Welcome to Episode 280 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 Cynthia Thurlow, author of Intermittent Fasting Transformation: The 45-Day Program for Women to Lose Stubborn Weight, Improve Hormonal Health, and Slow Aging.
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Listener Q&A: Niki - Fibroids
Listener Q&A: Lucy - My story and getting started again
Listener Q&A: Niki - Protein & Autophagy
Listener Q&A: Dana - More Protein
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Listener Q&A: Angela - IF And Gargling Salt Water And/Or Mouthwash
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Listener Q&A: Barbara - Over 70 Women And IF
Our content does not constitute an attempt to practice medicine, and does not establish a doctor-patient relationship. Please consult a qualified health :care provider for medical advice and answers to personal health questions.
Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 280 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, biohacker and 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, Cynthia Thurlow, nurse practitioner and author of Intermittent Fasting Transformation: The 45-Day Program for Women to Lose Stubborn Weight, Improve Hormonal Health, and Slow Aging. For more on us, check out ifpodcast.com, melanieavalon.com, and cynthiathurlow.com. Please remember, the thoughts and opinions on this show do not constitute medical advice or treatment and no doctor-patient relationship is formed. So, pour yourself a mug of black coffee, a cup 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? When it comes to weight loss, we focus a lot on what and when we eat. It makes sense, because these foods affect our hormones and how our bodies store and burn fat. But do you know what is possibly one of the most influential factors in weight gain? It's not your food and it's not fasting. It's actually our skincare and makeup. As it turns out, Europe has banned over a thousand compounds found in conventional skincare and makeup in the US due to their toxicity. These include endocrine disrupters, which mess with your hormones, carcinogens linked to cancer, and obesogens, which literally can cause your body to store and gain weight. Basically, when we're using conventional skincare and makeup, we are giving these obesogenic compounds direct access to our bloodstream. And then in our bodies, studies have shown they do things like reduce our satiety hormones, increase our hunger hormones, make fat cells more likely to store fat, and more resistant to burning fat, and so much more. If you have stubborn fat, friends, your skincare and makeup maybe playing a role in that. Beyond weight gain and weight loss, these compounds have very detrimental effects on our health and they affect the health of our future generations. That's because ladies, when we have babies, a huge percent of those toxic compounds go through the placenta into the newborn. It is so, so shocking and the effects last for years.
Conventional lipstick, for example, often test high in lead and the half-life of lead is up to 30 years. That means, when you put on some conventional lipstick, 30 years later, maybe half of that lead has left your bones. On top of that, there is essentially no regulation of these products on the shelves. That's why it's up to us to choose brands that are changing this. The brand that is working the hardest to do this is Beautycounter. They were founded on a mission to change this. Every single ingredient is extensively tested to be safe for your skin, so, you can truly feel good about what you put on. And, friends, these products really, really work. They are incredible. They have counter time for anti-aging, counter match for normal skin, counter control for acne and oily prone, and counter start for sensitive. I use their Overnight Resurfacing Peel and vitamin C serum every single night of my life. And their makeup is amazing. Check on my Instagram to see what it looks like.
Tina Fey, even wore all Beautycounter makeup when she hosted the Golden Globes. So, yes, it is high-definition camera ready. They have so many other products, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner that I love, products for babies, and so much more. You can shop with us at beautycounter.com/melanieavalon or beautycounter.com/cynthiathurlow and use the coupon code, CLEANFORALL20 to get 20% off your first order. Also, make sure to get on my clean beauty email list. That's at melanieavalon.com/cleanbeauty. I give away a lot of free things on that list. So, definitely check it out. You can join me in my Facebook group, Clean Beauty and Safe Skincare with Melanie Avalon. People share their experiences, ask questions, give product reviews, and I do a giveaway every single week in that group as well.
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Melanie Avalon: Hi everybody and welcome. this is episode number 280 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with Cynthia Thurlow.
Cynthia Thurlow: Hey there.
Melanie Avalon: I'm just thinking 280, Cynthia, is there something that we should do fun for episode 300?
Cynthia Thurlow: Yes, I think we need to come up with a fun like giveaway or bonus or what do you think?
Melanie Avalon: These are really fun, Gin and I would usually do for milestone episodes, Ask Me Anythings, so then we can just like anything goes. And it's kind of like refreshing because it's not fasting related, just like life related. Those are fun.
Cynthia Thurlow: Happy to, although it's funny. I think I'm starting to get inklings of things that people want us to talk about because sometimes they'll send it to me and my team in the DMs and I'm like, "Please email the podcast. We can't keep track of all this stuff." Yeah, that would be a lot of fun.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, which is a way we could do that and a giveaway or something. Awesome. I have another question for you. This was appropriate timing. It was yesterday that you were talking to me, and you're on the way to buy pet food. And I had just interviewed Dr. Karen Becker, the author of The Forever Dog. I'm super curious. What do you feed your dogs?
Cynthia Thurlow: We feed what is considered to be grain-free, largely grain-free food. So Acana and Stella & Chewy's, and there's a couple other brands that are seemingly expensive that we give our dogs, but for me, it's the right decision. I have a dog that's 10 and one that's almost nine and they can walk minus the humidity in the summer they normally walk four or five miles a day. So, they're doing really, really well. Other than having yearly checkups at the vet, they rarely ever get sick. So that's worked really well for them that drives my husband crazy because with two dogs, two doodles that have to be groomed every month and have crazy expensive dog food, it ends up being a labor of love. Like I always say, "We love our dogs and this is what I feel is the best choice for them." If you look at them, they're super healthy and alert and smart and active, and they say they're a reflection of how we perceive their lives should be, and so they're joy in our lives. But how was your interview?
Melanie Avalon: It was absolutely amazing. I cannot recommend her book enough. Again, it's called The Forever Dog. She talks about everybody. When people I've had on my show, Jason Fung, Tim Spector, David Sinclair, Dom D'Agostino, literally, even if you don't have a dog, you will learn so much about human health and longevity, and health span and lifespan. It's just shocking, we think it's bad with processed foods for the human food. The pet food industry is, it's really shocking, like, what we're feeding our pets and how it's affecting their health.
Cynthia Thurlow: It's garbage.
Melanie Avalon: It's very eye opening. What's really interesting too, is she was saying that, for the book, she interviewed all these people, she would often ask them what they would feed their pets. And often it would be like this awkward silence. Where they would have a moment and think, "Oh, I'm feeding them," probably what it shouldn't be.
Cynthia Thurlow: Well, it's unfortunate because I got my first dog right out of college. And the vet at that time recommended a brand called Eukanuba, which I thought was the best dog food in the world, because I didn't know any better. And I had a Bichon Frisé, so I had a very small non-shedding dog, and she was just the sweetest, sweetest dog. And I came to find out the most conventionally made animal feed or animal food is really a byproduct of grains, and fillers, and a lot of foods that tend to be allergenic for pets. So, it was really very interesting. And obviously, I haven't had the opportunity to read her book or interview her. But I would imagine that the way that we feed our animals is in a large part comes from a place of ignorance. Like, I know, there's a really wonderful Facebook group that I'm a part of, where basically, pet owners can ask questions, and the vets in the group are wonderfully gracious with their time. Whenever nutrition comes up, they are very anti raw food. And I do occasionally do raw food for the dogs, but not often. They're anti raw food, they're anti grain, they're pro-grain anti, no grains, and keep citing literature about hypertrophic cardiomyopathy for dogs. And it's been very interesting, because I would imagine most veterinary specialists are like most medical trained professionals, and that we get little to no nutrition, like, truly get nutritional training, unless it's someone that's in the researching industry. And I would imagine, it's probably no different for vets, I would imagine by based on what I know.
Melanie Avalon: It definitely is. Actually that was a big part of what she talked about, and there's so many things that were just mind blowing. For example, I've been fascinated by this for a long time, and it's the fact that we have this idea often that it's not safe to feed our pets "human food" that will injure them or that they'll only be healthy if they eat pet food. And it's this fear based on, just not based on reality, but created by the pet food industry. Do dogs not eat real food?
Cynthia Thurlow: Well, it's funny. I have a labradoodle, and labs are known for being just prodigious food hounds. And he will eat just about anything. He'll eat sugar snap pea, he'll eat a cucumber, he'll eat a piece of meat, he would eat anything. My golden doodle is very discerning, will only eat protein. But it's really interesting to me, like when I buy them, when I would effectively call a treat, but it's literally dehydrated sweet potato or it's a fish skin that's been sourced from a healthy location. That's the kind of treats they get. It's not flour made biscuits. And things when people think of what like what a normal treat is like, but there's so much garbage, even going to the grocery store. If you buy your treats in the grocery store, how many of them have canola seed oils in them and flour. Our dogs, they're canines, they're carnivorous, they're really not meant to be ingesting flour or grains, in my estimation, based on my research, and so my very spoiled dogs get very expensive. Again, using the word treat, it's like a dehydrated sweet potato stick and it's literally just sweet potato and salt. It's mind blowing. And then isn't any wonder that these dogs are dealing with a large part of the animal population. They're overfed, they're under exercised, they're given these rancid seed oils, they're given inflammatory flour that should not be a part of their diet, and they're really meant to just eat meat.
My vet that I had back in Northern Virginia was great. He used to say, "Listen, I have no problems if you give him sweet potato, if you give him a little bit of green beans, stay away from the fruit. Cooper likes blueberries every once in a while, I give him some blueberries, but he'll eat anything. So, we have to be careful. Like he'll counter serve, he's really [unintelligible [00:15:17]. He ate a block of cheese one night when we had a party.
Melanie Avalon: Well, speaking to everything that you just spoke about. The evolutionary diet of a dog is 50% fat, 50% protein. And now the amount of carbs at like you said, so much of conventional food now is actually very carb rich, because it's cheap. And it's a good filler, and it makes a good texture. And it's just doing an awful number on their health. And then in addition to that, there's often mycotoxins in pet food, it's high in AGEs, she has a whole chapter or section about that. It's just really, really a problem. And what's also really sad, I didn't know this, did you know that vets have the highest suicide rate of any profession?
Cynthia Thurlow: I've heard that, and I don't know if it's because there's not enough people going into the profession. And it's one of the few professions where they can actually euthanize animals as opposed to, traditional kind of allopathic medicine. We do everything we can to prolong life, and veterinary medicine, in conjunction with owners, they can help hasten an animal's demise. I don't know if it's because of-- there's probably a variety of factors is what I'm trying to say. But I was surprised/not surprised to learn that
Melanie Avalon: I think that's a huge part of it because not only is it the frustrations of the conventional medical system in general with being-- in general, not preventative, so being reactive, and then coming from a model where it can be hard to address the health of these pets for them, what you said, it's the only profession where you actually euthanize, so, yeah.
Cynthia Thurlow: I couldn't deal with that. I affectionately refer to the time we will not speak of with the vet, because Cooper's 10, and we just had his yearly vet visit, and he's doing well, and I told her, I said, "We refer to it in our house is the time we will not speak of," because there will be a time that we will have to have some tough conversations. And the one thing about pets that if you have a pet, then you understand this, we're on borrowed time from day one. We know that we're going to outlive our pets. And we have these perfect little beings for a period of time. Dogs and cats and other types of animals really teach us to be present and to be grateful, because each day is a gift, we don't know how many days we're going to have with our pets. So, you have to make it count.
Melanie Avalon: Exactly. So, I will put a link in the show notes to the interview won't be out yet, but to her book. And I just want to emphasize, it's so approachable, again, so nuanced, and sciencey and deep, but it's very comprehensive, and how to navigate the pet food system and to find what works for you in your budget. If you want to go all out and make your own, if you want to still buy conventional food, like she makes it very accessible. So, I'll put a link to that in the show notes. Is there anything else new with you in your world before we jump into questions?
Cynthia Thurlow: No, just gearing up to launch some programs in September, that's our big focus for the month of August. So, IF:45, which is the 45-day intermittent fasting program and then Wholistic Blueprint, which is the 12-week program that allows women to do DUTCH testing and GI-MAP and other types of hormone testing. So, in my world, that's a large focus of the month of August, so for listeners, if they're interested in getting on the waitlist, we will put links in the show notes so that you can learn more about each program.
Melanie Avalon: Awesome.
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Shall we start off with a listener question?
Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely. So, this is from Nikki. Nikki says, "Cynthia and Melanie, I know you've touched on this from time to time, but I don't remember a lot of discussion on it on any of your podcast. If I'm wrong, please let me know. I'm pretty sure based on how my last period went that I have fibroids, really heavy period, soaking a pad once an hour and passing clots the size of golf balls. Prior to this, my period has always been light to moderate. Also, my stomach always looks bloated even when the rest of my body looks pretty fit and toned. Though I understand that could also be many other things like insulin resistance, cortisol, etc. I will get it properly diagnosed. But I'd like to go into that appointment with a good understanding of possible noninvasive treatments because everyone I know, my mother included, who had this ended up getting a hysterectomy, which I think sounds terrifying. I know Gin mentioned using Serrapeptase to clear hers, and yes, Melanie, I have your supplement and just started taking it. But what else? Should I take more than one Serrapeptase per day, does fasting help? What about nutrition or other supplements? Thanks all for your help. Nikki. P.S. Cynthia, I'm 40 years old."
Melanie Avalon: Awesome, Nikki. Well, thank you for your question. So. I'll just speak briefly to the Serrapeptase part of it. And then I was really excited because I wanted to have this question on, but fibroids is not my forte. But Cynthia said she knew a lot about the topic. So, it was perfect. But for the Serrapeptase. That is one of the reasons that people will often take that supplement. So, what it is, is it's a proteolytic enzyme created by the Japanese silkworm. When you take it in a fasted state, it actually goes into your bloodstream and breaks down problematic proteins in your body. And so, it can really help fibroids and that is the reason that Gin started taking it, and she did effectively clear it with hers. Just to answer your question about taking more than one per day, I think that's fine. I would dose up and see how you react. I personally take two per day. So, you could try starting with that. But see how you react, you could even take more. If anybody is interested, you can get it at avalonx.us. And the coupon code MELANIEAVALON will get you 10% off, but I will let Cynthia speak to the rest of it.
Cynthia Thurlow: That's super interesting about Serrapeptase. So, because you're 40, Nikki, you're very likely in perimenopause. What you're really speaking to is relative estrogen dominance. This is when your ovaries are producing less and less progesterone, you may not be ovulating every month. In response to that you have a relative estrogen dominance and more circling estrogen than progesterone. This is super common. This actually happened to me. I did not have fibroids, but estrogen dominance is what will feed those symptoms, you're experiencing, very heavy, very clotting periods. And conventional allopathic medicine will offer you options like synthetic oral contraceptives, they will offer you things like an IUD Intrauterine device. And ablation which goes in and actually destroys the lining of the uterus, or a partial hysterectomy, which is what you mentioned your mom had gone through. I don't think any of those are necessary per se. There are definitely a lot of things that you can do proactively before you ever need to get to that point. But, again, I would definitely have a conversation with your GYN or your primary care provider.
Estrogen dominance is a constellation of different symptoms. Again, largely I suspect yours is related to life stage, but it can also be related to poor liver detoxification, your gut health, if you're not getting enough fiber in your diet, if you're consuming too many processed sugars, I'm sure if you're a listener to this podcast, you probably aren't. But I just mentioned that along with stress. You can even if you err on the side of being someone that has polycystic ovarian syndrome, I just did a really great podcast with Dr. Felice Gersh on that, you can definitely check that out. You can actually get aromatization, which means you can aromatize testosterone to estrogen, which can contribute to more circulating estrogen. Even things like poor gallbladder function can also impact that. And the other thing to think about is that we were exposed to estrogen mimicking chemicals throughout our lifetime. And I find for many women, whether it's through a personal care products or environment or food, our perimenopausal years are really when we start to see this tipping over of a bucket. So, throughout our lifetime, we get exposure to these chemicals and then in perimenopause, everything kind of goes haywire.
So, things to think about are an anti-inflammatory diet. So really thinking about, are you eating gluten? Are you eating dairy? Are you drinking too much alcohol? [unintelligible 00:25:54] any processed sugars? There are specific herbs that we know that can be beneficial for estrogen dominance, things like turmeric and ginger, which I love, as well as supplements like Chasteberry and Milk Thistle. Milk Thistle, in particular is very helpful for liver detoxification. Really digging into gut health. So, doing a GI-MAP, which is a DNA based stool test, looking at a DUTCH, which is a dried urine and saliva-based test, making sure your blood sugar is properly managed. I find for a lot of people, the lifestyle changes first and then really leaning into nutrition. And then lastly, supplements, and then if it's not helpful or effective, seeking other options through your primary care or GYN's office, but you absolutely can navigate perimenopause.
Unless you've been told you have a fibroid, obviously your GYN could do an internal examination and then if necessary, can do an ultrasound to look for that. But I find most estrogen dominance symptoms are improved upon by lifestyle changes first, and not every woman in perimenopause needs to go on synthetic hormones, get an IUD, have an ablation or hysterectomy, if they're willing to put in the work. Obviously, fasting and eating less often can be certainly very, very helpful. I would be interested to see how you respond to serrapeptase. As Melanie mentioned, that may be very, very helpful for you. Keep us posted.
Melanie Avalon: Thank you, that was so overwhelmingly comprehensive and helpful. All right, so we have a question or some feedback on a question from Lucy, and the subject is, "My Story and Getting Started Again." And Lucy says, "I am a 28-year-old female from Wales, UK. I started listening to your podcast about a year ago. When listening, I fell in love with IF and starting my journey. I started researching IF, and I came across your podcast when I wanted to lose weight in January 2021. I've never been a large person, a UK size eight. But after having many infections, my metabolism basically shut down and I put on quite a bit of weight during the winter of 2020. The pandemic didn't help ha-ha.
After starting IF, I felt amazing. I started running, my skin cleared up and I stopped having infections and I lost two stone in weight which is about 28 pounds. I felt I was getting intuitive with my eating and was fasting 20 hours of the day and had a four-hour eating window. Then July 2020, I suddenly started getting hungry all the time. Waking up and wanted breakfast, I never ate breakfast, even before fasting. So, this was strange. I remember when you said on the podcast about knowing how when your body is needing food and when it's just cravings. This wasn't cravings and I decided to listen to my body and I had an eight-hour window for a few days. I told myself that come Monday I'll try and get back to my normal fast. On that Saturday, I found out I was pregnant. So, I definitely think my body was giving me signs to eat for the baby. I didn't do IF during pregnancy of course, and now my baby girl is five months old.
I'm finding it hard to get back into IF. I want to do it for my health. However, as I'm off work on maternity leave, I find I'm always reaching for snacks, also as I am taking the baby playgroups, etc. The other mothers and I often go to a cafe. I don't want to be that person who doesn't go because I'm fasting as this is the only social life I have at the moment. I can't really go and sit with just water. I don't like tea or coffee. The only thing I can think of is on these days I adjust my window to open and close at an earlier time. Any advice on this and how I can just get started again? Thank you. And again, sorry for the long email. I love the podcast. Best wishes, Lucy."
Cynthia Thurlow: Well, Lucy congratulations on your baby. It isn't clear if you're breastfeeding. If you are breastfeeding, I do not recommend fasting, you are feeding your own baby and you don't want to restrict your food intake. If you are not breastfeeding and you're feeling like you're really struggling to recommit to fasting, maybe you need to just have a more relaxed feeding window. It could be that you have a 10-hour feeding window, maybe a nine-hour feeding window, I would encourage you to experiment a bit with either different types of herbal teas, like green tea, or black tea, or even adding things like high quality salt or cinnamon to your coffee to make it more palatable. There are compounds in bitter coffee and bitter tea that are beneficial in a fasted state. I myself learned to drink green tea, I'm not a coffee drinker by drinking it iced, so I would brew it, I would ice it, and then I would stick a straw on it and drink it. That was how I started doing it, because there's just so many benefits. But, again, it's not entirely clear if you are breastfeeding. And if you are breastfeeding, I would definitely recommend you hold off until you're no longer breastfeeding to get back to fasting. Melanie, do you have any suggestions?
Melanie Avalon: So, first of all, echoing what you said about, congrats on the baby. And also, the concerns about the breastfeeding or not. So, I'll just answer it based on assuming that it is a time that you'll be getting back to fasting and are not breastfeeding. I like what you said about the tea and the coffee and trying different varieties, that didn't occur to me, that's actually a good idea. I would challenge your idea, Lucy, that when it comes to the playdates and stuff. I think you have two options here. One, you say I can't really go and sit with just water, you actually can go and just sit with just water. And I say that just because we get a lot of fear surrounding social acceptance and what people will think and will it be weird, and if people are eating or drinking coffee, and I'm not like what will they think. But especially it sounds like this is something that you go to regularly. You really can go and drink water, and it might feel weird at first, but especially if this is something that you're doing a lot, people will adapt. And it's really a matter of how you feel about the situation. And you know what makes you feel good in your body, rather than what other people think. And that's just my personal opinion. I also think it opens up a lot of freedom to life when we don't have that concern and that anxiety surrounding us with like the fasting or the eating window. And maybe this is in part just me having done intermittent fasting for so long, and being so overwhelmingly concerned about in the beginning and having a lot of anxiety about it. And now I'm just like, "I don't care." Maybe you get to a point where you're over it, and you're like, "I'm just going to do what makes me feel good."
For example, I went to a party last night and there was a dinner. I didn't eat the dinner, because it was definitely not food that would have made me feel well. Nobody thought anything of it. Like it's fine. I think people are a lot more concerned with what other people are thinking about them than they're thinking about you, for better or worse. So, that's my one thing. And then the second thing was you saying, could I adjust my window to open and close at an earlier time? And, yeah, you could do that too. That's totally an option. I think there's a lot of options here. And then as far as getting back into the fasting, again, you find yourself always reaching for the snacks. A few different things, I would look at the environmental cues surrounding that, because I know you are off works, you're at home, it's easier for you to reach those snacks. What sort of barriers can you put in place to change that habit? What sort of things are you reaching for? And if there's snacks, and this would be an easy thing to address if this is the case, and I don't know if this is the case. This might be hard to address if these are snacks that you have in the house for other people. But if these are snacks that literally you would just have for snacks, and they're not actually a part of anybody's meal in the house, just don't have them in the house. Make your environment as suitable as possible to you to encourage the habits that you want to have. You can start putting in some systems that you follow. So, you know maybe when you're eating in the house, you only eat at mealtime in the kitchen. And I know it sounds interesting because it sounds so simple to say, "Just don't do it." Like how can that be the answer? But it's sort of the answer because you can really exist in one or two places. You can exist in a mindset of the bright line eating concept. Or, you can exist in a world of where you have a system and you have boundaries and you have lines and it's just yes or no, on or off. So, you do eat snacks or you don't eat snacks, or you can exist in a world where you're fighting that and you maybe eat snacks and you try not to eat snacks and that mindset shift, I think can be huge.
So, if you can tell yourself, "I don't need snacks," then you can stop yourself from even engaging in it, because you're not going to have that debate each time of whether or not you're going to do it. I always referenced this book, again, I wish I had a different title because it makes it sound like it's only about binge eating, which it's not. But I really like Glenn Livingston's book Never Binge Again, it's really about engaging with the voice in our head that wants to encourage us to have any sort of eating behavior that we don't want to be engaging in and a reframe for how to address that. I really like that book. I've had him on my show, so I can put a link to that in show notes as well. It's funny because Cynthia's answer, I think, this is great, because we are giving a lot different perspectives, because Cynthia's answer, which I also agree with is maybe you just need to be more flexible with the window. I think that's great. On the flip side, if you do want to try to stick to a stricter eating window, I do think there are steps you can take to try to do that. And it's really just a matter of finding, which approach for you right now is what you want to be doing. Do you have thoughts about that?
Cynthia Thurlow: No, I think Glenn's book is such an incredible resource. I too, have been fortunate to connect with him. I think so much of our conversations in our heads. I reflect back on when my kids were little and certainly in the days of being on a maternity leave, and your days are a little more isolating because your kids are so dependent on you. And they're napping, and they're in diapers. And, your mommy interaction might be the only interaction you have with an adult during the day if your spouse is working outside the home. And so it can be very isolating. I think now at a different stage of life, like my kids are older, and I just don't have the bandwidth to even think about those things. But I remember thinking a great deal very thoughtfully about a lot of different health related issues at that time. So, give yourself grace. Melanie certainly provided a lot of really good resources for books and interviews that we've done with people that are leaders in this space. I would definitely lean into that. I think you're asking a lot of great and very thoughtful questions.
Melanie Avalon: I'm glad you brought that up because I was thinking this. It's something that I haven't had that experience of being a mom and going through this and being on the flip side. So, I'm really speaking from a place of no experience. I imagine it's probably a lot more harder than I imagined. I'm glad, Cynthia, you can bring that perspective to it as well. But either way, you got this, Lucy.
Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely.
Melanie Avalon: All right. Shall we go to our next question?
Cynthia Thurlow: Next question is from Nikki. Subject is "Protein and autophagy." "Hi, Melanie and Cynthia, welcome to the podcast. Cynthia, I'm excited about this new dynamic. So, I'm wondering how much protein the process of autophagy generates. Melanie, we have talked about this before in your Facebook group, but that was a while back. I'm hoping maybe there's been more research on the subject. I'd love to get Cynthia's thoughts as well, especially as you're both big proponents of getting enough protein as I am. The two of you, along with other experts like Robb Wolf, Dr. Gabrielle Lyon, Vanessa Spina, Dr. Ted Naiman, all land somewhere in the vicinity of recommending roughly one gram of protein per pound of ideal body weight. Here's my question, how much should the ramp up of autophagy due to intermittent fasting affect your protein goals? In other words, how many grams of protein does autophagy generate? I use quotation marks because I don't know if I'm even thinking about it the right way. If we fast for 18 to 20 hours, for example, we have a lot of autophagy happening, shouldn't that mean we don't need to eat quite as much protein. But if that's true, how much? Is this even possible to answer? Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
Melanie Avalon: All right. This may be my most favorite question I've ever received for this show. I love this question. I have thought about this a lot. And unfortunately, I have no idea and the amount of time-- I spent so much time trying to find an answer and I could find nothing. I'm going to keep looking. I also reached out to people I thought might know the answer. Authorities, authors I've had on this Biohacking Podcast, and nobody knew the answer. I just wanted to include it to say that it's something I've thought about I don't know. I do wonder, though, if part of this, and this is just me hypothesizing and not knowing really what's happening, but there's been quite a few studies on fasting and muscle mass, very favorable for the effects on muscle retention. I mean, I don't know but I do wonder if, this is involved a little bit. But it's a really good question. And if anybody sees or hears at any point, the answer this question, please let me know. And if I ever have the honor of interviewing Peter Attia, I'm going to ask him this because I would love to hear his thoughts on it. Even though he seems to be-- I don't know, not as much in the fasting. His views on fasting are very interesting these days. Do you have any thoughts at all?
Cynthia Thurlow: I mean, nothing that is conclusive. I think the longer I fast and the more research that I look at, the more I'm a proponent of just remaining open minded the possibility that sometimes we don't have the answers. I am definitely very aligned with Ted Naiman in that. I'm not a huge fan of long fasts, especially for people who are at goal weight or healthy weights. And so, it's impossible to measure autophagy at this time, unfortunately. And I think there just needs to be more research, whether or not that's going to be information that we have accessible to us in the near or the long term. I'm not sure, but it's certainly a great question. Thanks, Nikki.
Melanie Avalon: I'm actually really surprised. I'm sure somebody studied this. I couldn't find it. And I don't know if it's that I can't, because for people who go down the rabbit hole of PubMed and stuff, sometimes when you're looking for an answer, it takes a while to figure out the keywords that you should be googling to find it. And then once you find the keywords, it like opens up this whole world that answers your question, because you have to figure out how people are talking about it in the clinical literature. And I was like, "Maybe if I can just find the right keywords, I'll be able to find the studies," but I found nothing. I'm going to keep looking. But it's a really interesting thing to ponder.
Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely.
Melanie Avalon: All right. So, we have a question from Dana. The subject is "More Protein." And Dana says, "Hi, ladies, I asked this question on Facebook. And Cynthia asked me to send it here for many more people to see the answer. Cynthia, can you please direct me to where to find macros for my lifestyle? I have Hashimoto's and remission 10 years, age 64, five to 10 more pounds to lose, gluten and dairy free. IF approximately a five-hour window for two years and active lifestyle. I tend to feel better on low versus high fat. I did strict clean keto, less than 20 grams of carbs for one year, a few years back, and it really messed up my thyroid. My body seems to love carbs. Thank you. Thanks for all the things you do."
Cynthia Thurlow: Dana, thank you for your question. I would say first and foremost, there's no way to provide a macro breakdown for every single listener because there's so many different variables, you're obviously in menopause. I love that you're already doing gluten and dairy free. That's certainly very helpful, especially keeping Hashimoto's which for anyone who's listening who's not familiar with that, that is autoimmune hypothyroidism, so underactive thyroid. The first things that kind of really stand out to me is, are you varying your fasting window? I talk a great deal about this in my book, Intermittent Fasting Transformation, I love that you're active, and that you've determined that you do better on low versus high fat foods. I generally don't recommend anyone do sustained ketosis. Meaning, someone doing strict keto for a long period of time. I do think that we need a carb cycle for that low. Meaning, you want to kick yourself out of ketosis. And this is something that I try to document as much as I can on IG stories. Examples of meals that I'll put together on days when I'm lifting heavy, when I will increase my carbohydrate intake, and getting carbs from low glycemic berries, maybe I'm having squash or sweet potato, etc.
I would encourage you to vary what you're doing. I don't think anyone should do the same fasting window every single day, 24/7. I do encourage you to adjust your carbohydrate intake based on your physical activity. And I would definitely encourage you to vary what you're doing. I think that it's certainly super important to be doing strength training, to make sure you're getting high quality sleep. High quality sleep is if you're not measuring it on an Oura or a WHOOP band, waking up rested, having plenty of energy, managing your stress, all of which are very, very important. And really focusing in on a nutrient dense whole foods diet. So, protein centric diet 100 grams a day is what you want to aim for. So, more protein in that five-hour window because you could be that you're chronically under eating, if you're just having one meal in that five-hour feeding window. I hope that helps. How about you, Melanie?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I agree with everything that you said. Something I'm really curious for me personally, is at least right now because I haven't hit perimenopause, I haven't hit menopause. And I have done strict keto diet. For me, personally, I felt a lot better, especially with intermittent fasting. Doing a high carb lower fat diet with intermittent fasting. What I'm really curious about is when you're at an older age, like perimenopause or menopause, this approach of having more carbs, can that be a metabolic fix for most people or am I going to hit menopause, for example, then not be able to do my high carb low fat anymore. But I do find that I think a lot of people get in these restrictive mindsets where they're doing a lot of fasting and they're doing a lot of ketos. And like Dana says they might experience thyroid problems or just not or even not the weight loss that they want. And they actually find a benefit when they do bring back the carbs. I think it's great that Dana is intuitive with her body and realizes that her body loves carbs. I do think it's important to-- when it's carbs, there's different types of carbs. So definitely finding the right type of carbs that work for you. I know she's literally asking us how to find the right macros that would work. But I would also encourage her to if she is working in the carb paradigm, she might do better with starches, for example, or she might do better with more like fruit-based carbs.
For me, I do so well with fruit, starches, not so much. If I do starches, my blood sugars are high, I don't feel good, and it's really, really interesting. So, it's something where-- she wants us to direct how to find the right macros, but it's something she just literally has to test for herself. We can't know what's going to work better for her. I do think it's important for a lot of people to lose the carb fear, because I think a lot of people have carb fear.
Cynthia Thurlow: I think it's unfortunate because I cannot tell you how many people are paranoid. I remind people that there's different types of carbohydrates, like a processed carb, like bread or pasta is very different than having a root vegetable or a tart apple or, a small orange, very, very different. And depending on whether or not your insulin sensitive, and really the only way to know that is you need some lab work done, you can get a glucometer or continuous glucose monitor. Knowledge is power. And I find more often than not women are insulin resistant, perhaps even unknowingly if they're not particularly overweight. And they have no idea what the net impact of certain food choices are. And it could be as unique as each one of us. I talk very openly about the fact I can eat tropical fruits without any trouble. But if I eat a plantain, my blood sugar spikes, and it doesn't matter how I eat it, I've tried many different variations. I just don't eat plantains now. But I think that this requires more information, like really having a conversation with your internist, your primary care provider getting some baseline labs, I always say get that fasting insulin, get the fasting glucose, get inflammatory markers.
The other thing that I didn't mention, Dana, is that, depending on whether or not you're taking hormone replacement therapy that can impact your insulin sensitivity as well. We know estrogen is an insulin sensitizing hormone along with a little bit of progesterone, can be very helpful not only for your thyroid, but also for insulin sensitivity. So, a lot to unpack here, but hopefully we've given you some things to think about and consider, but carb fear is a huge problem. I agree with you, Melanie.
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Cynthia Thurlow: Next, we have a question from Angela. Subject is "IF and gargling saltwater and/or mouthwash." "Hello, ladies. I've been intermittent fasting since February of 2019, and will get a bad taste or smelly breath. I tried to drink water throughout the day and the peppermint drops you've mentioned in the podcast definitely help. But if it's related to bacteria, I'd like to gargle with salt water or mouthwash and I'm concerned it will break my fast. On a side note, I go for regular teeth cleanings every three to four months to help with wine and coffee stains. And I haven't had a cavity in quite a while. I love the IF lifestyle and it suits me well. I normally have a four-hour window, but I'm more relaxed on the weekend. But we usually maintain 14 to 16 hours of clean fasting on weekends. Thanks for everything. I really enjoy all of the podcasts and listen to them over again."
Melanie Avalon: Awesome. Well, thank you, Angela, for your question. This is perfect timing. I actually interviewed last week, the cofounder of a company called Bristle. Did I tell you about Bristle, Cynthia?
Cynthia Thurlow: No, hmm-hm.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness, my new obsession. So, they're so cool. It was so amazing to connect with a co-founder, I was blown away by the science that's going into this. They provide an oral microbiome test. And it's like a spit kit, a saliva test, super easy to do, you send it off. And then you get a profile of the oral microbiome in your mouth. And they give you the raw data of all the strains in your mouth, but then they also group it by how you compare to healthy people, bacteria wise when it comes to issues like halitosis, which is bad breath like Angela speaking of, also cavities, gum inflammation, and also gut inflammation. Then they make personalized recommendations for how to address it, and then you can retest. And so, like the recommendations, they basically list like specific ingredients, or even oral probiotics that might be beneficial. So, it's super cool. It might be a cool resource for Angela to try to maybe see what's going on. And so, you can go to melanieavalon.com/bristle, that's B-R-I-S-T-L-E and the coupon code MELANIEAVALON, will get you 15% off sitewide. And this is super amazing. It was just going to be 15% off for the one-time kit, but they said they would give it to me for this subscription, which is super amazing because the subscription is already discounted. So, you can get 15% off on top of that. So, I highly recommend that.
To go to Angela's specific question. Gargling with salt water or mouthwash, so saltwater, zero concern about that breaking your fast. Mouthwash more iffy, it depends on the ingredients in the mouthwash. That said, you are not swallowing the mouthwash. So, you're not having that effect. But we do know that the flavors can have an effect on insulin and some mouthwashes are sweet. I've been trying so hard to find a mouthwash that's not sweet because I had one that I really, really liked. It was Desert Essence prebiotic plant based brushing rinse. Honestly, I don't know if they're just using that word probiotic because it's a keyword. I was looking at the ingredients. And I was like, "I'm not really sure if this is actually a probiotic," but maybe it is and I probably should have asked this when I interviewed bristles. I think I might send them a follow up email and ask them. I loved it because it was so minty, not sweetened. It never gives me the perception because I'll use it during the day. It doesn't give me the feeling or the perception at all that I'm breaking my fast.
They've stopped. I don't know if they've stopped making it. It's really hard for me to find now, so I'm like on the hunt to find another one that I really like. But long story short, my opinion on mouthwash, and I'll be super curious to hear Cynthia's thoughts because we've talked about this topic a lot in the show, but I haven't heard Cynthia's thoughts on it. I wouldn't overwhelmingly stress about it. I would find a mouthwash that doesn't taste sweet and super flavored and I wouldn't stress about it like. When it comes to fasting, I think there are things to be really concerned about putting cream in your coffee. And then, there are things that I think aren't as big of a deal like, are you finding a minty mouthwash? Those are my thoughts on the mouthwash. Do you have thoughts?
Cynthia Thurlow: Well, I interviewed the CEO of Primal Life Organics. Trina Felber, who's a fellow advanced practice nurse, and we will link this in the show notes. She talks a great deal about, we have an oral microbiome, we have our gut microbiome, we have a vaginal microbiome and what effectively what mouthwashes do is they disrupt the oral microbiome, so I don't use any mouthwash products and generally recommend that we avoid them unless it's something very specific that's been designed that is not going to disrupt the oral microbiome.
And as someone who is completely anal retentive about my teeth, this is something that-- even when I go to my dentist who has a clean practice, I don't get fluoride, I don't get mouthwash there. I mean, we have these-- it's a negotiation. But I follow Trina's advice very closely, again, she's another advanced practice nurse. I find that things like saltwater and gargling are actually great. It's not only great for stimulating vagal tone, and your vagus nerve is this longest nerve in our body. It is very important for heart rate variability, it taps us into the parasympathetic, which is the rest and repose side of our autonomic nervous system. I always encourage gargling, humming, things like that. But I would avoid mouthwash unless you know it is not comprised of products that are going to kill off beneficial bacteria in the mouth.
Melanie Avalon: So, I'm really glad you brought that up, because I think it's a really important nuance to discuss. And it's another reason that I really like Bristle because I think before interviewing Bristle, I was very black and white about it. It shouldn't be having any of these compounds that wipe out things for that very reason. And I still lean heavily towards that. That said, reading the research from Bristle, if you do this test, some people have pathogenic strains in their mouth that actually might benefit from a temporary, short-term approach with certain mouth washes that have certain ingredients that might target that bacteria. And it's interesting, because one of those studies that they have, and by the way that the Bristle blog is great. If you have any questions about oral health and the oral microbiome, and all of this, they have blog posts about everything. And they're ridiculously nuanced. And they look at all of the studies, and I feel personally that they're pretty not biased when it comes to their agenda and their goals. So, like, there's a really, really fascinating study where they were looking at the effects of a beneficial probiotic on restoring beneficial bacteria populations in the mouth.
It actually had a more favorable effect if they first "wiped out" the oral native population with the certain ingredients and then have the probiotic compared to just having the probiotic. I think the mouth is like the beginning of a massive frontier that I think should probably be as important as gut health, and we're just not talking about it. In general, I do think people are probably doing more damage than not by having these antiseptic mouthwash is just wiping out everything all the time. So, I think it needs to be a more measured approach and a more informed approach. And that's why I really like Bristle, for example, because then you can see, do I have pathogenic bacteria that I potentially need to be addressing compared to-- because if you don't, then you definitely shouldn't be having those ingredients. If you do, it might be something to think about and what approach are we going to take to address it? I'm just very excited about this topic and what we continue to learn in the future.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. I think, for me, the understanding that there are these different microbiomes in the body, and they all impact one another. So, if you have a lot of dental caries, or have a lot of gingivitis, or a lot of mouth issues that can impact the health of your gut microbiome, your gut microbiome can also be impacted by your vaginal microbiome. I mean, it's all interrelated. And as someone that's at a different life stage, it's something that suddenly I've become very interested in. As an example, my husband, from the time that I met him 20 years ago, always use Listerine mouthwash. And to him, having his mouthfeel tingly was a sign that it was clean. And, boy, was he disappointed to learn he was actually killing off beneficial bacteria in his mouth. And so, I've got him completely weaned from that habit. But he misses to this day, he misses that feeling that tingling in his mouth. And so obviously, if Melanie and I come across products that allow us to not kill off the beneficial bacteria, we'll definitely make sure we pass those along as well.
Melanie Avalon: One last oral health related question for you-- oh, wait, before that, Cynthia, you're talking about the vaginal microbiome and how these things can affect each other. There was a really interesting study sort of recently. I don't know, I say that a lot. It was probably a few months ago. Looking at SIBO, I don't know if you saw this, because we often think that SIBO, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is from colonic bacteria in the colon, migrating up to the small intestine, which very likely, maybe it was actually positing that, in part might be the oral "bad strains" from the oral microbiome migrating down. So, it's really interesting.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. It's all interrelated, that's what most people aren't talking about. It's not like there's an ecosystem in the gut that doesn't communicate the rest of the body at all.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Do you do oil pulling?
Cynthia Thurlow: No. I do tongue scraping. And then I have Primal Life Organics' tooth powder and like a tooth serum. And then I have their-- it's like a tooth whitening product.
Melanie Avalon: They don't have a mouthwash, right?
Cynthia Thurlow: Hmm-hm.
Melanie Avalon: I'm on the hunt, because I have an oral breath fixation. And I'm on the hunt to find-- I really liked that one I was using and the fact that they're not making any more it makes me so sad. I'm paying an arm and a leg to like, because on Amazon they'll have like the last few bottles from third party sellers. The amount of money I'm paying for this mouthwash, because I'm trying to like get all the last bottles.
Cynthia Thurlow: You're like, "I must have them all."
Melanie Avalon: I know. It's bad. All right. I think we have time for one more question. This is from Barbara. The subject is "Over 70 Women and IF." And Barbara says, "I'm very interested in IF. I need to lose 80 pounds, at least. I scrolled through all your success stories. Any stories you've heard of 72 plus year old women who have had joint replacements, who have lost their weight with IF." I love these questions where I haven't heard Cynthia specific answer yet. It's like I'm listening to the podcast. So, yeah.
Cynthia Thurlow: Well, thank you for your question, Barb. I would say first and foremost, there's a lot of things that can impact, significant weight loss. And I would make sure that you have a conversation with your primary care provider internist, because if you're taking any medications right now, for blood pressure, or insulin resistance, or cholesterol, you may need adjustments, but I've had many menopausal women who have had significant weight loss improvement, or that have been struggling weight loss resistance, in conjunction with intermittent fasting and changing their diet. So, to say one without the other is really putting you at a disadvantage. So, eating less often combined with an anti-inflammatory diet, and that could look like not eating bread, not eating pasta, maybe you're getting carbohydrates from other sources. But if you have more than 80 pounds to lose, I would want to combine that with-- I know you mentioned that you had some joint replacements, so I'm not sure if you can do water aerobics, where you're being taught by an instructor who is knowledgeable about women that have had joint replacements, it'll be gentle to your knees, maybe your hips and your shoulders. Finding ways to be as active as possible, along with high quality sleep, and managing your stress because there's no one in the past two years who hasn't had more issues with higher amounts of stress than usual.
When it comes to deciding what fasting window is appropriate for you. If you are coming from a methodology where you are consuming three meals a day and snacks, the kind of way that I walk women through this as you stop snacking as number one, that will force you to restructure your meals. Even if you're just having two meals in your day, it's going to force you to increase your protein. I'm going to encourage you to reduce the amount of carbohydrate in your diet. I'm not saying anti-carb, but getting your carbs from non-starchy vegetables, salad, arugula, broccoli, cauliflower, and then adding unhealthy fats as appropriate, is really a great way to go, and to not eat from dinner to breakfast. That's the next step. But I would absolutely positively encourage you to have a conversation with your internist, your primary care provider, your NP, whomever it is that you see before you engage in intermittent fasting. Just to make sure they may need to monitor you more closely, if you're on blood pressure medications or diabetes medication, so that they can determine if they need to make adjustments and those medications, but definitely keep us posted. Melanie, do you have anything you want to add?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, just the only thing I would add is, I'm so fascinated by the trajectory of aging. I remember how you talked about this in your book, Intermittent Fasting Transformation which everybody should get. And you talk about how fasting can be for older women maybe safer. When you're in your menstrual cycle years and your fertility years that it can be more of an issue with over fasting but when you're older, that's a little bit less of an issue. Am I saying that correctly?
Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely.
Melanie Avalon: What I am so fascinated by is the dichotomy of that coupled with, on the flip side, the increased need for protein when you are older. Even people in the low protein camp, like vegan people and Valter Longo, even they say, when you're older that there's definitely an increased protein need after, I think, they usually say after age 60, maybe? I'd have to double check that exact age. So, it's this interesting nuance where, yes, fasting can be very helpful and beneficial and even easier and even, potentially "safer." I'm not a medical doctor, but trying to communicate that concept with you also need more protein. I think the nuance of that is really important in that, yes, you can do the fasting to lose weight, but you've got to be getting adequate protein. And so, you've got to do an approach that will ensure that you get adequate protein. Yeah.
Cynthia Thurlow: And I would imagine, I mean, this is probably the norm is just about everyone listening unless they know otherwise is chronically under eating protein. And protein intake, in particular, for those that are middle aged, and even older than 65, we know that our protein needs and increased substantially because we don't break it down as effectively. And so, we have to almost over bolus ourselves. Most of the patients that I've taken care of over the last 20 years that are dealing with weight loss resistance, or obesity or being overweight and just struggling in those areas. They're not eating enough protein. So, protein is satiating, protein helps the muscle protein synthesis, but in the context of a young woman who has 80 pounds to lose and is very interested in intermittent fasting, I would encourage you to take little steps. You don't have to do anything drastic, not even snacking every day, not eating between dinner and breakfast can have a huge net impact on weight loss resistance.
Melanie Avalon: Exactly. I'm very glad that we're so aligned on this concept.
Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely.
Melanie Avalon: Also, I'm super excited that we got five listener questions in to make up for last week where we had one listener question,
Cynthia Thurlow: But it's all about balance, listeners. We're always striving for balance.
Melanie Avalon: Yes, so that's an average of three questions per episode, which I think is probably our average. 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/episode280. The show notes will have a full transcript and links to everything that we talked about. So definitely check that out. Then you can follow us on Instagram. We are @ifpodcast. I am @melanieavalon, and Cynthia is @cynthia_thurlow_. All right. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. Anything from you, Cynthia, before we go?
Cynthia Thurlow: No, keep the questions coming. I mean, we appreciate that we're getting so many because it allows us to keep the podcast really nicely organized, but don't feel like there's no topic that's off that we're not willing to face and chat about. So, don't feel at all uncomfortable. There's probably 20 other people that have the same exact questions and maybe don't have the nerve to ask it. So, nothing is off limits.
Melanie Avalon: Exactly. Thank you for saying that. I cannot agree more. All right. Well, this has been so great. And I will talk to you next week.
Cynthia Thurlow: Sounds good.
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, and no patient doctor relationship is formed. 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 and original theme composed by Leland Cox, and recomposed by Steve Saunders. See you next week.
[Transcript provided by SpeechDocs Podcast Transcription]
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
Cynthia's Intermittent Fasting Transformation: The 45-Day Program for Women to Lose Stubborn Weight, Improve Hormonal Health, and Slow Aging
More on Melanie: MelanieAvalon.com
More on Cynthia: cynthiathurlow.com
Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox: LelandCox.com
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