Justin Ricklefs


10 Healthy Ear Food Meals 🎧

It doesn’t take very many clicks or scrolls to find about a new wellness fad, watch a new product release of mushroom coffee, or listen to some strong opinions on the best foods to live like a superhuman.

All that’s great, well a lot of it. Some of it is lame and hype-y.

But, I’m into and all for feeding ourselves foods that make us well.

Eat Doritos and ice cream every night at 11:30 for two straight months? Wellness erosion will certainly be a thing.

Put some more plants and healthy stuff in your mouth, your cells will thank you for it.

The connection story is one for another post, but after a small world collision, I had coffee with a highly-regarded professor on Friday, who has written four books.

As I’m sure he gets often from those of us with books in our minds, but not in reality yet, I asked, “What was your writing process like, how did you bring these to life?”

He was gracious to engage my question and unpack his process, but one particular concept jumped out among the rest of the wisdom morsels.

“My writing is only as good as my reading habit. If nothing good is going in, nothing good will come out.”

He went on to discuss the audio books he loves, the physical books he’s dog-eared, and the routines that keep his mentality fed, and his creativity strong.

I’ve had this little phrase jotted down in my notes for months now…

Ear Food.

I do love a good physical book, but for me, there’s been a much greater likelihood for me to feed my brain through my ears, than my eyes.

With the amount of time many of us are in front of computers, driving from here to there, waiting on kids at practices, moving our bodies in some form of workout, running errands, etc. – it’s really tempting to feed our brains audio Doritos as a foundational audio diet.

I love Taylor Swift and sports talk radio as much as the next guy, but loading up on that stuff only isn’t bad, it’s just a missed opportunity.

I’d love to hear the veggies you’re putting into your AirPods, car stereo, or your home office.

Here are 10 Ear Food meals that have encouraged, inspired, taught, and/or challenged me in the last several months.

  1. Anne Lamott on The Tim Ferriss Show – a dear friend shared this, and I devoured it. Her metaphor of life being like driving in the dark with your headlights on, trusting the road will continue to emerge, and making the best decision with what you can see now, is awesome. Now, I’m onto the audio version of Bird by Bird.
  2. Atomic Habits by James Clear – practical, inspiring, simple. The best way to climb a mountain, proverbial or Rocky? One tiny step at a time. Sign up for his weekly 3-2-1 email immediately.
  3. Winning the War in Your Mind by Craig Groeschel – the brain is fascinating, and its ability to grow, heal, and learn is only matched by its ability to damage, disconnect, and derail. Craig’s leadership podcast is also well worth a subscribe thumb tap.
  4. Hellah Sibide Ran 3,000 Miles Across the Country (On Plants) – And Kept Going on The Rich Roll Podcast – I fan boy on Rich Roll all the time, but this conversation with Hellah is hella good (dad joke in full effect). His running streak is 😳.
  5. The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill – you can read a million other people’s commentary on the content of this show. But as someone who dabbles in the podcast game, and has clients who does the same, the production of this show and their use of the format is mind-blowing. Incredible storytelling.
  6. 12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson – I’m pretty late to the Jordan Peterson game, and haven’t watched his lectures on YouTube, but I’m halfway through his 12 hour book on the 12 rules he’s outlined as key for a meaningful life.
  7. Lecrae on the Typology Podcast – I’m always down for a recovery story, and this one is full of restoration, authenticity, and courage. Plus Ian Cron is so damn insightful when it comes to Enneagram work.
  8. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy – Similar read as Atomic Habits, but the principles are incredible.
  9. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield – a classic on writing, but so applicable to everything in life. Sit your butt in the chair, and do the work. Quit avoiding it.
  10. Inside by Bo Burnham – OK, so this doesn’t count for ear food, because it was definitely video content, but judging by the amount of times we’ve listened to the music since we watched it 10 days ago, I’m counting it. Haunting, beautiful, poignant, profound, staggering, heart-wrenching, weird, creative, incredible.

How about you? What ear food would you recommend? Doritos are great on occasion too!




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