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Episode 128- Morgan Hope Sjogren: The Running Bum

"You really have to face yourself."

-Morgan Hope Sjogren

A self-described dirt barbie Morgan Hope Sjogren, also known as Mo or Running Bum, is an adventure fueled storyteller par excellence. I first discovered Mo through Instagram and was fascinated by her ability to convey her love for the desert, mountains, canyons, and valleys in photography and in words. She is a professional writer who continually displays her knack for translating the complexity of nature onto the page. I met Mo at the Born to Run Ultras where she ecstatically agreed to come on the show. We are wide-ranging today as we discuss keeping sane in a hectic life, finding peace in the outdoors and in discomfort, the running family, the concept of "women in the outdoors," being active political and social citizens of this planet, and storytelling. Do enjoy!

Muchas gracias amigos,

Jarod Contreras

Find Mo:
therunningbum.com
Instagram: @running_bum_ instagram.com/running_bum_
Twitter: @running_bum_ twitter.com/Running_Bum_

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Episode 127- Born to Run Ultramarathons: The "Run-aissance"

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Episode 127- Born to Run Ultramarathons: The "Run-aissance"

Welcome to the shantytown, to the freak show, to the extravaganza, to the world of the Born to Run Ultramarathons. Held once a year in May in Los Olivos, California I was able to finally make it out, for the first time, to this wild event. The core theme of running carries a common thread through all of the passionate people who attend: we all have a deep love for running far. That love for pushing our bodies transcends into other wild antics that populate the days of crazy that is the Born to Run Ultras. There was everything from a Tarahumaran bola race, lucha libre wrestling match, and race between legends Scott Jurek and Arnulfo Quimare to a beer mile, talent show, and wedding. Today, in a special episode, I chronicle the events, tales, and experiences of my weekend at Born to Run utilizing a multitude of perspectives from people who attended the event and who each had their own story to tell. Sit back and enjoy the absurdity!

Run free,

Jarod Contreras

Find out more:
allwedoisrun.com

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Music: purple-planet.com

Special Thanks:
Luis Escobar
Jenn Shelton
Patrick Sweeney
Anders Dahl
Clint Welch
Gabriel Miossi
Scott Smuin
Barefoot Ted
Graham Kelly
Todd Kaplan
Amy Kaplan

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Episode 126- Cedar Wright: How to Fail with a Laugh

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Episode 126- Cedar Wright: How to Fail with a Laugh

"Not failing is the real failure."

-Cedar Wright

Humor and pain are two aspects of life not commonly associated, yet there is someone out there who not only associates them, but magically combines them. Cedar Wright has built his career not on being the best, but on being able to suffer more than the best. Through his tenacity he built a sustained, adventure fueled life filled with an uncanny ability to tell honest stories. Cedar pulls back the curtain on what it means to endure in the mountains through his films. Cedar is a rock climber, a paraglider, a storyteller, and so much more. This dude is a prime example of what a life can be built when we live and act truthfully to ourselves. Following our path is something we all strive to do, Cedar follows his everyday. Today sit back and relax as Cedar and I delve into what it means to fail, how to use humor as a tool, living truthfully, finding honesty, telling stories, relationships, reading, planning (or the lack thereof), and a few stories of wild eyed adventure.

Muchas gracias amigos,

Jarod Contreras

Find Cedar:
cedarwright.com
Instagram: @cedarwright instagram.com/cedarwright
Facebook: Cedar Wright facebook.com/cedarclimber
Twitter: @cedarwright twitter.com/cedarwright
Vimeo: Cedar Wright vimeo.com/cedar

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Episode 125- Eric Johnson: Driving Hard

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Episode 125- Eric Johnson: Driving Hard

"I'm not gonna quit, because shit hurts."

-Eric Johnson

There are certain people out there in the world who show up so often in my Instagram feed that I feel like I know them very well, but yet I've never met them. Eric Johnson is one of those people and I decided it was high time he came on the show. Eric and I met in person, after I reached out to him on Insta, last weekend at the Born to Run Ultramarathon Extravaganza. That event is a sight to behold and a story I will tell next week in a unique, unusual podcast episode. This week, however, is for Eric. Eric is someone who clearly demonstrates the ideal I hold dear: to work each day to better ourselves. Through social media, and then when I met him in person and saw him run, I could see that he exemplified the benefits of commitment and honesty. Those traits are why I wanted to sit down and chat with him long form. As always, our conversation is a wide ranging discussion on everything from Eric's tale and his love story with running to endurance and finding peace amongst pain to building routine, recovering from injury, and being proactive in cross-training. Please enjoy.

Muchas gracias amigos,

Jarod Contreras

Find Eric:
Instagram: @jwjcc1 instagram.com/jwjcc1

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Episode 124- On Our Relationship to Death

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Episode 124- On Our Relationship to Death

In our society, specifically American society and culture, we treat death as something that should be kept behind closed doors. Yet our entertainment is largely populated by brutal depictions of death. There is a blatant dichotomy in our relationship to death and that separation leads us to have trouble dealing with it. Death must become an opportunity for growth and for celebration. To celebrate the life of the deceased is to honor them, to become chained by your sorrow is to dishonor them. I believe to best process death we must bond with those around us through laughter, smiles, and conversation. Today's episode is an examination of the positive and negative aspects of our society's relationship to death and all of the baggage, ritual, and custom that come with it. Today, begin to think deeply about the paradigm around death, how we can break that paradigm, and add our humanity back into death.

Muchas gracias,

Jarod Contreras

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Episode 123- Emotion: Be at Peace, Grandma

Family is a curious thing and when we lose a family member it is even curiouser. A week ago my grandmother passed away. Today's episode is an examination of my emotion within and about the loss of my grandma. Maria-Luz Contreras died at 85 years old and she was someone who always, without question, loved and supported me. She was my biggest fan. Her life was fraught with challenge and sorrow, so I have asked myself if she was ever happy even though I know I can never know for sure. Three of her four children and her guilt chained her. She fought an internal battle over her health, peace, and happiness. All I can trust in is that she loved me and I loved her. She is now at peace and with me, I know. I will honor her by doing my best, staying true to myself, and loving those around me.

Muchas gracias & om shanti,

Jarod Contreras

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Episode 122- Hooked on Busyness

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Episode 122- Hooked on Busyness

Our society is addicted to busyness and we have no idea what to do with free time. We live in a vicious cycle of drifting amongst leisure and so adding more busyness to salve our confusion. We are lost. A good friend of mine recently remarked to me, for the 100th time, "Oh, I'm so busy, it's been absolutely crazy." Busyness seems to be a badge of honor and a point of pride, a marker of success as it were. We are chained to our busyness, despite the fact that research shows that we now have more free time than ever. So the question becomes: What do we do with busyness? I believe that we must not allow ourselves to be a prisoner to it, take a step back and breathe, plan, eliminate extraneous tasks, single task, delegate duties, and learn from others. These paths to mental peace and freedom in the face of busyness are what I delve into in today's episode. Join me.

Muchas gracias,

Jarod Contreras

Sources:

Robinson, John P. "Americans less rushed but no happier: 1965–2010 trends in subjective time and happiness." Social indicators research 113.3 (2013): 1091-1104.

https://www.inc.com/ilan-mochari/feel-less-busy-twisted-psychology-of-busyness.html

https://www.bakadesuyo.com/2014/04/busy/?utm_content=buffer71195&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/owning-pink/201404/are-you-addicted-being-busy

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Episode 121- On Making Lists

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Episode 121- On Making Lists

It's awfully funny to me how often we impose limitations on ourselves. Before recording today's episode I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to talk about. To be quite honest, I did not even want to record the episode. However, it took me a second to realize that the reason I could not find a topic was because I was letting distractions rule. I took off the headphones and took a few deep breaths before I wrote down something that had kept my weekend sane: lists. Though as life is this episode evolved into much more than observations on lists. It evolved into an examination of what it means to ask questions, how to listen to your body, and of course why lists keep things simple.

With gratitude,

Jarod Contreras

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Episode 120- Anna Frost: Finding Frosty

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Episode 120- Anna Frost: Finding Frosty

“I have to make a change, you have to make a change, we all have to do something to be role models for the young people in our world."

-Anna Frost

The people that continually fascinate me are those that shatter the norm. This week's guest is a prime example of that. Anna Frost (a.k.a. Frosty) might as well be the embodiment of tough, with her wins at the Hardrock 100 and running adventures across the globe. She has traipsed in many countries and that deep set love of travel and experience has forged her into who she is today. That is what we explore in this episode, who Frosty is. We delve into her mental headspace amongst pain and as a motivation to others, especially young people. We examined her battles with identity and what it means to acknowledge the complexity within ourselves. We explore finding peace amongst chaos and how to build equality in sport and in life. Please enjoy this wonderfully wide ranging discussion.

Gracias,

Jarod Contreras

Find Anna:
frostysfootsteps.wordpress.com
Instagram: @annafrosty instagram.com/annafrosty
Twitter: @annafrosty twitter.com/annafrosty
Facebook: Anna Frost facebook.com/annafrosty

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Photo Credit: Matt Trappe

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Episode 119- Have a System

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Episode 119- Have a System

We are bombarded on a daily basis with techniques for how to make our lives easier, happier, or, more generally, better. However, many of these techniques are snake oil medicine that have no lasting, nor truly beneficial, impacts on our life. One technique that has been repeated in many different forms throughout all of my spiritual, religious, philosophical, and scientific research of how to better ourselves is preparation. In all aspects of life, from athletics to spirituality, having a plan is one of the most beneficial ways to forge consistency, honesty, accountability, and responsibility. Through having forethought, and therefore establishing a system to follow, we allow ourselves to build a foundation on which all of our other practices for betterment are built. Quite simply, having a system frees you to focus.

Let's explore this,

Jarod Contreras

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Strava: Jarod Contreras strava.com/athletes/jarodcontreras

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Episode 118- The Choice Between

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Episode 118- The Choice Between

The choice between reaction or response is demarcated by a fine line. A line that is determined by the breath. We are either prisoner to our emotions or we take a breath and take a step back to use them, instead of abuse them. This most recent quarter, Winter Quarter, at my college, Cal Poly SLO, I let myself be ruled by reaction, instead of response. Too often I allowed my difficulties in the Calculus class that I was enrolled in drag me down and control me. That class was one of, if not the, hardest classes that I have ever taken and I passed with a C+. A grade that, even six months ago, I would have balked at and been ashamed of. However, today I am ecstatic about that grade, because I have shifted my perspective from A, A, A, to simply doing my best. If my best results in an A, then great. If my best results in a C+, then great. I took a breath to choose. The test now comes in seeing if I learn anything from last quarter and choose between reaction or response.

Let's find out,

Jarod Contreras

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Episode 117- Passion for Your Work: An Opening

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Episode 117- Passion for Your Work: An Opening

As you know all too well, each of us are impacted by the people around us. That influence can be negative or positive, depending on the person performing the influencing. In every interaction we are shaped by those around us and I have recently been positively shaped by my Soil Science professor. I was continually amazed while taking Soil Science 121 with Dr. Appel at how often soil went unnoticed in my life before taking this class. Soil is, almost quite literally, beneath my feet everyday and with every step, yet I never considered its importance. Throughout this class I was fascinated with the nuances and intricacies of soil and with its massive influence over our world at large. That fascination was largely fueled by Dr. Appel's effusive love for the science of soil. Dr. Appel reminded me what it was like to have a teacher who is passionate about his or her subject, of which teachers I have had only a few. Today I want to delve into, and begin a conversation about, what it means to have passion for your work and how that passion can so positively influence the lives of those around you.

Om shanti,

Jarod Contreras 

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Episode 116- Jackie Sobon: In Conversation with Vegan Yack Attack

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Episode 116- Jackie Sobon: In Conversation with Vegan Yack Attack

For quite awhile now, a little over a year, I have admired the food blog and social media presence of Vegan Yack Attack. So I decided I wanted to have whoever was behind Vegan Yack Attack on the show. That person is Jackie Sobon and it only took us almost a year to align our schedules to finally sit down, over Skype, and have a chat. It was well worth the wait. As always I am fascinated by the deeper questions beyond simply what, when, or how to eat. Today Jackie and I delve into a wide-ranging conversation covering the accessibility of veganism (and the wellness movement at large), the creative and artistic process of developing a recipe, Jackie's personal evolution, incorporating health into our day to day lives, work ethic, and more. Please enjoy.

Thank you,

Jarod Contreras

More Jackie:

veganyackattack.com

amazon.com/Vegan-Yack-Attack-Plant-Based-Fast-Paced/dp/1631594222/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1521515935&sr=8-1&keywords=vegan+yack+attack

Sponsor:
Touching The Trail Podcast is sponsored by Health IQ, an insurance company that helps health conscious people like runners, cyclist, weightlifters, strength trainers, and vegans get lower rates on their life insurance.  Go to healthiq.com/touchingthetrail to support the show and see if you qualify.

Support Touching the Trail: 
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Strava: Jarod Contreras strava.com/athletes/jarodcontreras

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Episode 115- Responding to the Filth

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Episode 115- Responding to the Filth

There are certain things in life that simply get on your nerves, right? Meditation, spirituality, and religion provide me bases of knowledge to intellectually know that I must respond, instead of react, to those stressors, but I am not perfect and sometimes I can become prisoner to what surrounds me. In my apartment here on campus at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo I have, at times, let myself be prisoner to the situation that surrounds me. The people, and the filth that they generate, that live with me in this apartment are aspects that are at odds with my personality. To clearly illustrate: I would never invite a friend to hang out in this apartment, not due to embarrassment, but because I don't think anyone should have to be amongst the filth that surrounds me on a day to day basis. Today I delve into how I work through my imperfections and respond to what I can, or cannot be prisoner to, because ultimately I have the choice.  

Thank you,

Jarod Contreras

Sponsor:
Touching The Trail Podcast is sponsored by Health IQ, an insurance company that helps health conscious people like runners, cyclist, weightlifters, strength trainers, and vegans get lower rates on their life insurance.  Go to healthiq.com/touchingthetrail to support the show and see if you qualify.

Support Touching the Trail: 
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Episode 114- An Opening to Curiosity

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Episode 114- An Opening to Curiosity

There's always a story to tell, right? Well, there is for me at least. Today's story is multi-faceted, it involves a difficult calculus class, soil science, long drives, Los Angeles, the gym, and trails. However, today's stories converge on one singular point: curiosity. This is the first episode in what I foresee as a series on the wide-ranging topic of curiosity, but as always today we start at the beginning. The beginning of what curiosity can and does mean for our journeys and how curiosity can positively impact our ability to engage with the world around us. Curiosity is a skill that must be built through honesty and vulnerability. Those attributes of honesty and vulnerability are exemplified in opening our hearts and minds, in asking questions, and in reading. So remember to be curious, be honest, and enjoy this episode!

As always,

Jarod Contreras

Sponsor:
Touching The Trail Podcast is sponsored by Health IQ, an insurance company that helps health conscious people like runners, cyclist, weightlifters, strength trainers, and vegans get lower rates on their life insurance.  Go to healthiq.com/touchingthetrail to support the show and see if you qualify.

Support Touching the Trail: 
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Episode 113- Breathing into the Pain

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Episode 113- Breathing into the Pain

Each day we form opinions, judgments, and beliefs. These aspects of our personality manifest themselves in our conversations. Today's conversation is, quite simply, my own musings on the past few weeks of chaos in my life. This is the manifestation through conversation of my opinions, judgments, and beliefs. I strongly believe that it is vital to tell your story and today there are some good ones. I delve into my fractured (or strained) wrist, observations on the gym, working through failure in Calculus, and the difference between birthdays and true chapter headings in our lives. I truly hope you enjoy and that these musings give you a better perspective of who you truly are.

As always,

Jarod Contreras

Sponsor:
Touching The Trail Podcast is sponsored by Health IQ, an insurance company that helps health conscious people like runners, cyclist, weightlifters, strength trainers, and vegans get lower rates on their life insurance.  Go to healthiq.com/touchingthetrail to support the show and see if you qualify.

Support Touching the Trail: 
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Strava: Jarod Contreras strava.com/athletes/jarodcontreras

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Episode 112- Pete McBride: Finding the Silence

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Episode 112- Pete McBride: Finding the Silence

"It's the silence in between the noise that's important."

-Pete McBride

I have dreams. You have dreams. We have dreams. There is always something in the future that we wish to have in our grasp now and there is always something from the past that we wish we never had in our grasp. Today’s guest, Pete McBride, embodies the life that I dream of living, however he embodies so much more than a selfish goal. Pete is a self taught photographer, filmmaker, writer, and public speaker who uses his skills to uniquely focus on a topic that may seem saturated, but is in fact in dire need of attention: freshwater. 

Recently Pete has turned his attention to his own backyard and to his own river, the Colorado River, while also documenting the state of rivers across the globe. He decided to hike the length of the Grand Canyon (roughly a 700 mile long trek) to increase awareness on the Park’s developmental pressures. This is a noble goal focusing on an area that holds a special place in my heart, which drew me to Pete in the first place. Throughout today’s discussion we cover Pete’s evolution as a storyteller and person, we delve deep into his adventure in the Big Ditch, the beauty of endurance and silence, the importance of water, and, as always, storytelling.

With intent,

Jarod Contreras

More from Pete:

petemcbride.com

Sponsor:
Touching The Trail Podcast is sponsored by Health IQ, an insurance company that helps health conscious people like runners, cyclist, weightlifters, strength trainers, and vegans get lower rates on their life insurance.  Go to healthiq.com/touchingthetrail to support the show and see if you qualify.

Support Touching the Trail: 
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Find Jarod: 
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Strava: Jarod Contreras strava.com/athletes/jarodcontreras

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Episode 111- Luis Escobar: Run Gently, Run Simply, Run Free

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Episode 111- Luis Escobar: Run Gently, Run Simply, Run Free

"You're only taking one lap and then that's that, so you might as well have fun."

-Luis Escobar

Surrounding all great stories there is a thick mist of lore. The tale of a 2006 adventure in the Copper Canyons immortalized in the book Born to Run by Christoper McDougall is no exception. Luis Escobar was an integral part of that party that traveled to the Barrancas del Cobre and the story from that undertaking told in Born to Run has shaped my life. However, my excitement and gratitude for Luis making time to chat does not stem from that book. It stems from Luis as an individual.

This is not a conversation only on Born to Run, it is a conversation on and with Luis. It was an honor to run with Luis and friends for 12 miles before we recorded this discussion. That run gave me a more intimate perspective on who Luis is, his passion, honesty, and grit. Today's exchange covers the art, culture, and influence of photography, ultrarunning (specifically Luis's time at the Tahoe 200), Born to Run's affects, the death of Caballo Blanco, Luis's Born to Run ultras, and so much more. So for a fascinatingly unique perspective on what it means to run and live truly, take a listen now!

Gracias,

Jarod Contreras

More from Luis:

allwedoisrun.com

Sponsor:
Touching The Trail Podcast is sponsored by Health IQ, an insurance company that helps health conscious people like runners, cyclist, weightlifters, strength trainers, and vegans get lower rates on their life insurance.  Go to healthiq.com/touchingthetrail to support the show and see if you qualify.

Support Touching the Trail: 
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Find Jarod: 
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Meditation Coaching: touchingthetrail.com/meditation
Touching the Trail Weekly: eepurl.com/bEENNP 
Instagram: @jarodrunsdirt instagram.com/jarodrunsdirt 
Twitter: @jarodrunsdirt twitter.com/jarodrunsdirt 
Facebook: Touching the Trail facebook.com/touchingthetrail 
Strava: Jarod Contreras strava.com/athletes/jarodcontreras

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Episode 110- Who are You Prisoner To?

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Episode 110- Who are You Prisoner To?

Within each of our own lives the buck stops with us. We have the choice between prison and freedom. Whether that choice comes in school, work, family, relationships, or health, we have the choice. Now I do not mean the prison after a trial, I mean the prison that we build when we allow ourselves to be a prisoner to our responsibilities, stressors, annoyances, and qualms. For me, personally, I have recently put a lot of work into solidifying my ability to learn from impermanence, from my difficult living situation, from the people that surround me, and from school. I could easily have let those stressors become my masters. When we are not honest with ourselves, when we are not listening to our breath, and when we are not present we fall easily into the habit of building our prison's walls and allowing the bars to fall. We lay the bricks to encase ourselves and then we question our, seeming, lack of ability to move and breathe. Instead of chaining ourselves to the floor, why don't we realize our ability to choose freedom? Because, we are fearful. So I ask you, who are you prisoner to?

With gratitude,

Jarod Contreras

Sponsor:
Touching The Trail Podcast is sponsored by Health IQ, an insurance company that helps health conscious people like runners, cyclist, weightlifters, strength trainers, and vegans get lower rates on their life insurance.  Go to healthiq.com/touchingthetrail to support the show and see if you qualify.

Support Touching the Trail: 
touchingthetrail.com/donate 
targetreleaserecovery.com

Find Jarod: 
touchingthetrail.com 
Meditation Coaching: touchingthetrail.com/meditation
Touching the Trail Weekly: eepurl.com/bEENNP 
Instagram: @jarodrunsdirt instagram.com/jarodrunsdirt 
Twitter: @jarodrunsdirt twitter.com/jarodrunsdirt 
Facebook: Touching the Trail facebook.com/touchingthetrail 
Strava: Jarod Contreras strava.com/athletes/jarodcontreras

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Episode 109- Dr. T. Colin Campbell: A Revolutionary

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Episode 109- Dr. T. Colin Campbell: A Revolutionary

"The government has been blocking information like this [a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle], it's been controlled. We're all guinea pigs! The dietary guidelines have been framed by the industry and that's disgusting. They don't want radical change like this!"

-Dr. T. Colin Campbell

There are people who affect change and there are people who make change. Dr. T. Colin Campbell has, throughout his storied and lengthy career, revolutionized our perceptions as a society of what it means to care for our bodies. His groundbreaking book, The China Study, showed the world that a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle not only prevents cancer and other disease, but reverses them! From growing up on a dairy farm to number one proponent of eating plants, Dr. Campbell has been shaped by his researche and has shaped the world with it.

However, this show has never been strictly about my guest's stories, it is not an audio biography. I am fascinated by what makes my guests tick, what makes them who they are, and what makes them persevere to be the paradigm breakers that they are. Today I am an honored to delve into that with Dr. Campbell in our discussion on four main things. We converse deeply on the resistance Dr. Campbell faced to his research, the state of our medical and scientific establishment, the control of that establishment by industry and politics, and that this lifestyle (a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle) is possible. This conversation will motivate you to realize that a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle is the wisest choice to honestly better yourself and follow your truest path.

Om shanti,

Jarod Contreras

Further your journey:
nutritionstudies.org
nutritionstudies.org/about/board/dr-t-colin-campbell
plantpurenation.com
forksoverknives.com

Sponsor:
Touching The Trail Podcast is sponsored by Health IQ, an insurance company that helps health conscious people like runners, cyclist, weightlifters, strength trainers, and vegans get lower rates on their life insurance.  Go to healthiq.com/touchingthetrail to support the show and see if you qualify.

Support Touching the Trail: 
touchingthetrail.com/donate 
targetreleaserecovery.com

Find Jarod: 
touchingthetrail.com 
Meditation Coaching: touchingthetrail.com/meditation
Touching the Trail Weekly: eepurl.com/bEENNP 
Instagram: @jarodrunsdirt instagram.com/jarodrunsdirt 
Twitter: @jarodrunsdirt twitter.com/jarodrunsdirt 
Facebook: Touching the Trail facebook.com/touchingthetrail 
Strava: Jarod Contreras strava.com/athletes/jarodcontreras

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