Welcome to Episode 303 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:
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1:10 - BUTCHERBOX: For A Limited Time Go To butcherbox.com/ifpodcast And Get Chuck Roast And A Whole Chicken Plus $10 Off!
3:30 - 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
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MANUKORA: Go To manukora.com/ifpodcast For A FREE Pack Of Honey Sticks With Your Order!
15:30 - NUTRISENSE: Get $30 and get 1 month of free dietitian support At nutrisense.io/ifpodcast With The Code IFPODCAST
19:10 - Listener Q&A: Neva - I’ve been dying to ask, any suggestions on balancing the Fung community perspective of “longer fasts needed to get insulin resistance reversed and for the autophagy needed to reduce excess skin” vs Cynthia’s concerns about longer fasts and especially getting enough protein? This conundrum has been a problem for me.
28:05 - Listener Q&A: Nicole - Is it ok to cycle your fasting times. Anywhere from 14-18
If you consume 10 calories via electrolytes (LMNT) are you still fasting?
Is coffee ok to have while fasting?
For A Limited Time Go To drinklmnt.com/ifpodcast To Get A FREE Sample Pack With Any Purchase!
43:45 - Listener Q&A: Sarah - Help! My fasting glucose is going up! I have been intermittent fasting for over 2 years. I usually eat lunch and dinner and I am low carb. I have been doing my best to eat 100 grams or more of protein daily. I’m 40, haven’t made any huge changes lately. My fasting glucose has been staying over 100 even after 18 hours. In March I had my insulin checked and it was 2, 3 and 5 within two weeks on 3 separate occasions. I would love any advice!
53:20 - JOOVV: For A Limited Time Go To joovv.com/ifpodcast And Use The Code IFPODCAST For An Exclusive Discount!
56:40 - Listener Q&A: Natalie - How come some times it’s easy to fast and other times I can barely make it 16 hours. Does age? Cycle? Does/ should Perimenopause change anything about the way we fast. How can we get comfortable fluctuating between 3-5 lbs knowing we didn’t eat that much, yes water weight and bloating, but how can we not let it ruin our vibe. Lol! Random thoughts by a 40-something.
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 303 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: 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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And one more thing before we jump in, are you fasting clean inside and out? When it comes to weight loss, we focus a lot on what and when we eat. It makes sense because these foods affect our hormones and how our bodies store and burn fat. But do you know what is possibly one of the most influential factors in weight gain? It's not your food and it's not fasting, it's actually our skincare and makeup. As it turns out, Europe has banned over a thousand compounds found in conventional skincare and makeup in the US due to their toxicity. These include endocrine disrupters, which mess with your hormones, carcinogens linked to cancer, and obesogens, which literally can cause your body to store and gain weight. Basically, when we're using conventional skincare and makeup, we are giving these obesogenic compounds direct access to our bloodstream. And then in our bodies, studies have shown they do things like reduce our satiety hormones, increase our hunger hormones, make fat cells more likely to store fat, and more resistant to burning fat, and so much more. If you have stubborn fat, friends, your skincare and makeup may be playing a role in that. Beyond weight gain and weight loss, these compounds have very detrimental effects on our health and they affect the health of our future generations. That's because ladies when we have babies, a huge percent of those toxic compounds go through the placenta into the newborn. It is so, so shocking and the effects last for years.
Conventional lipstick, for example, often 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.
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Hi everybody and welcome, this is episode number 303 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with Cynthia Thurlow.
Cynthia Thurlow: Hi, Melanie, how are you?
Melanie Avalon: I'm doing very well. I actually have a question for you. It relates to, so I have an announcement and I have something that I wanted to share and it relates to a question for you as well. I interviewed a guy named Matt Simon for his book A Poison Like No Other, which was all about microplastics corrupting our planet. And it was mind-blowing and shocking. But in any case, it just made me more and more aware of the importance of sustainability and not creating waste and all of this stuff. I have an announcement about how we're going to change and adjust how we offer subscriptions for AvalonX products. But I was wondering-- do you have subscriptions for your products?
Cynthia Thurlow: The subscription will start on February 10th and we're really excited since there's been such a tremendous response to the creatine. I don't know if we told you that Mark Hyman featured my creatine in his newsletter last week.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, wow. Did you send it to him?
Cynthia Thurlow: No. I had my second podcast with Drew [unintelligible [00:08:20] last month, and when I was out, I brought some with me just to kind of have in case I was going to give it to someone that I thought would enjoy it. And when we were having an off-camera discussion, he mentioned he had just started-- he had been working diligently on strength training and fat loss. I said to him, have you looked at the research on creatine? He's like, I absolutely have. And so, I said, I brought a product of mine, there's absolutely no obligation. He loved it. He gave it to his sister, bought some, and then they featured it in Mark Hyman's newsletter. I was really surprised and very grateful for that opportunity because it led to quite a bit of people purchasing the creatine. So, yes, our subscriptions are going to start on February 10th and it's really going to be a great way to save on a product that I think nearly every person, irrespective of life, age, and stage can benefit from.
Melanie Avalon: Wow. That's amazing. Have you had Mark on your show?
Cynthia Thurlow: I have not. He is kind of one of those elusive characters that doesn't do a lot of guest podcasting. I guess you get to a point in your business I know JJ Virgin and I talk about this that people will get to a point in their business where they just don't do a lot of guest podcasting anymore. And I think that's where he is. And so, to answer your question, no, but it doesn't mean that it won't happen, I'm going to cross my fingers and put that intention out there into the universe.
Melanie Avalon: Wow. I will as well. That's amazing. That's super cool. The subscriptions are great because they make it easy for people, but then as far as it's less shipping, it's more sustainable. The change that we're making, which we're still locking down the details, but it should be hopefully around February 20th, I think. We're hoping to switch to right now, people get multiple bottles, so we're hoping to switch to a one-large bottle option. Hopefully, that will be live so people can get the updates at avalonx.us/emaillist. And how can people get updates for your products?
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, so the easy thing to do is to go to www.cynthiathurlow.com/supplements and you'll be able to get information on creatine as well as a little teaser about what the next supplement will be. I'm technically not allowed to talk about it yet, but we're super excited because it's going to be helpful for brain health, metabolic health, and there's a lot of solid research on sleep support as well.
Melanie Avalon: Awesome, awesome, awesome. Just as a cap to all of that, I read that book A Poison Like No Other, which I actually really recommend reading the book or checking out my interview when it comes out because it really is upsetting. I didn't really realize the extent that I knew plastics were bad, but he just has all the stats about really what they're doing, but then what's really crazy and this kind of blew my mind. He danced around this but I was listening to an interview last night that made it even more firm. He talks in his book about how recycling is misleading. It's not really doing what we think it's doing and the majority of recycled products just end up in landfills anyway. Last night I was listening to an interview on Rich Roll with Seth Godin and he just outright said that recycling was created by like that it's just a lie. It was created by industry to make us feel better about plastic. He literally says recycling things into blue plastic bins does nothing. Like it's literally created. Again, I got to research this, but he says it was created by the industry so people would feel better about purchasing plastic because they could recycle it.
Cynthia Thurlow: That would make sense, although very disturbing because I think so many of us have been led to believe that if we can recycle it, then it's not so bad. To your point, I was listening to a podcast of Shawn Stevenson's recently and he was connected with Metabolic Mike, who is the podcast host of High-Intensity Health, which is one of my favorite podcasts to listen to because he really provides research and makes it short and relevant so that people can have some takeaways. They were talking about the contamination theory of obesity as a means for why so many people are struggling with weight loss resistance and why we're seeing such a net impact on fertility rates and miscarriages and changes in endogenous testosterone levels. I think for a long time I was always like, "Oh, it's related to insulin resistance, we're such an unhealthy population." It's really the exposure to these endocrine-mimicking chemicals that is so profound. I really look forward to checking that book out and of course, listening to your interview.
Melanie Avalon: Yes, I find it all just so fascinating and things that people just don't really think about, but I'm happy that people are taking it more seriously now. It's funny though, I read that book. I'm so happy, my supplements are in glass bottles, but they have plastic caps. I was reading it and I was like texting or calling Scott, our partner at MD Logic. I was like, we have to get rid of plastic caps. I don't know what the alternative is, but yeah, so we'll work on that.
Cynthia Thurlow: I love how thoughtful you've been. I mean, thus far, I think my second product will also be in a pouch. We're trying to navigate healthier options as opposed to a lot of the plastics that most supplements are contained in. There's a lot of nuances and I think that we just try to do the best that we can, but obviously understanding that we don't know at all and that we have to continue to do the work and to learn from experts that know more than we do. Because I certainly feel like it's not a race, it's a journey to make better choices in things we're exposed to in our environment, personal care products and food, and plastics are everywhere. I mean, if you really just sit back and think about it is everywhere. We just think about it as being normal.
Melanie Avalon: So, fun fact, it's literally everywhere. They're on the top of Mount Everest. According to that book, they're at the top of Mount Everest and they're also at the bottoms of the ocean. So, they're literally everywhere. So, yeah, fun times, fun times. I did get really excited because one of our new sponsors, Manukora Honey, which is delicious, it's manuka honey from New Zealand. When I did the call with them because they have individual packets that they send, I was little bit concerned because I was like that doesn't sound very sustainable. But when I did the call with them, they said they actually had completely 100% compostable packaging for those. So, that was super exciting. People can actually get those free if they go to manukora.com/ifpodcast. So, get some manuka honey sticks to try in completely compostable packaging.
Cynthia Thurlow: That's awesome.
Melanie Avalon: Hi, friends, we talk all the time on this show about the beneficial effects of intermittent fasting and especially how it can affect your blood sugar levels. How much do we talk about this? How diet affects them? How exercise affects them? How fasting affects them? But how do you actually know what your blood sugar levels are? Besides when you go to the doctor and get a snapshot of that one moment in time, or give yourself a finger prick, which again is a snapshot of that one moment in time. What if you could know what your blood sugar was all the time? That would be a revolutionary insight that could really help you meet your health and wellness goals. Guess what? You can do that now. I'm going to tell you how to save $30 off while doing it. We are obsessed with a company called NutriSense. They provide access to and interpretations of the data from the biosensors known as Continuous Glucose Monitors aka CGMs. Your blood sugar level can significantly impact how your body feels and functions. NutriSense lets you analyze in real time how your glucose levels respond to food, exercise, sleep, and stress. How does that work? Well, a CGM is a small device that tracks your glucose levels in real time. The application is easy and painless. I promise, promise, promise. Check out my Instagram. I have so many videos of putting them on so you can see what that process is like. It's actually really fun.
You can use the NutriSense app to scan your CGM, visualize data, log your meals, run experiments, and so much more. And you get expert dietitian guidance. Each subscription plan includes one month free of dietitian support. One of my friends recently got a CGM, and she was going on and on about how cool it was to talk one on one with a dietitian who could help her interpret her results. Your dietitian will help you interpret the data and provide suggestions based on your goals. Of course, if you're already super knowledgeable in this space, they will still be able to provide you more advanced tips and recommendations. Friends, seeing this data in real time is what makes it easy to identify what you're doing well and where there's room for improvement. Some benefits and outcomes that you can experience weight loss, stable energy throughout the day, better sleep, understanding which foods are good for you, controlling your cravings, seeing how you're responding to fasting and so much more.
Each device lasts for 14 days and of course lasting sustainable change takes time and that can be achieved with a longer-term subscription. We definitely encourage you to choose a six or 12-month subscription which are cheaper per month and allow you to not only achieve your goals but also ensure that you stick to your healthy lifestyle for the long term. You can go to nutrisense.io/ifpodcast and use the code, IFPODCAST to save $30 and get one month of free dietitian support. That's nutrisense.io/ifpodcast and use the code IFPODCAST to save $30 and get one month of free dietitian support. Friends, do you want to be in the world of CGMs? It is such a cool experience and you will learn so much. So, definitely check it out and we'll put all this information in the show notes.
So, today's episode, Cynthia and I have been doing our episode 300 became multiple episodes because we got so many amazing AMA questions and we want to keep doing them because they're so fun and awesome and so many topics. We also realized that I think in the past two or three episodes, we haven't done that many fasting-specific questions. What we're going to do today is we're still doing AMA, but these are the fasting AMA questions we got because when we asked for the questions, we asked for I mean were hoping for non-fasting related questions, but we still got a lot of fasting-related questions, so this actually works out very well. To start things off, we have a question from Neva, and she says, I've been dying to ask any suggestions on balancing the Fung community perspective of, "Longer fast needed to get insulin resistance reversed, and for the autophagy needed to reduce excess skin versus Cynthia's concerns about longer fast and especially getting enough protein. This conundrum has been a problem for me."
Cynthia Thurlow: This is a great question, Neva. I think a lot of this really depends on you as an individual. If you are already metabolically healthy and at a healthy weight, then I don't think really long fasts need to be something that you need to focus on over time. However, if you're someone that is not metabolically healthy, that is insulin resistant, I think that doing longer fasts can be helpful for breaking through plateaus. I think that longer fasts can beneficial for helping with cravings. I think it can be helpful for reducing inflammation and upregulating autophagy. I think there're many, many things that we have to consider when we're trying to balance longer fasts and being able to hit our protein macros. I think that when you look at the science of poor metabolic health and you're looking at sarcopenia and you're understanding that insulin resistance actually starts in your muscles, it's important to then also understand that one of the ways that you are going to help with reversing insulin resistance is reallocating those macros, becoming more physically active, and this is a really good example of the need to experiment depending on where you are in your fasting journey. I've started to speak more openly about this that a lot of times people think fasting has to be the answer for everything. Fasting is but one strategy of many that we can utilize to ensure that we have our health and longevity kind of railed in. When people ask me questions like this, it's always in the context of, I need to know more. Are you at a healthy weight? Are you sleeping well? Do you eat an anti-inflammatory diet? Are you menopausal? Are you perimenopausal? Are you still in your peak fertile years? I really would say that the average woman under the age of 35 shouldn't be doing these really long fasts. Our bodies are just so exquisitely attuned to this kind of methodology or really understanding that our bodies are so sensitive to cues that we take from our environment when we talk about stress.
Unfortunately, I think fasting for many people has now become a strategy that they're really leaning into and doing the extremes. They want to do really long fasts, they want to over-restrict macros in some capacity or another, they don't want to sleep, they want to overexercise, and so the way to answer that question is to say, I would need to know more about your personal circumstances to make suggestions. In terms of wide overreaching comments, I would say it's really dependent on, are you metabolically flexible, what life stage are you in, and what are your goals? So, Dr. Fung and I overlap quite a bit on what we lean into. But obviously, for me, I am all about protein and maintaining muscle mass because that will help in insulin sensitivity and I don't per se see that talked about a great deal. Although most of the insulin researchers, including Ben Bikman will talk about this loss of muscle signaling, loss of insulin sensitivity as being the first site in the body of where we become insulin resistant. Melanie, what are your thoughts?
Melanie Avalon: First of all, I thought that was an incredibly comprehensive answer. I'm so happy that you pointed out the bit about the insulin resistance starting at the state of the muscle, because that's, like, one of my favorites. I have, like, a list of fun facts about metabolic health. That's one of my favorites because I think a lot of people don't realize that they probably think it starts, I don't know where, they probably don't think about where it starts, but it's really interesting that it does start at the muscle. So, yeah, I just echo everything that you said, which I think is just a slight paradigm shift, and I like how you use the word strategy. Basically, I don't want to put words in your mouth, but I think we don't see longer fasts as the day-to-day habit lifestyle pathway. Like, longer fasting is not your daily life.
It's a strategy to use with specific goals in mind and keeping in mind the context of everything. Your diet, your current weight, what you're looking for, how much other stress you have. Right now, I'm reading Ben Azadi's book because he's coming on my show in a few weeks. He quoted, I think, some research by Thomas Seyfried, who said, for example, that he thinks if you do, like one long, I think he said seven days fast once per year, that it would reduce your cancer risk by 95%. Again, I don't know. I think that was just his thoughts on it. Basically, it's the idea that you could use longer fasts very specifically with specific goals in mind. I think it can have a lot of benefits. But I also think people can go way overboard and in day-to-day practice, yes, getting enough protein is so, so important. While I'm able to get all the protein in a very short amount of time, a lot of people just aren't able to do that. So, I don't think they're in conflict. I think they're actually just separate goals and intentions and uses.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. I think it's important for people to really understand at a very basic level. We're not asking anyone to have to go out and feel like you've got to research all of these different points. I can tell you, as Melanie can after talking to the experts, it's very apparent that if we really understand where insulin resistance starts from, it just starts to make sense about why it's important to as an example, like, "If you're insulin resistant, walk after a meal that really doesn't require you to do anything special. It's just understanding that with each muscle contraction, your body is using up extra glucose. When people say, I'm insulin resistant, I'm really struggling with this. What's going on? It's like, okay, we have to get back to basics. Let's not make it complicated. I think, unfortunately, what happens is that, well-meaning people sometimes make things so complicated. People don't even know where to start. Ben does a great job making things, making more complicated subjects or concepts, making them very accessible for people, so they can then take action. That's really what it comes down to. We want to be able to provide information so that people can make informed decisions and they can make those changes that are going to have a huge impact on their health.
Melanie Avalon: It's interesting because there's so much information and then there's so much information and context, and yet we still make these blanket binary statements. I don't know if Jason Fung actually said this, but in her quote that, "Longer fasts are needed to get insulin resistance reversed." I'm saying I'm pretty sure you can reverse insulin resistance without ever doing a "Longer fast." That would help, but it's not the only way.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, and it's interesting because someone on Twitter today posted, what's the longest fast you've ever done? My joking response is always 13 days, but not because I wanted to. I think it also speaks to the fact that finding that happy medium like a lot of people in the health and wellness space are starting to discourage these really long fasts because putting in the wrong individual can really put additional stress and strain on your HPA access and cortisol and other things. Understanding that you can get a lot of benefits from shorter fasts and shorter meaning, like less than 20 hours or less than 18 hours. Actually, the longer I fast, the longer I've been fasting, the less I do really long fasts because I just don't feel like I need to do it.
If you look at, I always think of Ted Naiman as a good example. He's, I think, roughly my age, very lean, and he talks about this diminishing law of returns after 24 hours. I don't disagree with him because you start to think about what are the net benefits and am I losing muscle. Especially if you're north of like 40, 45, it becomes more challenging to maintain muscle mass as you get older if you're not actively working against that. Why would you do all these long fasts if you're putting yourself at risk for losing exactly the organ that is going to help you maintain one of many, help you maintain insulin sensitivity. Ss you can see, I could talk about this for hours.
Melanie Avalon: No, I love it. I'm all about it. Okay, so some more AMAs. We got some three quick ones from Nicole. One, "Is it okay to cycle your fasting times anywhere from 14 to 18 hours?"
Cynthia Thurlow: Yes, and I encourage women in particular to adjust their fasting based on where they are in their menstrual cycle and I do like variety. Just like we don't eat the same foods every day, we don't do the same types of exercise every day, I do genuinely believe that there is a benefit from keeping your body guessing, not torturing yourself. I'm not asking anyone to white-knuckle it through fasting. That is not what we are trying to suggest, but I do like moderation. How about you?
Melanie Avalon: I agree 100%. Some people do really well with I mean, like me, I tend to do really well with more consistent-- I know I do well with a consistent schedule. Although I was thinking about it, actually, I do naturally fluctuate my window. It's always an evening eating window. Like, last night, for example, I went to a comedy show, actually. Do you know Taylor Tomlinson?
Cynthia Thurlow: I don't.
Melanie Avalon: She's a Netflix special and I actually wasn't familiar with her, but my friend had tickets and then couldn't go, so she just gave them to me. It's like okay, sure, I'll go. Do you like comedy shows?
Cynthia Thurlow: I do.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I think I should probably go to them more. There's definitely a lot of health benefits to laughing, but in any case, it started early. I open my window with wine way earlier than I normally do, and that kind of bumped everything up earlier. But then I realized I still went to bed late. I was just thinking about last night that my window was open almost double of what it normally is. I'm not super rigid. Like, it has to be these hours between these times. I just go with the flow if things are changing. In general, beyond that, I agree with what you were saying about a lot of people, especially women can benefit a lot from really changing things up and listening to themselves and the effects of their cycle and hormones. So, yes, definitely. The only caveat I would have is, I think some people and I think we talked about this on a recent episode. I do think for some people who are just starting fasting and they've never fasted before, if they're not adapted to fat burning, depending on what personality type they are, they might do better.
And actually, maybe regardless of personality type, there is a benefit to, I think for a lot of people committing to a window in the beginning because you're making those adaptations. If instead just like go with the flow, it's going to be hard to be intuitive. If you're not a fat burner yet and you're not adjusted to fasting. I think having that regulation in the beginning to become metabolically flexible and understand how you should feel when you're in the fat-burning state and while fasting, I think that's when it can be helpful to be more rigid.
Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely. Just like, when I'm teaching women, like, I have IF:45 that I run four times a year. We have a group that they're just in their second week of fasting. I always tell them, until you've got the basics down, I don't mind if you are fairly consistent with what you were doing, but when you get to a point where your body is able to utilize either glucose or fats as a fuel substrate, then you're in a position where you can start varying things. People will know that they're at that point when they don't feel like they're white knuckling through the process like they feel comfortable, they are not having headaches, they have plenty of energy. They're not feeling like they have a slump after a meal. Most people will notice that if they're kind of struggling with weight loss resistance or they've been struggling with cravings, all of the sudden things start to kind of even out for them. So, I 100% agree with you, Melanie. You definitely want to make sure you're fat-adapted.
Melanie Avalon: Awesome. She has two other quick questions. One is "If you consume 10 calories via electrolytes LMNT, are you still fasting? I'll just comment on that because I just looked up LMNTs, like their line. The flavored ones are the ones that have calories. For example, their watermelon has five calories in a stick, their chocolate has five calories, but their lemon habanero, for example, has 10 calories, it's really interesting, and I'm assuming that is coming from whatever flavoring they're using. Like with lemon habanero, they're using natural habanero flavor, but then their raw unflavored has no calories. So, I do have thoughts on this. Do you have thoughts on this, Cynthia?
Cynthia Thurlow: This is one of those nuances that if you are someone who's metabolically flexible, you're at a healthy weight. Taking in calories during a fast technically is breaking a clean fast. But if you are otherwise metabolically healthy and flexible, I don't think this is something people should stress and worry about. I do find for a lot of women as an example, because I work almost exquisitely with women that this is the type of stuff that can add up. When someone says to me, I'm weight loss resistant, I'm doing all the right things, and we start looking at a daily recall and they don't realize that they've got I mean, five calories-- 10 calories is not going to be the impetus for being weight loss resistant, but not understanding that cumulatively over time, these can be some of the things that add up that could be contributing to weight loss resistance.
It's the 50 grams or 50 calories of grapes that they eat while they're fasted or they're having like a fatty coffee or just these things can add up over time. A clean fast definition of a clean fast, if you're ingesting electrolytes that are flavored with sugars or flavored with nonnutritive sweeteners, technically that breaks a clean fast. Again, it goes back to are you metabolically flexible? If it is, I'm not stressing about that nor should you. If you are weight loss resistant, it's something to consider.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I agree with that. I actually think with the flavors, the issue more for people would be having those flavors during the fast, even if it was zero calories because that signals to the body food type stuff, so I think it can mess with appetite regulation. That's why we've always said on this show, historically, as long as we've been working with LMNT, that the raw unflavored, so the one that I said was zero calories and that's one that has no flavors, that's the one that is clean fast friendly. The other ones we would advocate for within your eating window. And so, this is really interesting. I don't know if this is true. I think I mentioned on this show before, I interviewed Steve Hendricks for his book called The Oldest Cure in the World, and it was the history of fasting, and I talked about it.
We're actually probably going to air that episode on this show because it was just mind blowing. I just want to air it first on my Biohacking Podcast. He talks a lot about the work of Satchin Panda in his book. Satchin Panda does a lot of work on time-restricted eating and in particular circadian rhythms of it and things like that. I'm just going to read what he says because I find this really interesting. Satchin Panda, one of the things he did was he had an app where he had people logging their food intake all throughout the day, and he found out what people were actually eating. One of the takeaways was that people think they're eating way less than they are, not amount wise like time wise. People don't realize, most people are literally having some food enough that they're pretty much in the fed state the majority of the time.
He says most people eating and drinking their last calories at 10:00 or 11:00 PM, this is what Satchin Panda found. "Weren't entering fat-burning mode and repair mode until 04:00 or 05:00 AM and never reached anything like exponential burn or repair before they took their morning coffee with cream at 07:00 AM. Panda has found that just five calories, one and a half grapes are enough to keep us in a fat-making mode for six more hours. Which, I find that I don't know that's a big statement.
Cynthia Thurlow: Big statement. It's interesting because there are, I have to believe, well-meaning individuals who tell people on social media that's okay if they consume a bunch of grapes, it's okay if they have copious amounts of fat, it's okay to do all these things. I just remind people that if the average person out there is not going more than 8 to 10 hours without eating during the day, to Melanie's point, you're losing out on opportunities to use up some of the stored fuel. Just to kind of keep that in mind that cephalic phase insulin response is a real physiologic response to things that are sweet on our tongue or if our body anticipates we're going to be eating food. Really thinking thoughtfully about what position are you in? If you're really trying to get a hold of insulin resistance or you're really trying to become more metabolically healthy that you want to lean into unflavored element or save those electrolytes that are sweetened, save them for your feeding window, that's going to be a much better option.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, and I think it goes both ways. One, what you just said, where people put this magical calorie like ceiling and say that if you're below that, it doesn't break your fast, which I don't know where that came from. But then on the flipside, I guess I would need the context of what this research was. It's hard for me to think that if somebody is fasted in the fat-burning state and maybe he's talking about they're not yet in the fat-burning state, but if they're deep in the fat-burning state and then they have five calories, I don't know how that would keep them out of fat burning for six more hours. I just want to know what that research was like what was he measuring?
I think it's safe to say that flavors and such are not going to help you with your fasting experience most likely and there's not some magical like if it's below these calories, it doesn't matter. If listeners would like to get LMNT and get that raw unflavored, they can actually get all the flavors free with their order. Just go to drinklmnt.com/ifpodcast so, remember the flavored ones in your eating window, the raw unflavored in your fasting. Okay, Nicole has one more super quick rapid-fire question. "Is coffee okay to have while fasting?" I'm guessing Nicole's probably new to our community.
Cynthia Thurlow: Here are my thoughts. If you have healthy adrenals and you're sleeping and you're not super stressed out, I think coffee is incredibly beneficial. We know there are polyphenols in coffee that can upregulate lipolysis and fat burning and fat oxidation. Someone who is not completely stressed out is sleeping well and is not in. Now, I'm going to put this out there. I interviewed Dr. Kyle Gillett for my podcast and he talked about andropause, so andropause is when men go through what's equivalent to menopause. But there's also adrenal pause. Our adrenals are not as stress resilient as we are getting older and so coffee in the right person is a wonderful thing to consume in a fasted state. If you're someone who's super stressed out and drinking that coffee overtaxes your adrenals and it pushes your cortisol up, which sends your blood glucose up, that's not a good thing.
I think it's really always in the context of you as an individual. As an overall recommendation, we do recommend bitter teas and coffee as a great option. Now, again, not coffee with cream in it. We're going to recommend black coffee, bitter teas because those are the things that are going to be beneficial. If you don't love plain coffee, you can add cinnamon which will help with insulin sensitivity. You can also add, like, high-quality salt, like Redmond, that can help with the bitterness. Those are two tips, even though I'm not a coffee drinker that I've learned along the way. What are your thoughts, Melanie?
Melanie Avalon: I'm glad you answered it from that perspective. In my head, I was thinking about it literally just from the breaking or not breaking the fast. I'm really glad that you went there. I agree exactly with what you said. I'll just expand a little bit on the coffee and the clean fast or not. Plain black coffee would be, "Clean fast friendly." Coffee with cream? No. Coffee with added sugar? No. Even coffee with sweeteners. It goes back to what were just talking about giving your body mixed messages during the fast. Yes, I think that context is really important with what Cynthia said about your adrenals and where your stress levels are. Do you drink coffee, Cynthia? I know we've talked about this.
Cynthia Thurlow: I do not. Neither does my husband. The only person in my house that drinks coffee is my 15-year-old who loves espresso.
Melanie Avalon: Do you have caffeine at all?
Cynthia Thurlow: Not a lot. It's something that for me, like, I can drink green tea a couple of days a week, and I do make an effort to do that, but I ice it. I actually brew it and then I ice it and then I drink it with a straw. I've just never been someone that loves caffeinated beverages. I think it can be very overstimulating for me although it's interesting, when I did a biogenomics test over the summer, they're like, "Oh, you're very caffeine tolerant. I was like, really? Because I don't feel super caffeine tolerant. Yeah no, I'm one of those strange adults that does not love coffee. How about you?
Melanie Avalon: Well, I'm very as alcohol tolerant, literally, but literally in the genes. Caffeine, not so much. I actually was reflecting on this yesterday with gratitude. Like, I was having so much gratitude for this because historically in college I don't even know how much coffee I drank. I shudder thinking about it. I think listeners know this because I say it a lot, but I just have a spoonful of coffee every morning, literally a spoonful of liquid coffee. I was reflecting with gratitude that I'm not addicted right now to coffee or caffeine. I was like, "Oh, I was thinking about it." I was like, I just wake up and I don't really have caffeine. All my energy is pretty much not from a stimulant, which is a nice thought.
Cynthia Thurlow: I think it's become normal for people to be really dependent on stimulants to get their day going. I think for me, years ago, everyone knows this, I was an ER nurse, and I had to work nights, and I would drink Diet Pepsi, which all it did was upset my stomach. I've just learned that for me, I do better just with water, a lot of water, and I stay really well hydrated. There's a lot of other things I do to kind of get me going in the morning, as opposed to being dependent on a stimulant, which there's no judgment. It's just not the way I like to feel in the morning. It's not my happy place. But you will see me drinking green tea at least four days a week because there're a lot of health benefits from it.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, and there are a lot of health benefits to moderate coffee drinkers. I think if I was the type that could do that and didn't struggle with my sleep, I probably would but like I said, I don't process caffeine that fast, and so it's just not ideal for me. I do like it kind of relates to what we were talking about earlier with longer fasts. It's nice to have it in your back pocket. Like the night when I got up really early for Taylor Swift tickets and was sleep deprived, and I had coffee that day and I was good. It's nice to have it to pull out when you desperately need it, so, yup.
Okay. Another AMA fasting question. This is from Sarah. She says, "Help, my fasting glucose is going up." Oh, and by the way, we really need to answer Sarah's question because I think she posted this in the AMA. I think she posted it on her own in the group. She DMed me about this. She was like, "Please help." So, Sarah, we're going to try to help you. She said, "My fasting glucose is going up. I have been intermittent fasting for over two years. I usually eat lunch and dinner and I am low carb. I've been doing my best to eat 100 grams or more of protein daily. I'm 40.I haven't made any huge changes lately. My fasting glucose has been staying over 100, even after 18 hours. In March, I had my insulin checked and it was 2, 3, and 5 within two weeks on three separate occasions. I would love any advice.
Cynthia Thurlow: Well, Sarah, this is a great question. I would say without having more information, you're perimenopausal because you're 40. This is when we start becoming less insulin sensitive. That doesn't mean that you are insulin resistant per se, but you are becoming less insulin sensitive. I start thinking about, are you sleeping enough? Is it high-quality sleep? Are you lifting weights? Are you consuming an anti-inflammatory diet? I can't necessarily tell from what you're sharing here. Gut health is really important. I see a lot of interrelationships with really looking at the gut microbiome as something that can impact blood sugar levels. I also think about you know Melanie, I started off the podcast talking about toxins in your personal care products, Food and Environment is another one that podcast that I mentioned was Shawn Stevenson, the Model Health Show, and it was him and Mike Mutzel talking about metabolic health and also changes in fertility and the contamination theory of obesity.
I just think about other things like are you exposed to mold? Are you exposed to mycotoxins? Are you leptin resistant? I mean, there's a lot of different things that can impact what's going on. Just looking at overall labs, like what's your progesterone doing, what's your estrogen doing. There're a lot of different things that can look at this. When you say that you've been checking your blood sugar, it could be as granular as, has your glucometer been titrated? Do you need to have it looked at to see? Do you need to change your strips? There're so many things that can impact why your blood sugar is not optimal. I would say those are good things to look at and just understanding in the context of other questions we've answered on this podcast today, muscle mass is really important. Understanding that insulin resistance actually starts in the muscle.
So, are you doing resistance training? Because I still think a lot of women heading to their 40s are still doing, like, "I've got to go run 5 miles every day." I'm like, you would be better served by getting in the gym and lifting weights three days a week than doing these really long runs. The other thing to think about is we're coming off the tail end of this pandemic, and I see a lot of women who are stressed, and the stress is bumping their cortisol up, and accordingly, your glucose will go up. Really getting granular and honest with yourself about what your stress management style is like, and it's not five minutes of meditation. It really needs to be practice. Things that you do every day, as an example, I get out in nature every single day, walk my dogs, no sunglasses. When I'm done exercising, I get on my PMF mat and that is part of time that I a lot every morning to do those two things in the context of everything else that I do because it brings me so much joy. It's such something I really look forward to because it helps quiet that sympathetic nervous system. So, those are my thoughts. Just based on what you've shared, Melanie, what are your insights?
Melanie Avalon: So, where I would start, and really this is for anybody who's having this issue. What Cynthia was saying about the glucometer, it can be really hard if you're just looking at a single snapshot of a blood test at the doctor, or even if you have a glucometer where you can prick your finger. That's just one moment in time. Like Cynthia said, so many things can affect it. If anybody's struggling to figure out their blood sugar levels, I would 100% recommend doing at least a two-week round of a CGM. It's the most eye-opening thing. I honestly think everybody should feel like mandatory, like life required, that everybody does two weeks of CGM at some point because what it does is it's a device that you wear on your arm, it's painless to put on, and it measures your blood sugar via your interstitial fluid, and it gives you a picture of your blood sugar. Is it every five minutes? Regardless, it shows you how your blood sugar is changing.
With that, you can actually find patterns and you can see is your fasting blood sugar actually high. It staying high or is it dropping and dipping and then going up? What's actually happening? It gives so much clarity to what might be the cause. We love a company called NutriSense and they're actually a sponsor on today's episode. You can listen to that ad for more information, but you can get $30 off and one month of free support from a dietitian because something that's really cool is you can actually, through the app, talk to somebody who will talk to you about your findings. So that can be actually pretty helpful. Just go to nutrisense.io/ifpodcast and use the code, IFPODCAST and that will get you $30 off and one month of free dietitian support.
If it is something where a lot of people do benefit from getting a subscription with that because it can be really helpful to go longer than two weeks to really get a good picture. That's where I would start, just to see what the actual data is and then see what might be the factors that are causing it to be high. Because her insulin, how do you feel about her insulin being 2 is low and 3 is low?
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, my general recommendation is between 2 to 5. It could be impacted by where she was in her menstrual cycle or a lot of different factors. I love that you brought up the CGM because that can give a much more complete picture. For me, it's like glucometers, just like blood pressure cuffs are super helpful, but it's like at that one specific time, that's when you're getting that metric. I do agree fervently that having a continuous glucose monitor is an even better option because you can then see the real net impact of sleep, stress, exercise, etc., on your blood sugar in real-time, as opposed to having to prick yourself 10 times a day. And some people prefer that. I personally don't like that at all. I'll be totally transparent.
Melanie Avalon: And this is like a really good case study example. I don't know how often Sarah was checking, but for example, she's saying my fasting glucose has been over 100 after 18 hours. Some people will find when they're using a CGM, that when they're fasting, like 12 hours and 13 hours and 14 hours and 15 hours that it's low, and then when they get even longer into the fast because of their stress hormones from the fast, that it actually starts going up again. So that might be a pattern. I'm not saying that's what's happening with Sarah, but I know that's a pattern that people often experience, and that's something where that would be something to address and fine tune and try to make that not be the case. It might be something where you think if you just checked it at 18 hours that it's been high that whole time when actually it hasn't. That's why CGM can just be a game changer. Are you wearing one right now, Cynthia?
Cynthia Thurlow: I am not. I'm taking a break. I used one gosh 18 months straight. I just got to a point where I'm very aware of the things that will raise my blood sugar. There're things I do conscientiously throughout my day to make sure that I can manage and mitigate a blood sugar response. The foods that did for me cause blood sugar rises that were beyond my norm, like plantains, which is so sad because I love plantains or whether it's gluten-free flowers and a cookie or cake. I just don't eat those things very often. For me, it just has created an awareness of the net impact of taking a walk after exercise. I don't necessarily feel like I need to wear them all the time. How about you?
Melanie Avalon: I'm glad you said that because that made me think of another benefit or something that people can troubleshoot with a CGM as somebody DMed me about this the other day on Instagram. Some people will be fasting and randomly get cravings, like sugar cravings or hungry, and they don't know why. That can be really beneficial to be wearing a CGM because you can see if when you get those cravings, are you having a blood sugar drop or are you not. That can help you kind of figure out what might be going on there. I haven't worn one in a while, actually, I have it in my calendar. I want to put one on pretty soon. It's on my to-do list. I have to put one on when. I actually am dressed up and going out so I can make a reel from it. That's what's been keeping me from doing it. Do you switch arms when you do it that long?
Cynthia Thurlow: I do. Left is my preference because I'm right-hand dominant, but I do switch off. And it's funny. I have one more and I've been trying to decide when I want to put my last one on, so I've been debating. I'm like I don't want it to be when I'm away on vacation or if I'm traveling. I want it to be when I'm home so I can kind of get a really good sense of all the things that I do during the day to stay as metabolically healthy as possible.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, that's the timing of it. Got to figure that out.
Cynthia Thurlow: Mm-hmm.
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Okay, I think we have time for one more question. Lastly, we have a question from Natalie. She says, "How come sometimes it's easy to fast and other times I can barely make it 16 hours?" Does age, cycle, or perimenopause changes have anything to do with the way we fast? How can we get comfortable fluctuating between 3 to 5 pounds knowing we didn't eat that much? But we have water weight and bloating, so how can we not let it ruin our vibe? Random thoughts by a 40-something.
Cynthia Thurlow: Well, Natalie, this is a great question, and yes, this is the blessing/curse of perimenopause the 10 to 15 years preceding menopause. So, from my perspective, there are reasons why it is harder to fast in the luteal phase when progesterone predominates versus the follicular phase, which is right after you've had your menstrual cycle, and the time preceding when you ovulate. It's much easier to fast in the follicular phase when the estrogen predominates, you're more insulin sensitive. You can go away with harder workouts, you can likely last longer. I spend a lot of time talking about this in my book and on a lot of podcasts, including this one that I'm really a fan of women being very cognizant of where they are in their menstrual cycle in order to ensure that they have a lot of success with fasting or taking a break from fasting.
I'm not a fan of fasting five to seven days preceding your menstrual cycle. You can definitely do 12 hours or 13 hours of digestive rest without any issues. And, yeah, this is why I don't recommend people weigh themselves every day. You can have fluctuations of 3 to 5 pounds due to water, due to macro changes. Did you have more carbs? Did you have less carbs? Have you been exercising? What's your sleep like? What's your stress management like? The last little tidbit that I'll add is that perimenopause is when sleep becomes more important, stress management becomes more important. Lifting weights becomes more important. It also becomes more important that we're leaning into anti-inflammatory nutrition. If you're not already doing some of those things and you're looking to kind of change things up, I would encourage you to lean into those. Melanie, what are your thoughts?
Melanie Avalon: This is so interesting. I almost have the opposite advice, which works well because I think different things work for different people. Because you were saying don't weigh yourself every day.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yes. I think it's like a once-a-week thing. And this is what I can tell you after working with thousands and thousands of men and women over the past 20 years, there are people who have a personality type that they can weigh themselves once a week as a check in. I always encourage people to be very mindful of how do your clothes fit, how do you feel? But there are certain types of personalities. It's not specific to a gender, that it's a control mechanism. Their whole day is they're either having a good day or a bad day based on what that number is when they step on their scale. There're so many things that can impact that number that I always say if you're that type of person and your entire day is a win or a loss based on what that number is, and you're not going to have a good day if you've gained 1 pound, that's not a healthy mindset. So that's where my concern stems from, is do you have a healthy relationship with the scale? Because affectionately, I always say the scale is a liar. It is not a reflection of a lot of other metrics. This is where I will tell people to get their body fat measured, like doing a Bod Pod, which if anyone's not familiar with that, it's a little egg-shaped device, but it'll actually measure how much muscle mass to body fat you have. And that's a much more accurate metric. Actually, my trainer, that's what she uses and that's what I use, I probably do it twice a year. That actually gives me better information than just simply stepping on a scale. Unless you have a scale that is giving you a metric about body fat percentages.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. So, my answer it actually is similar. It just has a slightly different manifestation because I agree 100% with everything that you just said that the weight fluctuates. There're so many factors that go into it. People can get caught up in this granular number, kind of like the CGM. They see this one number at this one time and they attach all of this meaning to it when it might not be an accurate picture of what's actually happening. I think for some people there actually is a benefit to weighing every single day. The interesting thing is you have to do it for a little bit to start seeing the trend. For some people, if they weigh every single day, tracking it in an app, there's an app called Happy Scale that's really awesome. If you weigh it every single day, it'll show your actual weekly average. You can see your trends over time and you can see what's actually happening. And so, it kind of shows you what your "True weight likely is?" And it requires a bit of data. That's why I'm saying it takes little bit to actually get the benefit from this and kind of change your mindset surrounding it, because when you actually commit and I'm not saying everybody should wear every day, but I'm saying this might help some people, if you do something like use Happy Scale, weigh every single day, after a few weeks, you'll actually be able to see that those numbers that look like you gained weight actually don't mean anything. It'll make like graphs so you can see over time what's actually happening. I think for some people that can really help. Other people might not be able to get beyond what Cynthia was saying, where regardless of knowing the overall trend, they just get caught up in that number. In that case, I don't think they should be weighing every day. I think you just really need to know yourself where you are. I know Gin was obsessed with the Shapa scale. Shapa, have you used that?
Cynthia Thurlow: I have not.
Melanie Avalon: It's the one that gives you a color rather than a number. It's grays to greens. The color indicates if you've, like, stayed the same, if you've lost weight or if you've gained weight. It also uses a similar to Happy Scale, it's going based on your average, not on that weight right at the moment. A lot of people really like that. But yeah, I think just knowing that there're a lot of factors going in can be really, really helpful. She says she's low carb and eating lunch and dinner, but not what she's eating. What you're eating can have a huge effect as well. Even things like sodium content in food and processed foods versus not. If some foods are inflammatory for you that might have an effect. There're just a lot of factors that go into it. I just think having kindness for yourself and this is where working with a therapist can be really helpful as well. I don't know what I would do without seeing my therapist every week.
Cynthia Thurlow: I love that you brought up the mental health piece because I think women as and we're all guilty of this, I'm by no means am I perfect at all. I do think that there is a certain amount of grace that we need to give ourselves. I think for women, in particular, women that are in perimenopause and menopause, when all the things that we used to do no longer work well, it can be a huge mindset shift. Like, I'm in a good place now, but 10 years ago or even eight years ago, I definitely was and I was like, what's going on? Understanding that with these changes in our bodies, we just have to make some adjustments in order to optimize our health and wellness. I wasn't even aware of that type of scale that you mentioned Gin liked so much that whether it's red light, green light, or yellow light, I think that's a better alternative to just one metric as a number.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, 100%. So, okay, well, we did not get through all of our fasting AMA questions, so we will pick that up next week, and then if we get through them, then we can do some fun AMAs as well after that. Not that these aren't fun, but some other topics. So, this has been absolutely wonderful. If listeners would like to submit their own questions for the show, they can directly email firstname.lastname@example.org or they can go to ifpodcast.com they can submit questions there. The show notes for today's episode will be at ifpodcast.com/episode303. Those show notes will have a full transcript as well as links to everything that we talked about. So definitely check that out and then you can follow us on Instagram, we are @ifpodcast, I am @melanieavalon, and Cynthia is @cynthia_thurlow_ and I think that is all things.
Cynthia Thurlow: It sounds good. For the listeners who've been sending me DMs, we will definitely be answering some hormone questions. We got such a wonderful array of topics to go over. We've been just trying to keep them really well organized, but we will definitely be answering some of those hormone questions too.
Melanie Avalon: Awesome, awesome. All right, well, this has been absolutely wonderful and I will talk to you next week.
Cynthia Thurlow: Sounds good.
Melanie Avalon: Bye.
Thank you so much for listening to The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. Please remember, everything we discussed on this show does not constitute medical advice, and no patient-doctor relationship is formed. If you enjoyed the show, please consider writing your review on iTunes. We couldn't do this without our amazing team, administration by Sharon Merriman, editing by Podcast Doctors, show notes and artwork by Brianna Joyner, transcripts by SpeechDocs, and original theme composed by Leland Cox and re-composed by Steve Saunders. See you next week.
[Transcript provided by SpeechDocs Podcast Transcription]
STUFF WE LIKE
Check out the Stuff We Like page for links to any of the books/supplements/products etc. mentioned on the podcast that we like!
Melanie's What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine
Cynthia's Intermittent Fasting Transformation: The 45-Day Program for Women to Lose Stubborn Weight, Improve Hormonal Health, and Slow Aging
More on Melanie: MelanieAvalon.com
More on Cynthia: cynthiathurlow.com
Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox: LelandCox.com
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