Episode 218: Growing Your Own Food, Insufficient Calories, Food Reactions, Fasted Marathons, Tea, Detoxing From Cigarettes, And More!

Intermittent Fasting


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Jun 20

Welcome to Episode 218 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 218 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. 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., 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 218 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with Gin Stephens.

Gin Stephens: Hi, everybody.

Melanie Avalon: How are you today, Gin?

Gin Stephens: I am doing great. How are you?

Melanie Avalon: Good. Have you seen those hydroponic plant growing systems?

Gin Stephens: Yes.

Melanie Avalon: Did I tell you that I got one?

Gin Stephens: I feel like we had this discussion.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, yes, because I told you about the water. I have an update.

Gin Stephens: Okay, good.

Melanie Avalon: Have you had one before? Have you--?

Gin Stephens: No, not a hydroponic, no.

Melanie Avalon: I'm just in awe, once the plants start growing, how fast they start growing. I swear, I feel if I just like stared at it, I could probably--

Gin Stephens: Do you feel that-- where it speeds up?

Melanie Avalon: Yeah.

Gin Stephens: I just realized the way I said no, not hydroponic, made it sound like I'd grown lots of things, but I've really grown nothing. “No, I haven't done hydroponic, but I've done all the--” No, zero. One time, I got a basil plant. I mean that's like-- [laughs] What are you growing?

Melanie Avalon: I got the AeroGarden really large farm system.

Gin Stephens: You're farming. [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: It's tall. I'm so bad at gauging height. It's only a foot shorter than me. It's like five feet. So, it's growing three varieties of cucumbers, cilantro, and spinach. Then, I got a smaller unit. The company actually sent it to me, and I'm growing cilantro and microgreens. It's stressing me out a little bit because there's so many plants, and now they're just going crazy, and I feel like I need to--

Gin Stephens: Like prune it down.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah.

Gin Stephens: Well, I mean, don't think of it as stressful. They're plants. You're going to eat them.

Melanie Avalon: I'm starting to feel plants are very much alive. I mean, I know they're alive.

Gin Stephens: Well, they are alive. They're food though.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, but I feel they have a consciousness or something, just watching them grow and they grow their way into my-- because it's against the window. So, they've started like growing their way up the blinders. They just seem very intelligent. [laughs] I don't know.

Gin Stephens: Never get a cow, don't get a chicken. [laughs] We’ve got to eat something. You could be a breatharian.

Melanie Avalon: I know. The little cilantro plant, it's getting crowded by the cucumber. It finds its way through--

Gin Stephens: Plants are amazing. I always say cil-aantro, by the way. Oh, you say cilantro and I say cil-aantro, I don't know I could be wrong. I'm just wondering if I've been saying it wrong for my whole life. It's possible.

Melanie Avalon: It probably can go both ways.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, there are a lot of words like that. You grow it inside, so now I'm really interested in that.

Melanie Avalon: It's so cool. I think what I'm going to do, I need to commit to only two or three of the cucumber plants and next to the rest, and then I think I need to grow the cilantro just in the smaller unit.

Gin Stephens: Is it pretty?

Melanie Avalon: Oh, yes. I'll send you a picture.

Gin Stephens: Okay, because there's an area of our den where we sit and watch TV or hang out where Chad wants to get a plant over in the corner, and I'm like, “This might be really fun.” If it would be pretty. He's like, “What about this plant?” I'm like, “No, I don’t want that plant,” but I'd be like, “What about this?” Cutting garden, that might be really fun.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I'll send you a picture. If you get the one I have, I think it's called the Farm XL. It's so cool. It has this light that raises, so you can raise it as they grow, and it's very much monitored. It tells you when to change the food, when to add the water.

Gin Stephens: But as long as it's pretty because we're looking at it, we want something decorative over there.

Melanie Avalon: I mean, it looks cool.

Gin Stephens: Okay, I'm going to have to look and see.

Melanie Avalon: I'll send you a picture.

Gin Stephens: Okay. All right. It does sound fun. I just looked on the internet, it looks cool. Here it is on a little plant stand.

Melanie Avalon: Are you looking at the little one or the big one?

Gin Stephens: Well, I don't know. I'm just went their main website.

Melanie Avalon: AeroGarden?

Gin Stephens: Yeah, I hadn't really looked at. Or, the farm, Bounty Family. Oh, they have all sorts of things, but is it on a stand?

Melanie Avalon: The smaller ones, you'd have to put on something. If you look up Farm XL, that one is freestanding. That's what I have.

Gin Stephens: It's not the same as the farm family. Oh, there's like a bunch of them Farm 12XL.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. If you go to gardens, and then view all and then--

Gin Stephens: Well, I'll take some time to look and see.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I actually don't see the one that I have.

Gin Stephens: That you have? Okay.

Melanie Avalon: It's like, if you see the Farm 24XL, it's half of that. It's like if that was half.

Gin Stephens: That's a lot of farming. [laughs] I don't think we have room for 24XL. That's hilarious. Okay, well, there's a Farm 12, that might be what you have.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, yeah, it's a Farm 12.

Gin Stephens: You have the Farm 12. Yeah. Okay.

Melanie Avalon: You know the studies they do, where they talk nicely to the plants and the plants that they talk nicely to grow better?

Gin Stephens: Yes.

Melanie Avalon: I completely feel like that's the thing. I just feel like I--

Gin Stephens: Oh, yeah, I do too.

Melanie Avalon: I just go over to these little plants and I talked to them. It's wonderful. Then, I have to kill some of them.

Gin Stephens: Well, you're going to eat them, get them nice energy, and they'll give you nice energy.

Melanie Avalon: Okay, that's my story. What's new with you?

Gin Stephens: Well, listeners don't know, but we just recorded yesterday. [laughs] And two days before, we had some things going on, so we had to jam them all together. So, not a lot is new. I was just outside right before recording with Chad, we're adding on to the back of our garage. We're adding like a garden shed for him, so it flows into the past conversation. He was asking me how to configure it. I'm like, “I don't know, what are you going to do in here?” And he's like, “I don't know.” [laughs] Like, “Well, I would like to know what you're doing before I could tell you how to configure it.” One little section of it is like a little potting shed kind of a thing. So, he's debating what kind of sink to put in, who's going to put in a utility sink, and then some cabinets, so he's going to do some potting. He's got some tomatoes growing right now, some planters that are outside because our whole backyard’s torn up. It looks like the moon, like I said. It's just raw dirt back there, and junk, but it's going to be nice. We've got one little tomato that's almost red.

Melanie Avalon: Well, I love plants, as you know.

Gin Stephens: Yeah. Well, Chad's my gardener, but I could probably talk him into growing things outside more easily than inside. Now, I'm trying to get him to grow me beans, because I’ve just got to book about heirloom beans, and like how to grow them, how to cook them.

Melanie Avalon: Everything that I'm growing in this is organic heirloom varieties.

Gin Stephens: Awesome. Yeah, I think that's the best. I mean, honestly when I did my research for Clean(ish), I never really thought about how these modern varietals of plants that have been bred to grow quicker and have greater yield. The modern-day versions, like, let's say, a modern tomato, not the heirloom variety, but the modern one that grows quickly and is huge, their nutrients are diluted, they're not as nutritious, and I never thought of that. I'm like, “Well, that makes a lot of sense though.”

Melanie Avalon: The heirloom varieties, they don't have the genetic adaptations to be diluted.

Gin Stephens: Right. It's important. We eat food for nutrients, and you don't even think about-- you could be trying really hard to eat nutritious foods, not realizing that your foods have so many fewer nutrients than they should. It's like that just makes you so mad when you start thinking about it.

Melanie Avalon: I know. It's really upsetting.

Gin Stephens: It is upsetting. Yeah. My big belief is that our body, we don't count calories, our bodies--

Melanie Avalon: Count nutrients in a way.

Gin Stephens: Count nutrients. So, that would lead to you not being satisfied. It’d affect satiety because your body's like, “That wasn't enough nutrients.” When you start really digging in obesity epidemic has so many-- as Dr. Fung said, it's multifactorial, but here's one little more piece of the puzzle.

Melanie Avalon: Yep, so true.

Gin Stephens: Yep, heirloom beans. There's your answer. Well, for me.

Melanie Avalon: Beans are underground, right?

Gin Stephens: No, they're not. [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: Wow, that's so much I know. Why do I think that they're underground?

Gin Stephens: Are you thinking of peanuts?

Melanie Avalon: Maybe.

Gin Stephens: I think peanuts are underground. But beans grow on vines. At least the ones I'm thinking of, my grandparents grew green beans. They're all viney, they grow in pods. Have you ever like shucked the butter beans or something? No.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, yeah, like green beans. I want to grow-- [gasps] Oh, I want to grow green beans.

Gin Stephens: There you go.

Melanie Avalon: I have one last question about the plants because I'm staring at them right now. This is my question. This is what makes me feel they're just very sentient. Okay, the cucumber plant, like I said, it's up against the blinders. It's so adorable. So, it has the leaves, and then these little tendrils, these really tiny little tendrils are created, and they come out from it and grab on to the blinders. How did it know to put out those little tendrils and wrap them around the blinders? My mind is blown.

Gin Stephens: Yeah. Really, the world is amazing when you start thinking about it.

Melanie Avalon: It knew there were blinders, and it created little tendril things.

Gin Stephens: It's always like sensing. Yeah.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Last night, I was unwrapping its little tendrils from the blinders, and I was like, “I'm sorry.”

Gin Stephens: Well, it wanted one of the blinds. [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: Okay, getting emotional.

Gin Stephens: Well, don’t. Keep telling it to make some delicious cucumbers for you to eat.

Melanie Avalon: Okay, once I figure out how to pollinate it.

Gin Stephens: I don't know that you have to pollinate it.

Melanie Avalon: I do have to.

Gin Stephens: You do?

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I got this little thing and it's called Bee the Pollinator.

Gin Stephens: It tells you that you have to pollinate it?

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm. It looks like a toothbrush with a Bee on it.

Gin Stephens: It's because it's inside?

Melanie Avalon: There's no bees.

Gin Stephens: Right, it's because it's inside. That's why you have to do it. All right. We're just going to grow outside. I just decided I'm not like--

Melanie Avalon: No. Okay, wait, pause. It's only some. Only cucumbers. They don't-- [laughs] They don't all require that, I promise. The spinach doesn't. I don't know if beans do. Just some of the cucumbers.

Gin Stephens: If it's going to be something that grows out of a flower.

Melanie Avalon: I think strawberries.

Gin Stephens: Well, you think about it. If it's going to flower, that's when you would need to, like spinach, you're not eating the flower. You don't need it to flower and then form the, whatever it is, the fruit, the cucumber being the fruit, technically.

Melanie Avalon: When I was first looking it up, it was like, “Yes, find the male plant, and touch it with the thing and then find the female plant.” I was like, “This is so, so complicated.” [laughs]

Gin Stephens: Way too personal, for the plant.

Melanie Avalon: But then, other people said you just basically get this little thing and touch all the plants and it'll take care of itself, but I was like, “Oh my goodness.” [laughs]

Gin Stephens: Oh, that's fun. Well, I wouldn't be growing cucumbers anyway, because I do not like cucumbers.

Melanie Avalon: I'm growing lemon cucumbers.

Gin Stephens: Still wouldn't like them.

Melanie Avalon: Their heirloom, they look like squash but they're cucumbers.

Gin Stephens: Oh, that's interesting. I didn't know that.

Melanie Avalon: I'm going to keep that one after I--

Gin Stephens: I love zucchini and squash.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, right, because I don't like zucchini. One of the few foods I don't like.

Gin Stephens: I love zucchini, oh, my goodness. Yeah. Love it.

Melanie Avalon: Do you like grapefruit?

Gin Stephens: No. Well, yes. Yes, I do like grapefruit. I thought you were saying something else at first. I do you like grapefruit. I didn't used to. I do now.

Melanie Avalon: Grapefruit and orange, I can't.

Gin Stephens: Oh, I love orange.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I can't.

Gin Stephens: Yeah. I like citrus. All citrus. Really, I can't think of a citrus I don't like.

Melanie Avalon: Lemon is nice.

Gin Stephens: Yeah. I'll drink a mocktail very frequently while we're all cut up a lime and throw it in, I'll get some fizzy water. I like LaCroix unflavored because it's a fizzy in the can and I'll put it over ice and throw in a lemon wedge, maybe a splash of cranberry juice, but then I'll just eat the lime and it's delicious. I know, it doesn't even bother me.

Melanie Avalon: I will make a plug. They're not a sponsor on today's show, but if listeners get the citrus salt LMNT Electrolytes, apparently those are really good for margaritas, if you want to make like a keto margarita.

Gin Stephens: Yep. You've shared that before. That sounds like a good tip if you don't want to have a-- sour mix is tricky. When I make margaritas, I just make them with actual limes. It's a lot, juicing all those limes, but I start with fresh limes. And it's amazing, and then you become a snob and you go to all the restaurants and you're like, “Yeah, these margaritas are terrible.” We have one Mexican restaurant that's new here in Augusta. It's like a little hipster Mexican restaurant, kind of thing. But it's really good quality. I love it. It's not that far from our house and they make amazing margaritas. I think it might be the only place in town that I know of that has good margaritas. Sorry, Augusta.

Melanie Avalon: When I was a bartender, we made them fresh.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, that's the only way that I like them because I hate packaged sour mix. It is just disgusting. It doesn't taste good, which makes me sad because I used to like it when I would go, and any place, I could get a margarita anywhere and I loved it. But now [sighs] I've gotten to the point that I don't like the way they taste.

Melanie Avalon: Well, so listeners you can grow your own limes and make your own, get LMNT.

Gin Stephens: Can you grow your own limes?

Melanie Avalon: Actually, probably not, because it's a tree.

Gin Stephens: That’s right. [laughs] You can if you live in California.

Melanie Avalon: Yes, but not in your hydroponic thing. But I will put a link in the show notes. I think drinklmnt.com/ifpodcast. You can get that for free, the citrus salt.

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

Gin Stephens: Yes. We have a question from Emily and the subject is “Too few calories, and how to assess food issues.” She says, “Hi, first of all, I love you both. I was overweight or obese almost my entire life. After my second baby, I finally decided enough was enough. I discovered intermittent fasting about two months ago and it has changed my life. I've been clean fasting 16 to 22 hours a day. I've lost 17 pounds so far, about 30 to go to my goal weight, and I feel amazing. I know we aren't supposed to calorie restrict, and I'm not. However, I do log what I'm eating into an app, mostly because I like looking for patterns of when I felt good and when I did not. I have noticed that most days, I'm only taking in around 1000 to 1100 calories. But I feel totally full and satisfied. Is this a problem? I feel great and I'm seeing results, but I'm worried about destroying my metabolism.

Also, I wanted to get your opinion on how to best assess what foods are giving you a negative reaction. I keep track of what I've eaten, but when I get bloated or headachy, I can never figure out, is it what I ate an hour ago? Is it what I ate this afternoon, yesterday? Thanks, ladies.” Those are all great questions.

Melanie Avalon: Yes, thank you, Emily. Those are, like Gin said, really good questions. For the first question about undereating and worrying that she's not eating enough calories. I feel there are a lot of factors involved here and it ties into what we were just talking about with nutrient density and that our body needs nutrients and fuel, not necessarily calories, per se, although that is pretty well what she's counting. Again, we're not doctors, but I do believe our bodies are pretty intuitive and your hunger will likely upregulate if you're needing more, but I can't make that as a doctor statement. I do feel like our bodies are pretty intuitive. She doesn't talk about what she's eating. A lot of people, given their protein requirements, which a lot of people are of the opinion like Ted Naiman and Marty Kendall, that there's the protein leverage hypothesis that we basically eat to fulfill our protein needs. If Emily is getting her adequate protein, that might be leading to her satiety. Yeah, basically, I think it goes into what she's eating and that her body will probably be intuitive. What are your thoughts, Gin?

Gin Stephens: Yeah, I don't think that you're going to “destroy” your metabolism. Our metabolisms do bounce back, that's one thing. With the Biggest Loser studies, the ones that were most successful ended up with the lowest metabolic rate, but they continued to restrict. The ones who kept the weight off, their metabolism stayed low, but there were also over-restricting long term. The ones who ate more, their metabolisms were not as damaged, if that makes sense. Of course, they gained the weight back. Of course, I think intermittent fasting is our secret weapon, not so secret, for keeping your metabolism, less likely to close up shop, keep it humming along. You can always throw in up days, down days if you're concerned.

Let's say, right now you're doing fine, let's say you plateaued, and you're like, “Okay, I really need to do something to boost my metabolism temporarily.” You could have down days and up days, and get things moving again. I do think that our bodies let us know if we aren't eating enough. If we legit are not eating enough, my body has always let me know. I'll have a day where I'm hungrier. So often, I think people fight it, because we're so used to fighting whatever diet we're doing, because we're told to be strong and push through. Sometimes, you just need to have a day where you eat more, because your body's telling you to eat more. Instead of feeling like, “Oh, gosh, I'm so weak, I gave in,” embrace the fact that your body told you, you needed to eat some more, and then you listened and you did. It's just so hard to get out of that mentality of, “Oh, I failed because I had more to eat today, I had two meals, I had a long window,” when really, that might be just what your body was asking for.

Like Melanie said already, if you're eating sufficient nutrients, you're well nourished, it's going to be, I think, less likely to make your body think that you're having starvation, because you're well nourished. I do remember-- I don't count calories, Melanie doesn't count calories, we don't suggest counting calories, or promote counting calories, but I'm going to talk about calories here. When I was writing Feast Without Fear back in 2017, I got into some kind of a document, I can't remember what it was called. It was some kind of report that compared what people ate in different countries. I have this linkable-- if you go to book links for-- if you go to feastwithoutfear.com, there's a book link feastwithoutfear.com. Somewhere in there, I can't recall off the top of my head, but it was this document that compared what people ate in different countries, and it broke it down by age groups and calories. It was when I was looking up the Blue Zones, like Okinawa, Japan, for example, and some of these other Blue Zones comparing what the adult people ate in those countries, the older ones really took in fewer calories than we think of, as how many calories you “should take in.” They were not eating a lot of calories, it was a surprisingly low number, especially for the older women. We're so used to hearing that women should have this many calories a day, whatever it is, 2000, I don't even know, to maintain your weight, when really in some other parts of the world known for longevity, they're eating a lot fewer calories. When you compared it to what the Americans were eating, it was substantially less in these other parts of the world that were known for longevity.

So, I would only worry about your caloric intake if you're plateaued, and you're trying to lose more weight, and you feel your body may have reached homeostasis where you're stuck because your metabolism has adjusted to your intake. For example, right now, whatever my metabolic rate is, however many calories I eat average, I don't know what that is, but I've reached homeostasis to the point that my appetite signals for the amount that I take in, match what my body is doing, and so I'm maintaining. Whether I'm eating 1000 calories a day or 2500 calories a day, it doesn't matter. Whatever my metabolism is doing doesn't matter either, because I'm maintaining where I would like to be, if that makes sense.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Actually, to that same point, you, Gin and I are at maintenance, Emily said she still has 30 pounds to go. It's so interesting to think about it in the lens of-- if you do have the weight to lose, and so during the fast, you're tapping into that those fat stores, in a way, it's like you're getting thousands of potential calories during the day. What's so interesting comparing it-- so let's say that Emily is eating 1000 calories, which she says she is, in a fasted state compared to if she spread it out throughout the day. If she spread it out throughout the day, her body would most likely be waiting for the next meal, it wouldn't be tapping into the fat stores. In that situation, especially since she has weight to lose, which would indicate that she probably has a higher resting energy expenditure anyway, that could lead to a situation where her body is literally not getting enough fuel, because it's just waiting for the fuel to be eaten, and because she's not eating enough, it's not getting that. So, that could be a problem. Compared to when you eat all of those 1000 calories in one meal, or in a fasted window, then because she goes into the fasted state by not eating, the body taps into the body fat stores, and now it's like she's supplementing what she's eating at night with her body fat during the day.

Gin Stephens: That's an excellent point. So, you can add those together, and that's how much fuel your body has available so it does not feel like you're restricting. I talk about this and Fast. Feast. Repeat., but I didn't just talk about it a second ago, I'm glad you brought it up, Melanie. You're right, you're not restricted, you're well filled during the fast, and so the amount that you take in is not as big of a deal. That being said, can your body adjust to a very small window, even if you're well filled during the fast, if you're over time, can your body, like say, “Okay, here's where we're going to stay?” Yes, that's the plateau that I was talking about. As long as you're still losing weight and feeling good, those are the two things, you're losing weight, you're feeling good, I wouldn't worry. If you realize you've plateaued for several weeks and also you start feeling like you need to binge, that's the signal, you need to eat a little more just for a while. Good point. I'm glad you brought that up.

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. Likewise, I'm glad you brought up the longevity stuff. Her second question about figuring out which foods she’s reacting to. This is a really great question and something that can be a little bit perplexing in trying to figure out what you're reacting to, is that you could probably be reacting to something you ate say usually within a three-day window. So, if you have a symptom now because she says like getting bloated or a headache. She says, was it an hour ago? Was it that afternoon? Was it yesterday? It actually can be hard to know. What's even more frustrating from a psychological perspective with all this is that our brains natural tendency is when we experience something that we either want to experience again or we don't want to experience again, our brain looks for things in the immediate environment that led to that and then it assumes that was the cause. They've done a lot of scientific experiments on this. Basically, if most people if they get a symptom, a headache, or bloated or whatever it may be, our brain’s natural tendency is to think, “Oh, it's what I just ate.” But that actually might not be the case.

As far as how to figure out what actually is creating the problems, this is where I think that a temporary elimination diet can really, really come in handy because I honestly really don't know of any other way to find out. You can do food sensitivity tests, but those are debated. In my opinion, really, the only way to know if a food is bothering you is to get down to a baseline of foods, where you're not reacting to things and then you bring back things one by one to see what you're reacting to. There are a lot of different approaches to that because there are a lot of different ideas of what is the best “elimination diet,” but a lot of people do autoimmune paleo, for example. A lot of people will do a low FODMAP approach, especially if you have digestive issues that might be a good route to go. You can get my app Food Sense Guide, I literally made it for this. This is why I made this app. It's at melanieavalon.com/foodsenseguide and it actually has over 300 foods, so it's probably going to have almost everything you eat. If there's a food not in there, let me know so I can update it.

Then, it has 11 compounds that people react to. Things like I just mentioned FODMAPs, it has gluten has, has sulfites, salicylates, lectins, whether or not something is a nightshade, 11 different things. Then, it also has AIP, autoimmune paleo, that I just mentioned. If people do elimination diets, it's not forever, so it's not the intention. It's literally just to figure out what foods do and don't work for your body.

I have had some good episodes on the topic, melanieavalon.com/inflammation that was with Dr. Will Cole for his book The Inflammation Spectrum, he has a really good approach. I had an episode with Dr. Michael Ruscio. I love his-- he has a really good approach to this. I've probably had other episodes as well. Yeah, I would recommend some sort of elimination diet, at the very least get my app, and you can look at the foods you're eating, and you can see if you see trends, because it'll show that the foods are low, medium, or high in different compounds. You can make a list and put in all that you're eating, and then you might be able to get some clarity and see if there's like a common trend of things that you're reacting to. Histamine could be another thing. I did an episode on that at melanieavalon.com/histamine with Dr. Becky Campbell. Yeah, so those are my thoughts. Gin?

Gin Stephens: You're the best for those types of answers. [laughs] What Melanie just said, yeah. I think you'll figure it out over time. I think you’ve got a lot of tools, with what Melanie just shared.

Melanie Avalon: All right. Shall we go on to our next question?

Gin Stephens: Yes.

Melanie Avalon: All right. So, our next question comes from Bubble. Bubble writes, “Hi, Gin. I'm worried, hence, I'm messaging you. It's been 1.5 years of IF and I've continued to lose weight. First was 16:8 seven days a week, then for the longest time, 20:4 seven days a week, followed by 20:4 six days a week. I've stopped losing weight since December 2020. It's May now. I haven't gained in pounds, but I do feel some inches here and there. Is it because I don't fast seven days a week and only six days? What changes can I make to my fasting style, so I can lose weight? Please don't suggest ADF because that just won't work for me. I've tried it several times, but I can't do it. Thanks and regards.”

Gin Stephens: Okay. Thank you for the question. I am going to plead with everybody that we need more information for troubleshooting, really. I have so many questions I'd like to ask you, Bubble, before I could give you advice. For example, how much more weight do you want to lose? Are you at a weight that is healthy for your body right now? Because those are all such important things to know. For everybody, when you're writing in with troubleshooting questions, the more you can tell us, the better. That really will help us be able to pinpoint what might be going on, because right now, the only thing I can really hook into is, you've been doing intermittent fasting for one and a half years, and you were doing 16:8, and then 20:4 seven days a week, then you switch to 20:4 six days a week, and you stopped losing weight since December. The only advice I can give based on that is maybe go back to seven days a week instead of six days a week, because I know for me, if I took one day “off” a week. I wouldn't lose weight. I mean, I'm not losing weight now because I'm at maintenance. When I was hoping to lose weight, one day off a week, I would not have lost weight. That's why in Delay, Don't Deny, I have that chapter called Saturday is not a special occasion, because it happens every week. I tended to be tripped up by that until I realized, if my goal is weight loss, then I need to be a little more intentional about my eating.

Once you get to maintenance, there's a lot more flexibility, but you have to get there. It sounds like to me 20:4 six days a week is a great maintenance protocol for you. The reason I think that is because you're maintaining there. In order to lose weight, you're going to have to tweak something. Now, I can't tell you what to tweak other than going back to seven days a week, or you could tweak your food choices, but I don't know anything about what you're eating. So, I don't know. But there's something you can tweak. You just have to decide what are you willing to tweak? If you've got Fast. Feast. Repeat., there are a lot of tools in that toolbox. Go to the Plateau chapter. The Plateau chapter walks you through some of the things you can tweak. And going to ADF is not the right thing for every person, I understand that, and so if that is not a tool you want to employ, don't try it. It's okay. Try something else from the suggestions and see how that goes. But the biggest thing that I could say is, go back to what was working before.

Again, you might be at a weight that's healthy for your body, and maybe your body is telling you, “Here's where we're going to maintain.” But that's what I don't know. I don't know, if you're at a healthy weight range for your body or not. The answer is really different, maybe this is a healthy weight for you, maybe you still have a lot to lose and without knowing that it's really hard to know what advice to give, does that make sense, Melanie?

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm. 100%.

Gin Stephens: All right. What do you have to say?

Melanie Avalon: Well, I knew you would have the answers for the fasting side of the equation with everything. My answer, and you already touched on this, was we don't know what Bubble is eating but my favorite thing to address with weight loss actually isn't the fasting, it's the food choices. I just think there's a lot you can do with food choices. If you haven't addressed food choices at all, there's a lot you can do. If you have, switching around macros can do a lot as well. So, if you're on a standard diet, going to a whole foods diet, I think, can be incredible. And then if you're on a low-carb, high-fat diet, maybe switching to a high carb, low fat, or if you're on a high carb, low fat, maybe switching to a high fat, low carb. If you don't want to change the fasting, I would look at the food choices. Then also, I already mentioned it before, but really focusing on protein, I think can really, really help a lot of people with satiety and leading to natural satiety with less calories, and I'm optimum nutrition.

Gin Stephens: All right, let's move on. We have something from Nydia. That's a beautiful name, Nydia, I hope I pronounced it correctly. The subject is “Running while fasting.” She says, “Hi, beautiful ladies. My name is Nydia. I started listening to your podcast not too long ago, I will say like two months ago and I love you guys. Thank you very much for all the good information you give us. I started to do fasting five months ago. I'm a baby in this, LOL, but I feel really good and have a lot of energy. Not to lie, I do you struggle sometimes, especially when that time of the month will arrive. I'm moving all day since I'm a housekeeper and I go to Zumba at night. I jog here and there, but recently I signed up for a full marathon in San Francisco. I know it's crazy, but it is something I have always wanted to do, so I've got the courage to do it. My question is, if it's a good idea to run that marathon while fasting? PS: Since I started doing fasting, I've lost 23 pounds in six months. Of course, I feel so great.”

Melanie Avalon: All right. This is a great question from Nydia, and I will start by saying I am not an expert in marathon running. Do you ever listen to-- Oh, wait, you don't listen to podcasts, what am I--? [laughs]

Gin Stephens: Which podcast are you talking about?

Melanie Avalon: Rich Roll.

Gin Stephens: I have found a podcast I love.

Melanie Avalon: You found what?

Gin Stephens: Yes, I found the podcast, and I can only listen while driving.

Melanie Avalon: Who?

Gin Stephens: It's an NPR podcast called How I Built That.

Melanie Avalon: Okay, what do they built?

Gin Stephens: I can't think of his name, but it's the same interview for all of them, obviously, but the host he interviews somebody every time who built a company. For example, Seventh Generation or Chicken Salad Chick or Jazzercise. Those are a few that I've listened to. You can see what I'm interested in. [laughs] Jazzercise and Chicken Salad-- I love Chicken Salad Chick, by the way. It's fascinating. It's what they went through building the company. When I'm driving to the beach, I listen to that podcast.

Melanie Avalon: Do you learn a lot about company building?

Gin Stephens: Yes. It's fascinating. Yeah.

Melanie Avalon: Okay, I'm excited. I'm going to listen to that. So, Rich Roll, but I've talked about this before. It's funny. I have my nighttime podcasts and my daytime podcasts. There's only like two or three podcasts that I listened to at night, but I always listened to them at night and they immediately make me feel-- they put me into like the wind down mode. I just find ritual so calming.

Gin Stephens: I've never heard his voice.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, he's just-- I don't know, I just really like him. I think I like him a lot. He's very vegan, [laughs] and I was laughing because I'm obviously not vegan. He feels very welcoming. It makes me feel like I'm getting another perspective about things, because dietary camps on both sides, vegan and low carb communities and keto communities, I feel there can be a lot of negative energy or hostility towards the other side. I like listening. The point is, he was a marathon runner. What is his book called? I haven't actually read his book, Running Ultra. He did something crazy with running. So, he talks about marathons a lot, and it makes me realize how much I don't know about training for a marathon.

But I did look into this. I looked into a few things. I looked into training for a marathon on a low carb diet, and also training for a marathon while fasting. The biggest takeaway that I could find for everything is that you've got to train for it, which obviously, she probably knows, but it's not the sort of thing where you would be training and not attempting it prior in that metabolic state, and then show up and do it in that metabolic state. That might be obvious, but I feel it's definitely worth mentioning. If this is something you wanted to do, you would want to make sure that you can really do those long stretches fasted.

That said, I found some good articles online for advice and guidance surrounding all of this. It seems that a lot of people in the low carb world, especially I know, like low carb isn't necessarily synonymous with fasting, but they often do “go hand in hand,” and it is a fat burning state with the marathon, in my situation where you actually do use smart, concentrated carbs for the actual event. I think some people can do an entire-- low-carb diet, I think some people can do an entire marathon, maybe we can do it fasted, but I feel like a lot of people probably haven't done that. You definitely with 100% want to make sure that your body is ketogenic. This would not be something that you would want to be on the fence about. Again, I'll put a link in the show notes, but it actually does make me a little bit nervous. What are your thoughts, Gin?

Gin Stephens: Yeah, I know we've talked about this before. It's just important. I think the key is to train in a way that will match what you're doing. You'll know through your training, if that's something that you're able to do or not, and just have a plan in place. You don't want to push through something that's going to be dangerous for your body.

Melanie Avalon: Yes, I think it's an amazing goal, but I do think this is something that could actually become very dangerous.

Gin Stephens: Your body has to be really fat adapted, you have to really trust your body, listen to your body, understand your body. I do have a podcast episode, I don't remember the podcast number, but if you search, Intermittent Fasting Stories, Lisa Glick, her name is Lisa Glick, and if you just search those words, Intermittent Fasting Stories, Lisa Glick, it will give you the episode number. She is an ultramarathoner, and she's an intermittent faster. She talks about how it works for her.

Melanie Avalon: She does the ultramarathons fasted?

Gin Stephens: I think so, whatever she does, she does fasted. It's been a while since I talked to her, and you have to keep in mind, I never listened to my podcast after I record them. I just have a conversation with somebody and then boom, here they are. I can't remember exactly what she said because I've talked to so many people. Do you get like that after so many podcasts in the hopper where you're like, “What did we say?” “I don't even remember.”

Melanie Avalon: For the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast for probably the first half, I don't remember when I started outsourcing the postproduction, but for the first probably 50 episodes or so, I was editing them too, so I was saturated in them. Now, I record it and I don't really revisit it, but I do so much prep work for those shows, in general, they tend to stick with me pretty well.

Gin Stephens: You're remembering things. I'm just talking to people.

Melanie Avalon: Actively thinking so hard during it, so it kind of sears itself in my brain.

Gin Stephens: Anyway, Lisa will tell you what she did if you listen to her episode.

Melanie Avalon: It's kind of like the show, me and you, Gin, I don't really remember exactly.

Gin Stephens: It all blurs together, yours are specific topics. Yeah, I talk to an intermittent faster every time, so they tend to blend together. Like I know, I talked to somebody who said that, but I don't know who it was. [laughs] Yeah, hopefully that will help Nydia.

Melanie Avalon: If any listeners have run a marathon fasted, I would love, love, love to hear their emails. If you send an email and tell a story about it, I promise you, I will 95% probably read it on the show.

Gin Stephens: And it'll be soon. We'll pop it right at the top.

Melanie Avalon: We'll just pop it in. So, send us your stories if you have-- out of the 50,000 people listening, maybe somebody has. I feel like it was like not that helpful there, but it's just not my cup of tea.

Gin Stephens: We are not endurance athletes, neither of us.

Melanie Avalon: There's a really good Mark's Daily Apple post though, on this. I don't know if it was about fasting or low carb, but it touched on pretty much all of this. I think he talks about training for a low carb state, but then he actually recommends I think, like doing a concentrated carb up for it. It's using a homemade easily absorbed carb, I think it's like honey, or I don't know, he has a protocol.

Gin Stephens: All right.

Melanie Avalon: All right, so now we have a question from Brian, subject is “Quick Questions.” Brian says, “Hello.” He said, “Whoever is monitoring this address.”

Gin Stephens: It's us. We're monitoring it. We read all of them. Isn’t that funny? Like he doesn't know when the questions come in, we both see them. They come to both of us.

Melanie Avalon: And our assistant, Sharon.

Gin Stephens: And our assistant.

Melanie Avalon: Okay. He says, “I will make this as succinct as possible. I finished reading Fast. Feast. Repeat. recently and loved it, and found it fascinating and very beneficial and educational. I normally drink peppermint tea regardless of timeframe because I often get headaches and they don't care if or when I'm fasting, unfortunately. I don't drink coffee and only drink teas that I know will not stop or limit my fast period effectiveness. My query is this, I need to know if lavender or chamomile or another herbal variety, including peppermint would break the fast. Also, English breakfast, which is black tea leaves. These are usually green tea leaves, FYI. They have nothing else in them aside from the ingredients mentioned already. Would those be okay, or no, or even a more complicated answer? Thank you in advance for the reply. I hope to get some clarity on this. It may be messing up my fast attempts. Have a great day.”

Gin Stephens: Yeah, teas are so tricky. I'm like mad at teas [laughs] in general. I don't even look directly at the tea aisle anymore when I go to the grocery store, because so few of those things are actually tea. They're made from all these other things. If it's black tea, or green tea, or white tea, or any kind of tea, that's actually like tea, the tea leaf, like there's a plant, camellia, whatever, whatever. Since I can't remember.

Melanie Avalon: Sinensis, I think.

Gin Stephens: Something like that. That is the tea plant. Anything they do with that, like oolong, anything they do with that is fine.

Melanie Avalon: I think oolong’s different.

Gin Stephens: Oolong is that. It's like a fermented form of that, I think, isn't it? I think oolong, I will look it up. I think oolong is just a fermented version of that plant.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, you're right. Why did I think that it was different?

Gin Stephens: See, you have not answered one billion tea questions in a Facebook group of 500,000 members [laughs] as I have since 2015. Anyway, I'd wonder how many times I've answered a tea question, I would like to know. Anyhow, anything that's made from the tea plant, and you haven't added flavors to it, you haven't added any additives for sweetness or whitening yourself, any plain tea made from actual tea is fine for during the fast. But when you start getting into the herbal teas, which is what all the others really are, everything else other than that, they're all considered to be herbal teas, because they're not actual tea. They're just like an herbal tea made from steeping whatever it is, like the peppermint leaf or the lavender or the chamomile or whatever it is. Those are herbal teas. If you think back to the Clean Fast chapter of Fast. Feast. Repeat., the question to ask yourself is, does it have a bitter flavor profile? So, I'm not going to go through this list of teas and say yes for this one, no for this one, yes for this one, no for this one. You can do this yourself. Say when I drink this, does it have a bitter flavor profile? If the answer is yes, bitter is the main thing I get, then it's probably fine for during the fast. If, however, it has a food profile or a sweetness, then you would probably not want to include that. Food or sweet, no. Bitter, yes. It just has to do with what our bodies do with the different taste perceptions. The bitter flavor profile would not stimulate a cephalic phase insulin response, which is what we want to avoid. But if your body thinks food is coming in or sweetness is coming in, that's when your brain’s like, “Oh, we’ve got some glucose coming in. We got this food coming in. I'm going to need to release something and that's when you would have the cephalic phase insulin response. Avoid anything obviously, like Apple Cinnamon Delight, for example. Anything that's spices or fruit flavored or food, so there you go.

Melanie Avalon: I remember now I thought it was different because before I realized that all tea was the same plant, it was always like oolong is not green or black. So, in my head it's in a different category. That blew my mind when I learned that about tea. Everything that you said, Gin, was very thorough. I knew that you would have the perfect answer. I'll put a link in the show notes. By the time this comes out, it might be out but I interviewed-- oh, I already mentioned him once, Dr. Will Cole, I had him on the show twice, most recently for his book, Intuitive Fasting. We had a really nice conversation about tea. Not about this question, but if you just like to learn about tea a little bit, he's a tea afficionado for all the tea lovers out there, so that was at melanieavalon.com. It will be at melanieavalon.com/intuitivefasting, I don't know if it'll be out though when this comes out.

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Melanie Avalon: All right. We have time for one more question. This is from Casey, and the subject is, “Not sure what to do and where to start.” She says, “Hey y'all.” First of all, I love that, Casey, hey y'all back to you. She says, “First of all, I want to thank you both for all the research you do and share with all of us listeners. I'm only on Episode 64, but I'm making my way through them fairly quickly. I started IF in February of 2020 and started with Gin's Intermittent Fasting Stories podcast, which I absolutely love. So, I wanted to get through those before I started these. I thought several times about asking this on one of the Facebook groups, but I have several friends on there that don't know this particular thing about me, and it can be kind of embarrassing to me personally.

Here's my situation. As I said, I started my IF journey in February of 2020. I lost about nine pounds in my first two months. I took photos and measured and did the daily weighing. I came to a stall, which started in May of 2020, and I've never lost any more weight since then. I didn't change what I was eating, and I have thought many times to try to do that, just haven't taken the time to yet. I'm married with two children, and I work outside the home full time. Just went back to the office actually after having worked from home since mid-March of 2020. We live a busy lifestyle, eating out often and not cooking as much as we'd like. Here's the thing I wanted to ask you about though, my husband and I quit smoking on January 3rd, 2021. Probably one of the best decisions he and I have made ever. I'm so thankful we finally kicked the habit, but it has messed up my body badly. I'm just wondering if you have ever been asked how long it takes for someone's metabolism and our body to recover from years of smoking and will I ever be able to start losing weight again? I've gained back those 9 pounds, plus a few more. I'm quite frustrated with my body but I refuse to stop IF. I'm trying to trust the process. I know it's not IF that's “not working.” But I'm at a loss as to when I can start seeing changes for the better again, i.e., weight loss, body composition, clothes fitting better, etc. I do have one more question.

As I listened to your podcast, I write down all the things I need to try to be more healthy, but honestly I don't know where to start. Things like bone broth, serrapeptase, turmeric, etc. Can you guide me towards a small first step that will help me get started? Right now, I don't take any supplements, just never been big into all that, but I want to do what's best for my body while staying sane through the process, lol. Thanks, and I appreciate any advice you may have to offer. Casey.”

Melanie Avalon: All right, so great questions from Casey. First of all, congratulations to her and her husband for kicking the smoking habit. What's really interesting about smoking addiction is that nicotine, actually, I think it's only about three days that technically should take to get over nicotine addiction, but there's so much that goes into smoking addiction, that it can be really hard for so many people to quit. So, it's probably not so much the actual nicotine withdrawals as it is the environment and the habit of smoking. One of the benefits that people experience from nicotine/smoking is weight loss, that's very, very consistent in the clinical literature and also very, very consistent, that people tend to regain the weight after stopping. There's actually been studies on using nicotine patches to mitigate that. The ones that I read weren't too promising for that, and probably you don't want to bring nicotine back into your life at all.

The good news about everything is that it’s hormonal changes that happen with smoking and nicotine, that makes it easier to lose weight. There's a lot of theories behind what that is, like, could be just reduced appetite, so people eat less when they're smoking. I actually saw a study that said nicotine might upregulate brown fat in the body, which was really fascinating. The way I would approach this, and the mindset that I would encourage adopting is, I would not think about it in terms of, “Oh, my body is stuck in this metabolic state from the nicotine, and it's like a timeline, and that there's going to be a certain amount of time and then my body has “metabolically recovered.” In a way, it doesn't really matter. It doesn't matter what you did, because you're here right now. Wherever you are right now, there are things that you can do that will help your body metabolically, help you lose weight, help you burn fat, and it's going to be the same things, regardless of if you were smoking or weren't smoking before, that's not going to change. All the things we've talked about as far as adjusting your window and finding the windows that work for you, the food choices. I've already talked about it, but I'm just like, harping on it even more that if you really pay attention to your food choices, you can do a lot of magic, a lot of magic.

Gin Stephens: Can I pop in real quick?

Melanie Avalon: Uh-huh, sure, please.

Gin Stephens: She said she was eating out a lot, and that really for me, eating out, those foods are just-- When I go to the beach and eat out a lot because that's just we're out, not cooking at home, out of our routine, don't have my cooking tools that I need. I feel puffy when I'm done.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Especially with eating out, I think there's two main big things. The sodium if you're not eating that much sodium prior and then the vegetable oils and the polyunsaturated fats, I think are one of the most metabolically--

Gin Stephens: Very inflammatory.

Melanie Avalon: They're extremely inflammatory. They slow down our metabolism. Cleaning up your exposure to those seed oils, and a way you can remember them, there's like three C’s and three S's, there's probably more, but canola, corn, cottonseed, safflower, sunflowers, soy, sesame, that's more than six. Removing those can make a huge difference in your metabolism.

Gin Stephens: Everything at the restaurant is full of them, like everything. Most packaged foods are, even organic packaged foods. I talked about this and Clean(ish). I say in Clean(ish), Melanie, that Melanie was right.

Melanie Avalon: Wait, you say Melanie was right?

Gin Stephens: Yeah.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness. I'm so excited. Wait, I'm in the book?

Gin Stephens: Yeah.

Melanie Avalon: Oh my gosh. That’s so fun. Oh my gosh, [laughs] I can't wait. I want to go to Target or Barnes & Noble and pick it out and to have like, pull up a random bystander be, like, “That's me. This is my cohost. [laughs] This is my cohost, and that's me.” Oh my gosh.

Gin Stephens: It does matter. Ultra-processed foods, modern ultra-processed foods, I wish it wasn't true.

Melanie Avalon: Well, it's a little bit frustrating about it-- not be on a soapbox, but it's like if we're eating these foods, so people might be doing fasting, but eating all these foods, and then fasting is not quite working, they think it's because the fasting is not working. When really maybe if you weren't fasting, it would be way worse [laughs] what you'd be experiencing. Just for listeners though, you can still eat at restaurants and--

Gin Stephens: Oh, and I do.

 Melanie Avalon: Yeah, and avoid--

Gin Stephens: I even eat fried food at restaurants. Okay, remember, the name of my book is Clean(ish). [laughs] But I don't use those at home. That's just a difference.

Melanie Avalon: We talked about this on a recent episode. I just get very specific in what I want at the restaurant, and it always works out.

Gin Stephens: I want to eat the fries at a restaurant if they're going to be good fries. I mean, I know that they've got the bad oils and it's not what I do every day. I don't eat that every day, so if I'm at a restaurant, they've got these amazing-looking fries, and they're fried and the oil that I would not use at home, I'm going to have and I'm going to enjoy it. But if they're not like hot and delicious and amazing, I'm not going to waste my window on it, but that's the difference. I do put them in. I'm clean-ish, like I said, but I fully know they're not supporting my health when I eat them, and I'm not going to feel my best.

Melanie Avalon: Yes. [laughs]

Gin Stephens: How about the last part of her question? What does she need?

Melanie Avalon: Okay, do you have anything else to add about her metabolism being messed up from smoking?

Gin Stephens: I think you addressed that perfectly. The first thing I would do really, honestly, like I said, I would see what you can do to avoid the eating out. Even if it's something like using Green Chef for your meals for you and your husband, because those are quick and it's going to be higher quality food or Prep Dish, where you can have the recipes, anything, I know what it's like to be a busy mom with kids and you're running around and so you just grab takeout or go to a restaurant, I get that. So, having a plan, something like a meal delivery or Prep Dish, something like that, that helps you to have the things on hand, so you don't have to do that can really save you.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I think that's a really great suggestion. We'll put a link in the show notes. I think we have a $90 off coupon for Green Chef.

Gin Stephens: Or Prep Dish might be the right solution for her family.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, true. Yeah, and we have a free trial for them.

Gin Stephens: Prep Dish really might be a great solution for her because she could prep on the weekend, and then she would have the meals for the week, just so easy. The meal delivery is great for if you have a small amount of people to feed, like Chad and I, it's perfect to have meals for two. I spend less than I would, but if you're a family, Prep Dish might be your best solution.

Melanie Avalon: Perfect. Then, for her second question as far as where to start with everything. I know it can be-- It's really overwhelming. And the things that she's asking about, she's looking at things like bone broth, serrapeptase, turmeric, etc. This is actually not quite answering the question, but it ties into what we just said. If your focus is “getting healthy,” the first thing I would focus on isn't what you're adding. It's what you're taking away. What we just talked about, like looking at the dietary choices and choosing the foods that are going to work for your body, that would be my hands down first step. You can get my book, What When Wine. I have an entire guide and approach to adopting a whole foods paleo type diet. It's not a one size fits all. There's yes, no and maybe, so you can really make it work for you. Like if you want dairy, you can have dairy, if you want certain types, it's all gluten free, but certain types of grains, like rice and stuff like that, that's in there as well. So, I would probably start with that.

Then, beyond that, like supercharging things and what supplements to get. Again, this is outsourcing it a little bit, but I would join my Facebook group, IF Biohackers, people talk about stuff all the time. I would ask in there if you have questions about certain things, or even ask this question about where would you start, but if it were me, like starting afresh, if I was just coming from just new to all of this, first thing I would do is, I would look at the diet, I would adopt a whole foods, paleo-type diet, and then from there, like supplement wise, I'll just say right now where I'm at right now, which is that, I still take serrapeptase every single day of my life, so that might be a fun thing to start with. I might in the future be developing my own mind, which would be really exciting. I can't make a one-size-fits-all suggestion. It's really just what do you want to play with him? What do you want to optimize? She doesn't take any supplements, so if she doesn't take any, I would start with serrapeptase. I would get your vitamin D levels checked and see if you need to supplement vitamin D. I would maybe consider an NMN or NR supplement.

Gin Stephens: Magnesium.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, and magnesium. Yes, definitely magnesium. That's probably where I would start.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, magnesium is the only supplement that I've taken regularly and will not ever stop taking, just because it's so important for our body and we're so depleted, our soil is depleted, and I sleep better when I have it. I no longer take serrapeptase. I took it for a purpose, and my purpose was the fibroids and so I took it, and now I don't have that problem anymore, so I stopped taking it. When it comes to something that you're taking, like Melanie said with the vitamin D, get your levels tested, see if you need it. I'm a big believer in making sure you need something, before you're taking it. In the supplements that worked for me are not going to be the same that work for you. I talk about this in Clean(ish). In fact, I learned a lot of stuff about supplements, and like what it says is in there might not be what's in there. They did a study of a certain kind of supplement and they found pharmaceuticals were in there, instead of the supplement it was supposed to be. It had actual drugs.

Melanie Avalon: That's really shocking.

Gin Stephens: It's scary. Yeah, but I talk about all this in Clean(ish). You just have to really be careful. I mean, I would rather take zero supplements than be taking these risky things that you think they're one thing and they're not the other. That's why it's so important to know the company like BiOptimizers, for example. We know those guys, and we know the guys who own it, we've talked to them on the podcast, we trust them, they made the supplements for themselves, also they're not going to be taking something and then selling something shady. They make the supplements they want, and so I trust them. I don't have a lot of trust with supplements, in general.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it's really shocking.

Gin Stephens: I'm super untrustful of most supplements now, really. BiOptimizers, not distrusting of them. [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: That's a reason that we love partnering with brands, because we want to have done the vetting, and it's very, very scary and shocking.

Gin Stephens: I no longer buy supplements on Amazon at all. Not at all. I've talked about being careful with that. I really don't buy the supplements from Amazon anymore. That's not saying that everything on Amazon is dangerous, I'm not saying that at all. Amazon has thousands of sellers, and so they don't want somebody selling shady supplements on their site, and if they knew someone was, they would make them stop selling them. But they have a hard time with the quality control themselves.

Melanie Avalon: I'm glad you mentioned that about testing and seeing where your levels are. The reason where we mentioned vitamin D and magnesium, is I think out of all the nutrients that I would say the two that most people are most likely deficient in are magnesium and probably vitamin D.

Gin Stephens: For me, it was always iron, every time-- from the time I was a teenager, I was always deficient in iron, every time it was tested.

Melanie Avalon: Iron is something though, where you definitely want to test.

Gin Stephens: Get it tested. Yeah, don't just randomly take it.

Melanie Avalon: Iron is something where on the flip side, some people have too much iron.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, and that's not good either. Oh, by the way, I've started cooking in cast iron, speaking of iron. It does actually carry over into your food. I started doing cast iron years ago, I was like, “I'm going to do it,” and then I seasoned to the pans wrong and they were sticky, and then I'm like, “I quit. This is too hard.” I got rid of them. This time, I'm doing it much more carefully. I didn't go crazy with trying to season them. I'm actually doing it. I'm doing it. It's working. I made eggs in them, and they were fine.

Melanie Avalon: Yes. I love cast iron.

Gin Stephens: Anyway, cast iron. Yeah, you use cast iron?

Melanie Avalon: Yes.

Gin Stephens: But, again, see, it was me with writing Clean(ish), I had been hanging on to some nonstick pans. Just because I'm like I want to be healthy, but I got to scramble eggs in a pan that they're not going to stick in and then, of course, stainless steel and scrambled eggs, not a good combination. I was like, “Okay, I don't care, I'm not going to use these pans anymore.” So, I got rid of my nonstick pans. I was like people claim cast iron can be nonstick over time as you season them and I was like, “I'm going to figure this out. I'm a smart girl.” [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: And it starts tasting better and better the more you do it with a cast iron and build up the seasoning on it.

Gin Stephens: Right, the seasoning.

Melanie Avalon: Throws me off that it's called seasoning but it's--

Gin Stephens: It's called seasoning. Yeah.

Melanie Avalon: What do you use for the seasoning oil?

Gin Stephens: I'm using avocado oil and also olive oil.

Melanie Avalon: Okay, nice.

Gin Stephens: I'm using Crisco-- no, I'm kidding. [laughs] However, that's what I used last time. I did use Crisco and it made it so gummy and awful. Let's use a little analogy with our bodies here, a little comparison, it ruined-- well, I could have scrubbed the pans and scoured them I guess with the chain mail or something and gotten it all off, but it was so gross. I read somewhere to do that. This was, I mean, years ago, probably five years ago.

Melanie Avalon: Now I want to cook in my cast iron right now.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, well, I'm doing it. I'm so happy. I feel like a real like a real chef with my cast iron and my stainless steel.

Melanie Avalon: For my brother, for his birthday, I got him a cast iron pan, a really nice one and a book and the thing to take care of it, like the whole shebang, and he loves it because he recently graduated college and he's on his own and feels all adulty. Well, he is an adult, he has a really nice job, but in any case, he's really into the cooking and so he loves it. He loves cooking in it.

Gin Stephens: And they're so cheap, cast iron pans are so affordable and they last forever.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, of course, I spent hours and hours and hours trying to figure out, because they always usually come with a pre-seasoning. I went and I spent so many hours trying to figure out, because most of them are pre-seasoned with a soy or a vegetable oil. The amount of hours I spent trying to find an unseasoned one, or you can get it and you can strip the seasoning that it comes with and re-season it. A lot of people do that.

Gin Stephens: I did not do that. I'm clean-ish. [laughs] I just recoating it with some olive oil and trying to encapsulate it, in that. It'll be fine. It'll get way down in there. That's so funny.

Melanie Avalon: Can I make one last quick plug?

Gin Stephens: Yeah.

Melanie Avalon: I meant to talk about at the beginning, the episode on the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast came out on Friday, it was with Jonathan Bailor. He just released a documentary called Better. The documentary is really awesome, as far as it's all about the role of basically nutrient density, and foods. So, that's what he's all about, like how important nutrient density is in satiety and in the obesity epidemic. He also wrote The Setpoint Diet. The episode we actually focus on body setpoint, which is basically, I mean, Casey is sort of asking about that with her, either gaining weight or has a higher setpoint since going off of smoking. People are loving that episode.

Gin Stephens: They are loving it. There's somebody was talking about it and the Delay, Don't Deny Social Network.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, really?

Gin Stephens: Yes. She said it was like the best episode she'd ever heard, and she loved it. So, I even read the transcript. Well, it's like, “Well, I got to read the transcript if it's that good.” Yeah, I read the transcript of it, since I can't listen to podcast because I don't have two hours, whatever. It was great. He seems great.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, he's really amazing.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, I enjoyed reading it.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, yay, that makes me so happy. It's really interesting to me to see, like, I think at this point, like, I know which episodes are going to be-- all the episodes, people respond to really well, but I never know which ones people are just going to freak out over and people are sort of freaking out over this one. They're just loving it. I'll put a link in the show notes to it. It's at melanieavalon.com/setpoint. If you're like Gin, and don't like to listen, you can read the transcript. [laughs] All right.

Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. A few things for listeners before we go. If you'd like to submit your own questions to the show, you can directly email questions@ifpodcast.com or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. Show notes for today's episode will be at ifpodcast.com/episode218. You can get all the stuff that we like at ifpodcast.com/stuffwelike, and you can follow us on Instagram. I am @melanieavalon, Gin is @ginstephens, and we are @ifpodcast as well on Instagram. All right. Well, anything from you, Gin, before we go?

Gin Stephens:  Nope, that's it.

Melanie Avalon: All right. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful and 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 in the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. Theme music was composed by Leland Cox. See you next week.


Check out the Stuff We Like page for links to any of the books/supplements/products etc. mentioned on the podcast that we like!

More on Gin: GinStephens.com

Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox: LelandCox.com

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