Welcome to Episode 205 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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Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 205 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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One more thing before you jump in. Are you concerned about aging? Well, thankfully, fasting is super incredible for its anti-aging benefits. It activates genes in your body called sirtuins, which repair your body and help extend lifespan. Also, during the fast, your body can clean up a lot of harmful chemicals which may be taxing your detoxification systems. In fact, the reason people go gray is because their detox systems start producing a lot of hydrogen peroxide when dealing with toxins. Do you know where a lot of those chemicals come from? Your skincare and makeup. As it turns out, there are thousands of compounds found in conventional skincare and makeup that Europe has banned due to their toxic nature and the US has banned less than 10. When you put these on your skin every single day through your skincare makeup, you're adding to your body's burden and likely aging your skin faster.
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Hi everybody and welcome. This is Episode number 205 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: Ugh. [laughs] I don’t know, I'm still working on my book. It's like every day, I've got to work on it for hours, and I'm tired of it.
Melanie Avalon: But because of the quick deadline, it will be over soon, right?
Gin Stephens: That's true. Yes, because if I didn't have the quick deadline, I'd be procrastinating. Thank goodness for the quick deadline. It's going well, I did some really good work on it yesterday, it's starting to flow. Instead of being just a collection of loose ideas, it's starting to sound like a book.
Melanie Avalon: So, it's exciting.
Gin Stephens: It is exciting.
Melanie Avalon: Reminds me of, I don't know if it's a theory, or it's the idea with procrastination, that any task you have fills to fill the amount of time you have, you can finish it right at the last minute, and it seems like it literally took that amount of time, but really, it just so perfectly fills to fill whatever time you have.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, because it determines how much earlier in the day I start working on it, for example, versus, “Oh, I think I'm going to putter around in here and do some laundry.” I'm like, “No, I've got to get busy.”
Melanie Avalon: Yeah.
Gin Stephens: Very true. [sighs] Anyway, I'm learning a lot.
Melanie Avalon: I bet.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, so what's up with you?
Melanie Avalon: Well, I interviewed Dave Asprey.
Gin Stephens: How was that?
Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness, it was so surreal. Because there really are two people that when I first started becoming obsessed with diet and health and fitness, it was really Robb Wolf and Dave Asprey. Those are the people I've been following since 2012, semi-religiously. I'd interviewed Robb Wolf on the show which, for listeners, I can put a link to that one in the show notes and that was the interview where I almost cried. I was just so overwhelmed with gratitude. This one, it was interesting. I wasn't nervous leading up to it at all until about 10 minutes before, and then I was just freaking out.
Gin Stephens: That's funny. With Dave Asprey, you were freaking out?
Melanie Avalon: Dave Asprey, yeah. It went really well. We recorded for an hour and a half, which was amazing, especially because I think he was only booked for an hour, so he was really generous with his time. It was just very surreal. We did have a very nice conversation about bulletproof coffee. I did mention a lot this show. I was very upfront about how on this show, we have a clean fast mentality that we talk about. But then, I talked about how I am transparent. I think I'm transparent on this show. You can let me know if I'm not. I feel I am always contemplating if what you're putting in your body is having the same epigenetic changes as fasting, what are the implications there? I basically said that I like to think about the concept of what does and does not break a fast, so we talked a little bit about that. He was talking about how bulletproof coffee, that the fat does not affect mTOR or insulin. So, it's similar to the fasted state, and now I'm going to be confusing listeners, but it was a good conversation.
Gin Stephens: Well, one of my big issues with the fat in your coffee cup, and I talk about this in Fast. Feast. Repeat, we have three goals for the clean fast and one of them is to tap into stored fat for fuel. No one can argue that if you're putting a ton of fat in your coffee cup, you're also going to be tapping into stored fat for fuel.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, exactly. We were talking more about the epigenetics of fasting rather than where you’re burning fat from.
Gin Stephens: Although I will say, there's some kind of thought out there that fat causes zero insulin response and that's not true.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. People say zero but I think--
Gin Stephens: It's not zero.
Melanie Avalon: People say zero, but it can be very tiny. It's still really small. I don't know what it is.
Gin Stephens: It's not zero. We can't say ingesting fat causes zero insulin response from-- Anyway, that's just a little point there. I think I might have talked about that with Marty Kendall of Optimising Nutrition.
Melanie Avalon: I'm so excited to interview him.
Gin Stephens: He's so great. He is just great.
Melanie Avalon: I'm really, really excited.
Gin Stephens: I'm a huge fan. He's doing some really good work with his data-driven fasting.
Melanie Avalon: The reason I was having the interview was because he did release a book about fasting called Fast This Way. We started talking about that, that was the focus, but then it very quickly dovetailed into all things biohacking, obviously.
Gin Stephens: Since your show is The Biohacking Podcast. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: And since he is very much into biohacking, so we had a lot of really good conversation. At the end, he talks a lot in his book about the power of language, which is something I'm very obsessed with. He talks about how you should have language fasts, so fasting from certain words, and one of them is ‘can't.’ Then I was saying that I've started implementing that, because when you think about it, when you say ‘I can't’ rarely, and he says “Rarely, if ever, is that true.
Gin Stephens: I'm so contrarian, because now I'm like thinking of 100 different ways that-- [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, so this was the conversation I had with him, because he doesn't really say this in the book, but in the episode, we talked about it. He said anything you say, like if you say, “Oh, I can't travel to Mars right now,” his response would be, “You don't have the knowledge to know how to travel to Mars right now.” If you had the knowledge, you would know how to do that. Then I said something, and I think I stumped him.
Gin Stephens: What did you say?
Melanie Avalon: I said, “I can't not have done something that I did.”
Gin Stephens: Well, that's true. I don't buy that. There's a lot of things I can't do. [laughs] If you're going to say, like he said, “I don't have the knowledge to do that,” that could literally be anything, like I can't be invisible. Now, really, if you could just say, “I don't have the knowledge right now to be invisible,” then I mean that would mean that ‘can't’ is an impossible word, but I don't buy that. Sorry.
Melanie Avalon: That's why I think what I said might be the only thing, but then he said what--
Gin Stephens: No. I don't agree with his, that's a spin. That's semantics to me. I cannot flap my arms and fly like a bird.
Melanie Avalon: You don't have the knowledge to know how to do that.
Gin Stephens: Well, I know that physics does not allow me to flap my arms and fly like a bird.
Melanie Avalon: His response to that was you don't have the knowledge to know how to change physics.
Gin Stephens: Well, that's true. I can't change physics, Dave. [laughs] I'm sorry. Look, I taught gifted kids, I bet Dave would have been one of those gifted kids in my classroom having this argument with me, but I don't think I would have bought it then either.
Melanie Avalon: I still think my answer is the one answer, but then to that, he said, what about the multiple universe theory? There could be a version of you where you didn't do that.
Gin Stephens: Actually, I do-- Okay, I see his point on that one.
Melanie Avalon: I agree with that, yeah, but this version of me is still done it. This version of me in this universe can't have not done something that this version of me did.
Gin Stephens: I don't believe that the word ‘can't’ is not possible. Sorry, sorry. I cannot change the laws of physics, nor do I think that saying I don't have the knowledge to change the laws of physics means that I could actually change the laws of physics. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: The example he gives in his book, it's more practical example. He says, “For 24 hours, you shouldn't say can't and you'll realize you say it to people,” like people will say, “Do you want to do this?” You'll say, “Oh, I can't right now.” I realized, “Oh, every time you say I can't do this with you,” like when you say no to people, it's usually not a can't. It's a--
Gin Stephens: I don't want to. Yeah, I don't have time. I don't want to.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. No, this is staying with me, I have resolved now to not say can't in these situations, and it's difficult.
Gin Stephens: I do think that the word can't is something we overuse and overapply, and I'll agree with him on that, that we say can't a lot of the time. I haven't talked about this in Fast. Feast. Repeat., the can't mindset that we need to get out of. I can't have cream in my coffee. I can't eat right now. I'm choosing not to. I absolutely could, but even if I did, it wouldn't change the laws of digestion and it would still break the fast. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: For listeners, actually, when this episode comes out-- I think because I'm airing that one pretty fast. Normally, it's a few months, but I want to air it now. It actually might be out. I will put a link to it in the show notes.
Gin Stephens: Ooh, when this one comes out, it's going to be March 22nd, now I'll almost be done with my book. When this episode comes out, I will have, what is it, nine more days?
Melanie Avalon: That is exciting.
Gin Stephens: Okay, now I'm scared. I have a lot of work to do.
Melanie Avalon: Actually, when this airs, I will have aired the Dave episode. I will also have aired, I don't know if you know this Gin, I aired that episode with Joel Greene about The Immunity Code. It’s what I've been talking about all the time with the one that just blew my mind blew my mind. I made it a two-part episode because it was so intense. It's the only episode that I've aired that created an entire spinoff Facebook group that I did not start.
Gin Stephens: I love it.
Melanie Avalon: Listeners will be thrilled to know part two will have aired. I bumped it up because so many people have been begging me to air it. A lot will have happened when this airs.
Gin Stephens: I'm going to have some really interesting announcements coming up that I'll be ready to talk about soon.
Melanie Avalon: Do I know them?
Gin Stephens: Yep.
Melanie Avalon: Oh.
Gin Stephens: Bom, bom, bom. I've got a big new project that I'm doing at the very same time as finishing my book.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, I know what it is. Okay.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, it's huge, and I'm so excited. I'm so excited. It's a big, big, big, big, big announcement. It's something people are asking me for, and I didn't want to do it, and I was like, “I'm never going to do it. Now, I'm doing it.”
Melanie Avalon: It's not a dating app though.
Gin Stephens: Well, there could be dating involved.
Melanie Avalon: No, that's true.
Gin Stephens: Not a dating app? No, but it could be kind of a step along the way.
Melanie Avalon: I forgot about that. That's true. You're right.
Gin Stephens: Let's say that it is. Let's put that in there. Let's say that there can be a dating component.
Melanie Avalon: Yes.
Gin Stephens: Maybe not. I'm not going to say 100% for that. We'll see.
Melanie Avalon: No promises.
Gin Stephens: No promises, but maybe. Anyway, with that teaser, we'll just have to see.
Melanie Avalon: I'm even excited, and I know what it is. I'm like, “I want to know.” [laughs]
Gin Stephens: I am really excited though just because many reasons, I'll talk about them later. Not ready to spill the beans. People are probably guessing now, but it's something that I'm really, like I said, excited about, and I think it's going to make a huge difference.
Melanie Avalon: Where do you think the phrase “spill the beans” came from? Why does that mean saying something?
Gin Stephens: Well, I don't know. That's a great question. We actually want to do a Life Lessons podcast episode on the origin of common sayings. We think that will be fun. We should do that one soon. One thing about that podcast that I love is that we involve our group, and so we'll put something out there. Like if we were planning to do this, we'd say, “All right, everybody share yours,” just like we do here on this podcast, we answer listener questions, we do that on Life Lessons, but we also let listeners contribute. We want listeners to contribute. It's a crowd-sourced podcast in many ways.
Melanie Avalon: It's possible for the spill the beans, according to this random article that popped up on Google. It's possible one explanation dates back to ancient Greece when people would use beans to vote anonymously. White beans were used for positive votes and for negative votes, black beans or dark beans were used. Or, could have to do with the word ‘spill,’ I don't know. This is a lot. I will look forward to that episode, Gin.
Gin Stephens: Well, we'll see.
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Melanie Avalon: Shall we jump into everything for today?
Gin Stephens: Yeah, let's get started.
Melanie Avalon: All right to start things off, we have some listener feedback. This comes from Brooke. The subject is, “Thank you times a million.” Brooke says, “Hello, Gin and Mel. My name is Brooke and I'm sending you a message from--” Oh,” “Kamloops, British Columbia.” That's a cool name of a town.
Gin Stephens: It is.
Melanie Avalon: She says, “I started listening to your podcast about a month ago and I've been bingeing ever since, the good kind of bingeing. I'm about halfway through your current content and thought I'd send you guys a message as I noticed, you're approaching your 200th Episode. Congrats to you both on all your success. I wanted to send you guys a reminder. In your 100th episode, you mentioned that you could have wine while recording to celebrate your 200th Episode. I'm sure it could have been a joke, but I thought it would be fun to send you a reminder of the idea regardless.” We failed on that aspect, Gin.
Gin Stephens: We did. Then, I basically stopped drinking wine. I did have wine last night. We went out to dinner and we had some French champagne.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, how was it?
Gin Stephens: It was good. I didn't drink a ton.
Melanie Avalon: Champagne gives me headaches so bad.
Gin Stephens: Does it?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, instantly, like instant headache.
Gin Stephens: Wow. Not me. [laughs] But I never feel my best when I drink. It's the week after Valentine's Day here, so we avoided going out on Valentine's Day, that's by the way how you're officially, I guess old, I don't know. When you're like, “Let's go out next weekend to avoid the crowds.” [laughs] Instead on the day. We went out to a restaurant that we really like.
Melanie Avalon: With proper social distancing, of course.
Gin Stephens: Oh, yeah. You know, the restaurants have the guidelines in place and they're following them. We went out. Well, normally when we would go out, like a year ago when I was not drinking less wine, we would have had more. Then, we would have gone somewhere else and had like an after-dinner drink, then I would have come home. I had no desire to do any of that. It's a big change. I feel so much better today than I would have in the past.
Melanie Avalon: That's good.
Gin Stephens: It is good. I'm learning how to live my life with-- there'll still be wine here and there, but I didn't come home and open another bottle of wine or have another drink, but it's okay to still have it in there.
Melanie Avalon: Well, back to Brooke’s feedback. She says, “I've only been living and IF lifestyle for five months, but I’ve already had tremendous success in so many aspects of my life. I've lost 50 pounds. I know that was really fast. I think I must have a fantastic gut microbiome.” Oh, I love that she associates-- Most people when they talk about their weight loss, the first thing they think isn't their gut microbiome.
Gin Stephens: I know.
Melanie Avalon: But I feel it most often is.
Gin Stephens: Probably.
Melanie Avalon: So, I'm happy to hear Brooke say that. She says, “I've developed an incredibly healthy relationship with food and perhaps the most profound benefit of all, I'm able to lead an active lifestyle again. Prior to IF, my rare muscle disease would prevent me from maintaining any sort of regular physical activity. Every time I attempted to get active, lactic acid would build up in my muscles, my muscles would start breaking down faster than my body could repair them. Then, they'd begin to spasm uncontrollably. Due to the rapid muscle breakdown, my kidneys would start to shut down because they couldn't handle the amount of breakdown that was happening. In the medical world, this is referred to as rhabdomyolysis.” Listeners, I don't know if I said that right, but this word is very complicated. She says, “Even light exercise would trigger these episodes. Since I've been doing IF, I can now exercise. I work out three times a week for 45 minutes doing a combination of cardio and strength training. I walk my dogs almost every day for an hour.
My physician has been following this closely and is amazed. He gave me the go ahead thanks to IF to continue living an active lifestyle. I still don't know how this is happening, but I do know that it is without a doubt a result of living and if lifestyle. Thank you, Mel and Gin, for all your experience research, encouragement and your drive to make the world a better place. A world where everyone is free to do what feels right and what works for them. Listening to you both every day encourages me, motivates me and inspires me to invest in myself and in those who I love. I love that you reiterate there was no one approach, but that the best approach is the approach that helps you live a happy, healthy and sustainable lifestyle. I could go on and on about both of you gals, but I'll leave it at that. Thank you for all that you do so much love, Brooke.”
Gin Stephens: Oh, that's amazing. I've never heard of that condition before, I can't say it either. Funny sidenote, Melanie, you've experienced this when reading a book for Audible. When I was reading my book, I realized how many words that I wrote that I didn't know how to say. [laughs] I was like, “I don't know how to say this,” and my producer was like, “Yeah, me neither,” and we would look it up. Oh my God, my new book has got so many words I'm not going to be able to say, I should just stop now.
Melanie Avalon: I think it's really funny when I listen to audiobooks, there are a few keywords that I feel like I do now know how to say but they'll say it wrong. I'm just thinking of like, I was listening to a book right now, they called resveratrol something.
Gin Stephens: Oh, the narrator said it wrong?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah.
Gin Stephens: That's hilarious.
Melanie Avalon: Resave-- I don't know. I was like, “I think he means resveratrol.”
Gin Stephens: Okay, that makes me feel better.
Melanie Avalon: This was like a narrator I've heard before too.
Gin Stephens: Like a professional narrator? Yeah, I love it.
Melanie Avalon: Speaking of words, did you know that iterate means the same thing as reiterate?
Gin Stephens: Hmm. No.
Melanie Avalon: They both just mean to emphasize.
Gin Stephens: Interesting. I've heard iteration, like the iteration as an idea develops, but I don't think I've ever heard anyone say iterate.
Melanie Avalon: When she said that you reiterate, she could also say that you iterate.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, I've never heard that word in usage.
Melanie Avalon: I use it now all the time. When I'm about to say reiterate, I don't, and then I pause, and I say iterate.
Gin Stephens: That sounds weird though.
Melanie Avalon: I know.
Gin Stephens: [laughs] Just because it is a word, doesn't mean you should say it.
Melanie Avalon: I want people to question me.
Gin Stephens: Okay. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: I actually have a theory about why IF helped her condition.
Gin Stephens: All right, what's your theory?
Melanie Avalon: My theory is, it sounds like she has an issue with-- I don't know anything about the technicalities of this condition, but it sounds like--
Gin Stephens: Like why lactic acid builds up?
Melanie Avalon: Right. I don't know if it's because is she producing more lactic acid or is it because she lacks the ability to break down lactic acid? In any case, there's too much lactic acid. Lactic acid is-- when we're following a primarily glucose-fueled state, we have higher buildup of lactic acid in our activity. Ketogenic diets reduce lactic acid, I'm assuming fasting would as well. It's quite possible that her exercise is not producing as much lactic acid. That's my theory.
Gin Stephens: Very good theory.
Melanie Avalon: I'm very fascinated by lactic acid.
Gin Stephens: I have never one time thought about lactic acid. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: I think about it too much.
Gin Stephens: Apparently.
Melanie Avalon: The reason I think about it is, I think it's one of those things you can actually really feel. If you haven't done fasting, or if you're primarily carb fueled and you're doing workouts, you can feel that burn in your muscle when you've built up lactic acid, and now I rarely ever feel it. The only time I feel it is if I did some crazy carb up or something, and then I will feel it again. I'm just really fascinated.
Gin Stephens: Okay, now, that just gave me an interesting connection. Sometimes, when people are new to intermittent fasting, they'll say that they have strange muscle pain like they worked out, and they didn't. They don't know why. Yeah, I don't know why either, but we hear that. I bet it's something with lactic acid building up as a response to early fasting. That's so interesting.
Melanie Avalon: Well, I don't know if the lactic acid builds up.
Gin Stephens: Well, I don't know people feel it. People feel a pain. What would cause for your muscles to feel like you'd worked out when you hadn't? Wouldn't that be the buildup of lactic acid perhaps? See, I told you I never once thought about it.
Melanie Avalon: Maybe, the lactic acid builds up from using the muscles though.
Gin Stephens: Right. That's where the pain comes in.
Melanie Avalon: The burning feeling.
Gin Stephens: Right. Maybe something with the fasting is causing lactic acid to-- I don't know why, I don't know what it would be.
Melanie Avalon: I don't know. It could be something going on.
Gin Stephens: Something is definitely going on. I just always tell them I don't know what it is, but we've heard it before. That's really good enough for me. I don't know what's happening, but you're not the first to have it happen, and people don't experience it forever. That's another good thing. You're not going to be like in pain for the rest of your life. It's a temporary thing.
Melanie Avalon: It's interesting. I will only have the lactic acid feeling-- because I eat high-carb diet from fruit, I only get it if I carb up on glucose stuff. If I've experimented with having potatoes or sweet potatoes or something, or rice, then the next day I will have that effect and I don't like it at all. Peter Attia had a good episode recently on this, we can put a link to it in the show notes.
Gin Stephens: Always interesting.
Melanie Avalon: Yup.
Gin Stephens: Okey-doke. Shall we move on to the questions?
Melanie Avalon: Yes.
Gin Stephens: All right. We have one from Ezra and the subject is “Physical Pain, Inflammation, and IF.” “Greetings from Sweden,” this is an example like Ezra his last name definitely looks Swedish and it's very cool, but I don't know if I could say it, but I love the look of it.
Melanie Avalon: It looks very Swedish.
Gin Stephens: I love it. Yep. “Hello, Melanie and Gin. I've listened to this podcast as well as Intermittent Fasting Stories, and the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast for months now, and have to say thank you so much for all the hard work that you put out. It's really helped me so much in figuring out my own journey with IF. So to the subject, I've been doing IF on and off for two years, and recently made the decision to again work myself up to a 16- to 20-hour fast each day. I've currently been fasting these hours for about two weeks, and here comes my question.” Oh, my God. This is like exactly practically what I just said.
Melanie Avalon: I was just thinking that. I was thinking that when I saw-- it was funny. Okay, when you were talking about that, I was like--
Gin Stephens: That was an accident.
Melanie Avalon: I know when you were talking about I was like, “I think we have a question about this in today's lineup.”
Gin Stephens: Well, I mean, I just answered somebody with the same question today on the Ask a Moderator thread in the Delay, Don't Deny Group and said, “This is so funny.” All right. “Can fasting temporarily make your body ache and give you inflammation? I sometimes have pain in my joints, and as I've been fasting, it's been getting worse. I have pain in some part of my body every day. I love the energy that fasting gives me, but I'm scared that maybe I'm doing something wrong. Do you know what could be causing this?” Although I will say, Melanie, I think it's the joints, so that is a little different. I do have a thought about that, but I'm going to keep reading. “When I eat, I always have some meat or fish with vegetables. I don't have any food restrictions and will also finish my eating window with something sweet. I have noticed though that now that I'm fasting, I don't crave sweets as much as I used to, so that's good. I don't know if the pain has anything to do with my fasting. I just noticed that it started to get worse as I fasted more. Would love to hear your thoughts on this. Lots of love from Ezra.”
Melanie Avalon: All right. This is a great question from Ezra. I have a lot of thoughts about it. Fasting, it's not causing an injury to your body that is resulting in pain. That's not what is happening. I don't want to say that objectively. I am pretty sure that's not what is happening. However, your body can go into different modes from fasting that might exacerbate pain.
Gin Stephens: The fasting is not the direct cause that fasting caused the pain, but fasting causes X which causes Y, which gives you the pain along the way. Is that what you're saying? Yeah.
Melanie Avalon: It could be a lot of things, just speaking to pain in general. I know this word is so overused and casual, like the detox effects from fasting can result in pain or discomfort.
Gin Stephens: Can I tell you something I just read yesterday?
Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm.
Gin Stephens: I read a study about that, and it was about how toxins and how they're stashed in our fat cells, which we know. But they did a study with two groups of women, one group, they were obese, and they were going through weight loss surgery. The other group of women were lean, normal weight women. They tested to figure out their body burden, which is their overall toxic load, their chemical load, what’s stashed away in their fat cells, and they tested their blood to see what was circulating in their blood. They found that as the women-- who had the gastric bypass, I believe, was their surgical intervention. As they went through the weight loss process, obviously, they lost fat very, very quickly, and they found that the circulating levels of the toxins actually went up as it was being released from their fat stores, they measured it. Then overall though-- see, and that's the part that's a little scary, because you're like, you got these why are the toxins in our fat stores will our bodies stash them away, because they don't know what to do. It's like if you have to clean your room in a hurry, and you shove everything under the bed?
Melanie Avalon: Oh, that is such a good example.
Gin Stephens: I should put that in the book, I'm going to go add that now. I’ve got to remember it. You shove it under the bed so that it looks all nice and tidy, but then eventually you're going to have to get it back out from under the bed and it's going to be a big mess. The good news is though that on the other side, their overall body burden was lower. That was the whole point of the study. This was in PubMed. It's a study, it's not just theoretical that our bodies stash things away in our fat stores.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, and the release of those toxins is going to very likely result in body aches, inflammation--
Gin Stephens: Or acne, or headache, or whatever.
Melanie Avalon: Also, something that can be huge for the joints, and I don't know if this is specific to Ezra, but I had on Sally Norton for an episode on oxalates. Man, talking to her, I'm like, “I don't know why people don't talk about oxalates more.” A lot of people who do things like the carnivore diet, for example, talk about oxalate dumping. There are compounds that are found in a lot of leafy greens, some fruits, there's various foods that are high in them. Actually, if you get my app, Food Sense Guide, it has oxalates as one of the 12 or 13 compounds, and it shows the levels of oxalates in over 300 foods, you can get that at melanieavalon.com/foodsenseguide. All of that to say oxalates, they're like the one plant compound that actually deposits in us, it can form these crystals, and they deposit in our bones and our joints, and a lot of people seem to experience, especially when they do a carnivore diet, but I would see those would also happen with fasting, oxalate dumping, and that can lead to very intense pain in your joints, particularly. So, that could be something.
Gin Stephens: Gout is something that brings to mind. Gout is uric acid, is that related to the oxalates?
Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm.
Gin Stephens: Okay, I didn't know that the chain, but when I was reading it, I was thinking gout, because there's a lot of anecdotal reports of gout will be exacerbated early in fasting, and you can actually read that link if you Google it, gout gets worse.
Melanie Avalon: Is it because of dumping the uric acid crystals?
Gin Stephens: Well, that's what the gout is, the buildup of those crystals in the joints, and that's what causes the pain, is it but from dumping that probably, I guess, I don't know, I'm not a gout expert. I'm just talking out of my head here, but that will scare a lot of people, like a lot of people will then stop fasting because they're like, “Oh, my gosh, it's making my gout go crazy,” they'll have this pain. But we've actually heard reports from members in the group, that it gets better, and then they no longer have gout flareups. Again, if you go deep into the forest, you're going to have to get back out of the forest going the other directions, so think about your gout flareup the same way. It's going to be maybe worse before it gets better as you're going out through the other side.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, and it seems especially people that have a really high buildup of all of that uric acid-- I think they're uric acid crystals, and they relate to oxalates, apparently can take for some people like a long time. Sally was saying that it can be like yours for some people. You can feel like you've maybe excreted all of them, but then it takes a long time to get to some of the deep reserves. She talks about how she had a flareup of different parts of her body, way later-- after she'd been doing a low oxalate diet for quite a while, and it went in phases.
Gin Stephens: Yeah. Again, it's the things you have stashed away, and they have to come out. There can be some discomfort along the way, but it should get better eventually. Then, you almost are like, “Was this worth it?” I don't know. [sighs]
Melanie Avalon: I don't see a mechanism of action where fasting, where not putting something in your body, it could be the cause of pain, like the direct-- not touching something, doesn't make you feel something, if that makes sense.
Gin Stephens: Yep. Fasting didn't cause the problem. It just got it out from under the bed.
Melanie Avalon: Yes. It's like the flashlight example.
Gin Stephens: Right. Well, I hope that helps Ezra.
Melanie Avalon: Yes. Now, we have a question from Amy. The subject is “Possible Metabolism Slowdown, Help Needed.” Amy says, “Hi, Gin and Melanie. I learned so much from both of you and am so appreciative of the podcast. I cannot thank you both enough. I'm a 52-year-old teacher with two teenage boys living in California. I relate so much to Gin and had been on a similar yo-yo dieting path from Weight Watchers to Nutrisystem to Ideal Protein to phentermine.” Is that--
Gin Stephens: That's how I say it. Yep.
Melanie Avalon: “And many more in between. I listen to your podcast, read your books, and finally feel free from my terror of eating now that I have a fastening toolbox. I mix it up with windows from one to six hours, 42-hour ADF, and every now and again a 72 hour,” fast is what she means. She says, “That said, I am starting to worry that I have slowed down my metabolism and I'm wondering what I can do to boost it back up again. I'm 5’3” and weighed 170 pounds at the start of my intermittent fasting journey, which I diligently began on January 3rd, 2020. I clean fasted right from the start and worked my way up to doing mostly 21:3. By April, after about a 10-pound weight loss, I've been stalled for more than two months. I posted about this on Gin's blog, and she wrote me back, this was exciting, and suggested trying ADF, which was a game changer for me.
In May, I started with one 42-hour fast a week and over a couple of weeks upped it to at least three times a week. From June to August, I started seeing results again. On eating days, I still keep a window but I am a big eater maybe even binger. Though I mostly eat healthy whole foods, even when I have wanted to proper meals, I tend to graze during my window. Half an avocado here, some almonds there, cheese carrots dipped in hummus, cottage cheese, apple, cinnamon a lot. As I said, I mostly stick to whole foods, but I do not eat low carb most days. I have some gluten-free crackers, bread, and pretzels. Since I tend to eat too much during my window, especially when I leave it open beyond three hours, I have not been too worried about not eating enough on the days I was not fasting because of this pattern. While I generally only weigh myself about two times a week, 135 has been my lowest weight for at least the last month. I'm not yet at my goal weight of 128 pounds.” That's a very specific number, I'm just thinking.
Gin Stephens: It really is, and it's very close to where she is already. I'm going to say that now. 128 is very close to 135.
Melanie Avalon: She says, “This morning after four consecutive days of regular 21:3, I am back to 139 pounds. I have not seen this since mid-August. I'm finding that when I don't do ADF and switch back to a daily eating window anywhere from one to six hours, for three to four consecutive days, my weight shoots back up. Have I totally messed up my metabolism? What can I do to boost it? Now, I have around 10 more pounds to lose. Should I be switching to low carb or keto? Where does that leave me after I reach my goal weight though? I do not want to eat keto regularly, and I certainly do not want to eliminate pizza for the rest of my life. Once I do lose the rest, I now have concerns about maintaining. I've every intention of fasting being my way of life forever, and I was loving the flexibility of having an eating window on some days as a way of maintenance, especially since I find ADF is more challenging while school is in session. If eating a 21:3 lifestyle is causing me to gain back weight, I am not so sure it is sustainable. I know it works for Gin. Any suggestions for how to tweak it for me? I love this way of life so much, and I hope I have not messed it up. I'm grateful for advice on how to lose the last 10 pounds and a plan for maintenance afterwards.”
Gin Stephens: All right, so the first thing I really want to emphasize is, your weight went from 135, Amy, to 139 in four days. We do not gain or lose fat that quickly. You did not gain four pounds of fat in four days. What I would say to you is, even though 135 is the lowest weight you saw, I think 139-- if you asked me, “How much does Amy weigh, really?” It's 139. That's the weight of your body with normal eating. You've had 21:3, which feels good to you. When I would do ADF, I got lower lows than my body would maintain that, if that makes sense, just like you're saying here. The lows I would get to on ADF were not sustained the real weight that I was, if that makes sense. I wouldn't count that 135, even though you saw it on the scale, just like that day I saw 129 on the scale, that one day, I never maintained that. As soon as I went back to eating more food, my weight shot up. Was it all fat? No. Just remember, food has weight and your body maintains water to process that food. For me, you're not back to 139, that's just really the weight of your body plus the weight of the food. When you were 135, that's the weight of your body with no food in it. So, that's the difference between the two weights. You just have to understand 135 and 139 are the same you. The same amount of you is in there. It's just you got that four pounds of other stuff going on. That's not fat.
Does that indicate that your metabolism is messed up? No. An indication of a messed-up metabolism is when if your weight started to go up, up, up, up, up, up, up all the time and wouldn't go down, that would be possibly an indication. But it sounds like you're really shifting things up and shaking things up, I wouldn't think your metabolism is slowed down unless you are doing a lot of 72-hour fasts. You said every now and again, my definition of every now and again would be like once a season. If you're doing more frequent 72-hour fasts than once a season, then that's probably too much. I don't even know unless you're doing it for health purposes. I am not a fan of doing fasts longer than ADF for the purpose of weight loss, because again, it's not giving you the benefits. When we have that study that we look to that I talked about in Fast. Feast. Repeat., 72-hour fasting, the metabolic rate was on a downward trajectory as we approached our 72. What we don't have is research on frequent fasts of that duration. If one 72-hour fast had their metabolism on a downward trajectory, imagine what would happen if you did them over and over and over? The body's trying to keep you alive, that would slow your metabolic rate over time.
Now, when you're doing the 42-hour ADF, I just want to make sure because you said that you're having one or two proper meals. I hope that's not on the day after the longer fast. Remember, you need at least two meals on those days and three would again be okay. If you are feeling a need to binge, if you feel like you're bingeing, like with the alternate day fasting pattern more so, I do think bingeing is a sign that you might be over-restricting, so keep that in mind, because that's your body saying you need more food. Just by all that ideal way, and if you tend to binge more on one pattern versus the other, that could be a sign that your body is perceiving whatever you're doing as over-restriction. Keep that in mind.
So, how do you lose those last 10 pounds? What I want you to do is really focus on long term. Your honesty pants, your photos, less focus on the scale, and understand that fluctuation from 135 to 139 is not showing quick rapid fat gain. My body, I don't weigh now obviously with a scale that shows me numbers, I use my Shapa a scale, but I can be puffy after depending on what I ate, my face might be puffy. If I were seeing numbers on the scale, I'm sure it would be up several pounds, but I don't see the number, and then it goes back down. My Shapa color is gray, then my Shapa color is teal, then my Shapa color is green, over time. It might be three days of gray, two days of green, one day of teal, five days of green. Weight naturally varies. Maybe consider a Shapa scale. If you don't have one, go to ginstephens.com/shapa, and instead of that rapid transition from one weight to another, it only shows you on the Shapa scale your real overall trend, so you'll know for sure if your trend is trending up or not. I don't know what do you have to add to that, Melanie? I might have just rambled a lot.
Melanie Avalon: I thought that was great. I like the concept of what is her “the real her weight,” and the difference with the food. The only thing I would draw further attention to would be, I would suggest rather than focusing so much on all of the different fasting windows, if you're open to it focusing on the food that you're eating, mostly because she even says that she possibly has bingeing tendencies and that she struggles with overeating, it's really hard for a lot of people to-- if they're taking in massive, massive amounts of food, especially if those foods are potentially inflammatory for your body, or high in polyunsaturated fats, which I'm very passionate about, it can be hard to do that and make forward progress losing weight. I just feel it's a situation where you can't always “have your cake and eat it too.” but you can. Your tastebuds and gut microbiome and what you're eating, and your appetite and your cravings can all adjust to the foods that you're eating. So, making food choices like slowly changing your food choices towards food choices that are more supportive of metabolism, less likely to encourage fat storage, making those changes can have really profound effects.
I know she's really hesitant about doing low carb, for example. That is something that I'll often suggest is, if you haven't done it trying low carb, or if you haven't done it trying a high carb low fat approach-- On the flip side, she says she eats mostly whole foods, but there can be a big difference between mostly and only whole foods, and it's possible when you eat only whole foods that you can be completely 100% satisfied still, but it can make a big difference between mostly and all whole foods. I just think there's a lot of potential in addressing what she's eating, like a lot of potential. Rather than trying all these different fasting patterns all the time and trying to make that be the thing that leads to the weight loss if weight loss is the goal, there's a lot of potential with changing up the food choices.
Gin Stephens: Yep, so many things to tweak and to try.
Melanie Avalon: Speaking to not eliminating pizza for the rest of her life. Something that works really well for a lot of people is doing six days a week of the “diet,” but it could just be whole foods only, and then having like-- I know we don't like the word ‘cheat,’ but having a free or a cheat day and especially if you do it still in a intermittent fasting pattern, that might be something that could work. Maybe moving to potentially more fat storage potential promoting foods or inflammatory foods to a dedicated one day per week.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, I like to call it a Planned Indulgence Day because you're not cheating. You planned it. You're doing it on purpose.
Melanie Avalon: A lot of people have this in their plans. I recently interviewed Abel James, Fat-Burning Man. He has that in his book, and there's a lot of people who include this. The Leangains protocol include stuff like this. Yeah, I would consider trying that.
Gin Stephens: Also, if you do decide to have a planned indulgence day, once a week, understanding what's happening with your weight after that is also so important. Some people will get really upset about the scale. After a planned indulgence, you might find your weight shoots up four pounds, and then it takes you several days of being back on “on plan” to see your weight go back down. People might think just I gained four pounds of fat every time I do this, and then it takes me four days to lose that fat. That's not what's happening. Again, it's the way the extra water, the food, the inflammation that those foods cause. You're not gaining four pounds of fat and losing four pounds of fat. It's something else going on. We do not gain or lose fat that quickly. We just don't.
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Gin Stephens: All right. We have time for one more?
Melanie Avalon: I think so.
Gin Stephens: Okay, we have a question from Hannah. The subject is “The Unbroken Broken Fast.” She says, “Hi, girls, big fan of all you do. I've been IF since 2017. I consider myself an old hat at fasting, since I've tried and tested so many methods over the years. My sweet spot is 19:5. I fast clean what I call the Gin Way.” Oh, thank you, Hannah. She says, “I've been low carb slash paleo for about six months. I changed my diet after a serious health crash in 2020. I'm suffering with liver problems at the moment, and my naturopath has me on a liver flush drink which consists of, one green apple, two garlic cloves, the juice of one lemon, two-centimeter piece of ginger, a tablespoon of olive oil, and 200 milliliters of filtered water. I have to drink this fasted as early in the day as I can, between 10 and 11 is what I aim for, followed by a strong cup of dandelion or peppermint tea.
The first time I tried it, I waited to see how long before I got the shaky hands and dizziness, telling me I need food. It never happened. I carried on with my day and ate my first real food at around 3 PM. I have to do this liver flush up to four times a week, as soon as I drink it, I consider my fast as broken. But I don't understand why I can keep “fasting” after it without getting shaky or dizzy or hungry. Any ideas?”
Melanie Avalon: All right, Hannah, this is a great question. I think this speaks to, I don't want to say it's a fasting myth, but I think it's a fasting idea that has come about that is not-- I don't think it's entirely accurate. It's this idea that we should have a negative way reaction to--
Gin Stephens: Accidentally breaking the fast?
Melanie Avalon: Yes, it's like this idea that fasting regulates our hunger, and so once we eat that is going to have a negative reaction. It does for a lot of people. In theory, a “correctly” functioning body, it's made to process food. If your body is really good at processing calories, you have good insulin sensitivity, eating food should not make you more hungry, and it shouldn't make you shaky. When I say food, there's a difference between real food and processed food and things like that. But it's not expected or a good thing that we get shaky from things that “break” the fast, so I don't want people to anticipate that.
Gin Stephens: I was just going to say, the shakiness happens if you have a blood sugar crash, so you're having this meal that you're opening with, we're going to consider that to be a meal. This liver flush drink has fat in it, it has fruits in it, but the olive oil probably slows the absorption of the apple and the lemon juice and the ginger, because when we have fat along with those fruit things, fat slows the absorption, so your blood glucose doesn't rise very, very quickly to the point that it would then crash.
Melanie Avalon: Right. Some people might drink this, and they would have this shaky response. It all comes down to the individual and their own insulin sensitivity, just how they handle food and fuel.
Gin Stephens: How much blood glucose was in their blood to start with when they had it, for example. Your blood glucose could go down a lot, and you don't feel shaky, because you didn't feel it because it was already high.
Melanie Avalon: Then, it also doesn't mean-- because there could be somebody who is doing fasting, and then they have something like this, and they don't experience any difference, so then they think, “Oh, it didn't break my fast.” It did break your fast.
Gin Stephens: Some people try to use that as some kind of a test, like, “Well, I tried the lemon in my water, and I didn't feel any difference, that must be fine.” No, it's still juice of a fruit. It's still not going to be part of fasting. You can't always tell based on how you feel. On the flip side, when we say, if something breaks your fast and you feel it, yeah, sometimes you will, but that doesn't mean just because you didn't feel it, that doesn't mean that it didn't. Someone gave a great example, one of my moderators, someone was testing their blood glucose to try to see, and you'll see videos about this. There'll be people who are making a YouTube video on, “I tested my blood glucose after a blah, blah, blah, to see if it broke my fast and it didn't because my blood glucose didn't change.” That is such a false way of thinking about it because the moderator that was talking about it, she tests her blood glucose frequently. She said, “Yeah, I just ate a meal that included--" she named off all these foods that she ate, and her blood glucose didn't change. She's like, “So did that not break her fast?” It did, it was food. What your blood glucose does is not the be-all end-all.
Melanie Avalon: The other thing, especially after having worn a CGM now for many months, at this point, I don't have one on right now, but months total. It's really hard to know when you're testing it at any one moment after trying something, when is that an accurate reflection of the food? If you're wearing a CGM, you might see it change within minutes differently. If you had taken that blood draw at just a minute prior or a minute later, it might have been a completely different number, especially right after eating when it's changing.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, very true. It can be tricky. I love that Hannah is recognizing fully that she's opening her window with this beverage and she's following her naturopath’s directions and she's making it fit into her intermittent fasting protocol. I think it's a really good sign that it doesn't make her shaky, dizzy, or hungry. Her body is managing it.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, exactly. It's a good thing.
Gin Stephens: That's a plus.
Melanie Avalon: All right. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. A few things for listeners before we go. If you would like to submit your own questions for the podcast, you can directly email firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. The show notes for this episode will be at ifpodcast.com/episode205. You can follow us on Instagram at MelanieAvalon and Gin is at GinStephens. How's Instagram going, Gin?
Gin Stephens: Well, I'm rolling along. [laughs] Did you see my photo? I posted a photo the other day from college with my big hair.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, wait, let me see. Oh, my goodness. That is very large hair.
Gin Stephens: I know. And my hair wasn't the biggest.
Melanie Avalon: How do you get it like that?
Gin Stephens: [laughs] Okay, everybody who's my age is laughing so hard because we had to work at it, Melanie. Curling irons and mousse. Do you know what mousse is?
Melanie Avalon: Oh yes, I forgot about mousse.
Gin Stephens: Hairspray. What you would do is, okay, first of all, you had to have bangs, they had to be cut a certain way. All these little bang-y layers. When your hair was wet, you would take the mousse and you would put it all in whatever the part of your hair that needed to stick out. Then you would dry it with your brush and then you would curl it, then you might even do a little teasing with your comb, and you would spray, spray, spray, spray, spray that hairspray and it did not move. It was like a helmet.
Melanie Avalon: When I was doing a lot of background work on a lot of different TV shows, whenever it was like 80 scenes, man, the makeup artists, they knew what they were doing. I just felt like doing that one day just would wreck my hair. I'd be sitting there in the makeup chair being like [shivers].
Gin Stephens: Yeah, it was a lot of stuff on our hair. We had a lot of products.
Melanie Avalon: Oh my goodness.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, you can see how much I used my curling iron that day. I think I also had a perm.
Melanie Avalon: Nice.
Gin Stephens: Even the boys got perms.
Melanie Avalon: Really?
Gin Stephens: It was so funny. I remember being in high school and this guy who was super cute. He was in a lot of my classes and he does perm. [laughs] It sounds crazy now, but it's what we did.
Melanie Avalon: It's so funny.
Gin Stephens: I love the 80s.
Melanie Avalon: Well, awesome. Well, this has been absolutely amazing. 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. Bye-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
More on Melanie: MelanieAvalon.com
More on Gin: GinStephens.com
Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox: LelandCox.com
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