Welcome to Episode 258 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, hosted by Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine and Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living An Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle.
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Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 258 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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One more thing before we jump in. Are you fasting clean inside and out? Did 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 258 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'm fabulous. The weather is beautiful, although, I did have to spend some time dusting pollen off of stuff today before I could sit down. I know Atlanta's pollen land just like Augusta is.
Melanie Avalon: This is what I was going to talk about. I'm so glad you said that.
Gin Stephens: Oh, wow. Great minds.
Melanie Avalon: I know. I was reflecting, because it literally turned to spring like overnight. Well, it turned to summer for a day [giggles] and then spring. I was thinking not that I have seasonal affective disorder, but spring comes, and I get really sad. [giggles] I don't like it.
Gin Stephens: I know that seasonal affective disorder has to do with light and people needing more light and more sunlight. So, what would make an increase of light make you be sad?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I'm joking, because the seasonal affective disorder is about light exposure, but for me, it's the environmental, pollen, and springness, and lack of cold makes me sad. But I was reflecting on how grateful I am for my serrapeptase, because I forget that the reason, I started taking it almost probably eight years ago was for seasonal allergies. Because it just completely stopped my allergy response to pollen, which is-- Or, it doesn't stop my allergy response, but it just clears my sinuses and it was the way I was able to get off of allergy medicine.
Gin Stephens: I just stopped needing it. I just not stopped needing allergy medicine in 2016.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I substantially needed less, but grass is just so allergenic for me.
Gin Stephens: Now, my eyes will still itch. That never stopped. If I rub pollen into my eyes, they'll itch. But I don't have the nasal issues, the runny nose. I had to keep Kleenex literally shoved up my nose like a stopper. My nose ran so much. It was awful.
Melanie Avalon: Mine, too.
Gin Stephens: I have not taken any kind of allergy medicine since 2016. I think it's the decreased inflammation and thinking about our bucket. The bucket effect and how much your body can take before it starts to overflow with symptoms of whatever. I talked about this analogy in Clean(ish), but allergies work like that. If your bucket is full of other toxins, then all the pollen comes in and bam.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, really hard to handle. With the fasting and serrapeptase, I feel resilient for spring.
Gin Stephens: Well, that's good. I love when the days start to get longer and the time change, it makes me so happy.
Melanie Avalon: It makes me so sad. The first day that it made that weather switch, I was so sad. [laughs] I was walking around, I was like, "No, I want it to be forever winter."
Gin Stephens: [laughs] You're just going to have to move to Alaska.
Melanie Avalon: I know. What is new with you?
Gin Stephens: Just spring and loving the weather. That's it. How about you?
Melanie Avalon: Just the supplement developments in the show and all the same things. Getting closer and closer to making our magnesium supplements. So, that will be very exciting. Listeners, stay tuned for that. You can get on the email list at melanieavalon.com/avalonx for all of the updates, and then you can get the serrapeptase, and then the magnesium, when it's available at avalonx.us. Yeah, I'm really enjoying this year.
Gin Stephens: Oh, good. I am, too. It's going to be a great year.
Melanie Avalon: Yes. Shall we jump into everything for today?
Gin Stephens: Yep, I am ready.
Melanie Avalon: All right. To start things off, we have three questions from Cristyn and the subject is: "Three questions." Cristyn says, "Hi, Gin and Melanie. I just had a couple of questions below and so we can go through these one by one." She says, "Sorry, if they've already been asked before. I'm only on episode 24." It would be really interesting to go back and listen to one of our first episodes.
Gin Stephens: Oh, that would be hilarious, probably.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness. I might.
Gin Stephens: It might be amazing. Maybe we were great. I will say, I did go back, when I was-- several times, I've gone back and looked at Delay, Don’t Deny once when I was fixing some things after the pirating. It inspired me to-- This is back in, I don't know, 2018. It inspired me to fix some typos and push it back out, and I was pleasantly surprised. I was like, "What if I read this and it makes me cringe?" [laughs] But it didn't. It didn't make me cringe. So, that was good. Maybe we would be like, "Wow, listen to us. We did a great job [laughs] or maybe we would cringe." I don't know.
Melanie Avalon: It might just today.
Gin Stephens: Well, I do remember the first time someone asked us about CBD, then we're like, "It's probably not even legal, we don't know, don't take it."
Melanie Avalon: I know. Now, I'm like, all Feals all the time.
Gin Stephens: Yeah. Well, that's how fast things have changed.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, yeah. And Feals is sponsoring today's episode.
Gin Stephens: Awesome. But do you remember that though? Somebody asked about CBD, we're like, "No, not legal, probably." Anyway.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. That's so funny. Yeah, things have really--
Gin Stephens: Now, there's a CBD place on every corner.
Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm. Yeah. That is so, so funny. Yep. Okay, so, Cristyn's first question. I really like the way that Cristyn spells her name, too. It is C-R-I-S-T-Y-N, Cristyn. Number one, she says, "How do you know it's working?" So, intermittent fasting. She says, "You have more energy, maybe the weird taste in your mouth, are there any other signs? I don't have a weird taste in my mouth and I drink coffee during fasting. I don't know if the energy is from the coffee or not."
Gin Stephens: All right, so, that is a loaded question, [giggles] because first of all, we would have to define the word 'working.' I could think of 10 ways to define working. Losing weight is one way. A lot of people come to intermittent fasting for the weight loss. If you're losing weight, then you know, something's working. I would encourage everyone if they want to know, how do you know if you're losing weight, that might sound silly, but we're used to weight loss diets, where they tell you, "You're going to lose 10 pounds in a week or something." Intermittent Fasting is not like that. You really need to have multiple strategies for measuring your progress to know if you're losing weight. Because of body recomposition, you can lose fat and build muscle, especially if you're someone who works out. So, It might not look like it's "working on the scale, but you're literally shrinking in size." If you have Fast. Feast. Repeat., read the "Scale-Schmale" chapter, because I talk about all the ways to measure your progress. If something is changing, then you're losing fat. That's the goal. You want to lose fat, maintain your muscle mass, the scale is one way.
Measurements, progress photos, honesty pants, so, if any one of those things is showing progress, then you know, it's working for fat loss. But there's also a lot of other things that it's working on. Autophagy, for example. That's not really something we don't have an autophagy meter, where we can tell that that's going on. You just have to trust the process of fasting doing good things in your body. You may not even know until something that's been pesky goes away, like, we were just talking about allergies. I know, fasting is working in my body, because I haven't had to take allergy medicine since 2016. Prior to that, I was at the point during peak allergy season, where I was taking something that I took every day, 365 days of the year, but I had to also stack Benadryl on top of that, when it got really bad and I felt so bad. I felt so terrible. My nose was running constantly, it was miserable. So, that's a sign that it's working.
I talked to over 200 episodes of Intermittent Fasting Stories now and everyone has their own list of non-scale victories, things that have changed that show that intermittent fasting is working for them and their bodies. We also have health victories. Someone might notice that their A1c has gone down over the last time it was measured or perhaps skintags have fallen off. That would be a sign that you're correcting insulin resistance. Maybe your waist circumference is getting smaller, because we know that your waist to hip ratio is a very important sign of health. Maybe plantar fasciitis has improved. I can't even list all the things that people mention as positive benefits that they experience. So, you know it's working when you're seeing anything positive that has changed from before.
Now as far as energy during the fast from coffee, I assume you probably also used caffeine prior to fasting. I wouldn't think that it would be super, like, the coffee would be different now versus when it was before. The energy that I have during the fast is the ketosis energy. As far as the taste in your mouth that you've mentioned, not everybody gets the same ketosis taste. So, you can't judge whether or not you're going into ketosis based on what you taste in your mouth, necessarily. If you do have it, you know it. But if you don't, that doesn't mean that you're not experiencing it.
Melanie Avalon: A good resource for you might be something like InsideTracker. I actually, this week, although when this airs, it'll be over, but I'm doing a giveaway for them on my Instagram. Definitely follow me on Instagram. I'm going to do another giveaway in a few months. So, stay tuned for that. But that is something that's really, really helpful, because bloodwork is another way you could gauge changes and improvements in your health. I honestly mean this, until I got InsideTracker, I couldn't really see trends, and I couldn't really see changes over time, and my blood work, I guess, I could have if I had downloaded all my bloodwork and made my own Excel sheet, which is actually-- Oh, my goodness, I forgot that used to do this. That's what I used to do. Oh, my goodness. I used to make an Excel document, and I would put all my bloodwork, and I would try to see trends over time, and try to see what was happening, and it was really overwhelming. But with InsideTracker, it tests a lot of key markers that are related to health, and longevity, and metabolic fitness in particular. Then you can see your trends over time and it'll tell you how you're trending and will make recommendations. So, that would actually be a really, really valuable resource.
What's really amazing about it is, you get the tests directly from them. But you can also upload your own lab work. If you're seeing a doctor and you have access to your blood results, which you do, because you legally have to have access. You can upload all of your own blood work and it'll integrate it into its graphs and charts, and show you what's happening. That would be a good way to actually see if you're improving in your blood work over time. The only other thing, everything Gin said, I echo and I was also going to comment that with the coffee. If you're drinking the coffee before, then you should be able to see either no change or change unless you've started drinking coffee at the same time to do the fasting in which case that would make sense that you wouldn't know what was what, which could be a possibility. That's actually a good question. Do you find with your experience with all of the members and such that when people start intermittent fasting that they up their coffee intake to make it easier?
Gin Stephens: I don't know. Probably, if I'm told to take that would be interesting. I certainly don't drink more coffee now. I just drink my coffee differently. I used to drink lattes all morning. Now, I just drink black coffee. So, it's just different. Maybe it's more because it's not all milky. [giggles] the coffee, there's actually more coffee, but I also would often have a diet soda. I don't think my caffeine consumption has gone up because back in the day, I drank Diet Mountain Dew all the time for a while and that I think might even have more caffeine than coffee. I don't know. It's pretty caffeinated.
Melanie Avalon: I wonder if because I'm thinking about what my personal trend was. I think at the beginning, I was doing a lot of those green tea, that iced green tea from Starbucks. Because when I started, I was not as intense as I am now about all the organic and all of that stuff. I definitely upped my intake of caffeinated green tea. But then as I got used to fasting, I needed it less. Now, I'm so minimal. I have literally a spoonful of liquid coffee in the morning or a sip and I'm good.
Gin Stephens: Oh, here's a tip about Starbucks, everybody. Be careful about some of their beverages, because a lot of the stuff is they add stuff, it's flavored. A lot of their tea products, I would not recommend for the clean fast now. I know that that was a long time ago, but also green tea makes me queasy. Does it not do that to you on an empty stomach?
Melanie Avalon: No. That's interesting.
Gin Stephens: Plain green tea, regular green tea is absolutely fine for that clean fast, but there's a subset of people, tea, green tea, especially, it makes us queasy on an empty stomach.
Melanie Avalon: I wonder if it's the tannins or the--
Gin Stephens: Something. That's I think so. I've read something about it. I can't remember exactly, but I would probably guess what the other question about. Do people drink more coffee? I would guess some people do, but then there's the people who are like, "I'm never going to drink black coffee. So, I'm just going to quit drinking coffee entirely." There's a subset of those as well. They might cancel each other out. I don't know.
Melanie Avalon: I think I'm going to write this down. I'm going to do a poll about this in my Facebook group. Then, I can report back.
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Melanie Avalon: All right. So, that is her first question. Her second question. She says, "What would you say to the haters about the negative effects of skipping breakfast?"
Gin Stephens: Well, that's a great question and I actually thought about how I was going to answer this. I actually don't get into conversations with haters about skipping breakfast anymore. That was why back in the day, I left all the Facebook groups except for mine. Sometimes, some of the moderators, because they stayed in a lot of different groups, and they'd come in, and they'd be like, "I'm having an argument with someone in another group about something." I'd be like, "Why? Why are you doing that? Stop doing that?" Because we believe what we believe and I don't have to convince anybody else the opposite. I don't need to convince a hater that they should skip breakfast. They can skip breakfast or not skip breakfast. I am 100% convinced that there are positive benefits from skipping breakfast and the research is backing that up. If you wanted to just defuse the situation, maybe it's your mom that's giving you pushback or a friend that you can't really avoid this friend, because they're your friend. I would say something along the lines of-- You know who created the phrase "breakfast is the most important meal of the day." Kellogg's. They funded that research, they found that Kellogg's breakfast was the best. Are you surprised? And deflected. Because that's really true. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: I know, you know this. But the history of Kellogg's, like, why that cereal was formed is crazy.
Gin Stephens: He was a little bit of a nut.
Melanie Avalon: He thought it could combat, basically, over sexual drives in men.
Gin Stephens: Cereal reducing your drives. [laughs] That sounds great.
Melanie Avalon: That's why he made it. [laughs]
Gin Stephens: To make you slow and dull.
Melanie Avalon: In the morning to quell the-- Yeah, the sexual appetite. What does that tell you about what it's doing to your health if that was--? That's not what they promote it for now, but a little concerning.
Gin Stephens: I don't waste my time going around, getting into arguments with people about fasting. I can remember one time I was on a cruise, Chad and I were there, and we were at the Martini Bar, and we were having drinks before dinner, and we were talking to the bartender, and I said something about intermittent fasting, and he started bashing it, and I was just like, "Okay, well, thank you. It's worked for me and a lot of people." and I didn't feel I needed to argue with him. I just stopped talking about it for real. But I will say that was a long time ago. More recently, for the past couple years really, anyone I've mentioned it to has more of a positive perception about intermittent fasting, because it's really all over the place. I find that the people who say negative things about it are few and far between. The main negative comments I hear are from people who said, "Oh, I tried that and it didn't work for me." I always dig in because you know me, and I'll say, "So, let's think about why. Let's see if we can figure out what was going on. What were you drinking during the fast?" They're always like, "Well, I was you know--." They were not fast and clean, basically. We talked about that and hopefully, they'll give it a try with the clean fast and see the difference. I would say, 90 something percent of the time the person was not fast and clean, or they didn't give it long enough, or both.
Melanie Avalon: All very good points. I will refer you to two additional resources, because I have done a deep dive into this. In my book, What When Wine, if you get that, I actually have a section on this. I have a question, "isn't breakfast the most important meal of the day?" I'm just looking through right now what I had written there. This speaks to what Gin was saying about the whole concept of breakfast being the most important meal of the day being spearheaded by the breakfast cereal industry. A 2013 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, they did a meta-analysis of pro breakfast studies. They concluded that the majority of those studies featured biased interpretations, misleading language, improper citations, and inappropriate use of "causal terminology." Basically, the majority of studies that find that breakfast is the most important meal are misleading. They're misinterpreting the data. The meaning when they say "inappropriate use of causal terminology," that means that what they're doing is they're drawing conclusions that eating or not eating breakfast causes whatever effect when that's not what the data shows. The data might show that it's correlational or is probably more nuanced, then this causes this. Then I also talked about a lot of really specific studies that show the opposite. Some examples are, like, a 2011 study found that children who skipped breakfast feel like they could eat more at lunch. But ultimately, they consumed the same amount, and they end up consuming fewer calories, and total for the day.
Gin Stephens: I had an interesting conversation with Dr. Mark Mattson, when I interviewed him for Intermittent Fasting Stories. He was talking about the study that they did with kids. How they say kids need to eat a good breakfast, so that they can learn better. I was like, "Well, there must be some great data about that." He was talking about the study that they did. I'm going to try to remember, because it's been a while since we recorded it. Do you know how long that they tested those kids to see the effects of breakfast? They took one group of kids, kids who normally ate breakfast. I think this is important. One group of kids, who normally ate breakfast and they divided them randomly into two groups. They fed half of them breakfast and the other half didn't get breakfast. Then they did some kind of test later in the morning to see how mentally sharp they were.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, okay.
Gin Stephens: So, guess how long they continued the study.
Melanie Avalon: Like a day.
Gin Stephens: It was one day and it was kids, who normally ate breakfast. They were clearly not metabolically flexible kids, they're used to breakfast. Imagine if they had looked at kids, who normally didn't want breakfast. That would be totally-- There are kids who don't like to eat in the morning. We forced them, because we've been told we had to. I always forced my-- here you have to eat your breakfast.
Melanie Avalon: I never woke up hungry, but I really liked the experience of eating. I would do it completely just, because it was fun.
Gin Stephens: I just think we should teach our kids to intuitively eat or not eat. I would never say, "All right, children were fasting." No, I wouldn't do that either. But if your kids are like, "I'm not hungry, I don't want to eat." I would let them take the lead.
Melanie Avalon: Actually, I interviewed Chris Masterjohn this week and one of the questions I asked him-- This is something that haunts me and I'm going on a tangent rabbit hole here, but it's all going to relate a little bit. I always wonder why his focus a lot is about nutrients and vitamins, and how do you get the most nutrient rich diet? He was talking about the work of Weston Price and how he found that basically, indigenous cultures and hunter-gatherers in different societies, all consumed one out of four categories of foods. Do you know what these are? It was like, they consume a lot. One of these categories. Dairy was one category, a high-fat dairy. Eggs and something else, egg yolks and something else, shellfish and fish, and then organ meats. I've always been really fascinated, because we often talk about liver being so nutrient rich. What I don't understand is why-- Do you like liver, Gin?
Gin Stephens: No, [laughs] I don't. I don't like any of the organ meats at all. We went somewhere to eat recently, and they have pâté, and I was like, "I'll just have a little of the pâté." It was a sausage and cheese, and doing sausage like a New Orleans kind of a restaurant. I was like, "No, I just don't like it."
Melanie Avalon: Interestingly, growing up, I ate liver. My grandmother was German and we would eat the liver-- the liverwurst, which is really salty and it doesn't taste-- It tastes really good. Pure liver, I don't like and I feel that's the response that I get when I ask people this question. What's really interesting is, even when I was severely anemic, like, very anemic, I remember thinking, okay, because I hadn't tried straight up liver, plain, like buy some at Whole Foods and cook it. I was like, "I'm going to like this, because there's no reason I shouldn't." I'm anemic right now, it should taste really good, and I tasted, so disgusting. [laughs] I was asking Chris, "Why is this a theme?" We were talking back and forth and we were just hypothesizing. Was it cultural, was it maybe the potential for excess of nutrients in liver? This is how this all comes full circle. I mentioned how in your book, Clean(ish), which I finished, by the way, which is awesome, by the way, everybody.
Gin Stephens: Did you like it?
Melanie Avalon: Yes. Everybody get Clean(ish).
Gin Stephens: Because we've never talked about it.
Melanie Avalon: I know.
Gin Stephens: I was like, "I don't know if Melanie's even read it."
Melanie Avalon: I have. I just finished it. Everybody get Clean(ish). It's super amazing.
Gin Stephens: Well, I'm glad you thought so.
Melanie Avalon: Yes, it's incredible. You did a really good job of covering such a breadth of information and I think providing just the right amount of detail and information, so that people could walk away feeling really empowered about all those different topics without getting overwhelmed with any one thing.
Gin Stephens: That was my goal.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, really?
Gin Stephens: Yes. The whole word "empowering" is what I wanted it to be. Because we've been joking in the Delay, Don't Deny community, because we've been doing a Clean(ish) book study. Some people really are freaking out. After the beginning, they're like, "Oh, no." I'm like, "Well, look, knowledge is power. Just because you didn't know ignorance is bliss." That's totally right. Ignorance is bliss, but knowledge is power, but it's good to know, and don't be freaked out. Because every change you make is a step in the right direction. It's better to know than not know.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I agree 100%. So, I think he did a really good job of that. I actually mentioned it when I'm talking to Chris, because he was saying, he wonders if we were to expose kids to organ meats, would they naturally like it, would they be learning in real time? Is it still cultural, but they're learning in real time to like it? Because I'm actually going to send them the study, because you talked about that study in your book.
Gin Stephens: It was fascinating.
Melanie Avalon: I was so excited. He hadn't heard of it. I'm actually going to send it to him today.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, it's an old, old study from like the 30s or something and it was a pediatrician, and they would never be allowed to do that study today, but they let the kids, these kids craft their own meals out of all these random things. And the kids were like little mini nutritionists.
Melanie Avalon: It was like weird foods. I don't remember exactly the list.
Gin Stephens: Stuff, we don't even know what it is.
Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm. Do you remember if liver was in there or any organ? I'd have to look again.
Gin Stephens: I'd have to look, too.
Melanie Avalon: But it was definitely that type of food that was quite the tangent.
Gin Stephens: I really do think a lot of its learned. It's what we expose the kids to.
Melanie Avalon: That's what I think, too. But that's why I was really fascinated with my experience with the liver recently. I was like, "Can my body just not unlearn this conditioning?"
Gin Stephens: You're not hungry, like, starvation level hungry. I think that if that happened, you would have a whole different thought to the liver. You're well nourished. I think that when we're well nourished, we can be picky in what we like and what we're used to. But if we were starving to death, that cockroach in the corner might look delicious.
Melanie Avalon: To that point, I'm really excited to interview Bill Schindler, who wrote a book called I think it's called Eat Like a Human and he has a TV show. He's been on a lot of TV shows, but he talks a lot about insect protein in his book and I'm excited to talk to him about the cultural stigma against that. Because apparently, if we embraced insect protein as a thing, it's very impressive. The nutrients, the effect on the environment, the sustainability, it's like a win. But the cultural vibe is hard to get onboard. But in any case, back to the breakfast. In that study about the kids, who felt they could eat more at lunch, but ultimately, they consumed around the same amount. Some other similar studies or a 2014 study of 283 adults trying to lose weight in a free-living situation found no difference between eating or skipping breakfast. A two-week 2013 crossover study, men consumed either a 100-calorie or a 700-calorie breakfast. While the men snacked more following the low-calorie breakfast, lunch intake was similar for both and ultimately, they consumed fewer calories when they eat a low calorie rather than a high-calorie breakfast and the high-calorie breakfast also reduced fat oxidation throughout the day.
There's a lot more and I will also refer you to a blog post I did recently called, "early versus late night eating contradictions, confusions, and clarity." I talk a lot about early versus late night eating, but I do talk about breakfast in that study as well, and I talk about some more recent studies in there. Something else important to consider is the healthy user bias and I think that is probably a huge, huge factor. Basically, what that means is the type of people, who eat breakfast are often the type of people following the "healthy trends," because breakfast has been posited as being the healthy avenue for health for so long. It's hard to know if its effects are from the breakfast or if it's from the overall lifestyle of the people following that breakfast. That also applies to things like veganism. My guess, even you could apply it to a Whole Foods diet. But it really applies to anything where there's a messaging surrounding the habit as being healthy. So, it's hard to separate that from the overall lifestyle of the individual. But in any case, I do think that the tides are changing a little bit and that intermittent fasting is becoming more and more popular, and more and more people are skipping breakfast, but I definitely think a lot of people--
I know, Gin you said, you don't get it quite as much anymore, but I think that is still-- When people get nervous or ask questions about intermittent fasting, it often is that question. Oh, in the show notes, by the way, because I've mentioned links quite a bit. They will be at ifpodcast.com/episode258. Okay, Cristyn's last question. She says, "Right now, I do 16:8 roughly, but I tried going to one meal a day. When I did that, I would over eat. I tried 20:4 and 19:5. So, what is a good way to slowly transition from 16:8 to 19:5 or a longer fasting window? Should I just try adding one-hour each day or some people just not cut out for a shorter eating window?"
Gin Stephens: All right, so, there's a lot to unpack in that question as well. Including the idea that you are overeating in your four or five-hour window, there're two ways you might think that you're overeating. One of them is because you just feel like, "Gosh, I ate a lot of food. That must be too much." I must have ever eaten, because it seems like you ate a lot. But the other way would be if you actually felt physically uncomfortable in which case, yes, that is over eating. If you desire to have a four or five-hour eating window, but you're physically eating to the point that you feel uncomfortable, then you're going to have to come up with a strategy to not do that. Some people do better when they start with a snack to open their window, and then they wait a little while, and then they have their main meal. That'll calm down the hunger, so that they're not physically overdoing it and then feeling bad. Because the goal is, you don't want to feel overstuffed like you overate. If you don't feel overstuffed like you overate, you probably didn't over eat. It's just that you feel it. When you do, you know you did.
Other people are the opposite. They might do best opening their window with a meal, and then waiting a little while, and seeing if they need a little more later. So, really, the key to make a shorter window work for you is to be more mindful of the way that you're spacing out your eating and stopping before you get to that overstuffed feeling. One strategy you might want to use is serving yourself less food than you think you're going to want and say, "Okay, I'm going to eat this now, and if I'm still hungry in 30 minutes, I can have some more." Then 30 minutes check in, maybe your cues have kicked in, you're like, "Yeah, I don't really need any more or maybe you are still hungry, and then you can eat." Just really think about, "Are you overeating and what can you do to change up the order of how you're eating in your window, so that you don't feel the need to overdo it?" Some people find that if they shift their window earlier, they're less likely to overeat. Some people, if they wait till late, they just start shoveling the food in. That doesn't work well for them. So, shifting earlier works.
I'm the other way. I feel better if I wait till later. I have better appetite correction when I open my window really, if I open after 5 o'clock, then I really hardly can overeat if I eat after five. Now, I could ever eat, I hear better signals. I hear you've had enough signal better when I wait till later to open my window. Also, quality of food makes a huge difference when it comes to satiety cues. So, think about what you're overeating. I am much more likely to overeat ultra-processed foods, because my body doesn't get the 'I've had enough' signal. Some people really are not cut out for a shorter window, because you like to eat a little bit at the time. Maybe you are a restrained eater, and you like to eat a little bit, and so, you'd like to have a little bit. Then a little while later, you eat something else. You're more of grazing through that eight-hour window and you never want to have a big meal in your stomach, because you don't feel well when you do. Maybe having a big meal makes you feel like you overate, in which case a longer window would be right for you. There's no easy answer here. I know what works for me, but that doesn't mean it will work for you the same way that it works for me. You've got to really experiment and know what feels good to you. You certainly can try adding an hour a day, but instead of really the time, I would think it's structuring the way you're eating throughout your window. That will help.
Melanie Avalon: I love that. That would be another good poll to take.
Gin Stephens: Yeah. It really also differs from person to person. There are people who do it all sorts of ways.
Melanie Avalon: Listeners know this that I am definitely the type that you talked about that. I like to have a lot at once. I do not do well with what you called the restrained eating approach. It's so interesting that we can have an experience of the world and somebody could have a completely different experience that we just can't comprehend, because I just can't comprehend having a little bit and that working better for me, but there are so many people that that works better for.
Gin Stephens: Exactly, yep. I am not one of them either.
Melanie Avalon: Me, neither. But yes, the slow transition would definitely be something to try. But yeah, Gin you answered that very well.
Gin Stephens: All right. Are we ready for the next question?
Melanie Avalon: Yes. Now, we have a question from Jorge. The subject is: "Doctors' arguments/can't stop carbs." Jorge says, "I am a 43-year-old guy living in New York City. Thanks a lot for the podcast. It took me a couple of months to go through all the episodes and now that I am up to date. It seems an eternity for me having to wait for a week or more to listen to you guys, again." Oh. He says, "I've been IF since November of last year. Six days 16:8, one day one meal a day. My primary goal is not weight loss, but maintenance and energy. I do very high intensity training multiple times a week. I am feeling better than ever and fully convinced this IF lifestyle has helped me immensely. It's been a true game changer for me. I have two questions. What would you tell your nutritionist or doctor to convince him or her into IF? I will have a full and complete body checkup coming up in August much more detailed and in depth than a common yearly physical? I am sure the nutritionist will raise her eyebrows when I tell her I am into IF. I know all the huge benefits IF brings. If you were in my shoes, what would you explain and argue at that level as I think she would surely try to refute it? I would like to make her see IF is the best dietary lifestyle out there."
Gin Stephens: I wouldn't even argue with a doctor or nutritionist at this point. I wouldn't. I wouldn't argue. I would just say, "Gosh, I have some resources I'd like to share with you. I'm sorry that you haven't seen them." Yeah, try to be nice about it. Right now, we're at a great point. I'm glad that we're answering this now in 2022 instead of 2018, because we have way more resources to hand them. I would hand a doctor or a nutritionist, Dr. Mark Mattson's new book that just came out February called The Intermittent Fasting Revolution. It is the most up to date science compilation of intermittent fasting out there. It reads like a medical journal. Chad, who has never read Fast. Feast. Repeat. and has no desire to, when this came, I got an early copy of it. He's like, "Ooh, I'd like to read that." Because he likes to read medical journals. That's what he does. He's published in a lot of them for his organic chemistry work.
A doctor or nutritionist that is used to reading medical journals needs to read The Intermittent Fasting Revolution by Dr. Mark Mattson. It has all the science in there, all referenced. You don't need to argue about it and you don't even need to try to convince them. You just say, "Oh, here's everything written by one of the most renowned experts in the entire world, Dr. Mark Mattson from Johns Hopkins." He also wrote something that was in the New England Journal of Medicine that you might like to look back at and then boom, you're done. You don't have to explain it, you don't have to apologize, you don't have to convince them. That is not your job.
Melanie Avalon: I have a question. I have to ask, because I have to know if I've been pronouncing this word wrong my whole life. Is it renowned or renowned?
Gin Stephens: I say renowned. What did I say before?
Melanie Avalon: Renowned?
Gin Stephens: Well, I might have said it wrong. I don't know. Maybe, it's a word that you can say more than one way. There are a lot of words like that depending on the context,
Melanie Avalon: Wasn't it you and I talking last time about words? Because you're talking about how Chad thought it was taking things for granite.
Gin Stephens: I think there's a lot of words that when they flow together in certain ways, you pronounce them one way or I could have said it wrong. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: I just like to check, because I always wonder about my stuff.
Gin Stephens: And also, there are words that people pronounce differently regionally, which is so funny to talk about. My friend, Sheri is married to someone, who is Alabama born and raised. They say things super different down there or at least, he does. [laughs] She's always telling me something that he said. Anyway, it's regional. So, who knows? If I said it wrong, I don't know. I'm not even sure what I said.
Melanie Avalon: As to everything else you said, I think that is a great suggestion. What I have done a lot is I have literally printed out studies. Not just for intermittent fasting, this has happened for other things, where I've wanted to communicate something to the doctor, or discuss testing something, or whatever it may be. I am that patient that prints out medical journal studies, and just has them, and it's like, "Here, something to consider." So, for the nutritionist, I don't know the situation, like, I don't know if this is a thing where you go to your doctor and the setup is that it's including a nutritionist visit. I don't know what the setup is, but I would actually encourage people-- If you're paying to see the doctor and paying separately to see the nutritionist, and if you plan to continue working with the nutritionist, because some people-- This has been my experience. It's like, the nutritionist is a part of it, but it's not that I think I know better than them, but it's not that I actually intend to work with them on an ongoing basis. They're just part of the package or whatever, compared to wanting to work with them on an ongoing basis. If it's somebody you want to work with on an ongoing basis and work on your nutrition plan, I would encourage you to find somebody in line with your goals regarding fasting. If it is such a big part of your lifestyle and you're working with a nutritionist, I just think it is more beneficial to everybody if you find somebody, who is supportive and there are nutritionists who are supportive.
Gin Stephens: 100%, yep. I've interviewed a few dietitians for Intermittent Fasting Stories that they definitely recommend intermittent fasting to their patients and clients. There are doctors, who are telling people to do intermittent fasting. Did I tell you this already, Melanie? Someone in my community shared a photo from her doctor's office, that the doctor had a photo of Fast. Feast. Repeat. cover on the cabinet, and points to it and tells people, [laughs] I'm like, "Oh, my lord." For every doctor that's out there saying-- I'm definitely not one to one, I don't know. But for every doctor who's out there saying intermittent fasting, that's wacky. Imagine another doctor out there who's prescribing it to their patients. I wonder what the ratio is. I start and I think it's probably flipping, few are thinking It's wacky, more thinking it's amazing. The seesaw is going the opposite direction, the good direction.
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Melanie Avalon: And then his second question, he says, "I understand that when you are fat adapted, you start losing the carb craving feeling. But to me, it happens that if for some reason during my feeding window, I eat or snack carbs, I have this urge to keep eating them and I just can't stop. I would like to know if this is common, if there's a reason, and if any of your listeners have had this feeling as well. Thanks again so much for all the great advice and help throughout this IF journey. Keep it up, please."
Gin Stephens: All right, so, I do not agree with the idea that when you're fat adapted, you will no longer crave carbs in your eating window. I'm somebody, who eats carbs every day in my eating window. I don't feel that I shouldn't want to have them. They made me feel great. But when you say that you're eating or snacking on carbs, and you have the urge to keep eating them, and you can't stop, so many times people think they attribute this to carbs and really it's ultra-processed foods. I would be interested to know what exactly are the things you're eating or snacking on. For example, cherry tomatoes, those are carbs, mostly carbs. I feel I can only eat so many cherry tomatoes. Then I'm like, "All right, I've had enough of those." But give me a bag of Cheetos and I have no off switch for real. My brain would never say to stop eating those. It's the ultra-processed foods that are legitimately, genuinely designed in the lab to keep us eating them. The flavor profile, the fat and carb ratio, because those Cheetos that I just mentioned are not just high carb, they're also high fat. If I said, "What kind of food is this?" Probably, most people would say, "Oh, that's a carb." Well, it's high carb and high fat. That's not even right. I would like you to think about when you're saying you're overeating carbs and can't stop, I would bet you're talking about ultra-processed foods, and I bet they're high carb and high fat, and instead just eat real food.
Melanie Avalon: That's what I was going to say exactly that the type of carbs is probably key. Robb Wolf often talks about this clip from some TV show. It was some TV show, like, one of those eating TV shows, where a guy-- I think he would always go and try to eat massive amounts of food. There's some episode, where he's having to eat, I don't know how many pounds of ice cream. He's getting sick, and can't eat anymore, and then he asks for French fries. Then when he eats the French fries, he's able to eat more ice cream. It's probably because switching back and forth the variability of it hacks our brain to keep wanting more. It's playing with us, these foods. Again, that was an example of switching from sweet to salty, but I think a similar thing can happen if you're eating not having the carbs and then switching to the processed carbs. It can definitely have that effect. It also can be depending on-- Let's say it is Whole Foods carbs, it also could be that some people just do better on a lower carb diet. Even with the Whole Foods carbs that it creates blood sugar regulation issues and ups and downs when they do eat carbs. I don't want to make blanket statements, but on the flipside of that, I think there are a lot of people who get stuck in the low carb world and think that's going to be the case if they integrate carbs back in, and it's not necessarily the case. So, yes, that was all over the place. Yeah, I would try switching to Whole Food carbs if you haven't already. Yeah, those are my thoughts.
Gin Stephens: I just really also think a lot of people are confused by what actually carbs are. Really honestly, like pizza, and burgers, and fries. They're like, "Yeah, carbs like that." [laughs] Those foods have carbs, but they're also high fat, and also, a lot of them have a lot of protein too. It's just the fact that they're ultra-processed. It's like in the common speak, ultra-processed foods are just considered carbs and that's what's evil about them is the carbness. But ultra-processed fats are also terrible. Ultra-processed proteins are terrible. Ultra-processed foods are not good for our bodies. Now, because I'm cleanish, I still include them, but they're not the main part of what I'm eating. So, it makes such a difference.
Melanie Avalon: Exactly.
Gin Stephens: All right. Are we ready to go on? We have another one from 2018. You were back in the archives. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: I was.
Gin Stephens: This one is from Nitu and the subject is: "Periods." Nitu asks, "Can I do intermittent fasting when I have periods?"
Melanie Avalon: Okay. Short and simple question. First of all, for any question that says, can I do, you can do whatever you want. I know that's a silly answer, but I think it's an important concept to consider, because it's not we're making the rules. Gin and I are not making the rules, nobody's making the rules. You can do whatever you want to do just in general with everything and that's why I think it's so important to look at different opinions, and different perspectives, and seek truth, and find what works for you. So, I don't have the answer, the definitive answer for anything. I can just give you my opinion and my thoughts. All that said, we've talked about this a bit on the podcast before and there is a lot of concern out there, people thinking that women cannot do intermittent fasting on their periods that it's too stressful for their bodies. But there are so many women doing intermittent fasting, doing it while they have their periods, and experiencing amazing health benefits, reversing health conditions.
It can become too stressful for women, intermittent fasting, independent of cycling and periods. If a female is doing intermittent fasting in a way that is too restrictive, it can definitely be too much of a stressor on the body. It may affect their menstrual cycle and be a problem there. I actually just had Cynthia Thurlow back on the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. So, I will put a link to that episode and also, her new book just came out Intermittent Fasting Transformation, and it's really, really wonderful. She specifically focuses on intermittent fasting for females and she dives deep, deep, deep into hormones and enstrual cycles, it's a very eye-opening read.
Gin Stephens: Can I tell you something funny?
Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm.
Gin Stephens: My interview with her came out on Thursday and yours came out on Friday. Did you know that I interviewed her as well recently?
Melanie Avalon: Did I know that? I might have.
Gin Stephens: Well, anyway, it's just so funny. Mine, that's just where mine came up in the lineup. I didn't put her to the front of the line just like I interviewed her a while back. Well, I interviewed her. It was a long time ago. Gosh, it was before Christmas, but whenever it was, I knew it would come out right before her book was coming out. The timing was just perfect. It happened naturally. I didn't move her around. It just happened to come out at the same time. Yeah, but it's just so funny, because it sounds like to me you purposefully put hers, where her book would be. But it just worked out that way for when I scheduled her. Yeah, but the fact that they came out one day after one another is funny to me. I thought I wanted to mention that.
Melanie Avalon: Actually, I did interview her quite a while ago, but I purposely aired it, because her book is coming out on the 15th, I believe. When does this episode air?
Gin Stephens: On the 28th. So, her book already be out by the time this comes out.
Melanie Avalon: I wish this was a little bit earlier, because I'm actually doing an IG live with her on the 18th.
Gin Stephens: Sorry, y'all, missed that everybody.
Melanie Avalon: What was interesting is, so, I was saying to seek different perspectives and opinions, and Cynthia's belief about the matter-based on her research as she thinks that there should be no fasting longer than 12 to 13 hours the week prior to menstruation. It's really about finding what works for you and you're going to get a lot of different perspectives, but something I regardless of the approach you take and your personal beliefs, the things I do believe I already said, which is that I do think it's women can become too restrictive with fasting. It doesn't mean that fasting is necessarily, naturally restrictive or that fasting by itself is a problem with your periods, I don't think. But I think women can get too restrictive in general with the fasting and then it might be a problem. Gin, what are your thoughts?
Gin Stephens: Yeah, I never stopped fasting around my cycle ever. I just kept going. I got great at listening to my body. There was always a day, it was funny. I had an app, because I'm on the other side of menopause now. But I had an app, been tracking my cycle from 2012 the whole way through. I could go back and look at it right this minute unless the app died, which apps do. [giggles] You'll go back look at an old app and it isn't supported anymore. But this app, I used from 2012 till all the way through menopause. As I was going through perimenopause, my cycle got less regular, which is very normal during that period of time. But I would find that I'd be starving one day, like, so hungry and I'd be like, "What's wrong with me? Why am I so hungry?" Then the next day, boom. My period would start with clockwork. Finally, I got to the point where I be like, "I am so hungry today and I bet I'm getting ready to start tomorrow." Because it was no longer regular by that point, like I said, because of perimenopause. Boom, there it was. I could just tell by my appetite. I think we have signals in our bodies for a reason. So, listen to your body. I think the question, the concern would be fertility. if you're not trying to get pregnant not in your childbearing years, then the point is moot more so. Because you still don't want to disrupt your hormones, but it's not as big of a deal.
Melanie Avalon: I just want to comment on that.
Gin Stephens: I might be wording it in a clunky way. The question comes up, because women who want to get pregnant worry that they're going to disrupt their cycles and not be fertile. When you get to a certain age, that's no longer a factor. I guess that's all I'm trying to say. But here's the thing about that. I had Dr. Cecily Ganheart on the Intermittent Fasting Stories Podcast and she's an OB-GYN. She actually has her patients with PCOS incorporate intermittent fasting to improve their fertility. The question, "should we not do intermittent fasting, should we-- what should we do? It really just depends on you. If you're someone with PCOS, intermittent fasting can really be a benefit to you and help you get your insulin levels down. A lot of women become pregnant after incorporating intermittent fasting when they've had PCOS.
On the flipside, if you're someone, who hopes to get pregnant and you're doing intermittent fasting, but you're doing it in a restrictive way, it could negatively impact your hormones to the point that you have trouble conceiving. But of course, any restrictive diet would be the same. You don't want to do an overly restrictive diet, when you're trying to conceive, whether it's fasting or anything else. That's the time to really nourish your body. I think we get caught up in periods, because that's the part that's easy to see. But our hormones are doing different things all throughout the cycle at different phases. You just said, Melanie, Cynthia recommends the week before that was when you would scale back your fasting. That would not be when you're having the period. It would be the week before. There's just so much going on in your body. Intermittent fasting could be very beneficial, or it could be a problem, or it could be neither. It just really depends on your hormonal health.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, and the thing that Cynthia talks about is, she says, she really likes a lady's menstrual cycle, because you just mentioned this, it's something you can see. It is something that you can monitor as a sign of your stress levels. But the caveat I want to provide with that is that, a lot of people find when they first start intermittent fasting, it might change it a little bit in the beginning like get lighter, or skip a cycle, or change length between days. If you write it out that it does end up regulating, but that aside, it can still be a nice indicator of what might be going on and you reverted it to re-message it.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, I knew it was coming out wrong. That's not what I was meaning to say. I was like, "I got that."
Melanie Avalon: Because what we don't want to say and this is what you clarified. We're not saying that, because you don't want to be pregnant that you shouldn't pursue fertility promoting lifestyles.
Gin Stephens: I was more thinking about it through the lens of menopause. When you're no longer in your fertile years, it's a different-- But still, hormonal health is important no matter what stage you're in. You want to have your balanced hormones. But I think what I was trying to say was that it's more a central during your fertility years when you're actively trying to conceive, you need to pay more attention to it than ever.
Melanie Avalon: That is something else in Cynthia's book. She's much more lenient with fasting. You know what? I need to double check. I'm not sure. I'd have to double check. But I don't know if she still has that recommendation for menopausal women.
Gin Stephens: I don't think she does. After menopause, you don't have to fast differently. I think I remember that.
Melanie Avalon: If not that, it's definitely not as much of a concern.
Gin Stephens: But you do need to be more cautious if you're trying to conceive. You need to make sure that you're nourishing your body well and not over restricting either through intermittent fasting or any diet. We're not teaching that to women. That's what's so frustrating. We're not teaching women not to over restrict with any diet. We're teaching them to restrict and that's the wrong thing to do.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, exactly. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. So, a few things for listeners before we go. If you would like to submit your own questions for the show, you can directly email firstname.lastname@example.org or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. The show notes will be at ifpodcast.com/episode258. You can get all the stuff that we like at ifpodcast.com/stuffwelike and you can follow us on Instagram. I am @melanieavalon, Gin is @ginstephens, and I think that is all things.
Gin Stephens: All right. Well, I enjoyed it.
Melanie Avalon: Anything from you, Gin, before we go?
Gin Stephens: Nope.
Melanie Avalon: All right. Well, I really enjoyed this and I will see you next week.
Gin Stephens: All right. Bye-bye.
Melanie Avalon: Bye.
Thank you so much for listening to the Intermittent Fasting Podcast. Please remember, 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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