The Packaged Food Challenge: See me with Joe De Sena on Spartan Up!

July 22, 2020 by Joshua
in Fitness, Nature

I’ve written and recorded about my wonderful and challenging experiences with the Spartan Race and its founder Joe De Sena. He hosted me on his podcast, Spartan Up!

I’ve found him and the community inspirational. I found his reflections in the video below before and after our conversation thoughtful and yet more inspirational. Where many people see the work and discomfort in personal challenge and push back, Joe sees opportunity to learn about himself and live more by his values.

He’s trained himself to live this way for decades. The result: a supportive, friendly community, a successful business, fitness, and he looks pretty happy.

Also, check out my thoughts after a weekend on Joe’s farm:

Show notes

How much trash do you create? Professor Joshua Spodek tells Joe De Sena he had been eating packaged food with every meal of his life. One day he decided to take responsibility for his own mess. With every meal, everything we buy from stores, everything we order- we throw something away, and every item of waste you have ever “gotten rid of” still exists in some form, somewhere. Spodek calls Joe De Sena out on his own consumption – and Joe responds.

Spodek, a leadership professor at NYU, has embarked on a journey to lighten his impact on the planet by creating as minimal garbage as possible. It has meant, among other things, that at the supermarket he is buying whole fruits and vegetables because everything else has packaging. The added benefit – a more healthy diet. Take responsibility for how you are participating and contributing. Are you a steward of the land and of your community? Can you implement simple tactics to improve your impact? Spartan’s, we all need to take ownership and initiative around our actions. What will you do today?!


  • Be where you can effect the most change
  • Be a steward of the land
  • Be around a community that challenges you
  • Be resourceful and efficient to fulfill your needs
  • Be mindful of how much trash you create
  • Learn to reduce your impact on the earth
  • Purchase things without packaging
  • Adapt your tastebuds to what’s healthy and local
  • Be motivated by internal factors
  • Be an initiator
  • Be better & just do!



  • 0:00 intro to unpackaging and new podcasts
  • 2:00 intro
  • 2:30 Living in nature and edible forests
  • 4:00 Being a steward of the land
  • 5:00 Transforming kids
  • 7:00 Challenging students at NYU
  • 8:15 Things we can do to be more efficient
  • 10:00 The need to reduce garbage
  • 12:30 break
  • 14:00 Shop.Spartan.Com Be Unbreakable! (Special offer through July 25th)
  • 16:00 Communities strategies on waste
  • 18:00 Figuring out how to reduce how much trash you make
  • 19:30 What can you buy that has no packaging?
  • 21:00 Foraging in the city
  • 22:00 Changing your taste buds
  • 24:00 Walking your talk
  • 25:30 Empowering people to figure it out for themselves
  • 27:15 The meaning of competition
  • 28:30 The rules of engagement with the environment
  • 29:30 Developing skills of an initiator
  • 31:00 Exhausting passing fancies & ideas of a lifetime
  • 32:30 Starting with the emotion
  • 33:10 Why Joe feels uncomfortable
  • 36:00 Just doing & taking ownership of your life
  • 37:10 close




  • Producer – Marion Abrams, Madmotion, llc.
  • Hosts: Joe De Sena Sefra Alexandra, Johnny Waite & Colonel Nye are farming/ not buying plastic 😉
  • Synopsis – Sefra Alexandra | Seed Huntress
  • Production Assistant – Andrea Hagarty
  • © 2020 Spartan

Read my weekly newsletter

On initiative, leadership, the environment, and burpees

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Leave a Reply

Sign up for my weekly newsletter