Episode 183: Seasonal Candles, Scented Lotions, Food Smells, Anticipation of Eating, Shift Workers, Biphasic Sleep And More!

Intermittent Fasting


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Oct 18

Welcome to Episode 183 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

Today's episode of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast is brought to you by:

BUTCHERBOX: Grass-Fed Beef, Organic Chicken, Heritage Pork, Wild-Caught Seafood: Nutrient-Rich, Raised Sustainably The Way Nature Intended, And Shipped Straight To Your Door! Go To Butcherbox.com/IFPodcast And Get 2 Free Lobster Tails And 2 Free Filet Mignon In Your First Box!

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To submit your own questions, email questions@IFpodcast.com, or submit your questions here!! 


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The Immunity Code: The New Paradigm for Immune Centric Health and Radical Anti-Aging (Joel Greene)

Listener Feedback: Deb - Terminology

BUTCHERBOX: Go To Butcherbox.com/IFPodcast And Get 2 Free Lobster Tails And 2 Free Filet Mignon In Your First Box!

Listener Q&A: Margaret - Going Overboard? Worried About Scented Candles And Lotions

Listener Q&A: Ashley - Fall Candles

Sense of Smell as the Central Driver of Pavlovian Appetite Behavior in Mammals

The role of insulin sensitivity and intranasally applied insulin on olfactory perception

Food odors trigger an endocrine response that affects food ingestion and metabolism

BLUBLOX: Go To BluBlox.com And Use The Code ifpodcast For 15% Off!

Listener Q&A: Barbora - The Perfect Pair

Listener Q&A: Emily - Shift Work And Weightloss


Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 183 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.

Gin Stephens: Hi everybody. I want to take a minute to talk about enzymes. Enzymes are the workhorses of digestion. They break your food down into usable macro and micronutrients. Many of us may lack digestive enzymes and that leads to digestive issues like bloating, indigestion, and gas. You're not what you eat, you're what you digest. We lose enzymes as we age. So, if you don't have enough enzymes, you might only be absorbing 40% of the foods you're eating. There are two big problems here. Most digestive enzymes are cheap and ineffective, and most do not have enough protease for digesting healthy high protein diets.

That's why I'm so excited to tell you about a new enzyme product called MassZymes. MassZymes is the most complete, most potent digestive enzyme around with over 102% more protease than the nearest competitor, and 300% to 500% more per serving than most popular brands. That's crucial because protein is the most complex macronutrient to break down. Left undigested, protein creates a variety of problems in the gut, from bloating to inflammation and beyond.

The Intermittent Fasting Podcast is excited to announce a special offer just for our listeners. We guarantee it's the best deal available on this product. With volume discounts combined with our custom 10% coupon code, IFPODCAST10, you can save up to 48% off select packages of MassZymes. That's an amazing value. This special deal is only available if you go to www.bioptimizers.com/ifpodcast. You won't find that deal on Amazon or even the company's own website. This deal is exclusively for podcast listeners, and it's legitimately for a limited time while supplies last.

The best part is if you don't feel how MassZymes transforms your digestion, you can get a no-questions-asked, moneyback return on your order. For the fastest shipping, go to bioptimizers.com/ifpodcast, and use coupon code, IFPODCAST10, to save up to 48% on MassZymes. That's B-I-O-P-T-I-M-Z-E-R-S dotcom slash IF podcast.

Melanie Avalon: And one more thing before we jump in, are you fasting clean inside and out? Did you know that what you put on your skin gets direct access to your bloodstream? And in your body can do a lot of detrimental things. So, while you may be fasting clean, you may at the same time be infusing your body with endocrine disrupters, which can mess with your hormones, obesogens, meaning they literally cause your body to store and gain weight and even carcinogens.

In Europe, they've banned thousands of these compounds found in conventional skincare and makeup, and the US has banned less than 10. In fact, most conventional lipstick for example is high in lead, and the half-life of lead in the body can be up to 30 years. That means every time you put on some lipstick, you might be putting some lead into your bones, which might not leave for three decades. This is a big deal. Thankfully, there's an easy all-encompassing answer.

There's a company called Beautycounter, and they were founded on a mission to make skincare and makeup products that are safe for your skin. Every single ingredient is extensively tested to not burden your body and support your skin health. You can shop with us at melanieavalon.com/beautycounter and if you use that link, something really special and magical might happen after you place your first order. If you'd like to learn more about safe beauty and also get a ton of amazing discounts and free things from me, definitely get on my clean beauty email list, that's at melanieavalon.com/cleanbeauty. Not sure which Beautycounter products to try? I also just made a whole series of online quizzes to match you to your perfect product. Those are at melanieavalon.com/beautycounterquiz. So, here's the fasting clean inside and out.

All right. Now enjoy the show.

Hi everybody and welcome. This is episode #183 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'm cold.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, isn't it wonderful?

Gin Stephens: No, I have on shoes, jeans, and long sleeves.

Melanie Avalon: I have on-- I don't even know what it's called. What's it called when the shirt is like-- it doesn't have shoulders, like when it's--?

Gin Stephens: I don't know.

Melanie Avalon: Doesn't have straps?

Gin Stephens: Strapless?

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. [laughs] I'm in a strapless shirt, and shorts. And nothing else.

Gin Stephens: Okay. Do you keep your heat really up high in your apartment?

Melanie Avalon: No, I keep it at 67.

Gin Stephens: Okay, well, I'm cold.

Melanie Avalon: During the day and 60 at night.

Gin Stephens: Oh my gosh. Yeah, my house has really cold floors. It's built on a slab, is built in '79. Our last house was built on crawlspace and so it was not like this. But this one, it's built on a slab and it just gets cold really fast when the weather changes.

Melanie Avalon: Fabulous!

Gin Stephens: No, not fabulous. All weekend is really when the weather changes, I don't know, Melanie, every year when fall comes, I'm surprised because it's like summer, summer, summer, I'm hot, hot, hot.

Melanie Avalon: It does happen really fast here.

Gin Stephens: Yeah. And then like one minute, it's like 90, and then you wake up and you're like, “What's happening?” [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: It happens after a storm, I feel.

Gin Stephens: Yeah. We did have some rain and then you have all of a sudden-- I went to my niece's birthday party on Saturday, and I was wearing a sleeveless shirt and I was freezing the whole time. And then the next day, I was outside and I was hot the whole time. I can't get it right. It's the time of the year when you just don't know.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, like the weather will change, goes back and forth, and back and forth. It changes its mind and then it just decides to stay. I'm hoping that’s this moment. I feel it is.

Gin Stephens: It definitely feels like fall. My feet are crying.

Melanie Avalon: Feels wonderful.

Gin Stephens: I don't like to have cold feet.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I texted my sister. I was like, “I can live here if it was like this all the time.” I guess I do live here but--

Gin Stephens: You could live here forever. Anything new going on with you?

Melanie Avalon: I think I've talked about this before. I'm reading The Immunity Code by Joel Greene. Did I talk about that? He's the one who says that when we lose fat, it actually damages the fat cells.

Gin Stephens: I think you did mention that. Yeah, that sounds familiar.

Melanie Avalon: This book is blowing my mind. I do not remember the last time I read a book about everything that we talk about, fasting, weight loss, all the stuff that blew my mind to the extent that this book is blowing my mind.

Gin Stephens: Now, does he talk about fasting?

Melanie Avalon: Yes. A lot.

Gin Stephens: Big fan, I would imagine.

Melanie Avalon: Yes and no.

Gin Stephens: Okay.

Melanie Avalon: I need to finish the book. I actually have him booked to come on the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast, and this is actually the first time I think I'm going to email and say, “Can we plan to record for three hours and make it a two-part episode?” Because that's how mind-blowing and how much information there is.

Gin Stephens: Well, that sounds like a must read then. Why is he yes and no with fasting? Can you give us a little brief?

Melanie Avalon: I need to read more because I'm just now getting to that part. But what he said thus far, I'm like halfway through, it's a really long book, but it's a page-turner. Normally, it's long and I'm enjoying the books, but I have to use willpower and power through. This one, I'm just like, “Ah, it's just so good.” Basically, his premise is that fat loss in general, especially fat loss and regaining fat loss and regain, in the long term, it sets up the body for weight regain, because every time you lose weight and regain it, the fat cells actually become damaged and the extracellular matrix, like the membrane that surrounds the fat cells becomes more rigid and tight. A lot more to that, but something about how fasting too much for too long.

So, he's been doing everything before anybody knew about anything. He was talking about the gut microbiome like 20 years ago. He's had a website for a long time. He was doing one meal a day, I think, for quite a while for a long time. And he thinks that that had massive problems actually in the long term, but I need to finish to figure out why I don't know the nuance exactly of why because he does think the key to sustained weight loss is losing the weight and getting lean and staying lean. That's the key.

So, my question is for people who get lean and stay lean with one meal a day or fasting, is there a problem there? I don't know, because I haven't finished reading it. He thinks the health issues that we mostly have today are because when we gain fat, especially for losing and regaining, but in any case, when we gain fat, all of the immune cells-- so fat isn't just fat, it's also fat, stem cells, and immune cells. And as we age, and as we gain fat, our fat becomes more immune cells, less actual fat, and then our actual immune cells can be either anti-inflammatory, he calls them like the Blue Team, or inflammatory which he calls the Red Team. And he thinks aging is basically our immune cell population shifting to more of the inflammatory Red Team. And that's exacerbated a lot by weight gain and inflammatory fat, like cytokines being released from fat and infiltrating our organs in our body.

Gin Stephens: So, the yo-yo is really bad, he's saying.

Melanie Avalon: Yo-yo is really bad. That's my takeaway.

Gin Stephens: Well, that makes me happy because I used to live in the yo-yo, and I haven't been on the yo-yo since 2014. Yay!

Melanie Avalon: He even talks about how you could be obese and healthy if the nature of the fat is it's not inflammatory fat. If it's healthy young fat in a way, that's healthier than being lean and having your fat cells actually broken and damaged and marked by inflammatory immune cells.

Gin Stephens: And for listeners, we're not saying don't try to lose weight. It's not the takeaway message here. Oh, my gosh, I should just state it, no, no.

Melanie Avalon: Well, because the majority of people are-- I mean, I don't know this as a stat. But in our modern world, it's often likely that if you are overweight, it's probably not the super healthy form of being overweight. It's probably more inflammatory. What his book is about is how to lose weight because that is the healthy thing, but how to lose it and stay there and not have all this cascade effect of weight regain.

Gin Stephens: Right. It does make sense that that would not be good for you.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. It's blowing my mind. I didn't realize there are all these studies on fat cell matrices and what happens to them. It's just really fascinating. So, to be continued.

Gin Stephens: All right, well, that sounds good.

Melanie Avalon: I'm really excited to see what he says about fasting more. And he has all these hacks-- I just thought about because we're talking about the cold. One of his hacks is how to burn stubborn fat. And it's like you put menthol on the area, I don't know the exact steps, but it's like you put menthol on the area, and then you ice it for 15 to 20 minutes, and then you take some niacin or I don’t know if it was niacin. It was some supplement, and then you go to bed. And it will preferentially burn off that area.

Gin Stephens: Well, that's interesting.

Melanie Avalon: It's literally very specific things like that. It's mind blowing.

Gin Stephens: Hmm, okay, I'm skeptical of that one.


Melanie Avalon: I know, that was out of context. But if you read the whole thing--

Gin Stephens: All right, everybody is going to be going out and putting some menthol on their saddlebags trot out, let's say.

Melanie Avalon: It makes sense, though, what we know about cold and everything. The other update is, I interviewed Siim Land yesterday again.

Gin Stephens: How was that?

Melanie Avalon: It was really good. He's into all the things. Talking to him, I just felt like I'm talking to myself.

Gin Stephens: That's funny. I love it though because you know I don't do all the things. I do intermittent fasting. I do a thing here and there. That's it.

Melanie Avalon: And it works. Yeah.

Gin Stephens: I eat the food.

Melanie Avalon: I love it. Actually, yeah-- this is so specific. The first thing he and Joel Greene's book-- because he has all these hacks and things you're supposed to do and-- Oh, apparently, it's all about you have to do them in order. That's like really, really important. Otherwise, everything will go wrong. The very first thing is, it's specific, you eat apple skins in the morning.

Gin Stephens: Yes, see, that's already too hard for me.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, it gets better. Then, you do that for a certain amount of time, then you eat apple skins plus, I think, HMOs. You have to get like baby formula or something-- I don't know, it's very specific. It's to get more Akkermansia bacteria in your gut lining.

Gin Stephens: That's one of those things that I would not be doing. [laughs] No, thank you. I don't even want to write down what I'm eating and put it in an app, much less eat what you're telling me to eat.

Melanie Avalon: Much less go get some apples and peel it and eat the skins at a certain time.

Gin Stephens: I mean I might like some apple skin, but I learned from my muffin-- the PREDICT 3, that I wanted to put butter and jelly on my muffin, but I couldn't. Peanut butter, that would have been delicious, though. Anyway. Good times.

Melanie Avalon: Good times.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, that's funny.

Melanie Avalon: Well, anything else?

Gin Stephens: No, that’s it.

Melanie Avalon: Okay. Shall we jump into everything for today?

Gin Stephens: Yes.

Melanie Avalon: All right. So, to start things off, we have some feedback from Debbie. The subject is "Terminology." And Deb says, “Good morning, ladies, I enjoy listening and have been IFing since May 20th. I am down almost 20 pounds and about to drop another jeans size for a total of two. And I thank you for the wealth of helpful information that has helped me on this journey. I'm currently listening to Episode 179, and I specifically want to address when you talked about how to discuss IF with kids who won't really understand it, or actually anyone who questions you about it. And I think I have a possible solution for kids, the doubters, naysayers, etc.

For whatever reason, the simple word 'fasting' has such a negative connotation to it for a lot of people. I wonder if just changing the words around might help. For instance, the next time I get a question about what I am doing or how I have lost weight, I plan to simply say, ‘I started eating intermittently instead of gorging on so much food in one day, and I really feel much better,’ instead of telling them how I do intermittent fasting. Maybe if we put the emphasis on how it has improved our health and the way we feel, which is why I personally began doing it, we can change the way people react to it.

While I don't really feel the need to explain myself to people because it's my life, my body, it's no one's place to criticize, and you can't argue with positive results, but in order to avoid hearing the negative feedback, and getting all worked up over it, I think this is my new way to answer the questions. We'll see how it goes.” Before I read her next thing, Gin, do you have thoughts on that?

Gin Stephens: Well, in Fast. Feast. Repeat., I talked about-- the actual scientific terminology, if you have a daily eating window is time-restricted eating. And that's one way you can explain it without using the word 'fasting.' We use time-restricted eating, or I do actually like the words intermittent eating. That's what we're doing. We intermittently eat, we intermittently fast. But these days, I'm not so worried. Here's a funny story, Melanie, I never told you this. When I was talking to our shared literary agent, we were going to start pitching Fast. Feast. Repeat. So, we're talking, this was in, okay, what year is it? When did this-- When was this conversation? It was over a year before it came out. So, this was in early 2019. We were talking. And she actually said, “Instead of the words 'intermittent fasting,' should we use other words?” And I said, “No, because that's the wording that's already out there.” And she's like, “Okay, got it.” But the wording is out there. So, I've actually heard scientists say we shouldn't call it intermittent fasting. Some scientists really don't like when time-restricted eating, the daily eating window approach, is referred to as intermittent fasting. They think you should only use intermittent fasting to describe an alternate daily fasting protocol or extended fasting even. They don't think that the daily eating window approach qualifies as intermittent fasting.

Melanie Avalon: And a lot of the figures in the industry, like Peter Attia, definitely thinks that, and a lot of other people as well.

Gin Stephens: But I didn't name it, Melanie didn't name it. This is out there. It's the jargon. We're not going to be able to change what the world calls it, unfortunately. But when you're explaining it to somebody like a kid, I would not tell a kid, “I'm fasting.” I wouldn't say that to a kid. I would just say, “I'm not eating right now.” That's enough. That's all they need to know. I'm gonna eat later. If adults start quizzing me on it, and really, they don't, you just say, “No, thank you.” And they usually move along. Unless they're like, super-- maybe a family member might want to know more, but another adult, you really don't even need to tell them. Just, “No, thank you,” is enough, they don't need to know when I'm eating, what I'm eating, if I eat before, if I'm going to eat later. So, you really don't even need to mention it. Just say, “I'm not eating right now.” But time-restricted eating is great terminology. If you would like to use that instead of saying fasting, actually you've got scientists on your side who think that's probably a better wording than intermittent fasting. But as I said, that cat's out of the bag. Any plan where you're having periods of fasting and periods of eating is now under the general umbrella 'intermittent fasting.'

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, 100%, because I think I had a list in What When Wine of how to talk to people about it and it was a lot of those points. It was basically-- you can also keep it short and simple. You don't have to feel the need to go into a lot of detail.

Gin Stephens: You really don't. And you could just say, “Hey, I read this book, What When Wine.” Or, “I read this book, Fast. Feast. Repeat.” Or, “I read Delay, Don't Deny.” And if you're interested in learning more, read that. Those authors explain it better than I could. Just tell somebody that and let them go read it if they really want to know more.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I like the way she said, eating intermittently.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, I like that too.

Melanie Avalon: Have you heard of Alan Goldhamer? TrueNorth Health Center?

Gin Stephens: Oh, yeah. That's extended fasting.

Melanie Avalon: I'll put it on the Himalaya podcast app, Intermittent Fasting podcast stuff we like. I have a playlist there. But I've been listening to an interview with him with Ritual. It's pretty new, it was like a month ago, August 24th. That's really all I was going to say, was that-- But it's all about fasting and he was talking about the difference between when they first started the center because I don't know when that center started, but it was quite a while ago. I guess, just the difference between when they first started it and compared to now and the acceptance around fasting.

Gin Stephens: I do think it's silly, because-- let's say you're going to have bloodwork done and your doctor says, “It's fasted bloodwork.” They don't make you fast for two days. You don't eat after midnight, you wake up in the morning like eight hours later, they call that fasted. I think people get all crazy about it. That is fasting. So, we are extending that fast. Those of us that do the daily eating window approach, we are having a longer fasting period.

Melanie Avalon: We're just breaking the fast, breakfast. It's just a little bit later.

Gin Stephens: Exactly.

Melanie Avalon: So, the rest of Deb's email, she says, “One last note on this episode, you both used the term 'Debbie Downer' a lot, and always apologize to anyone named Debbie,” which is her. “And I always chuckle a little when I hear that. From now on, we can just say, don't be a downer? Of course, I am kidding a little when I say this, but just a suggestion.” She says, “Thank you and keep the awesome info and studies coming. I always learn something new from each episode.”

Gin Stephens: Oh, and she said "Sincerely, Debbie (not a downer)." [laughs] I get it, Debbie, I'm sorry. I have a friend whose name is Karen, and that's a name that gets a lot of jokes. Like, “Don't be a Karen.” Sorry, all the Karens out there. I'm not saying it, I didn't make it up. I'm just saying Karens also fall into this situation. So, I'm sorry that your name is got that connotation. We'll try to do better to not say that. Although my very favorite skit, and I'm sure Debbie doesn't like it, and I probably wouldn't if my name was Debbie, or I would just to find the humor in it, The Debbie Downer from Saturday Night Live.

Melanie Avalon: I thought you're going to say that.

Gin Stephens: Have you seen those?

Melanie Avalon: Actually, no, but I was like, it's going to be a Saturday Night Live skit.

Gin Stephens: And if you want to call don't be a downer, that'd be fine, but they are just really hilarious. Those skits, they're some of my favorite. It's like the family around the Thanksgiving table and they're like, “Everyone say what you're thankful for.” She's like, “I'm thankful I didn't get salmonella this year like my neighbor did.” Womp-Womp! Anyway, that's my favorite Saturday Night Live skit.

Melanie Avalon: I feel like I missed out on Saturday Night Live. Yeah.

Gin Stephens: Yeah. I haven't watched it for a while. But there were some eras that were better than others. But all through high school in the 80s, we were watching it. It was the Eddie Murphy years. Those were so good. He was fabulous.

Melanie Avalon: I don't know why I feel like I never tapped into that. Maybe because I didn't really watch that much TV after a certain point, like when I would have been watching it.

Gin Stephens: We all watched it. Times were different back then there, too, because we only had-- and we didn't even have cable. I lived in the mountains. We didn't have cable television. There was no cable. There was no satellite. I don't know if it existed. But we had three channels, and if you could tune them in--

Melanie Avalon: Oh, wow.

Gin Stephens: Well, four, if you count PBS. We had ABC, NBC, CBS, and if you could get PBS, that was lucky. And we had a rotor and we had to turn it and it had like an antenna on the top of the roof that had to turn based on-- if you were watching NBC and you wanted to switch to ABC, you had to turn the rotor and point it in a different direction. I'm telling you, you had to really want to change the channel. [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: Wow.

Gin Stephens: So, that's how old I am. It was rural Virginia, we were way out in the country. Everyone watched those things. It wasn't like you had 47 million options that you could watch. No, we all watched Saturday Night Live. We all watched Wonder Woman on whatever night that came on. We all watched the same things because that's all there was, such a different time. Anyway, thank you, Debbie, for that feedback.

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All right, now back to the show.

Gin Stephens: We're ready to move on to our first question.

Melanie Avalon: I think so. We actually have two questions tapping into a similar subject. Ashley, subject is "Fall Candles." She says, “Hi Gin and Melanie. First, I want to thank you for the podcast. I read the books and love them. But hearing from you weekly keeps me motivated. This might have been a question on an earlier episode, so I apologize if it's repetitive, but I wanted to ask about scented candles, specifically fall candles. I mostly do 20:4, started this past June with a down day on Thursdays and an up day on Fridays, just to switch things up. I've had a lot of success with this format. Thursdays are always a little bit challenging, but I don't usually get hungry until around 3:00 in the afternoon, so I am able to pull through. Okay, getting to the question. I am a sucker for fall-scented candles. Fall is the only season when I like candles that smell like food. I just ordered a pumpkin spice candle and another one that smells like pecan waffles.” Do you say pecan or pee-can?

Gin Stephens: Well, I say pee-can because that’s the South Carolina way to say it. Although I'm sure there's people in South Carolina who don't say it that way. But, yeah, pee-can is how we said it.

Melanie Avalon: So, those waffles. “I was having my down day last Thursday and I woke up early in the morning and lit the candle to boost my mood while working from home. Immediately, I was starving. I blew out the candle and a couple of hours later, I felt better. I pushed through it and I didn't get anything to eat. So, what I'm wondering is did the candle actually break my fast as in spiking insulin, or maybe just triggered my appetite? I can push through cravings, but I will definitely stop lighting the candles if it's defeating the purpose of my fast. Thank you so much. And I hope you know how much good you're doing for this community. I was not a very big girl to begin with, but I've always struggled to lose that last 10 to 15 pounds until reading your books. I'm confident for the first time ever. So, thank you for changing my life.”

We also have a question from Maggie. And the subject is "Going Overboard, Worried About Scented Candles and Lotions." And Maggie says, “Hi, I'm working my way through the first episodes of your podcast, love it. During my first week of IF, I tend to be the crazy dieter that follows every rule with no cheating. I'm not viewing this as a diet, but that mentality may be creeping in because I'm concerned that burning a food-scented candle might cause insulin release and break my fast. I'm a huge candle person and collector who always has one burning. I tend to love bakery and foodie scents. I'm nervous to burn them during my fasted period. I also own a lot of sweet-smelling body lotions, which I'm afraid to use. How crazy am I being? Can artificial scents such as these trigger insulin? Should I follow the rule of if you're not sure, just say no. Thanks, Maggie.”

Gin Stephens: Okay, so here's the thing. My rule of thumb is I don't want you to worry about something you can't control, like if you're walking through the mall and you’d smell Cinnabon and you're freaking out like you have to wear clothes put on your nose like, oh my gosh, I'm “breaking the fast.” I don't want you to live in fear. That being said, we can control whether we're burning food-scented candles or putting on body lotions that make our bodies think that food isn't coming. And I really hate to even say this but, yes, we do have scientific studies that show insulin response to the sight and smell of food. I'm looking at one right here, it's a study, “Peripheral insulin in response to the sight and smell of food.” This is an old study, this is from 1980. But they looked at 25 obese women and 23, they call them “reference women,” to find out what happened, and they did have an insulin response to the presentation, the smell of food. It's because when we smell that food smell-- this is the explanation, I'm going to read this quote, “is the parasympathetic nervous system triggers salivation and increases insulin production in response to the expectation that glucose will be entering the bloodstream.” And that was actually from a different article. But that's a direct quote from somebody.

And in the study that I mentioned before about they compared the obese women with the “reference women,” the insulin response was higher in the obese women. Is that fair? No. But it shows to me that if you are someone who is obese or has been overweight for a while, and you're really trying to lose weight, you may have a larger insulin response to that delicious pumpkin spice candle than someone who is not. And so, it sounds nuts to say, maybe don't burn that pumpkin spice candle while you're trying to lose weight, but the science actually is there. And I'm sorry to report that because that does sound-- for someone like me, who likes to keep things simple, I don't want to worry about a lot of things, I don't want to say be careful with your candle because it sounds nuts. But I think that Ashley already knew that that candle bothered her because she was starving and so, the insulin response that could happen. So, anyway, what do you say to that, Melanie?

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, pretty much the same page, and I also looked up a lot of studies, and I learned some really fascinating things I didn't know. Do you know where the highest density of central insulin receptors are located and the highest insulin concentration?

Gin Stephens: I do not.

Melanie Avalon: On the olfactory bulb.

Gin Stephens: Okay, that's where the smells are.

Melanie Avalon: Yes. So, apparently, the connection between our appetite, insulin, and smells is really, really important. When we think about it, it's almost shocking, something I recently experienced myself how much our sense of smell relates to our taste because as you know, I recently had my deviated septum fixed. I couldn't smell through my nose for a week. I couldn't taste food. One of the Q&As is like, “When will I be able to taste food again?" And one of the other things I learned researching this was that apparently, the way that our nose-- how we smell it. Initially, the first phase is smelling it in the air, so like the candle or smelling a food. But then, the second phase is when we actually eat it and then it releases smells that go up through into our nose, and that's the second phase. But what's really interesting is that when we're fasted, we tend to have a higher sensitivity to smells. And then, when you eat, when you're satiated, our perception of smells goes down. It's not quite as acute. So, if you're smelling a candle in the fasted state, it's probably going to have much more of a stimulating effect and--

Gin Stephens: Can I interrupt you for a second? Am I right to then-- from what you just said, when it's actually in your mouth and you're “smelling it from your mouth through your nose,” that way, it's actually magnified? Is that what you're saying?

Melanie Avalon: Well, I'm saying when you actually eat it and break it down, the most potent smell effect is from eating it.

Gin Stephens: From inside your mouth, okay. I'm just trying to distinguish, so an exterior smell is different than the taste/smell. So, it's more pronounced when it goes in the mouth.

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm. But what's interesting is I was reading one article, and it was analyzing the work of like Pavlov's dogs. And it was talking about how he didn't really analyze smell specifically, because in his work, he would basically tempt dogs with things they wanted and measure their salivation and how their bodies were responding to it. But this was really interesting. If the food was just briefly put in the dog's mouth, it didn't have that big of an effect. But if they were tempted, so they could smell the food for like five minutes, that had a way bigger effect on their gastric acids being released.

Gin Stephens: They were anticipating it. So, that's interesting. I wonder then, this is just me wondering, I don't know if there're studies about this or not. When I'm preparing food for my family, but I know I'm not going to eat it, I have no anticipation that I'm going to eat this food. I have no like-- I don't get all hungry and worked up over it. But maybe if I were planning to eat it, that anticipation would play a role.

Melanie Avalon: I think so.

Gin Stephens: Because I can handle food and not feel starving and not feel like I need to eat it. But then, when you are fixing it, you're getting ready to eat it. It's that different kind of like, “Ooh, I'm going to eat this.” So, the anticipatory period is important.

Melanie Avalon: It's super important. It's important because it preps your body to digest it. Actually, sorry, this is a really quick tangent. Did I talk about that really fascinating study from Paul Saladino’s book about vegetarian people seeing meat?

Gin Stephens: No.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness, this blew my mind, and this kind of speaks to what you were just talking about. So, they've done studies on so-- they can look at like, I forget what it's called electric something potential, like seeing what part of your brain is lighting up to seeing certain stimuli. And when they show meat to omnivores, I don't know if in the study if they were like fasted, I bet they probably were. So, omnivores that see meat, they experience desire consciously and subconsciously, so another part of their brain. I don't who it is, vegans or vegetarians, but if they show them meat, they don't experience conscious desire for it but the subconscious part of their brain, still lights up, which I thought was really fascinating. Paul Saladino was using it as an argument that we're naturally wired to desire meat.

Gin Stephens: Naturally omnivores.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. But I just found that really fascinating. The reason I was thinking about it was, I don't know what the implications are if you're constantly telling yourself I'm not eating this now, does that override? I don't know. I'm just theorizing. I'm just pontificating. There's a slight nuance and I almost don't want to throw in this nuance because it will confuse people. Before I say that, this is really similar to what Gin just said, from her study. I actually thought for a second that we were looking at the same study, but this is different.

One of the ones I read said that sensory inputs are well known to influence digestive processes in the anticipatory or cephalic phase, sensory perception of food drives the secretion of gastric juices in preparation for food intake via parasympathetic control through the vagus nerve. So, similar to what you just said. The slight caveat is another study was looking at it and it said that the smell of food induces salivation and release of gastric acid and insulin, conversely sustained odor exposure may induce satiation.

Gin Stephens: So, it stops after a while. If you're like working at a bakery, don't stress out over it.

Melanie Avalon: I thought this is going to freak people out hearing that, but actually to this point--

Gin Stephens: No, I think it's good. Actually, I'm glad you said that because it doesn't just keep going and going and going. Also, I think our bodies just turn off sensory things that just go for a long, long time.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I would believe it.

Gin Stephens: They stopped responding. Well, we know that with sound, you stop hearing it after a while. I mean you really hear it, but you stop noticing it. The same with the smells, that sort of thing. I think it's different, like you said, if it actually is coming in your mouth, like I wouldn't lick it. I wouldn't lick a cookie repeatedly.

Melanie Avalon: It says that acute exposure, so temporary exposure to attractive vinegar odor. I don't know what they were testing. I don't know when vinegar odor is attractive.

Gin Stephens: I love vinegar odor.

Melanie Avalon: Okay. Oh, wait, like the salt lick vinegar?

Gin Stephens: I love all vinegar odor. Did you ever color easter eggs with those kits that you had to put it? Love it. I love that smell.

Melanie Avalon: Of course, you do.

Gin Stephens: I bet you don't like salt and vinegar potato chips.

Melanie Avalon: I don't know what those tastes like.

Gin Stephens: Like putting vinegar on your fries?

Melanie Avalon: Well, I never liked vinegar, so I never put them on.

Gin Stephens: Okay, malt vinegar on fries, amazing. Yeah, I like vinegar.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, yeah. This is so funny because one of the only things I probably didn't like about like Easter was that awful smell of--

Gin Stephens: I would just sit there and sniff it, like on purpose. [laughs] But are we surprised?

Melanie Avalon: No. That's so funny. So, maybe they were. Acute exposure to attractive vinegar odor, which Gin knows all about, triggers a rapid and transient increase in circulating glucose, a rapid upregulation of genes encoding the glucagon, like hormone adipokinetic hormone, for insulin like peptides and some target genes. And then, it says sustained exposure to food odors, however, decreases food intake. So, yes, if you're working at a bakery or you're working at the scented candle Bath & Body Works, it's okay. You'll be okay.

Gin Stephens: It'll happen. And then if you keep it going, you'll get used to it.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it says food odor can induce a transient anticipatory endocrine response. So, unless you're anticipating it for your five-hour shift or eight-hour shift-- I don't know how long shifts are. But, yeah.

Gin Stephens: I don't burn scented candles during my fast, but then again, I don't burn scented candles ever because I don't like really strong smelly things.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I don't like any smells, please.

Gin Stephens: I did get some, that Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day. I love their-- Okay, there's some smells that I like.

Melanie Avalon: Wait, here's the teller because there's like one natural smell, pretty much I don't really like the smell of the world that much but there is one smell I love.

Gin Stephens: Is it lavender?

Melanie Avalon: I don't like lavender.

Gin Stephens: I like lavender.

Melanie Avalon: It gives me a headache.

Gin Stephens: Is it vanilla?

Melanie Avalon: I like vanilla.

Gin Stephens: I love vanilla.

Melanie Avalon: Oh. Yay! Trees.

Gin Stephens: Oh, you like tree?

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, like pine.

Gin Stephens: But you don't like pine-scented stuff?

Melanie Avalon: Oh, I don't really like scented anything, but I like pine.

Gin Stephens: Like a real pine tree?

Melanie Avalon: Yeah.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, me too. I like that too.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, we can meet up in a pine forest with vanilla.

Gin Stephens: Oh, yeah, I'll go to a pine forest.

Melanie Avalon: A vanilla-scented pine forest would smell wonderful.

Gin Stephens: I think you're right. Sounds like Christmas.

Melanie Avalon: Yes. Oh, it does.

Gin Stephens: Which will be here before we know it.

Melanie Avalon: I know.

Gin Stephens: That really is true. I can't wait to decorate for Christmas.

Melanie Avalon: I love Christmas. So, body products. I'm assuming we would not encourage having food-smelling body products. And, on top of that, if you haven't considered it, I would encourage not putting on these scented body lotions anyway, because I've talked about this a lot before, but we're putting these onto our skin, those compounds are often endocrine disruptors and there are ones called obesogens often found in these skincare products and they can actually affect your fat cells to encourage your body to store and gain weight.

Gin Stephens: Although I love the smell of the Beautycounter lotion.

Melanie Avalon: Which does not smell like food.

Gin Stephens: Well, is it a citrusy kind of thing?

Melanie Avalon: There's a lot of citrus. It's all natural smells, but it's like, yeah, like citrus and stuff like that. A lot of citrus represented.

Gin Stephens: I guess here's what I would say to both Maggie and to Ashley. I would say this. If you're using anything like a lotion or a candle, and you find that it makes you shaky or nauseated, then that is not working for you. But one little stomach growl and then going about your day, you're probably fine, right? If it makes you shaky or nauseous, don't use it. But other than that, go by how you feel, if it makes you starving, starving, starving, don't use it.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, pretty much.

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Gin Stephens: All right, let's move on. We have a question from Barbora. And the subject is "The Perfect Pair." Barbora says, “Hi, lovely ladies, I know you hear this a lot, but I really enjoy listening to your podcast. I drive a lot for work, and your conversations are part of my weekly journeys. IF has changed my life in more ways than one. I have Crohn's disease and stumbled across intermittent fasting through my consultant. I didn't do it right the first time until I discovered your podcast and learned all about clean fasting through all of Gin's books. I am now on an amazing route to a good health lifestyle. IF has helped me with my symptoms, and I am deep diving into nutrition and holistic approaches. I fast clean, I'm starting to eat better. I'm listening to my body. Anyway, thank you, Gin for being the voice of reason. And thank you, Melanie, for being you. You talk as fast as you think, and that is me all over. So, I feel like I know you really well. I love both of your other podcasts and always look forward to new releases. I would love to know how you two actually met and came up with the IF podcast idea and how you've kept it going so great.

Last but not least, I have now got my mum, couple of friends, my hairdresser, and colleagues at work all doing IF, and I've become their “unofficial coach,” passing down the knowledge I learned from you both. Yes, they have DDD or FFR books too, Gin. Much love to you both. And thank you, Barbara, from the UK.” And notice how I said mum instead of mom because that's how she spelled it. And it was the UK spelling.

Melanie Avalon: She also spells her name, Barb, is that how they spell Barbara in the UK?

Gin Stephens: Well, I don't know. There's lots of different ways. I was a schoolteacher as you know, for 28 years, there's a million ways to spell every single name that you could possibly have. But, usually, people pronounce it the standard way. But you never know.

Melanie Avalon: She spells it with an O, for listeners who are curious, Barbora. Actually, this is appropriate timing. I just got an email from a company we're going to start working with and they were like, “Can you send a picture of you and Gin together?” And I was like, “Well--"

Gin Stephens: Nope. [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: I cannot, actually. [laughs] Gin and I have never met in person.

Gin Stephens: We need to get a picture together.

Melanie Avalon: I know.

Gin Stephens: I know people are probably like-- their minds are exploding right now.

Melanie Avalon: That we've never met in person? Yeah.

Gin Stephens: Because we said it before on the podcast. But I know people assume we have met by now. But we still haven't.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I remember when I asked questions for you in the group somebody asked that, was like, “Have you still met in person?” And everybody was like, “What?” Long story short, which we've told a few times on the show, but why not retell it? I was wanting to start a podcast. I had self-published a book, like Gin, about intermittent fasting, the original What When Wine diet, and I was wanting to start a podcast about intermittent fasting, but I wanted a cohost. So, I just was Facebook googling like intermittent fasting groups. And so, I wandered into the one meal a day group. And I was like, "looking to start a fasting podcast." And at this point, I did have my book deal. So, I had a book coming out. I had What When Wine coming out. I didn't mention the title because I didn't want people to think I was trying to pitch my book. But I did say I have a book coming out in bookstores about fasting, I would like to start a podcast, is anybody interested? And everybody in the group completely freaked out.

Gin Stephens: They did. It was small at that time, I have to say. This was in early 2017. And my book had only been out for like three months at this point. My book was still new. Yeah, everybody freaked out, reported it, reported it. You know how people do.

Melanie Avalon: And I got kicked out of the group. I was like, “Okay.”

Gin Stephens: Just briefly while we could regroup, and that was me, I was the only admin, there was nobody but me. So, I'm the one, because it was reported. And people were like, “You're very rude, coming in here and trying to--” I mean those were like the comments-- that people said, it wasn't rude at all. But the comments were, that's what someone said. I don't even know if you saw those comments, because-- but people reported the post and the comments were like, “I can't believe you're coming in here talking about your book.” So, then I reached out to you by Messenger and said, “Hey, I saw your post, and let's talk about that.” And I can remember-- and then I added you back to the group immediately. I probably was teaching school at the time, like it was in the middle of a school day. And so, I'd be trying to teach, and then I'd get a notification. Anyway, things would happen, and I would be like, “What's happening? I have to go do another job now, kids. Just give me a minute.” But initially, you were like, “Let's do one,” because you liked Paleo Women. And you're like, “Let's do intermittent fasting for women.” And I'm so glad we decided to--

Melanie Avalon: I know we were like talking about a lot of different ways to take in.

Gin Stephens: Women. Your initial idea was you wanted to do a podcast targeted to women.

Melanie Avalon: I don't even remember that.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, I remember that. And I was like, “Well we have a lot of men in the group. So how about-- I think men would like it too.” I think men would also listen, and I'm so glad that we did not target it just to women because I know we have some fabulous men who listen all the time. And in fact, I was just talking yesterday to-- her name is Lisa Fischer. She's a radio personality from Arkansas, and she's starting a podcast. And she actually first heard about intermittent fasting from her son, her college-aged son who discovered it through our podcast.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, wow.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, so her college-age son listening to our podcast. So, shoutout to Lisa’s son. Gosh, I wish I could think of his name. Something like Gibson. I can't remember that might not be it, but it's something-- it's a really cool name that I really loved, whatever it was. Sorry, I can't think of it, but he introduced Lisa to intermittent fasting. And then, she introduced thousands of people from Arkansas. I had to think for a minute. I don't know how you say it, Arkansanians? People from Arkansas. Arkan-- I don't know. Arkansanians. I'm sure that's not it.

Melanie Avalon: Georgians, Tennesseans, Floridians, Arkans-- Floridians.

Gin Stephens: Arkansas people. Anyway. Lots of people in the Little Rock, Arkansas area doing intermittent fasting, thanks to Lisa. She's pretty awesome.

Melanie Avalon: That's amazing.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, but I'm so glad that we didn't just do it to women, target the show to women because intermittent fasting has broad appeal. And I'm thrilled that men enjoy our podcast as well.

Melanie Avalon: Same. And I'm also thrilled because we went back and forth on the name.

Gin Stephens: We did.

Melanie Avalon: And we were like, should we make it like catchy and clever and like subtitles, and finally, we just called it The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. Best decision ever.

Gin Stephens: It was the best decision ever. Keep it simple.

Melanie Avalon: I remember we did a call to talk it out.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, to meet. And I was like, “I like her.”

Melanie Avalon: Me, I was like, “I like her.”

Gin Stephens: Yay.

Melanie Avalon: I remember also, because, originally, I was thinking like, somebody my age and make it the paleo women podcast, I guess which at the time was-- Yeah, now it's called Well-Fed Women, which is so surreal how far we've come because now I'm really, really good friends with Noelle, like really good friends with her. She's the host of that show. But I think it's worked so well that because between me and you, we can cover all perspectives.

Gin Stephens: Right, because I'm a whole lot older than you. I don't know if people realize that, but I'm over 20 years older than you.

Melanie Avalon: Yep. I like how we have different-- like, we're on the same page about the fundamentals. But then, I get to cover the people who are like slightly more paleo or obsessed with biohacking or that. And then, you're more of the people who fasting is their main thing, not as much, but we're still on the same page about the overall fundamental importance of so many things, like genetics and the gut microbiome and mindset and all this stuff.

Gin Stephens: It was 2017. So, it's been--

Melanie Avalon: Almost three years.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, over. It's been over three years. Yeah, over three years, April. I think May 1st of 2017 is when we were setting the first podcast to come out. That was our goal date, right around May.

Melanie Avalon: Wow. Here we are, Episode 183.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, over three years later. I love it.

Melanie Avalon: It's crazy.

Gin Stephens: It really is.

Melanie Avalon: It's interesting that we still have so much to talk about every time.

Gin Stephens: We do still have a lot to talk about.

Melanie Avalon: As long as we can talk a little bit about other things thrown in there as well. Personal life. I don't know, it's like a catalog of life events. It's funny, I was thinking about this the other day. I was thinking how, like, throughout everything in the past three years, I can probably-- regardless of what was happening, the one thing that was consistent was doing this show. So, I can remember like, well, recording the podcast at that time because nothing else have I done like that consistently.

Gin Stephens: Every week, we've put one out. Every single week.

Melanie Avalon: Few times where things got a little intense, trying to get it out.

Gin Stephens: But it happened.

Melanie Avalon: Yep. Super grateful.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, me too. I'm glad you wandered into our group. That was a good wandering.

Melanie Avalon: I'm glad you kicked me out and then accepted me.


Gin Stephens: I really didn't know what was happening because I was like, “What's going on?” Why is everybody so upset?" But people were being very protective.

Melanie Avalon: I think it's so funny, it's why I say it. It's really funny.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, it is a funny story. I'm grateful to have this podcast. I've told this story too before, but I had just the week before been on a podcast that I was a guest. It was the first time I'd ever been a guest on a podcast, the week before. And it wasn't a health-related podcast. I think it was a political podcast, but the guy was in the group, and he's like, “Let's talk about fasting.” I'm like, “Fine.” We didn't talk about politics. But he was in the group. I'm not even sure what his politics were. But it wasn't a health podcast. But he interviewed me-- he and his cohost interviewed me, I can't even remember the name of it, but for like an hour. And I was able to talk about fasting for an hour, and I thought, “I wonder if I could do a podcast.” And then, one week later, you show up and say, “Anybody want to do a podcast?” I'm like, if that's not the universe, then I don't know what it is because I would still be thinking about it. I wouldn't be doing it.

Melanie Avalon: And now, here we both are with two shows each or another-- Well, two shows between us. We each have another show.

Gin Stephens: Yeah. A total of three.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah.

Gin Stephens: Mine, yours, and ours. Isn't that what they say with kids when people get remarried? Ours, yours and--

Melanie Avalon: Oh, is that what they say?

Gin Stephens: Mine, yours, and ours. Yeah.

Melanie Avalon: So, we have one more question from Emily, the subject is "Shift Work and Weight Loss." And Emily says, “Hi, Gin and Melanie. I have a question regarding shift work and weight loss. I'm a 34-year-old, stay-at-home mom of four kids and I have a paper route as my side hustle. I typically sleep from 10 PM to 2 AM, work from 2:00 to 4:00 AM, six days a week and then sleep from 4 to 7 AM.” Wow, I'm just in awe of this. Okay.

She says, “I'm new to IF as I'm consuming books and podcasts during my fasting time, instead of food. I keep hearing you guys talk about shift work being one of those times where weight loss is difficult. I aim for a 20:4 hour fasting window and eat usually from 2 to 6 PM. I threw out my scale. So, I don't know if I've lost any weight, but I do feel better. Is the slimming down portion of this life plan likely going to be slow going for me, since my sleep is broken up into shifts? I don't eat during my work hours, obviously. But I now know there's a lot more to consider than just calories consumed when it comes to health and weight loss. I feel in control of my food consumption for the first time in my life, even if I don't lose a single pound, although I need to lose about 50 pounds, I will continue this simply because I'm no longer a slave to the cravings. Thank you, Emily.” Wow. So, she sleeps from 10 to 2, gets up, does her paper route from 2 to 4, and then comes back and sleeps until 7:00.

Gin Stephens: So, it sounds like she's getting seven hours of sleep a night, but it's interrupted with a two-hour period of work. I don't know, this is an unusual situation because that's more than just shift work because shift work is when someone is typically-- typical shift work is when people are sleeping during the day and awake when most people are sleeping. This is like she's still sleeping at a typical time, it's just broken up in the middle. If you're getting up to tend to a baby, that's waking up in the middle of the night. Boy, I remember those days, I never felt rested.

Melanie Avalon: And she's doing a paper route. So, she's like delivering.

Gin Stephens: Getting up, delivering the paper and then going back to sleep. This is just something, I don't know of any research into what happens when you have that little awake period in the middle of the night. Although, Melanie, have you ever read articles that talk about how people used to have-- Do they call it a biphasic sleep pattern? Have we talked about that before?

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, they would get up in the middle of the night and do something.

Gin Stephens: And then go back to bed.

Melanie Avalon: And I want to report back on this question because I want to do more research on this question.

Gin Stephens: I think this is very different than typical shift work where you're awake during the night, the whole night, and sleeping only during the day. That's opposite of our body's natural rhythm. But a lot of us naturally do tend to wake in the middle of the night right around that time. And as we've mentioned, it used to be common knowledge or common practice to wake up in the middle of the night and then go back to bed, like they would get up and do some things and then go back to bed. They also would probably go to bed earlier with the sun, when it got dark, they'd go to bed earlier, then they'd wake up in the middle of the night, be awake for a while, then go back to bed for a few more hours. So, I'm not sure that's a bad thing really. If it were me, I would probably try to go to sleep earlier than 10 PM, just to get a little bit more on the front end. If you feel like you need a little more sleep, maybe try to go to bed at 9 PM instead and see if you can.

Melanie Avalon: You might also benefit from a nap during the day if you can, do it.

Gin Stephens: But just that one more hour of asleep on the front end might really help, I don't know.

Melanie Avalon: I'm going to ask Dr. Kirk Parsley about this because he's a sleep expert and I really wish I had--

Gin Stephens: That's a great question. Maybe we could revisit it.

Melanie Avalon: Let's do a part two.

Gin Stephens: Get that info and then we can come back to it.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, because that is really interesting because when I read this through, but I think reading it now is when I realized exactly what she's doing which is--

Gin Stephens: Right. It's not exact shift work. Same thing with me, when the first time I read it, I was just like, “Oh, shift work.” But this is different.

Melanie Avalon: It does make me think because when I was interviewing Siim yesterday, he did a trial of polyphasic sleep for like 100 days. And he said, when he did it, he slept like four hours at night and then would take like two 20-minute naps during the day, which is obviously very different from this. And I don't even know if that's typical of the way you're supposed to do polyphasic sleep, but I just thought about it because he mitigated, I guess-- or he had that intense block and then he did the naps-- but there's a lot of studies on naps, and just how effective-- Oh, that is something I learned. Did you know that in theory-- because I'm always like terrified that taking a nap during the day will make me not being able to sleep at night? But in theory, if you have a full sleep cycle during the day, it shouldn't really affect your night. It's just like adding another sleep cycle.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, I've never seen any science on napping. I don't typically nap. Unless it's like I'm out of whack because I've been on vacation and I'm sluggish, trying to get back to my fasting regimen. Other than that, I don't feel like I need a nap.

Melanie Avalon: I don't either. But apparently, they're really beneficial, and they're really beneficial for memory learning. So, there's different categories of it. And these numbers are not correct, but this was the general gist of it. If you're sleep-deprived and you learn something, that evening you might have like a-- on a scale of one to five, I'm completely making up these numbers, but this is the idea. On a scale of one to five of retention, you might have a two or three, and then the next day when you wake up, you'll be like a four. But if you were to take a nap, then you would already be like a four that night and the next day you'd be like a five. So, napping is really important, especially if you're sleep deprived, for memory formation. And for Emily, I think it could be helpful if she can fit it in.

Gin Stephens: It all depends on how old her kids are, and what they're doing, whether you can nap. Because I can remember when my boys were little, it was when Will was a newborn and Cal-- So, Cal was 18 months when Will was born. And so, I was in that period where I wasn't sleeping at night because I was getting up to feed Will-- Oh, Will turns 21 this week, by the way. So, this was 21 years ago. And so, I can remember, newborn Will was taking a nap and Cal was 18 months old, and I remember I was trying so hard to take a nap. I was lying on the couch and Cal was watching some-- probably Blue's Clues and I was trying so hard to take a nap. And he kept coming over and with his little chubby baby fingers was like prying my eyes open with his fingers. Like, “Mama, Mama.” I'm like, “Please, Cal, just let mama sleep, please.” So, there was no napping going down. And also, my children were not good nappers.

Melanie Avalon: I was never a napper.

Gin Stephens: Uh-huh, no, we're not good nappers. When Will was in kindergarten, first of all, he was old, because he's got a September birthday. So, he was already six and in kindergarten, because he was five when kindergarten started but turned six right away, and they had to have naptime. And his teachers, like, “Will will not lay on his mat at nap time.” I'm like, “He is not going to. So, you can either fight him on it, or you can give him something to do.” She's like, “Well, the rule is they have to just lay there.” I'm like, “Well, I'm sorry, he is not going to do that no matter what I do to him.” I mean, I could punish him every day. He ain’t going to lay on his nap mat and just lay there. I'm just telling you.

Melanie Avalon: I remember nap time. I forgot about that.

Gin Stephens: But every day, he got in trouble. At recess, he lost his recess every day because he wouldn't lay on his nap mat and like-- I wanted to just-- I'm like, I'm not the kindergarten teacher, but this is really not-- you're punishing him for his inability to lay still, and he was not able to do it. Anyway, it was a frustrating time as a mother.

Melanie Avalon: I remember one of the nap times, the teacher came and got me, and I thought I was in trouble. But then really, she was like-- I guess because I was a good student, she went and took me with some other student on some magical adventure during nap time, I don't remember what it was. It was something with feeding the plants or I don't know, something-- we did something fun.

Gin Stephens: I can remember being an elementary school and also we would have to put our heads down on our desks even in fourth grade because we didn't have recess. Our teacher was just like all the time. It was just our teacher. She had to teach us art. She had to teach us music. She never got a break. So, that was probably like their planning time, put your head down on your desk. But I also had a really hard time doing that. And so, she would give me jobs to do.

Melanie Avalon: Like what?

Gin Stephens: Like grade papers or do different things, but I could not sit still. So, I had lots of sympathy for Will and it was very frustrating as a mom because I could not fix it. I could not make him lie on his nap mat for his teacher. There was nothing I could do. He wasn't going to do it. And so, I was like-- I tried to talk to her. I'm like, “If you could just find-- Let him read a book.” She's like, “Nope, the rule is you have to lie there.” I'm like, “All right. Okie-doke.” [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: This is random, do they separate you in naptime by girls and boys? Or is it all just like--?

Gin Stephens: Everybody had their spot, and they didn't separate them by boys and girls. No.

Melanie Avalon: I didn’t think so. Good times.

Gin Stephens: Yeah.

Melanie Avalon: Well, on that note.

Gin Stephens: On that note, my little 21-year-old still wouldn't take a nap today, fella. [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, not a napper. I don't understand how you can fall-- it's like take a 20-minute nap. It would take me 20 minutes to like maybe fall asleep. So, I don't know how a person takes like a 20-minute nap.

Gin Stephens: Or maybe the whole experience of a 20-minute nap takes 40 minutes.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it would take like five hours for me. I don't know.

Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. So, a few things for listeners before we go. If you'd like to submit your own questions for the podcast, you can directly email questions@ifpodcast.com or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. The show notes for today's episode will be at ifpodcast.com/episode183. You can follow us on Instagram, we are @ifpodcast. You can follow me, I'm @melaniemvalon. Gin is @ginstephens. And, yes, I think that's all the things. Anything from you, Gin, before we go.

Gin Stephens: Nope. I think that's it.

Melanie Avalon: All right. Well, I will talk to you next week.

Gin Stephens: All right. Talk to you then.

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.


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