Welcome to Episode 307 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 Free Chicken Nuggets For A Year And $20 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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20:25 - JOOVV: For A Limited Time Go To joovv.com/ifpodcast And Use The Code IFPODCAST For An Exclusive Discount!
22:30 - Listener Q&A: chris - Circadian rhythm
Early Vs Late-Night Eating: Contradictions, Confusions, And Clarity
32:10 - Listener Q&A: Amy - AMA Question
38:40 - Listener Q&A: Chrissy - IF and Surgical Recovery
45:00 - 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!
46:30 - Listener Q&A: Ann - Autophagy question
The effect of fasting or calorie restriction on autophagy induction: A review of the literature
Training state and skeletal muscle autophagy in response to 36 h of fasting
Physiological responses to acute fasting: implications for intermittent fasting programs
Our content does not constitute an attempt to practice medicine and does not establish a doctor-patient relationship. Please consult a qualified healthcare provider for medical advice and answers to personal health questions.
Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 307 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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Hi, everybody, and welcome. This is episode number 307 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 am good. Are you struggling with jet lag?
Cynthia Thurlow: [laughs] I actually felt great yesterday, but because my youngest was up multiple times last night with a GI bug, I think that's actually why I don't feel great this morning. I don't think it's as much jet lag as much as it's just interrupted sleep multiple times at night is never good for feeling as mentally sharp as you normally are. I can't even string my words together properly.
Melanie Avalon: I'm grateful for this. I feel like the more and more interviews I do, I feel like more and more people are focusing on the importance of sleep. I feel like every interview I do, if the question comes up of, like, what is the most important thing, it's often sleep.
Cynthia Thurlow: Oh, absolutely. And it's funny, I got back from London on Sunday and the first thing I did was I ate a good-sized dinner and literally two hours later just did an early bedtime and I felt great on Monday. I got light exposure, I went to the gym. I think it's a combination of solo parenting and then my older son and I were both up dealing with my younger son not feeling so great last night. My kids are pretty independent as teenagers, but when they're making a lot of noise it's hard to ignore them.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I can imagine. I cannot be a parent. That's my thoughts on that. I have two really random things to talk about. One is, have you heard of a brand called Safe Catch?
Cynthia Thurlow: Yes.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, you have? Nice. They reached out to me just randomly. They wanted to send me some samples. I'm so obsessed. I wanted to share them with listeners. So, for listeners, they are a brand that makes canned and those little packet-- I don't know what they're called. The packets that are flexible, like packets, I guess, bags of both tuna and salmon. And their main thing is that they extensively test for mercury levels, which I just think is so important because I'm really concerned about the levels of mercury in fish that we're eating, especially as a huge fish lover. It's great for the salmon, which salmon does tend to be lower in mercury anyways. But with tuna, I think it's like a really big problem because the levels in tuna can vary so wildly. So, this is a way for you to get your tuna and not worry about mercury.
I'm looking at their website and they said that their Elite Wild Tuna is 10 times stricter levels than the FDA mercury limit. Their Wild Albacore Tuna is two and a half times stricter than the FDA mercury limit, and then their salmon is below the mercury limit as well. I'm not finding where they said how far below, but I will have to find some literature about it and put it in the show notes. But in any case, so I just wanted to share that with listeners as a nice resource. So, that is @safecatch.com and it's funny, they told me about this, like, back in October or November. I haven't shared it yet and so my coupon had expired, but I got them to reactivate it. That's why I have to share this now because it only goes through the end of March, but the code MELANIE AVALON will get you 20% off, which is amazing, so stock up. Again, this is something that you could really stock up on because it's cans and those little pouch things. The word is escaping me. Do you eat canned tuna or salmon?
Cynthia Thurlow: Not a ton and I'll be completely transparent. I think after my high mercury levels, probably seven, eight years ago, the one thing that my functional medicine team and I have talked about is to eat less fish. And so, for me, I eat fish but very sparingly. I may only eat fish once or twice a month for full disclosure. But it's not that I don't like fish. I just don't want to expose myself to the amount of mercury that I was before. And even in our house, we do have some canned tuna if there's no other protein options, but it's never really my favorite.
If I'm going to have fish now, I'll usually pick the less predatory fish, that it's less of a concern. But I certainly, I mean, I love tuna. I'll be completely transparent, but I think it's allowed me to have more of a Wildatarian diet, to have a more variety of proteins and I think that's probably been beneficial for me. Our family, we definitely, during the pandemic, realized that we could lean into some Wildatarian meats and we found several that we really enjoyed, so more variety with land animals than water fish.
Melanie Avalon: I'm happy to hear you say that. I'm not happy that you went through the mercury experience, but I'm happy that you understand the issues with it. I really think it's a really big problem that most people are just not aware of. That's why I'm really excited about this brand, especially with so many people eating canned tuna and like I said tuna in particular because there's like, the list of fish that tend to be low mercury, which is-- so shellfish, tend to be the lowest. So that's like scallops and salmon. That's one of the reasons I eat so many scallops. And then after that, I mean, it's really like salmon. And actually, farm salmon tends to be lower than wild salmon, that I actually don't eat wild salmon for that reason. Tilapia tends to be low and then rainbow trout tends to be low, but beyond that, there really aren't. I get really nervous about fish, so I think this is a great resource for people.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, absolutely. I think that it's nice that there are companies that are becoming more savvy because there are marketing opportunities to connect with individuals that are going to go the extra mile. I know for us if we're going to buy fish, we usually will swing through Whole Foods or there's a fishmonger in the area that I live in, so we'll usually go through there. My husband's super picky and I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that one of his hobbies is deep sea fishing. So, he's really picky, we have to buy the day off if we're going to eat it and therefore, we don't eat it often because it tends to be a little more high maintenance. And for me, I'm no longer in Washington DC, so things aren't as close. So, having to plan the extra amount of time in the car to go get fish, I'm like, I have to really really want it.
And generally, that's become less and less common, especially because my kids, with the exception of shrimp, they really don't love shellfish or seafood, maybe other than lobster tails. For them, they're not big fish people. We've gotten to the point where we've made it so many times and they're picking at it, and then they're not finishing it, and then they're destroying the refrigerator after dinner because they're still looking for more food. And it's just made it so much easier. So, I tend to order it when I'm out if I know that I'm in a restaurant where I'm going to get high quality.
Melanie Avalon: Nice. Yeah, that's a whole tangent. If you go down the research rabbit hole about fish fraud, it is shocking, it's shocking. They've done tests and the amount of fish that's just not what it says it is at normal stores, like, at normal supermarkets, is shocking, like mislabeled. So, even then, you can't. You don't even know if you're getting what you're getting. I did just check and the Safe Catch fish is wild caught. So, that would be some wild caught salmon. Yeah, that was my tangent on fish. I had something else, but I can save it. I can save it for next time. Anything from you before we jump in?
Cynthia Thurlow: No, other than there are many reasons why London is one of my favorite cities and the food is definitely part of that. By far one of my favorite foodie cities. I think a lot of people don't realize the diversity in the food options that are there. My cousin, I jokingly told her that she needs to be my wife because everything, every restaurant she picked out, that we ate out for lunch and dinner was amazing. And we even had Russian food, we had Indian food. I mean, we had dim sum and we had everything you could imagine. And we did not have one less than stellar meal. It was pretty awesome.
Melanie Avalon: Wow. I feel like that's something you don't normally hear about London or England.
Cynthia Thurlow: Oh, London shopping is, like, second. I mean, I tell people all the time there's nothing in the United States. It's as good as some places in Europe. And, well, technically, that's the UK. But yeah, I mean, it's next level. I just think it's a huge financial economy and it just reminds me of why I love being there on multiple levels. I love the architecture, I love the food, and I just love everything about London. It's a great city.
Melanie Avalon: What was your favorite thing that you did tourist wise?
Cynthia Thurlow: Because I've been there so many times as has my cousin, for us it was more about just spending time together and so every day it was kind of a similar thing. We allowed ourselves to kind of sleep in, which is easy given the fact there's a five-hour time difference and our bodies thought it was the middle of the night and we were getting up. But I would say experiencing definitely the food, the cuisine, I would say being able to shop with another woman as opposed to shopping with my husband and kids where no one wants to go shopping. Let me be clear, I did not buy anything for myself while I was there.
I was definitely kind of gaming the ideas of, “Okay, when I come back to Europe or when I go to Europe later in the year, I'm going to make some purchases, but trying to kind of price things out.” Because whether people know this or not, sometimes the exchange rate works in your favor and it makes sense to purchase some things and sometimes it does not. And so, it didn't make sense to buy things there. I can wait till I'm in Portugal in April.
So, I would say the favorite things we did was just connecting and just exercising and just being outside. It was 50 degrees. It was super warm for that time of year. All the sightseeing we've done, all the big sites before. Westminster Abbey is probably one of my favorite things to do in London. Just having the opportunity to know that we didn't have to rush from one historical place to another because we've been there enough. I have a favorite hotel that I stay in and actually ironically enough her and her family prefer staying there. And so, it's a great part of the city where you can just walk around and everyone's very nice.
And then, ironically, I was watching a movie on the way home and it was set in the same hotel we stayed in. I was like, “Oh, my gosh, that's total validation that we stayed in the right place.”
Melanie Avalon: What movie?
Cynthia Thurlow: It's called Burnt, has Bradley Cooper in it.
Melanie Avalon: Is he a chef?
Cynthia Thurlow: Yes. Okay. Yeah, I saw that, but it's set in the same hotel we're in. I didn't even realize that until I started watching. I was like, “Oh, my God, that's our hotel.” [laughs] I was like, “What a coincidence.” But it was wonderful. It's just nice. I mean, for anyone that's listening that has kids and people you're responsible for, it's just nice to have, like, four days where you just do what you want to do and just enjoy the company of someone that you love. And my cousin is like the sister I never had, so we can talk about all the things and enjoy each other's company. And the irony is, we brought some of the same clothes. We didn't even realize that we have similar taste, which we knew. But as she was pulling stuff out and hanging in the closet, I was like, “Oh, my God, I have that same sweater with me. Oh, my gosh, I have that same jacket.” I'm not even realizing it. Just togetherness and time away from the family was a lot of fun.
Melanie Avalon: Nice. One of the books I'm reading right now is called The Fun Habit. I'm really excited to interview the author, but he talks all about this, the importance of having fun [chuckles] for the actual life and health benefits, how we disregard it as something that adults don't do or isn't important. But he makes the case it's just as important as so many other things in life.
Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely. And I think a lot of people travel. There are vacations like this and then there are vacations where you're only in a place for a certain amount of time. You've never been there, you want to see this attraction and that attraction and eat this place and not eat that place. For us, it was like we saw a play, we went out for a fabulous dinner, we had an amazing lunch. I mean Book of Mormon.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, the musical?
Cynthia Thurlow: Yes. I've never seen that before and it was quite funny. So, if listeners are not familiar with that, it was created by the same people that did South Park, which explains the humor in the movie. And I didn't actually realize that until right before we’re leaving and my 15-year-old shared that with me and I actually was like, thank you for sharing that with me because the whole time I was like, “Oh my God, this is like a South Park episode," little outrageous.
Melanie Avalon: I listened to it when it came out, so I was young and it kind of scandalized me. I thought was very-- It's like "Oh."
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, it's a little raunchy. My kids were like, “Well, what does that word mean?” And I was like, “Well, a little, if I were of that religion, I would be definitely offended, but I'm not Mormon.” But it was entertaining, and I love going to theater, and it was just nice to be in the London theater district and enjoy a really nice dinner and just all that togetherness. And I agree with you, I think a lot of times people feel like they have to plan out every single minute of a vacation. I'm a huge advocate of some things being planned and then other things not being planned.
Melanie Avalon: Yes.
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So, to start things off, we have a question from Chris and the subject is circadian rhythm and Chris says, “Hi, I'm listening to you and Cynthia in your latest podcast. It's always refreshing to listen to you both answer a reader's question. I just finished reading the Circadian Code by Dr. Satchin Panda. I was thinking I came onto it via one of your earlier podcasts. Anyway, I'm hoping that you and Cynthia have either read or will read this book. I feel like he really advocates for everybody to eat early in the day. And I know you say you like to eat later. My mom is like this. She works best at night, she's 86 and still cooks everything three times a day for her and my father, he has Alzheimer's. I keep wanting to tell her to stop eating at a certain time, but I know we're probably all different with cortisol. The point I want to make is I'd love to hear you do a podcast about their circadian code ideology. Maybe you have and I just haven't come across it yet. He makes a strong case for everyone to time their meals early in the day. I've been doing it for a week now and I noticed my hunger levels have definitely dropped off like you said they would. I was rather surprised. I have been intermittent fasting for five years now and I stalled out on weight loss, especially because of COVID. But since I have been following his ideology of having breakfast as the main meal and my last meal at seven or eight hours later, I've had way more energy on way less food. I don't snack between my two meals and I've been realizing how much better this works for me. I'm used to waiting until 12 or 1 to have my first meal.
Now I make sure I have a high protein breakfast with salmon and eggs or whatever meat I have around, and I always like to do a protein shake then, but I up my protein since I work out. I've noticed I don't need to worry as much as I have more energy. I'm still doing protein shakes now and then, but not like I was. I'm also noticing that I am intuitively eating more now. And I also noticed that when I finally have a piece of fruit like the typical blueberries or kiwi, it tastes like candy. It seems like my eating is way more intuitive now. I'd love to hear your thoughts. Keep up the good work with Cynthia. You guys are awesome.”
He or she because Chris could be either way also says “Since reading his book, I am now more focused on time-restricted eating with a window of seven to eight hours. I love cutting my eating time off at 05:00 PM. And he also advocates making the same meal times, but sometimes that just doesn't work. So, I try to focus on my eating window and my non-snacking in between my two meals. I just can't believe how eating this big breakfast first thing when I get up in the morning has given me way more energy and then my second meal is way lighter what I eat because I'm just not as hungry. Again, I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts and Cynthia's thoughts.”
Cynthia Thurlow: Well, Chris, thank you for your question. I am very familiar with this book. In fact, I'm sitting at my desk in my office and I can see it. Literally it's across from my vision. I'm a huge fan of eating aligned with our chronobiology, and for most people, obviously there are exceptions, most people actually do better with insulin sensitivity earlier in the day. I would imagine if you have parents that are in their 80s that you are at a minimum middle aged. And so, I do encourage individuals that are middle aged to really lean into eating when we are most insulin sensitive and the average middle-aged person is losing insulin sensitivity as they are aging. I'm not at all surprised that you feel great really having a larger breakfast and then eating a second meal seven to eight hours later. I think you're really harnessing the power of your circadian rhythms and circadian biology.
This is actually something that, from my perspective, I may not eat eight hours after my first meal, but I'm definitely closing my feeding window before dark and that really works well for me. Ironically enough, my cousin who was with me who's also a middle-aged person, we were laughing about the fact that we stopped eating by 5 or 6 o'clock at night. That has worked really well for us. I just want to encourage you to continue to leaning into things that make you feel good and as it pertains to your parents, the adage of the old, you can't teach an old dog new tricks. That applies in many ways, I think for some people it becomes very much a social opportunity for them if they're eating three times a day and sitting down with their loved ones.
I think sometimes it's been my experience and most of my elderly patients and clients really aren't eating a lot of food. She may not be eating large boluses of food, but may just enjoy the social aspects. But if she's not open or receptive to eating less frequently, I think you just have to respect what works for them at this time in their lives. I do know that when my grandmother was getting older, she got to a point where she said that she just ate two small meals a day. That's really all she was hungry for. So much of this is really honoring our own biology and physiology and bio individuality. What do you think, Melanie?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I agree with all of that, obviously. So, you've read the book.
Cynthia Thurlow: Mm-hmm.
Melanie Avalon: I'm actually really surprised that I haven't read this book. I've listened to a lot of interviews that he's done. Have you had him on your show?
Cynthia Thurlow: I have not, I have not. It's funny, I think because he's really like a true researcher. I always feel like the researchers are the ones that are sometimes harder to get on podcasts. I think about Lisa Mosconi is a good example of that. I keep saying eventually I'm going to have her on the podcast. She wrote XX Brain in case listeners are not familiar with her. But yeah, I actually was talking about some of his most recent research in two medical conferences I spoke at last week. That was really validating, eating less frequently and so I'm definitely pretty aligned with a lot of his methodology and research. Obviously, bio individuality really plays in a lot here. I think if you're a younger individual and you have more insulin sensitivity, you can probably eat later into the day. But I find that most of my female patients and clients don't do well if they have a large bolus of food and then try to go to bed two hours later.
Melanie Avalon: I really want to try to reach out to him. I really like his research as well. And I agree with everything that you said. Again, I've talked about this at length before. I wish I was an earlier eating person. I wish that worked for me, I really, really do. It just doesn't for me personally. I do think there is an aspect of individuality. So, I do think some people naturally do better eating earlier and some people naturally do better eating later. When I say later, I don't mean necessarily what I do, which is really late. I've talked about this a lot as well. I wrote a long blog post about this. If you go to melanieavalon.com/eatingtiming, I tried to really look at all the studies and see what the takeaway was for me about when it seemed like objectively people should be eating and it did seem to be eating during--
For me, this was just my perspective. It did seem to be eating during daytime hours and my takeaway was probably more later afternoon to early evening just based on pure hormonal release of insulin, ghrelin, leptin. That's what I was mostly looking at. So, like hormones related to eating and hunger, when were they naturally ebbing and flowing just based on the time. What I think is really amazing about this Chris is that it sounds like you were doing something different. And I think it's super awesome that you were open to trying this and that it did work for you. That's super amazing. It seems like it was the thing that you were talking about being on a weight stall, and this was something that helped you push through a plateau that you were on. It sounds like you're assimilating food better probably since you're feeling the need for less protein even. Not to say that we should focus on less protein, but it sounds like you eating this way is probably helping you better assimilate and utilize the food.
I do encourage people to find the rhythm that works for them. For a lot of people, it possibly is earlier. If people find a rhythm that really does work for them and it is later and they're happy and it's working in their life and they're sleeping and they're working and it's working with their weight and their health. I also don't want people to completely over freak out and think they have to be eating earlier as well. But yes, so, to do list, to read that book and reach out to him.
Cynthia Thurlow: It's a good book and it's not very thick. Right now, I'm trying to get through Ari Whitten's book, Eat for Energy and then I have to get through Dave Asprey's because I'm interviewing both of them next week. I'm like, “All right.” It's Super Bowl weekend this weekend, and I think I will be by myself because my husband's going on a snowboarding trip with his buddies, and I think my teenagers are both going to friends' houses. This is going to be a first. I'm reframing this, Melanie, as the universe is giving me an opportunity to do more prep for the week. I'm like, “Okay, I'm not going to look at this negatively. This is all a positive. My kids are in a good place. My husband's going away with his friends. I just got back from a trip. This is all good.”
Melanie Avalon: Oh, wow. Does Dave have a new book coming out or is this for his other book?
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, yeah, he has a new book. I think he's on the every other year plan, which is pretty prolific when you think about it. I'm still mulling additional book ideas run in my head, but yeah, he's like a workhorse. [laughs] He manages to do that because as you know the book writing process is not like instantaneous. It takes time and I think he must be working on the next book, when the next book comes out it's amazing.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, wow. That's really exciting. I really liked Ari's book as well.
Cynthia Thurlow: Oh, good to know. It's literally sitting underneath my phone to remind me that that's the next thing to work on.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, he was great too. So, well, very exciting. Shall we go on to our next question, which is a lingering question from our AMAs.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yes. This is from Amy. Amy says, “Can you use the Joovv for 10 minutes all over your body or only 10 minutes a day on a part of your body?” This is a very good question for Melanie.
Melanie Avalon: Awesome. I did specifically put this in today's episode because we are sponsored in part today by Joovv, so I thought we might as well answer a question related to it. So, for people who are not familiar, Joovv makes red and near infrared light therapy devices. I've been using mine for years. I really don't know what I would do without it. So, a few different things. One, it's funny because they sort of made a mode for this when they released the newer version, but I've been doing this from the beginning, which is I actually use it for ambient light. I have it on pretty much 24/7, but not super close. Well, when I'm at my desk, it is little bit close to me, but I just find that the red light really helps counteract a lot of the blue light that we're exposed to. It's wonderful waking up in the morning and then in the evening I use it to light my whole apartment at night.
So, speaking of circadian rhythm and sleep, I find it so helpful for that. But the main reason people are using it is for targeted treatment. It helps with inflammation, muscle soreness, skin, so many things. Her question is basically, can you use it for 10 minutes all over your body or only a part of your body? You can do your whole body in a day. So, the answer would be you could do 10 minutes all over your body and if you have one of the larger units, like the Solo, then you could do more of a full body treatment at once. I do have the Solo, but then I have the Mini, which would be more like your face or a smaller area. They have the Go, which is like very small areas that's handheld. I take that while traveling, which is awesome, but it's really a good investment, especially if you're going, like I go to Restore Hyper Wellness. That's where I do my cryotherapy.
I have a daily membership there which, by the way, I really recommend Restore. They're getting bigger and bigger, so they're in a lot of cities and they have cryotherapy, they have sauna, and they have red light. That would be a good way to try red light to see if you like it. They have compression suits for your legs. And I think the daily membership, if you're going every day, is definitely worth it. But what I was going to say is, time wise, it's just so much more cost effective and time effective for me to have the devices at home. It really does pay for itself. I'm just thinking about that phrase, "It really does pay for itself." Like, is that actually a true statement ever if you pay for something, [chuckles] can it actually ever pay for itself? I don't know.
Cynthia Thurlow: Well, I think it depends on what it is. I sometimes and this drives my husband crazy. So, this is like triggering when I'll say, “Oh, cost per wear.” Like, if I buy a pair of jeans or a nice handbag or a nice pair of shoes, I'm like but if I'm going to wear this every day or three or four times a week and I'm going to wear it for years, then the cost per wear makes sense versus something you wear once and it sits in your closet. So, I think it's the same thing, as an example, I use my PEMF mat every single day and love it. But if I bought something like that and only used it occasionally, then it might not make sense. So, I think it really depends on the individual. Like, I love, we have Restore Hyper Wellness too, and I think they do a fantastic job.
I use them for IVs in particular around travel because the hydration, you just can't stay hydrated enough when you're traveling, I don't care how much water and electrolytes you consume. But, Melanie, this is a great question for Melanie, because I don't have a Joovv device, but I keep saying I'm going to buy one, so maybe this now the impetus to go buy one.
Melanie Avalon: You should definitely get, like I literally can't understand my life without it. I mean, I can, but so the red light in the morning and the evening is a game changer for me. And then the light is so therapeutic. Like, when I'm sitting at my desk, it just feels good, like it just feels good. And then with a targeted treatment, I find it very, very effective with muscle pain and things like that. So, yeah, big fan. And I will agree with the cost per wear thing.
I interviewed Matt Simon for his book A Poison Like No Other, all about microplastics and he talks all about the role of plastics in our clothing, which blew my mind. I didn't realize that most clothing is largely plastic. I didn't realize just how pervasive plastic is. I think I had way too much of-- it was in a box in my head that only stuff that was obviously plastic was plastic. I didn't realize that basically everything has plastic. I mean most things have plastic. And so, clothing actually sheds a ton of plastic. And so, you can tell your husband this. He makes the case that one of the best things we can do for clothing is to buy really high-quality outfits and wear them a lot. They stop shedding plastic. So, the more you wear them, the less plastic you're shedding.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, and it's interesting. My cousin was saying that she wants to have a capsule wardrobe and so I was reminding her that one thing I've made a very deliberate effort in the past 6 to 12 months is to be ruthless about not buying things I don't need. So, as an example, I'm a sweater wearer, I love sweaters, I love to be warm in the winter and I literally have bought no sweaters this year. So, it's like I'm definitely curtailing what I'm wearing. The thing I was most surprised about was that a lot of athletic wear, like, Athleta as an example, I don't have a lot of Athleta in my wardrobe, but a lot of those athletic companies, most of what you're wearing is plastics, which is disturbing because you're thinking about, you're sweating in athletic wear, those sports bras and other things. I was like, “Oh, that's a bummer.”
Melanie Avalon: It's really, really, crazy, the percentage of and it's even like normal clothes that you wouldn't think are plastic. It made me feel a lot better because I really do wear almost the same thing every day. So, I was like, well, doing something good for the environment. So, that whole tangent, but yeah, to answer the question, Amy, you can use it all over your body and you can listen to the ad in today's show about Joovv. But we do have a coupon. It gives you a discount if you go to joovv.com/ifpodcast and use the coupon code IFPODCAST. So yeah, okie dokie. Shall we go on to our next question?
Cynthia Thurlow: Sure.
Melanie Avalon: So, we have a question from Chrissy. The subject is IF and surgical recovery. And Chrissy says, Hi ladies, I've listened to every show and I finally have a question. I've been practicing IF with a Whole Foods diet for one year now. I've seen so many improvements including elimination of daily headaches, insomnia, joint pain, and even anxiety. The most surprising improvement was my asthma. Before IF, I took eight inhalations of steroids daily along with frequent use of my rescue inhaler and nebulizer. This year I only needed one daily puff of steroid during peak allergy season in July and August and I never need rescue meds anymore. I made this change to lose weight and was shocked with all the improvements. I've sustained a 35-pound weight loss for the first time ever and I'm thrilled to be back in size 4 pants at 44 years of age.
Now, for my question, "I've been experiencing a lot of pelvic pain over the last six months and ultrasound shows fibroids and a potentially suspicious uterine growth. I'll have a DNC.” What is a DNC?
Cynthia Thurlow: Dilation and curettage. Usually, they go in and they scrape the inside of the uterus, take a biopsy. It's a very routine procedure, but still scary because you're having a minor medical procedure.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, wow. Is that similar to a I cannot say the word, a col--
Cynthia Thurlow: Colposcopy, that's different.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, it's different, okay. “So, I'll have a DNC with biopsy next month and if it's at all worrisome, I will likely opt for a hysterectomy. With all of the improvements I've seen, I truly believe diet can heal. What is the best way to use nutrition and fasting to help myself heal quickly if I do need the surgery? I used ADF to lose the weight and one or two meals a day to maintain depending on my hunger cues. Thank you and much love.”
Cynthia Thurlow: Well, Chrissy, thank you so much for sharing all of the success you've had. And really, this is a great example of the reduction in inflammation that you experienced with fasting versus the eat to stoke your metabolism, eat multiple snacks and many meals a day. I'm sorry to hear that you've been experiencing some pelvic pain and hopefully this will turn out to be no issues. Just have your DNC and a biopsy that will end up being benign. I would say that from my perspective, the best way to use nutrition and fasting to help heal from surgery is first and foremost an anti-inflammatory diet. So, really removing the most inflammatory foods, which are gluten grains, dairy, sugar, alcohol at least for the short term, something that's a Whole30 evoking process and a Whole30 for anyone that's listening is really not designed to be done in perpetuity. It really is just a 30-day anti-inflammatory diet.
It makes it easy because unlike years ago when I used to recommend it to patients, there are now Whole30-approved barbecue sauce and other things that just make your life so much easier. So, it's really just eating protein, healthy vegetables, fruit, and then just cutting out the most inflammatory foods. The other thing is, I'm not a huge fan of over fasting, especially because it sounds, like now you're at a happy place in terms of your weight. So, I would say if you're doing fasting, I would still try to get in two meals a day so that you're hitting your protein macros. Protein is certainly going to be important in a postoperative period, even in a minor surgery. Hopefully you won't need a hysterectomy. From my perspective, it sounds like you really laid the foundation to be able to heal. And I would say the additional things that I would consider doing is removing additional inflammatory foods if they're even still part of your diet and then also considering making sure you're getting your protein needs met on a daily basis. And so, I would say at least 40 to 50 g of protein in a meal, so close to 100 grams of protein a day would be a good starting point. Melanie, what are your thoughts?
Melanie Avalon: I think we've talked about this on the show before. I had gone and looked at all the studies that I could find on fasting and surgery and there were some pretty interesting ones about the benefits of fasting, more so leading up to surgery and then affecting, it was more stuff like post operative nausea and stuff like that it was looking at. I agree with what you were saying about, it sounds like she's at a good place right now with her fasting and so, I wouldn't overdo the fasting just because of the surgery and everything. You definitely-- I mean Cynthia, hit on all the points. Like you want to make sure with surgery that you have adequate nutrition for your body to recover and heal and the anti-inflammatory aspect of that is so, so important. I would immediately, surrounding the surgery, make sure you're getting the meals to recover and making sure that they are the anti-inflammatory meals and just doing what's been working, not going overly crazy.
So, separate from probably not surrounding the surgery because there are contraindications with surgery. But when you're beyond all of this, I was just thinking while reading this, if you do still have allergy issues and you've had things like fibroids, so serrapeptase that I take, that is amazing for allergies that personally for me makes allergy season-- For me it's not summer, it's spring. I just react to all the grass, just wipes me out and I don't have any issues when I take serrapeptase. So, that might be something that you want to try Chrissy, so that's my, again, not immediately surrounding the surgery, because I think there're often contraindications for that. But when you are on the other side of it, so you can get that @avalonx.us and the coupon code MELANIE AVALON will get you 10% off or you can get a 20% off code if you text AVALONX to 877-861-8318. So that's AVALONX to 877-861-8318. But either way, wishing you the best with your surgery. Normally we have a date. I'm not sure when this came in, but I am sure it will all go wonderfully. And it's really great that you are super aware of the role of diet in all this because so many people just are not.
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Melanie Avalon: Shall we go on to our next question?
Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely. This is from Anne and this is an autophagy question. “Hi, I've read that autophagy doesn't begin until one reaches a 24 to 48-hour fast. I cannot go that long. I've been doing 19:5 or 20:4 meaning fasting for 19 to 20 hours with a four or five-hour feeding window. I wanted to know if you believe that we reach autophagy in those fasting hours. Thank you," Anne.
Melanie Avalon: All right, Anne, thank you so much for your question. I might reserve the right to have a part one and then I'm going to do some more research for a part two because honestly, when I sat down to research this, I was like, “Oh, I'll find some information pretty quickly. Not so much. So, this was something I'd been wanting to look into especially because Peter Attia talks about this a lot and he's the last that I heard. He thinks that you don't really get any measurable bump in autophagy with just general everyday fasting. I found one pretty good review, but it was from 2018 and it's called The effect of fasting or calorie restriction on autophagy induction: A review of the literature. That was a review up until 2018. Just a little fun fact really quickly. That one I could only find the abstract.
If that happens to you, search for the name of the title-- Well, A, if that happens to you, ResearchGate often has the full studies. I love that website. If they don't have it, which they didn't, if you search for the title and then add PDF to it, you can sometimes find, well, A, the actual study or B, the submitted manuscript. So that's what I found. That's how I was able to read the whole thing. But in any case, what was really interesting about that review, and again this was 2018, so about five years ago, it went deep into autophagy.
There're actually three main types of autophagy. For example, there's macroautophagy, microautophagy, and chaperone-mediated autophagy and basically what they have to do is just how that process actually happens, but macroautophagy is the one we most often think of and it was nice to read it because I feel like I've been talking too casually about autophagy. Like whenever I talk about it, I'm like, “Oh yeah, it's like a cellular renewal process, it breaks down old proteins,” and I kind of stop there. But reading this through made me realize again just how important this process is. So, it helps with so many health-related issues. It's necessary for cellular function.
The reason I think it's important to draw attention to that is I think people sometimes think that we only get this autophagy process when we're fasting, which is not the case. It's literally happening 24/7, literally on some level. I mean if you think about it, when cells create, they get broken and they have waste products and our body has to get rid of that. Now, the level to which you get rid of it and the level to which you get proper autophagy levels might affect how good you are at that process and how much recovery you get from that. So, it's nice to do things that can support autophagy, but it is happening all the time. So that's a little myth to dispel.
What's really interesting is a lot of cellular states can create it. That includes calorie restriction and fasting which are two ways that can potentially potently activate it, that also have health benefits beyond that compared to things like, so even like infection can create it, oxidative stress can encourage it. So, I found that really, really interesting. But in any case, one of the main benefits for autophagy is the effects on neurodegenerative diseases because it can help with that protein build up that can affect our neurons and create neurodegenerative issues.
Here's the thing that study with the review, the majority of the studies I was looking at and there were a lot, but they were all in rodents and I honestly don't know how that correlates to humans for autophagy just because of how the circadian rhythm of a rodent compares to a human. I don't know if we see the same activation, especially since a 24-hour fast in a rodent is like a huge fast in a human. So, the studies in autophagy in humans are actually pretty hard to find.
The majority of the ones I could find were in muscle autophagy in humans and one of the main ones I was looking at was called Training state and skeletal muscle autophagy in response to 36 h of fasting. It did look at fasting up to 36 hours. So, 2 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours, 36 hours and what was interesting is it actually depended on whether or not the person was trained or not. It had different responses. So, on top of just you as a person fasting whether or not you're trained might affect your autophagy response. But one of the main things that encourages autophagy is the activation of AMPK and the downregulation of mTOR.
So, mTOR is activated by food and nutrition and protein. It's a growth stimulus. And then the AMPK pathway is activated from fasting and calorie restriction and it activates longevity pathways and so it helps activate autophagy. So, even if there's not a lot of studies on autophagy, there are a lot of studies on AMPK activation, which does seem to happen while fasting and a dose response curve.
So, I also found a newer study, a journal article called Physiological responses to acute fasting: implications for intermittent fasting programs. And I'm really sad because I could not find the full article. All I could do was the abstract and this was a November 2021 study. But something important to note was that the end of it says that a single fast demonstrated the ability to alter glucose, so that's blood sugar and lipid, that's fat metabolism within the initial 24 hours. But variations in protein metabolism appear to be minimal within this time frame and then here comes the key. The ability of an acute fast to elicit significant increases in autophagy is still unknown. That was really what I walked away with. Going back to that earlier review I talked about, I found it so interesting and actually a little bit frustrating because it was a very very deep dive, like a very deep dive. It's very long.
It goes into autophagy for all the different individual areas like autophagy in the kidneys, autophagy in the muscle, autophagy in the heart. The majority of the studies are rodent studies. And then at the end, it makes the conclusion that fasting does upregulate autophagy. They're kind of saying that the way it reads is that that applies to humans. But then the confusing thing is the majority of the studies are looking at are rodents. I don't really know how that extends to humans. And so, it's hard to reach to the conclusion that it's a very vague conclusion. I think it's a very vague idea that a lot of people have about fasting and autophagy and I think we just don't know.
Like, I think this 2021 study, which was actually published in 2022, I guess it was published online in 2021 and in the journal in 2022, I think their summary about it's unknown. That's what I came away with. We don't actually know with fasting, in humans how much it's increasing autophagy. All of that said, I'll go back to what I said earlier about we do know autophagy is linked to AMPK. We know that AMPK is activated by fasting and that the longer you fast, you're probably getting more of that stimulus. So, I would say that probably the longer you fast, you're getting more autophagy. All of that to say, I wouldn't stress about it too much. I would just know that fasting is creating these beneficial health effects. But I wouldn't do fasting specifically to activate autophagy if that makes sense. If that's the case, I don't know, but you might need to do a longer fast to get like really deep autophagy, kind of like Peter Attia says. That was a long answer. What are your thoughts, Cynthia?
Cynthia Thurlow: No, thank you for that beautiful explanation. I just want to take that and just say that there are other ways to induce autophagy in the body that are not just related to fasting because I think oftentimes people forget that there are other ways to upregulate autophagy and one of those is exercise. And I think a lot about high intensity interval training as being one. I think about low-carb diets which can be helpful. I think about hot and cold exposure. I know we spoke earlier about Joovv and that's a different type of red light therapy, but I always say exposure to extreme, so extremes of temperature can be very helpful. I remind people that it's funny, there's one podcast that I really like. It's always like short little 15, 20-minute clips. And so, Mike Mutzel whose High Intensity Health and he was talking about would you rather fast really long or just do HIIT or just do these other things. So, just something to consider that there are other ways to upregulate this process beyond fasting. Even hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been shown to induce autophagy and there're even foods that can help induce autophagy, like in the brain. I think about things that are polyphenol rich, so coffee and green tea. I also think about MCT oil, ginger and turmeric, even sulforaphane, there's good research on that as well, so just something to consider.
Obviously, I'm coming at it from a different direction, but I know that for myself, I don't like really long fasts and I think after my experience, it's almost four years ago now and it's getting less and less triggered by this. But doing long fast is just not going to be part of my fasting practice given how long I was unable to eat. So, from my perspective, if you feel like you really struggled to get to 18, 19, 20 hours, don't white-knuckle it, like no one listening to this podcast, that is never the message that we are trying to send. We want there to be common sense. We want you to have success with using this strategy or other types of strategies, but we definitely want you to be cognizant of where you feel like your limitations are and there's no shame in that whatsoever.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I'm so glad you said that. Yeah, even coffee, oh my goodness. Even coffee has been shown to upregulate it and can't believe I forgot berberine. How did I forget that. So, my most recent supplement berberine, it's actually a potent activator of both AMPK and autophagy, which is super awesome. So, its main benefit that people take berberine for is blood sugar control. So, it can rival the effects of metformin for its blood sugar lowing potential and its ability to reduce HbA1c. It can help with the gut microbiome. There’s actually, I found, an entire paper dedicated to its effect on AMPK, which was an autophagy, which is super awesome. So, you can also get that @avalonx.us and those coupon codes will work as well.
But yeah, I'm glad, Cynthia, that you drew attention to that there are a lot of ways to stimulate it, and I wish I could find it, but literally there's a study and I just loved it because it literally said, autophagy is a process happening 24/7 in the body, which I think a lot of people don't quite realize.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, and I think it's interesting because both Thomas DeLauer and Mike speak about this a lot. So, even with my team, I've reminded them that we need to make sure that we're offering different options because there are some people that they would have to white-knuckle it to get to a 24-hour fast. There're other ways to evoke these processes in the body without having to white-knuckle it. I'll be completely transparent and say that I loathe being cold, but that just tells me that I need to be cold more often. So, [laughs] you're doing cryotherapy has become something I do once or twice a week because that's obviously what my body needs. If it's the thing I don't want to be doing, it's generally the thing I need to be doing.
Melanie Avalon: That's something that happened since we've talked. I interviewed Thomas DeLauer.
Cynthia Thurlow: I love Thomas. He's so smart.
Melanie Avalon: He was really, really great.
Cynthia Thurlow: Super smart. He's such a smart guy.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. He likes [chuckles] kind of what I just did with the studies. He loves diving. He really follows the literature. I was really impressed. Like, I asked him questions and he just had all these studies ready and waiting.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, I'm excited. I'll see him in less than two weeks. We're both speaking at the same event. He's speaking on Friday, I'm speaking on Saturday, but I'll be able to see him again. He's incredibly-- I think it's a really good example of a guy who's really well respected in the space and so knowledgeable. And I tell him all the time, he'll pull a study that I hadn't even seen and I'm like, “Oh, I'm down a rabbit hole,” because [laughs] Thomas did a video on it and now I need to know more about it. So, he does create his great content on YouTube.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I thought it was really great. What's interesting is when I had asked for questions from listeners, a lot of the main questions I got, they actually wanted to know about his family and his wife. So, that's how I started off the show and I thought it was-- I think it was a nice way to start because he was able to speak too like his wife's experience with social media and it was a really fun conversation.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, I spoke at an event with him, so I met him in October of 2021, and he is as nice and down to earth as they could be. It was kind of Ben Azadi and I and Anna Cabeca and some other people spoke at this event, and he was just so gracious. He's actually little bit shy, which I was surprised by. I think people are surprised to learn that I'm shy, but he's really shy, but could not have been nicer. Really nice guy. He seems like a very devoted husband and parent to his kids.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, and actually that's how I ended it, was asking him about how he deals with diet and nutrition and all of that with his kids. So, yeah, I really enjoyed it. So where are you speaking?
Cynthia Thurlow: I'm speaking at Low Carb Denver and this is probably the event I've been most excited to speak at because so many of my friends are speaking at it. It's going to be like a big reunion, [laughs] which will be a lot of fun. Some of my team is coming, and it's in Denver, and we have family in Denver, and so for me it's always a special place to fly to. And I can fly direct, Melanie, that's huge. [laughs] Where I live in the United States nothing flies direct. So, if I can fly direct, it's a win-win.
Melanie Avalon: That's awesome. Awesome, awesome. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. So, a few things for listeners before we go. If you would like to submit your own questions for this show, you can directly email email@example.com or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. You can get all the stuff that we like at ifpodcast.com/stuffwelike. I'm just thinking about how I need to update that page. If anybody is looking for an internship, I should probably start, like, publicizing this. I haven't actually listed. Have you had an intern before?
Cynthia Thurlow: No, not yet.
Melanie Avalon: I need to list this. I just need to take the step to put the listing up, but I should probably start putting that out to the universe. If anybody's in school and would like to do an internship, I just would love to bring on an intern tangents. And you can follow us on Instagram, we are @ifpodcast, Cynthia is @cynthia_ thurlow_. The show notes for today's episode that will have a full transcript as well as links to everything that we talked about, because we talked about a lot of stuff. So, the Safe Catch coupon, Joovv, all the studies, the AvalonX supplements, all the things that will be at ifpodcast.com/episode307. All righty, anything from you, Cynthia, before we go?
Cynthia Thurlow: No, this has been great.
Melanie Avalon: Likewise, 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 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 recomposed by Steve Saunders. See you next week.
[Transcript provided by SpeechDocs Podcast Transcription]
STUFF WE LIKE
Check out the Stuff We Like page for links to any of the books/supplements/products etc. mentioned on the podcast that we like!
Melanie's What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine
Cynthia's Intermittent Fasting Transformation: The 45-Day Program for Women to Lose Stubborn Weight, Improve Hormonal Health, and Slow Aging
The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast
More on Melanie: MelanieAvalon.com
More on Cynthia: cynthiathurlow.com
Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox: LelandCox.com
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