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Welcome to Episode 181 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, hosted by Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine and Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living An Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle.
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1:05 - BUTCHERBOX: Go To Butcherbox.com/IFPodcast And Get 2 Free Lobster Tails And 2 Free Filet Mignon In Your First Box!
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42:45 - Listener Feedback: Mandy - Food Choices
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Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 181 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. If you want to burn fat, gain energy and enhance your health by changing when you eat, not what you eat with no calorie counting, then this show is for you.
I'm Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine: Lose Weight and Feel Great with Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, and Wine. And I'm here with my cohost, Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle. For more on us, check out ifpodcast.com, melanieavalon.com, and ginstephens.com. Please remember, the thoughts and opinions on this podcast do not constitute medical advice or treatment. So, pour yourself a cup of black coffee, a mug of tea, or even a glass of wine, if it's that time, and get ready for The Intermittent Fasting Podcast.
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All right. Now enjoy the show.
Hi everybody and welcome. This is episode number 181 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with Gin Stephens.
Gin Stephens: Hi, everybody.
Melanie Avalon: How are you today, Gin?
Gin Stephens: I am fabulous. I am just immersed in all sorts of amazing data and learning about myself.
Melanie Avalon: Would you like to elaborate?
Gin Stephens: I would. Melanie knows, because she knows what I'm doing. But for readers of Fast. Feast. Repeat., and even readers of Feast Without Fear, I've been talking about personalized nutrition ever since I first saw that famous TED Talk that I talked about, with Dr. Eran Segal. I saw it first in 2017 and it literally changed my life, to understand that we all have personalized responses to foods. Some of it's based on our genetic background, but a lot of it is our gut microbiome, and really just our hormonal health in general.
In Fast. Feast. Repeat., I talked about the work that Tim Spector is doing. He's my favorite gut microbiome researcher from the UK. And he had a study called the PREDICT Study, and then the PREDICT 2 Study, which some of my friends did a year ago. And I am now participating in the third round of this, PREDICT 3. It's with an app called Zoe, and he's one of the collaborators with it. But as part of the study, for the past seven days, I've been wearing a continuous blood glucose monitor that they sent me, and I have to send it back which is so sad because, man, is it eye-opening to see how my body responds to different foods, with my blood glucose so I can see what it's doing all during the day, all during the night, how it goes up, how it goes down, how it responds to foods. I'm so happy to report that, I'm not surprised, the foods that I thought that worked well for me, guess what?
Melanie Avalon: They work well?
Gin Stephens: They do.
Melanie Avalon: So, are you eating some of their stuff and your stuff?
Gin Stephens: Well, I had to do that for two days. There were two days where I had to start the day eating these muffins that they sent me. Oh, my Lord. Okay, yuck. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: For listeners, we wanted to record the podcast earlier, but Gin was like, “I can't record a podcast after eating the muffin.”
Gin Stephens: I was right. I was predicting that. It was before I had even eaten the muffins, but I had a feeling because I had to eat them in the morning because, see, you couldn't have anything before the muffins except water. I'd wake up in the morning and drink black coffee. So, I had to eat the muffins and then wait four hours and then eat the-- they were actually different muffins and then wait two hours and then I could have real food. The first day of that, I opened at 8:00 AM, and I never eat at 8:00 AM, even on vacation. If I'm going to have breakfast, we usually end up doing more of a brunch. So, I can't think of the last time I've had food at 8:00 AM. But I had to eat, I think, it was three muffins that had been frozen and then I microwaved them. And the first round of muffins, I think they're testing fat clearance, like how quickly your body clears out fat after you eat a high-fat meal. These were high-fat muffins. They are high fat because you could tell by reading the ingredients list. You would not have probably eaten these muffins.
Melanie Avalon: I was going to say, “This is not a Melanie study.”
Gin Stephens: No, you probably wouldn't have eaten the muffins, but the first ingredient was like safflower oil or something.
Melanie Avalon: Oh gosh!
Gin Stephens: I know. I know. I know. But I ate the muffins and then I was so crabby for those three hours because they weren't satisfying at all. If I could have put some butter on there or some strawberry jam, but no. They tasted like a mix between a cornbread muffin and pound cake, but with less flavor. So, then the second set of muffins, they were like gluten-free-ish, I don't know, low-fat muffins. But my blood glucose responded great to both sets of muffins. I had to do this blood test, where I had to squeeze out all this blood onto this card and send it off to be-- Anyway, they're going to test the, I think, my fat clearance because you had to do it a certain number of hours after that and it gives you a lot of information. Oh, I also had to send in a poop sample.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, that's right up my alley.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, so that was interesting. It was a little more hardcore than the one I did for the American Gut Project. I won't go into details, but it was interesting, let's just say. And then I took them all to the post office and mail them in. That was also fun. This guy behind me is like, “What's on your arm?” It was my continuous blood glucose monitor. And I thought that was a very bold question to ask a stranger at the post office, but I explained it. But I should have said, “This is poop in this box,” but I didn't. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: Is putting it on hard?
Gin Stephens: It was actually so very easy. I was scared, but I did it. You stick it to the back of your arm and this little thing, and you just go click and then it just pops in. It was easier than the fingerstick.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, I have two brands of CGM I'm vetting right now, and I haven't done either one yet.
Gin Stephens: Well, this information is just so important, I think, because it showed me-- like I had one meal that I've eaten so far that did not work very well for me. It was the only one and it was a flatbread topped with a lemon ricotta, and then sauteed brussels sprouts, and then like Parmesan cheese and then hot honey. That one shot my blood glucose up higher than anything has so far, probably the honey. But when I've eaten potatoes, when I've eaten rice, even toast with egg on top, I have a very slow, steady rise and then a slow steady back down. Yeah, I think that flatbread didn't have a lot of fat with it. I mean it had some fat, but I probably normally have more fat with my carbs. So, it just kind of spiked me right up.
Melanie Avalon: Fascinating.
Gin Stephens: So fascinating. But, yeah, I feel like this is what's so sad to me. These monitors are by prescription only, and the only way to get a prescription from your doctor for most people for insurance to pay for it, it's for you to already be really sick. But for somebody who's healthy, this can help you know what is leading you to a healthier profile for yourself. So, it seems to me like they would want to put these in the hands of people who are healthy as a preventative measure. I guess that's not the place we are right now yet. But I think this is one of the most exciting preventative tools ever, understanding how your body responds to things.
For example, one day, I had my normal snack and then I had some coconut water. My blood glucose went up pretty high after the coconut water based on what I had prior to that. Whereas another day when I had a snack, waited a couple hours, then had the coconut water, I had a very mild increase.
Melanie Avalon: Well, you know the problem with using this as preventative?
Gin Stephens: Well, I don't know the problem of that. No, what is that?
Melanie Avalon: Because we would eradicate a lot of the need for the medical system if we switch to being preventative.
Gin Stephens: I don't think that they're all just back there with their nefarious plan to keep us hooked on the medical system. I don't know. I don't. I don't think they are. I think that they want to want us to be healthy. They want to help us. I mean, maybe big pharma, okay. But the doctors want us to be better. They want us to be healthy.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I meant more big pharma. Yeah, like implementation of policy into everything.
Gin Stephens: Well, okay, policy is a whole different ball of wax. But it's really sad that I'm going to have to send it back. It's not a toy. It's not a plaything. It's not, “Oh, this is fun.” It's like, wow, this is powerful data that is teaching me so many important things.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I love it. I'm excited to try mine. I was going to do it earlier, but then, as Gin knows, I got surgery, fixed my deviated septum to breathe better. Listeners, Gin was right.
Gin Stephens: Gin was right. Let's just say that, “Gin was right.”
Melanie Avalon: I was like, “I'll be fine.” And Gin was like, “It's going to be really awful.”
Gin Stephens: I was right.
Melanie Avalon: And it was really awful.
Gin Stephens: I knew it would be.
Melanie Avalon: It was so terrible. I basically just stayed on the couch and watched Disney movies, all of the live-action versions of all the Disney movies, like Aladdin and Mulan. Spoiler alert, the new live-action Mulan does not have singing.
Gin Stephens: Oh, that's interesting.
Melanie Avalon: It's very upsetting.
Gin Stephens: I would probably like it better.
Melanie Avalon: Probably, you would.
Gin Stephens: That sounds cool. I'm going to watch it.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, it was really, really tragic. But, no, I would go to get the mail and I was done for the day. Yeah.
Gin Stephens: Yeah. Any anything like that.
Melanie Avalon: I just felt like I was dying. I had to reevaluate. I was like, “Okay, what tools do I have to support my health, getting back on recovering," because I can't do my sauna, can't do exercise. I think that's the worst, is knowing you can't lift heavy things. That's what I thrive on, is lifting, and I can't get my heart rate up. So, I couldn't do my cold showers, can't do my sauna, couldn't breathe, so can't do my breathing. I was like, “I have nothing.” It stopped taking NMN and NR, the precursors to NAD. I started taking that again because we talked about Elysium, I think,before on the show.
Gin Stephens: Right.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, it could have been a coincidence. But when I started taking that I started feeling a lot better.
Gin Stephens: Well, that's good.
Melanie Avalon: I don't know if it just happened to be a timeline, coincidence that that's how it lined up. I'm taking it for life, not stopping this time. For listeners. I'll put links to all of that in the show notes. But that's that.
Gin Stephens: Well, I'm glad that you're on the mend. So, you're feeling like yourself again?
Melanie Avalon: Getting there. Excited to breathe because breathing is everything.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, it is. I had my adenoids taken out in, gosh, 1991. I was 21, I guess, when I had the surgery done, and I remember it being terrible.
Melanie Avalon: Because that's on your nose too? Was that on your nose?
Gin Stephens: It's between your nose and your tonsils.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, okay. I was just doing a lot of contemplations about anesthesia. It's so weird.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, I hate anesthesia. Hate it.
Melanie Avalon: And then, I started having memories that I'm not sure if they're real memories. I thought I blacked out. Or I thought stopped remembering things at a certain point. But then, I started remembering things from the OR room before the surgery that I hadn't remembered for, and I was like, “Wait, so if I think about this enough, I like remember everything.”
Gin Stephens: Oh, I don't want to. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: It's very, very scary. In any case.
Gin Stephens: Well, hooray for breathing. That's good.
Melanie Avalon: I know. Shall we jump into everything for today?
Gin Stephens: Yes, let's get started.
Melanie Avalon: All right, so to start things off, we have a follow-up email from Bronwyn who wrote into the show before. And the subject is “Thank You.” And Bronwyn says, “Hi, Gin and Melanie, thank you so much for answering my question in Episode 174. Every time I listen and hear you say hello to me, Gin. I grin from ear to ear and say hello, back out loud.”
Gin Stephens: Hello.
Melanie Avalon: “I'm glad you both like my name. It's Scottish.” She says her mother spent two years in the UK in the late 60s before she got married. She says, “I loved your air conditioner thermostat analogy, Gin.” And for listeners, that was I think about--
Gin Stephens: Her weight setpoint.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, right.
Gin Stephens: It was about how your body tries to keep you at a certain weight setpoint. That's what I think.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. So, she says, “However, I already know my air conditioner/body is broken and I need to find the answer to healing before it can adjust to match the thermostat. What I really wanted to know is the mechanism of how it manages to not lose weight. Melanie, you covered it. And I guess for me, the likely answer is I'm making glucose from protein after I run out of fuel from each previous meal.” Just really quickly to that, I'm not necessarily saying that, I guess, I don't know. I don't know if like the reason you're losing weight is because you're making glucose from protein. But basically, what we talked about is, you can be fasted or seemingly you think you'd be burning fat but actually the liver is upregulating gluconeogenesis and producing blood sugar from protein. A lot of things can go on in your body.
She says, “Thank you so much for taking so much time to discuss the possible ways forward. It took a weight off me that you thought more or longer fasting was not the answer. I don't enjoy ADF at the moment. May interest you, Melanie, to know that I came to IF from seven years of a diet called Trim Healthy Mama.” Have you heard of that, Gin?
Gin Stephens: I have heard of it just because I've been in these groups for so many years. But here's what's so cool. I didn't have to do that one because I was already doing intermittent fasting when it got really popular. So, if it had come out earlier, I'm sure I would have done it.
Melanie Avalon: Probably would have done it.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, but because it came out-- I'd never heard of it until after I did intermittent fasting, so I never had to try it.
Melanie Avalon: It's nice. Although the concept she talks about is something I personally apply because she says, “Which is based on separating fuels, fat, and carbs into different meals. I listened several times to your interview with Cyrus and Robby, and it's so very interesting. I recognize that the ideal would be to pick a fuel and stick with it. I have not eaten PUFAs since I started it.”
Gin Stephens: Can I hop in? Oh, go ahead. I just wanted to say, I think this is where it's so important to know your body. I haven't tested a meal that's completely carbs with no fat yet because even the one yesterday that cause my blood glucose to go up so much higher, had less fat, but it still had some fat. But I do plan to try a meal that's it's even more carbs than that just to see what that does too. But for me, when I have-- the meals that I've been testing that I've done so well with have plenty of carbs and plenty of fat. So, I think for me having the fat and carbs together, I've always said that that works really well for me, but it's showing up also in the way my blood glucose is responding.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I think it's definitely really individual. Gin, you just have epic, epic metabolism, blood sugar control processing of fuels.
Gin Stephens: If I went in there right now after we finished recording, I have these pretzels with, I don't know, this cinnamon, sugar, yogurt coating on there that someone sent me. If I went in and just ate those on an empty stomach, I'm pretty sure that's mostly carbs. It's very sugary. I'm pretty sure my blood glucose would spike up really fast and crash back down. I'm probably not going to do that, but I don't like the way it feels. But I just naturally gravitate towards-- I wouldn't go and just eat a bunch of crackers by themselves. I would put cheese with them because I know that I feel better when I do that. I don't feel well if I just had a cookie, for example. I just know that the fat really helps my body process the carbs. People know. If you know that when you eat something you feel terrible after you eat it, there's something going on in your body that is telling you that.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. 100%.
Gin Stephens: Anyway, I just had to pop that in there. You were going to say something about that too?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, we're all individual. For me, I really benefit from separating the fats versus the carbs. And I'm just going to say she said she hasn't eaten PUFAs, which are polyunsaturated fats since she started it. I interviewed Cate Shanahan, Gin. She wrote Deep Nutrition, which was a book that both Gin and I read and really, really appreciated. But she wrote a new book called Fatburn Fix that I talked about, I think, at length on the show, but it's really all about polyunsaturated fats. So, I think when this comes out, that episode might be out. So, I will put a link to it in the show notes. But she was really great.
Her focus in college was fatty acid metabolism. I was like, “Oh my goodness. That's what I'm obsessed with.” So, yep. Anyways, back to Bronwyn. She says, “After a lifetime of dieting, I'm not sure whether I'm ready to go back to that. Gin, thank you for the freedom of IF. But Melanie, I recognize that you're the type of person who enjoys control over what you eat. And that's great.”
Gin Stephens: I have to log everything that I'm eating in the Zoe app for this study, and it is making me die, like having to lock it. And then, I put some Triscuits on my plate, and I was going to eat them and I was like, “I have to count them,” and then it was like there were nine and then I had to put it the serving size but the box the serving size was six and so I had to put in either one serving or two, and I couldn't-- So I was like, I just ate three more. But I was like, “This is crazy.” I hate, hate, hate to log. Even though I'm eating what I want, having to write it down is just making me get crazy. Anyway, but it's data, I'm learning.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I want to address that because I don't like logging or all of that. My aspect of control-- because I found that interesting that she said that because I do wonder how I come across, so hearing that is interesting. I just like having control over my particular-- I think I'm just more selective in what I eat because of how my body--
Gin Stephens: Yeah, I was going to use the word choosy. Choosy with ingredients. You would not have eaten those muffins. You would have been like, “I'm sorry, I can't participate in this study.” Where I like ate them and was crabby about it all day but did it.
Melanie Avalon: That was one thing I loved. I did interview Wim Hof as well. And he has a whole thing about control, and he's talking about how, at least when it comes to our mind, having control over our mind is actually the ultimate freedom because when you control your mind, that is freedom. And I thought that was a nice paradigm shift. Back to our email.
She says, “At the same time that episode aired, I also got the results of blood tests with the doctor I finally found who do proper thyroid testing. My thyroid function is healthy. Go figure.” But she said it did show that she was low on progesterone, she started taking that. She's planning on giving herself a month or so on progesterone before making any changes. But after that, she says, “If I am still stalled, I would like to try to concentrate more on separating fuels for a while. As I said, I simply can't face picking one and sticking with it forever. But, Melanie, a brief question for you. Would it be enough to separate them by full days, i.e., one day fat-based, the next carb based or do I have to man up and pick one to stick with until I get to the goal or break the stall, but not forever.”
The concept of not combining fuels because of having efficient metabolism of that meal because what we're referring to is basically there's something called the Randle cycle, which is carbs and fat, and they compete-- basically, if you have both at the same time, it's not super-efficient, especially for people who struggle to have metabolic flexibility and handle different types of macronutrients. And then, there's also the potential issues of carbs and fat competing or messing up insulin receptors. I'm just hypothesizing or theorizing, but I think as long as the last meal has cleared, like Gin was talking about that meal with a muffin, or that muffin, maybe potentially be testing how long it takes like fat clearance from the blood, I think that would probably be an indicator of how long in between you need to go. I think probably switching back and forth between days is totally fine. It's more-- and some people do this but if this is really what you're trying to look at, and you want to switch between like low-carb, high-fat and high-fat, low-carb, I would separate them by days. I wouldn't do the morning one and then the evening another. I would probably separate by days.
She wants to know like, “Should you go longer until she breaks the plateau?” Honestly, you just have to try different things. So, maybe you could try a week where you do switch back and forth on different days or maybe you feel intuitive about it like, “Oh, today I feel like I want it to be a high-carb, low-fat day compared to a low-carb, high-fat day." Did I say that right? You guys know what I'm saying. Or you could try sticking one out. It's really going to have just be self-experimentation.
Last thing she says is, “Something interesting happened since her previous email, I had thousands of dollars' worth of horse gear stolen from my tack shed and it was very stressful. I immediately went from ADF to barely managing 16:8. I've gradually worked back to 20:4 now, but I was 16:8 or 17:7 for a few weeks. And I was sure that I would gain weight, but I only gained up to the top of the 3-kilogram range that I've been in since December. Then, I dropped back to the middle of that range where I'm sitting now. So, my statement that I gained without ADF appears to be wrong, or maybe some healing has happened.” And then, she says, “Thanks, again, for your comprehensive answer to my question.”
Yeah. So, two little things we could talk about in there, is when people have stressful events, and then feeling the need to lengthen their eating window. Nothing wrong with that. Do you thoughts about that?
Gin Stephens: It's true, we do hear that. Right now, a lot of the group members who live in the western United States are having a very stressful time with the fires and having to evacuate. And so, we've had a number of posts of people who are just overwhelmed from the stress of it. And some of them are like, “I've leaned into my fasting practice, and that has helped me deal with the stress.” Whereas some others are saying, “I've had to just relax my fasting time because that's helping me.” Neither is wrong. It's all about just what your body and how you can deal with that, that stress of the moment.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, 100%. I think a lot of people probably experience that as well, where the more you've been doing intermittent fasting, you may find that when it changes or you lengthen the window, and then you come back to it, the more you've work the muscle, it can be easier to jump back in and see results potentially faster.
Gin Stephens: Your body doesn't have to start from day one all over again. Maybe if you stopped for years, but not if it's just a matter of days, weeks, even months.
Melanie Avalon: One thing I think we talked about with Dr. Cate on that episode was she was talking about fasting because we've talked so much about how the body can hormonally adapt, and it can do all at once to shut down fat burning, or try to maintain a certain body weight. But fasting is the one approach where, even if it does try to make counter-regulatory mechanisms to stop weight loss, it's like the one thing where it really does force your body to tap into things. As long as I feel like eating throughout the day, your body can just wait for the next thing.
Gin Stephens: That's true. Slow it down a little. That's how I felt that day that I was eating those muffins. I felt like somebody who was on a typical calorie-controlled, low-calorie day where you have your little crazy low-calorie breakfast, and then you have to wait and eat your crazy low-calorie lunch muffins, oh, my Lord, I was like, “I'm really hungry.” Thanks to intermittent fasting, there's never a time where I'm starving and not allowed to eat, ever, ever. I just go through the fast every day. If I felt super starving on one day, I would just go ahead and eat, but I don't. But if I did, I would, but I couldn't. It was so crazy. It really hearkened back to those diet days where I was following a rule. And I could not eat because I was following the directions of the study.
Melanie Avalon: That sounds really miserable.
Gin Stephens: It was eye opening. I followed my husband around and talked to him a lot that day. I think he ran out the door back to work. But I was like, “I'm so hangry. This is just like being on a diet.” It reminds me but it helped me remember, thank goodness, I never have to be hungry and not eat again, unless I do another study or something. But it's the freedom of that.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it's amazing.
Gin Stephens: The day that I ate the most was the day I was the hungriest all day long. So, think about that people
Melanie Avalon: I know. That’s the way it is. Yeah.
Gin Stephens: All right. Well, great to hear from you Bronwyn. I'm glad you're tweaking and figuring things out. And sorry about that horrible theft of the horse gear.
Melanie Avalon: I know, that's really terrible, speaking from experience when getting things stolen. Really, really terrible.
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And now back to the show.
This one is from Eric and the subject is “ADF and Vitamin D.” Eric says, “I have seen evidence that suggests vitamin D is critical in the fight against COVID-19. With vitamin D being fat soluble, it is recommended to be taken with meals. I am doing ADF and would like to know what is the best way to supplement vitamin D on my down day. I am currently taking vitamin D with breakfast and dinner on my up days, but don't know if this is the best way. What would you recommend? Thanks for all you do. IF is changing my life. Love you, ladies. Thanks, Eric.”
Melanie Avalon: All right, Eric. So, thanks for your questions. Yes, the vitamin D connection, especially to COVID susceptibility and just our immune system is huge, like huge. Having vitamin D levels up seems to be so important, and one of the sad or unfortunate things is that with the quarantine situation, a lot of us are staying even more indoors and getting less outside sun exposure as well. So, vitamin D supplementation could definitely help. It is fat soluble. I take a brand by Thorne, I think it's an MCT oil carrier. So, I would recommend to having it with your breakfast and dinner on your up days. And I would recommend still taking it on your down days, that small amount, I don't see a problem with, breaking fast or whatever. You also definitely want to take the D3 form, which is in the Thorne version that I use. So, I'll put a link to that. Gin, do you have thoughts?
Gin Stephens: I just read that yesterday. Tim Spector that I was talking about earlier doing the gut work, the PREDICT studies. He has a new book, Spoon-Fed is the name of his new book, and I read his other book, The Diet Myth years ago. Oh my gosh, funny story, Melanie, by the way, he and I must have read the exact same studies because-- and thank goodness, my book came out first because his calories chapter in Spoon-Fed was like the same exact examples I gave. He talked about the nuts. He talked about the meat. He talked about the cheese sandwich. He didn't go into as much detail about the cheese sandwich as I did. But he talked about the NOVA food classification scale. It was fabulous. But his book came out in August. So, there's no way I could have copied him. I was like, “This looks like I plagiarized him,” but I did not. If you're reading the same studies, I guess it would get you the same information.
Anyway, he has a chapter on supplements and he's a doctor in addition to being a researcher, and he has a great chapter on supplements in that book. And he said he used to always recommend that people take vitamin D supplements as a physician, but now, after everything he's researched, he believes the best way to get it is just get out in the sun, and I know that some parts of the year, you can't. He lives in the UK, so he just gets 15 minutes of sun on his skin and gets his vitamin D like that. So, anyway, I just read that yesterday, which is why I'm popping that in there. Just something to consider instead of taking it as a supplement-- I'm not going to tell you not to take it as a supplement, but maybe on your down day, just go outside.
Melanie Avalon: There's also an app when I had Robb Wolf on that he's obsessed with, and it's called dminder, I think. I’ll put a link to it. But apparently, so you put in your skin type and your location.
Gin Stephens: And where you live. Yeah.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. And it tells you exactly when to go outside for how long to get the optimal amount of vitamin D absorption.
Gin Stephens: Okay, that I could live with. That is a fabulous-- Okay, I got to find that out, dminder.
Melanie Avalon: dminder. So, we'll put a link in the show notes.
Gin Stephens: I just thought it was interesting to see Tim Spector’s analysis because he said that the more he's learned about supplements, the fewer supplements he would ever take or recommend.
Melanie Avalon: That's the way I feel, honestly. I've done a lot of research on vitamin D supplementation, and it's complicated because it's hard to know. A lot of the studies find that people supplementing have potentially worse outcomes, but I think it's because the people supplementing, they were low, they're not the robust people with the high vitamin D to start with. So, it's really complicated. It's hard to know what is the causative factor there.
Gin Stephens: What did he say? Let me see if I can say what the way he said it. “The disease causes the deficiency, rather than the deficiency causing the disease.” I think that was something he said like that.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, I'm thinking about this a lot. I love that.
Gin Stephens: Yeah. So, but then you measure it and you're like, “Oh, look, you're deficient. And you have this disease, the deficiency caused the disease,” when really the disease caused the deficiency.
Melanie Avalon: It's really interesting. I'm prepping right now for, I think it's the Caltons, they wrote Rebuild Your Bones. And their theory is that pretty much all disease is from micronutrient deficiency. It's just funny because they have the exact opposite theory. So, they would say that it's backwards. They would say-- may probably do say almost that exact sentence that the deficiency causes the disease, not the disease caused the deficiency-- Oh.
Gin Stephens: I know. And look, all these people are respected in their field, respected researchers. And he talks a lot in Spoon-Fed about the problem with studies and misinterpreting studies and how short they are and how little we really know. I think that's just important. And that's what he does. He's a researcher, so finding good studies and really making something that will apply.
Melanie Avalon: I don't know, after hearing some stories about studies, I'm just-- it's hard to know, it's hard to know.
Gin Stephens: It really is, it really is. And just one thing that I love from him so much is the whole-- we're all different. That is just so key. And the more people that can start to understand this, the better. There is no one best way to eat. And the science is showing that over and over and over and more and more, that you have to take things with a grain of salt, in even studies.
Melanie Avalon: Where did that phrase come from? Every time I hear that, I wonder where that came from.
Gin Stephens: I don't know, maybe like the ancient Romans or something? Because they used salt for currency. I don't know I just made that up. Maybe someone will write in and tell us.
Melanie Avalon: Or maybe it's because salt makes things more palatable.
Gin Stephens: Oh, maybe, it does make food delicious.
Melanie Avalon: Who knows?
Gin Stephens: That's probably it.
Gin Stephens: You're probably right. All right. Well, Eric, I don't know if we helped you or not, but I'm going to get that dminder. That's a great idea.
Melanie Avalon: Definitely.
Gin Stephens: Because I really would rather get it from the sun, just from what I've read.
Melanie Avalon: I would too. I was going to even say I should probably be controversial and say--
Gin Stephens: Tanning bed.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah.
Gin Stephens: I knew you were going to say that. [laughs] I was waiting for it.
Melanie Avalon: I know. I'm just going to say it. I do think getting a membership at a tanning place-- And I'm being very specific with this doing just the UVB beds, which are going to be the cheaper beds anyway, and literally going in for, I'm saying like a minute.
Gin Stephens: Your goal is not to be tanned. Your goal is to get the rays, the UVB.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, because I really think vitamin D is huge.
Gin Stephens: Now, when we talked about this early on, maybe in 2017 and you said that, we got some pretty irate emails from people that were upset, but I guess our listeners now know that if you are suggesting something, you have researched it fully and are not worried about the dangers.
Melanie Avalon: Definitely, whenever you do a tanning bed, of course, there is the concern or the risk of skin cancer but I think in the grand scheme of things, in the overall picture, especially during the winter months when we're not getting sun exposure outside, weighing the cost-benefit for a lot of people, I think it's probably more beneficial to do very low-dose UVB bed, only going for like a minute, doing that. I don't know how often, but I found it was cheaper-- because some of the places have unlimited monthly, but I found was actually cheaper at least where I went, which I think was Palm Beach Tan, you could buy like credits, so like packages, and that was what turned out to be cheapest.
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And now back to the show.
Melanie Avalon: Shall we go on to the next question?
Gin Stephens: Yes, let's go on to the next one.
Melanie Avalon: All right. So, the next question comes from Mandy. The subject is "Food Choices." And Mandy says, “I love your show, and I find it so helpful. I can't stop listening. And I just learned something new and intriguing each time I listen. So, thank you both for all the time and research you do in helping all of us who are on this journey to a better healthier me.” She says, “I've been IFing since January 1st, 2020.” Just thinking about January 1st, 2020, who knew that 2020 was going to be what it is.
Gin Stephens: Nobody.
Melanie Avalon: I know. She says, “I have no doubt this is the health plan, I won't say diet, that I feel is the way of life for me and what I know will be best for me long term. I started out doing 16:8 and eventually to 18:6. For about a two-week period, I was doing 20:4 and I did one 24-hour fast. I had a couple setbacks around Easter and again after my husband and I returned from vacation in July. So now, I typically do 18 to 19 hours fasting with a five- to seven-hour eating window. I do 16:8 on the weekends. I have not lost much weight in nine months. I'm fluctuating between five pounds. I admit, I haven't been doing pictures routinely or measuring but when I did last, I had lost inches. I lose the five pounds and then I gain it back usually because of a date night splurge with my husband each week."
She says, “My question is this. I feel like I'm obsessing about what to eat all the time. I'm constantly thinking about what should I open my window with? What should I make for dinner? I would love to open my window with the same type of thing daily to keep it simple for me when I am at work. I'm a nurse practitioner and I don't really have time to think about food when I'm at work, but I find myself doing it anyway. I also work all kinds of shifts, which makes it a little difficult to be consistent. When it's time to open my window, I'm ready to eat anything and everything. I also have the influences of people wanting to eat out when I am at work. Then when I need to eat dinner with my family, it's like I'm too full to eat the big meal we desire during this time, resulting in most likely me overeating in my window. I would love to eat cleaner. So, I am trying to do that. I also recently submitted a food sensitivity test and I'm waiting for results on that which I know will help determine what causes me inflammation.
How do I stop obsessing about what I should be eating each day? What are the best things to open my window with, so I feel satisfied but I'm not ruining my meal later? Examples of what I've been doing in the past, avocado toast on a low-carb tortilla with bagel seasoning and cheese, and Diet Energy V8, which has 2 grams of carbs, spicy bean, veggie burger and butternut squash spirals or rice cauliflower, crackers/cheese and veggies. I snack on nuts, cheese, or have an apple, but often cave to the junk snacks everywhere in my office that is not supplied by me, which are constantly in my face. Can you give any advice as to where to start? I know everyone is different and you can't tell what my body wants.”
We just talked about that. She says, “But I just want to stop thinking about foods so much and stressing about what to eat. Thanks in advance. And sorry for the long email question.” I love this question. So, Gin, what are your thoughts?
Gin Stephens: Well, it sounds like to me that the approach that you're doing right now is a great maintenance protocol for your body because that's what's happening. You're not losing weight, you're fluctuating between those five pounds up and down, and you're having pretty flexible weekends with 16:8. I can tell you that if I did 16:8 every weekend when I was trying to lose weight, I would not have lost weight because I needed shorter eating windows. And I know the not-fun part is that when your goal is weight loss, you do need to be more mindful even on the weekends. I talked about that in Delay, Don't Deny, Saturday is not a special occasion because it happens every week because that was always my biggest stumbling block until I finally was like, “Okay, I've got to crack down on this to lose the weight.” So, I needed a tighter window to lose weight. And it sounds like to me, Mandy, that might be true for you as well.
You mention that your shifts are different all the time and that your struggle seems to be at work. So, I don't really know if this is feasible or not, because I don't know how long your work shifts are. But when I was a teacher, I was at school for eight hours, most days eight hours, some days longer. If we had a faculty meeting, I could be there for 10 hours, or if we had a special event after school. I did not eat until I got home from work. I just didn't because you're exactly right, Mandy. I am pretty sure probably the food that you have around you is the same kind of food that I had around me as a teacher in the teachers’ workroom, not good stuff, just junk food all around. People would bring in treats, we would have sweet treat day, where people would bring in doughnuts. It was just all over the place. And it was also very unusual for us to get to go out to lunch, that was only on like a teacher workday. So that was not really something I had as a challenge. But it was so much easier. I didn't take food with me, I didn't eat what was there unless it was a very special occasion and the food had to be worth it. But I just didn't eat at work.
And I would go to work, I worked my eight hours, my 10 hours if it was a faculty meeting day, and then I came home and then I opened my window and I ate. And it was just so easy. Then on the weekend, I would probably have a five-hour window or so, open in the earlier afternoon, and then have a good dinner later. If I were trying to lose weight, two full meals on a Saturday and the Sunday would not have done it for me. I would have been weight stable doing that. When you get to maintenance, you can be more flexible, but you've got to tap into those fat stores and have some reason to burn them.
So, if you haven't read Fast. Feast. Repeat., I would read that. And I would focus on the Feast section. Also, there's an Intermittent Fasting Toolbox chapter that could really help you and then Tweak It Till It's Easy. And you just really want to find what you need to do to get that weight to start coming off. And so, what you're doing now isn't really it. I think that would be where I would start. You're very focused on what to eat, what to eat, what to eat. I used to be like that to thinking that if I could just find the magical foods that would be the key. And I've realized, “Yes, food is important,” but I never lost weight on the magical foods. It was always on more of the when. Real food, yes.
Now, I will say choosing real food over the junky food, that's huge. But overstressing on whether it's rice cauliflower or nuts, I would do less stressing about that. Eliminating the junk snacks, yes, eating real food, real food that is delicious.
Melanie Avalon: I don't even know how much she stressed about trying to lose weight as much as her just obsession about thinking about food all the time and what to eat.
Gin Stephens: Well she did say she hasn't lost much weight in nine months and she's fluctuating between five pounds and I think that is part of her struggle.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, well she said she lost inches but that she gains back and forth this five pounds because of date nights. She feels like she's obsessing about what to eat all the time and it's like, “What should I open my window with? What should they make for dinner?” So, I'm glad you said that, Gin, about how when you were a teacher, you just didn't eat, while you were working. Because that's what I was going to suggest, Mandy, is it actually feels to me like-- this kind of goes back to what Bronwyn was saying about the control aspects. But often when we're in a nebulous gray zone, and it depends on your personality type. But for a lot of people, if they are in a nebulous gray zone about what they are or aren't eating, it just leads to a lot of stressing about what to eat, like decision fatigue, because you don't have like a clear boundary about anything that you can just stick to.
So, I would suggest trying to actually come up with some more rules that you can stick to surrounding everything and know that you can change the rules. So, you can try different things, but maybe coming up with more black and white rules about everything, and then not breaking them. I'm not saying you're bingeing, and I wish this book wasn't called this, but in the book Never Binge Again, by Glenn Livingston, he talks a lot about this, and about the importance of just coming up with like a plan and sticking to it, and then not listening to that voice in the head that's trying to do different things or convince you to-- she talks about caving to junk snacks in the office everywhere. For that, you just make a rule that you're not going to eat the junk snacks. So, it's not like-- and I know that sounds like really simple, but if you want to really try to make this work and not have this issue of feeling like you are constantly being controlled by these questions of what to eat, and should I eat this, or should I not eat this? So, coming up with some rules like you're not getting snacks at work, you're just not, you're not, it's not an option.
And then, I do like the idea of tightening up the window. So, you're talking about opening with these different snacks-- you're trying to find snacks you can open with, but then also still eat your hearty meal later. I will say for me, we're all different, and she even says we're all different, but eating things like nuts, or avocado or stuff like that, if I were to eat that as a snack, I would be way less hungry later. So, if you do want to still have some sort of snack, but still be hungry later, I would suggest thinking more about that. And maybe doing things like not cheese, not nuts, not stuff like that, doing more just maybe vegetables or fruits or something like that.
Gin Stephens: And can I pop in? Some people actually find that, to the point that you just made, they can't open with a snack and then have a meal later. They do better to just open with their meal. You open with a meal and then have a snack later. Even though you want to eat dinner with your family and you're too full to eat the big meal then, maybe consider the meal with your family as the snack time and that you're only going to just have a little bit-- you're still eating together, you're just having a smaller portion. Just because it's a big meal, you don't have to eat the big meal. You can have some of the big meal.
Melanie Avalon: So, if she does that, are you saying she still has another meal?
Gin Stephens: I'm saying, open with your meal. Open with a meal. Whatever time you open, instead of trying to open with a snack and then have a big meal later, open with a big meal and then have something more snack-ish later, but you can sit down with your family and whatever they're eating as that dinner can be your snack. Does that make sense? Let's say you've made, I don't know, chili. You're having chili and baked potatoes with the family. I just made that up. That doesn't sound like what she would eat but I would. Chili and backed potatoes, back in the day, when I was cooking for my family. Just have a little bit of potato and a small serving of chili because you've already eaten your large meal earlier. Some people need to open with their large meal and then have a snack later if they're still hungry. Does that make sense?
Melanie Avalon: It does. Alternatively, could she try to cut the snack and just make the meal with the family, the big meal?
Gin Stephens: Totally. She totally could. Yeah.
Melanie Avalon: I was a little bit unclear about the avocado and all that stuff. But it sounds like she's talking about that being snacks and--
Gin Stephens: And like what she's taken to work. It sounds like she's taken that to work to have it at work. I don't know. It's hard to tell.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah.
Gin Stephens: I think she's opening her window at work.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, she does say, “I snack on nuts, cheese, or have an apple, often cave to junk snacks.”
Gin Stephens: If I tried to have a little tiny snack at work, I would probably then be starving and caving and eating the junk snacks too. That's why it was so much easier just to not eat at work. Like with the muffins the other day. I had eaten those muffins and now I need to eat some food, but I couldn't. It's hard to stop with a little bit.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it really is. I know it sounds like really nebulous to stop obsessing, just making rules and stop obsessing, but it can be pretty freeing for a lot of people. And like I said, you can change it around. So, you can try and come up with like one plan you want to follow and then try it and then don't think about it, and just do the plan. And then, if it doesn't work, come up with a new plan.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, exactly. Tweak it till it's easy.
Melanie Avalon: And then when you find yourself thinking about it-- because the good thing about having the rules is, if your brain’s like, “Huh, should I do something else?” No, because you already made the plan and you're seeing if it works. So, then you learn to not engage with this constant back and forth in your head of what you should or should not be doing. You just do it, evaluate if it worked or didn't work, and then keep doing it or adjust the plan.
Gin Stephens: That's how my mind works completely. I guess we're all different with that. But the month that I had completely alcohol free recently, I didn't wrestle every night with “Should I have a glass of wine with dinner or not?” I was like, “Nope, I'm not having any wine.” It was super easy. I didn't have to think about it. Whereas in all the months of 2020, every night, I was like, “Should I have wine, or should I not have wine? I don't know. I want to drink less. Oh.” And it was always a struggle. But then once I flipped that switch, I'm not having wine, I'm not having alcohol, it was like, “Bloop, okay, easy decision made.” And I didn't even have to worry about it. Or think about it or want it, I wasn't craving it.
Melanie Avalon: It's so much easier. And I think people are hesitant to do it because it sounds like, “Oh, you're being controlling or not being intuitive.” But having that approach to life, it can be really freeing. And like I said, you can always change it, to clarify about that. You're not going to change it that day, because that would be going back to questioning it. It's like so you would make the plan and you stick to it for however long the days it is and then reevaluate. Melanie, on the other hand, is back to alcohol and loving it.
Gin Stephens: I did have alcohol last night because I wanted to test it with my blood glucose meter.
Melanie Avalon: How did it affect things?
Gin Stephens: It didn't seem to affect it a lot at the time but all morning today, I had higher blood glucose than I've been having. I had really high blood glucose in the fasted state versus I don't usually. And I also slept so terribly last night. I woke up at like 2:00 AM and I was awake all night after that because I was really doing some science, so I wanted to make sure I had enough. In the middle of the night, I was like, “Yeah, this is not working for me.”
Melanie Avalon: It's so funny because we're complete opposites. I really intuitively, when I'm drinking wine, I feel my blood sugar control, my glycemic control is so much better. So interesting.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, it really is. And you're probably right.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. For me.
Gin Stephens: Yeah. For you. Yeah, exactly. But for me, no.
Melanie Avalon: Yep. All right. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. So, a few things for listeners before we go. If you'd like to submit your own questions to the podcast, you can directly email firstname.lastname@example.org or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. You can find all the stuff that we like at ifpodcast.com/stuffwelike. You can get the show notes for today's episode. Those are at ifpodcast.com/episode181. You can follow us on Instagram, we are @ifpodcast. I'm @melanieavalon, Gin is @ginstephens. Speaking of Gin, I just realized on Facebook, I can be like doing my Instagram from Facebook. Did you know this? And it's so much easier than on Instagram.
Gin Stephens: What?
Melanie Avalon: Because you know how Facebook changed?
Gin Stephens: Like it just recently changed?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Everything's everywhere. I don't know where anything is. I'm so confused. I feel like I'm lost. I feel like I'm like a lost child in the mall. I'm like, “Wait.”
Gin Stephens: I rarely use Facebook on the desktop, unless something's broken on the phone. I'm usually on the phone. So, the only time I do it on the computer is if something's broken on the phone.
Melanie Avalon: Well, it's really confusing. I get so lost. I think I'm in one group and then--
Gin Stephens: That's what I'm hearing from people. Yeah.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I think I'm in my group and then I'm not, and then I think I'm somewhere else, and then I'm not. I'm like, “How do I get back to--?” And I feel like I'm missing things. It's just very confusing.
Gin Stephens: Yes, tools are missing. I'm in a power admin group that's by invitation only. You have to have a certain amount of engagement in your groups, whatever, if you're an admin, and everybody there is talking about it.
Melanie Avalon: It's very upsetting.
Gin Stephens: Help! Apparently, comments are just going wherever. Someone will make a comment, and it won't be at the end anymore. It pops in the middle. The sequence is all wrong. Also, somebody who's in one of my groups said she posted it in the group, and it went to her personal page instead. And then, I was like, “Well, maybe you did it by accident.” And then, she had a screen recording of her doing it and it was like actually--
Melanie Avalon: Happening.
Gin Stephens: Yes.
Melanie Avalon: And the other thing is, I feel before this, I was getting way more notifications about stuff and now I'm not. I know stuff is happening, but I'm clearly not hearing about it anymore.
Gin Stephens: Right.
Melanie Avalon: Or it'll be this person commented and then I go on, I'm like, “What?” I don't know, it's very strange. But in any case, right before this, I'm also randomly finding random things because I'm ending up in random parts of it, I don't understand. But there was this one thing and it was like Instagram and it was like, you have this many notifications. I was like, “Wait, what?” So, I clicked on it and then my Instagram pulled up as a feed, but in Facebook, and it showed me all of the things I've missed in Instagram for the past three years.
Gin Stephens: Oh, wow. Like messages?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it literally went back-- and comments. I could answer though for my Instagram on Facebook and I was like, “What is happening?” So that's the one good thing they need to keep, and they need to pull it out and make it its own little button somewhere that because I have no idea I'm going to find it again. I have no idea how to get back to where.
Gin Stephens: You don't know where you were. You just stumbled across it.
Melanie Avalon: I really did.
Gin Stephens: Wandering in the wilderness. Oh, my God.
Melanie Avalon: I was in some message version of one of my things, because I think it was connected to one of my business pages. I've literally no idea where it is.
Gin Stephens: [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: If I find it again.
Gin Stephens: I did everything the opposite of the way you're supposed to. I don't have any business pages. I had two. I had one for Gin Stephens, author, and one for Delay, Don't Deny, the page, instead of the group. I just deleted them.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I don't use it.
Gin Stephens: You're supposed to. You're supposed to market through them and do all this. I'm like, “No.”
Melanie Avalon: I don't use it. But I get messages to it. That's how I ended up there by accident because I don't know how to find it, like normally the messages. But then randomly I'll get notifications. It's like, "You have messages.”
Gin Stephens: Yeah, that's why I stopped because I was getting some messages there. And also, that's where people would send me really mean messages.
Melanie Avalon: Oh.
Gin Stephens: I know, it's really sad. In Facebook groups, people send you mean messages. But now, I don't read messages from people I don't know. You know how in the Messenger app, it has an Other box, Message Requests. I don't read those for my own sanity. So, if you've tried to connect with me people, and you're sending me to my Facebook Messenger, I don't read them. Because it's always questions, and it'll start with a simple question like, “Can I have lemon?” And I answer to it. And then, a month later, it's like, “I've only lost one pound, what do I do now?” And then, a month later, it's like, “What should I eat?” And so then, it becomes it's just too much. Yeah. And so, I apologize, everybody, if you've ever tried to reach me with Messenger, I don't even look at that, because I don't have time. I would be doing that 27 hours a day if I did, because I don't have time to personally coach everybody through Messenger. And that's what the groups are for. If you have a question, ask it in the group.
Melanie Avalon: Same. I always redirect.
Gin Stephens: Don't ask me personally, come to the group. I wish there was-- I could do an autoreply. That would be the best. If I could send-- not on Messenger though, but on the pages you can. I actually finally set that up before I deleted it completely. But I wish in Messenger, you could have an autoreply for people, and you could set it to say what you want. And mine would say, “Thank you for reaching out. Unfortunately, due to the volume of messages that I get, I'm unable to see them or reply to them. Please ask your question in the group where we will all be glad to help you,” because I really want to help people, but I just can't do a one-on-one Messenger thing. And it's hard because I would love to do it, and I used to. I used to answer, I would go to that box, I would answer everybody, and it just got to be too much.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I have a preset answer that I copy and paste that redirects them to the group.
Gin Stephens: I don't even see them because they're in that hidden box. I don't even go there. The message requests, I don't look at them.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, Facebook,
Gin Stephens: I know.
Melanie Avalon: All right. Well, on that note, I will talk to you next week.
Gin Stephens: All right, I look forward to it.
Melanie Avalon: Thank you so much for listening to The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. Please remember that everything discussed on the show is not medical advice. We're not doctors. You can also check out our other podcasts, Intermittent Fasting Stories, and the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. Theme music was composed by Leland Cox. See you next week.
Check out the Stuff We Like page for links to any of the books/supplements/products etc. mentioned on the podcast that we like!
BUY Melanie's What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine, Gin's Delay, Don't Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle, Feast Without Fear: Food and the Delay, Don't Deny Lifestyle and/or Gin's Fast. Feast. Repeat.: The Clean Fast Protocol for Health, Longevity, and Weight Loss--Including the 21-Day FAST Start Guide
More on Melanie: MelanieAvalon.com
More on Gin: GinStephens.com
Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox: LelandCox.com
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