Welcome to Episode 287 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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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 287 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 podcast 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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Melanie Avalon: Hi, everybody and welcome. This is Episode number 287 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. Melanie Avalon and I'm here with Cynthia Thurlow.
Cynthia Thurlow: Hey, Melanie, how are you?
Melanie Avalon: I am good. Can I tell you the crazy hurricane story?
Cynthia Thurlow: Yes, please do.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness. So, at the time of this recording, Hurricane Ian just happened a few days ago and my family has a condo in Sanibel Island, where it basically landed in Fort Myers, Sanibel Lee County right in that area and they didn't know it was going to land there until-- The county didn't do a mandatory evacuation until 24 hours before, because they thought it was going to hit Tampa. Were you following it, the hurricane? I know you're crazy traveling.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yes, I've been following it because I was initially concerned obviously about all my friends impacted in Florida but I was also concerned I might not make it back from the West Coast. So, we had a very, very turbulent last 30 minutes of my flight on Friday.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, wow. Yeah, I bet. I didn't even think about that.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, and it's interesting as soon as we got on the plane, the two pilots were former Air Force pilots that had transitioned to the civilian sector and I jokingly said to the person sitting next to me, I was like, "I feel complete confidence because they have dealt with far worse than the impact of Ian coming up the coast." So, lots of turbulence, more than I've had in a long time but we safely landed and I'm grateful to have gotten home on Friday.
Melanie Avalon: Random quick sidenote about planes. When I flew to Austin on the way back after we landed, they told us that-- Basically, they were like, "Congratulations, we were actually testing autopilot to land and it was a success." And they tried to phrase it like it was like congrats and everybody on the plane was like, [laughs] "Is that a good thing?" I told my family and they're like, “We have never--” "Have you experienced that on a plane after the fact they tell you that?”
Cynthia Thurlow: Well, I think there are probably a lot of things just like when I worked in healthcare that go on that you have no idea is going on behind the scenes and then you just blissfully and naively get off the plane and you're like, "All is good." In the past week, I've been up and back to New York and then across the country to LA and back, and one of the legs of my flight, I think it was Denver to LA, there was some type of "dent" in the side of the airplane and so, we had a 90-minute ground delay while maintenance determined if it was "safe to fly." So, it was one of those things where I was like, "Dang, I don't want to not fly today." But obviously, safety is of the utmost importance and so we ended up flying without any issues but it was funny how they were talking about this dent and I'm thinking, "Is it a big dent, a little dent?" They didn't identify how large or small it was, but I'm grateful someone was paying attention.
Melanie Avalon: Wow. I remember my piano teacher growing up, she said one time on her flight, they were flying and then they didn't land. They were just circling and they told them it was because they knew something had fallen off the plane, but they weren't sure what it was. [laughs] So, then they found out later it was a hubcap to the wheel. So, it was fine. But can you imagine--?
Cynthia Thurlow: No, I can't. Sometimes, again, it goes back to that being somewhat blissfully naive to the interworkings of aviation is probably to my benefit, because I think both of us are probably very similar. I'm such a critical thinker. I'd be like, "What impact would that make? Would that impact drag on the plane? What would go on?" And I made the mistake of watching-- Anyone that's listening, don't watch the documentary about Boeing.
Melanie Avalon: Wait, wait, wait, is that the one where the pilot got sucked out the window?
Cynthia Thurlow: No, this was about how Boeing was bought out and their safety and maintenance strategies changed enormously when they were bought out. And then there were two major airline disasters. I was saying to my husband, I was like, "Why did I--?" Because I tend to be a documentary nerd anyway and I was like, "Oh, I started to watch it." And then I was like, "I probably should not be watching this on a plane at the same time." Probably, not a good idea. Yeah, it wasn't about anyone getting sucked out but there were two major crashes in the late 2018, 2019 that were related to Boeing not wanting to properly train the pilots in this system that was helping the plane, like stayed kind of equal. Again, I'm not a pilot so I'm probably not explaining this properly, but there were some technical things that had changed about the newer planes that Boeing did not disclose.
Melanie Avalon: Wow, the pilot sucked out one scarred me for life. The window broke, literally the pilot got sucked out the window. I don't even know the details. I have to rewatch it. It was some United flight. But then the crazy thing is, they landed the plane because of the oxygen levels dropping from the window, it made the pilots be at the level of being drunk. They landed the plane successfully and the pilots survived. They've been holding on to him and he was outside the window, scarred me for life.
Cynthia Thurlow: Those were some good friends.
Melanie Avalon: I know. In any case, the hurricane. My mom had decided to stay on the island. My sister had evacuated and the night before it hit when we all realized it was going to hit the island, she was wanting to drive back after all, mostly, because she was worried about the car. My dad's car getting ruined in the garage and we all convinced her to stay, because we didn't want her to leave and get stuck driving in the middle of the hurricane. In retrospect, maybe she should have left because maybe she would have gotten far enough away. In any case, the hurricane hit Sanibel. Actually, I bet a lot of listeners have been to Sanibel, because I've been posting about this and I've been getting so many DMs of people who have been to Sanibel or knew about it. It’s this beautiful-- Well, it was. This beautiful, gorgeous island, 14 miles long, one mile wide, really nice restaurants and no streetlights. Like an old town feel, but really nice.
So, in any case, that's where the hurricane hit and my mom said, the water-- She was on the third story at the condo. She said the water went up past the garage up to the first story of the condo. We think it was probably about 18-feet high, the water. She actually thought she was going to die. This is so sad. She said she was in the closet because she had our puppy and my sister's cat and she said that she thought she was going to die, and she was writing us all letters, and she put out a lot of food for the pets hoping they would survive. It's so sad. So, that was that night. And then we weren't really hearing from her because the cell signal was so spotty. And then the causeway to Sanibel, it broke. It's gone, half of it. The island got shut off from the mainland, covered in water. We weren't really able to get in touch with her. Most of the boats in Florida are all wrecked. All the ones that were basically on-- Not in Florida, but Fort Myers in that area and on top of that you couldn't even barely get down there. We were trying to find a rescue mission. Literally, all day, it was the craziest day of my life.
I'm friends with Kirk Parsley. I've had him on The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. He's a sleep doctor and a Navy SEALs. He connected us to this group of military and SEALs that help people with rescue-type missions. You can hire them ala carte to help you with things and they were so nice. The woman in charge, Stacy, shoutout to Stacey. She found us this guy, Captain Dave in Fort Myers who had a pontoon boat and so, the few times we were able to vaguely get a text through to my mom, which on top of that-- Oh, this is a good lesson for people, this might help somebody. If you're in a situation where you don't have good cell service like this situation, if you have your phone, set on iMessage, then you'll have a lot of issues getting through texts because it'll wait for iMessage to be online. Basically, my mom could only text my aunt, because she has Android and she wasn't realizing it was her phone settings. So, we were having to text her through my aunt and we're trying to communicate with her that she had to be on the beach the next morning at 8 AM and wave a signal. We didn't know she was going to be on the beach. It was literally the craziest thing.
And then Captain Dave in his pontoon boat, [chuckles] the next day went across the ocean to Sanibel with two other guys and picked up my mom and three neighbors and rescued them and my sister and brother had driven down the day before, so they picked her up. It's just insane and it's so crazy to see pictures of the island and it's so weird, because my whole childhood was basically there and to know that it's all just gone. It's very, very weird feeling. I'm so grateful. Last I checked, I think, I don't know what the death count is at, I think it's in the 60s, not just Sanibel, but the whole area where it hit. My heart goes out to everybody and it's just a crazy experience. So, I had to share that.
Cynthia Thurlow: No, I'm so glad that your mom was able to be rescued along with some of her neighbors. I have a lot of friends in the Naples area and the photos--
Melanie Avalon: Yes, that's where it hit too.
Cynthia Thurlow: I have friends that left Northern Virginia, and were building houses down there, and they lost everything. They lost their cars, they lost their homes, the photos are just really, really heartbreaking. The irony is, one of my Hopkins nurse friends lives down there and her house was okay, but another friend of mine that I've known for, gosh like 15 years, I was able to connect both of them and I just think for all of us that are so fortunate that we're not adversely impacted by these storms, we owe it to ourselves as community members to try to find ways to help and donate. If you can donate money, donate time, or working with local organizations, because all of us probably know people that have been impacted. My mentor and the head of my mastermind, she actually had to evacuate and I've been at her home and-- [crosstalk]
Melanie Avalon: Where is she?
Cynthia Thurlow: Tampa. A lot of people just picked up and took their pets and left because they had to. They were so close to the water or live on the water and gosh, there're so many people impacted but in terms of your mom's story, of course, it sounds like an incredible-- This is where networking and podcasting is so helpful. I'm glad that Kirk was able to get you connected individuals that could get her to a safe place and neighbors as well, and pets. Can't forget the pets.
Melanie Avalon: I'm so grateful. Yeah, that's the other thing that I forgot. In the condo, we had hurricane shutters. They actually stayed intact. Actually, the inside of our condo is okay, but almost every single unit, the shutters blew in and it's a situation where basically, the whole wall facing the ocean is window shutters. All the other condo units, they blew in. I can't even imagine if that had happened. But my mom, like she said, she thought she was going to die, because the whole building was shaking. Super grateful. I know from all the DMs. I got that a lot of people had situations, where they had friends or they weren't hearing from people and when we air this it will have been a while ago.
Cynthia Thurlow: I'm so glad that she's safe. I know we were texting over the weekend, and I was crossing my fingers, and grateful to know that there was a happy ending.
Melanie Avalon: Yes, indeed. So, anything you'd like to share before you jump in? I know you've been crazy with travels.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, I've had some really cool professional things. I was able to speak at an event at Lincoln Center and having grown up in New Jersey, Lincoln Center is a really special part of Manhattan, and then I flew out to the West Coast earlier this past week and was on two of the biggest podcasts that are out there, not just in the health and wellness space, but two of the big ones and that was such a surreal experience and they were both incredibly humble, warm, made me feel incredibly welcome. I left hugging both of them and really just feel incredibly grateful. It's such a cool experience. I have a cousin who works at USC, so I got to see him and then some other friends for dinner the last night I was there but yeah, it was a whirlwind week between New York and LA. Literally, it was home for a day and then flew back out again.
Melanie Avalon: I can't wait to personally hear more about it. I know you literally texted me about it the day of operation. What my siblings and I are calling the operation delta-alpha, which stands for a name we've given my mom for her decision to stay on the island. You were texting me all during that, so I didn't really get to absorb it. I can't wait to hear more later about the actual experience because I'm really excited and happy for you. It's awesome.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. Here's the thing. For anyone that's listening, I think vision boarding is really important, because the process of manifestation without going down a gigantic rabbit hole is just such a cool thing. Because one of these people was on my vision board from five years ago. When I was finished recording with him, and I was leaving, and he and his team were wonderful, and I just said, "I have to let you know, you've been on my vision board for five years and I knew one day I would meet you," and this is just such an incredible, incredible experience. I'm so very grateful and appreciative. Then I walked outside and flagged down an Uber [laughs] went back to my hotel. So, yeah, it was really cool. Really, really cool.
Melanie Avalon: Just one comment I love, because especially when you have a career like us, where it's very nebulous, because it's all creative and creating your own path and there's not milestones, per se. So, it's really nice to have those moments, things that were personal milestones. That's amazing. Have you had him on your show?
Cynthia Thurlow: No. I'll have Sean Stephenson on my show in November and I think Lewis is not doing a ton of press right now. He's got a book coming out in 2023. No, I've haven't had him on. That would be a gigantic unicorn guest.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. It's amazing.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. For context, Lewis House is who I'm talking about, but he could not have been more gracious and just how can I help you, very heart centered and very genuine. He's done the work. You can tell it. And yeah, I sit back and complete-- I'm just feeling very, very-- There's no other way to describe it. And I'm a pretty articulate person just sitting in complete gratitude. There's not a lot wrong in the world right now for me.
Melanie Avalon: It's amazing. Well, I have two quick announcements before we jump in. Speaking of pets, I will talk more about this next week, but there's a company called Yummers that I am obsessed with. If you listen to my episode that I aired with Dr. Karen Becker, which is one of my favorite episodes to date on The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast, you will really, truly realize the importance of what we feed our pets and so, Yummers makes amazing toppings for your pets that are completely like everything I would design there. No problematic additives, just healthy, just the good stuff. And the founder is a personal friend and so, I just wanted to share it with you, guys. By the way, I was talking about our cat and dog that survived the hurricane. They love Yummers. So, I do have a link. You can actually get 10% off site wide with the code, MELANIEAVALON. That's at yummerspets.com. Y-U-M-M-E-R-S-P-E-T-S dot com. I'm going to talk about it more at length probably next episode.
And then second announcement before we jump in. There is a summit coming up called ‘How She Grew.’ It's being hosted by five different influencers but one of them is my dear, dear friend Noelle Tarr, who cohost The Well-Fed Women Podcast. Noelle's one of my bestest friends and I've been listening to Well-Fed Women, which used to be called the Paleo Women Podcast, literally since it started years ago. It's one of my favorite shows and I still listen to it every week. Noelle created ‘How She Grew.’ The purpose of it is for women who really want to learn about creating their own business and just doing something like themselves that out of-- Actually, I don't even know, if it might be traditional jobs as well, but basically they just interview a lot of really successful women. I'm doing an episode. Cynthia might be, we're not sure we were talking before this. But in any case, I think it'd be super, super valuable. So, there is a prelaunch discount. I'm going to make a redirect. If you go to melanieavalon.com/howshegrew-- And then we don't know if Cynthia is doing it. We’ll put in your redirect. It might not be there. Would it be like cynthiathurlow.com/howshegrew?
Cynthia Thurlow: Probably.
Melanie Avalon: Okay. You can try that too. [laughs] But in any case, I think they're going to have the basic one, where you can get just the interviews and I think it's going to be around 199. And then before November 1st for premium access, which will include the videos, lot of bonuses, a Facebook group, lot of cool stuff that'll be $2.27 and then it goes up in price after November 1st. So, snag it now. You can use those two links that we just gave. I really do think it'll be really valuable. I had a really great conversation with Noelle. Ours is sort of focused on podcasting and influencer stuff, but yes.
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Melanie Avalon: Shall we jump in to fasting stuff?
Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely. We've got some feedback and it says, "Thank you, Melanie and Cynthia. I was so surprised to hear my name and question yesterday on the podcast. I really appreciate your in-depth answers and will be relistening to make sure I got it all. We had house guests last weekend and I ate breakfast to be convivial and was starving the rest of the day. I really prefer skipping breakfast and I'm happy to know that I'm not damaging my health by doing so. Thanks for all you do. Fondly, Knowles." Knowles, we're so glad that you submitted a question and we're even more appreciative to know that you found so much value in our responses.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. And one thing I just like about hearing this back from Knowles is, so, obviously, her issue or her question had to do with really feeling like she had to eat breakfast. That did not suit her life. It made her more hungry. It's so interesting to me that people, because I know I'm this way personally. I struggle with autonomy. I need somebody to tell me that it's okay. This is probably a character trait that I should work on with my therapist. But I find it so interesting that people need to know-- Especially, with intermittent fasting, they just need somebody to tell them that the decision that they intuitively know is okay and right, is okay and right. So, I do want to empower people to feel what they're doing is okay but I like that we cannot provide that service, but that we can help out in that aspect to reassure people that they should listen to their bodies and do what feels right. And if they want to skip breakfast even in a social situation, that is okay.
Cynthia Thurlow: Exactly. And I think the other piece of it is, more often than not, when people are uncomfortable with the decisions that we make for our own betterment or our own self-improvement, it's really a mirror of their own issues and not your own. If people are bothered by the fact that you fast or you don't eat breakfast, feel comfortable and confident that you were doing what is aligned and most in step with supporting you and your body and don't feel you have to over explain yourself. That's the other thing and I don't know if it's life stage of where I am, but I'm definitely in a stage where I no longer feel I have to explain myself. I tried to just be respectful and respond to people's questions or concerns but by the same token, one of the things that I think we as a group of clinicians have not talked to our patients enough about consistently is the value in the power of N of one. Meaning, you as an individual and doing a degree of experimentation to find what works best for you, your lifestyle, etc.
Melanie Avalon: Exactly. I love that. All right, shall we jump into some questions?
Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely.
Melanie Avalon: To start things off, we have a question from Sandra and the subject is: "Please help me." And Sandra says, "Hello, beautiful ladies, first of all thank you so much for the amazing work you do with this podcast. I absolutely love it. Love the chit chat, the tangents, the honesty, and your personalities. I'm 29 and according to my blood work, perfectly healthy and yet I have all the symptoms of someone with hypothyroidism. I started IF exactly a year ago on March 14th, 2019 and had great results not only a weight loss, but also in my general wellbeing until this February. In the past one month and a half, I've gained the 25 pounds I had lost. I'm 5'1" and I'm weighing 135 pounds. I know the number on the balance isn't everything, but my pants don't fit me anymore and I feel extremely bloated, heavy, tired, and sluggish. I'm also presenting symptoms of IBS, bloating, abdominal pain, and constipation. I'm a Mexican student living and working in California. I've been to see several doctors including naturopaths and no one seems to know what's wrong with me. All my tests come back normal, but I feel so awful it's hard to function. I really don't know what to do and would love some guidance, advice, and help. Thank you so much. Love, Sandra."
Cynthia Thurlow: Oh, Sandra, goodness, there is clearly something going on. If you have gained 25 pounds in a short amount of time, I think more so than anything, the fact that you sound from what you've described that you sound like classic symptoms of potentially an underactive thyroid. I think that you need to find an integrative medicine or functional medicine doctor, MD, Nurse Practitioner, PA in your area. When people say, everything's normal, that to me sounds very aligned with an allopathic perspective. And so, the reason why I'm encouraging you to not settle with people telling you what's going on is normal. It is not normal because there's some degree of metabolic imbalance that's going on that has precipitated you feeling so poorly and it could be any number of things, which is far beyond the context of this podcast and that's why I think if you go to and I have no affiliation with IFM, but www.ifm.org, you can put in your zip code or your part of California that you live in, and you can find providers in your area that have special testing to look beyond just the traditional labs and labs that are covered by insurance, but looking at a full thyroid panel, looking at an iron panel, looking to see what else might be going, looking at your sex hormones, your blood counts, your chemistry panels, really diving into what's going on, probably doing some potential stool testing, food sensitivity testing, etc., but I would not settle for someone telling you that everything is normal if you feel that poorly. And to me, it's almost the analogy of peeling an onion. There're probably multiple layers of things that could potentially be contributing to one another, but you need an absolutely thorough diagnostic evaluation. Again, IFM, no affiliation with them, but that's generally where I send people that live in parts of the country, where perhaps I don't know have a personal recommendation in their area, but there's absolutely a provider that can help you.
Melanie Avalon: Awesome. Yeah, I think that's an amazing resource and I really empathize with you, Sandra, because it's so common and it's so confusing, and I've been there and often have existed there, which is just not knowing and not being able to find somebody who can help you and just not knowing what the source is. And I remember for me, especially when I was at the really-- And I'd be curious of your thoughts on this, Cynthia. When I was at my really low point with my energy levels and everything I was experiencing and before I knew exactly what was going on, I remember on the one hand thinking like, "I should be able to just intuitively figure this out." If I just listen to my body, I should be able to eat the foods that nourish me, and I should be able to sleep, and I should be able to rest, and I should be able to get better.
But looking back, I actually don't-- I don't know that I could have intuitively lived my way out of my situation, because for me it ended up being severe anemia to the point of hospitalization and ended up being mercury toxicity, thyroid issues all along the way and I guess, I just say that to say the importance of finding a practitioner who will test and find the things that are happening. Does that question make sense? I've been haunted by this question for so long, like, feeling like you should be able to just intuitively get better versus needing to test and work with somebody.
Cynthia Thurlow: I'm probably not the best person to ask that up, because I come from a clinical background and to me, as she's describing what's happening, I'm thinking a really thorough medical history is important and then you need testing to backup what you're already thinking. And so, I think for anyone that's listening, even people like myself with as much knowledge as I've had, I definitely have had periods where I've had to humbly surrender and let a practitioner figure it out for me. Intuitive to a point, but then I think we also get to a point where we start second guessing ourselves. I'll give you a good example.
I've had hypothyroidism for about six years and was doing pretty well till about two years ago when my Nature Throid was taken off the market and many people that are probably listening, they probably have been on a series of different medications. And now, I truly believe I'm working with probably one of the smartest physicians I've ever met in my entire life. And I don't just say that, because I know him personally as well as professionally. And I'm on compounded medication now and he is checking my thyroid levels every two weeks and he has told me, he said, "You have one of the most interesting thyroid panel results I've ever seen." And I was like, "I don't necessarily want to have the most interesting thyroid panel you've ever seen." But I do feel sometimes. we have to wait to work with the people that are going to be able to get us to the next level.
And so, part of why I'm saying this in the context of answering Sandra's question is really understanding that the right practitioner is out there and it sounds like she's taking account of all the things she's experiencing and now, just needs the right practitioner to help her figure it all out. Really looking at that relationship as a partnership, so that they can work together, because how many people listening irrespective of what age they are are being told exactly these things, you have all these constellation of symptoms, you feel terrible, and you're being told everything's normal. And it's not normal, right? And so, part of this is empowerment and part of this is getting connected to the right people.
Melanie Avalon: I'm so glad you mentioned that about your experience with the hypothyroidism, especially-- I know I've mentioned my journey and especially the doctor I'm working with now that I started working with because I actually found her under my insurance. Upfront, she actually tested all the things like TSH, free T3, reverse T3, everything and she seemed to really understand. But as we progress, the decisions she's making based on my thyroid medication, they don't make sense. They don't make sense and she also like you're mentioning your practitioner tests every two weeks. She's like, "Well, we'll test in three, or four, or five months." I don't know, after changing your dose if we should wait that long. All that to say, what Cynthia said at the very beginning answering Sandra's question, which I'm not being a good example of right now but the importance of finding somebody who really understands you can work with you.
I do want to provide a resource actually that might be helpful for Sandra and other listeners. I just interviewed last week. I brought back Doc-Koz. His first book was called Unfunc Your Gut and people loved it. And he has a new book called Get the Func Out. Func is spelled F-U-N-C. It's like a play on functional medicine. That book is very comprehensive and covers basically the seven hormones that he thinks are related to health like fatigue and issue, thyroid related hormones, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, all these things. It's very, very helpful and eye opening and he actually lists all of the tests that he likes specifically and I think it's just a valuable resource. Or, if you do find a practitioner to work with, especially if it is a conventional doctor under your insurance, it's empowering because you can actually have a list of things that your doctor might be opening to test. So, I'll put a link in the show notes. Actually, by the time this airs, because that book is coming out pretty soon, yeah because this episode comes out the 17th. It will be coming out next week. So, I'll put links to that in the show notes. Okay, shall we go on to our next question?
Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely. This is from Tracy. Subject is: "Gum." "Hi, ladies. I'm thankful for your guys' podcasts and I think I've converted at least a dozen people since I started back in October. One being my husband, who has blown me out of the water with opening his window on 5 PM or 6 PM and closing it four to five hours later. He looks great and has lost all his pregnancy sympathy weight. He calls it ha-ha and then my mom who is down 30 to 40 pounds in the last four to five months or so with an average 12 to six-window. I am a hairstylist and I'm constantly in people's faces. I start work around 1 PM or 2 PM a couple days a week and much earlier on Saturdays.
I prefer to chew gum throughout the day to make sure I'm not breathing bad breath at my clients. I brush my teeth often, but I just can't handle the thought of not having a piece of gum in my mouth while I'm talking away. I've tried the WOW Drops and peppermint essential oil, but it is just not the same in at times I'm working without any breaks for hours at a time. Would it be beneficial at all if I chewed gum a couple of hours before opening my window while working or would it just be the same as having cream in my coffee at the same time? I love to advocate the clean fast. I have kept 20 pounds off back to pre-baby weight thanks to intermittent fasting and working out three to four days a week as of having a baby in late June, but would like to continue to keep losing maybe another 10 to 15 pounds. I've been staying around the same size for a few months now. I know I lose weight when I can fast for longer periods of time consistently, but I'm struggling with workday fasting. I used to start work later in the day. So, this was not an issue.
I find myself opening my window with food earlier on work days and leaving it open way past the eight hours, just so I can chew gum and eat after my day is over with my husband. I could care less about chewing gum when I'm not at work and closing my window early in the evening just doesn't work for me. My perfect scenario would be a 19:5 opening my window on 3 PM or 4 PM. Thank you and sorry, if this is a no brainer. I just wanted to know you guys’ thoughts and if you had other ideas on how to work around this."
Melanie Avalon: Awesome. Well, thank you, Tracy for your question. I'm just reading it. Cynthia, are you reading this as the gum is triggering her hunger, making her want to open her window earlier to eat? Is that how you're reading this?
Cynthia Thurlow: I think I can read it from two angles that or that she wants to chew gum because the purpose of the gum is to keep her breath smelling fresh for her customers and her clients and we could unpack that a couple different ways.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, because she says, I find myself opening my window with food earlier on workdays and leaving it open way past the eight hours, just so I can chew gum and eat after my day is over. I'm not understanding is, is she opening the window with food, so she can chew the gum or is she chewing the gum which makes her hungry, which makes her open the window with food?
Cynthia Thurlow: I think it's more the latter. That's my assumption.
Melanie Avalon: Okay. In any case, I guess, regardless of the details, the gum situation is making her open her window earlier for whatever reason. So, Tracy, I as well have a slight borderline obsession with clean breath. And there's a reason because of this. I think I've shared this story on the podcast before. I don't know, I think I have. No, it was right after graduating, I went on a date with a man and I had gone through like a garlic phase. I just discovered garlic and I didn't realize how intense garlic was. And this was a first date with this guy and it was blind. I think he hit on me in Costco and asked me out. I don't know, but we had mutual friends. I went out on one date and then at the end, he tried to kiss me and I don't, in case boys are wondering, I'm not going to kiss you on the first date. So, I refused that kiss and then he made a comment about how I had had garlic earlier and then he said, but I should be flattered that he still wanted to kiss me even though of the garlic.
In any case, that was a little bit traumatic for me and ever since then I have been uber obsessed with fresh breath. It's a problem. And it's the reason that I started using that peppermint oil spray that she talks about which we've started a fandom with on the show. We'll put links to it in the show notes. And it's on ifpodcast/stuffwelike. And I realized Tracy said, it doesn't really work for her, but it's a game changer for me. I basically just put a few drops of organic food grade peppermint essential oil, and water in these adorable little glass bottles that they have on Amazon and I keep those in my purse. Those really work for me. They're way more potent than chewing gum and they just clear out my whole head.
All of that to say, Tracy, I know, you think gum is the only answer to the bad breath situation. But I would challenge you that gum is not the only answer. There are other answers here. One, it has actually nothing to do with the actual freshening of the breath. What you're eating and the timing of it and how you're digesting can have a huge effect on your breath. And also, obviously, the garlic is an example of something that stays with you, but there are things that you eat that because of those sulfur compounds and things like that will have a lasting effect on your breath the next day. I personally know that based on what I'm eating, it can affect how my breath smells.
Something that might be really, really helpful. I recently aired an episode with a company called Bristle. They are incredible. They test your oral microbiome, which nobody is testing the oral microbiome. I’m becoming obsessed with this company, because I had thought for a long time that the oral microbiome was a big deal and nobody was talking about it and I'm pretty-- The more I learn about it through Bristle, the more I'm realizing that was the case. I aired an episode with Danny Grannick, who is one of the founders. I'll put a link to that in the show notes. It is the most eye-opening conversation ever about the oral microbiome.
If you do Bristle, they'll test your oral microbiome and then it's all science based and they make personalized recommendations based on your gut bacteria. You basically get a list of results and it will show how your personal gut bacteria correlates to things like cavities, and gum disease, and halitosis, which is bad breath and then it provides personalized recommendations, not for products made by them, just ingredients that can address that. I would get that and I would follow the recommendations for the halitosis, because there might be some products that can work for you and I know the products, I know there can be a lot of debate about the toxicity of mouthwashes and things like that, but I think it's a very complicated situation and I think especially if you listen to my episode with Danny, you'll realize how there are multiple approaches to this, like, food, diet also products may work.
I know, for example, I actually really like TheraBreath, the one that is unflavored and doesn't have any sweeteners or anything in it but it has an ingredient in it that specifically-- this is such a casual way of describing it. It deactivates the sulfur-producing bacteria, I think. I'm probably not correctly communicating what it does. But in any case, it has a lasting effect that really for me lasts all day. So, that might be something to try. All of that said, I will get Bristle-- Oh, if you'd like a discount, you can go to melanieavalon.com/bristle, B-R-I-S-T-L-E and the coupon code, MELANIEAVALON will get you a discount. I had to ask them for this. It will actually get you a discount on their subscriptions as well, which those are already discounted. So, that's actually a really good route to go, especially if you think you're going to be retesting.
I would do that. I would reconsider that maybe you don't have to be chewing gum. I know you said you don't like the peppermint spray. Maybe if you just reevaluate and try it again. I know she said she doesn't like it. I just think there are other options than chewing gum. As far as if the gum actually breaks the fast, there're a lot of ingredients and different gums, a lot of them can be sweet and just the chewing process, I don't know that our brains know that when we're chewing gum, that it's not food. It's a very food stimulating process. It's definitely sending mixed signals to our body. I'm not a fan of chewing gum during the fast. And you're experiencing the effects of that. You're saying, it makes you more hungry. So, I would just reframe, if maybe that you can try some other options. Oh, I also really like oil pulling every morning. Cynthia, that was long.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. No, that was a very comprehensive response. I would just echo that. I understand that desire to have clean breath. I am not a coffee drinker and so, when I used to round on patients in the hospital, I would actually chew gum, but discreetly chew gum. No one knew I was chewing gum, because one of my biggest pet peeves are when people chew gum in a noticeable way, which I know is not the question. But I always tuck gum up into my gum. And so, I would chew it in between seeing patients. And during the pandemic, I stopped chewing gum, because obviously, I was home and there was no need to do it. And I realized, I actually didn't enjoy chewing gum. I just felt this compulsion. It became a compulsion when I was in the car or when I was seeing patients and so, what that has demonstrated for me and why I think this is relevant to Tracy is that what I really need to do is be hydrating more, because when your mouth is hydrated with water, that breath concern is not a concern, because sometimes dehydration will mitigate the feeling of having poor smelling breath and the other thing is, a lot of people drink copious amounts of coffee and so that can give them that kind of stale appearance.
But the other thing that I would loop into what Melanie said is, Trina Felber is an advanced practice nurse and she has a company called Primal Life Organics. I've learned a lot about mouth care and the mouth microbiome. And so, I do tongue scraping every morning, I use her clean dental products, which don't disrupt the mouth microbiome and we'll link up that podcast I did with her, as well as a discount to Primal Life Organics. But I really do think looking closely at what you're eating, what you're drinking, and then also oral microbiome care can be hugely impactful. And I think for a lot of people, it's really just a habit. I do think that when you're chewing gum, your body thinks you're going to be eating food that you're actually going to swallow food. And so, do you get a cephalic phase insulin response potentially. Most of the gums that last a long time in terms of flavor have artificial flavors in them. They've got sucralose, they've got a lot of chunky things. Let's be clear, the gums that are clean don't last very long and that's from personal experience I can tell you. You definitely want to try to mitigate the net impact of some of those foods as much as you can. Then does it mean that you'll go from chewing gum all day long to not chewing gum? Probably not, but maybe integrating some of these other thoughts and I do like Melanie’s suggestion to rethink whether it's you're chewing on a fennel seed, or you're trying the WOW Drops, or using some essential oils, or you're drinking more water, those actually have some health benefits versus gum unfortunately has a lot of things about it that probably are not ideal to be doing all the time and it sounds like it's actually making you hungrier, which makes sense that your body thinks food is coming.
The other thing that I just have to loop in here is that you're obviously a young woman still probably at peak childbearing age. Fasting for your menstrual cycle is really important. You may find that you struggle more on days when you're closer to getting your period and you really want to know that there are times in your cycle where it's ideally optimized to fast from the day you start bleeding up until ovulation. And then as you're getting closer to your menstrual cycle, the last five to seven days, you may want to back off on the fasting a little bit. And certainly, it sounds you've got a very tight window, a very narrow window. And the last piece that all add in here is, just making sure you're eating enough food. You were saying you're still trying to lose more weight and your body may think that you're not eating food, if you're not able to get two good-sized meals into a pretty tight window. So, those are my thoughts. I hope that's helpful.
Melanie Avalon: That was so helpful. You exactly articulated what I was trying to articulate, but you're much better, because you had the personal experience, which was, like, you're talking about how you really thought you needed it and then you realized it was a habit. It wasn't really about the gun per se, because it's interesting. Tracy was saying that the WOW Drops and the peppermint essential oil aren't the same. If the goal is addressing the clean breath, drops and the peppermint essential oil, they're going to have a very similar effect. So, it not being the same as probably that habitual aspect of wanting to chew the gum like Cynthia was experiencing. That was very powerful. Also, I forgot, do you do tongue scraping, Cynthia?
Cynthia Thurlow: I do. I do every day. Actually, it's become part of my morning ritual that my husband thinks is really funny and I'm like, "Oh, but look at all the stuff you pull off your tongue." [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: It's game changer for me.
Cynthia Thurlow: Mm-hmm. That's great for breath and everything else. I remember feeling paranoid when I was rounding. If I didn't have a mint or gum, it was because I had been conditioned. I probably walked around dehydrated all day long, because I didn't want to have to pee, God forbid. If you're dehydrated, you can get funky breath just from that. In many ways, I think the freedom of not chewing gum anymore is that I don't feel that way. It's like, "Oh, I'm feeling my breath is getting funky. I'm going to go drink some water." And then inevitably, I feel between that and tongue scraping and changing my dental products has really made a big impact in a positive way.
Melanie Avalon: Awesome. Definitely, report back Tracy, if you find something that works for you implementing all of this. So, awesome.
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Melanie Avalon: Shall we answer one more question?
Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely. This comes from Anna. The subject is: "fasting, electrolytes, and hot humid weather." Anna says, "Hi, ladies, I love the podcast. Definitely wouldn't have got through the first few months of one meal a day, 23:1 to 20:4 without it as it took me two months to become fat adapted. I've been doing one meal a day for two to three months and now that I'm fat adapted, it's become so easy and the scale hasn't moved much. I thought I'd try a 48-hour fast. I have the weight to lose 25 plus kilograms. I work outdoors in the hot, humid tropics, very sweaty. I drink around 7 to 10 liters of water a day around 2 gallons. I also clean fast. 48-hour fast was going so well. I was feeling completely fine and happy at work until around hour 43, I suddenly got blurry spots in my vision, felt extremely lightheaded, and really couldn't focus. I could hardly see or think. I'm wondering if this is just because I didn't supplement with electrolytes. I honestly thought a two-day fast should be fine and it felt so good until the eye floaters popped up. I felt normal the next day again after eating and sleeping. I am a healthy besides being overweight ha-ha young woman. I just wanted to write in because I think a lot of the info you guys give out is more suitable for indoor workers and more temperate climates than where I live. Thank you both so much for all your hard work on this podcast."
Cynthia Thurlow: Well, thank you, Anna for your question. I would say, first and foremost, there's a couple things that come to mind. I think if you're working in an outdoor environment where it's very hot and humid, you're doing a lot of sweating and you're not using electrolytes you're setting yourself up to become dehydrated very easily. I love that you clean fast. I think that's very important but electrolytes and fasting go together. It's not an either/or. In fact, I teach women all the time that you salt your food, use electrolytes and no it's not a couple sprinkles of salt in your water. You need a comprehensive product. And so, understanding the role of magnesium, and potassium, and chloride, and sodium is very, very important. We know that when you're in a fasted state, you're also going to upregulate excretion of sodium in your urine. Even though, you're consuming 2 gallons of water a day, you're not going to hold on to it. So, you will get dehydrated.
You mentioned what sounds to me, you became symptomatic during a longer fast which I also wouldn't recommend, if you're in an outside environment and you're going a long period of time. A couple things for anyone who's fasting, especially if you're in a hot, humid environment, you're outside, water with electrolytes together throughout the day. There are plenty of clean products on the market. I think about unflavored LMNT, I think about Redmond's, I also have a product called Simply Hydration, that's also safe to take, it will not break a clean fast. And then if you're comfortable consuming stevia sweetened product, LMNT also makes a wonderful product with lots of flavors. My favorite is orange, obsessed with it. In my house, grapefruit is also a very popular option as well but I think if you're setting yourself up for longer fasts and you're not using electrolytes, that's a great concern.
The other thing is, you're mentioning that you're in a position where you still want to lose more weight and I think that you probably need to have some varying amounts of time in which you're eating. You have a very compressed feeding window, you're not going to be able to get enough protein in a very compressed feeding window. I would recommend at least two meals in a feeding window. If you really like OMAD and that's your preference, then I would ensure that you are not over fasting because your body may be holding on to everything in an effort to-- because it perceives that you're not bringing on enough food in an unfed state. So, just some things to consider but I would say electrolytes are going to be your friend, you want to embrace them, find a product you like.
And then the other thing is, I know Mel and I’ve both on several podcasts with Robb Wolf. We'll be happy to link up our podcasts with him but he provides some really compelling research and information that makes electrolyte utilization really important with fasting. And then lastly, I don't know how old you are but you want to make sure that you're not over fasting in a timeframe around when you'll get your menstrual cycle, because that can also make it quite challenging to fast effectively.
Melanie Avalon: That was so comprehensive and so helpful.
Cynthia Thurlow: Thank you.
Melanie Avalon: Appropriately enough. LMNT is a sponsor on today's episode. You can actually go and listen to wherever we run that ad in this show. So, if you go to drinklmnt.com/ifpodcast, that's D-R-I-N-K-L-M-N-T dot com slash ifpodcast I believe the offer right now is eight single serving packets for free with any order. So, like Cynthia mentioned, the unflavored one is just epic and wonderful to be clean fast friendly and then depending on the context, they do have a lot of really amazing flavors. And word on the street. Have you made--? Oh, wait, you don't really drink. I know a lot of people make a margarita with the citrus salt one. Yeah, so, I think everything that Cynthia said, I echo. Those are really great suggestions.
I did want to clarify because she was saying that the info that we give may be more suitable for indoor workers in more temperate climates. In general, the longer fasts, I think for anybody they shouldn't just be done casually. I think indoor or outdoor, there's definitely be attention paid to doing it correctly and paying attention to electrolytes. And definitely thank you, Anna, for drawing attention to that. Definitely, if you are in a situation like her, where you're in the elements and it's hot, and dehydration possibly being a factor, needing more water that definitely people should not take that lightly. I know we actually have had questions in the past about that and it definitely can make a big difference and not even just with longer fasts, but with shorter fasts as well. So, yeah, I'd be curious, Anna, if you try it again with electrolytes, let us know how it goes.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, I think it goes without saying, I see a lot of people, men and women that fast and then wonder why they're dizzy, or they've got cramping, or they're new to fasting entirely, and they get "keto flu," and just explain the physiology of the body and how when we are eating a lower carbohydrate diet, and we get these renal losses of sodium, how that can mitigate and precipitate some of the side effects people will experience. And so, I'm not a believer in white knuckling it through fasting and certainly, electrolytes to me go together so beautifully with fasting. You just have to find a product that you like. For me, it's orange salt all the way during my feeding window and then my other product that I have that is not too salty. That's one of the things. Sometimes, people will say, the unflavored varieties are too salty. I totally get it. You just need to dilute it with more water and it'll be totally fine.
Melanie Avalon: Well, I'm so glad you said that, because yes, some people love it as is, but you really can dilute it and make it last longer. I've given one of my friends a lot of boxes of LMNT, and she loves it, and she just drinks them like candy. Some people just like it as is. Okay, awesome. 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 email@example.com or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. You can follow us on Instagram. We are @ifpodcast, I am @melanieavalon, Cynthia is @cynthia_thurlow_. And the show notes for today's episode that will have a full transcript, as well as links to everything that we talked about will be at ifpodcast.com/episode287. All right, well, this was fun, Cynthia. I feel we haven't talked a lot recently, because it's been so crazy. So, it's been really nice to record today.
Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely. And it just means for listeners, we're going to dive right in on our next recording. So, we'll get more questions fit into our discussion.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. So, all right. Well, I will talk to you very soon. But for listeners, we will see you guys all 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.
[Transcription 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
If you enjoyed this episode, please consider leaving us a review in iTunes - it helps more than you know!