Take a Walk with a Doctor: Understanding Yourself Through Nature with Jonathan Reisman M.D. (Episode #99)

The best medicines for overwhelm these days are joy and wonder. Both, when you can get it! And today’s guest, Dr. Jonathan Reisman, brings us exactly that. He is a pediatrician and ER physician with a penchant for adventure travel, nature and food, and connecting ideas that no one ever thought to combine. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Slate, and Discover Magazine and now he has a book that is one of the best “bedside reads” you might ever come across: The Unseen Body: A Doctor’s Journey Through the Hidden Wonders of Human Anatomy.


About Our Guest

Dr. Reisman has practiced medicine in some of the world’s most remote places, including Russia, Antarctica, the Himalayan Mountains, rural Appalachia, in the urban slums of Kolkata, and India. All the while, he was collecting cultural wisdom that often points back to the wonder of our bodies: How fat is a hero not the enemy. How knowledge of watersheds in landscapes can improve a doctor’s diagnosis. How urine tells us the story of human origins. Did you know your skin is amazingly smart?

In this conversation you will hear him tell stories that leave you with insights that you can’t “unsee.” And the wonder in that knowledge will make you a better patient, a broader thinker, and he may just expand your skills at connecting things that no one ever thought to combine! That is surely his most remarkable zone of genius. 

He is co-creator of the anatomy- and physiology-based dinner series Anatomy Eats. He runs a non-profit called “World Health and Education Network” (also called “Calcutta Rescue USA“) dedicated to improving healthcare and education for some of the world’s poorest people. 

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Jonathan Reisman M.D.:

Show Notes

[00:00 – 03:55] Opening Segment

  • Live a life of rigorous intention.

[03:56 – 05:10]

  • Jonathan Reisman’s book.
  • The wonder of each vessel that we each have.
  • In the end all we have is our character.

[05:11 – 07:30]

  • The wonder that is the human body.

[07:31 – 13:30]

  • Knowing which branch to take is as simple as knowing as having a map of a network of rivers in your head.
  • Rivers and watersheds, and the human body.

[13:31 – 19:35]

  • Fat is not the enemy, it’s our hero.
  • The story of humans in the arctic is a story of fat.

[19:36 – 23:30]

  • The fat in our diets, on our bodies, and the fat in our bloodstream are all connected with each other.
  • Your appearance doesn’t always correlate to how healthy you are.

[23:31 – 27:40]

  • What you see is really just the person’s skin.
  • Our skin is a brilliant mechanism.

[27:41 – 37:10]

  • Urine and the tale of humanity’s origin.
  • Our blood and its connection with ocean water.
  • We all have a personal little ocean inside of us.

[37:11 – 40:30]

  • Our kidneys are very good at managing what we eat and drink.

[40:31 – 46:00]

  • Where does the brain end and the mind begin?
  • Going up and far away into the mountains to get a new perspective and reflect on things in your life.

[46:01 – 50:25]

  • Neuroplasticity and the wonders of the brain.
  • The brain is not static, it is plastic.
  • Every brain is beautiful.

[50:26 – 58:20]

  • Food and the human body.
  • The most anatomical meal of Jonathan’s life.
  • Using every part of an animal as food.

[58:21 –  ] Closing Segment

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