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Tim Van Orden Runs Beyond The Kale — Why Personal Growth Begins With Self-Acceptance

By October 5, 2014May 24th, 201917 Comments

If you are a consistent listener to this show, then you know very well that my goal is to elucidate the experience, insights and knowledge of my guests as a tool to aid you on your progress towards greater self-actualization.

Food is a super important aspect of this process. I believe it’s the best place to begin the process of transforming your life. But it’s also easy to get overly caught up in the dogmatic aspects of diet and nutrition. Unnecessarily boxed in by labels. Overly focused on details and minutiae. This presents a treacherous social, political and internal minefield that can result in truncating long-term growth potential. Because when we obsess on our plate at the exclusion of objectively redressing the many other very important areas of our lives that warrant focus and attention, our overall development towards full actualization is arrested.

I didn’t clean up my diet so I could get stuck pontificating on the various types of dark leafy greens until all my friends fled for the hills. I cleaned up my diet so I could raise my energy levels, shift my consciousness and direct my newfound lease on life towards continual growth and expansion. A search for greater meaning, purpose and answers that will hopefully occupy me for the remainder of my days here on Earth.

Optimal nutrition based on plant-based foods is a great step in the direction of optimal wellness.. But that is all that it is — a step. Hardly the be-all-end-all. Because wellness encompasses so much more than food. Far from the end of inquiry, think of quality nutrition more as a right of initiation that will repair your physical body, raise your vibration, elevate your consciousness and take you on a wild and unexpected journey towards healing, a sense of purpose, greater authenticity and actualization that will be unpredictable and challenging but ultimately astounding.

This is a process Julie and I call going beyond the kale. And it’s the primary theme of this week’s offering.

Enter Tim Van Orden.

If you have been with me on this podcast journey since it’s inception, then you will recall my conversation with Tim back in the early days – RRP Episode 15 to be exact. Over the course of that conversation we delved into Tim’s personal story, particularly his trajectory from relatively aimless and unhealthy junk food vegetarian to the raw food fueled running champion he is today. An exploration of food, athleticism, consciousness and holistic minimalism that transformed this non-athlete into a 10-time US Masters Trail Running National Champion.

You may also recall the horrible Skype audio. At that time I was still trying to find my voice and had yet to master the technology (I still haven’t, which is one of many reasons why I resist interviewing guests by Skype). Moreover, I had yet to actually meet Tim in person. Fast forward 92 episodes and now we’re friends — conversing in person and picking up where Episode 15 left off.

This week it’s less about diet and more about the bigger picture. Specifically, this conversation focuses on the psychology and emotional landscape that informs and drives self-perception, habits (both healthy and unhealthy) and decision making. This is a very frank, honest, open and soul bearing exchange about ego, vulnerability, authenticity, and attachment. It’s about self-image as a predictor of mood, action and outcome. It’s about the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves that inform how we see ourselves in the world. It’s about the self-acceptance required to confront and ultimately overcome the dreaded and unhealthy aspects of ourselves we keep hidden that handicap growth. And it’s about the process we must undertake to reframe our story, start telling a new one and ultimately set us on a healthier path towards greater freedom and fulfillment.

I really dig Tim, his vibe, honesty and willingness to be raw (pardon the pun). He is truly a special guy and I am so pleased to bring his insights to you today. I sincerely hope you enjoy the conversation.

Peace + Plants,


P.S. At the beginning of the show, I fumbled my thoughts when trying to describe my take on the nutritional benefits of the miracle superfood called Moringa (Olefiera), so I thought I would expound upon it here. Dubbed the “miracle tree” and the “world’s most nutritious plant species ever studied,” this amazing tree is native to regions of Africa/Asia but can grow almost anywhere due to its incredible ability to extract nutrients from the soil and air. Its leaves are an all-around green superfood; with more than 90 nutrients, moringa is like a utility baseball player that can excel in every position. High in a wide array of vitamins and minerals it’s anti-oxidant rich (46 anti-oxidants), anti-diabetes (reduces blood glucose) and promotes heart health (lipid lowering) among other benefits. Available in capsule and powder form, brew the powder into a tea or add to juice or your morning smoothie (like the smoothie Tim and I shared over our conversation).


Connect with Tim & Running Raw: Website | YouTube | Facebook | Twitter

How to Make an Ironman Whimper (and Cough): NY Times Sunday Magazine

The Tim Van Orden Book Club: A compendium of unlikely but highly recommended books & audiobooks germane to this week’s conversation:

*Disclosure: Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.


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  • Natasha says:

    The podcast 107 with Tim Van Orden has to be WITHOUT A SHADOW OF A DOUBT my favorite podcast yet! Tim is so raw and honest and vulnerable. Thank you Tim for showing us that the best athletes out there struggle with the same issues a lot of us do as well. And thank you Rich for keeping this podcast amazing!

  • Anna says:

    Thank you for this amazing podcast! I actually listend to it while running around the Tempelhof airfield in Berlin and was really inspired about using time that is spent training to also educate myself on a myriad of issues that are of interest to me. I would love to hear the course recommendations your have for that. Thank you and greetings from Germany.

  • Anna says:

    Thank you for this amazing podcast! I actually listend to it while running around the Tempelhof airfield in Berlin and was really inspired about using time that is spent training to also educate myself on a myriad of issues that are of interest to me. I would love to hear the course recommendations your have for that. Thank you and greetings from Germany.

  • Autumnseer says:

    I’m 3/4 of the way through this podcast. I am relating so much to it. This weekend I am seeing family I haven’t seen in 15 years and, well, let’s just say life has taken it’s toll on me both in terms of weight and looking tired. I’m trying to regain my mojo and transform myself – and your podcasts have helped tremendously to inspire the best out of me. But this particular podcast came at the perfect time and I leave Friday accepting the goodness within myself and being joyful for the reunion instead of fearing the judgment of others. Thanks.

  • Chrisburns2 says:

    Tim, you might know a lot about this because of your dental problems. How do you feel about root canals? I had an accident a couple years ago and one of my front teeth was knocked back a bit. It was able to be pulled back and I wore a brace for a month to let it solidify back into place. My dentist immediately said I needed a root canal for it. I did a little research on my own and read some bad stuff about root canals. So I sought out a couple other opinions, this time from holistic dentists, and their advice was to do nothing right now, but that I’d probably lose the tooth eventually. So that’s what I did – and I also dropped my old dentist and started going to one of the holistic ones.

    Do you have any experience with this, or opinion on it?

  • I accept your info for value.thanks.

  • shannon says:

    Another great podcast … someone get Tim some St John’s Wart!

  • Dipesh says:

    Every kids should be informed about whats been talked in this podcast. Thanks rich and tim.

  • Natalie Kronick says:

    Rich – WOW. I felt like Tim was talking to ME!! This podcast was not only inspiring, it was beautiful. I have come to realize over the last year or so that I deal with a strong amount of anxiety, which makes sense from my family history of depression. Only, instead of popping pills and doing other unhealthy things, I use running / training as my therapy; always have. But there are mornings that are SO HARD for me to get out of bed. I constantly struggle. Tim’s remark about getting present just sung to my heart. I have shamed myself over and over and over and now I think I can forgive myself and take one step at a time until my actions become automatic behaviors. Thank you so much for this episode. P.S. Can Tim make us a mediation podcast? Because I could listen to that man speak ALL DAY! P+P

  • Keith says:

    Great Podcast! Rich – Do you have a list of Tim’s favorite lectures/courses like he was talking about?

  • You were going to provide some of Tim’s favorite iTunes university courses and I would love to see that list!!

  • Cha R-g says:

    I am so saving this podcast and will be re-listening. Tim is sooo eloquent and I loved everything he was saying. Thank you Rich for bringing us Tim and for being YOU! #awesomeness

  • richroll66 says:

    Hey Guys & Gals – thanks for all the great comments. Tim is the man. Lots of requests to have Tim share some of the educational audio courses he favors. It was brought up in the podcast but he didn’t itemize them so I reached out and asked him to share. From Tim – hope this is helpful:

    “This is not a complete list, as I off load most of the courses to another hard drive after listening (and don’t know which one!), but it’s a good place to start. I’ll keep digging.

    Biology – UC Berkeley

    Molecular and Cell Biology – UC Berkeley

    Chemistry – UC Berkeley

    Biochemistry 508 & 651 – UW Madison

    Philosophy and Science of Human Nature – Yale

    Mapping and Manipulating the Brain – TED

    Critical Reasoning for Beginners – Oxford

    Environmental Psychology – UC Irvine

    Psychology of Perception UW Madison

    How To Think Like a Psychologist – Stanford

    The New Psychology of Depression – Oxford

    Understanding Happiness – TED”

  • William Ferullo says:

    Absolutely fantastic podcast! I listened to it twice in a row it was so good. If you are a human on planet Earth you will get something out of this!

  • elle says:

    I’m also loving this podcast, but have to pause to comment on the whole dopamine desire response issue. This may sound way left field, so bear with me.

    My understanding/feeling is that the dopamine desire has been manipulated by commerce (not in an evil way, just in an exploratory, evolutionary way – the way a plant tendril searches for the sun), in a distorted ‘mis’understanding. The evolution is that desires summon life force energy, which brings the desires into being in our lives and then yes, we want more because that is our job as human beings: to bring forth physical representations of our hearts desire in order to get ever closer to bringing heaven to earth.

    We are simply in the immature stages and that is why it all looks like material versions of obsessive compulsive greed. That people feel dissatisfied after manifesting their desires is only an unconciousness of the power they hold to REFINE their desires. Just as often, we don’t know what it is we actually want and a personal learning curve is par for the course. Tim’s practice of self compassion is a vital foundation for the conscious use of desire in our lives. Ok, turning the podcast back on! Thanks!

  • Charmaine Connolly says:

    OMG listening to Podcast 107 was a moment in my life that was shaken up for the better. Everything that Tim was talking about was like a light bulb aha moment and I do not have the words to express how powerful this podcast was to enable myself to take the step forward out of depression that had been suffocating my life…”the next right action”
    Thankyou Tim and Rich 🙂

  • Josh Meckel says:

    Mine too! I am having my girlfriend listen to it right now 🙂

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