Welcome to Episode 189 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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The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #68 - Glenn Livingston, Ph.D.
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Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 189 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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Hi everybody, and welcome. This is episode number one 189 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: Awful.
Melanie Avalon: Awful, why?
Gin Stephens: Well, the time changed last night, and I told you that--
Melanie Avalon: [gasps] I know. It's fabulous.
Gin Stephens: I woke up, rolled over, looked at my clock, and I was like I feel ready to get up and it was 4:15, which is right about when I wake up, but it was an hour earlier, so I had to force myself to stay in bed till it said 5:00 AM, which would have been 6:00 AM normally, so I've been up since 5:00 AM, also known as 6:00 AM in my brain
Melanie Avalon: I thought it was fabulous.
Gin Stephens: No, I did not like it. And so, yeah, tonight, I'm going to be like, it'll be 7:00 PM and I'll be ready to go to bed.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, yeah, tonight it's going to get dark earlier. The goodness continues. I got really excited because I was talking to somebody in a time zone over for one hour, it was the same time.
Gin Stephens: I didn't think about the fact that everybody's time changes at a different time, but it does, because it changed at 2:00 AM. Okay, that's wacky. I never thought of that.
Melanie Avalon: Like this won't happen again for six months, or will it happen in six months?
Gin Stephens: Yeah, well, it's less than six months. They've changed it. They're not spread out six months apart.
Melanie Avalon: Are they?
Gin Stephens: No, I think it's-- okay, now I'm going to look it up. [laughs] It's not exactly six months apart. Let me look. All right, 2021, the time changes. March 14, and then November 7th.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, so it's like four months apart?
Gin Stephens: Yeah. That's the part, that's crazy.
Melanie Avalon: I'm so confused. I don't understand.
Gin Stephens: I know, we do it for four months. That's the part that makes it hard. We change for four months and then we go back. Why? Why? Why?
Melanie Avalon: I feel this will be something that will be gone in 100 years, and they'll be like, “They used to do this really weird thing back in the day.”
Gin Stephens: I hope it's less than 100 years, I'd like it to be gone in 2021.
Melanie Avalon: I can advocate for that.
Gin Stephens: I would like to. It's not good for us. There have been lots and lots of research that shows that people have more health outcomes right after the time changes, car accidents, heart attacks, things like that.
Melanie Avalon: Doesn't happen, though on the next one, like not this one?
Gin Stephens: But I think both of them are bad.
Melanie Avalon: But we get more sleep with this one.
Gin Stephens: Not if you're me. If you're me, you feel so terrible because now you're totally out of sync with the world because you're waking up at 4:00 in the morning, trying to get back to sleep. And then you're forcing yourself to try to stay awake at night because it's not socially done to go to bed at 7:0 PM. So, it really messes with me because I'm out of my normal, what feels good.
Melanie Avalon: So, I vote if we get rid of it, that we keep it the way it is now. Not
Gin Stephens: me. No.
Melanie Avalon: See, that's going to be the big debate, like which one do we keep?
Gin Stephens: Well, one of them is real and one of them is fake.
Melanie Avalon: I hope this is the real one.
Gin Stephens: I can't remember which one is real. One of them is real and one of them's fake. I think the one we change to is the fake one. Right now, we just started the fake one.
Melanie Avalon: This is the fake one.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, it's called daylight saving. Well, maybe the-- I don't know. I don't know how to know which is which.
Melanie Avalon: It starts on the second Sunday of March and reverts to standard time in November.
Gin Stephens: We're back on standard time. We only get to have standard time for four months?
Melanie Avalon: This is the real time. I'm so excited.
Gin Stephens: I don't like that. That means the real-time I like to wake up at 4:15, 4:30 in the morning.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness, this is the best day ever.
Gin Stephens: [laughs] Oh, gosh.
Melanie Avalon: Wow. I learned so much.
Gin Stephens: I want to stay on the other one.
Melanie Avalon: I want to stay on this one.
Gin Stephens: Okay, we'll see. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: Oh, I did have a fun fact that I wanted to share with listeners that I thought would be helpful. I interviewed again doctor-- Well, he's a psychologist Glenn Livingston, who wrote Never Binge Again. And, oh my goodness, bringing him on the first time on the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast was so popular. I'd have to double-check, it might have had the most downloads of all my episodes yet. Brought him on again for part two Q&A. We were talking about social pressure from people when you're following a certain diet or fasting or something like that. Especially with families, if your mom's like, “But I baked this for you.” He was saying that what it comes down to is the difference. Do you know what an aggregate is versus a-- there's another word.
Gin Stephens: Are they personalities?
Melanie Avalon: No, like a group of people. Listeners, I will put link to in the show notes, but I think it's an aggregate of people don't have the community ties. It's like a group of people in an elevator.
Gin Stephens: You're not connected.
Melanie Avalon: Connected. Yeah. When it's connected, so if it's a family or a friend group or something, we do these different acts to--
Gin Stephens: Can please them?
Melanie Avalon: To form the bonds with the community and when the community is broken apart for a little bit. So, if you haven't seen your family in a while, and then you get back together, they're these things that we do from an evolutionary basis and it's a means to reform that community bond. If you go to a family get together, you go see your family and your mom offers you her-- the cake that she made and you're fasting, you saying that you don't want to have it can-- it's not so much about the food, it's her act trying to reform the community bond. He said the response to do, if you're fasting and it's something like that with a friend or a family member where they want you to eat something is offer them an alternative thing that they can do that re-welcomes you into the community or reforms the bond. If they're like, “Oh, I baked this thing for you.” You can be like, “Oh, well, I'm not really hungry right now, but I would love to have some of your tea,” or, “But I would love to have--” or it doesn't have to be food related. Something else that is reforming the community bond. Isn't that so interesting?
Gin Stephens: It is what it worked to say, I would like to save it for later.
Melanie Avalon: Probably. Actually, yeah, that probably work too.
Gin Stephens: The Delay, Don't Deny technique.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, so the importance of either receiving that or providing an alternate that serve that same purpose.
Gin Stephens: That makes sense. Yeah, but never feel pressured to eat it just because someone else wants you to, just try to find a way to make it work for y'all. I love that idea. I was the queen of taking things home.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. So, because his main thing was you don't want to just be like, “Oh, I'm just not hungry,” and then not provide like-- you need to provide something that serves the place of what that act was trying to do.
Gin Stephens: Well, like we were at a birthday party for my niece over the summer, and there was cake. Chad and I were both there, and neither of us had eaten yet. They were like, “Would you like some cake?” And I'm like, “No, because I don't want to just open my window with cake.” I wouldn't feel good if I started eating cake on an empty stomach. I was like, “No, but I'll just take some home and we'll have it later after dinner.” We took a comb with us, and then I threw it in the trash because I don't like that kind of cake. Oop. That’s terrible. It was not a homemade cake. I'm not going to say homemade good cake. You know what I mean. It was not a cake. My sister bakes amazing cakes. It was not one of my sister's cakes. It was a grocery store cake.
I did just what you said, I wanted to form that community, and my niece was happy that I took it. Everyone felt happy, but I didn't have to eat it if I didn't want to, but nobody knew. Unless they're listening to the podcast, and now they know. There's nothing wrong with serving at a child's birthday party, serving the kind of cake that the child prefers. I'm not criticizing the cake, in case they are listening.
Melanie Avalon: Especially because they think this episode airs, probably like holiday season-ish. Maybe. I wonder when this comes out.
Gin Stephens: I don't know. How many weeks ahead are we? I have no idea.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, yeah, this comes out November 30. Thanksgiving already happened.
Gin Stephens: Oh, so Thanksgiving will have been over. We're ahead. Ooh. We're way ahead.
Melanie Avalon: Look at us.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, I like that. I just recorded a podcast right before this one that's coming out January 14. Yeah, I'm ahead on that one, too. It's weird because we were like talking about Halloween. And I'm like, “Yes, but now it's 2021.” In my future podcast world where I've recorded 2021 had already happened. Travel to the future. But, yeah, we're actually having Thanksgiving here at my house. This year, we're all going to make sure we're safe.
Melanie Avalon: That reminds me-- I think I'm going to get like ButcherBox’s turkey and just have it, like show up at my mom's house.
Gin Stephens: Oh, that's nice.
Melanie Avalon: And then they'll be like, “Oh, I guess we have to use this.”
Gin Stephens: And you would eat that one, but not a standard.
Melanie Avalon: Most of the turkeys like they're pumped with all of this solution.
Gin Stephens: Oh, that's 100% true. Yeah.
Melanie Avalon: I don't think there are any turkeys at the grocery store that-- I mean, I haven't seen any that are not. And then on top of that, like raised on pasture or organic, hard to find.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, I think ButcherBox turkey’s a great idea. Of course, by the time this episode comes out, there'll be a different ButcherBox special offer.
Melanie Avalon: That's true.
Gin Stephens: I've learned about that. Now that I am working with ButcherBox for the Life Lessons Podcast, they're like, “Oh, it's always going to be a different offer.” I'm like, “Okay.”
Melanie Avalon: They switch it up a lot. They just had a really good offer. So, hopefully, listeners got on it. It was a free turkey.
Gin Stephens: I'm sure there'll be another great offer.
Melanie Avalon: Yep. It always is.
Gin Stephens: Good time. So, are we ready to get started?
Melanie Avalon: I think so.
Gin Stephens: All right. We have a question from Trisha. The subject is “Curious,” and she says, “I have been doing IF since June for health reasons.” By the way, Trisha, I love that you're doing it for health reasons, that makes me smile. She says, “I don't need to lose any weight, but I am predisposed to diabetes. I'm curious about a few things. Gin, you said you do better with more carbs. Well, so do I. I'm just wondering what tests you did to find that out. My old doctor had me on paleo and I felt horrible. My LDLs went through the roof, and my A1c also went up. I never lost a pound and even gained some. I discovered that I am ApoE3-4. I carry the four-gene that is associated with Alzheimer's and high LDLs.
As my numbers crept up, I dropped my carbs down even lower, I was deathly afraid of getting diabetes. With that change, I felt even worse and my A1c went up even more. I was considered pre-diabetic. I stumbled upon a nutritionist who understood the APOE gene. She told me that I can't eat a high-fat diet and that I actually need more carbs. My life changed after that meeting. I started eating more Mediterranean and felt so much better. My LDLs dropped 50 points, and I'm now a normal A1c. It just proves how genes play such an important role.
I also heard a doctor talk about eating too low of carbs causing an increase of blood sugar, it blew my mind. I know I won't explain it right, but he said something to the effect that too low carbs below 25 will cause sugar to be pulled from the liver and muscles. I'm just wondering if you guys have heard this before?” Do we want to talk about that for a second before we keep reading?
Melanie Avalon: Yes. A lot of things going on here and I feel this is such a big topic, and there are so many opinions on this, and so many camps. I will just tell you my thoughts on the matter. Our cholesterol, and listeners, might be familiar with this, but there's two basic types of cholesterol. There's more than that, but there's LDL and HDL and usually people think of HDL as the “good cholesterol.” Usually, people think of LDL is the “bad cholesterol.” There's more debate within that world because a lot of people especially in the low carb world, the carnivore world, things like that, argue more in favor that LDL itself actually isn't bad that really the key is having a protective HDL and having low triglycerides. It's very confusing.
All of that said APOE, because it's ApoE4, it's a genetic tendency that does have a significant effect on people's LDL levels. And people with it are predisposed to having unhealthy LDL levels and particularly Alzheimer's. I do think people with that gene need to be very careful about their fat intake. I do think in that situation, of course, I'm not a doctor, but I am not that comfortable with a low carb diet if it's high saturated fat, because you can do low carb and not be crazy high and fat. I think a lot of people who do low carb go really high fat route and that's not something I would advocate if you have ApoE4. I'm really happy that she made the change and went higher carb, lower fat and saw a change in her blood work reflected. I think that's great.
Again, the reason I say it's complicated is because a lot of people in the low carb world, the carnivore world, APOE gene aside, often will have very high LDL, but they'll also have very high HDL and the ratio will be something that is seen as healthy. So, there's an ongoing debate about it. I'm actually right now-- I really want to find a really good authority on cholesterol levels in the blood. I want to find somebody who I don't get a sense as biased in either side, like with carbs and fat. If listeners have any recommendations, but I am probably going to do an episode on cholesterol in the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. Do you have any thoughts about the cholesterol and the fat and all of that?
Gin Stephens: Well, I was going to talk about that, her statement that if you have too low of carbs, it will cause sugar to be pulled from the liver and muscles. She may be talking about just glycogen being released to keep your blood sugar up, that's actually not a bad thing. I just wanted to say that. Your body has a lot of mechanisms in place to keep you at a certain level of blood sugar, all the time coming out of wherever it is.
Melanie Avalon: The sugar being pulled, it's either going to be “pulled,” in which case it's what Gin just said, it's already stored glycogen already in its sugar form, or it can be created. It can be created from protein and glycerol from fat.
Gin Stephens: But she said the word “pulled” that's where I got it from.
Melanie Avalon: For some reason when I read it, I was thinking she was probably talking about it being created, but either case, she says the muscles too, but it's mostly the liver that's doing that. I'm actually right now reading-- Gin, have you read Dr. Benjamin Bikman’s, Why We Get Sick. It's all about insulin. Oh, my goodness. That's what it's about is insulin.
Gin Stephens: Then I don't think so.
Melanie Avalon: It's called Why We Get Sick, the hidden epidemic at the root of most chronic disease and how to fight it. The foreword is actually by Jason Fung.
Gin Stephens: Is the hidden root of it hyperinsulinemia?
Melanie Avalon: Yes.
Gin Stephens: See, I knew that just from what I've researched as well. They're some kind of journal article that I read when I was researching for Fast. Feast. Repeat. It talked about all the things that were connected to hyperinsulinemia. It blew my mind because at that point, I had no idea. High insulin all the time is not a good thing.
Melanie Avalon: You would love this book then. It came out in July.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, no, I haven't read it.
Melanie Avalon: It's really funny. Two copies of it showed up at my door, like, I didn't order it, but the publisher sent me a copy. And then I'm testing the two CGMs. Levels, one of the companies, they sent me a copy, just randomly, and it happened within two days. I was like, “Oh, my goodness.”
Gin Stephens: You're meant to read that book.
Melanie Avalon: He's coming on the show. It's really, really good so far. I can't wait to bring him on. I have so many questions for him. My only caveat is he's making a very compelling case that insulin, like you just said, that hyperinsulinemia, chronically high insulin levels are-- I mean in the title, he calls it the root cause of most chronic disease, but he talks about how it pretty much every single condition we experience. I mean, he goes through all of them, how they're so closely correlated to insulin resistance.
Gin Stephens: That journal article I read was, it linked so many things to hyperinsulinemia that I was like, “Wow.”
Melanie Avalon: My only question I'm going to ask him is, I think he's trying to posit that it's causal, but I think if it was causal, it would have to be 100% correlation. It would have to be 100% present all the time. I don't know, that's just something I keep thinking about. But it is a very strong connection, like all these, like you just said in that article.
Gin Stephens: You're saying that they're associated, possibly not causal. Although, here's the thing to keep in mind, if it's causal, you would expect that bringing down insulin levels would then have improvement in those things. What's interesting is all the things that I remember reading about in that article, are things that people find improved through intermittent fasting, which lowers insulin, which makes the case for it to be causal because correcting it through intermittent fasting does make those other things better.
Melanie Avalon: It's a really, really, really fascinating book. Why am I talking about this? The reason I brought it up was for her question, the section I just read last night, I'm about halfway through it, but he was talking about something that I had also been talking about when I interviewed Dr. Cate Shanahan for her book, The Fatburn Fix, and that is the crazy, and now I'm realizing, no wonder It's so confusing, regulating blood sugar levels. They're crazy connection that can happen or relationship that can happen between blood sugar, and the liver, and the brain, and the pancreas.
Gin Stephens: There's a lot going on.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. What happens with a lot of people is if blood sugar is high, insulin tries to lower it, so insulin lowers it, so the liver tries to raise it, nobody wins.
Gin Stephens: It's trying to keep it within a range that's healthy. It's all working together, your regulatory and counter-regulatory, and they all have a different goal.
Melanie Avalon: They're not all talking, so the brain will see high blood sugar. So, it's like, “Oh, let's release insulin and lower it.” And then the liver is like, “Oh, raise the blood sugar. Let's release blood sugar.” It can be really hard to keep it stable. I think a lot people get stuck in that, it's almost like a war.
Gin Stephens: Especially in the modern era, when everything's out of whack. It's even harder.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. With insulin resistance, which is what this book is all about as well. Once the receptors aren't responding to insulin, that's when it's even worse because the pancreas is releasing insulin to bring down the blood sugar, but the cells are resistant, so they're not listening. So, then it has to release more.
Gin Stephens: It's a vicious cycle.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. So, did we answer her question?
Gin Stephens: No, I'm going to go back to where we stopped.
Melanie Avalon: Wait, her question, though about being too low carb.
Gin Stephens: I think that that was going to vary from person to person. Oh, she did ask how I found that out. Well, first of all, I knew it just from the way I felt. I never once lost weight on low carb, my entire life all the time, every time I tried it. Why did I keep trying it? Well, because people told it so well. Everything you read made it sound like, of course, it's going to work. I would try it, try it, try it, and then it wouldn't work, and I felt terrible, the whole time.
I feel better when I eat more of like a Mediterranean kind of a way of eating as well. Lots of beans, I do great with whole grains, lots and lots of veggies, less meat, but some meat, I don't feel great when I have no meat ever either. I think the DNA analysis is still, science is in its infancy. The point why I even talk about it is not because I want everyone to go out and do this XYZ analysis and then eat what they tell you to eat. The reason I like to talk about it is so that you can trust your body and understand we're all different. And so, stop looking for external validation and external plans and instead pay attention to how you feel. When you feel good, you know that your body is doing well. If your health is improving, you know that's working for you.
Trisha mentioned when she was trying to eat according to the way her old doctor had her eating, she gained weight, all of our markers got worse, her A1c went up, that wasn't good. When she switched back to her new nutritionist who understood her genetics, everything got better, her A1C is normal, she probably also feels better. So, anyway, there still isn't like a, “Here's the place we want you to go. Do this DNA analysis and this will tell you exactly what to eat.” No, we're not there yet. It's an interplay between your genes, your gut microbiome, so many other factors. Your insulin levels, they're also are not static, like Melanie and I just talked about. Somebody who has really high insulin levels right now, because of what they've been doing, you get those down over time and that's going to also change the way your body responds to things. So, there's just so many factors, we're not static, and there's no one test that's going to tell you everything. It's all the factors together, and things do change.
Melanie Avalon: That made me think of one other thing. We talked about this before, like they don't really test insulin that much. One thing, Dr. Bikman was saying in his book was that a lazy man's approach to-- well, because there's not really a way to test insulin resistance, but if you can test your fasting insulin and also test your free fatty acids, like the ratio of those can show if you're insulin resistant. And then also, it's scary, but also motivating just how fast insulin-resistant states can happen. Also, how fast changes can happen for the better when it's addressed, as far as like diet and lifestyle. I think it's really motivating.
I just wanted to give an answer to her question though, about too low carb, causing sugar to be pulled from the liver and muscles. So, yes, but in a way, that's supposed to happen, and for some people, it is completely fine, and it doesn't create issues. For some people, it does. Some people I think, go very low carb, they might release blood sugar with more glycolytic activity. Some high-intensity activity and everything's monitored and works well. Some people might go too low carb, and the body sees it as a stress response, it's not properly generating ketones, it's not running on free fatty acids and so it's just continually reverting to trying to produce sugar instead. I don't think that's a healthy state to exist in for a long time.
This is another thing where you just have to-- like Jim was saying about finding what works for you. It just requires a lot of experimentation and seeing how things are going. We were talking before this, we even talk in every other episode about it, so I won't talk too long, but that's why I'm loving wearing a CGM because I'm just learning so much about how my personal blood sugar is responding to different foods and fasting and stress and activities. So, yeah, there's a lot.
Hi, friends, I'm about to tell you about something that can have a truly profound effect on your life and it makes a great gift for yourself and others this holiday as well. Let's talk breathing. I recently read a book called Breath by James Nestor. I had him on the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast, so I'll put a link to that in the show notes. Basically, breath is energy, and it controls so much of our experience of the world. A lot of us experience stress and anxiety today, and breathing intensely affects that. Anxiety actually comes from a part of the brain called the amygdala, and it warns you of danger to keep you safe. The problem is, it really doesn't know which dangers are real. When activated, it releases adrenaline and cortisol via our sympathetic nerves that increase our breathing patterns to affect our heart rate, sweat glands, and muscle tension.
These short shallow breaths are designed intentionally to give your body more oxygen so that you can fight or flee. The problem is, our release of carbon dioxide drops, and you can actually feel confused or unstable because your body isn't physically using the oxygen. Then your heart beats fast to try to circulate the adrenaline and oxygen to the rest of your body. Your digestion slows down. Everything just basically gets a little bit intense.
We can actually fight back about the confusion of our amygdala through controlled breathing. By slow breathing, it's like our brain realizes that, “Hey, I have time to be doing this slow breathing. I must not be running from a tiger right now.” Through controlled slow breathing, you can actually instantly put your body into a more calm state and you don't even have to really think about it. The problem is that trying to regulate your breathing when you're experiencing the fight or flight mode, panic, anxiety, stress, things like that, can be a little bit difficult because of all the adrenaline, cortisol, and extra oxygen involved. Having a tool to physically ground you can be game-changing. That's why I'm obsessed with the Shift.
It's a beautiful necklace that was engineered using a tested diameter and length to give you a longer exhale. James Nestor’s book Breath, he goes through a lot of breathing exercises. They're really cool and really effective, but you have to do them, you have to do the counting, you have to think about it. With the Shift necklace, you just pull it up to your lips, and because of its design, breathing out through it, automatically forces you into a long exhale. Basically, it makes it super easy to do breathing practices to manage your stress and anxiety. I wear it around my neck and anytime I feel a little bit stressed, I just pull it up to my lips and do some breaths through it.
I actually just bought two more, one for my mom and one for my sister for the holidays. It's such a cool, effective therapeutic practical gift. I love it. And, guys, you can get it for 30% off. Yes, 30% off. This is huge. Just go to komusodesign.com and use the coupon code IFPODCAST, that's K-O-M-U-S-O D-E-S-I-G-N dotcom and use the coupon code IFPODCAST for 30% off and I'll put all this information in the show notes. All right, now back to the show.
Gin Stephens: All right. So, the rest of what she said is, “So, all that being said, I do have a few IF questions. I'm 5’4 and weigh about 105 pounds. I have struggled with my weight for years. I'm finally stable, thanks to a great hormone doctor. I have a very bad gut with IBS-C. I've been gluten-free for over eight years. Since starting IF, my constipation has gotten much worse, seems like when I would eat a little bit in the morning, it would stimulate peristalsis, but now that I don't do that, I have trouble going to the bathroom. I don't really like breakfast. So, I don't want to switch my eating window. Like you guys, I love my evening meal.
One other quick question is that I still crave sweets. I can't seem to get past that. I'm just wondering if I need to open my window sooner or tighten it. I usually open around 3:00 or a little earlier. I quit eating around 7:30. Oh, I also have Hashimoto’s if that makes any difference. I've read WWW, DDD, and FFR. You guys are amazing. Thank you, Trisha in Texas.” And by the way, that is What When Wine, Delay, Don't Deny and Fast. Feast. Repeat.
Melanie Avalon: I love the letters. Okay, so constipation questions. I talk about this a lot, but it can be hard when you're on the constipation train to keep things flowing. So, a lot of things you can try is obviously adjusting your food choices and seeing what foods work for you. If you have bloating with it-- Oh, she has IBS-C. Yeah, I would definitely try Atrantil, it can be a game-changer. It's natural plant compounds that are specifically made for the type of bacteria that are often overgrowing with that condition, that produce methane and slow gut motility, so that's at lovemytummy.com/ifp with the coupon code IFP. As far as keeping things moving naturally, magnesium can be really great. I like Natural Calm, also BiOptimizer has a magnesium supplement. Those are my main recommendations for constipation.
Gin Stephens: Magnesium is just the key that works for me. I've been trying to shift around the times that I was taking it. I was taking something else at bedtime. I was taking Sleep Remedy at that time. Yeah. I didn't want to take Sleep Remedy and magnesium. I just felt it too much to be taken at one time. So, it's like, “Well, I'll just stop taking the magnesium,” or, “I'll take at different times.” I did notice getting a little more sluggish again. I'm back to taking the magnesium at bedtime and everything's back to how it should be. It just really makes a difference for my body. My body likes magnesium at bedtime.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, my order with those two because I take Sleep Remedy as well which is a natural sleep supplement formulated to help your brain instigate the sleep state. So, it's not a pharmaceutical or anything. Since I eat so late, I take it when I'm opening my window actually. And then I have magnesium after, and I feel that keeps things going really well. For people who are interested in Sleep Remedy, you can get at melanieavalon.com/sleepremedy, the coupon MelanieAvalon, but the magnesium. Vitamin C can also do it as well. Some people do like high dose vitamin C. Then her second question, craving sweets. Do you have thoughts about that craving sweets?
Gin Stephens: Well, I mean, I think that it's natural to crave sweets. We're wired to crave sweets, people act like it's a flaw to crave sweets. There's nothing wrong with you if you crave sweets, and I don't think that that's true. So, if you crave sweets, stop beating yourself up over it. It's not a problem that you crave them, there's not something wrong with you. Instead, if you feel that you're choosing things that are not high quality, that would be the problem. If you're like eating a pack of cookies, that would be a problem. Instead, try to meet that sweet craving with real foods. For me dates. I've talked about this before, Medjool dates. They're a great way to close my window. They're sweet. I don't need a lot of them. I don't know binge on them. I just eat a couple of the dates, that meets my sweet craving. And then my window’s closed and I go about my evening. I'm not like, “Oh, darn it, I'm craving sweets.” I'm like, “Alright, I would like something sweet,” then I have it. We crave salty. I mean, we crave things.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I think there's probably a difference too. I don't know if she's craving in her eating window or if she's getting sugar cravings while fasting, which I feel are two different experiences. But if it's during the eating window, I agree that whole food forms of that. She's not doing low carb, if she's doing you know Mediterranean and if she can get that sweet fix with fruit and things like that, I completely support that.
My mind is being blown a little bit. I just read Dr. Alan Christianson’s The Thyroid Reset Diet, it comes out in January because a lot of people supplement iodine for thyroid issues. He actually thinks iodine overload is the cause of most thyroid issues today, and he makes a very compelling case, like very compelling. Basically, the idea that iodine is helpful. It started when-- because if you overdose iodine, it shuts down the thyroid. Back in the day, they found that really high dose iodine supplementation would essentially fix things-- fixed like hyperthyroidism because it would shut down the thyroid. There was something about-- it would help something with cancer, and the guy who found this connection thought it was because the body needed iodine. But really, it was probably because that excess iodine was shutting down stuff because it was too much. Now we're not really iodine deficient ever since we started iodizing salt and all of that. It's just really, really interesting, like the studies on what excess iodine does and how people on low iodine diets often can reverse Hashimoto’s. So, I'm not saying like, “Do this,” but now I'm rethinking Hashimoto’s completely and iodine. Stay tuned for that.
Gin Stephens: That's going to confuse a lot of people. This is the whole problem with-- it's like, “Oop, deficient in iodine.” “Oop, sorry, it actually had too much.” Then you're just like, “Never mind, I'm just going to eat.”
Melanie Avalon: After reading his book, the amount of iodine we need, our thyroid needs is really, really small. Iodine is a really unique nutrient because it's basically just used by the thyroid, the rest of the body doesn't need it. And then, B, it's one of the only nutrients where we only needed a really small amount. And anything beyond that is actually toxic, compared to most nutrients where it had a much broader range.
Gin Stephens: Right. Like with magnesium as an example. If you take more magnesium than your body needs, you excrete it.
Melanie Avalon: Just flushes you out.
Gin Stephens: It flushes you out, which is why the last time I had bloodwork done, my magnesium levels are great. And so that is probably one reason why it keeps me regular.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, so it's a really big paradigm shift.
Gin Stephens: And you know what, that just made me think of something. The people who take magnesium and say it doesn't do anything for them with constipation. I wonder if it's because they just start deficient. Their bodies uptaking all of it.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, they haven't reached the bowel tolerance point. That's quite possible.
Gin Stephens: I just thought of that. I'm like, “Well, they're-- ding, ding, ding. That's probably why.”
Melanie Avalon: Did I tell you about my iodine supplementation story?
Gin Stephens: Mm-hmm.
Melanie Avalon: Gin, I've experimented with a lot of--
Gin Stephens: What?
Gin Stephens: I'm shocked.
Melanie Avalon: Lot of things. All of that said, when I interviewed Joe Cohen, who makes the SelfDecode genetic testing that Gin and I both done before, he said he had the same experience. Iodine is the only supplement where I tried it and it created a reaction that scared me so bad, I'm never touching it ever again.
Gin Stephens: What did it do?
Melanie Avalon: I took it orally, and my eyes turned bloodshot red.
Gin Stephens: I think I've heard you say that before. I think you've told me this story.
Melanie Avalon: To the point that I was like, I don't know if I can go to work, and it lasted for like two days.
Gin Stephens: Oh, gosh.
Melanie Avalon: I was like, there is something going on here with iodine. I've been really skeptical or curious about it for a while. Reading his book was interesting.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, that does sound like it would be interesting. All right, we're ready for the next one.
Melanie Avalon: Yes. Food choices. This comes from Elden. We get such interesting and beautiful names--
Gin Stephens: We do.
Melanie Avalon: -on this show. Elden. She says, “I am very new to IF and I've started listening to your show. I just finished Episode Five about coffee, and almost all of your shows you state while in the window, you can eat what you want. So, if you're in the window, can you drink a cup of coffee with milk? While in the window, are you trying to control your insulin levels? Or does it matter?” Oh, my goodness, I totally forgot to put this in here. Okay. She says, “I'm trying IF for weight loss and ultimately for lifestyle.”
Gin Stephens: All right, great question. Some people do get confused about insulin because they think we talk about-- in Fast. Feast. Repeat. I specifically give you three goals for fasting and the clean fast. And one of them is to keep insulin levels low during the fast because we're trying to tap into our fat source for fuel and keep our insulin levels low, will help us with that. So then people say, “Oh, insulin must be, ‘bad,’ but it's not.” What we don't want is chronic high levels of insulin 24/7, all the time, we don't want hyperinsulinemia, just like we were talking about with Dr. Bikman’s book, talking about high insulin not being a good thing. During your eating window, you're going to have an insulin response to food. If you prefer to have your coffee with milk in your eating window, then you absolutely can do that.
We're not seeing insulin as an enemy that we must never release because your body's going to release insulin anyway when you're eating. Keep your insulin as low as you can during the fast. And then during your eating window, eat what you prefer. Now, one caveat is if you know you have really high levels of fasting insulin, because you maybe talk to your doctor into giving you a test and you know it's high, then maybe you do want to work on getting your insulin down, temporarily changing up your diet for that, good work. But in the meantime, don't think of insulin as an enemy.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, insulin is definitely not the enemy, there still could be an issue of excess insulin. If you're insulin resistant, and you're eating, even if you're eating like in a fasting window, if you're insulin resistant and what you're eating is causing the pancreas to have to release so much insulin, and then it's making the cells more insulin resistant. That could be an issue.
Gin Stephens: That would not be a good thing.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Doing intermittent fasting is going to help with insulin issues. As far as what you're eating, I have not read the part of the book yet where he talks about practically what to eat. I'm excited to see what he says, but I do think that as far as macronutrients go and when it comes to insulin that a lot of people do find that either a lower carb, high fat diet, or a high fat, low carb diet often can make fuel partitioning more effective and help with insulin levels. Then obviously, processed foods and things like that are going to be pretty taxing on insulin release and the pancreas, so you can still make choices within your eating window to support, not crazy high insulin levels, and high blood sugar levels. But as far as like what you're focusing on, we're focusing on keeping insulin low during the fast.
Gin Stephens: Right. I want you to focus on, when you're new to IF, in my 28 Day FAST Start, Fast. Feast. Repeat., I want you to start intermittent fasting and those 28 days and your goal is to nail the clean fast. That's it. Nail the clean fast, you're not trying to also change everything you're eating at the same time. And then as you get to the end of the adjustment period as you go on to live your life as an intermittent faster, you can start tweaking your food choices to see what makes you feel better. Melanie does that to this day, so do I. I recently learned how much better I feel without alcohol, and I'm still mad about that. [laughs]
Last night was Halloween, and my husband's like, “You want some wine?” I'm like, “Yes and no,” at the same time, so I didn't have any wine and it was okay. And it was fine, I felt great. So, there's that.
Melanie Avalon: I'll drink the wine for you.
Gin Stephens: Drink my wine.
Melanie Avalon: All right. Shall we go on to the next question?
Gin Stephens: Yes, this is from Cali, and the subject is Cold Therapy. I'm a little afraid to read it. She says, “Hello. Love the podcast. I've heard Melanie talk about cold therapy. Is there a specific episode that goes into detail or an article I can read? I'd love more info. Thank you, Cali.”
Melanie Avalon: Short question from Cali, short answer to Cali. Yes. I just aired the episode with the incredible Wim Hof who is known as The Iceman and this is what he does. I'll put a link to that in the show notes. It's at melanieavalon.com/cold. We talk all about it, cold showers, ice baths, all the stuff. Gin, it's getting cooler now, outside.
Gin Stephens: Boo. I know, I'm wearing my Uggs right now, and I'm wearing long pants and I'm also wearing a turtleneck kind of a shirt.
Melanie Avalon: I'm wearing my halter dress, and I wear it outside and it's so exciting. I parked far away, I don't know it's not that cold. This is the South. So, it's like 60s or--
Gin Stephens: I know, that's so cold. I'm freezing.
Melanie Avalon: I wear my halter dress and I park far away so that I have to walk in the cold.
Gin Stephens: Ugh, no. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: All right. We have a question from Kash. The subject is “Falling Hair and Peeling Nails” and Kash says, “Hi, Melanie and Gin. Thank you for the podcast. It is an informative, entertaining and the best part not preachy, you both make a great team. I've been intermittent fasting for the last two years with a break for about six weeks last year when I had meningitis. Once I recovered, I got back in the saddle to say, it has worked well for me. However, I am losing copious amounts of hair and my nails, fingers, and toes are cracking and peeling. The hair loss has been my hairline and I am super self-conscious of it.
I'm an avid listener of your podcast, but the IF podcast is my favorite. I have incorporated many other lifestyle changes which have helped me tapping meditation and red-light therapy to name a few of my favorites. I hope you can help me with any suggestions with my current dilemma. I wait patiently to hear your next podcast.” Oh, “from Durban, South Africa.”
Gin Stephens: I love it.
Melanie Avalon: Kindest regards, Kash, or it might be Kosh, I don't know how to say it.
Gin Stephens: I love to hear from international listeners and those from just down the street, all listeners. But it really makes me happy to think of people all over the globe listening to our podcast. I just really love that. Anyway, I'm not going to say whether that's related to intermittent fasting or not, because it might not be. Now there is something that can happen with intermittent fasting that could cause hair loss. Specifically, if you're new to intermittent fasting and your body perceives it as a stress, you can have a hair loss that lags behind the stress by a few months. And that kind of hair loss, your hair will generally grow back, but you're not new to intermittent fasting. You've been doing it for two years with a break for six weeks last year when you had meningitis. So, I would not think that the intermittent fasting was the cause. I would look back a few months and see what happened.
I mean, of course, we've had this pandemic, but look back a few months and see if that's the cause of your hair loss, then that stress is what caused it. Also, however, the fingernails, that's the part that makes me think that maybe there's something even more underlying this, I would not just say, “Hey, this is intermittent fasting,” because there are many reasons that your nails might start to peel or become brittle. Some of them can do with certain deficiencies. For example, iron deficiency, if you have anemia, then that could cause this. I would get your blood tested, see if you could be deficient in something, it could be related to thyroid issues, other diseases. So, I would definitely work with your health practitioner and see and I would not say, “Oops, this is just something from the fasting,” because actually, fasting itself should not cause you to lose hair, or to have the peeling, cracking nails. There could indirectly be relationship with the hair. Like I said, if it was your body perceiving, beginning fasting as a stress, but you're not new to fasting. So, I would not think that was the case. I would look for a cause with your doctor. Melanie, what do you have to say?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I agree, what you said about. If it's perceived as a stress, I think it could relate to hair loss. I think that's an individual case basis. I agree, I think fingernails are one of the best places where we can pretty much see nutritional deficiencies occur. Oftentimes, it's hard to see that happening on the inside, but I think it shows up pretty often with our nails. So, I would say focusing on the food choices and working with that practitioner to figure out where you might be missing with the nutrients.
Gin Stephens: Exactly. Again, people might say, “Oh well, fasting’s made me nutritionally deficient.” And really, it's not that. We can get the nutrients we need and an eating window. But it's just a matter of figuring out, what deficiencies you have and why? Different things can cause you to be deficient in your body not using the nutrients appropriately. Like if something's going on in your gut, you might not be absorbing things properly. So, yeah, get that checked out.
Melanie Avalon: I'm really glad you brought that last point up because the leaky gut thing. Sometimes it's not so much that you're not physically putting the nutrients into your mouth as much as you're not absorbing them because of gut issues.
Gin Stephens: Exactly. Someone might say, “Oop, it's fasting.” No. If you're eating nutritious foods in your eating window, and your body is functioning properly, you should be able to get the nutrients that you need to not be deficient.
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We have a question from Jackie. The subject is Supplements. She says, “Hello. Finding this podcast has been wonderful. And I have been getting such great information about IF from you ladies. I've been doing IF for the past five months and it has really helped with my weight loss. I typically am fasting for 18 to 20 hours and eating for four to six hours. My question is regarding supplements that you have to take multiple times a day. I currently take a probiotic once a day, and fish oil and curcumin.” How do you say that?
Melanie Avalon: I think people say both ways, curcumin and curcumin.
Gin Stephens: All right, well, just whatever that is, twice a day.
Melanie Avalon: I usually say curcumin.
Gin Stephens: Okay. “I have read that each of those is better taken with food, but when your eating window is short, how can you split up the supplements to gain the most benefit? How long does it take your body to absorb? Thanks so much.”
Melanie Avalon: All right, Jackie, great question. So, I keep referring people off to other episodes, but I just interviewed the Caltons and they wrote a book called Rebuild Your Bones. They're all about micronutrient deficiency and vitamin deficiency and timing of supplements, and competing nutrients, and how certain nutrients compete with other nutrients. We specifically talked about how to get proper nutrient absorption and the timing of it if you're doing intermittent fasting or one meal a day situation. So, I'll put a link to that in the show notes. It's at melanieavalon.com/bones.
All of that said, to answer your question, with the ones that you're taking specifically., so like a probiotic, I would just take with food, the fish oil also, I would say with food with although what's really interesting is this kind of goes against the clean fast idea, but I interviewed Joel Greene like I said recently, and he talks about how taking omega-3s while fasting actually up-regulates, I don’t know certain processes that are really beneficial, and it was really fascinating. That said, I'm personally a little bit on the fence about omega-3 supplementations anyway because I think the main thing to be addressing is reducing omega-6, it's like we say that you can't out exercise a bad diet. It's hard to out omega-3, a high omega-6 load, which is what we're trying to do today. We're taking omega-3 supplements. So rather than focusing on fish oil, I think it can be really beneficial to just focus on reducing your omega-6es. So that's found in things like seed oils, vegetable oil, canola oil, corn, sunflower, as well as a lot of nuts and seeds.
I actually do take a krill oil though supplement, and I take it when I'm opening my window. Curcumin, I actually just will add turmeric to food. Again, you could probably just take it with food, but you're talking about like, when your eating window is short, how do you split up the supplements to gain the most benefit? I think for things where it is a supplement and listen to the episode, like I said with the Caltons because we talk about this, but there is something about absorption and when things will absorb best. I personally when I'm taking supplements, I take them usually at the beginning when I'm opening with my food, but yeah.
Gin Stephens: I also want to say that probably the people who take this twice a day, or the supplement people, they want you to take it twice a day. They're telling you to take it twice a day. Do you really need to be taking it twice a day? I doubt it. Take it with your food and fit it in like that.
Melanie Avalon: Caltons, it's really interesting because they think a lot of like supplements on the market, especially multivitamins just have ratios that they'll have competing nutrients, so they cancel each other out. They have too high doses or too low doses. And so they're really specific about like when you take supplements and what you take and when you take it.
Gin Stephens: Yep. All right.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, super quick question. This comes from Heather. Heather says, “Hi, Gin and Melanie. With a clean fast, is it possible to use white balsamic vinegar in sparkling water? I know it is okay for diabetics, as the acidic acid mitigates the effect of the small amount of carbs in the balsamic vinegar, by slowing down the gut response to those sugars. I wonder if the slight sweet or sour taste might trigger an insulin response, which is not what we want and to clean fast. Thank you for your advice and all your fasting guidance.”
Gin Stephens: Yes, I do not recommend any kind of vinegar whatsoever during the fast. There's no need to have it during the fast. It's a flavor, to food flavor. Nope, keep that in your eating window. We know that vinegar is effective when used with food, but, nope, save that for your eating window. All vinegar.
Melanie Avalon: To that point, we probably could have talked about this earlier, so I'm glad that we're ending with this because we're talking about insulin and blood sugar in your eating window. A lot of people do find that adding things like vinegar to their eating window can help with the blood sugar response help with all of that. When taken with food, it can be really helpful, but when taking fasted, two things, Gin just talks about the taste of it and all of that. And then also there's the possibility that it could might drop you too low and make you have a reactive hypoglycemia or a low blood sugar response. Yes, I would say err on the side of no vinegar during the fast, but I'm glad we brought it up because that was something we could have mentioned for something to experiment with, with your food is adding vinegar, especially having like a higher carb meal.
Gin Stephens: When I put vinegar on my fries. We did that the other night. My dishwasher was broken, did I talk about that?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah.
Gin Stephens: Yeah. Well, I’ve got the new one. It's here and I'm so excited. Did I tell you that they brought it, then they couldn't install it that day and I almost lost it? I didn't lose it. Luckily they left before I knew what was happening. So I was having a call with somebody while when they came, when they were there to my husband dealt with it. They showed up with the dishwasher. It had been a month that I've been without a dishwasher. Okay, almost a month. I've been hand washing my dishes and I was so excited. I had all my meal plan meals that I was going to cook and I'm like, right, which ones don't need a lot of dishes, so I used all those first. And I was so excited. I was going to cook something for dinner that required me to use lots of dishes to cook it, but that was okay, I was going to have a dishwasher.
They show up, they drop the dishwasher off in the kitchen and then they leave, while I'm on this phone call. I get off the phone call, and I'm like, “What's happening?” A dishwasher, in the box, in the middle of my kitchen. For real, just sitting there. I'm like, “What's happening?” Chad said, “Oh, they had to go. They didn't bring the hose to install.” I'm like, “What? Is this a joke?” He's like, “Nope, not a joke.” And he said the guy was going to come back on Friday. I don't know what he said to the guy, but the guy came at 6:30 in the morning the next day and installed it. But I was like, “I am unable to cook another dinner.” We had to go out to eat. So, we went out to eat and we went to one of my favorite places in town Farmhouse Burgers. They have really high-quality grass-fed beef and they bake their bread, I think, anyway. And so I had their fries with malt vinegar, and it's so delicious.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I'm excited. I got flooded two months ago now.
Gin Stephens: Yes.
Melanie Avalon: Finally, tomorrow and the next day they're fixing it.
Gin Stephens: Oh, that's good.
Melanie Avalon: But it's going to be craziness, I have to move. I have to move apartments. Well, they have like a guest.
Gin Stephens: Okay, just temporarily.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. But I've been living in mold for two months.
Gin Stephens: Oh, gosh. We're looking at houses, trying to do some investing and we wouldn't-- was it yesterday morning? Yeah, we went yesterday morning and looked at a house, as soon as we walked through the door, I was like, “Nope.” You could tell it was full of mold.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it's a no. Just no. I just want to say, listeners, if you're at all suspicious, I really cannot encourage enough doing an air test for mold. Not a moisture test, an air test.
Gin Stephens: Is that what you did? You did one?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I did it myself. I was like, “I'm just going to do this.” And that escalated it, I guess.
Gin Stephens: And then they can't argue with that.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it was mold toxins will do a number on your immune system. All righty. Well, on that note, if you would like to submit your own questions to the podcast, you can directly email questions at ifpodcast.com, or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. You can follow us on Instagram where we are trying to be more active. Baby steps. I'm @MelanieAvalon. Gin is @GinStephens. Oh, November 3rd.
Gin Stephens: Yep.
Melanie Avalon: Hopefully, there will be a picture on my Instagram on November 3rd of me with Gin’s book at Target. Are you going to do it, Gin?
Gin Stephens: Oh, gosh, I'm definitely going to do it.
Melanie Avalon: Okay.
Gin Stephens: Yeah. Although that will already have passed by the time this episode comes out. But, yes, I'm totally going to go look for it. Actually, I'm going to the beach that day. So, I'm going to go to our Target, then I'm going to drive to the beach, then I'm going to go to that Target. Well, depending on what time, we'll see. I'm definitely going to go to more than one Target.
Melanie Avalon: I'm going to order a selfie stick to make this easier.
Gin Stephens: All right. That's a good idea. Yeah, I'm bad at selfies. So, maybe I need a selfie stick.
Melanie Avalon: I feel like that might make it easier. Follow us on Instagram, see if we are interesting. See if we're more interesting. See if on November 3rd we posted. You can join our Facebook groups. IF Biohackers: Intermittent Fasting + Real Foods + Life. Gin has a lot, which any of them, Gin, would you like to plug?
Gin Stephens: Life Lessons with Gin and Sheri, that's a good one to come to. It's new. I love it.
Melanie Avalon: So, join us there. All right. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. Enjoy the early darkness tonight.
Gin Stephens: I will not enjoy it. Thank you. [laughs] I'm already ready for bed. What is it like? It's 4:00 PM and I'm exhausted. All right. Talk to you in a week. Bye.
Melanie Avalon: Bye.
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.
STUFF WE LIKE
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
The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast
More on Melanie: MelanieAvalon.com
More on Gin: GinStephens.com
Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox: LelandCox.com
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