Welcome to Episode 256 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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13:40 - Listener Q&A: Melissa - history of overeating and IF
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35:50 - Listener Q&A: Nancy - Iron
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57:20 - Listener Q&A: Kathy - Bone Broth, Collagen And Ketosis Complete
Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 256 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.
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Melanie Avalon: Hi, everybody and welcome. This is Episode number 256 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: Well, I'm cold. Yesterday, the weather was perfect, and I went and sat in the Sun, and it was beautiful, and I wore flipflops and today I'm back in UGGs holding a mug of warm water.
Melanie Avalon: It's cold where you are?
Gin Stephens: I'm cold. Yeah, it's all. Yeah, it's rainy.
Melanie Avalon: Well, I was excited when it was cold here, but I feel it's been getting warm, which has been disheartening.
Gin Stephens: Have you been outside today?
Melanie Avalon: No.
Gin Stephens: It's 51 degrees and raining.
Melanie Avalon: Wonderful.
Gin Stephens: No, it's not wonderful. I'm freezing. Yesterday, it was 70.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, that was a problem.
Gin Stephens: It was beautiful. You don't like 70? Come on, now. I can't imagine you wouldn't like 70.
Melanie Avalon: No. I get sad when I look at the weather forecast when it says 70. I want it to be in the 40s.
Gin Stephens: Okay, well, then you probably should not live in Georgia.
Melanie Avalon: I know.
Gin Stephens: You need to go to, I don’t know, the Arctic, where we never get to the 70s. I don't know. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: Basically, I like the 70s in LA, because it gets cool in the evening still.
Gin Stephens: Okay.
Melanie Avalon: I have a random question.
Gin Stephens: Okay.
Melanie Avalon: Did you ever get night terrors?
Gin Stephens: Night terrors as a kid?
Melanie Avalon: Yes.
Gin Stephens: I don't know. I know, I always was like-- I don't think I had really what you would call night terrors. I remember being very anxious as a child. It had to do with us moving, and my parents got divorced, and then we moved to another state, and I remember being very anxious, and high strung at night when it would be time to go to bed, but I don't think I had night terrors.
Melanie Avalon: Have you ever had the experience where you wake up, but you're still asleep, so, you're interpreting your environment incorrectly?
Gin Stephens: Like a dream.
Melanie Avalon: But you're awake.
Gin Stephens: But you're awake, but you feel you're still in your dream.
Melanie Avalon: No.
Gin Stephens: Okay, then. No, I don't know what you're talking about.
Melanie Avalon: I used to get night terrors. I don't anymore, but I had something happen last night that reminds me of night terrors, but it wasn't the same thing. But it's the concept of waking up, and being awake, and knowing your environment. But for some reason, part of your brain is still asleep, so you're interpreting your environment incorrectly. So, with night terrors you see scary things in your environment that aren't there. That's what night terrors are.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, I don't think so. I don't know. It wouldn't surprise me if I did or didn't. I was a high-strung little kid. I don't have memories of having night terrors, but that doesn't mean I didn't because [laughs] I would have to ask my mom.
Melanie Avalon: I definitely had them and I remember them.
Gin Stephens: Then, I probably didn't. I do remember being very emotional at bedtime and hysterical about not wanting to go to bed and be left alone. I didn't want to be left alone. But I don't know if I had nightmares or I don't have any memory of them.
Melanie Avalon: You didn't probably remember them?
Gin Stephens: Probably, so.
Melanie Avalon: I would always see spiders. I'd wake up and see spiders. Then I would have to look for the spider, because every single time I would wake up and see it, and it would take me a while to convince myself that it wasn't real this time. It would happen all the time. So, I'd like turn the lights on-- This happened in high school, too. I turn the lights on and look for the spider.
Gin Stephens: Oh no, I didn't have that.
Melanie Avalon: Okay. Last night what happened, this was so weird. I'm just fascinated by the brain states. Last night I woke up, and looked at the ceiling, and the lighting from the window was making a perfect arrow pointing to the window. It's hard to describe, but basically, there was an arrow made of light on the wall, on the ceiling pointing to the window. It was real. I wasn't making it up. But my brain, I spent five minutes staring at it, thinking it was-- I was terrified. I was like that's a sign that there's something outside. I could not convince myself that it was just a light. I thought it was a sign. And then every time I woke up, it was still there. It was weird, but literally, five minutes laying there awake staring at it, contemplating it, thinking that the world was ending,
Gin Stephens: Oh, gosh. No, I have woken up in an anxious state with weird thoughts in my head that suddenly feel really the world is ending, that kind of waking up. I don't know if it was a dream or just being anxious.
Melanie Avalon: Brain is just really interesting.
Gin Stephens: It is.
Melanie Avalon: So, that's my random thing. The other random thing is I interviewed Dr. Gundry again.
Gin Stephens: Oh, how'd that go?
Melanie Avalon: It went very well.
Gin Stephens: And what's his new book? I forgot.
Melanie Avalon: Unlocking the Keto Code.
Gin Stephens: Okay.
Melanie Avalon: It was perfect timing, because I had interviewed Dom D'Agostino a few days prior all about ketones, and then I interviewed Dr. Gundry all about ketones and they had different opinions.
Gin Stephens: That's the way so many people are, which is almost why I'm like, "Y'all, Fast. Feast. Repeat. That's it. It doesn't matter all those other little things. We don't have to tell you exactly what is happening behind the scenes, but your body knows, and it's doing it, and you don't have to know,
Melanie Avalon: That's why I'm the complete opposite. That's why I'm like, "I want to hear every perspective."
Gin Stephens: But when they disagree, that's where I am at this point in my life at the age of 52. I like to hear it. It's interesting, but when experts who are very, very smart have wildly different opinions, I'm like, " what? It doesn't even really matter. It doesn't matter." All I know is my body knows what to do. That's literally where I am. I like to understand what's happening and I feel I do, but maybe I don't. [giggles] Maybe we've got it all wrong. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: I want to know everything.
Gin Stephens: I'm at the point where I feel even the things we think we know we might not really know, so it really doesn't matter.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, I see.
Gin Stephens: That's what I'm saying. I'm like, "We might think this is all what's happening," and then in five years, we'll think it's something completely different. So, really it doesn't matter. I do like to know. Don't get me wrong. I like to know the science behind how things work, but only to a certain point, because then when we start getting deeper, and deeper, and deeper, we realize how many things are unknown. For example, going back to elementary science teaching, we teach even right this minute, if you go into an elementary classroom, teaching about the structure of an atom, they're teaching it wrong. That's not true what they're teaching. It's not even close to what an atom really is like. I just didn't like we're learning all this stuff. I don't know what is true and what [laughs] we just think, anyway.
Melanie Avalon: I literally think I know nothing. That's why I want to hear everything, because I have no idea and I don't know if anybody has any idea. But that's where we can all keep searching and try to get closer.
Gin Stephens: I do love science. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that I don't. I just am like, "I don't need to know all how that's doing it in the background." I know, autophagy is doing something great. I don't need to know the minute that it's doing whatever it's doing. I know ketosis has been official. [laughs] I know that I'm having it. [laughs] Anyway.
Melanie Avalon: Well, yes, yes.
Gin Stephens: I'm glad you had a good interview with him.
Melanie Avalon: It was good. Is anything else new with you?
Gin Stephens: Well, no. I do have some new interesting things that I'm not ready to share yet, but some really things that are interesting. We're not quite ready like I said to share. So, it's exciting. I can't wait to be able to share, because I like to [giggles] say what I'm doing. Just not quite there yet. I'm just going to tease it. It's personal life, not professional life.
Melanie Avalon: Awesome.
Gin Stephens: That's it.
Melanie Avalon: Shall we jump into everything for today?
Gin Stephens: Absolutely.
Melanie Avalon: All right, so, to start things off, we have a question from Melissa. The subject is: "history of overeating and IF." Melissa says, "I've been doing IF for eight months. I'm 5'5" and 138 pounds. When I started this, I lost a few pounds and it was great, but I'm back to where I started with those stubborn 10 pounds. Recently, I've been listening to the Brain Over Binge Podcast." Side note: I booked that author which is very exciting. She has a new book coming out. Wait, wait. Was it her? No, no, no, no. I get them confused. It's the Bright Line Eating woman?
Gin Stephens: Oh, okay. Her new book's already out.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, well, she's coming on for it. [giggles] Both of them have a similar perspective, I think.
Gin Stephens: No sugar, no flour. Bright Line Eating is no sugar, no flour.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, I thought Bright Line Eating is about like bright lines. No sugar no flour, but basically saying no. I think that's what Brain Over Binge is about too.
Gin Stephens: Maybe it's just saying no, but you can never have sugar and you can never have flour on Bright Line, never and also, I think she hates intermittent fasting.
Melanie Avalon: What is her new book?
Gin Stephens: I can't remember the name of it, but I keep my eye on the-- It popped up in the weight loss arena when it first came out. That's how I know what's coming out, because I do keep my eye, I like to see how Fast. Feast. Repeat. is doing and Clean(ish). Well, just FYI like I said, I don't think she likes intermittent fasting at all and she's like, "No sugar, no flour ever." I know some people really do feel that their brains can't tolerate sugar and flour. It might be something that works for them and they need to avoid those things. Someone, the same parts of the brain that light up with drugs, for example. I don't know. For me, that's not the case. I can have a little bit of sugar, I can have flour, I don't feel I'm just a drug addict for it at all. But I know that some people do describe it that way and I believe them that that's how they feel.
Melanie Avalon: That's the way I feel more so. Maybe not quite to that extent, but--
Gin Stephens: It feels that way to you when you consume it. Is that what I'm asking?
Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm.
Gin Stephens: See, I don't.
Melanie Avalon: Her new book is Rezoom. It came out in December. Rezoom: The Powerful Reframe to End the Crash-and-Burn Cycle of Food Addiction.
Gin Stephens: Yep. She's very much, "Here's the things. Never, never have these things. Like I said, for the people who need that kind of approach, I know some people in my Delay, Don't Deny community, who follow her work and find that they can't do sugar and flour personally. Interestingly, one of them, she's an intermittent fasting coach. She's lovely. I actually met her. We had dinner together in Myrtle Beach. She happened to be there one time when I was there and we met, and she's been on my podcast. She does intermittent fasting, she also can't have the sugar and the flour, but she was a drug addict. Now, she tells her story on the podcast. I'm telling things about her I shouldn't tell, but she was a drug addict and gave up the drug. So, I think certain brains are more likely to light up from certain stimuli.
Melanie Avalon: That's interesting, because I'm prepping to interview Chris Masterjohn, which is exciting. I'm actually going to talk about him a little bit in our next question assuming we get to it. But I was listening to him on Peter Attia, and they were discussing the COMT gene, the worrier versus warrior.
Gin Stephens: Worrying versus fighting?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah.
Gin Stephens: Do you worry or fight, right?
Melanie Avalon: How it related to addiction. They were talking about was, okay, see if I get this right. The worrier, so the person, who worries, their gene does not break down dopamine that fast. You have a lot of dopamine that sticks around, you get really fixated, you ruminate, but you can be really laser focused. Both traits have good and bad to them. The warrior, the fighter breaks down dopamine really fast. They're more flexible and don't get as fixated on things, but the addiction aspect was, I think that types are more likely to get addicted, because they go through dopamine so quick. You constantly need more.
Gin Stephens: Well, that's interesting.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, a dopamine releasing substance. You would need to keep pressing the lever, because the dopamine is going away, basically.
Gin Stephens: I guess, probably, most of us are somewhere along the continuum. We're not on one end or the other. We're somewhere in the middle. I really do believe that our brain chemistries are different. So, I can have sugar, flour, or whatever, take it or leave it. I like it, but I'm not looking for my next fix kind of a thing, and it doesn't make me binge. But I know that some people do.
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Melanie Avalon: Anyways, so, she's been listening to Brain Over Binge Podcast, which, again, is somebody different, but I think it's a similar concept with the Bright Lines. It's just saying no, I think. She said, "I've realized that I have an issue with overeating. I've tried a few different IF patterns. I shoot for 18 to 20 fast hours a day." This is pretty easy at this point. "I exercise five to six days a week, 30 to 60 minutes at varied intensities, ADF doesn't really interest me, here's my question. After eight months, I don't feel I really had appetite correction and I still have the tendency to overeat in my window. I don't always make the best food choices, but I do strive to make healthier choices. My food choices have been worse with this home isolation and stress is not helping. I feel I can't get the mental game under control to make IF a long-term success. What can I do to get my mind in the right spot for this to work long term?"
Gin Stephens: All right, that's a great question. It's easy to say just get your mind right. [giggles] But I can't tell you how to get your mind in the right spot. I don't think either of us can. You've got to get your mind in the right spot. You can reread the "Mindset" chapter of Fast. Feast. Repeat. where I talk about the importance of mindset. But I can't tell you how to get there. You've got to flip that switch yourself. For me, it helps me to know why I'm doing intermittent fasting. I want to go back to your weight and height. You're 5'5", 138 pounds. That is a very healthy weight for your height. You're not overweight, you're not even close to overweight. You're right in the middle of that healthy weight range. I do understand that you would like to lose 10 pounds and I get it. If I gained 10 pounds from where I am right now, I would want to lose them too. 10 pounds, you have the right to want to lose 10 pounds, but you are at a very healthy weight. I just wanted to put that out there.
But when I disconnect, why I'm doing intermittent fasting now, like if I got on the scale, I'm 5'5", if I got on the scale and I weighed 138 pounds right this minute, I would still keep doing intermittent fasting even if I never got below 138 again for the rest of my life. Because now, I do intermittent fasting long-term not so the scale will change. I do intermittent fasting now, because it's a healthy way to live. That mindset shift is really the one that was most powerful for me. I guess, even though, I can't tell you how to get your mind in the right spot, if you shift from, "I have to lose these 10 pounds to I am going to do intermittent fasting for the rest of my life, because it's a healthy way to live," that might be the thing that flips that switch and makes it a long-term success for you. That's certainly what did it for me. So, let's talk about those stubborn 10 pounds that you would like to lose and why you didn't have appetite correction.
I really feel it has to do with that one sentence that you said, "I don't always make the best food choices, but I do strive to make healthier choices." For me, food quality and appetite correction go hand in hand. I tell the story in Fast. Feast. Repeat. about the day that I had McDonas ld's. I had a Big Mac and fries and a Coke. That was plenty of calories, plenty of fuel. I fueled my body with lots of energy. It wasn't good quality, but it was plenty. I didn't need more fuel, but I was so unsatisfied and I was still "hungry." I absolutely did not have appetite correction from a McDonald's Big Mac and fries and a Coke. But when I eat really, highly nutritious foods that are nutrient dense, lots of vegetables, good protein, beans, eggs, avocado, things like that, I could eat the calorie equivalent, of course, I don't count calories, but I have to get that out there. I could eat the calorie equivalent of that Big Mac fries and Coke meal, and have amazing appetite correction, food quality makes all the difference in the world for me.
If you feel you're not making the best food choices, start with really highly nutritious foods. There's a term in the nutrition space called "crowding out." You crowd out the things that are not the best with things that are the best and you're not going to have as much room for them. If you start with highly nutritious foods, you tell yourself, "You know what, I've got some ice cream, I want to have that later." But really nourish your body well. Then later, if you want to add in a little bit of that, whatever it was, ice cream for me would be the one, then add it in. That's how I'm Cleanish. But if I start with nutritious foods, I don't really want that much ice cream. A little bit is fine. If I started with ice cream, hello, I could see all the ice cream in the world and still not probably be full and satisfied. I really think that might be what you're missing out on. Also, you are doing a good bit of exercising and that makes you hungry. For me, how they call it working up a good appetite? You said that you have the tendency to overeat. You might not be "overeating" to the point that you think you are. I think we've been trained, especially as women to think we're supposed to have dainty appetites. Especially, if you're in the paradigm of eating five, six small meals a day that sort of thing, then you might really need to eat tiny little amounts. But if you're having a 20-hour fast and a four-hour window and you've exercised for 60 minutes at high intensity, you need to have a lot of fuel and your body is going to tell you that. So, it might feel you're overeating when really, it's exactly the amount of food you're supposed to have. But you're thinking, you're supposed to be eating this little diet amount, but your body's like, "No, we worked out hard today, give us more food."
By combining high-quality food choices to open your window, our bodies don't count calories, they count nutrients like my Big Mac story illustrates, by having the high-quality foods understanding that you might need to eat more than you think you do, and also realizing you're at a really healthy weight for your height, and really just changing the quality of your food, it might really get that needle going down a little bit. Put all those things together and I definitely don't think you need to do ADF, unless you're really want to. But again, I want to reiterate from what I said before. If you shift that mental game from, "I am doing intermittent fasting to lose 10 pounds to I am doing intermittent fasting because it's the healthiest way I can live my life, and I can do some tweaks to see if I can lose those 10 pounds or not," I think that might flip that switch to make it feel a long-term lifestyle. I've just said a lot of things.
Melanie Avalon: Awesome. You said a lot of things that I was going to touch on. So, that is excellent. I actually just finished a book by Nir Eyal all called Indistractable, bringing him on the show as well. It wasn't about eating or anything like that. It was about not being distracted in our environment. But one of the things that he talks about that this made me think of was when there's something like a trigger or a habit that we're trying to break, there's basically internal and external triggers. He goes through four different things, but two of them, one is an internal trigger, and one is an external trigger that could be prompting that. The internal trigger would be probably stuff that she talks about in the Brain Over Binge Podcast. But I really like this process that he talks about. I've started to do it with my own self. Basically, when there's something you don't want to do or don't want to engage in, you notice the feeling that happened right before that. So, it's an internal feeling and it usually will always be there.
He talks more about how to actually deal with it, or replace it, or what you do with that. But I do think it's really fascinating, because it can make you realize with your overeating experience, for example, or your cravings, or your lack of appetite correction. Is that coming from a place of needing more nutrients like Gin was talking about or is it coming more from a place of unsatisfied craving for whatever reason? Noticing the feeling right before that might be pretty telling. There's so much you could do on the mindset side of things. We're talking about earlier, more of an addiction type thing rather than a nutrition type thing. Either way, really focusing like Gin said on your nutrition quality is going to be huge. I think a lot of people find that if they make their meals centered around a moderate to higher protein meal, that can really, really help with cravings. I also think it goes back to the sentence that Gin said, and that's what I'm going to bring in the external triggers. The sentence, "I don't always make the best food choices but I do strive to make healthier choices." First of all, I applaud you for striving to make healthier choices. That is amazing and it can be really hard to do with our processed food environment today, and things that we're exposed to. Gin, do you feel we get this sentience from a lot of people struggling with this issue?
Gin Stephens: They're trying to make healthier choices?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, we did that a lot. That's such an interesting phrase. I'm striving to make healthier choices, because if went out on the street and asked a hundred people, "What's a healthy way to eat?" We'd get a hundred different answers.
Melanie Avalon: The perspective I was taking from it is, it's often the focus on the--
Gin Stephens: Oh, the intermittent fasting?
Melanie Avalon: No, no. The focus is on like, "I'll try to do that rather than that's what I do." This actually goes into something else, which he talks about these-- and I'm going go back to the external triggers as well. I'm all over the place. But he talks about the different ways that people can make habit change and what is most effective. One of the most effective ways to make habit change is to have an identity change. Not become an entirely new person, but to have an identity change around the issue. They did a study that was on voting. I don't remember the exact numbers. I can look them up, but it was a striking difference between people, who actually voted based on the initial criteria was, there're people who said they were going to vote in the poll. They responded by saying, they were going to vote. Then they did a poll, where they asked people if they were voters. The people who said they were voters were way more likely to vote than people who literally said they were going to vote. It goes into this whole identity thing.
The analogy here is, we can say we're going to vote and try to vote and do all this and that's good, because it's an intention and something you want to do, so that's great. But we're actually much more likely to vote if we just say I'm a voter. The way this all ties into this is, maybe instead of striving to make healthier choices, you could try adopting or trying on an identity of just saying, you make healthy choices rather than trying to or striving to. And then, you can make it even easier for yourself so that the identity barrier is one thing that helps-- or boundaries, I think they're called boundaries. But having actual boundaries can help that, because it's hard to combat what's right in your face. If you're trying to make healthier choices, you could just make healthier choices and those foods that you know are problem foods for you just don't have them in the house. That would be getting rid of external triggers creating an actual boundary to engaging in whatever habit you're trying not to engage with.
Gin Stephens: Can I pop in something there that just came to my mind? It's Yoda. "Do or do not. There is no try." That's one of my favorite Yoda quotes.
Melanie Avalon: I thought about that so long and I put that in my What When Wine book, because I talk about in What When Wine how I never really understood that phrase until I did intermittent fasting, and then it made perfect sense, because you don't try to do intermittent fasting. You either do or you don't. There is no try. You do or you don't.
Gin Stephens: Well, exactly, right.
Melanie Avalon: Same thing here. Again, I don't want to discount or not be encouraging, because it is amazing to strive to make healthier choices. I'm not trying to downplay that. I'm just saying a slight shift, where you just make healthier choices, you get rid of all those things that are causing the problems. Just don't have them in the house.
Gin Stephens: Or, be cleanish. Don't start with them.
Melanie Avalon: Do you want elaborate on that, because I don't think people might not know what you're saying, exactly?
Gin Stephens: I've said it a minute ago. I said how I start with things that are nutritious, and then I crowd out, and then I might have the ice cream, and I'm cleanish.
Melanie Avalon: So, yes. I think there's a lot that can be done there. Especially, if you feel you can't get the mental game under control, stack the cards in your favor, do everything you can to stack the cards in your favor. It can sound scary to make things seemingly more intense in your approach, but can actually give you freedom because you're not fighting all of these temptations and things like that. Yes, that was all over the place. That book, Indistractable, it's actually really short. So, it might be something to listen to. Again, it's not really about food specifically, but it's got a lot of really fascinating information in it. Anything else?
Gin Stephens: Nope. I think we've said a lot of things. I hope that it helps Melissa.
Melanie Avalon: I like what you said, too, about focusing on the nutrient fulfilling foods would probably really help.
Gin Stephens: You know how you said she should tell herself, I eat healthy foods. She should also say, I am an intermittent faster.
Melanie Avalon: Yes, exactly.
Gin Stephens: Because then, that's who I am. I am an intermittent faster. So, that is my identity. I don't have to get up every day and decide if I'm going to do intermittent fasting. That's just what I do. It's who I am.
Melanie Avalon: And another one is saying, I don't instead of I can't. Instead of saying, "I can't have those foods, I don't have those foods," making it a choice.
Gin Stephens: Yeah. I don't use artificial sweeteners. If you offer me something that it has artificial sweeteners, I will not eat it. [laughs] Also, I could say, I can't, because that would not upset me, because I just really don't want to and I don't like them. But anyway, same, same kind of thing.
Melanie Avalon: So, shall we go on to our next question?
Gin Stephens: Yes. We have a question from Nancy and the subject is: "Iron." She says, "first, love the podcast, love the books, love you guys." Thank you, Nancy. She says, "I always learn a lot and my own journey is crazy. IF does not work for me for anything other than feeling I don't have to focus on food all day. But I love that in terms of weight loss or anything like that. This is not my jam. Never worked for me and I've been doing this almost since you guys started this podcast. Thanks to my daughter. However, that is not what this email is about." Now, I got to stop there, Melanie. When she says, "IF does not work for me for anything," I have to dig into that a little bit, just because it's not working for weight loss, Nancy, it doesn't mean it's not doing amazing other things. That's the thing. Okay, so, you haven't lost any weight, but I bet it's done a lot of amazing things inside your body that you can't identify. It's like when people ask me, "What has your vibration plate done for you? How has it helped you?" I say, "Well, I don't know because there's no path I've been on where I didn't use it." I have used it. So, I'm not sure how much muscle mass it's helped me maintain. Because I don't have a study where the Gin didn't do it. [laughs] Here's the Gin who did it, here's the Gin who didn't. I only know the one who did it.
For Nancy saying that intermittent fasting hasn't worked for her, well, who knows what have happened if she hadn't done intermittent fasting? Does that make sense? Am I making myself clear? I think that it might not have given you weight loss, Nancy, but I want you to tell yourself like what you just were talking about with Melissa. What you tell yourself, change what you're saying and say, intermittent fasting is my secret to living a healthy life. Because I really think that it's a healthy way to live even in the absence of weight loss, it is doing something for you. I had to throw that out there. Chad does it, didn't need to lose weight, didn't want to lose weight, doesn't want. He would be upset if he lost weight. Mark Mattson of Johns Hopkins, he's been doing intermittent fasting since I think the 80s. They don't do it for weight loss. They do it for the health benefits. So, never, never, never lose sight of that. So, do you have anything you want to add?
Melanie Avalon: Just that I agree completely.
Gin Stephens: Okay. So, anyway, I'm glad you're doing it, Nancy. I'm glad you're a listener. I'm glad that you're still enjoying doing it and that it gives you freedom from that focus on food, because even if that was all that it did really, that's huge. I mean that is huge. All right, so, she says, "Okay, so, I have something a little bit weird for you guys. I've been playing with Wim Hof breathing for around two years and cold showers for about six months. I've tried to give blood for a couple of years and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, because my iron numbers are not high enough, and they can't take your blood unless your iron is at a certain level. I went to give blood a couple of months ago and I wasn't sure if I'd be able to or not. But after they did my finger prick, the tech said, "Your blood numbers are great, perfect. You're doing great." My numbers were usually just over the line in the past when I could give blood. The only thing I did differently was cold showers and sometimes putting my feet in ice and water. Ever since then and it's only been twice. So, this isn't a study. But ever since then I've been able to go in and just give blood, no problem.
Before that, I tried different iron supplements, liquid iron, which only turned my teeth black, which I stopped immediately and brush crazy till the stains went away. But this cold-water stuff, I have a feeling that cold water really helps with iron. I looked it up just on Google not PubMed or anything and there was something about it. Not anything that was earth shattering, but I thought, "Well, this could be a thing." I know you are both into research to a level that I will never be and have resources that I don't have. So, I thought I would just throw this out after listening to the podcast, where you talked about the woman, who could be low iron. I thought I would share my crazy experience. Sincerely," Nancy.
Melanie Avalon: All right, Nancy. Thank you so much for your question. Really, quick thing. I don't really think I have that many more resources than other people as far as research goes. It's actually very easy in our world today to access research and information. There are books, that's where I get a lot of my information. Google Scholar is my favorite place to be. There're so many studies. You can't always read the full study, but you often can. If you sign up for a ResearchGate account, you can often get the full study through that platform.
Gin Stephens: Or, if you're married to a college professor. He can get you anything.
Melanie Avalon: Or, if you went to college anywhere, you often as an alumni can have access to their library system. I guess the one resource I have that most people don't is, I can often directly ask questions to some of the authors I've had on the show. But beyond that, it's really all just self-study. Just want to point that out. It's funny, Nancy, about this question. We've had it in the lineup for a long time, because I was waiting because I thought the information was going to organically come to me at some point. I feel it did this week. I was like once it comes to me, I'm going to wait till it comes to me and then I'm going to talk about it and it came to me this week. I've mentioned this earlier, but I am prepping to interview Chris Masterjohn. He doesn't have a book or anything, but he has been in the sphere for a long time and he writes very epic blog posts, and he does have eBook type things you can buy but he really researches nutrients and metabolic health, and what's the word for metabolic systems in the body?
Gin Stephens: Metabolic systems really just sums it up.
Melanie Avalon: It's funny, Gin, because prepping to interview him, because normally I'm focusing on a book. But there's just so much. He's covered everything.
Gin Stephens: Oh, he's written about everything. Yeah, he's brilliant. I've been reading his stuff for, well, before I wrote my first book.
Melanie Avalon: it's not he just writes about everything. He goes really deep in everything, in all the different topics and he gives a perspective that nobody else usually is talking about. We're talking earlier about not knowing what do we know, what do we not know. He always gives a new perspective and I'm like, "Why have I never heard that before?" That sounds right [laughs] if that makes sense. Prepping to interview him. I'm like, "What do I talk to him about?" I think I'm just going to talk to him about all the things presently I'm very fascinated with and would like to know his thoughts on. But in any case, he has been writing a lot actually, recently about iron status because he's been looking at a lot of the studies about how COVID affects iron status. He talks about the mechanisms of action and what is going on there. I think I got a lot of clarity reading it about what might be going on with you, Nancy. Before I answer that, the first resource I went to--
Gin Stephens: I have a question. Does he say that it's better, because I think I remember reading some stuff about this early, early on in the pandemic. For COVID, is it better to have high iron or low iron?
Melanie Avalon: I didn't read about better to, the stuff I was reading. I'm sure he's probably written on it. That's a good question and I should check it before I interview him. The stuff I was reading was, how does COVID affect iron status? So, that's a good question, though.
Gin Stephens: For some reason, I seem to-- I don't know. We've had so much over the past few years. For some reason in my head, I feel I read something early on, I mean, really early on 2020 early, early, early that was correlating low iron with better outcomes. I don't know. Because I usually have had low iron like Nancy. For some reason, that stuck in my head, because I'm like, "Oh, maybe having low iron is good." I don't know for COVID.
Melanie Avalon: Well, yeah. What he talks about is how people think that the inflammatory state of COVID would deplete iron being an inflammatory state. But actually, and this relates to Nancy's question. Inflammation raises a hormone called hepcidin, which is the insulin for blood sugar, but it's a regulator of iron status.
Gin Stephens: I did find a couple of things. The U-shaped association of serum iron level with disease severity and adult hospitalized patients with COVID-19. A U-shaped curve is interesting. Too high is not good, too low is no--
Melanie Avalon: Too low is not good.
Gin Stephens: Right. That's interesting. Again, so much stuff we still don't even know. So, I'm not giving medical advice about this.
Melanie Avalon: This answer is not to speak to COVID, specifically. It's to speak to the inflammatory state. In the inflammatory state, hepcidin goes up, hepcidin decreases. I don't know if it's a hormone as well. I guess so called ferroportin. Ferroportin is the transporter responsible for transporting iron both from our food into our bodies, and then also in and out of cells. What happens when we get inflamed, hepcidin goes up, ferroportin goes down, we no longer easily absorb iron from our food. In an inflamed state, it's likely that we'll have low iron. But what's interesting and this is what he talks about. This is the how it gets more nuanced. When you get a full iron panel, you measure basically, your free iron, your iron saturation, your hemoglobin, which is your iron-containing oxygen transport, metalloprotein in red blood cells, and then your ferritin, which is actually your storage form of iron.
What's interesting is that when your inflammation is up, your hepcidin is up and your ferroportin transporter is down. Not only do you not absorb iron from your food, but you stop moving iron around. It can get locked in your ferritin, which is your storage form, especially if you're in an inflammatory state, The macrophages in the inflammatory state might actually grab the iron and put it into ferritin, because iron is actually very inflammatory. It can create oxidative stress. You don't want a lot of iron.
Gin Stephens: You don't want to have too much.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. That's why it's such a complicated thing. Your body really has to regulate it and a lot of people for whatever reason things get wonky on either side.
Gin Stephens: Yep. There's that U-shaped curve. By the way, I did find something that sounds like the opposite of what I said before. It just said that severe COVID-19 appears to be characterized by high hepcidin. I don't know how to say that and marked functional iron deficiency. So, you don't want to have iron that's too low.
Melanie Avalon: Right. What you just said is what I was literally just saying.
Gin Stephens: The reason I'm saying it is because what I said seems to be the opposite of the truth. So, I wanted to correct it. I just remember reading something early. Lord knows what it was. It was two years ago. I remember reading something that made me think, "Oh, maybe low iron isn't bad. Maybe it's protective."
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Again, I don't really want to speak to COVID, but I'm really glad you read that sentence, because that actually describes what I was just saying. Basically, an inflammatory state, COVID would be an inflammatory state. Hepcidin is going up, so you're going to stop absorbing iron. You're more likely to get deficient. But then what's interesting and what he talks about is, like I said, you stop absorbing, but you also trap iron where it is, so people can actually present with having low iron, but high ferritin, because the iron is all trapped in their storage form because their body was like, "Oh, we got to get rid of this. So, let's put it into ferritin."
Gin Stephens: It's there. It's just stuck.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Then you have to deal with getting it out in a healthy way because too much iron is inflammatory. So, the point of all of that and I think when I talk to him-- Oh, this was really interesting. So, do the way how we get rid of the iron and ferritin?
Gin Stephens: I do not. [laughs] Leeches? Is it leeches? No, I'm kidding.
Melanie Avalon: I know. Well, probably that might do it. [laughs]
Gin Stephens: Wait, I feel I might, give me a minute. I feel I read something.
Melanie Avalon: It's something we talk about a lot sort of.
Gin Stephens: Go ahead.
Melanie Avalon: It's called ferritinophagy.
Gin Stephens: Is it autophagy? Is it part of autophagy? Is it linked to autophagy?
Melanie Avalon: When the cell runs low in iron, it sends ferritin that storage form of iron into the general autophagy system. So, then it breaks down the ferritin in the autophagy system and freeze the iron. Isn't that cool?
Gin Stephens: It is very cool. You know how at the beginning of the podcast, where we were like, "Yeah, that's more than I needed to know about stuff. That's where [laughs] iron." [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: It hits home to me because I have had severe anemia in the past, severe.
Gin Stephens: But you're good now there, right?
Melanie Avalon: I am. Actually, I'm posting about it today on my InsideTracker. But it's a struggle. For people who struggle with iron issues on either side, it's a struggle. If you have iron overload, really the only solution is donating blood.
Gin Stephens: That's what it was. Donating blood, I knew there was something when I said leeches. It's donating blood for real. That is what you do. I was like, "I feel I know it. What is it?" Yes, it's donating blood. Dah. I can't [laughs] believe I didn't think of that. That's practically the same thing as leeches.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, yeah. That's why when you said that I was like, "Basically." [giggles]
Gin Stephens: That's funny. Okay. I knew I knew it. I just couldn't remember that I knew it.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, yeah. Then on the flip side, the anemia side and this is something I really want to talk to him about, because there're just so many reasons and things that could happen. The thing I want to talk to him about for me is the way I tend to present now, because I've been supplementing with grass-fed spleen, which does keep my iron up. But my ferritin, my storage form tends to always be low, but my iron saturation will go up really high. I feel I'm not converting iron to ferritin. I'm going to ask him about that. Oh, to clarify, I do want to clarify, even though, I know Gin mentioned that we're over a lot of heads right now. But this is important to point out, because I did say that ferritinophagy, so, autophagy is what digest ferritin. That is not regulated by autophagy. What I mean by that is, it's not like you if you're in a high autophagy state. They are automatically going to do that process, it's regulated completely by cellular iron status. What that means is, it only does that process when you need to do that process. It's not like, "Oh, I'm in a high autophagy state. Let's break down all the ferritin." It would do that if you needed iron.
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Melanie Avalon: In any case, how this all relates to Nancy's question? It was interesting because I pulled up Wim Hof's book, because she was talking about doing Wim Hof breathing and the cold showers. I have had Wim Hof on the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. I will put a link to that in the show notes. Honestly, listeners, if you want an inspiring episode, that was my most inspiring episode of all time.
Gin Stephens: Wim Hoff?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, followed by Farmer Lee Jones. I looked at his book to see if he talked about iron status and anemia. I know she didn't mention anemia, but she mentioned low iron. Interestingly, he didn't really talk about it. But the weird thing is there is one sentence about it, but I don't know why he didn't expand on it, because the only sentence in the book that mentions anemia is "the connection between tinnitus and the Wim Hof Method has various possible causes," because he talks about how the Wim Hof Method can help tinnitus. He says, "Medical research shows a direct link between pulsatile tinnitus and anemia, which the Wim Hof Method may ameliorate through the elevated oxygen intake." It's really interesting. Basically, he's hinting that the Wim Hof Method may help anemia. I don't know why he doesn't expand on it. But the reason I think that, Nancy, this is possibly what might be going on is all Chris Masterjohn's work. He talks about how to increase iron status when you are in an iron deficient state for whatever reason and the answer is cooling inflammation. He literally uses that phrase.
Combating inflammation is a key to helping iron status, helping your iron numbers. The Wim Hof Method, the breathing, the cold showers, one of the main things that is doing in your body is combating system wide inflammation. That's the reason I do cold therapy like cryotherapy. The anti-inflammatory benefits are incredible. It could have something to do with the oxygen content, which is in the Wim Hof what he says in his book. In addition to that, I would really think there could be something going on with it helping your inflammatory status and not helping your iron status. Again, I'm not a doctor, but those are my thoughts.
Gin Stephens: In summary, yes. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: Possibly, possibly.
Gin Stephens: Well, she said, "Could it be." She said, "Could it be." The answer is yes, it could be.
Melanie Avalon: Yes. Very cool.
Gin Stephens: But yes. We don't want to be too low, we don't want to be too high, we want to be just right like Goldilocks, when it comes to really almost everything.
Melanie Avalon: For supporting your body's, handling of iron and having a healthy iron profile. an anti-inflammatory lifestyle is really key for that. Cold exposure, Wim Hof breathing would be great tools for that. All right, shall we do one more question?
Gin Stephens: All righty.
Melanie Avalon: All right. We have one more question. This is from Kathy. The subject is: "Bone broth, collagen, and ketosis complete." Kathy says, "Hi. I've been doing the IF Fast. Feast. Repeat. for several weeks. Before then, I was doing a keto-type program avoiding sugar and other things. I was drinking a shake with collagen, bone broth, and the ketosis complete." I looked this up. I think I found it because I found a product called ketosis complete that did have-- She says, "It has BHB, beta hydroxybutyrate and a healthy fats blend." But what I was looking at just had BHB. It didn't have healthy fats blend. So, I'm not sure if that was the same thing.
Gin Stephens: Well, maybe just it's her collagen and her bone broth, and added some fats. Maybe, she was putting in healthy fats in addition.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, that's possible.
Gin Stephens: Adding fat, yeah.
Melanie Avalon: She says, "I have been fasting clean averaging 16 to 20 hours per day and I would like to know if I can have a shake made with these things after I break my fast or do I have to wait until I have done the full 28 days. Thank you," Kathy.
Gin Stephens: All right. Here's the thing about your eating window. You can have whatever you want in your eating window. There is no need to wait any time to have anything in your eating window. Here's what you can't have in your eating window during the first 28 days and here's what you can have after that. If you have something you would like to enjoy in your eating window, you can do it at any point along the way of your intermittent fasting journey. Now, let's talk about the shake and what you need out of that shake. Interesting about collagen, I'm not convinced that we need to ingest collagen. I was having a conversation with someone on the Delay, Don’t Deny community about this recently. She's a doctor. I am not a doctor, she is a doctor, talking about collagen and she's somebody, who I really respect, but she is not a big fan of most of these "products that are out there with all the health claims." She's not a health claims fan because so many of them are made without any good backing. Collagen is one of those things.
When we ingest collagen, our body breaks it down into the different building blocks. Like, it does with any protein. It's not ingesting collagen and then it's used as collagen. Your body loses the ability to create collagen as you get older. But ingesting collagen, it is not like take the collagen and then stick it places where collagen would be. Am I explaining that well, Melanie? It breaks it down.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Actually, it has probably more to do with something else Chris Masterjohn talks about, the amino acid profile ratio found in collagen versus muscle meats.
Gin Stephens: Well, my point being that, I'm not convinced that we need to supplement with collagen. That's all I'm saying. I've looked at it all sorts of ways, because people are talking about collagen all the time, and they want to have collagen, and I am not convinced that there's a role for me. Let me just say, for me. I'm not convinced that supplementing with collagen is going to do anything for me. Really, if you're having trouble with a saggy skin, and you think that having collagen will help with that, really, if your body's not good at using collagen, or building collagen, or whatever the wording really would be, I think I just didn't say it very well but that's the issue. Something like red light therapy, it can help your body better than drinking collagen. There're other ways to get your body to be better at maintaining collagen levels versus intaking it. Does that make sense, Melanie?
Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm.
Gin Stephens: Anyway, so, if you love the collagen, have the collagen. Bone broth has a lot of healing benefits. I think you would agree with that. Have the bone broth. Definitely, bone broth is a great thing. Ketosis complete, any kind of ketone product, I really can't think of any reason why you would have that in your eating window honestly. I remember reading something Mark Mattson-- I was listening to him on a podcast. It was Mark Mattson, the guy mentioned earlier, he was from Johns Hopkins. He was talking about taking in ketones, that was back when exogenous ketones were all the rage and your body was making all these claims about them. In the interview, he said, he could imagine-- I'm paraphrasing and it's been years since I heard this. I could be getting something wrong. But it was something along the lines of he could see a mechanism of action, where it would actually be detrimental to have ketones-- to take in ketones during in the presence of food. Because that's not how our bodies naturally are. I can't remember the mechanism of action he was talking about because shoot I'm not a scientist like he is, but our bodies never have lots of food coming in and ketosis going on. So, that's not really a natural state.
Ketosis is absence of food our bodies get into ketosis. I just can't think of any reason why you'd want to have that in your eating window. Collagen, up to you. If you feel it's giving you benefits, you certainly can. Bone broth, I could totally see that. A ketosis product, no. I just wouldn't. You can if you really want to. I can't think of a reason why I would, unless you have Alzheimer's or seizures, and you're having a therapeutic kind of ketone experience. But for the rest of us who are just, no. Anyway, that's how I feel. Let your body make ketones for free during the fast. That's it.
Melanie Avalon: First of all, just to discuss a little bit more the collagen versus the bone broth thing. The benefits people turn to collagen for, I think it can often be got from a more whole foods synergistic form of bone broth. Actually, today's episode is sponsored in part by Beauty & the Broth, which is one of my favorite bone broth companies. Check out the spot in today's show to get the details about that. We have a code for I think 15% off. But her bone broth is, it comes in concentrated form. It ships straight to your door and then you reconstitute it to whatever strength you like with water, it has no added salt, which is huge. It's organic, delicious. So, that might be something to try to if you want to open your window with something rather than this shake of collagen and exogenous ketones like Gin was talking about. I would just have some bone broth.
Gin Stephens: And some food.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, which bone broth in a way is a food.
Gin Stephens: And some food along with it, but not-- Yeah, bone broth is a food. Yeah.
Melanie Avalon: I think what Kathy is touching on is, I don't know how common this confusion is out there, but what I'm getting from her question and possibly there are other people who think this. I think they think they're doing a keto diet and fasting is creating ketosis. That means, it goes together still. They think they still have to do a keto diet with fasting, which is not the case. So, intermittent fasting does not mandate a keto diet in your eating window. You can do one. You don't have to.
Gin Stephens: Yep, but you don't have to-- There was a period of time where people were really saying that like, "If you're not doing intermittent fasting with keto, you're wasting your time." I'm like, "Really? Okay. Well, I guess tell that to my 80 pounds that I lost."
Melanie Avalon: That's funny. [laughs]
Gin Stephens: Oh, and when this episode comes out, Melanie, it will be almost exactly my seven-year maintenance anniversary. Seven years of maintaining my weight. In that seven years was I keto for any of the days? No.
Melanie Avalon: Wow. Yeah. Point being Kathy is, you don't have to be keto in the eating window and for the BHB exogenous ketones, well like I said, I did interview Dom D'Agostino and we went into the deepest of deepest dives into ketones. Of course, he is more pro-exogenous ketones.
Gin Stephens: Is he?
Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm.
Gin Stephens: He thinks you should.
Melanie Avalon: Well, no, no, sorry. That's a blanket statement. His work in part is clinically studying exogenous ketones, and the signaling effects they have, and their effects in different therapeutic states. You were saying differently for therapeutic diet addressing a specific issue.
Gin Stephens: There are definitely roles for exogenous ketones, but not for most of us, I think. That's what I really think.
Melanie Avalon: I think if you listen to the episode, which again, it's not out yet. We'll put a link to it in the show notes. I think listening to my conversation with him, he is very pro-exogenous ketones, but for specific situations, and I think listening to it, you don't walk away thinking I need exogenous ketones. That's not what you walk away thinking.
Gin Stephens: Good. I actually walked away from that Mark Mattson interview. He's a neurological guy that's his expertise. I walked away thinking, "Yeah, we really don't want to have that with food [laughs] for whatever reason." Again, whatever his mechanism was that he talked about. Nobody please ask me to find that, because I swear, it was 2017 or something, and people were just starting to talk about exogenous ketones, and I heard him talking about on our podcast, and I don't even remember who.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, So, I'm really excited to air that. That was a moment, because I've been following him for so long. So very long. We've talked for two hours.
Gin Stephens: That's when I interviewed Mark Mattson for Intermittent Fasting Stories. It was surreal. I was so excited. That one hasn't come out yet. By the time people are listening to this, it hasn't come out yet, but it was so exciting to talk to him because he knows his stuff.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I already told you this, Gin, but he was like, "Yeah, I'm going in few days to stay with Rhonda Patrick." I was like, "Oh, my goodness." [laughs] So close. But in any case, Kathy, I hope that helped with your question.
Gin Stephens: But just to go back to it again, like I said, you can have whatever you want in your eating window, and if that shake is something you want, and you love it, and you want to keep having it, because you feel it's giving you benefits, have it. Go for it. We're not telling you not to. I just would hesitate on feeling like you needed exogenous ketones, especially in your eating window. That's all.
Melanie Avalon: Agreed. All right. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. So, a few things for listeners before we go. If you would like to submit your own question for the show, you can directly email email@example.com or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. The show notes for today's episode will be at ifpodcast.com/episode256. Those show notes will have a full transcript. So, definitely check that out. And then, you can follow us on Instagram. I am @melanieavalon, Gin is @ginstephens, and I think that is all things. All righty. I just want to say, I'm so happy we got to the iron question. It's been hanging over me for months. I was like, "It'll come to me."
Gin Stephens: Awesome. I'm glad we talked about it. I'm glad I was able to research and find more answers, because [laughs] it was so long ago that I read that article. I was like, "I got to look this up a little bit more."
Melanie Avalon: All right. Well, anything from you, Gin, before we go?
Gin Stephens: No. I think that's it. Talk to you soon.
Melanie Avalon: Talk to you next week. Bye.
Gin Stephens: Bye.
Melanie Avalon: Thank you so much for listening to the Intermittent Fasting Podcast. Please remember, everything we discussed on this show does not constitute medical advice. We're not doctors. If you enjoyed the show, please consider writing your review on iTunes. We couldn't do this without our amazing team, administration by Sharon Merriman, editing by Podcast Doctors, show notes and artwork by Brianna Joyner, transcripts by SpeechDocs, theme music by Leland Cox. See you next week.
STUFF WE LIKE
Check out the Stuff We Like page for links to any of the books/supplements/products etc. mentioned on the podcast that we like!
Melanie's What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine
Gin's Delay, Don't Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle
Feast Without Fear: Food and the Delay, Don't Deny Lifestyle
Fast. Feast. Repeat.: The Clean Fast Protocol for Health, Longevity, and Weight Loss--Including the 21-Day FAST Start Guide
Clean(ish): Eat (Mostly) Clean, Live (Mainly) Clean, and Unlock Your Body's Natural Ability to Self-Clean
More on Melanie: MelanieAvalon.com
More on Gin: GinStephens.com
Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox: LelandCox.com
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