Episode 245: Modifying Eating Windows, Plant Based, Processed Food, Chronic Fatigue, Soy & Tofu, Sugar Alternatives, Corn, Potatoes, And More!

Intermittent Fasting


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Dec 26

Welcome to Episode 245 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, hosted by Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine and Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living An Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle

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

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BEAUTYCOUNTER: Keep Your Fast Clean Inside And Out With Safe Skincare! Shop With Us At MelanieAvalon.com/beautycounter, And Something Magical Might Happen After Your First Order! Find Your Perfect Beautycounter Products With Melanie's Quiz: melanieavalon.com/beautycounterquiz
Join Melanie's Facebook Group Clean Beauty And Safe Skincare With Melanie Avalon To Discuss And Learn About All The Things Clean Beauty, Beautycounter And Safe Skincare!

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Listener Q&A: Melanie - episoode #1 and eating earlier

Listener Q&A: Angela - Processed vs. Plant Based

The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #61 - Dr. Cate Shanahan

The Chef's Garden Book

bioptimizers: Go To p3om.com/ifpodcast And Use The Coupon Code IFPODCAST10 To Save 10% Off Any Order!

Listener Q&A: Julie - How did i get here?


Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 245 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 Fast. Feast. Repeat.: The Comprehensive Guide to Delay, Don't Deny Intermittent Fasting. 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. 

Hi, friends. I'm about to tell you how you can get more than seven pounds of high-quality responsibly farmed meat all for free. Yes, for free. So, the holidays are upon us and I don't know about you, but when I think about holidays, I often think food, and then the second thing I often think is, "Hmm, I wonder what will be the quality of all of the meat and seafood at all of the family gatherings." It can definitely seem intimidating and expensive to get high quality meat that you can trust. Thankfully, there is an easy solution. It's a company I've been a fan of for years and that is ButcherBox. They are an incredible company that takes out the middleman of the grocery store to directly connect customers to farmers. They vet these farmers, they find the farmers that truly support the health of the animals, the environment, and ultimately, your health so that you can finally get meat of the highest standards, 100% grass-fed, grass-finished beef, free range organic chicken, wild caught seafood, and more. And trust me, the seafood industry is sketchy. ButcherBox goes to great lengths for transparency and sustainability so you can truly feel good about what you're eating. I read Dr. Robert Lustig's book, Metabolical and was blown away by the shocking statistics of fraud in the seafood industry. But back to meat. ButcherBox's meat is delicious. Each box contains eight to 14 pounds of meat depending on your box type. It's packed fresh and shipped frozen for your convenience. You can choose a curated box or customize it to get exactly what you want, and it's shipped straight to your door, and it tastes delicious.  

The ButcherBox steaks are honestly some of the best steaks I've ever had in my entire life. My dad is a huge spaghetti fan and he remarked that the ground beef was the best ground beef he had ever had. My brother reported back about the porkchops and the bacon, basically, this stuff is delicious. And for limited time, ButcherBox is offering new members an amazing deal for the new year. Just sign up at butcherbox.com/ifpodcast, and you'll receive the ultimate New Year's bundle in your first box. This deal includes grass-fed, grass-finished ground beef, organic free-range chicken thighs, and heritage breed pork butt. That's more than seven pounds of meat added to your first box all for free. So, get this New Year's bundle before it's gone by going to butcherbox.com/ifpodcast. That's butcherbox.com/ifpodcast. And we'll put all this information in the show notes. 

And one more thing before we jump in. Are you fasting clean inside and out? Did you know that one of our largest exposures to toxic compounds, including endocrine disrupters, which mess with our hormones, obesogens which literally cause our body to store and gain weight, as well as carcinogens linked to cancer is actually through our skincare? Europe has banned thousands of these compounds for being toxic, and the US has only banned around 10. It's honestly shocking. When you're putting on your conventional skincare makeup, you're likely putting toxic compounds directly into your body. These compounds can make you feel bad, can make it really hard to lose weight, can affect your hormones, your mood, your health. And ladies, if you're thinking of having kids, when you have a child, these compounds actually go directly through the placenta into the newborn. That means your skincare makeup that you're putting on today actually affects the health of future generations.  

Did you know that conventional lipstick for example often tests high for lead, and the half-life of lead can be up to 30 years in your bones? That means when you put on your lipstick, 30 years later, half of that lead might still be in your body. Thankfully, there's an easy, easy solution to this. There's a company called Beautycounter and they were founded on a mission to change this. Every single ingredient and their products is extensively tested to be safe for your skin. You can actually feel good about what you put on. And on top of that, their products actually work. That's because they're not “all natural.” They actually combine the best of both worlds, both synthetic and natural ingredients, to create products that actually support the health of your skin and make your skin look amazing. They have skincare lines for all your skin types, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner that I love, anti-aging and brightening peels and vitamin C serums, and incredible makeup. If you see my makeup on Instagram, that's all Beautycounter. You can shop with us at melanieavalon.com/beautycounter 

And if you're thinking of making safe skincare a part of your future, like we have, we definitely suggest becoming a Band of Beauty member. It's sort of like the Amazon Prime for clean beauty. You get 10% back in product credit, free shipping on qualifying orders and a welcome gift that is worth way more than the price of the yearlong membership, totally completely worth it. Also, definitely join my clean beauty email list at melanieavalon.com/cleanbeauty, I give away a lot of free things on that list and join me on my Facebook group, Clean Beauty and Safe Skincare with Melanie Avalon. I do a weekly giveaway every single week for Beautycounter, people share their experience and product reviews, and so much more. And again, the link to shop with us is melanieavalon.com/beautycounter. All right now enjoy the show.  

Melanie Avalon: Hi, everybody and welcome. This is Episode number 245 of the Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with, Gin Stephens.  

Gin Stephens: Hi, everybody.  

Melanie Avalon: How are you today, Gin?  

Gin Stephens: I am fabulous because I am at the beach cottage with Will and we're having a great time.  

Melanie Avalon: That's lovely.  

Gin Stephens: It was a spur of the moment kind of a trip. I was going to come this weekend with college friends, but then we had the ACC championship. So, we did that last weekend. So, they're like, "We can't get away again." I'm like, "That's fine. I'll go by myself." Will didn't have anything to do. I'm like, "Come with me." So, yeah, he's doing a lot of painting. Now, he's sitting on the beach with his guitar. [laughs]  

Melanie Avalon: He's so creative.  

Gin Stephens: He really is. He is so creative. He's 22 and completely right brained and is happiest when he's creating something. He likes to create music, he writes music, and now, he likes to paint. So, I love that.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Well, I had a fun event on Friday.  

Gin Stephens: Oh, what was that?  

Melanie Avalon: I had dinner with one of my podcast guests.  

Gin Stephens: Oh, that's fun. I love it.  

Melanie Avalon: I know. It was very exciting. It's weird. I was thinking about it. Most of my really good friends now are all people I've met on my Biohacking Podcast. Isn't that weird? It's so crazy.  

Gin Stephens: You know, it sounds weird except that a lot of my really good friends are people that I met through my Intermittent Fasting Groups and like their real good friends. I mean, obviously, my college friends are people I've known a long time but a lot of my really close friends have been on my podcast. All right, I didn't meet them till after they were on my podcast like face-to-face.  

Melanie Avalon: The people I talk to pretty much every day are people I met in the podcast and then just started talking to after and really got to know really well. So, the person I went with though, I'm not super close or anything, but it was Dr. Eric Zielinski. So, he wrote The Healing Power of Essential Oils. I think that's the title of his first book. I didn't even realize we have the same agent, all of us.  

Gin Stephens: Oh, that's great. So many people do.  

Melanie Avalon: I know, I know. Same literary agent. Yeah, it was so fun. So, it was me, and him, and his wife, and their new baby, and my sister, and it was just a really fun time. It was really fun because yeah, like I just said it was only the second person I've met in real life from the show. Because he actually lives here in Atlanta.  

Gin Stephens: I've met people in real life that you haven't met in real life that I met through you.  

Melanie Avalon: Oh, yeah. Are true. So, yeah, it was really fun.  

Gin Stephens: Like, I can think of three. Three people that I've met in real life that I know through you only, but I've met them in real life and you have not. [laughs] And I'm not counting Cynthia Thurlow, because I actually met her first.  

Melanie Avalon: Oh, wow.  

Gin Stephens: Yeah, she and I met first. We were on a radio program together. We didn't know anything about the other person and we both talked afterwards about here, we're like, "What is she going to say? Is it going to be the opposite of what I say?" But we found we were very in sync.  

Melanie Avalon: I was actually reading her book last night, her new book. 

Gin Stephens: Her book comes out March.  

Melanie Avalon: Oh, in March. Okay. So, her book is about intermittent fasting and I'm not saying this to sound like a 'no' at all, but when I read a book about intermittent fasting, it's just so overwhelmingly familiar, like all of the information.  

Gin Stephens: You're like, "Yep, yep, yep."  

Melanie Avalon: It's hard for me to think what would this be like to read this. 

Gin Stephens: For the first time?  

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm.  

Gin Stephens: I know what you mean. I 100% get it. But yeah, I met her first and then, you met her later. But the other three, can you think of all three of them?  

Melanie Avalon: Shawn Wells.  

Gin Stephens: Yes.  

Melanie Avalon: Anna Cabeca.  

Gin Stephens: Oh, I forgot about her. Okay, four. [laughs] Yes, Anna Cabeca, four, because I forgot that I met her through you. But I did. Yes.  

Melanie Avalon: Wade Lightheart.  

Gin Stephens: Yes.  

Melanie Avalon: And, okay, so, there's one more.  

Gin Stephens: Yep. Somebody, he is been on our podcast. Oh, and there's another one, too. There's five. Both of the others have been--  

Melanie Avalon: Oh, Todd White.  

Gin Stephens: Yes. And of course, we can't forget the main one. The reason I was at the conference.  

Melanie Avalon: JJ Virgin.  

Gin Stephens: Yeah.  

Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness.  

Gin Stephens: Isn't that fun? Now, I've met all of them face-to-face.  

Melanie Avalon: That's so crazy. That was a fun game. I like guessing games.  

Gin Stephens: I know you do. That's why I was happy to do it because I was like, "Melanie's going to like this." You did a good job and you've got all of them. [laughs] And they're all just lovely. That's the best thing.  

Melanie Avalon: That's what I was reflecting on. Because I was posting about it on my Instagram today, and I was just reflecting on how it's all really, really wonderful people. Literally, it's my closest friends now, not necessarily that group that we just mentioned but-- 

Gin Stephens: The conference that I went to where I met all of them face-to-face, you know, JJ Virgin puts it on, and it is the best community of people. You know, the people that you know from your podcast are all probably very in the same circle. I really think JJ Virgin has a lot to do with that because she has a philosophy of, we should all work together and lift one another up, and like a rising tide lifts all ships and that everyone works together, and that we're not in competition, we're in collaboration.  

Melanie Avalon: Oh, that's definitely the way I feel it.  

Gin Stephens: That's exactly the way this whole community feels. So, everyone is a generous supporter of everyone else. Even if you don't have the same philosophies about things, people talk about them respectfully together, and it really is just an amazing group that she has put together and cultivates. 

Melanie Avalon: I think that's so important. I also, think there's often, I don't think it's necessarily true but there's this cultural idea that like women in particular get competitive when it comes to business rather than collaborative, and yeah, that just doesn't resonate with me.  

Gin Stephens: Yeah. And the whole idea that we can disagree about things and still like each other. I'm talking to in a big general, not like just me and you. But in a general world of like the health world.  

Melanie Avalon: Oh, yes.  

Gin Stephens: Like Wade Lightheart and his partner that eat differently. We've talked about them a lot but that you can have different philosophies and still collaborate. Anyway, I just love it.  

Melanie Avalon: I do, too. I have one more update. I can't say what it is yet exactly.  

Gin Stephens: That's a fun one. No, I'm kidding.  

Melanie Avalon: I know. But I just want listeners to know that I'm really getting closer to currently developing a supplement number two and it's very exciting.  

Gin Stephens: Oh, here's the funny story. Can I tell you a funny story about supplements?  

Melanie Avalon: Yes.  

Gin Stephens: I was telling Chad about your supplement and how great it was going. I'm like, "I'm never going to make a supplement." He's like, "What do you mean?" Because he's a medicinal chemist. [laughs] So, I actually have someone living in my house who probably could formulate a supplement. He's like, "What do you mean? We could make a supplement." I'm like, "I don't want to make a supplement." He's like, "But we could. We could do that." He's at the point. He just found out he can retire after one more semester. He can retire and start drawing retirement. He's not sure if he's going to. He hasn't decided but he can. So, he might be like, "Let's make some supplements." I'd be like, "Oh, okay, you're in charge of that, Chad." But after I've always said, I wouldn't, I'm still not planning to but the way he reacted was just so funny.  

Melanie Avalon: That's really funny.  

Gin Stephens: He's like, "I could do that." I mean, he totally could. Drug design is his thing but [laughs] he's going to have to be 100% in charge. It'll be Chad not me. I don't really want to make supplements. But I'm glad it's going well for you.  

Melanie Avalon: It's going so well. It's just so fun and I said this before, but it's just really exciting to see this concept manifest in real life and for it to work so well. Oh, my goodness, so, the supplement, I haven't mentioned the one out right now, which is serrapeptase. I think, I've mentioned before that I have this mole on my nose that won't go away that I keep getting it like lasered off or shaved off and it keeps coming back. I was wondering if the serrapeptase would do something, but I think it's actually going away now.  

Gin Stephens: Okay. Well, then I've got to get your serrapeptase and take it because I've got an eyebrow mole and I need that eyebrow-- It drives me crazy. The hair grows straight out of it like a witch's mole. I mean, so, I have to pluck it. Like right in the middle of my eyebrow, I have to pluck all that hair out, and then, I have a bald spot in the middle of my eyebrow. It could be worse, right?  

Melanie Avalon: So, it's colored? Like it's brown?  

Gin Stephens: No. It's skin color. It's a skin color mole.  

Melanie Avalon: Okay, yeah. That's what mine is, too.  

Gin Stephens: Yeah. But it is right there in the very middle of my eyebrow, and the hair that grows out of it right there just sticks straight out like crazy. One day when I'm really old, I'll just let it go. I won't care.  

Melanie Avalon: Well, maybe you can try my serrapeptase and maybe it will. 

Gin Stephens: I need to. Does that make my mole go away then that would be amazing?  

Melanie Avalon: That would be so exciting.  

Gin Stephens: So, I will never do a supplement because you'll have all the supplements. So, I don't need to. 

Melanie Avalon: I think, I definitely know my next five that I want to do. So, when this episode comes out, we're doing a holiday special. Okay, we're logging down the details probably tomorrow. So, this might change. But what I think it's going to be is, I think, it's going to be 25% off which is crazy. So, 25% off, and then, I think, it's going to be that if you order it while it's 25% off, then you get like a special link. You can send to your friends, and then, if they use that link, they get 20% off of a future order, and you also get 20% off for every friend that purchases. It's like refer a friend thing. So, that's all at avalonx.com, and then my email list for information about the future supplements, and then, like that special and all the things is melanieavalon.com/serrapeptase. S-E-R-R-A-P-E-P-T-A-S-E. So, yeah, and last thing, do you know what I really want to develop Gin, I guess, it would be under my supplement line, but it's not a supplement that you take internally.  

Gin Stephens: I don't know if I could ever guess.  

Melanie Avalon: I want to make a fasting fat unlocking cream.  

Gin Stephens: Okay. What? You're going to have to explain it. I'm so confused. [laughs] I feel like fasting just unlocks the fat already.  

Melanie Avalon: Well. Okay, so, a lot people have stubborn fat. It's often subcutaneous fat. So, it's like that fat that you can pinch. So, love handles, and maybe on your arms, or on your abs. So, yes, fasting puts you into a fat burning state and encourages fat burning but a lot of times those actual fat cells, there's receptors on fat cells that basically determine whether or not they are releasing their fat or storing their fat. Even if you're fasting, fasting does not necessarily mean that you'll automatically, easily open up all your fat cells to be used. Especially, depending on their metabolic state and where they're at like people who you know, yo-yo diet, I think, the more you lose and regain, and lose and regain fat, the more resistant your fat cells come to losing their fat again. So, if you literally put a compound into the fat cell topically that activates receptors that encourages the fat cells to release their content, then, I think, you can more easily burn stubborn fat while fasting. So, it's like upgrading your fasting, like if people were to drink coffee and find that that helps them burn more fat.  

So, there are different compounds that do this like caffeine, and menthol, and green tea, and I found one that I currently use, and I like the ingredients mostly, but it's not completely clean, and I just want to make one that has no problematic ingredients and just these active ingredients, and I think, it can go two ways people who have really stubborn fat and maybe a lot of it, it can help that for sure. But also, people who don't even necessarily need to lose weight, but they have like, just it seems little stubborn areas, I think, it can really, really benefit that while fasting. So, it would be a fat unlocking cream. It wouldn't actually burn any fat, but it would make it easier to burn, to spot treat fat burning while fasting.  

Gin Stephens: All right, well, that's interesting.  

Melanie Avalon: That's my pitch. [laughs] I'm so excited. Yeah, I'm inspired because the one I've ordered is actually, I'm a bit shocked how well it's working, but it has stuff in it that I don't like. So, I've got to make my own version.  

Gin Stephens: Well, it's fun to know connections so that you can make things that have just the ingredients you want in them.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, definitely. Like the one I'm using right now is like bright blue. I'm like, well, it was not good, dyes and stuff like that.  

Hi, friends. Okay, we have thrilling news about Joovv. They have new devices and we have a discount. Yes, a discount, no longer a free gift, a discount. As you guys know, there are a few non-negotiables in my personal daily routine. I focus on what and when I eat every single day and I also focus on my daily dose of healthy light through Joovv’s red light therapy devices. Guys, I use my Joovv all the time. Red light therapy is one of the most effective health modalities you can use in your home. I've personally seen so many health benefits, I find it incredible for regulating my circadian rhythm, helping my mood, boosting my thyroid, smoothing my skin, and I've also used it on multiple occasions for targeted pain relief. Anyone who's familiar with red light therapy, pretty much knows that Joovv is the leading brand. They pioneered this technology and they were the first ones to isolate red and near-infrared light and make it accessible and affordable for in-home use.  

Since then, they've remained the most innovative, forward-thinking light therapy brands out there. And we're so excited because Joovv just launched their next generation of devices and they've made huge upgrades to what was already a really incredible system. Their new devices are sleeker, they're up to 25% lighter, and they all have the same power that we've come to expect from them. They've also intensified their coverage area, so you can stand as much as three times further away from the device and still get the recommended dosage. They've also upgraded the setup for the new devices with quick, easy mounting options, so your new Joovv can fit just about any space. And the new devices include some pretty cool new features, things like their Recovery Plus mode, which utilizes pulsing technology to give yourselves an extra boost to recovery from a tough workout with rejuvenating near-infrared light.  

And this is my personal favorite update. So, for those of us who like to use do devices to wind down at night, they now have an ambient mode that creates a calming lower intensity of light at night. Guys, I am so excited about this. Using this light at night is way healthier than bright blue light from all of our screens, and much more in line with your circadian rhythm. I was using my current Joovv devices at night anyway to light my whole apartment, so this new ambient mode is really going to be a gamechanger for me. Of course, you still get the world-class customer service from your helpful, friendly Joovv team. So, if you're looking for a new Joovv device for your home, we have some very exciting news. You can go to joovv.com/ifpodcast and use the coupon code IFPODCAST. You'll get an exclusive discount on Joovv’s newest devices. Yes, discount, I said it. That's J-O-O-V-V dotcom, forward slash, I-F-P-O-D-C-A-S-T. Exclusions apply. And this is for a limited time only. And we'll put all this information in the show notes. All right, now back to the show. 

Melanie Avalon: Shall we jump into everything for today?  

Gin Stephens: Yep, let's get started.  

Melanie Avalon: All right. So, to start things off-- Oh, I don't think I even realized this was from a Melanie.  

Gin Stephens: I've actually met this Melanie face to face.  

Melanie Avalon: Oh, really?  

Gin Stephens: Yes. She was on my podcast. So, I wonder when she sent this one in, it might have been like a long time ago. It might be an old one because I've met her face to face and she was on my podcast.  

Melanie Avalon: Oh, nice.  

Gin Stephens: I know.  

Melanie Avalon: Well, hello, Melanie. The subject is: "Episode number 1 and eating earlier." So, Melanie says, "I just listened to my first IF podcast." So, she had just listened with this had been a while ago, you think?  

Gin Stephens: Well, I don't know. I don't know because I don't know when people listen to Intermittent Fasting Stories, and then, they might run out of those, then, they start Intermittent Fasting Podcast, so, it's hard to know. The question that she asked about me makes me feel like maybe this was before. You'll see when you keep reading it.  

Melanie Avalon: So, she says, "It was fantastic. I really enjoyed it." And this is a question we get a lot. She says, but where is Episode 1, on iTunes, it starts as number two. Yes. There is no Episode 1. We had technical difficulties with it and it's lost forever. I don't even know. Yeah, it's lost. [laughs] I'm sorry. It's funny. Sometimes, I think, occasionally we've had a question where they say, they actually heard Episode 1, and that's how you know they've been there since day one. Her second question. She says, "Gin was talking about how if there is a family gathering i.e., brunch she eats earlier. Does she still follow up with a five-hour rule and stop eating after five hours no matter what time of day it is? Thanks, and again loved my first episode, you both sound great together." She's from Canada. 

Gin Stephens: Yep. And this is why I think she probably knows the answer to this now. But the answer is, of course, probably, people who've been listening a long time know that I do not time my window anymore at all. For example, yesterday, I had brunch with Will. It actually wasn't very early we went at 2. There's this place down here they have this jazz brunch, and it's fantastic, and I love to go there. It's called LOCAL. It's in Pawleys Island. If anyone's ever down in the Pawleys Island area, go to LOCAL, I love it. They made me a mocktail, I had eggs Benedict, we split avocado toast, we listened to jazz, yum. But it was 2 o'clock. And then, if I was still following the 5 o'clock rule, I would be like, "All right, must stop eating by seven." Nope. [laughs] I no longer do that at all. I just go with the flow depending on what day it is and what's happening. There are many days that my window is shorter.  

For example, let's see what day is it. Today's Sunday. We're recording. We came to the beach. Okay, Wednesday and Thursday--, both Wednesday and Thursday, I was busy. So, I didn't eat until later probably, 6:00, 6:30, something like that. I had dinner, closed my window less than an hour, two days in a row. Then, I've had a couple of days right after that with longer windows. So, I feel like it all balances out. I would really be, I mean, of course, I don't track it. It would be interesting to see what my average is. I bet my average is probably five hours or less but I don't even know. So, I no longer track anything. I just wait till I open my window and then I close it when I'm done whatever that may be. 

Melanie Avalon: When you're tracking, would you adjust for that?  

Gin Stephens: Well, when I was trying to lose weight, see that was a different thing. When I was trying to lose weight, I was following Dr. Bert Herring's Fast5, and he had 19:5 as the foundation of his plan. And his one rule is, find a consecutive five-hour window every single day and stick to it. That was the only rule. It needed to be a consecutive five-hour window. And he didn't even talk at all about tracking the fast. It was like, you have that, the boundaries of the five-hour window, you open, you close it within five hours. He's like, "Of course, you're going to have some days where it's longer, some days were shorter, but in general, five-hour window." So, that's the way I was raised up my early days with the Fast-5 program. So, when I was losing weight, that's what I tried to stick to.  

Melanie Avalon: When you were doing that, if you had opened it earlier, you would just do it earlier five-hour window?  

Gin Stephens: Yes. But that didn't always work so well. People have heard me talk about this before, when I open early, even if I have a giant brunch at noon, a giant meal. Let's say, I have a Thanksgiving dinner at noon.  

Melanie Avalon: All right. 

Gin Stephens: I'm probably going to feel great till about 8 PM. It is just about what I've noticed for myself. So, I'm like, "I'm just going to eat this one big meal, and then, I'll be fine. And then, I'm fine, I'm fine, I'm fine, I'm fine." 8 PM rolls around, I'm starving. So, I have two options at that point. I can be like, "I'm just going to push through the hunger and go to bed." But I don't do that. If I'm starving at 8 PM, I eat again. I don't like to go to bed starving. That's not the right answer for everybody. Maybe someone else push through. But it's easier for me to push through, after I wake up in the morning, fast longer than it is for me to push through in a day when I've closed my eating window, and now, I'm starving again.  

Melanie Avalon: We talked about this, but I'm the exact same way-- The exact same way. All right. Shall we go on to our next question?  

Gin Stephens: Yes. And this is from Angela, and the subject is: "Processed versus plant-based." She says, "Hi, hello, Melanie and Gin. I am a 33-year-old female who has been experimenting with intermittent fasting since November of 2019. I lost a total of 20 pounds between November and December of 2019 and have over 50 more to go. Then, I slowly went back to my old ways in February, but never fear I'm going to continue IF immediately. It is the only thing I have found that has helped combat my chronic fatigue in addition to weight loss. So, we know that processed foods aren't the best for our bodies and Whole Foods provide more nutrition. My body doesn't do well with most meats. I can have very lean meat and fish. So, I've been looking into incorporating plant-based foods into my diet. My question is kind of threefold. First, if I am eating pre-processed, pre-packaged plant-based foods, is it counterproductive to try to increase nutrition?" It's never counterproductive to try to increase nutrition. I'm just going to say that.  

Melanie Avalon: I agree.  

Gin Stephens: Although, we can talk about the first part in a minute, but it's never counterproductive to increase nutrients. All right. "Second, what should we be looking for so far as no added this in plant-based products? Last, are there any plant-based foods or food brands that you can recommend? Thank you, ladies for all that you do. You bring so much inspiration and information to us all and all I can say is," she's going to love Clean(ish). Angela needs to read Clean(ish), because it's all explained in there. So much detail. But anyway, you get to go first, so, I'll let you talk about it first.  

Melanie Avalon: All right. So, this is a great question from Angela. This definitely in my opinion touches into something that I see a lot now, especially, with the plant-based food movement, which is where a lot of people are making the dietary choice for health, or environmental, or ethical reasons to go plant-based, which can be really great for the individual depending on the individual's constitution. But there are a lot of like Angela said, you know, pre-processed, pre-packaged plant-based foods that may come with their own array of issues.  

Gin Stephens: Like Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies. I think, they're vegan. [laughs] So, yeah, they call something vegan and you're like, "Oh, it's so healthy." No, it is a Girl Scout Thin Mint cookie.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I mean, think about how many just like of the breakfast cereals on the market are probably technically vegan. Sugar is vegan. Yeah, so, a lot of things. I did a lot of research on this, by the way for brands and stuff, the different thoughts. There is the option of less processed, less pre-packaged plant-based foods. So, you could still be making meat alternatives yourself and I know that might require more time, but once you figure out the system that works for you and how to cook it and what you like and integrate it into your life, I think, the cost benefit of learning how to make food closer to its natural form that you really like long term in the health world will have massive, massive benefits. So, if that's an option, I would definitely go that route. So, that would be things like, if you are eating soy or tofu, getting that more plain and cooking it the way you like or things like mushrooms or-- Did she say, she's vegan or vegetarian?  

Gin Stephens: She just said plant-based. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, she does have lean meat and fish. So, you might be having eggs, and lean meat, and fish. You could still stay in the Whole Foods world and make it work plant-based wise. If you are having more of the pre-processed, pre-packaged plant-based foods, things you would want to look for, it's really, really shocking. If you turn over most of the things in the market and see the ingredients, there's just so much stuff. So, things I would look for are anything you can't pronounce or don't know what it is, that's probably not the best sign. A lot of like gums and carrageenan are added to these foods, and those can be problematic, they can be inflammatory. If it ever says like natural flavors that can be anything, so that's a little bit sketchy.  

Gin Stephens: It could be MSG. They hide that under all sorts of flavor kind of things. 

Melanie Avalon: Something I personally am very concerned with is refined seed oils, and I've done an episode with Dr. Cate Shanahan all on this. If you'd like to learn more, that's at melanieavalon.com/fatburnfix. But that's all about the potential problematic issue of refined added vegetable and seed oils. So, that's vegetable oil and there's like you can remember it because there's three C's three S's, there's probably more but that's a way to remember the main ones. So, it's canola, corn, cottonseed, soy,- 

Gin Stephens: Sunflower. 

Melanie Avalon: -sunflower? Yeah, sunflower. I would be really wary of those in the foods. The ironic thing about it is that, a lot of the vegan and vegetarian foods will actually use these oils because it's a way for them to have less saturated fat, and it works for them, and what they're trying to make the label say. But the problem with these oils is they are highly, highly unstable. So, when they are refined like that and then in these foods, they can really create a lot of inflammation in the body and oxidative issues. So, I would really, really avoid added C in vegetable oils. If you are having soy which is going to be pretty prevalent in the plant-based world, the majority of soy is GMO. So, I would look for organic soy only. My thoughts on soy have been changing. So, I've always sort of historically been on the fence and a little bit confused, and I didn't do a really, really deep dive until pretty recently because I interviewed Dr. Neal Barnard, who is one of the top vegan proponents of all the vegans.  

A lot of listeners probably know who he is because he's in all the documentaries, he has a lot of books. I interviewed him finally, like two weeks ago. So, that episode I think will come out around March or so. He wanted to come on actually for his study about soy. So, ooh, I went deep. I read everything I could find and my takeaway was that-- we've talked about this on a recent show, so I won't go too deep into it. But my takeaway was that, it's probably very context dependent. It probably depends on your gut microbiome, it probably depends on your genetics as to whether or not you benefit. I think, it might depend on your current estrogen burden. But in any case, I think, going the natural route, so, non-GMO, organic soy and/or like fermented soy, which is called tempeh would be the route to go if you go that route. So, yes. So, my suggestion would be to turn over, go to like Whole Foods, and look at all the brands, and turn them over, and see what's in them. I will list some brands that I like.  

So, Primal Kitchen does make some vegan, and like non-dairy condiments and things like that. So, you could check them out. Check out Amy's. If you're sensitive to gluten, that's something that you would want to be looking for. So, any grains or gluten and the products. I like Eden Foods. That's a brand they make some soy milks, and soups, and they're mostly organic, no additives or they might be all organic. A good dairy alternative is coconut milk but it's pretty hard to find coconut milk without gums and carrageenan, but I know they do have one at Trader Joe's and Native Forest is also a brand. If you're going with the vegan milk still, it's like almond milk, it's really hard to find one without additives, but MALK is a brand that doesn't have any problematic ingredients, For the soy, SoyBoy is a brand that I like. They have soy and they have a Tempeh.  

Again, check their ingredients though because some of the different flavors have problematic additives. There's a meat alternative made from jackfruit and Upton's makes an original form that doesn't have any additives. So, that's something that you could try. You can also get organic canned jackfruit. So, that might be something to cook with. Mushrooms, by the way, are also fun things to add and use as meat alternatives. Especially, the really big like portabella mushrooms. I like some of this Dr. Praeger's that they have at Whole Foods, but it's not organic is the only thing. Maybe that's a place to start but I would definitely either way, there's going to be like, if you really want to invest in this, there's going to be a learning curve, where you are going to just need to familiarize yourself with brands, and then also, like I said maybe learn how to make vegan or vegetarian plant-based alternatives yourself in a more whole foods form. 

Gin Stephens: I have a few things to add, although, you've said a lot as usual, which is good. [laughs] You are thorough, that's the word I'm looking for. So, I really think like I said, Angela, you're going to love Clean(ish), because it can get really hard to decide, you know, how perfect do you want to be? That's where the ish comes in. We know for certain but there's a lot of stuff we don't know for certain in the health world. You'll find a study that says one thing, you'll find something else that says something contradictory, but I will pretty much say, Melanie, see if you agree with me here. We know for certain that no one gets healthier by increasing the amount of ultra-processed foods in their diet. Would you say that's pretty much one thing we know for sure?  

Melanie Avalon: No one gets healthier by increasing ultra-processed foods. I don't like to ever say I'm certain about anything.  

Gin Stephens: I know. I don't either. But this is one where I'm pretty certain. 

Melanie Avalon: That is the closest to approaching certain that I can get.  

Gin Stephens: I've never seen a study that implied otherwise, more and more, ever since the term ultra-processed came out, which really hasn't been very long. I talk about this a lot more detail like I said in Clean(ish). We used to just say processed, but that is a misleading term. Because if you shuck an ear of corn and slice it off the cob and cook it, you've just processed it. But if you grind your wheat into flour, you just processed it. So, processing itself is not a bad thing. It's the ultra-processed, that's the problem. Once we got that terminology, it really helped make things clear. You want to eat things that are not ultra-processed when you can. But again, I'm cleanish. Melanie just listed a whole bunch of options that are probably considered to be ultra-processed but still better than other options that are ultra-processed. Feed foods can be organic, and also ultra-processed at the same time. We think that if it says organic on the label, it's a good choice. Those organic seed oils are just as inflammatory to me. I mean, maybe not just as inflammatory, maybe the ones that are not organic or would be less inflammatory, but they are inflammatory as well.  

There's a term that I learned when I was at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition called crowding out. It's a great concept. It really helped me come up with my own personal definition of Clean(ish). You want to focus on high-quality Whole Foods, whether you're looking at the paradigm of plant-based or whether you're going to be paleo. Melanie, you know for sure that as paleo got popular, paleo ultra-processed foods became available, which is the opposite of what paleo was supposed to be.  

Melanie Avalon: Yes, I was going to say that exactly.  

Gin Stephens: Right. So, we can ruin anything in America or the world by ultra-processing it and it still quote fits the guidelines, but it doesn't at all. I've talked about this before as well when I did the low-fat diets of the 90s, I read the T-Factor Diet and the only takeaway that I took away from that was eat less fat. So, I started eating SpaghettiOs, and SnackWell's, and McDonald's had a fat free Apple muffin, you could drive through and get and you could have a coke with that and the whole thing was fat free. I mean, that is not what the T-Factor book said to do. I went back through it recently and reread it, and he wants you to eat whole foods that are low in fat. That's really what it is. No matter how you're choosing to eat, the more real foods you can fit in there, the better you're going to be, and over time, you'll figure out, what proportion of ultra-processed foods you can allow in there. Melanie, are you zero with ultra-processed foods, would you say? Do you eat any?  

Melanie Avalon: So, in my everyday day-to-day life, I don't have any. When I go through my low carb phases, that's when I'll do the MCT oil which is ultra-processed. Every now and then if I'm having like a crazy celebratory craving, I will get the low carb like keto cake mixes with the least amount of additives. So, they're typically like almond, or coconut flour and erythritol, or monk fruit or stevia. 

Gin Stephens: Okay. So, you're on the continuum. Really close to whole foods all the time, but you still allow the ultra-processed sometimes. And that's your definition of Clean(ish), right?  

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm.  

Gin Stephens: But I on the other hand, I wouldn't choose something with monk fruit or erythritol, I would use real sugar or coconut palm sugar instead. That's because we each have a different what we want to do. That's the whole in the book, Clean(ish), which you need to order right now, because it's coming out January 4th, which is so very soon. In Clean(ish). It's all about figuring out your own personal definition of how that looks for you and what will you have and what will you not? I talk about in there that, I avoid these oils, I like to stick to organic things, but there's a mayonnaise I love that I grew up with and I don't eat mayonnaise very often. So, if I do need to eat mayonnaise or want to eat mayonnaise, I use this brand. It's probably GMO. I'm sure it is full of funky stuff, but I like it. But I don't need it all the time and I don't eat those oils day-to-day. So, it's just like I said, a matter of figuring out your perfect balance. My diet has more ultra-processed stuff in it than Melanie's, but it's way different than how it looked one, two, three, four, 10 years ago. So, it's a process.  

Like I said, before, that I ate out twice yesterday, I am feeling so puffy today and I know, it's because when I eat out, they use all these things, these inflammatory ingredients I don't use at home. So, I don't feel my best. When I get home tomorrow, I'm going to make something that has very high vegetable content, and I'm going to feel better. And it's just a matter of finding that balance that works for you. The more ultra-processed foods you can eliminate, but still enjoy your life, I really think the better.  

Melanie Avalon: To that point for me with eating out like I've just learned how to order where I'm equally happy with what I'm ordering but then I don't get any of the negative effects because I'm so specific in how I order. For some people, it's worth it to do that and for some people, it's not. So, it's really just a matter of like you said, Gin, what's worth it to you and what makes you happiest in the long run. Have you tried Primal Kitchen's, mayo?  

Gin Stephens: Yes, [laughs] and it's good. It's fine. If I were someone who ate mayonnaise every day or used it a lot, then, I would really think about the brand that I use. I would not want the brand of mayonnaise that I prefer. I'd like Duke's mayonnaise, and I grew up with it, and it is what mayonnaise is supposed to taste like. If I want something, it needs to be Duke's mayonnaise. But I don't eat mayonnaise every day. If I did, I would probably switch to Primal Kitchen. But it's a sometimes thing. So, having a little bit of this once a month or however often, I really only put it on if I'm making pimento cheese, which I don't do hardly ever. [laughs] Maybe at Christmas, I'll make my cranberry cheese or I'm having an egg sandwich which I have, I don't know, not even once a month. So, I'm going to eat it it's going to be Duke's, but I don't eat it very often. I don't think I explained what crowding out was. Did I explain what it was or did I just say it and then go down another rabbit hole? Crowding out is when you focus on high-quality Whole Foods as the main part, and then you crowd out, let's say, I wanted to have some homemade hummus with a few pita chips on the side, and then a big salad or something. So, I'm crowding out those chips. I'm still allowing them but I'm filling up on the good stuff first.  

Melanie Avalon: I love that. I will say speaking to the sweetener stuff, I reserve the right to change my opinion on this but the sweetener, I'm most interested by as far as I think it probably has-- 

Gin Stephens: All right, I'm predicting in my head what you might say, go ahead. 

Melanie: Oh, ooh, ooh, yay. I like this game. I think it probably has the most health benefits, minimum side effects. Allulose, all right, that's not I was going to say. What did you think is?  

Gin Stephens: Well, I was thinking you might would think blackstrap molasses was interesting because it's got so much mineral content.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, or manuka honey. Pay 100 bucks for a tablespoon.  

Gin Stephens: Exactly. Yeah, exactly. Have you looked at blackstrap molasses at all? 

Melanie Avalon: I've seen vaguely at different times. I know, it has certain things in it nutrient wise. The allulose is really interesting because it's becoming more and more popular. I went and read all the studies that I could find on it, and it actually, it has a very beneficial effect on especially for like diabetics on just carb content in general. I'd have to revisit what I was saying but the mechanisms of action are really interesting. I think, I don't want to put up misinformation, but it's something like it either competes with carbs or it seems to have a pretty beneficial effect, and it tastes very similar to sugar, and it acts very similar to sugar.  

Gin Stephens: To be honest, for me, the reason I avoid all those others is, I just don't like the way they taste. I don't like any of them.  

Melanie Avalon: Have you tried allulose?  

Gin Stephens: I haven't tried that one. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, that's what it is. I think, it's actually a natural like sugar. That's what it is. It's a natural sugar found in certain fruits but we just literally can't metabolize it into carb energy. So, it's getting sugar without getting any sugar.  

Gin Stephens: Well, they said all about the sugar alcohols, all those things and I just don't like them.  

Melanie Avalon: I know. I agree. It's not a sugar alcohol. No, it's an [unintelligible [00:45:58].  

Gin Stephens: Those are the kind of things they said like, "Oh, it's natural, oh, it's still not like--" [laughs] I would love to try it but I just stick to coconut palm sugar is really good. It's got that brown sugar flavor. Have you ever had it?  

Melanie Avalon: Nope. Do I know a fun fact? Do you know the difference between sweet corn and corn?  

Gin Stephens: I do.  

Melanie Avalon: Oh, like the variety?  

Gin Stephens: Yeah.  

Melanie Avalon: Oh. I just learned this because I'm prepping to interview FARMER LEE JONES. Do you know who he is?  

Gin Stephens: I did not.  

Melanie Avalon: Oh, I'm so excited. He's like this epic regenerative agriculture farmer. He always wears overalls. That's what he's known for. I think, his farm pioneered microgreens, and they're all about creating really interesting varieties, and species, and using all the parts of the plant, and they're just really cool. But I learned in his book, which is epic. Okay, now, going on to some other tangents.  

Gin Stephens: I would probably love his book. What's it called?  

Melanie Avalon: So, his book is called The Chef's Garden: A Modern Guide to Common and Unusual Vegetables -With Recipes. And it came out in April. It is the most beautiful book and it reminds me--, Gin, it reminds me of you so much like what I was reading it. It's really like, "If Gin were to make a, well, actually--"  

Gin Stephens: All right, I'm going to order it right now.  

Melanie Avalon: It's like if both of us were to make this book because-- 

Gin Stephens: Tell me the name of it, again. 

Melanie Avalon: The Chef's Garden: A Modern Guide to Common and Unusual Vegetables -With Recipes. I got so happy because so his people asked to come on the show and I asked if they could send me like the book, and they sent it, and he signed it with a message to me. It made me so happy. So, I have a signed copy but it's a beautiful book and the reason it reminds me of you is the recipes are-- 

Gin Stephens: I just ordered it.  

Melanie Avalon: Oh, yay.  

Gin Stephens: It's coming.  

Melanie Avalon: Let me know what you think when you get it. You'll see why when you get it, but the recipes are all there are whole foods and stuff, but they also use sugar and they're not like--  

Gin Stephens: They're Clean(ish) 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. It's really an amazing, incredible book. Oh, but I read the whole thing front to cover, which I probably didn't need to do because you will learn so much about every vegetable ever known to mankind.  

Gin Stephens: Well, I can't wait, I'm so excited about that.  

Melanie Avalon: I feel like it should be required reading in a way because the amount of information I learned about, I think, I shared it, did I share about the potato?  

Gin Stephens: I don't think so.  

Melanie Avalon: The fun fact about the potato that I learned from this book?  

Gin Stephens: You said something about corn. First of all, tell me if I'm right. This is what I think like when I said yes, I need the difference and then, I was like, "Maybe, I don't" as I started second guessing myself. This is what I think the differences between sweet corn and corn. Most of the corn they grow is not sweet corn and that is to feed animals. Then, sweet corn is the corn we eat, am I right or is that wrong?  

Melanie Avalon: No.  

Gin Stephens: Okay. That's what I thought. There's something about most of the corn they grow is for animals.  

Melanie Avalon: Most of the corn that we grow is, I think to feed animals.  

Gin Stephens: It's not the kind of corn we eat. It's a different variety of corn. That's not the kind we eat and then the kind we eat I thought was the sweet corn. Okay, so what's the difference?  

Melanie Avalon: So, corn is a grain, sweet corn is a vegetable.  

Gin Stephens: Okay. What?  

Melanie Avalon: I know. It blew my mind.  

Gin Stephens: I don't know about that.  

Melanie Avalon: Do you want hear the potato fact that blew my mind? 

Gin Stephens: Yeah, but I've got to look up this thing about corn and sweet corn.  

Melanie Avalon: Okay. [laughs]  

Gin Stephens: I'm telling you what Southern Living thinks, I'm right and he is not. I just looked up, Southern Living said, "The variety of corn we enjoy eating is called sweet corn, which does not grow nearly as tall as field corn. Sweet corn has a higher sugar content than cow corn and is picked while immature before the sugar has a chance to turn into starch." So, that is exactly what I thought. So, I don't really know what he's talking about. I'm going to have to read this book and figure it out. Sweet corn and field corn, it's different, but it's who's going to eat it. 

Melanie Avalon: Corn can be considered either a grain or vegetable based on when it is harvested.  

Gin Stephens: Okay. Well, that does make sense. Okay, but It's the variety of corn, sweet corn is a different variety than cow corn, right? So, they do let the kind that they're going to feed to the animals dry in the field, and I guess, that's the difference is when you harvest it. Whether you would consider it a vegetable or if you let it dry, then maybe it would be considered a grain. No, we were both right.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. So, maybe, that's what he meant like the corn that's fully mature and dry.  

Gin Stephens: We harvest it while it's still considered a vegetable. But if you let it sit in the field, but we don't do that with sweet corn. Sweet corn, we do not let it sit in the field and dry. We harvest it and then we eat it. But the other kind of corn is the kind that is for the animals and they do let it dry in the field. When I looked that up, it was because I was driving around and I'm like, "Why is all the corn looks so bad? Why is it all so dried up?" And then, I searched it, I was like, "Is something wrong with the corn this year?" Then, that's where I learned, "No, that's field corn. They're letting it dry for the animals."  

Melanie Avalon: Okay. So much learned about corn. You're going to love this book. Here's the potato on. Are you ready?  

Gin Stephens: Yes.  

Melanie Avalon: So, the potato became this massive thing when they discovered-- I don't remember when it was like 1,700s. When they discovered that it had a high nutrition value in Europe, it was like a good food source, basically. And it was the royalty people that figure this out. So, they wanted to have it as like a food source for the European population. What did they do to make the people start all growing and eating potatoes?  

Gin Stephens: Well, I don't know.  

Melanie Avalon: They did something. They use some reverse psychology to make the non-royalties like the peasants start growing corn. Do you have any guesses?  

Gin Stephens: Do you mean, potato?  

Melanie Avalon: Potato. Sorry. To start growing potato.  

Gin Stephens: Well, I don't know. You just have to tell me.  

Melanie Avalon: Okay. I am just going to tell you because I played this game at Christmas with my family and it took a long time for them to guess. So, I'm just going to tell you. They planted potatoes in guarded fields, so that the peasants would think the potatoes were like really special and expensive or something worth getting. So, then the peasant would steal the potatoes, and then they started planting themselves.  

Gin Stephens: Well, joke's on you royal people, because potatoes are amazing.  

Melanie Avalon: No, that's what they wanted to happen.  

Gin Stephens: But I know, I know. I know. But they're so good. They were like, thinking they're just for peasants, like wanting the peasants to eat them.  

Melanie Avalon: They wanted to spread potatoes as a food source in general. So, it was like, how do we-- 

Gin Stephens: But they liked them, too.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. But it was like, "How do we make the peasants start doing this?" So, they made it seem like they were really exclusive.  

Gin Stephens: All they needed to do is just give them a potato and they would have been in. [laughs] He also talks all about the difference between like yams and sweet potatoes. 

Gin Stephens: I've done some reading about that, too. Does he say that yams and sweet potatoes are not the same thing and that yams are--? I think, yams might be in Africa?  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Well, I knew they weren't the same thing but I would go down so many rabbit holes before this being like because I'd be like, "How to identify a yam or sweet potato at the supermarket?" He says, "If you're at a normal supermarket, so not--" 

Gin Stephens: It's the sweet potato.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. It's a sweet potato. The yams are only ethnic type. 

Gin Stephens: Super specialty. Yeah.  

Melanie Avalon: Oh, I can't wait for you to get this book.  

Gin Stephens: I apparently know a lot about food already.  

Melanie Avalon: You're going to love it. He has sections on every single vegetable, and then all the different varieties, and some of them, there'll be like 30 varieties. They'll talk about 30 varieties of tomatoes. It's mind blowing.  

Gin Stephens: And then, it'll make me want to have all those varieties, then, you go to the store and it's just the plain old boring ones.  

Melanie Avalon: I know. There is a farmer's market here in Atlanta called Buford's Farmers Market, and I've gone a few times, and I think, they have basically everything. It's crazy.  

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Melanie Avalon: That was a tangent. Shall we move on to our next question.  

Gin Stephens: Yes.  

Melanie Avalon: All right. So, we have a question from Julie. The subject is: "How did I get here?" Julie says, "Hello, I started IF in August 2018, 49 years old, 5'2", 134 pounds. I've always been active, walking, yoga, and elliptical weights, workouts. My body mind and lifestyle adapted quickly to IF, a negative self-talk about weight and food finally subsided. I felt healthy free and in eight months, I was 123 pounds. Fast forward to yesterday having not stepped on the scale in months. Now, 51 years old and I weighed in at 136. I maintain clean fast, little alcohol, healthy eating, and 20:4. Please help. Is it age, cortisol? I have read/heard Gin talk about this in relation to COVID-19. ADF is not for me. So, I just try to keep positive, drink more water, almost a gallon daily, eat healthier, etc., but I don't understand how I got here. IF has worked for me and I'm committed to this way of life.  

My weight gain shows in the mirror, my clothes, and my mind. Negative self-talk has returned and I feel like I did pre-IF. Side note: I am in good health, and my doctor supports IF, and the lower weight range for my size. Blood test for my annual physicals were good, no health or thyroid issues. Do you have ideas on supplements or vitamins? Any support is welcome. Thank you." She wants to know if we reply by email or only respond on the podcast, do we give heads up to listeners. Grateful for your expertise and advice. And we do not usually reply via email. Occasionally, we do. Sometimes, emails come through and we just must address something. But normally, it's surprise on the podcast. [laughs]  

Gin Stephens: Yeah, Kate, you got to listen. Hopefully, you'll hear it. So, Julie. We can't answer the why. We can't tell you because you said, is it age? Could be. A lot of people gain weight as they go through menopause and you're right at that exact age for that. Cortisol? Could be. She's referring to a blog post that I put out in 2020 about the pandemic, and stress, and weight gain because all of a sudden, in 2020, people who were maintaining beautifully with intermittent fasting, and had been for a long time started having sudden weight gain. So, we talked about the stress that comes along with the pandemic and we're certainly not over that. [laughs] The stress continues as things continue to like, "Oh, here's a variant." And yeah, the media pumps us full of fear, and we're living in this constant Loki stress state, day after day. So, I would absolutely not minimize the effect of that and I would just say, so, you've gained-- It looks like, you lost 11 pounds initially, and now you're back up the 11+2 more. So, 13 pounds. So, you went down 11 and then you went up 13. So, I know, it's frustrating, but it really could be. It could be a combination of hormones, menopause, and stress that we're living through right now. So, we can't tell you what it is.  

And also, there are no magical supplements and vitamins that we could say, this is what you need. Boy, I wish there were. I'd make that supplement. [laughs] There was a magical supplement that could make us lose the weight, but there isn't. We've been down that road, all of us have, and you buy them and you saw them on the famous TV doctor who had the different episodes about this magical supplement. I bought everything that was on there. Never once did it make me lose magical weight. Sadly, I wish it had. But it could be so many things. I would really suggest, you might need to be someone who does way more frequently. That might be hard to hear, because I'm someone who doesn't weigh at all, and I haven't weighed for a long time. But if I knew that I had gained weight, and I couldn't figure out why, that scale was really good feedback for me when I was trying to lose weight. It really made a difference. And doing my weekly averaging or using something like happy scale, and really being able to see if you can find what's going on. I'm trying to see what she eats. Did she talk about her diet?  

Melanie Avalon: She just says-- I was actually going to talk about that. Yeah, she says, healthy. 

Gin Stephens: Healthy eating is such a big phrase. You know what, what you think is healthy eating, what I think is healthy eating, what Melanie thinks is healthy eating, what Paul Saladino thinks is healthy eating, there are all going to be different definitions. So, there may be some room to improve in your diet, especially, if you're choosing foods that don't work well for you. I could be eating in a way that fits a lot of definitions of healthy eating, but I'm eating too much of it or my body doesn't like those healthy things. My body would like something else. So, it's really time to tweak if-- You haven't done ZOE, yet? You might really enjoy that, ZOE test. I have a blog post about that ginstephens.com/zoe. You've probably heard me and Melanie talk about it. You also might need to switch it up a little bit.  

I know, you said, you like 20:4 with a four-hour eating window. You don't want to do ADF. You said, it's not for you. Although, I will say, the number of people who have said, I didn't think it was for me, and then I tried it, and guess what? I love it. There are a lot of people who say that. So, you might be surprised. But you could do a mild, not really ADF version, where one day, you have 23:1, and then, the next day you have 18:6 or something. You just keep alternating those. That's a very mild up down, up day pattern and see how that goes. That might be enough to get things going. But there're so many things you could try. Unfortunately, though, like I said before, we can't identify the why of the weight gain. We can just point out some suggestions or some ideas of what it might be.  

Melanie Avalon: Yes, I thought that was great. The healthy eating was actually what I was going to focus in on because I thought it was really interesting that the thing, she asked advice or to adjust the way it is vitamins or supplements, that would be the last, well, not the last thing, but that would not be high on my priority list for addressing weight loss. The foundational things, I believe for addressing weight loss are the actual food that you're eating and when you're eating it.  

Gin Stephens: And you know, that just shows how programmed we are to look for that in a bottle. Because we've been taught here's what you take, and then you will lose the weight, and that's not how it goes. I wish it did.  

Melanie Avalon: Exactly. So, I think the healthy eating, it's really easy to eat what may be healthy eating and maybe healthy eating for you, but healthy eating that will create weight gain. Because if you're eating certain foods that are "healthy," but are promoting fat storage, easily stored as fat and eaten higher than you are burning off every day, then, you're going to gain weight as a necessity of that.  

Gin Stephens: People often think that because we say, don't count calories that we are saying that calories don't count. Calories are a terrible way of measuring what's coming in, what's coming out. But neither Melanie nor I or really anybody that I really trust and follow thinks that you can really just overeat eat, eat, eat, eat, eat and not gain weight. If you eat too much, you will gain weight. So, I'm not saying that's what Julie's doing. But you can overeat in a four-hour window if you're eating like a lot of cheese for example. That's my own little-- [giggles] my nemesis of overeating is usually cheese and dairy products because I love them, but they're easy to overeat.  

Melanie Avalon: And that's an example we're looking at the type of food rather than the calories or even the amount can take care of itself in a way. Because if cheese is a greenlit food for you, you can most likely very easily overeat it and gain weight from it. Same with like nut butters and things like that compared to with, you know, you're like, "Oh, I can have unlimited protein." It's unlikely you're going to eat so much protein that you gain weight if anything. It has high thermogenic effect, if anything, you'd probably get full faster and probably lose weight and while also boosting your metabolism for example. So, I would focus in on that healthy eating, and look at what you're eating, and I would suggest, and I say this a lot, so, I feel like a broken record. But if you're not looking at your macros at all, there's a lot of magic that can happen. You don't have to count calories, you don't have to count even amounts, but if you play around with a macro approach that can work really, really well for a lot of people, and it doesn't have to be forever, but it can be just while you're losing this weight. So, that would be either low carb or low fat, and seeing how that works for you.  

Gin Stephens: Yeah, that's a good suggestion.  

Melanie Avalon: Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. So, a few things for listeners before we go. If you'd like to submit your own questions for the show, you can directly email questions@ifpodcast.com or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. The show notes for today's show will be at ifpodcast.com/episode245. 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. All right. Anything from you, Gin, before we go?  

Gin Stephens: Well, I guess, I'll just put in one more plug for go ahead and pre-order Clean(ish) if you haven't already.  

Melanie Avalon: Yes. 

Gin Stephens: It's coming out really soon and I'm excited. 

Melanie Avalon: Really soon when this airs.  

Gin Stephens: Yes. And even really soon. 

Melanie Avalon: Five or six days, like a week. Like a week after this. 

Gin Stephens: Even really soon like now. It's really soon just in general.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I think, it's about a week after when this airs. Already well, we'll put a link to that in the show notes. And this has been absolutely wonderful and I will talk to you next week.  

Gin Stephens: All right, talk to you then. Bye.  

Melanie Avalon: Bye.  

Melanie Avalon: Thank you so much for listening to the Intermittent Fasting Podcast. Please remember that everything discussed on the show is not medical advice. We're not doctors. You can also check out our other podcasts, Intermittent Fasting Stories, and the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. The music was composed by Leland Cox. See you next week. 


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