July 4, 2021

Weekly Emails

Three years behind the podcast mic

Asking for your feedback

Read Time 3 minutes

I remember the exact moment I decided to start a podcast four years ago. I enjoyed a dinner with two friends in New York city so much that I wished I had recorded it. For two hours, over fantastic Persian food, I basically interviewed two brilliant scientists between bites of fesenjan. Although it wasn’t the first time that I wanted to record the insights of other people, that particular conversation spurred me to begin the podcast journey. July 2 marked the three year anniversary of The Drive.    

We started the podcast on a 12-episode test run in late June of 2018, on the cusp of what has become a Cambrian-like explosion of podcasts in circulation today. Admittedly, I started the podcast for selfish reasons. I am always trying to learn things I don’t already know and perpetually have a bunch of questions that I am trying to answer. I also wanted to record meaningful conversations and share them with other people who could listen in. 

Over 165 episodes and three years later, my intention hasn’t changed much, but the podcast operation has definitely evolved, taking on a life of its own. Each podcast episode requires about 40 hours of preparation, give or take, which includes my team working on a document about the podcast guest, the guest’s work, any pertinent background information on the given topic space, and my review thereof. The shortest of these documents was 10 pages (only happened once!); more typically they are 30 to 40 single-spaced pages. The post-production for each episode now includes audio and video, since we started video recording the conversations for our YouTube channel. I even built a mini recording studio in my office where I sit (or Zoom) with guests, trying to make it feel like we are in-person if it is over Zoom. Since a lot of the motivation to produce the podcast comes from wanting to build a knowledge base, I wanted quality in-depth shownotes that accompany each episode, which by my audit, accounts for another 20 to 30 hours of work for each episode. 

We have received some feedback expressing that it can be difficult to get through one new episode every week, due to the technical nature and depth of many of the episodes. Suffice it to say that getting deep in the weeds on a given topic does not necessarily make for a quick listen, especially if you want to thoughtfully sit with the content. (I must admit, I need to go back and listen to about 10 to 15% of the episodes in an effort to reinforce what I learned, which probably says something, given the time I put into preparing and the fact that I’ve already listened once during the actual recording.) Since I want to optimize the most beneficial way of sharing information on this podcast platform, I thought to try an experiment: we are going to take off one new episode release per month during the summer (though the AMA’s will still continue at the regular pace of one per month). I figure this will allow listeners to catch up on longer episodes and go through shownotes, and also allow the opportunity to (re)visit past episodes, which may be new for a lot of you. A complete episode archive can be found here. If you want some help deciding which episodes to listen to, or are curious about a certain topic, have a look at the topics page here

The podcast is one of my favorite extracurricular activities. It is a great privilege to talk across a wide range of topics with people I wouldn’t ordinarily be able to speak with (at least in such length and depth). It is the greatest “forcing function” to drive my learning at a rate I could never keep up organically. And I have also loved how the episodes and shownotes have become a resource for my patients and for the general public alike. I want to make the podcast as beneficial and enjoyable for you as possible, so I welcome your feedback on three things.

First, let us know if you find value in the newly added video content, including shorter clips for each episode released. Second, let us know what you think about one less new episode per month. It is our hope that you are given the opportunity to receive the (sometimes technical) information in a format and cadence that works for you. Third, please suggest people you would like me to interview and topics you would like to see explored in depth. Although we may not be able to respond to your feedback directly, we will be reading it all. Thank you for partaking in our varied experimentations over the years, and I look forward to more exciting endeavors ahead!

Disclaimer: This blog is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute the practice of medicine, nursing or other professional health care services, including the giving of medical advice, and no doctor/patient relationship is formed. The use of information on this blog or materials linked from this blog is at the user's own risk. The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Users should not disregard, or delay in obtaining, medical advice for any medical condition they may have, and should seek the assistance of their health care professionals for any such conditions.

75 Comments

  1. Totally fine with a slowdown of episodes- I listen for the in-depth nature and the quality, not the quantity. Plus, I only recently became a paying subscriber, so I have LOTS of awesome Qualys to catch up on!

  2. Thank you Peter and team for all of the good work that you have accomplished over the past few years. I enjoy the podcasts – moving to video when it is chart heavy – but really, really appreciate the excellent show notes. Reducing a podcast a month has a benefit, with all the material you now have out there, to review a previous topic of interest; I find that I always learn something in a deeper way that I missed the first time through. I appreciate being introduced to the wide variety of material that you produce, maybe favoring the topics that enable us to take control of our own health based on understanding the “why” and how to measure our progress. Perhaps one current events topic to include would be treatment for COVID. A very interesting guest might include Peter A. McCullough of Baylor.

    • I’m very despondent as regards COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2. I’ve spent part of the past 16 months speed-reading [I’m good at it] endless blogs, papers and reports.

      One only has to listen to or read the blogs of independent experts to doubt the official narrative and believe that we are being ‘played’. It’s unpleasant if not sinister.

      Some of the experts who have put their neck above the line include Dr. Pierre Kory, Dr. Roger Hodkinson, Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, Emeritus Prof. Sucharit Bhakdi, Prof. Byram Bridle, Dr. Robert Malone, Dr. Bret Weinstein, Prof. Carl Heneghan, Prof. John Ioannidis, etc. Dr. John Campbell who started off giving very mild-mannered Youtube talks on the virus now seems at the end of his tether, e.g. with the UK medical establishment’s refusal to consider cheap, generic drugs instead of the gene therapy … so sorry, ‘the vaccine’.

      There was also an interview of a former professional colleague of Fauci, now in her early 60s, who worked with him 40 years ago at the time of AIDS and seems to think that he is unfit to be in his job and is totally corrupted.

      Can I use this word? Yes, I suppose I can because this is a US website. Due to the 1st. amendment, you don’t have such draconian libel laws as the UK does.

      One particularly good source of references challenging the narrative is the UK website lockdownsceptics.org.
      See also
      http://www.hartgroup.org
      https://trialsitenews.com/should-you-get-vaccinated/.

      I leave others to follow up the above and more and draw their own conclusions.

      The stream of material coming out is getting rather beyond my ability to absorb it. To be honest, I’d far rather be pursuing my other interests. But maybe some of this is of use to others who still think that this was a naturally-arising virus. That now seems unlikely.

  3. Re First: Since I delve very deeply into the topics and talks that I have been listening too–that is, I listen to them over and over until I absorb every last detail–the short videos aren’t primarily of interest to me. That said, watching the Sarah Hallberg interview/discussion was extraordinary.
    Re Second: I have had a rather narrow focus on metabolism, diet, fasting, insulin resistance, and so on, so one less episode of month would be perfectly fine with me.
    Re Third: I have listened to your talks with Jason Fung, Rick Johnson, Robert Lustig, Tom Dayspring, Gerald Shulman (and others) with great interest and intensity. All present what seems like part of the larger picture of the metabolic syndrome (writ large) but the overlapping collage thus formed has lacuna and apparent contradictions. This shouldn’t be surprising, yet I wonder how you as a clinician synthesize all of this disparate information? For example, Gerald Shulman identifies in great detail how fatty acids mediate insulin resistance, but how does that square up with the effectiveness of low-carb, high fat diets? What I would love (I don’t expect this for obvious reasons) would be to have two or more of the above together discuss, say, insulin resistance and NAFLD, so that we could see where they agree or where there are areas where they have competing explanations and/or what they see as most important in treating patients on the spectrum of metabolic syndrome. An attempt to synthesize the above on the topic of how dietary fat fits into the puzzle would be greatly appreciated.

    Finally, I am deeply indebted to your podcast for educating me in great depth on the significance of human metabolism on overall health. Your invaluable talks have led me to seek out more information on related topics and to make dramatically positive changes in my life through changes in diet, exercise, and more. I cannot possibly thank you enough.

  4. Even twice a month would be satisfactory for me. There is so much detail that I could listen to each podcast several times and still not comprehend and remember all the information. Well worth the monthly fee! The show notes are impressive and make the podcast so much more than just a listening event. Thanks for all the work that goes into them.

  5. I am following your podcast and wonder if you have seen the Root Cause Protocol (http://rcp123.org) and it’s take on magnesium, copper and iron?

    In this situation with covid-19 I would like to know how to nourish my family and myself as good as possible to avoid sickness.

    The Root Cause Protocol is quite radical and in opposition to the governments recommendations, for instance regarding the supplementation of vitamin D and zinc.

    I would really appreciate if you have the opportunity to check if this research is valid and what you think of the recommendations, for instance in a future podcast.

  6. Context: Paid subscriber¡ have listened to probably 2/3rd of the podcast (skipping many of the disease specific ones – eg cancer and Alzheimer’s).

    1) I listen while driving or hiking and don’t really leverage the video content except some demonstrations of exercises, eg Beth Johnson.

    2) if less is more, perfectly happy with less frequent podcasts

    3) topics: a) dealing with back issues (newly diagnosed herniated disc and being encouraged to consider surgery); b) more on the weight lifting that you personally do – which lifts, why, etc, c

    • One more topic suggestion: Given your ability to decode / interrogate the science and notwithstanding that maybe this topic is too political, I’d love to hear an episode in which you interview someone regarding the science about the origins of Covid. This seems one of those topics which, while not about longevity, you’re uniquely qualified to help make sense of something requiring probabilistic thinking rooted in hard science.

  7. (addendum to my earlier comment) I wanted to add my name to those others having requested that you interview Dr. Andrew Weil. I have been aware of his work, (after reading his first book) and following his career, on and off, for about 45 years. In the 70’s he was writing about coming problems with antibiotic resistance and his first book challenged me to break out of narrowly focused intellectual thinking. I listened to a recent interview he did with Lewis Howes, and I heard him hit some of the same kinds of high points (e.g. exercise, whole foods, avoiding sugar and refined carbohydrates) that you do, and I think his focus on the “mind” part of the mind-body dichotomy would be interesting juxtaposed with your data-centric approach.

  8. I have been listening for a couple years, benefitting greatly. Thanks!

    I don’t have the means to watch the videos, will miss the decreased frequency of podcasts, but can adjust.

    I am glad to know there are others who relisten to episodes in order to grasp the whole picture. The show notes help tremendously.

    I recommend a series of episodes on the connection between soil micro biome, human health, carbon sequestration into the soil and climate change.

    This is a topic related to the drought flood cycle, pollution of the oceans with agrochemicals, food supply, nutrient density of food crops. It is so connected it might seem to be another crackpot fringe idea, but there is legitimate research behind it, and successful large scale demonstrations of the efficacy of the theories and methods. It is central to climate change, diminishing water tables, the desertification process, and depletion of soil fertility.

    Mark Shepherd of New Forest Farm, Peter Donovan of “Soil Carbon Challenge ” Gabe Brown (somewhere in North Dakota) , Elaine Ingram PhD, are resources you might want to interview, or might find the most articulate speakers on the topic.

    The restoration of the Loess Plateau in China is the largest scale project I know of.

    Unfortunately, it is counter to the financial interests of agribusiness, and the policies of USDA.

    I think it’s worth looking into, and I think you will find many connections between soil health and human health.

  9. As a “member/subscriber,” I appreciate the extraordinary work and approach of your podcasts and the notes. You and your entire team do a tremendous job of breaking down the science so no complaints from me on slowing down. I listen to the podcast and then I watch parts of the YouTube if you refer to a slide specifically.

    I have a couple of suggestions for your consideration:
    1) Given your background, your audience reach, and guests, I would be very interested that you delve deeper into the topics of non-whites/POC health and wellness parity and equity. I think the conversation you had with Dr. Sarah Hallberg recently touched some of your experiences as a medical professional.

    2) Also, I’ve hooked my teen into listening to your podcasts as well while driving to hiking locations. She has now promoted it to her high school friends. I think there is an enormous audience who want to consider general habits and strategies to promote their healthspan. I know many of your guests have addressed some issues in the podcast but it would be interesting to have a podcast or AMA on this demographic that could be beneficial to the youth, as well as parents and practitioners.

  10. I am totally fine with reducing the cadence, but I am still big fan of the in depth you are doing on each topic so I would not want that to be affected in any way. It’s what I love about this podcast. I cannot congratulate you and the team for everything you do!
    As for guests, it would be interesting to see David Eagleman or Andrew Huberman being interviewed by you.
    Keep on the great work!

  11. Would you consider doing an episode on osteoporosis? The “cure” often seems worse than the disease with the medications currently available. There are many people out there who are confused once a diagnosis is made. It would be so fabulous to have your team take a dive into the disease and available treatments (cost/ benefit) for the common meds (Reclast, Fosomax, HRT, etc)
    Love the podcast-thank you for all you do!

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