Episode 300: AMA! Sleep, Whole Foods, Musical Theater, Bloating, Parasites, Botox, Anti-Aging Skincare, Laser Hair Removal, Favorite Books, And More!

Intermittent Fasting


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Jan 15

Welcome to Episode 300 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.

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

BUTCHERBOX: Grass-Fed Beef, Organic Chicken, Heritage Pork, Wild-Caught Seafood: Nutrient-Rich, Raised Sustainably The Way Nature Intended, And Shipped Straight To Your Door! For A Limited Time Go To butcherbox.com/ifpodcast And Get The New Year Bundle For Free Plus $10 Off When You Sign Up Today. That’s A 14 Oz Pork Tenderloin, 2 Lbs Of Ground Turkey, And 4 Top Sirloin Steaks Free In Your First Box!

BLISSYGet Cooling, Comfortable, Sustainable Silk Pillowcases To Revolutionize Your -Sleep, Skin, And Hair! Once You Get Silk Pillowcases, You Will Never Look Back! Get Blissy In Tons Of Colors, And Risk-Free For 60 Nights, At Blissy.Com/ifpodcast, With The Code ifpodcast For 30% Off!

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To submit your own questions, email questions@IFpodcast.com, or submit your questions here!! 


1:10 - BUTCHERBOX: For A Limited Time Go To butcherbox.com/ifpodcast And Get The New Year Bundle For Free Plus $10 Off When You Sign Up Today. That’s A 14 Oz Pork Tenderloin, 2 Lbs Of Ground Turkey, And 4 Top Sirloin Steaks Free In Your First Box!

4:05 - BEAUTYCOUNTER: Keep Your Fast Clean Inside And Out With Safe Skincare! Shop With Us At melanieavalon.com/beautycounter or beautycounter.com/cynthiathurlow And Use The Code CLEANFORALL20 For 20% Off PLUS Something Magical Might Happen After Your First Order! Find Your Perfect Beautycounter Products With Melanie's Quiz: Melanieavalon.Com/Beautycounterquiz
Join Melanie's Facebook Group Clean Beauty And Safe Skincare With Melanie Avalon To Discuss And Learn About All The Things Clean Beauty, Beautycounter And Safe Skincare!

IF Biohackers: Intermittent Fasting + Real Foods + Life

13:30 - Listener Q&A: Nicole - What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone looking to get healthier? 

16:50 - Listener Q&A: Samantha - I know you are a musical theater fan, what is your favorite musical?

20:00 - BLISSY: Get Blissy In Tons Of Colors, And Risk-Free For 60 Nights, At blissy.com/ifpodcast, With The Code IFPODCAST For 30% Off!

13:30 - Listener Q&A: Alani - What are your tricks for keeping your stomach from puffing out?

16:50 - Listener Q&A: David - Have either of you taken a DNA stool analysis for parasites?

Episode 296: Berberine, Insulin Sensitivity, Glucose Control, Gut Health, Liver Health, Body Recomposition, AMPK Activation, Cholesterol Control, And More!

36:40 - Listener Q&A: Amy - Loved last episode where you both admitted you color your hair without shame in not using cleaner options. I would be curious what other things are you willing to “bend” the rules for?

50:40 - ATHLETIC GREENS: Get A FREE 1 Year Supply Of Immune-Supporting Vitamin D AND 5 FREE Travel Packs With Your First Purchase At athleticgreens.com/ifpodcast.

52:20 - Listener Q&A: Damon - Laser hair removal, is it worth it?

55:00 - Listener Q&A: Kimberly - What are your top 3 book recommendations besides your own?

1:00:35 - Listener Q&A: Danielle - What is your favorite holiday tradition?

1:04:40 - Listener Q&A: Lesley - I work at HOTWORX 24 hour infrared fitness studio. What do you think about a 3d workout? Heat, exercise, infrared sauna?

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 300 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. I’m here with my cohost, Cynthia Thurlow, Nurse Practitioner and author of Intermittent Fasting Transformation: A 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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All of their beef is 100% grass-fed and grass-finished and they work personally with all the farmers to truly support the regenerative agriculture system. I also did an interview with Robb Wolf on my show, The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast, all about the massive importance of supporting regenerative agriculture for the sustainability of not only ourselves but the planet. This is so important to me. I’ll put a link to that in the show notes. The value is incredible. The average cost is actually less than $6 per meal and it’s so easy. Everything ships directly to your door and it is so delicious. I love carpaccio for example. The ButcherBox steaks are incredible for that. That’s how you know it’s good steak when you can eat it rare like that and ButcherBox has an incredible offer for our audience.

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One more thing before we jump in, are you fasting clean inside and out. So, 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 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. So, 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 disruptors, 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.

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Conventional lipstick, for example, often tests 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 out 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.

And lastly, if you’re thinking of making Clean Beauty and Safe Skincare a part of your future like we have, we definitely recommend becoming a Band of Beauty member. It’s sort of like Amazon Prime for Clean Beauty. You get 10% back in product credit, free shipping on qualifying orders, and a welcome gift that is worth way more than the price of the yearlong membership. It is totally, completely worth it. So, again, to shop with us, go to beautycounter.com/melanieavalon or beautycounter.com/cynthiathurlow and use the coupon code CLEANFORALL20 to get 20% off your first order. And we’ll put all this information in the show notes. All right, now back to the show.

Hi, everybody, and welcome. This is Episode number 300 of the Intermittent Fasting Podcast. Very exciting milestone episode here. I'm Melanie Avalon, and I'm here with Cynthia Thurlow. How are you, Cynthia? 

Cynthia Thurlow: I'm doing well despite navigating travel back to small airports. I was laughing/texting with you last night sharing all the insights I was gleaming being stuck in an airport for 7 hours with a long delay. 

Melanie Avalon: Yes, were talking about the food options, healthy or not, fasting or not in airport layovers, so I'm glad you survived. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, I know it's funny. I'm such an observer as an introvert, like, I just love to people watch. The behaviors that I was watching yesterday intermittently between reading a book, listening to a podcast, reading another book, binging on something on Netflix was just the behavioral patterns. I think people feel a lot of pressure to eat constantly when they're in airports, and I just find that all super fascinating. I think I was chronicling how it doesn't matter what airport I go to. I can generally get a naked burger and a salad and that's typically what I do. 

Actually, the waiter yesterday, it was funny. I got off my flight from LA and Chicago and I was like, okay, plenty of time. I have two and a half hours, I'll be great. I went to a restaurant, got my burger, read a book. I was totally by myself. I was totally in my zone. And then get to my gate and then we realized we've got, like, mechanical problems. I guess pilots and stewards, stewardesses are only allowed to fly for a certain amount of time every day because of the mechanical delay it turned into. We had a different flight crew. It was like a seven hour instead of a two and a half hour time in between flights. I was texting with Melanie and I said, and then, it's not a good sign when United rolls out the cart of snacks. And the cart of snacks was gone in about two minutes. It was amazing. People were clearly, “starving.” But it was hilarious to kind of watch all this unfold. So, I'm just grateful to be home and the fact that I got a decent amount of night's sleep, and it's my last business trip of the year, so no more traveling for a while. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I feel like it definitely speaks to just how much well, A, we're inundated with food and food advertising and accessibility and also how food is really just a pastime. Like, if we're bored, I'm sure people were hungry as well. It's a comfort. It fills the gap of boredom. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely. I get that, there's no judgment on my part, the psychology behind the way people eat. That's why I always say, like, if you eat enough protein, you're just too full. Even if I had endeavored to eat the bag of Cheez-Its or Goldfish or whatever myriad of stuff they had, I was like, I just grabbed a bottle of water because I was so dehydrated from traveling that I was like, I'll just grab the water, and I'll just try to stay hydrated, and we'll just go from there. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I always fast when traveling. If it was, like, that situation where it was a really long layover, honestly, I would probably still fast. I would probably turn it into a longer fast moment. Just because I don't feel comfortable with lots of food in me and trap. It makes me sluggish and--

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, definitely. I wore-- so people will probably be humored. Like, I've got a whole wardrobe of things I wear when I travel so that I can wear layers. So, I'm never cold, because traveling through Chicago, it was actually the airport was quite cold, which actually wasn't a problem. I was like, okay, I got a sweater. I'll just put that on. I had Spanx, like, leggings on all day because they're super comfortable. They weren't comfortable at, like, hour 18. They were definitely [laughs] when my husband picked me up, I was like, there's too much compression on my stomach and I've been doing a lot of sitting. He was like, “What are you trying to tell me?” I said, “You know how I talk about like there are specific things I wear when I travel. This is not the outfit. If I'm doing more than like 14 hours of travel, there's just too much compression on my stomach.” My stomach was like not happy with me at all. 

Melanie Avalon: I can't wear Spanx at all. That's how you don't have GI issues. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, they're definitely different. They're super comfortable actually. It's just that amount-- it would be like trying to wear like, Lululemon tights all day long and traveling. It's a lot of compression on your gut. 

Melanie Avalon: Well, speaking of--

Cynthia Thurlow: Probably TMI. This is a good segue into our Q&A because it's like there may be a little TMI today. 

Melanie Avalon: So, for listeners, we really wanted to celebrate Episode 300, quite a milestone. There're a lot of episodes, I think actually for every, well, there's only been two other 100 miles markers. So, Episode 100 and Episode 200. I think for both of those we did an AMA episode. So, continuing the tradition going to do and ask me anything. We got so many amazing questions that we're anticipating. This will probably be a part one, part two, maybe a part three. We'll see how it goes. We got so many really great questions in the Facebook Group which people should join, which is IF Biohackers: Intermittent Fasting + Real foods + Life. That's my personal Facebook group. I asked in that group for ask me anything questions and we got so many. What I did was I divided them into categories. I think we'll just alternate between more personal ones, more health and wellness-related ones. We'll just see where it goes. I have a lot of questions. I'm very excited about this. So, Cynthia, should we jump in?

Cynthia Thurlow: Yes, we should. 

Melanie Avalon: I'm thinking we might because I have, like I said, it's by categories, so I might alternate with the lifehack ones and the likes and things like that with the more health related. Here's a good lifehack that's kind of both. And this comes from Nicole. "What's one piece of advice you'd give someone looking to get healthier?"

Cynthia Thurlow: Oh, gosh. I think and it's funny, I was out in LA and I did four podcasts and pretty consistently the one for me is sleep as a foundational element to health for anyone at any stage of life. I would say really investing in high quality sleep and really starting with the foundations. Not necessarily rushing to a supplement, but doing the things that we know improve sleep quality, daily exercise, light exposure in the morning, getting off electronics, wearing blue blockers, making sure you don't eat two to three hours before bed unless you're a unicorn. I think those are the things that I really think about. I think we like to make things very complicated. I always say before you even think about adding a supplement, make sure you're doing the sleep hygiene pieces. Sleeping in a cold, dark room. I sleep with a sleep mask. I keep the thermostat at 65 degrees. In fact, it was funny when I came home last night, it was 69 degrees on our second floor. The first thing I said to my family was, “Oh, we're going to drop the thermostat because I need it at 65.” Everyone was like, “We've been sleeping at a much warmer temperature.” And I'm like, “I can't do that.” So, I would probably say focusing in on sleep first and then adding supplements if you still need additional support. How about you, Melanie?

Melanie Avalon: That's a good one. I'm actually surprised I didn't think of sleep as the first thing. Whenever people ask me what's the most important thing for me to focus on, I think I normally do say sleep. So, I'm really glad you tackled it. I was thinking on the diet side of things and I was really torn between eating whole foods not the store, but like, foods in their whole form, because that's macro-agnostic, but I just think if we just return to eating real food, that can have a profound effect on people's health. I was torn between that and fasting [laughs] surprise, but I actually think I would go the whole foods route.

Cynthia Thurlow: And I think that's really important. I am a huge advocate of saying that it all starts with food, and I see so many people that are quick to embrace the latest fad irrespective of what it's leaning into. I just remind people, if we just keep things simple, focusing in on sleep, eating as nutrient dense foods as you can, I think that's really, really helpful.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I obviously think so as well. I think between those two, honestly, if somebody's not addressing those two things and then they address those two things, I think the profound effect it would have on so many people's health would be crazy. You don't even have to be really specific or do like a certain type of diet, but that combined with the sleep, very powerful. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, absolutely. Keep it simple. I mean if there's one tried-and-true message that I think both of us discuss consistently is keep things simple because if we try to make too many changes all at once, it's overwhelming. It's hard to stay, I hate to use the word compliant, but that's the easiest way to put it. It's hard to be consistent when you're trying to change five things at once. That's what I think most people do. I mean, I certainly have been guilty of it myself, but pick one thing at a time and really lean into it and master it and then move on to something else. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay, here's the fun one and she addressed it to me, but we can both answer it. It's from Samantha. She said, “Melanie, I know you are a musical theater fan. What is your favorite musical?” 

So, I'll go ahead and answer that. I think I might have answered this on another AMA. This question, I always feel mischaracterizes me because my answer is musicals that, it sounds like a cop out, like, “Oh, she doesn't watch musicals because she's listing,” the one that everybody says, but I promise you I listen to so many musicals. But there's a reason that these two musicals are what they are, which is Phantom and Wicked. They're just so amazing. But then my runner ups are next to normal Jekyll & Hyde and Hamilton. I know she said your favorite, but there're so many, and then I have, like 50 million more. How about you, Cynthia? 

Cynthia Thurlow: A few of those I've seen. I grew up in New Jersey, and so my mom really prioritized taking me to Broadway, and so I did that throughout my childhood. For me, I would say Rent I loved. I mean, I still can listen to the music Wicked, I saw that on Broadway with the original cast just by complete happenstance.

Melanie Avalon: Whoa. Okay, I have a question. Oh, I have a question. Did you see it because when it first came out, it was a bomb like it didn't-- Did you see it before it got famous? 

Cynthia Thurlow: No, I saw it afterwards, it was with Kristin Chenoweth and--

Melanie Avalon: So, there was fanfare surrounding it when you saw it, because when it first came out, it did not take off. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, because it was 2005/2006 somewhere around there, because I was up there for a medical conference, and my girlfriend was like, “We should go see this play.” And I was kind of like, “Okay.” I had no idea what it was really even about. I just saw Hamilton, and I've been wanting to see Hamilton on Broadway for, I don't know, five years and with the pandemic that kind of nixed our ability to do that and that was amazing. To me, I have so much respect and reverence for people that work in the creative arts. I am not the least bit like, don't ask me to sing, don't ask me to act or dance in front of other people. I would be so embarrassed. I'd want to crawl in a hole, but I love to watch really talented people perform. I just have so much respect and admiration because it's so very different than where my zones of genius are.

As I was sitting there watching Hamilton with my husband and my boys, and I was like, “God, I feel so lucky to be in this zone of greatness.” Like, watching these really talented actors and actresses do what they do best.

Melanie Avalon: That is the exact way I feel. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. I'm the kind of person, I actually get emotional when I'm watching people when they're really, really good at what they do whether it's dancing or singing or a play. I get a little like teary. It's almost like out of total admiration that I'm witnessing their greatness. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, no, I feel the same and actually, I had a similar experience. I saw the original cast of Next to Normal. It was one of those things where I went in like you to Wicked like I didn't really know what I was going into and then I was just blown away. Ah, love musicals. 

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Here's another one and this kind of relates to what we were talking about earlier, “What are your tricks for keeping your stomach from puffing out? Do you use Spanx for that?”

Cynthia Thurlow: I mean, I don't generally have issues related to bloating. I'm probably blessed genetically with some of this on my own. Obviously, I no longer get a menstrual cycle, but when I did, when I was sometimes right before my period, and I would feel bloated. Spanx is great for that. There're different layers of levels of Spanx, so it's not all so constrictive you feel like you're going to die. For me, quite honestly, it's finding a balance between protein and vegetables. This is going to sound odd, but I'll kind of layer this in. When I'm eating a very protein dense diet and I'm eating cooked vegetables, I have little to no bloating, but if I go on a salad binge, like, I mean, a lot of raw vegetables, that can sometimes give me a little bit of bloat. I have to kind of moderate that. 

I got most of my bloating quite honestly from gluten and dairy. And now that I don't have those in my diet, it's not as much of an issue. But I can tell you, and I know we have a parasite question in this Google Doc that we're looking at when we talk about parasites. I will tell you about my bloating issues, but generally speaking, not a lot. I think a great deal of that has to do with dietary choices and not overeating. Like, I feel so miserable if I've overeaten or if I've eaten too much food that I just-- I know where my sweet spot is and if I'm kind of leaning into the protein and cook vegetables, I do really well. How about you? 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, well, first thing I wrote was just suck it in. [both laughs]

Cynthia Thurlow: Well, I mean, here's the other thing before you say the next thing. A lot of people when they talk about bloating, it's really not bloating. It's because their core is not very strong. So, again, I think some of this is just probably innately how I was made. I've always had a pretty strong core and I've always done Pilates. I've always done a lot of core focused work. If you think about your rectus abdominis and your obliques and all these muscles that work together to kind of hold you in and hold you up, if they're not strong, that can contribute to people perceiving that they're having bloating, when it's really just they have muscles that need a little bit of work, if that helps. 

Melanie Avalon: So that's interesting. That writes me of two things. One, I have this childhood memory, I don't know how old I was, I was probably like nine or ten and some aunt commented on my stomach sticking out.

Cynthia Thurlow: Oh, well, sometimes kids have like lordosis and it's not even that their stomach sticking out, it's they have like a swayed lower back. It has nothing to do with the belly sticking out.

Melanie Avalon: That's what the aunt said. She was like, “Oh, this runs in the family or something.” But do you know how traumatic that is to be told that.

Cynthia Thurlow: People sometimes are thoughtless. I just don't realize they're filters off. It's like you could have said that or just not said that and we would have all been okay.

Melanie Avalon: Not to like a nine or ten-year-old, but what's interesting is, I think this is a fun little also lifehack, I feel like a good way to get a good core workout. So, I saw Trans-Siberian Orchestra recently. I realized I have my crazy concert outfit, which is like this really massive spark-- It looks like a dress, but not really because it's a two-piece, so it's like midriff bearing and then it's this massive sparkly dress. You can see it on my Instagram. It's incredible. In any case, I feel like it's a good hack to get a stomach workout if you wear something like that out, because then you're consciously holding in your stomach, like the entire time, unless you forget. But my first tip was just suck it in.

My second tip [laughs] was based on the digestion and finding the diet that works for you. For me, digestive enzymes are game changers for that. Finding a digestive enzyme supplement that works might help. Also, like Cynthia was saying finding the dietary combination a lot of people-- for me low FODMAP works really well and that keeps me not bloated. Also, oh, here's one. If you go carnivore for a lot of people your stomach will probably get very flat. I experienced that. Whenever I do experiment with a time of just meat, there's zero bloating. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Well, when and if we get to the parasite question in this episode, we can talk about this because that's how I knew something was very wrong and very, very wrong. I always say going back to an anti-inflammatory, like a real anti-inflammatory diet can sometimes be partial carnivore or carnivore for a couple of weeks can really be hugely impactful. But I always say just perceiving you have bloating is very different than looking six months pregnant bloating. There's that continuum that I think is important to identify. 

Melanie Avalon: I'm starting to think this might be like a four-part episode. It'll be like the AMA month. It'll be like January, the AMA month. [laughs] Okay, so, David, "Have either of you taken a DNA stool analysis for parasites?"

Cynthia Thurlow: Yes, multiple times. I have had parasites, more benign parasites, like Blastocystis, which is very common. Let me just back up and say, it is very common to see parasites even in first world countries. Don't think that, oh, you haven't traveled, there's no way you've been exposed. It's really more about exposure and susceptibility. I think that the really exciting story to share is my Morocco tales, because that's where I got the worst food poisoning of my life. I had probably an acute parasite issue that morphed into a fairly significant parasite issue and we believe is a reason why I ended up developing a ruptured appendix and being so sick and necessitated. So, let me back up further and say that you can have an acute reaction to a parasite infestation and then you can have chronic parasitic infections. I have had both and the second one was harder to tease out. 

But I'm grateful that I have amazing colleagues who, as soon as I told them my symptoms, they were like, you definitely have X. I kept saying, “No, no I've done a GI map and it didn't show it.” And I ended up going through a parasite expert who puts your stool, your poop in a slide and looks at it under a microscope. Microscopy, which is pretty important, and I indeed had two parasites, and I had Candida and I had E. coli. Within one dose of antibiotics, I felt like a different person. There was no question there was something wrong with my gut because I had tremendous bloating. By the end of the day, I looked six months' pregnant, which is a problem because there's no way I'm pregnant. I had horrible, horrible gas, like, distinctively bad foul-smelling gas, and I just didn't feel good.

It didn't matter how much I slept, what I ate. It was like as soon as I ate it started this whole bloating, gas, loose stools situation that went on for probably a month until I had gotten the stool results back. It was actually an expensive test that's done out of a lab in New Mexico, But for me, life changing. I didn't want to go on it. I literally had to take one day of one antibiotic to kill this thing. I was so grateful that I had something that could treat it. 

Melanie Avalon: Do you know what antibiotic it was? 

Cynthia Thurlow: As I am saying this. So, this is Giardia. Giardia is generally transmitted in water. If you have like, as an example, doesn't mean everyone has a well. If you are exposed to contaminated water or people that have Giardia and they don't wash their hands after they go to the bathroom, you can get exposed to it. So, I took tinidazole. It's T-I-N-I-D-A-Z-O-L-E. 

Melanie Avalon: Wow. It only took one and it knocks it out? 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, it's like a large bolus of antibiotic. My husband had to be treated, too, even though we didn't test him. Parasites can be transmitted in saliva and sexually. I've done a lot of interesting international travel and this female physician friend of mine was adamant, as soon as I talked to her, she was like, I don't even need to test you, you have Giardia, but I didn't just have Giardia. I had another friend too, [laughs] so it was pretty disgusting. It was like literally one dose of medication and the next day I felt 1000% better. 

Melanie Avalon: Wow. That's crazy. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. Aren't you glad you asked it? I saw that question and I was like I will be happy to answer that question because conventional testing for ova and parasites does not always pick this up. Even the GI Map, which I clinically believe is a really really good test, never picked this up. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, that's one of the things. Because I've done parasite stool testing, I mean, probably multiple times. Honestly, I know some of them have been negative. I don't even remember if some of them pick something up. I just remember at one point I was working with a practitioner and it came back negative. But then he was like, “All your symptoms match parasites.” And he said most people have parasites. He had me do a course of Alinia, are you familiar with that one? 

Cynthia Thurlow: I am not personally, but only because I myself have not written a script for it.

Melanie Avalon: Okay. Yeah. He said that it was like a game-changing anti-parasite drug that revolutionized so many of his patients and it probably helped. It was during the time when I was at a really not feeling well place health wise, so I don't really know what was doing what, but I did do that. I also have done, I've talked about on the show before, have you taken Mimosa pudica? 

Cynthia Thurlow: I have not. I've taken a lot of stuff, but I've not taken that. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness, Cynthia, and listeners, I know they've heard me talk about it before. Okay, this stuff, I should probably do another round of it. So, it doesn't kill anything. So, you don't get detox effects because it's not making anything angry. It's a very sticky gelatinous, something from some tree or something. The thing that's confusing about it and the reason I'm being so hesitant, like you can look it up, people have pictures. If you put it in water, you'll see that it forms a really long mucusy string. So, you end up passing that regardless. It's going to look like you're passing parasites regardless because it just looks like that after it comes out of you. But it will grab things and I swear to you, [laughs] the things that have come out by taking that were shocking to the point where I was like, I can't keep taking this is too scary. 

And that's the response. There are like groups dedicated to this basically, but it's super cheap. You can get on Amazon, Mimosa pudica and maybe I should make this someday. It's crazy, that's all I can say. It's crazy. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. I think what's interesting as a traditionally trained provider, it's always amazing to me that there are a lot of herbs and antimicrobials including berberine as an example. It's a potent antimicrobial that can be very effective at getting rid of pathogens and they don't have the same detrimental impact on the gut microbiome that traditional antibiotics do. Let me be clear, there was no other option for me. There was no antimicrobial that was going to kill what I had because it was so substantial and significant. I'm like, I will be forever grateful that I got some validation. But having said that, it's just nice to know that there's a lot out there that we're still learning about herbs and other potent combinations of different ingredients that can be very beneficial at killing off what does not belong. If you need antibiotics to kill off what does not belong, there is no shame in that either. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, and I think the thing I really want to emphasize about Mimosa is it's not killing anything. It's literally just physically grabbing stuff out of you. That's why people don't get the detox effects like I mentioned. That's why you can actually see an entire thing. It's crazy. [laughs] It's for parasites specifically. Yes, I agree 100% with what you're saying about. There are so many options and alternatives out there and it's nice that there's more and more awareness about it. Especially like with the berberine, people think about that primarily for blood sugar control. We talk about this in Episode 296 with Scott Emmens, I'll put a link to it. It was actually first used in 3000 BC, which is so long ago, and not for blood sugar control. They didn't even know that was a thing back then, but for gut inflammation and yeah, GI health, so crazy.

That actually reminds me of another question on here because I'm not saying antibiotics are bad, but they're definitely something where, there's a cost benefit and we don't want to be inundating ourselves with antibiotics 24/7, but we take them when necessary and they can be life changing like you said. Sort of in that vein, but not really because we don't really have anti-antibiotic rule. But this question is from Amy. She says, “I love the last episode where you both admitted you color your hair without shame [laughs] and not using cleaner options. I would be curious, what other things are you willing to "Bend the rules for?"”

Cynthia Thurlow: I'd probably say, like, if I go to a nice spa, there's an organic one in my area and I know what they use because we have conversations. But if someone takes me for a nice massage or I'm being treated to spa treatments, I do not micromanage what they're using on me because I will then not relax and enjoy myself. I'd probably say things that are leaning into pampering that are like gifts or they're just an experience. It's like I have to kind of readjust my expectations because if I start asking, then I'm going to be hyper focused on everything that's being used and that's actually not a lot of fun. I would probably say that is the other thing that I'm probably-- in that context, I'm probably very laid back versus what I purchase to use on my body at home. Very different. How about you? 

Melanie Avalon: That's so funny. When I go to massage or I get my nails done, I always bring my own stuff, [laughs] actually, and that's good for a question later. I used to think it would be cumbersome, but I mean, I have to be always doing my nails because of my Instagram and stuff like that. There's this one oil, I can put a link to it on Amazon. It's an MCT oil, basically, but it's a massage MCT oil, but it's just organic MCT. You can use it for everything. So, when I get a massage, I bring it with me and they don't care. When I get a manicure, it actually makes it cheaper because then I bring that and I don't have to get all the fancy upgrades and I give them that and I just let them use that for all of the lotion and everything and anything else massage oil wise. And then I got so excited because up until recently, I was having to have them use the scrubs that they have there, but over the holidays, Beautycounter came out with a limited edition scrub and a body polish.

Cynthia Thurlow: I have that. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it's so good. So, for instance, if they still have that, because they tend to have it past the holidays stock up on it. I stocked up on it. So now I actually bring that-- It's one of the gift sets. Now I actually bring that with me to the nail salon as well. My other things that I bend the rules on, well, with wine at home I only drink, Dry Farm Wines. If I'm going out, I look up people know I do this, I look up every single wine and I find the organic ones and that's how I decide. I really want to make an app for this, by the way, so stay tuned. I should make that a goal for 2023 to get this app out there. If I am at a place and there's no organic wine, I will drink nonorganic wine. [laughs] 

I don't enjoy that, but I will. People know I do Emsculpt religiously. I love it. I am very concerned about the amount of radiation that it gives your body, but I think the benefits that I get from it as far as building muscle are amazing. I don't do it on my abs. People ask me that a lot, but I'm a little bit concerned about doing it right over my organs like that. So, I just do basically my extremities, my thighs, my bottom, my butt, my arms. And then this is a big one. This is a big confession. I'm probably going to be writing about this. I haven't done it yet, but I am contemplating doing Botox preventatively in my forehead. I wasn't going to, but I had a consultation and I don't know, I started really thinking about it, like, the preventative action of it and not having wrinkles down the line. So, I think what I'm going to do is because basically it's a trade-off of putting that because it is a neurotoxin. So, putting that into your body and the cost benefit, you just have to weigh the cost benefit, I think, of what matters to you or not. If I do do it, well, A, I'm going to do a ton of research. B, I really want to write a really epic blog post about this if I do it, because I think people will think if you do Botox that means that the rest of your skin care doesn't matter or that you don't value skincare. I think I want to kind of educate people on again. I need to do the research first, but if I proceed with this route, I want to maybe spread the word or awareness about the cost benefits of Botox and also why it's still super important to have really non-toxic clean skin care and why you might have both. So, we shall see.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, and I think that's okay. I've always been very honest. In fact, when I was on Drew's podcast for the second time, we were talking in the context about Liver King. So, I'm sure most listeners know about Liver King and how he predominantly was focusing on this kind of paleolithic lifestyle and eating organ meats. God bless him, he eats organ meats, like, with reckless abandon. Like, it's fascinating. But as soon as I saw him, I remember saying to my son, who was like putting him up on a pedestal, I said you realize that guy is on a lot of steroids. 

Melanie Avalon: That's what everybody says. He denies it. Right? 

Cynthia Thurlow: Well, what came out recently was his steroids, like his anabolic steroid schedule and his stack of growth hormone and a bunch of other things. So, in that context-

Melanie Avalon: I missed that. 

Cynthia Thurlow: -yeah, I was saying it to Drew, I think it's important for people that are in the public eye that are influencers to be very, it's not like you have to disclose everything, but you should be honest. I think it's important for me as a middle-aged woman, in the context of our conversation, to say every year I do ProFractional, which is laser, stimulates collagen and elastin. I think that has a lot to do with why my skin looks really really good. I think some of its genetics and I think some of it's my lifestyle. And then I do Botox, I've done Botox since I was 38. I started doing Botox because I have always had a super mobile forehead and that's where it started. And I still do Botox a couple of times a year. I have done filler a few times. I've had it reversed as well.

I think a lot of if-- you chose to go that route and there's no judgment if you do. You want to work with someone that's incredibly talented. You should never look like you've had work. You should never look like your face is immobile. You should never look like your lips look, like this is just my personal opinion. You shouldn't look like you have massive lips and like crazy high cheekbones and just understanding. I think those products are designed to be used subtly, but I think if you see some people that are in Hollywood that are like the extremes, too much of any one thing is not a good thing. In the context of this conversation, I feel like I should be transparent and say that obviously a laser is pretty benign in terms of stimulating collagen and elastin. I don't per se have a problem with using Botox or fillers very discriminately because so much of the rest of my life is so incredibly healthy and balanced.

And to the person in my DMs recently who was giving me a hard time about the fact that I shared those things. Yeah, this is why people that are in, whether they're influencers, they're in the public eye, this is why people honestly don't want to share because they don't want to be criticized. But I don't care if anyone agrees or disagrees with that decision because to me it's my decision. With that being said, I think I would be doing the listeners a disservice if I didn't share that as well. 

Melanie Avalon: Well, thank you for sharing that and I am so enjoying this conversation. I have some quick thoughts and questions. One, mentioning the laser, is that the same thing as BBL? 

Cynthia Thurlow: So, I'm going to say BroadBand Light is different than the Brazilian butt lift because I very innocently last year said, “Oh, I got BBL.” And people were like, “You did?” 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, you said that to me. I remember you were like, you said you were getting BBL. So, something about the next day and I was like, “Oh goodness, that's like an intense surgery,” because I think we still recorded a podcast maybe the next day. I was like, “How is she doing this right now.” 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, this tells you how long I've been doing BBL. It was preceded the Brazilian butt lift, which I'm told is going out of favor according to my plastic surgeon friends, which is a whole separate tangential rabbit hole that we won't jump down. In conjunction with ProFractional, I do BBL and what it's doing is any brown pigmentation. I don't have a lot of hyperpigmentation in my skin. We do that preceding the ProFractional. I hate it. I hate both of them honestly. It's like a love-hate. I'm doing it in January, which is usually the month I do it. I hide for four days and then I feel fine. With that being said, the laser in and of itself is looking for the pigmentation helps dissolve it. If you have some brown pigmentation, the laser will identify it, it will help dissipate it, but it will actually get darker for a couple of days or maybe a week and then it goes away. 

For me, I think the two of those together have been super powerful. But, for anyone that's just doing BBL - BroadBand Light, it is not painless. Make sure whoever you're working with is like getting you prepared for that because it's almost like having a rubber band snapped against your skin. As you can well imagine, doing it once is not a big deal. If they're doing your whole face that can be painful. Just make sure that they're giving you either topical lidocaine or giving you something to make you feel comfortable. 

Melanie Avalon: Although caveat, also check and make sure your practitioner lets you use that because it was during the podcast last time when we were talking about I was going to go do it and then I put on numbing cream during the podcast, which apparently is some people let you. But, where I went to Ideal Image, which I'll say their name because I think they're the biggest. They're like the go-to place. They do not let you use numbing cream. So, do not use numbing cream if you're going to them.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, and my practitioner, they put it on for you. Like when you arrive, you arrive an hour before your treatment and they put it on for you. With very few exceptions, I'm very comfortable with BBL. There are spots when they do ProFractional that are tender, like along your forehead line. It freaks me out when they do underneath my eyes and my nose is a little sensitive, but beyond that, not bad. Not bad at all. 

Melanie Avalon: I've heard that old therapy is the most painful thing.

Cynthia Thurlow: Morpheus is supposed to be very, very painful. I'm not ready, if someone were to give and actually the person I go to who trains providers all over the United States doesn't use those technologies yet, because she still feels like ProFractional has just as much benefits. But every time I see her, I'm like, “So what's the latest?” And then she'll kind of get me caught up.

Melanie Avalon: What's really interesting though, because you mentioned the laser, so I was talking with a friend about whether or not I should do Botox or not. It's funny because he mentioned people doing lasers and Botox and whether or not you talk about it on social media, it's interesting that for some reason, Botox, I think, has more of a stigma. I have literally no issue talking about BBL or lasers or that seems almost like biohacking in a way, but for some reason, Botox feels more fake. I don't know why because I was thinking about it more, it's not even affecting your skin, it's just paralyzing the muscle underneath so you're not wrinkling your forehead all the time and not forming those lines that last. So, I find that really interesting. I mean, I think you could make the argument that well, maybe not it's because you can make the argument that Botox is biohacking [laughs] but--

Cynthia Thurlow: I think you could and here's the thing, like, I just interviewed Dr. Amy Killen, who's a female biohacker physician, and she's so knowledgeable and offline we were having discussion about some of the things that she does. She's very transparent and that's why I hope to be just as much for listeners so they can kind of get a true sense, like some of this is genetic, some of its lifestyle, and then I get help from other things. That's what we're sharing in the context of this conversation. Amy was talking about, she does all the things, PRP, stem cell stuff. It's very interesting. There's a continuum. It's all very relative. To some people, Botox may be like taboo and then others are like, "I'll do everything up to surgery." Some people are like, "I want to do everything up to surgery and surgery," and there's no judgment provided that you can afford it and you're not body dysmorphic. I think that everyone has to decide what they're comfortable with and what makes sense. From my perspective, I just wanted to add that caveat that I think I want to be fully transparent as a 51-year-old female that I try to do as many things as I can to feel as good as I look internally and reflect that externally as well.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I could not agree more. And then when I was talking to that friend, I said, I was like, “Well, it's a neurotoxin.” He was like, “Well, wine is a neurotoxin.” I was like good point [laughs] or alcohol. Yeah, no, I agree with the perspective and what's important to you and no judgment and just do you.

Cynthia Thurlow: I think it's just a healthier space to exist, and I don't have the emotional bandwidth to sit around and be judgy of other people's choices. It's like as long as you're not hurting anyone, there's very few absolutes where I'm okay, that's not a good decision. If you're harming yourself, a child, an animal, other humans, that's not good. Beyond that, it's like, I just don't have the bandwidth to worry about what everyone else is doing. It's like, if it works for you, that's great. If it doesn't, then course correct. 

Melanie Avalon: Also, one last thing to that point and I mentioned this earlier, but it's like, oh, if you're getting Botox, people might think you're lying about the importance of safe skin care or antiaging skin care. But, if you think about it, they're all really important. Like doing a process where you're paralyzing the muscle and keeping wrinkles from forming from just the mechanics of your skin doesn't negate the super overwhelming importance of taking care of your skin. Like, you would still need to do both.

Cynthia Thurlow: I take AG1 several times a week after working out and when I’m ready to break my fast and it really makes me feel unstoppable. I love to add it to a protein smoothie or actually will drink it with filtered water and I love both variations. My 17-year-old also enjoys AG1 after a workout to ensure he stays really well hydrated. A great deal of what I focus on in my personal life is ongoing gut health improvement. I do feel fundamentally that AG1 has contributed significantly to improvements in my gut health over the last three years. I feel as if the key health benefits from multivitamins, minerals, pre and postbiotics all work together synergistically to improve my gut microbiome. AG1 is way more than just greens. It’s important to note that it’s made with 75 super high-quality vitamins, minerals, and whole food source ingredients that deliver incredible benefits to the gut microbiome, as well as sleep support, assistance with energy, and so much more.

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Melanie Avalon: Damon wanted to know, laser hair removal, is it worth it?

Cynthia Thurlow: Oh my God, yes. Oh my God, yes. It's funny. You do laser therapy and then you realize in your 40s into your early 50s, you don't have as much body hair. So, I'm like, what was I thinking. I went gangbusters in my 30s. Yes, yes, yes.

Melanie Avalon: I agree. I don't think I commented on barely any of the comments in the thread. But when I saw this one, all I did was I wrote yes, all caps.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, well, think about it. People spend years doing bikini waxes and electrolysis.

Melanie Avalon: And think about forgetting to shave your underarms or your legs. You don't have to anymore.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, although it's funny, I did my legs and my bikini area and I guess I took too well to it because I bought a package. They were like, literally “You've done so well. What else can we do? What else can we do for you?” For me, it was like life changing because I had done like, bikini waxes every month forever and eternity, and then all of a sudden I was like, this is great. 

Melanie Avalon: It's funny because when they try to sell you stuff and they're like, “This will be the best thing ever,” and you're like, “But really?” No, it really is. [laughs] 

Cynthia Thurlow: No, it's resounding. It is worth every penny, every single penny. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I've done the Brazilian, the arms, the legs. Now I'm doing the upper lip. I think that's everything. [laughs] There's nothing left.

Cynthia Thurlow: I had blonde hair on my face. I've been just doing dermaplaning because to me and it's like, here's a fun topic for conversation. During the pandemic, when I could not get to get threaded or dermaplaning or anything, my anesthetician had recommended something called Tinkle, T-I-N-K-L-E. You can find it on Amazon. It's like really inexpensive and it's a little like razor for women, so you can get rid of fuzz on your face. Oh my God life changing. I literally was like, what was I spending all this money on threading for, for years [laughs] and then waxing before that. I was like, “Oh my God.” 

Melanie Avalon: Is it special or is it just a little razor? 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, so it's for your face and it's not as strong as what a man would use. To me, it's like I can use it in between facials. And it's amazing, just amazing. For all those little weird hairs, if you like mind just tweeze them. I'm like, “Oh my God, this is amazing.” So highly recommend.

Melanie Avalon: They always have these at Marshalls and TJ Maxx. Maybe not that brand, but I use those or I used to. Oh no, I still do because I'm still doing the upper lip. Okay, here's back to non-skincare health, beauty-related things. What are your top three book recommendations besides your own?

Cynthia Thurlow: Okay, I've given this a lot of thought, I would say the books that are really in terms of health and wellness, I'm going to just leave it there because there're so many books. I would say the books that really shifted my perspective on a lot of different things, XX Brain by Dr. Lisa Mosconi, who I've been trying to interview for a year. She's like knee deep in research. She works at Cornell. That book helped me solidify why women-- and this is my opinion why women can benefit from hormone replacement therapy.

I would say the other book that I found really helpful, like in that space is Why Estrogen Matters by Dr. Avrum Bluming and Carol Tavris. I have had him on the podcast. We will link that in the show notes. The Women's Health Initiative is probably the most detrimental study that's ever been conducted on women in terms of the net impact on practitioners prescribing hormones and women taking hormones. You have a whole generation of clinicians and women who are fearful to take and/or prescribe medications. 

I would say, most recently, a book that really has had what I would say is this book, is the book I can read now because I've done the work. The Myth of Normal by Dr. Gabor Mate and that podcast will be out with him on December 24th. So, talking about the role of trauma in your life, I mean, he's changing the narrative for the way that we view trauma and doing it in a way that is through the lens of compassion and as someone that's a survivor of childhood trauma, both physical and emotional. For me, that book just allowed me to view my parents from a very compassionate lens. I would say those books right now in terms of health and wellness are the books that I probably recommend the most. For full disclosure, they're not easy-breezy reads. Lisa Mosconi's book, I think, is one that I recommend quite a bit to patients and clients that is more accessible. Myth of Normal is excellent, it's long and I would say that Why Estrogen Matters is a good read as well. How about you? 

Melanie Avalon: That's really awesome recommendations. So, I think my favorite is Lifespan. Oh, wait. No, I'm torn. Well, okay. So, Lifespan, David Sinclair's book, Why We Age and Why We Don't Have To. It's basically just everything I'm obsessed with. And what I love, when I interviewed him on the show, I might have told you this. Did you know he drew all of the characters in the back? 

Cynthia Thurlow: Really? So talented. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. He said that because in the very back there's hand drawn pictures of the people and everything. He drew all of those. He said he drew them because he wanted to put the actual pictures or whatever, but they couldn't get the rights to everything. So, he's like, “I'll just draw it.” [laughs] Isn't that crazy? 

Cynthia Thurlow: Well, that's along the lines of, like, when I'm in awe of people that are doing something artistic on a stage in the performing arts, okay, there's another level to my respect for him. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, no, it's insane. And if so you listen to my, that was the first interview I had with him. If you listen to it, he tells me this in real time, and I'm just, like, in shock, in shock. I'll probably say, this is so hard. You know what I haven't read The Paleo Solution since I read it in, like, 2012. But that's what changed my life. Like, that's the reason I'm doing what I'm doing today. Robb Wolf's book, I think I will have to include that I'm torn between James Nestor's Breath and I think I might have to do Kelly McGonigal's The Upside of Stress just because that book-- I need to try to get her on the show. That book was so valuable for me because I started stressing so much about stress, which, yes, stress has a lot of negative health effects. That's no surprise. It's not really negotiable. There's this whole aspect to it where perception affects how stress affects you. And so, reading that book took the biggest weight off of my shoulders about stress and how you can reframe your experience of stress and use it to your benefit rather than as a detriment. 

Cynthia Thurlow: I love that. It's someone said to me years ago, trying to pick your favorite book is like trying to pick your favorite child, it's impossible. Where I sit, where my desk is in my study, I literally have the ability to see hundreds of books. It's so hard because there're so many great books that I've read, but it's impossible to have a favorite. Just for listeners to understand, those are the three that have had the most impact on me. They've just completely blown my mind. Obviously, the ones that Melanie is identifying, two out of three I've already read. But I'm always reading. Just like, Melanie, I've actually got Sally Norton's new book on my floor to read, I'm like after I get done with podcast prep for this week. 

Melanie Avalon: I feel so bad because I always get her confused with Susan Owens because they both talk about oxalates a lot. I've had her on the show.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, this will be my first time. I've had one other oxalate expert who I think is trained with her, but her book is coming out. So, I was like, it's probably time to revisit the oxalate issue. 

Melanie Avalon: That's awesome. I didn't realize she had a new book coming out. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, it's called Toxic Superfoods. [laughs] I'm sure there will be lots of overlap with Gundry's kind of methodologies about plant-based toxins.

Melanie Avalon: That's awesome. Awesome. Here's a quick one. This is from Danielle, "What is your favorite holiday tradition?"

Cynthia Thurlow: I think a lot of the traditions that are important for us is just a lot of togetherness, a lot of disconnection from work and social media and things like that. I would say there're a lot of things that we have done as a family including like decorating the tree, decorating the house, making cookies. When my kids were younger, they were more interested, invested in those things. But I think it's the quietness around, like Christmas Eve when we go to Mass and then we read particular Christmas books and then there's a nice meal and just savoring that time. There was a recent study that came out and it talked about how much time you spend with different people throughout your lifetime. As someone with a 17-year-old and 15-year-old, I read this study and my heart hurt. The great thing that I'm going to bring to this conversation is that it just reaffirms why it's so important to connect with one another. 

So, when I think about holidays, I just see it as connection, like spending time together, making meals together, making memories together, not per se, like one specific thing, like do we drive around and look at Christmas lights? Yes. Do we make specific kinds of meals? Yes. But what I value the most, especially now that my kids are older, is just being together, being silly, watching movies, trying to deal with all of the challenges of navigating in laws and parents and expectations for kids and everything else. How about you? Does your family have special traditions around Christmas or the holidays? 

Melanie Avalon: Well, first of all, I'm obsessed with everything Christmas, and mine was basically the same on Christmas Eve, we'd always had a tradition growing up of opening like, one present the night before and trying to make it a present that is something we could do together. Normally it's like if somebody gave somebody a game or something, and then we would do the gift and yeah, that's always been my favorite thing hands down. We are a big wine loving family. Having the Christmas wine and opening the presents and the Christmas Eve and playing the music, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, I am all about it. I love it. Actually, what we've started doing, I feel like it's been ever since everybody's been adults, it's been changing around. Now sometimes I think last year, maybe even the year before, we opened all of our presents just on Christmas Eve, the night before, because people are more, I don't know, spirited and lively in the evening than coming all over during the day.

Cynthia Thurlow: We've tried that. My kids always beg. My husband's kind of a traditionalist about the gift stuff. I think because I grew up with divorced parents, we just opened gifts. When we opened gifts, it wasn't regimented. My kids every year are like, can't we just open gifts on Christmas Eve. And my husband gets very rigid. I just always say, my husband's 90% of the time he's really easy going, and if he gets fixated one thing, I just tell the kids, back off. So, yeah, they're allowed to open one gift on Christmas Eve and then the rest on Christmas. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. We didn't start doing this until very recently, and we're all very much adults now, but growing up like your kids' age, we never did more than one the night before. I don't think we even wanted to. My dad is that way with Monopoly, because Monopoly is always the game we would always play, and we'd always want to do things like play how there's, like, 50 million spin offs of Monopoly, like, all the different themes? No, he, like, only wants to play the original. We would always have debates about, like, the rules and because there's a lot of, I think, like, little fun things you can add or change the rules little bit, nope. [laughs] It had to be the traditional way in the rule book. 

Cynthia Thurlow: I'm married to an engineer, so I'll just leave that there. Anyone that's married to engineers, know engineers, you understand they can be a little rigid sometimes, but I give him a lot of credit because he's usually pretty laid back about a lot of other things. 

Melanie Avalon: So funny. Two last quick ones. So, one is sort of health related. Leslie says, “I work at HOTWORX, 24 hours Infrared Fitness Studio. What do you think about a 3D workout heat exercise infrared sauna?” 

Cynthia Thurlow: Okay, I know exactly what HOTWORX is and I love the idea. I'm going to come at this from two lenses. So, number one, I hate being hot, really hot when I'm exercising. Hate it. Like warm yoga, good. Ashtanga yoga, that's at 105 degrees. No, don't enjoy it at all. For me personally that would be a no, because I just don't enjoy being really hot unless it's hot because I'm exercising at a level that I'm increasing my basal metabolic rate and my internal thermostat.

Number two, I think the concept of a 3D workout sounds great. I think it's probably highly bio individual. If you are a 25-year-old woman who is really lean and you're pushing yourself all the time, and you're not getting a menstrual cycle and you're overdoing it, I kind of call it the triad of over fasting, over exercising, over restricting. 

But I think for probably the average person, it's probably, like, a fun way to exercise. We have to think about what heat and exercise are. They're forms of hormesis. It's the right amount of stress at the right time. I think that it's important to recognize where are you in your cycle, how is your sleep, what's your stress like. Like, it's just adding additional stressors to your body. I think in the context of someone who's sleeping well, who's in the follicular phase of their menstrual cycle, who doesn't have too much stress, that's not overdoing it and is staying hydrated, it's probably fun. That would be my guess. 

Melanie Avalon: That was basically my answer, was that I think it could be really great like, it can be a great way of hacking and getting more bang for your buck as far as benefits go. But you also need to know yourself. I'm literally just spitting out what you just said. You have to know yourself and some people it's going to be too much and it's going to be overdoing it and it's not going to have the beneficial effects in the long term because it's not allowing the adequate recovery in between. And if it's fitting into an overly stressful lifestyle anyway, it might not be the way to go. I think you really just have to know yourself. I haven't done HOTWORKX. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. no offense to anyone who loves working out in a super hot environment. I hate it. I've been that way my whole life. Hate it with a capital H. For me, like if I went to the gym and it was cold in the gym, good. If I walk outside and it's kind of hot and humid, not as interested in walking as long. But it's not that I don't see the utility I just personally hate being that hot. I hate it, just despise it. The only thing I can compare it to is like, being in Morocco, which was like an oven. [laughs] We're telling my husband I don't think we'll ever come back because it was just so hot. 

Melanie Avalon: I'm the same besides my sauna sessions where the purpose is being hot and it's relaxing, especially with infrared, not getting that hot. But I'm not about the heat. I'm all about the cold. are you guys getting a crazy cold front because it's getting down next week to 10 degrees. It doesn't get 10 degrees here. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. Atlanta is going to be in a kerfuffle. Yeah. For me, it's like when I walked my dogs this morning, it was 30 degrees and it's like perfect for them. I put a hat on, I've got a light jacket on and I'm totally happy. 

Melanie Avalon: I'm so pumped. Especially because the last few years has been warm on Christmas, it's going to be like 15 degrees. I am all about it. This is going to be great. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. I just feel like Christmas should be cold. We had, gosh it was probably ten years ago, we got snow in Virginia on Christmas Eve and it was like a dusting, but that's still like in Northern Virginia that's a shutdown mode. Everyone's freaking out. I was like, this is completely appropriate.

Melanie Avalon: I'm just worried about ever since that Texas, was it Austin or wherever when it got really cold and didn't it mess up all of the water, like the pipes and everything. I'm like, please, that cannot happen. [laughs] I need my toilet.

Cynthia Thurlow: Well, you know what they always say. I lived in a neighborhood in Northern Virginia and most of the homes were new construction when people bought them and the builder knucklehead that they were a lot of exterior pipes were freezing during really cold spells. If you're ever concerned about your water freezing in a pipe. You can always keep your water like a little drip just to kind of keep things moving. Yeah, lots of experience with friends who went through that. Not fun. Not fun at all. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, they always post-- when it starts getting cold they post signs everywhere saying, “Freeze warning and let your faucets drip.” Okay, well, this was fun. This is definitely going to be a two-parter. I'm thinking it's probably going to be a three-parter, maybe a four-parter. 

In any case, for listeners, if they would like to submit their own questions for the show and if this is your first episode listening, which since we get so many listeners, it probably is somebody's first episode listening, welcome to that person. Normally we talk about Intermittent Fasting a little bit more. You can submit your own questions to questions@ifpodcast.com or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. These show notes will be @ifpodcast.com/episode300. Those show notes will have a full transcript as well as links to everything that we talked about. So, definitely check that out and you can follow us on Instagram. We are @ifpodcast. I am @melanieavalon. Cynthia is @cynthia_thurlow_. I think that is all the things. Well, this is been really, really fun, Cynthia. Anything from you, before we go?

Cynthia Thurlow: No, I'm looking forward to round number two.

Melanie Avalon: All right, sounds good. 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 a 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 re-composed by Steve Saunders. See you next week. 

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