how the world works? Dr. Michael Gervais has devoted his life to answering these questions. A high performance psychologist working in the trenches of high-stakes environments, Michael lives and breathes in that special place where there is no luxury for mistakes, hesitation, or failure to respond. His clientele include the elite of the elite – the world’s most prolific Olympic, professional, and extreme athletes. MVPs in every major sport. High level military. Internationally acclaimed artists and musicians. And Fortune 100 CEO’s. You might recall Dr. Gervais as the guy Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll credits as integral to their 2014 Super Bowl win. The meditation, mindfulness and other crucial team building techniques Michael helped foster and instill into the fabric of that organization paved the team’s path towards incredible success. You might also remember that Felix Baumgartner’s now-infamous Red Bull Stratos jump from an altitude of 128,000 feet almost never was simply because Felix simply could not overcome the high level of anxiety and claustrophobia he experienced every time he donned the jump suit. It was Dr. Gervais who helped Baumagartner resolve the issue and get Stratos back on track. No Gervais, no history making jump. Michael is also the man behind skydiver Luke Aikins, who astonished the world by becoming the first to jump from a plane at 25,000 feet without a parachute or wingsuit and live to tell the story. A published, peer-reviewed author and recognized speaker on optimal human performance, Michael has been featured by CNN, The Wall Street Journal, ESPN, NBC, NFL Network, Red Bull TV, Extra, The Huffington Post, Outside Magazine. This is a long way of saying that Dr. Gervais is the man. While Michael’s roster includes the world’s most elite, he is about so much more than high performance athletes. Everyone is required to perform daily. We all navigate our own high stakes environments. And everybody can benefit with the right mindset training. Towards this end, Michael committed to scaling the principles that drive high performance for the betterment of all. He shares his wisdom and experience each week on his Finding Mastery podcast (subscribe immediately) and works intimately with organizations both big and small through Compete To Create, the consulting firm he co-founded with Coach Carroll. A man I consider friend and mentor, Michael is one of my very favorite people. Today we convene for a crossover episode — his third conversation on this podcast and my third appearance on his show — focused on the tools and practices required to transcend self-imposed limitations,

“I should be dead. I know that. I should not be successful. I know that too. My daily existence is a toss of the coin – one side, fear, the other side, gratitude.” Kurt Sutter Fundamentally, I’m a people pleaser. It took years of sobriety before I realized this is more character defect than positive attribute. I continue to struggle with it often. Kurt Sutter doesn’t have this problem. A writer, actor, director, and long-time loyal friend, Kurt is a man utterly unafraid to be exactly who he is — a passionate artist committed to his creative vision for both life and art. Kurt’s description of his upbringing is vintage Sutter: Raised in the shadow of Rahway prison, Kurt spent most of his New Jersey childhood indoors, away from people, three feet from a TV screen. That’s where he learned the essentials of storytelling and the comic significance of anvils. Anvils aside, you most likely know Kurt as the creator, head writer and showrunner of Sons of Anarchy, the critically acclaimed outlaw motorcycle club psychodrama with a fanbase so rabid, it became the biggest hit television show in the FX network’s history. After humble beginnings performing off-off-Broadway in theatres, lofts and (in his words) holding cells (more vintage Sutter), Kurt caught his first major break in 2001, booking a staff writer gig on FX’s The Shield, where he spent the next seven years mastering the fundamentals of fearless television storytelling and rising up the ranks to graduate as one of the show’s coveted Executive Producers. Then came Sons. A seven-year, Shakespearean eruption of vigilantism, government corruption, racism, loyalty and human transformation, the show struck an immediate cultural nerve, cementing itself in the zeitgeist and skyrocketing Kurt to Hollywood’s A-list. Kurt’s creative output is impressive. Beyond Sons, Kurt penned Southpaw, a gritty feature-length boxing drama originally written for Eminem that ultimately starred Jake Gyllenhaal. He created The Bastard Executioner, a historical drama that ran for one season of FX, and a comic book mini-series called Lucas Stand. Mayans MC, Kurt’s third television drama for FX, is set to debut soon. And this list doesn’t even include Kurt’s many feature projects currently in development. A self-described misanthrope, let’s just say Kurt has a penchant for unapologetically speaking his mind — a disposition at odds with Hollywood etiquette that has resulted in more than a few skirmishes. But the Kurt I know — the Kurt I have been friends with for well over a decade – is a man quite apart from the reputation that often precedes him. He’s a family man. A husband and father of three children. A great friend. An example of selfless service. And an extraordinary artist. It may sound like a Cinderella story. But success for Kurt didn’t come easy. And it didn’t come early. Overweight throughout his youth, he once tipped the scale at 400 pounds. Then came the drugs and alcohol — a battle he very nearly lost. It’s a helluva ride. Today, we get into all of it. For the visually inclined, you can watch the conversation on YouTube at: If you are enjoying the video versions of the show, do me a favor and subscribe! Peace + Plants, Listen, Watch & Subscribe                   a href="...

“It’s truly a necessity to have a passion as a compass in life.” Hilaree Nelson It’s so easy to get comfortable. To accept life as it is. To kick back — and just settle. Luxury and ease are what we are taught to seek. But it’s actually at odds with the vitality and fulfillment most desire. My experience is that life gets interesting when you have the courage, strength and fortitude to step outside your comfort zone, face a little fear and test your limits. Because extending your boundaries strips away the non-essential, and shows you exactly who you really are. Fail or succeed, this is where all the magic happens. The growth. And a life fueled by purpose and passion. Today we explore these themes with North Face athlete Hilaree Nelson, one of the world’s most accomplished adventure athletes. Named one of National Geographic’s 2018 Adventurers of the Year, Hilaree specializes in ski-mountaineering — a discipline that involves huge and often technical mountain ascents either on skis or carrying them, then descending said peaks on skis. Over the course of her storied career, Hilaree has conquered some of the most exotic and treacherous mountain ranges on Earth. Among her many accomplishments: * the first woman to climb both Everest and its 8,000-meter neighbor, Lhotse, in a 24-hour period * the first person to ski down all five of the Mongolian Altai’s “Holy Peaks” * skied from the Himalayan summit of Cho Oyu in Tibet * summited peaks and volcanoes in remote locations across Russia, Mongolia, Pakistan, Bolivia, Argentina, Lebanon & Tibet I first came across Hilaree by way of Down To Nothing, a stunning documentary by Renan Ozturk that chronicles a 2014 National Geographic expedition to be the first to ascend the summit of Hkakabo Razi in Myanmar to determine if it is indeed Southeast Asia’s highest point. It’s a gorgeous and gripping glimpse of Hilaree’s skill and tenacity in the face of a uniquely extraordinary challenge. This is her story. It’s an incredible conversation about fear, risk resilience, adventure and potential. It’s about balancing the pull of adventure against her responsibilities as a single mom to two boys. It’s about the allure of the outdoors. But mostly, this is an exchange about the virtues of placing yourself outside that comfort zone – and what that can teach us about potential. The preciousness of life. And what it means to be truly alive. Hilaree is a badass. It’s a pleasure to share her experience. And I sincerely hope it inspires you to seek more adventure in your life. For the visually inclined, you can watch the conversation on YouTube at: If you are enjoying the video versions of the show, do me a favor and subscribe! Peace + Plants, Listen, Watch & Subscribe                    Apple Podcasts | YouTube | Soundcloud | Stitcher | a href="

“Many people don’t change until the pain associated with change is less than the pain of staying the same.” Chef AJ Let’s be clear: just because you’re vegan doesn’t mean you’re healthy. To be sure, for so many reasons, eating animal free is awesome. But it’s not a wellness panacea. Oreo cookies and Lay’s potato chips are vegan. Unless your diet is liberated from the growing abundance of refined and highly processed processed foods, you’re prone to confront the same weight management issues and chronic lifestyle illnesses that plague the average consumer subsisting on the standard American diet. Just ask Chef AJ. A vegan chef for almost 40 years, she nonetheless struggled mightily with obesity for decades — prisoner to an addiction to processed snacks, refined sugar desserts, and an array of vegan junk foods that left her not only chronically overweight, but seriously unwell. AJ’s salvation came only when she finally became willing to confront her unhealthy relationship with food as a true addiction. It’s a journey that required her to completely let go of habits that no longer served her, accept help, and embrace an entirely new relationship with food in the form of a whole foods, plant-based lifestyle. This is her story — an inspiring tale of triumph and personal transformation that will leave you rethinking your own habits. Enabled with the tools required to achieve and maintain your optimal body weight. And empowered to live your best life. A former comedian, today Chef AJ is a renown plant-based chef, culinary instructor, public speaker and member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine with a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell University. An expert in food addiction, emotional eating and creating meals to transform health, AJ is the host of the television series Healthy Living with Chef AJ and has appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Show with David Letterman and more. In addition, she is author of Unprocessed: How to Achieve Vibrant Health and Your Ideal Weight. Her latest book, The Secrets To Ultimate Weight Loss comes out soon (release date TBA). Full of life, AJ is one of my favorite health warriors, totally committed to serving others. Picking up where we left off in RRP #56 way back in 2013, this conversation is a must listen for anyone who struggles with food addiction, unhealthy cravings and a fluctuating waistline. As impactful as it is entertaining, it’s an exchange about the often under-addressed emotional aspects of eating. It’s about the hows and whys behind empowering a new relationship with food. And it’s about the joy, vitality and self-esteem that can be experienced by breaking the chains of food addiction. I sincerely hope you enjoy this interaction as much as I enjoyed having it. More importantly, my hope is that you put AJ’s insights to work — because if she can do it, you can too. A reminder that the podcast is also viewable on YouTube here: If you are enjoying the videos, please subscribe! Peace + Plants, Listen, Watch & Subscribe                   a href="

“You can’t rest on your laurels. You have to be constantly evolving.” Michael Klim What exactly does it take to become an Olympic legend? Every elite athlete is devoted to mastering their craft. Some even strike gold on the world’s largest stage. And every once in a while, we witness standout performances in consecutive Olympiads. But it’s the rare specimen that can compete at the very highest level of sport across three Olympic Games to retire a legend. Meet Michael Klim. Awarded the medal of the Order of Australia (sort of like being knighted), Michael is indisputably one of Australia’s most famous and celebrated athletes in a land that revers competitive swimming. A three-time Olympian with a slew of World Records, Olympic Gold Medals and World Championship titles to his name, he was part of a star-studded group of swimmers that took Australia back to the top of swimming in the late 1990’s & aughts — a group that included standouts like Ian Thorpe, Grant Hackett, Keiren Perkins, Leisel Jones, Libby Trickett, Stephanie Rice, and Susie O’Neill. One of the stars of the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Michael is perhaps best known as instrumental in Australia’s thrilling 4x100m relay victory, unleashing a world record lead off swim to win his first gold on the first night. Michael’s achievements also include: * ’96 Atlanta Olympics: Bronze, 4x100m Medley Relay * ’98 World Championships: 4 Gold, 2 Silver, 1 Bronze * ’99: 2 World Records (100m Butterfly) * ’00 Sydney Olympics: 2 Gold, 2 Silver & 2 World Records * ’01 World Championships: 2 Gold & 1 World Record * ’04 Athens Olympics: 1 Silver * ’07 World Championships: 1 Gold Quite the successful entrepreneur after hanging up his budgie smugglers (click here for the Cambridge Dictionary definition), Michael is now the founder and managing director of a skin care line called Milk & Co. and conducts life optimization retreats under the banner Chosen Experiences. This is a conversation about Michael’s extraordinary life as a lauded athlete, entrepreneur and parent. We cover his mental and physical success equation: the hows and whys behind his ascension to the very peak of elite Olympic performance. What was required of him to not just win, but keep winning. We discuss how he approaches high pressure scenarios. We cover his approach to remaining fit and how he parents his children. And we conclude with how he transitioned from decorated Olympian to successful entrepreneur — a pivot most professional athletes struggle with upon retirement. But most of all, this is a conversation about what is required to live a life of mastery, with more than a few critical takeaways you can implement into your own life. A personal hero of mine for as long as I can recall, I followed Michael’s journey from the beginning. So it was a thrill for me to finally connect with him for this deep dive into his career and what makes him tick. I sincerely hope you enjoy the conversation. Full video version >>> If you are enjoying the video versions of the podcast, please subscribe! Peace, Plants & Pools! Listen, Watch & Subscribe                   a href="https://pl...

“It’s an amazing opportunity when you develop the ability to observe yourself.” Julie Piatt Do you think a healthy vegan lifestyle means giving up your favorite creamy pastas and cheesy pizzas? Think again. Today I sit down with Julie Piatt – mi amore in life, parenting, and service — for a two-part podcast. First up is everything you need to know about our brand new, super awesome cookbook & lifestyle guide, The Plantpower Way: Italia: Delicious Vegan Recipes from the Italian Countryside — hitting bookstores everywhere next week. Shifting gears, Julie and I then turn our attention on relationships. It’s a look into how we’ve maintained our 20-year partnership in life and work, and what can be mined from our experience to deepen intimacy with your amore. THE PLANTPOWER WAY: ITALIA — GIVEAWAY Inspired by our annual retreats in Tuscany, our follow up to The Plantpower Way pays homage to Italy’s rich food history with an extraordinary collection of 125 delicious, nutritious and entirely plant-based Italian recipes animated by the country’s most popular and time-honored dishes. Filled with fresh vegan takes on Italian staples, inventive new recipes, and stunning photographs of the Italian countryside, this book — we call it Italian 2.0 — is our celebration of Italy’s most delicious flavors and will show everyone a fresh, beautiful, and healthful side to Italian cooking. This book is a labor of love. It’s a family affair. It’s a book you’ll use daily. A book you will give as a gift and proudly display on your coffee table for friends to peruse. But most of all, it’s a book that could change your life. And we simply cannot wait to finally share it with you. Pre-order sales are super important to the books ultimate viability, as they heavily influence retail purchaser demand and visibility. So if this sounds like a book for you, then it would mean a great deal to Julie and me if you would entrust us with a pre-order purchase from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target or your favorite independent bookseller. Pick one up for yourself. For a relative in need. Or in anticipation of your friend’s impending birthday. To sweeten the pot, we’re giving away a spot to one lucky female to our upcoming (sold out) Tuscany retreat — valued at $5,000! — May 19-24, 2018. For rules and to enter, click here. To close, understand that greater health is always within your grasp. So take our hand. And make the leap. Because there is a better way.

“Storytelling is a big part of what I do, but it’s all driven by curiosity.” Tom Scott There is nothing more powerful than a story well told. Built into the very fabric of what makes us human, this ancient art holds the power to transform not just the individual but humanity at large. Nobody understands this better than Tom Scott – a man devoted to the idea that when curiosity, conversation and community converge, the world indeed becomes a better place. A graduate of Brown University with a Masters of Divinity from Yale, Tom is perhaps best known as the co-founder and original CEO of Nantucket Nectars. Founded in 1989 — long before it was cool to be a start-up founder — the fruit juice venture quickly grew to national prominence, making the “Inc. 500” list of fastest growing U.S. companies five years in a row and garnering Tom accolades, including the Mercury Award for Advertising and Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award. After selling Nantucket Nectars in 2002, Tom reinvented himself as a film and television producer. In 2004 he formed Plum TV, which owned and operated a network of stations around the country and received more than 14 Emmy awards. He produced television ads for companies like Nike and BMW. He created and produced the HBO series The Neistat Brothers with 3-time podcast guest Casey Neistat. And in 2010 he won an Independent Spirit Award for producing the feature-length film Daddy Longlegs (also with Casey). Tom’s current passion is The Nantucket Project. Akin to TED but much more intimate, TNP is both an annual event and a movement — gatherings large and small (plus a new podcast, The Neighborhood Project) that bring together thought leaders across a wide range of disciplines to explore the most relevant, cutting-edge ideas and the implications such ideas pose for the betterment of culture, society and business. I have known Tom since 7th grade. We attended junior high and high school together. These were not my favorite times, so it was incredibly healing to revisit that era with someone who was there. We discuss Tom’s entrepreneurial success. What he aims to achieve with The Nantucket Project. And the power of story to inspire wonder, cultivate community, ignite change, and unite us in this most divided time. I’ve been waiting 30 years to have this conversation. Honest, intimate and personally meaningful, it’s exactly the exchange I always hoped it would be. You’re in for a treat. Enjoy! For the visually inclined, the podcast is viewable on YouTube here: If you are enjoying the video versions of the podcast, please subscribe! Peace + Plants, Listen, Watch & Subscribe                    Apple Podcasts | a href="http://youtube.