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The Fiction of Moderation: Thoughts on The Iron Cowboy, How To Discover Your Passion & Raising “Out of the Box” Kids

By July 29, 2015May 23rd, 201915 Comments

“If you take some time to quiet your life and commit some time to yourself you’ll find that thing. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to be a painter or you’re going to be a singer. Perhaps you’ll become a person of service. It’s different for everybody.”

Julie Piatt

We’re back with yet another installment of Ask Me Anything, a twist on my typical long-form interview format where Julie and I engage you — the listener — by addressing the topics and questions you want discussed.

As a person prone to extremes, I have been spending quite a bit of time lately pondering the importance of balance and moderation in living an optimally fulfilling life.

What is the role of balance when you are pursuing your best self? Is moderation in all things truly an aspirational path?

In short, I am starting to question the premise.

This week Julie and I discuss this personal conundrum at length. Our conversation also explores:

  • my experience with Iron Cowboy as he completed his historic 50/50/50
  • Julie’s perspective on crewing for me at Ultraman
  • stoicism & overcoming obstacles
  • how to best serve the needs of “out of the box” children
  • the exploration required to discover your passion
  • how distractions negatively impact our life path; and
  • how to meet the social challenges of living plant-based

Special thanks to Nanette, Doug & David for this week’s questions!

The show concludes with Beloved, written and performed by Julie, aka SriMati, accompanied by Mark Schultz and our sons Tyler & Trapper Piatt.

I sincerely hope you enjoy the conversation.

How do you define balance? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Peace + Plants,


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Production, music & sound design by Tyler Piatt. Additional production by Chris Swan. Graphic art by Shawn Patterson. End song Beloved written and performed by Julie Piatt (aka SriMati), accompanied by Mark Schultz and our sons Tyler & Trapper Piatt.


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Background, Context & Reference:

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  • Julie Mock says:

    Definitely not. At times, I think the phrase sounds like a cop out or lack of commitment. In regard to food, I personally do not take the moderation in all things stance. I find it to be easier, with less daily decision making, to have some things completely off the table, such as animal products.

  • Such a great episode…. First, was totally inspired and got goosebumps from your re-counting of the wrap of of the 50 day quest of the Iron Cowboy. Wow.

    Then the home-schooling question…At 17, I dropped out / went on independent study… today there are so many options, back in my day, it confounded the teachers & school as to why a successful student, high GPA / AP class taking student would want out. I felt validated.

    I could go on, but will save more for later. Keep it up!

  • Jennifer Charpentier says:

    Hello Rich and Julie – I haven’t listened to this episode yet and am anticipating hearing what you both have to share about the topics of passion, moderation and balance. My instinctive response to your question, “How do you define balance?” is that for me, balance is an internal spiritual position maintained regardless of external influences.

  • Nathaniel I Kawulka says:

    Everything in moderation including moderation. There is a season for all things.

    Keep up the great work. I’ve gotten through 24 podcast episodes in the last 3 weeks. Working my way back from the most current. Loving it man. Inspiring me to go out there and do something great. Not sure what it is yet but it’ll be cool.

  • Mike H says:

    Safe travels tomorrow. Please tell James “thanks” from all of us who followed his journey and who will continue to be inspired by his effort and focus. A truly remarkable man.

  • Christophe Rousselot says:

    Julie, your words on education are gold here.

  • viii_ball says:

    Rich and Julie, I have been with the podcast since day 1. Never missed a week and so often I feel like you are speaking to me. Now after 162 podcasts, on #163 you actually are speaking to me. That was me that sent the question on “finding my passion”. Thank you so much for selecting mine from what is probably hundreds that you get each week. So journaling and meditation huh? Neither are my strong suit. Rich, I want to take a page from your podcast as ask…on journaling what is one tip you can share to get started?

    Thanks again for answering my question and I hope to get to shake your hand when you come home to DC for the DC VegFest.

  • Hello, I’m a new podcast listener of your show. I have a question. What are some of the triggers or subtle cues you get inside when the present moment changes from balance/productive ie. a good state, to one of struggle? Specifically, I’m interested if you have experience with the sleep state to the awake state? I’m doing much with the waking day to become a little bit better human each day, however something is a trigger during my theta brain wave state. Alpha and beta state is normal, even during struggle. But theta is mysterious. No bad dreams/trauma/imagination stuff, but occasionally my meditation will do it as well. Call it struggle in Theta.

  • pttriathlete says:

    Loved this episode of ask me anything. I had to laugh at myself. I realized as I was running along listening, I was talking to you guys during your discussion. I am guessing I got a few crazy looks by other people going by on the trail. Ha!

  • Hayley Ingman says:

    Really enjoyed this podcast. Spoke to me on many levels. I really liked the part about figuring out our passion. I am also in business, initially because of parental desires but now because I got stuck here out of fear and uncertainty. I feel I know my direction but I’m scared. I wondered if Julie has any regrets moving out of the business world and taking a direction that was perhaps less certain and less secure?

    Some beautiful compassion and wisdom about kids in this podcast too. The world needs more parents like you both! 🙂

    Thank you for all the wonderful podcasts. I look forward to them so much.

  • Laura Kinch says:

    Hi Rich and Julie! Huge fans of you both – you’ve inspired me in so many ways I can’t even count. Thanks so much for taking the time to make these podcasts. They are such a great way for listeners to be introduced to people they might not have heard of before and to be enlightened 🙂

    I have a question for Julie:
    Can you please talk about how to get your body back to balance after coming off hormonal birth control pills? I came off of them in April 2015 after taking them for 8 years, not to start having kids, but to improve my health and be myself again. I’ve been dealing with all kinds of side effects like moderate acne, weight gain, fatigue, lower quality of sleep etc. I don’t feel comfortable in my own body yet and am wondering if there’s anything you could suggest food and spiritual-wise please. I come from a sporty background and went vegetarian April 2014, then vegan in March 2015. I follow a whole, plant based diet with minimal processes foods and lots of fruit and vegetables and have recently been incorporating yoga into my life – I’m 30yrs old.

    Thanks so much you guys and please keep doing what you do. I adore your books and can’t wait for the next ones!

    Much love and respect,
    Laura xx

  • Travis says:

    Hi Rich and Julie, what a surprise today as we did marathon RRP listen as we’ve been at sea sailing and to hear you Julie call us out from the Jack Rabbit run/book signing in NY. You made our day.
    Loved this episode immensely. Especially when Rich comments on you’re a Tough Chick, I too am luckily enough to be married to a “Tough Chick”, I often would react to Ana through fear and she’d call me out on it…often. I’d never made the link that my reaction was fear based. The personal growth I’ve had because of a Tough Chick has made me a stronger man and one that doesn’t react to fear nearly as as much. To all the “Tough Chicks” out there, we men thank you.
    Trav and Ana

  • Karen says:

    Wow! I just got back from my slow trot trail run and listened to this episode and had to write you immediately!! Great episode and seemed directed right at me in so many ways; my passion? Education, etc… It was just an awesome interview. They always are, but this one was special. I’m going to have to re-listen since Julie did an amazing job with putting things in the right perspective. Thank you both! ✌️🌱🙏🏼 Now I’m ready for the Iron Cowboy episode #2 😊

  • Melissa Lehman says:

    Hi there! I want to say that I am among your listeners who feel like we’re now friends! I love listening to all the podcasts, but the ones when you’re both on are particularly fun. Anyway, I was digging what you guys had to say on recent podcasts about both moderation and “balance.” But I was wondering where you think there may be a “line” between wanting to ditch moderation/balance and falling victim to a perfectionist mentality? Perfectionism is something I struggle with – like I get the “Well, I can’t do this exactly right, so why bother?” kind of attitude. Just hoping to hear what you might have to say on how to walk the line between those things. (I mean, besides the obvious answer of “meditation” 🙂 – which I have started doing!)

  • Tommy F says:

    Rich and Julie.. Spot-on advise on all fronts! Loved the episode.

    It’s a toss-up for me, as to whether the Iron Cowboy’s 50-50-50 or Scott Jurek’s Appalachian Trial record is the greatest voluntary endurance feat. 45 days of 47M per day, with the clock constantly ticking, rugged unpredictable weather, extreme elevation accents, out there in relative isolation for most of it, teams of meat-eater critics doubting and saying how unhealthy a vegan diet is, because Scott looks so emaciated toward the end. So much to lose if he doesn’t cross the finish line in record time, being the undisputed champion of ultra running. And he comes through victorious!!!

    Just gotta give Scott major props, because like you Rich, he’s done so much for the plant-based, vegan movement. Obliterating the common held fiction that animal consumption is mandatory for athletes to build, sustain and perform at elite levels.


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