Episode 308: Photo Shoots, Post Exercise Meals, Birth Control, Vitamins & Supplements, Cycling With Seeds, Cayenne Pepper & Other Spices, And More!

Intermittent Fasting


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Mar 12

Welcome to Episode 308 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:

LMNT: For Fasting Or Low-Carb Diets Electrolytes Are Key For Relieving Hunger, Cramps, Headaches, Tiredness, And Dizziness. With No Sugar, Artificial Ingredients, Coloring, And Only 2 Grams Of Carbs Per Packet, Try LMNT For Complete And Total Hydration. For A Limited Time Go To drinklmnt.com/ifpodcast To Get A FREE Sample Pack With Any Purchase!

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1:10 - LMNT: For A Limited Time Go To drinklmnt.com/ifpodcast To Get A FREE Sample Pack With Any Purchase! Learn All About Electrolytes In Episode 237 - Our Interview With Robb Wolf!

3:50 - 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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15:30 - BLISSY: Get Blissy In Tons Of Colors, And Risk-Free For 60 Nights, At Blissy.Com/Ifpodcast, With The Code IFPODCAST For 30% Off!

18:20 - Listener Q&A: Priya - what is the best time to exercise when you are doing intermittent fasting?

22:30 - Listener Q&A: Melanie - Alternative forms of birth control pros and cons of each.

22:30 - Listener Q&A: Sarah - What do you think about copper IUDs?

22:30 - Listener Q&A: Terri - What is the effect of fasting on birth control?

31:20 - Listener Q&A: Alani - Would you please please please provide a list of the vitamins and supplements etc. that you take daily or weekly. Just curious.

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Check out Cynthia's line of supplements at cynthiathurlow.com

53:10 - NUTRISENSE: Get $30 Off A CGM Program At nutrisense.io/ifpodcast With The Code IFPODCAST

56:00 - Listener Q&A: Amy - Can you talk about seeds that help with hormones?

59:35 - Listener Q&A: Kara - Cayenne Pepper & Other Spices 

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 308 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.

Hi friends. I'm about to tell you how to get my favorite electrolytes for free, yes completely free. The more I do research, the more health books I read, the more people I interview, something keeps coming up again and again, and that is the importance of electrolytes. Electrolytes facilitate hundreds of functions in the body, this includes the conduction of nerve impulses, hormonal regulation, nutrient absorption, and fluid balance. If you don't have your electrolytes in line, best case scenario, you're not going to perform at your best. Worst case scenario, you're going to feel pretty awful. When your electrolytes are out of balance, you can experience things like headaches, muscle cramps, fatigue, sleeplessness, and many other unpleasant symptoms. How do we lose electrolytes? Well, when you sweat, the primary electrolyte lost is sodium. Athletes can lose up to 7 grams per day. Also, when people go on keto diets, that also often results in depleted electrolytes, and may be responsible for something called the, "keto flu." 

Also, if you're not feeling well while fasting, that could be a problem with electrolytes. Here's the other problem on top of the electrolyte problem. Most of the electrolyte mixes on the market are nothing, I would personally want to put in my body. Thankfully, I found LMNT. LMNT has none of the junk, no sugar, no coloring, no artificial ingredients, no gluten, no fillers, no BS. It contains a science-packed electrolyte ratio 1000 mg of sodium, 200 mg of potassium, and 60 mg of magnesium. LMNT is used by everyone from NBA, NFL, and NHL players to Olympic athletes to Navy SEALS to exercise enthusiasts to everyday moms and dads to people like me, and potentially you. The experience I've had of being electrolyte depleted and then having an LMNT packet was like the feeling of coming alive. Like, "Oh, the lights just turned on." It truly is incredible. 

Friends, I work with a lot of brands. LMNT is one of the brands where people randomly just tell me all the time how obsessed they are. LMNT offers no questions asked refunds, so you can try it totally risk free. If you don't like it, share it with a salty friend and they will give your money back, no questions asked. You have nothing to lose. Right now, LMNT is offering our listeners a free sample pack with any purchase. That's eight single serving packets free with any LMNT order. This is a great way to try all eight flavors or share LMNT with a salty friend. Get yours at drinklmnt.com/ifpodcast. That's D-R-I-N-K-L-M-N-T dotcom/ifpodcast. Stay salty. 

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 maybe playing a role in that. Beyond weight gain and weight loss, these compounds have very detrimental effects on our health and they affect the health of our future generations. That's because ladies, when we have babies, a huge percent of those toxic compounds go through the placenta into the newborn. It is so, so shocking and the effects last for years. 

Conventional lipstick, for example, often tests high in lead and the half-life of lead is up to 30 years. That means when you put on some conventional lipstick, 30 years later maybe half of that lead has left your bones. On top of that, there is essentially no regulation of these products on the shelves. That’s why it’s up to us to choose brands that are changing this. The brand that is working the hardest to do this is Beautycounter. They were founded on a mission to change this. Every single ingredient is extensively tested to be safe for your skin, so you can truly feel good about what you put on. And friends, these products really, really work. They are incredible. They have counter time for anti-aging, counter match for normal skin, counter control for acne and oily prone, and counter start for sensitive. I use their Overnight Resurfacing Peel and vitamin C serum every single night of my life. And their makeup is amazing. Check out my Instagram to see what it looks like. Tina Fey, even wore all Beautycounter makeup when she hosted The Golden Globes. So, yes, it is high-definition camera ready. They have so many other products, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner that I love, products for babies and so much more.

You can shop with us at beautycounter.com/melanieavalon or beautycounter.com/cynthiathurlow and use the coupon code CLEANFORALL20 to get 20% off your first order. Also, make sure to get on my Clean Beauty email list. That’s at melanieavalon.com/cleanbeauty. I give away a lot of free things on that list, so definitely check it out. You can join me in my Facebook group, Clean Beauty and Safe Skincare with Melanie Avalon. People share their experiences, ask questions, give product reviews, and I do a giveaway every single week in that group as well.

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

Hi, everybody, and welcome. This is Episode number 308 of the Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with Cynthia Thurlow. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Hey, Melanie. How are you? 

Melanie Avalon: I'm good. I want to tell you about something fun that I did and I'm super curious your thoughts on this type of experience. I know you have a lot of professional photos, obviously. How do you feel about doing photoshoots? Do you enjoy them? Do you not like them? 

Cynthia Thurlow: Oh, come on. I'm an introvert. What do you think? [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: Not a fan? [chuckles] 

Cynthia Thurlow: Well, it's a necessary evil, if you have to think about it that way, I have one plan for April and I think I finally found a really amazing photographer who gets my aesthetic that I want. And so, I'm very relaxed around her. I'm very comfortable, but no, I don't love it, not one bit. [laughs] Here's the thing, in the context of having a website and social media and all these things, it's just a necessary part of the business. But as an introvert, it is not my favorite thing I do. I spend an inordinate amount of time figuring out what to wear and what to do, [laughs] it's a lot of time. How about you? 

Melanie Avalon: Well, it's funny. So historically, acting is what I do, which is very much an on-camera thing. I was having a really long conversation with my friend about this last night, and he couldn't understand. So, I did a photoshoot yesterday and I've been needing to get a lot of photos, especially now that I'm doing more and more press-related stuff, I just need good photos for that. I think the hardest part you mentioned it briefly, but finding a photographer that you're really comfortable with, I think is half the battle. So, ended up shooting with this woman, actually, I can give her name. So, if you're in Atlanta, her name is Adrian Louise Photography and I haven't seen the photos yet. While taking the photos, I saw them small on the camera. But I think I'm going to be really happy with them. So, I'm really excited about that. I can do selfies because you see yourself, so I can pose. I can do acting because I'm not thinking about what I look like. With photoshoots, I find it so stressful because I'm not acting, I'm not doing a selfie so I can't see myself, and I can't make my selfie face when I can't see myself for some reason, I make a different face. The way around it, "Oh, my goodness." [chuckles] My trick around it is that if I have a mirror on the set, so if I can see myself in the mirror while they're taking the photos, I can do a lot better. Or if there's not a mirror, I hold my mirror in my hand so right before she takes the photos, I pose like my selfie pose and then I look at the camera and that works really well for me.

I'm just reflecting on how much this is like a first world problems thing. [chuckles] I used to feel really subconscious about doing that because I've been doing that for years and then people might be tuning out by now. [chuckles] Paris Hilton, who takes take a note of really legit, amazing photo shoots, I found a video of her talking and she's talking about how she does the same thing, that she has to have a mirror on the set because that's the only way she can pose. And then I felt so vindicated, I was like, okay, this is a completely normal habit. I could have my mirrors on the set and do my selfie pose and then take the photo. That is my suggestion to listeners if they need to do a photo shoot and they find that they can take photos of themselves, but they can't with a photographer. Just bring your phone and pretend you're taking a selfie and then look at the camera [laughs] and you're good to go. But I'm really really happy with how it turned out. We shot at a studio that was super cool. It was like all white and they had all these different sets like a fireplace and a bed and a kitchen. So, I think I got a lot of content and I think I'm just going to book more sessions with her for ongoing, but I was so stressed about it. I don't know if you get stressed leading up to them.

Cynthia Thurlow: I don't. I think because I've done this so much that I know I've got characteristic things that, we took my last set of photos in my neighborhood and in my house because I have a very clean design aesthetic and so it really was great backdrop for the photos and so were talking about options. She doesn't live in the state I'm in, but she's actually going to come in for the photos again, but I trust her implicitly. I think a lot of it's just feeling comfortable and for me, I'm not like a selfie person. I think a lot of it's the introverted side of myself. It's not a lack of confidence. It's just much like I wasn't doing IG live while I was on vacation, was that there has to be a separation, like some degree of privacy in my life. So, I accept that photos are part of the brand and the marketing and the business. I'm glad that you found someone you felt so comfortable with and you had a really good experience. 

Melanie Avalon: Speaking to the self-conscious piece, I am still very self-conscious about selfies, I think because they feel very egocentric. They're just like, look at me. Every time I take a selfie, I feel like I have this ego issue around it where I feel like it's very stuck up. So, I need to channel my sister. She's so good at it. She's like, "What does it matter? Nobody cares. Just do you?" Yeah. The whole photography world is really really interesting. So, I'm glad to have that behind me. Anything new with you? 

Cynthia Thurlow: No. I just found out I'm speaking at an event that I applied for in December. So A4M is one of the functional medical conferences. I was just invited to speak, which is super exciting, which means I'll be in Florida in May, talking about metabolic health which is really my focus, and my drive, and ways to improve upon that. I've been reading some really interesting research on individuals that are obese or overweight and are still insulin sensitive. I really pitched that concept because there's solid research talking about, what are the predictors for individuals that will then go on to develop fulminant hyperinsulinemia aka insulin resistance? What are the things that predict that insulin sensitivity will be lost? So, that's been really interesting and that's actually what I'm presenting about in Denver.

Melanie Avalon: That's a very cool topic.

Cynthia Thurlow: It's really interesting because I think even as a clinician, we make assumptions that if you're obese, then you must have lost insulin sensitivity and that's actually not the case in specific individuals. Some of its age related, but there are key metrics that we can use to measure, like whether it's looking at fatty infiltration in the liver or looking at skeletal muscle. I mean there's a lot of different metrics we can look at to determine whether or not someone is still insulin sensitive. 

Melanie Avalon: It's interesting, too. It's on the flipside, you can have the opposite like the Asian population that tends to be thinner. 

Cynthia Thurlow: The genotype. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, thinner, but they have the metabolic issues. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, and it's interesting. My cousin that I was with in London, she's a physician. She's married to someone who is American, but is of Indian descent. And we were talking because she's familiar with this thrifty genotype. We were talking about how her views with her patients and talking to people just don't assume that someone who's thin is still insulin sensitive. Because Southeast Asians and Asians, they have an ability to become insulin resistant at a much leaner mass than Americans. And so they suspect that some of it is related to that thrifty genotype. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I find this all so fascinating. Awesome. Well, I wish you the best with all of that. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Thank you. 

Melanie Avalon: Super cool. 

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Melanie Avalon: Shall we jump into questions for today? 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yes. Okay. This is from Priya. "Dear IF podcast, I'm a lover of intermittent fasting and I've tried it several times throughout my life seeing the benefits. I was wondering what is the best time to exercise when you are doing intermittent fasting? I recently joined spin cycle in the morning and started having breakfast afterwards. I wish to fast until 12:00 PM as I normally do, but I don't know if it is unhealthy to not eat within one to two hours after exercising." Thank you so much for any advice and help, Priya.

Melanie Avalon: Awesome, Priya. Well, thank you so much for your question. Actually, last week I was talking about how I recently interviewed Thomas DeLauer. I know he talks a lot about this and we talked about this in the interview as well and we've talked a lot about this on the show. But there are so many fears out there about exercise and eating and when you need to eat and do you need to eat before exercise to fuel it? Do you need to eat right after exercise to recover from it? Long story short about both of those questions and I realize you're asking about after, but I will talk about both. The long story short is that eating before to fuel when you're fat adapted not necessary typically, especially with things like more fat burning mode-type things, so lower steady state cardio and things like that. Even with weights and using your muscles, you can do those in a fasted state as well. On the flipside, with eating afterwards, no, you do not have to eat right after. 

That was one of the things that Thomas talks about in his book is that right after exercising, you've really got this upregulated fat burning that if you eat right afterwards, if that's your goal, you're kind of shutting that off rather than continuing to burn fat after the exercise. No, you don't have to eat right afterwards. That would be for the fat burning cardio type stuff, but then for the spin cycle which she's doing, for muscle building, you also actually don't have to eat right after. The anabolic window for protein for muscle recovery is actually 24 hours. The stimulus for the muscles that you activate from that exercise lasts for quite a while and you don't have to eat right afterwards. All that said, major caveat if you're a bodybuilder, if your thing is building muscle [chuckles] that's what you do, they do have more tailored regimens surrounding protein intake. So, if you have very specific goals, it might be a little bit different. But as for the everyday person, you don't need to eat right after. Your thoughts, Cynthia. 

Cynthia Thurlow: I would 100% agree and I've asked Gabrielle Lyon this several times about, is there this anabolic window, this magic window after exercise? I agree wholeheartedly it's what you consume in a 24-hour period of time. I think for anyone that's new to fasting, they may not exercise very effectively if they're not fat adapted in a fasted state. But I do find that it really depends for most women where they are in their menstrual cycle. They might be able to work out really intensely in their follicular phase and they may feel like when they head into their luteal phase, they just can't go two to three plus hours after exercising. So, I think part of it is just the awareness that you can exercise fasted if your fat adapted and then also understanding that you really want to fast for your menstrual cycle, especially as it pertains to exercise and when you should open up your feeding window.

Melanie Avalon: So glad you tend to that. Yes, that's something that you definitely know a ton about. Awesome. And then speaking of something you know a ton about, we have quite a few questions. I'm just going to read all of them. They all involve birth control, so we're going to have a birth control talk. First question is actually from Melanie, but not from me, a different Melanie. She wants to know the alternative forms of birth control. What are the pros and cons of each? Sarah wants to know, what do you think about copper IUDs? She says, I've had mine for seven years, but I want to get it removed. I've heard it can interfere with hormones, even though it doesn't contain hormones. Love to hear your thoughts. Terry says, we have heard a lot about PCOS, menopause, and perimenopause and fasting. What about those of us in their 30s and 40s who are still on birth control? Personally, I'm on Depo-Provera and 47, I've been in clean fasting for two years. What is the effect of fasting on birth control? Also, what can a woman expect as they enter perimenopause years but have no intention of going off of birth control? I don't want a perimenopause baby. I'm also happily married for the last seven years and we have both made the choice that children are not part of our lives. We have tons of nieces and nephews. Love the show and I've been a listener since starting IF two years ago. All right, birth control.

Cynthia Thurlow: This is the birth control trifecta. First and foremost, there is no shame in utilizing birth control whether you are peak fertile years or perimenopause, heading into menopause. I think the real thing is to identify like, what have been the birth control methods that I think women have had the easiest time tolerating without too much inconvenience. I would say, number one, the copper IUD seems to be really well tolerated. Obviously, it's not a forever item. It does have to be explanted and then a new one implanted. I would say in terms of ease of use, I'm not going to be a teetotaler here and say, "Okay, every woman needs to use condoms." I think that probably works for some people. Obviously, diaphragms and cervical caps, sponges, suppositories, there are some options that include they call it FAMs or Fertility Awareness Methods, and obviously Daysy is one of them. It's a tracker that tells you when you are most fertile. I have found that has been very helpful for a lot of people. If you don't have particularly regular cycles, I think a copper IUD nonhormonal is a nice option. But I think it really comes down to what interests you.

I know that there are a lot of women still in perimenopause that are using oral contraceptives, Depo-Provera is birth control that's implanted usually in the arm. I haven't seen a lot of Depo-Provera used in the last five, ten years, but that doesn't mean that it's not a reasonable option. But I think this really comes down to what stage of life you're in. What your partner is willing to do. Vasectomies are pretty straightforward and that's usually what I generally recommend. If people don't want to be on hormones, they don't want to be having hormones implanted. And so, I really think it comes down to life stage decision making and working in conjunction with your GYN or your midwife or whomever you see for, Well Women care to determine what works best for you. But there is absolutely, positively no shame if you decide that you want to use synthetic hormones or oral contraceptives that is certainly your choice and your option. I do like some of these other options that I identified and I think a copper IUD might be one of my favorite options. And ironically enough, Huberman Lab. I was listening to one of his recent podcasts with Dr. Sara Gottfried and ironically enough, she was saying that's one of her favorite forms of contraception to recommend to women who have not yet gone through menopause. 

Melanie Avalon: Wow. Does fasting specifically have any effect on any of it? 

Cynthia Thurlow: On fertility? Oh, absolutely. 

Melanie Avalon: No, on birth control, Terry wants to know what is the effect of fasting on birth control? 

Cynthia Thurlow: Well, there are a couple of different things that fasting can impact and it can absolutely impact fertility. So, if you're over fasting, it could diminish the likelihood that you are going to get pregnant. I remind women that even if you're choosing not to have children, if you're not eating enough food, if you're over fasting, overexercising, over restricting, you can send very powerful messages to your brain that can cause you to lose your menstrual cycle entirely. There are some pretty widespread effects of not having adequate estrogen levels in your body during peak bone and muscle mass building years. And so, I think that in the context of someone who's eating a healthy diet, even if they're fasting, they're not overexercising, they're taking care of themselves, fasting can be a nice strategy, but it's impossible for me to say in the context of Terry's situation what her fasting schedule may be doing to her particular menstrual cycle or her fertility. Because she's not my patient, so I think that's probably a conversation worth having with her GYN or her primary care provider. I would say that more often than not when I see women that are getting closer to menopause, she's 47, so kind of the towards the end stage, mid to end stage of perimenopause that there are things that you can look for. But obviously, if you're on oral contraceptives or you're on Depo-Provera, it would make those labs harder to interpret. 

Melanie Avalon: Got you, got you, got you. I learned a lot. All of my thoughts surrounding this question are not really helpful about the actual question. They're just my thoughts on issues relating or on things that happen related to birth control. Like, I was actually on birth control-- I was put on birth control in high school for acne-

Cynthia Thurlow: It's so common. 

Melanie Avalon: -and just looking back, I just don't know that that's the route I would have gone. I don't know that was the best thing for me. I don't think they make YAZ anymore. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. YAZ is probably gone. It's interesting because I was someone that probably had very mild PCOS, like, I never had regular cycles. But back in the 80s and 90s, everyone got put on oral contraceptives, so you missed the opportunity to really fully understand what they were doing. And now you have a whole generation of women who missed out on peak bone and muscle mass. I think that a lot of women mean if they had received fully informed consent, I wish I had because I've been osteopenic for intermittently throughout my adult lifetime. My functional medicine doc and I believe pretty fervently that a lot of it was many years of being on oral contraceptives. Where you're kept in a very low estrogen, low progesterone and you're receiving synthetic hormones kept in the state that really potentially could have exacerbated missing out on those opportunities to really build peak bone and muscle mass.

Melanie Avalon: Wow, that's so interesting. Yeah. I mean, just looking back at my experience and I know this is hard to understand now because I'm very thin now. But just if you look at my high school pictures from before being on the birth control and then going on the birth control, I rapidly gained a lot of weight and you can really see it. And just like it was doing something hormonally. I don't think I needed to be experiencing that, especially not for the purpose of acne, which I don't know, I just think it's an issue. Although like you said, there's probably much more awareness surrounding it now maybe with teenagers and acne. Do if that's still a thing?

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. I think it's still being used off label for that. I think the other piece is how many women come to me as clients that are on oral contraceptives in the latter stages of perimenopause and even into menopause who are terrified to stop. Because they've been on it for so long including my best friend from high school who is still on the pill. I keep telling her, I'm like, you are probably in menopause, [laughs] but I think that's for many people, they've just been on it forever and they don't know any differently. I was on it, gosh, until I was married, and then I went off, and then I just expected getting pregnant to be really easy. And I really think the pill masked what was always probably there that I had mild PCOS, like, I have thin phenotype PCOS and so it's a whole rabbit hole.

Melanie Avalon: Wow, wow.

Cynthia Thurlow: There you go, listeners. You got a whole bunch of TMI. 

Melanie Avalon: I thought that was very helpful, very educational. Thank you. All righty, so shall we go on to our next question? 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yes, and this is from Alani. This is one of the AMA questions. "Would you please, please, please provide a list of the vitamins and supplements that you take daily or weekly? Just curious."

Melanie Avalon: Okay, two hesitations about this question. [chuckles] One, I know this might come as a surprise. Actually, it might not because I say it a lot, but for those who have not heard me say it before, might come as a surprise because I have a supplement line. That said, I actually think in the dreamworld we would get the majority of our nutrients from food and we wouldn't even need supplements. Now I actually am going to go down a rabbit hole that I see myself going down. Are you familiar with Marion Nestle? She wrote a book called Food Politics, all about how the food industry affects mostly like, dietary guidelines, and consumer relations with food, and how we are sold all these processed foods and stuff. She's like a really big deal. She's one of those guests that I got connected to completely through a friend, like a friend was just, "You should interview her and I was like, okay." She's so cool. 

Like, Time Magazine named her a while ago because it was one, what's her name was had not fallen from grace, Elizabeth Holmes. It's when Elizabeth Holmes was on the rise. Time Magazine named her, Elizabeth Holmes, and two Nobel Prize people or something as having the most impact on something related to health and everything, which is very cool. So, the reason I'm talking about all this, she talks about-- This blew my mind because I'm reading her memoir, just came out, so that's why I'm interviewing her. I think she's like in her 80s maybe now. She talks about when she first had her epiphany about how the dietary recommendations were created for vitamins and stuff and it's shocking. She went and actually read the actual studies and when they went and decided these recommendations for every vitamin that hasn't changed, recommendations haven't really changed. 

They're based on the two examples she gave, was, I think, maybe B12--. What was it? It was one of the B vitamins and then I don't know one other vitamin. It was literally an insane asylum. A very small amount of patients and giving them the adequate amount, I think it might have been like niacin. giving them the adequate amount of this nutrient versus not and did it improve their behavior? Literally, [chuckles] it's the most awfully constructed inconclusive study ever. You have a very small amount of patients with mental health issues and you're going to evaluate, do they have more or less mental health issues if they're getting this more of this nutrient? That's a whole tangent. I've been learning a lot from her books. She's basically the reason that there is now, nutrition policy type-related studies and stuff in college. So, I've really been enjoying her books. That was a whole tangent. 

I think the point of it was that I've also interviewed Chris Masterjohn, and we talked a lot about the RDAs and stuff. And it's just very interesting vitamins, that's the point of all this. Vitamins are interesting in what is proposed to us as to what we need and is it too much, is it too little? Some vitamins depending on what type they are, can actually store up, so there's a potential for toxicity. Some vitamins and minerals, most people are probably deficient in, like magnesium. And then just the supplement industry in general, I think that's something else she talks about a ton is the regulations of the supplement industry versus the food industry and how that all works. The supplement industry in general is just very-- I just don't really trust it, which is the reason that I think both Cynthia and I started. At least I don't want to speak for you, Cynthia, but that's a main reason that I started mine is I just don't really trust anything on the market. So, I wanted to feel good about what I was putting in my body. That's my big disclaimer before answering this. 

The second disclaimer is that hands down, what I take is not a plan that everybody should take. We are so individual, so people have really got to find what they need and what works for them, and it's all unique. So, I give my examples and if Cynthia gives hers, please don't copy us verbatim, please. So, first of all, when it comes to vitamins, I would actually do testing for things like fat soluble vitamins to see where you're at with them. Especially something like vitamin D, I think a lot of people, if not most people are deficient, but that's something that you actually can test. For example, I went through a period where I was like, I'm going to get all the vitamin D and I found with using InsideTracker that I often get high with vitamin D because I kind of go overboard. But I do take some vitamin D, I used to take methylated B vitamins, I don't anymore. Nutrient wise though, magnesium, I think it's so important. I really think it's the one mineral that most people are deficient in. That's why I made my Magnesium 8, which is eight different forms of magnesium in their most potent form with no problematic fillers. That's the AvalonX Magnesium 8, so I take that.

I also take a lot of magnesium not for the vitamin potential, but for the bowel moving potential because I'll get constipation, so I find that taking magnesium citrate individually can really help. Also, there's this, it's called Mag O7, I really want to make my own version of it, so stay tuned. I plan to, but in the meantime, I take it because it's really good to help keep things moving along. I'm trying to think other vitamins like nutrient wise. In the past, I took some selenium, I don't anymore. I really like ENERGYbits, so Spirulina, Chlorella for their broad-spectrum minerals and vitamins. I also plan to make my own of that as well, so stay tuned. The supplements I really really take that I love, obviously, I'm obsessed with my serrapeptase. I've been taking that every single day for years and years and years. I'm just really happy because the version I've made is so much better than what I was taking. So, that's a proteolytic enzyme that breaks down problematic proteins and can help with inflammation and clear your sinuses and reduce cholesterol. It's even been shown to break down amyloid plaque.

When Gin was hosting the show, she took it to get rid of her fibroids. So, I love that. I take berberine every day. Oh, this is something I wanted to share. Okay, I'm glad we're talking about this. This is an update I had. I've been taking berberine for a while now and I've worn a lot of CGMs while taking berberine. Actually, started taking berberine one of the first times that I wore CGM because I wanted to see how it affected my blood sugar levels. I used to take Thorne, and so I was taking it and I did see an effect on my fasting blood sugar levels since switch. I'm so excited and happy about this because when I made my own version, I knew that it would be a high superiority, high potency, it wouldn't have problematic fillers, it's in a glass bottle. It's the berberine that I wanted to be taking. 

I wasn't sure if I would see any difference though on my actual blood sugar levels. So, I am honestly shocked. I wore CGM and it was the first time wearing it while taking my brand of berberine. So, AvalonX Berberine 500, my postprandial blood sugar levels are consistently down by 20 points, which is shocking to me. I mean it shouldn't be because [chuckles] that's what berberine can help with. It was really shocking for me to see that intense of a difference and it's very consistent. Historically, after I would eat my meal, because I eat a very high carb meal every night, like pounds of fruit. And so historically, my blood sugar would go from before eating it would usually be in the 70s or 80s, and then it would bump up to anywhere between the 120s, 130s, sometimes 140. Now, it rarely goes above 110, maybe up to 120, but the average is probably reduction of 20 points. So, I mean, I'm blown away by this. That's something I take every day and then I'm just running through my head, is there anything else? Oh, I take Atrantil still every day, that's amazing if you have digestive issues, it really really helps me. You can get it at lovemytummy.com/ifp, it was created by Dr. Ken Brown, who I had on my show way back in the day. Wow, that makes my show feel really old because I feel like it was forever ago that I interviewed him. But he made Atrantil, it's like a combination of different all natural herbal things, polyphenols that actually specifically attack the type of bacteria that's connected to SIBOs, the methane-producing bacteria. Actually, I don't think it's bacteria, I think it's archaebacteria, which are actually not bacteria, the Archaea, they're a different type of organism. 

In any case, it can really help with that especially if you have something like SIBO and it can help with motility issues, so I love that. There is something else that I'm forgetting. I'm going through in my head. Oh, of course, at night I also take NMN, as long as it's on the market to support NAD levels. And then I also do NAD injections once a week that I really like. Ever since interviewing Nayan Patel for his book The Glutathione Revolution, I've been taking his glutathione spray. I mean, he really [chuckles] convinced me about not only the benefits of glutathione, but also that liposomal glutathione is probably completely a waste of money, as is glutathione drips, as is glutathione pushes. It doesn't actually get into the cells. It is just like in and out with the bloodstream. I understand that he has a book and a supplement line, so it could be biased. I found his research and the interview very convincing. I'll put a link to it in the show notes. 

On top of that, I asked my friend, James Clement, who I really, really trust, who has a lab where he studies the blood work of centenarians, and he as well said that it's basically useless to do glutathione drips or glutathione pushes, so save your money, friends because those are expensive. I take the Auro Wellness Glutathione Spray. So, if you go to melanieavalon.com/auro A-U-R-O and use the coupon code MELANIEAVALON that will get you 5% off site wide. So, I take that every single night. It does smell like sulfur. I use it at night, not during the day for that reason. I think it's probably very beneficial for boosting glutathione levels. Then, of course, this is not vitamins, but it is a supplement. I really, really benefit from digestive enzymes and HCl for digestive support. It helps me so much and that is something else I plan to develop in the future. I might think of more things, but I think that's the main things. You can get my magnesium, my berberine and the serrapeptase all at avalonx.us. Coupon code MELANIEAVALON will get you 10% off. You can get a 20% off code if you text AVALONX to 877-861-8318 and definitely get on the email list because I do a lot of sales and specials and all the things and that is at avalonx.us/emaillist. That was long. Cynthia, how about you?

Cynthia Thurlow: That was very comprehensive. Thank you for sharing that for brevity, because I'm sure that there are no listeners that want to hear the multiplicity of things I take. I think the most important thing to really emphasize is that it's nutrition first and then supplements. So, maybe it would be beneficial to share the things that I take at night. These are things that help support sleep. I would say first and foremost, progesterone, which is prescription, I have mine compounded. Progesterone is what is really a starting point for a lot of women navigating perimenopause when our ovaries are producing less. We get the byproduct of less circulating progesterone, impacts sleep quality, impacts anxiety and depression if you're prone to that. It also impacts our menstrual cycle so we get this relative estrogen dominance. For me, progesterone is critically important at night and I'm starting to see more clinicians that are not just using this the week prior to the menstrual cycle. Even in menopausal women, they're cycling it throughout the "month," but obviously a menopausal woman doesn't have a cycle, so progesterone is number one.

There's a product called Myo-inositol and I've been using this as a sleep piece. Myo-inositol also is beneficial for blood sugar but we know that it helps with induction of sleep, it helps stay asleep. Even Huberman Lab talks about how he uses this as part of his sleep stack. So, Myo-inositol powder prior to bedtime. You may see research on this with regard to insulin resistance, PCOS, but there's really solid research using it in otherwise metabolically healthy individuals as well. I think quite a bit about GABA and L-theanine. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. I don't per se take GABA and L-theanine every day. Really just depends on what my stress levels are like. I take things like Seriphos which is phosphatidylserine. This is a special type of healthy fat that is beneficial for brain function, but also helps reduce cortisol. So, if you are having a super stressful week, I've done quite a bit of travel over the last week. You better believe I was taking Seriphos [chuckles] while I was on the airplane and also my first night home from London.

And then I think about adaptogenic herbs, things that can beneficial, I think about ashwagandha, I think about Rhodiola rosea, I think about Relora. I don't use all of them together. I create a cocktail based on my own needs each night depending on what has to be facilitated. But I would say those are pretty commonly in conjunction with melatonin. Now I'm menopausal, so after the age of 40 our bodies start making less and less melatonin. It is also a master antioxidant and it's not just a hormone. I've interviewed many physicians on the podcast that do recommend supplementation with melatonin after the age of 40. Again, if you have concerns about this, I would discuss this with your primary care provider, GYN, etc.

I also think about creatine. Creatine, it's one of the reasons why it was one of the first supplements that I created. Very helpful for maintaining muscle mass, but also helpful for brain support and cognition and sleep quality and so creatine is always a part of my daily sleep stack. No, I don't take it prior to bed, I take it during the day. But I think it's really important to just emphasize that every person listening, the sleep foundations are still really important, so getting sunlight exposure, sleeping in a cold dark room, wearing a sleep mask if you need it, getting off electronics, wearing blue blockers if you need to be on electronics, having some type of strategy for bedtime that's more important than taking supplements.

Now, I've mentioned my favorites and obviously for full transparency, creatine is a product that I created in conjunction with MD Logic, I fervently believe in. The feedback has been phenomenal and from my perspective it's important for people to understand that sourcing of supplements is very important. You don't want to just go to Amazon and order a bunch of things. You want to make sure that you are getting pharmaceutical grade supplements and that's where I think less is more. Meaning not everyone can afford to be on 40, 50 supplements every day, that's why the nutrition is important, the lifestyle piece is important, and then layering in things that you need.

Certainly, I think about hormones if they're needed. There's no shame in that. so progesterone definitely helps us sleep. I do fervently believe that estradiol, which is the predominant form of estrogen our body makes prior to going through perimenopause and menopause and also testosterone can be helpful, but always in the context of what your body needs and getting proper testing and working with clinicians that are able to interpret testing so that they can fine tune and bio-individualize your recommendations. I also take Athletic Greens or AG1 as its new name and it's really been a great way to get more comprehensive vitamins, minerals, pre and probiotics into my diet and to not have to think about multiple supplements. So, it's something that I can use in my feeding window in a shake or even just added to filtered water makes it really easy. I can get my kids to take it too willingly because it tastes really good. That has been something I've incorporated into my supplement regimen over the last several years. I wanted to make sure I mentioned that as well. 

Melanie Avalon: Just a quick comment about Athletic Greens because I historically have not taken Athletic Greens after hearing you talk about it and then I feel like Joe Rogan talks about it a lot, as does Rich Roll. I've been like, "Oh, maybe I should start taking it." If I do, I'll definitely report back because it seems to be a pretty cool way to get a broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals really easily. The reason I haven't is I'm like such a sensitive butterfly to things that it has a lot of things in it. I've been like, "Oh, what if I react to it?" I should probably at least try it and see how it goes. 

Cynthia Thurlow: I would do like at a time. For me, I can't do it every day because of the oxalates, but I do two to three days a week and I travel with them. Because I always feel like if I'm traveling, I'm probably not getting the variety of foods in my diet that I would if I were home. If I can get my kids to take it on occasion that says a lot because it actually tastes good without being sugary. I've probably tried every greens powder that's out there, most of them, it's like trying to eat grass. I'm like, "No, can't do this." 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I think that's the other thing for me is I'm like I said severely allergic to grass, but I want to try it. Maybe I'll use our link. You can actually get, I think, unless their offer is changed when this airs, but you can actually get a free one-year supply of vitamin D. Oh, that's cool because I was saying that I take vitamin D. I actually have been taking their vitamin D because they sent it to me and five free travel packs with your first purchase. For that, you can go to athleticgreens.com/ifpodcast. So definitely check that out. So, glad that you emphasize and that we're on the same page about the nutrition first, food first, lifestyle stuff first for the sleep things.

I actually as well use progesterone. I use a progesterone cream. When I was first prescribed it, I was taking it orally, but I've been doing a cream ever since, and I really benefit from that. I also have another sleep one I wanted to mention I really like Dr. Kirk Parsley's Sleep Remedy. He formulated it to have all of the ingredients that your brain naturally needs to fall asleep. He formulated it after being a doctor for the Navy SEALs and realizing that they all had these issues and the one common-- and by issues, I mean health issues as well as mental health. He realized that the common factor was that none of them were sleeping. That's why he developed sleep remedy. So, it's a proprietary blend, but it has four or five different things that naturally help your body fall asleep. So, if you go to melanieavalon.com/sleepremedy, the coupon code MELANIEAVALON will get you a discount on that.

Also, just as a teaser related to it, my magnesium threonate is coming. It's going to be the next supplement. Actually, by the time this airs, because this airs March 13, it might be out, which will be crazy. If its out, really quick education surrounding it. I didn't include magnesium threonate in the original Magnesium 8 blend because magnesium threonate is a special type of magnesium that specifically crosses the blood brain barrier, and it can have effects on relaxation and sleep and mood and memory. You need a high therapeutic dose to get those benefits. So, I couldn't realistically include it in the magnesium 8 blend. I could put it in there and say, "Oh, it has magnesium threonate, but you wouldn't actually be getting the benefits." Of course, I'm not going to do that. But then on top of that, some people might want to, for those benefits, like memory, mood, sleep, relaxation have a targeted specific magnesium for that. So, my magnesium threonate nightcap hopefully might be coming out around this time. Hopefully you're getting the email list updates at avalonx.us/emaillist. Yeah, all of that just, again, end with lifestyle and diet first. And how can listeners get your supplements, Cynthia?

Cynthia Thurlow: Probably the best way is to be on the general email list. So, if you go to www.cynthiathurlow.com on the main page, you can opt in. Very likely by the time this comes out, we will have started to talk about my next supplement, which will be Myo-inositol or to make it less of a mouthful inositol. It'll be another powder. We're really excited about it. I've gotten tremendous feedback. People are really looking forward to the next supplement in our line. 

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. We will put links to all of that in the show notes.

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Melanie Avalon: I think we have time for one more question. This was also one of our AMA questions. It's from Amy. She wants to know, "Can you talk about seeds that help with hormones?" I know seed cycling is a whole thing. I know, Cynthia, you talk about it in your book Intermittent Fasting Transformation. Do you have thoughts on seeds?

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. The one thing that I can tell you, these are ways that you can help support your body in multiple ways, but there's no hard and fast research. I can't tell you that there's been a randomized controlled trial on this. This is just observational and so the way that it works is the first 14 days of your cycle, from the day you start menstruating up until ovulation, you can use both flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds. These are supposed to be supportive for estrogen metabolism. And then days 15 through 28, again, we're looking at this as kind of a broad, this is a perfect menstrual cycle. You can use sunflower seeds and sesame seeds and one to two tablespoons is generally what I recommend of the seeds. Understanding that these are healthy fats, but they are also calorically dense, so don't go overboard. If you're someone that's trying to lose weight, I would probably lean towards one tablespoon each. Usually, fresh ground is what you want, you don't want to buy previously ground flaxseeds. Flaxseeds are actually very delicate and as an example, they need to be refrigerated. I typically recommend keep them in your refrigerator and then grind them as you need them.

Seed cycling is probably a good thing to utilize. I do go into greater depth about these processes in the book, but this is kind of a different way of looking at it now. Women will always say, if I don't get a regular menstrual cycle or I'm in perimenopause and my cycles are really long, I always say cycle with the moon. If there's a full moon use that as day one. And that's when you would use pumpkin and flaxseeds from day one through 14 and then day 15 through 28, which would be from 14 days after the full moon until the next full moon, you would consume sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. If you're again looking to lose weight, I would be conservative with portions and really limit it to one tablespoon each. 

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. I'm really interested by it. But. I have not done any of it, so I cannot speak to it.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, I remember even back when I was still cycling, I was never organized enough. I was well [laughs] if I remember great. These are great healthy fats. You can add them to salads. You could conceivably put them in a smoothie and grind them down, but don't let it be a source of stress. Ultimately, understanding what's going on physiologically with your body is certainly important. There's no food source that's going to replace your hormones. I think that's important for people to understand. Unfortunately, I think there's been misinformation out there saying, "Oh, if you eat this food, it's going to support, it's going to be all you need for progesterone." It doesn't really work that way. You can consume foods that are beneficial in certain times of your cycle absolutely, but there's no food that's going to replace that hormone. So, I think it's important just to say that. I'm very much an optimist. I'm very much a person that respects people's personal decision making. But I just want to be transparent and say there's no significant research in this area, but I don't think these things are going to be harmful and it's a good way to get in some healthy fats. 

Melanie Avalon: I love that. Well, I said that was our last one, but I think we have time for one more. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Next question is from Kara. Subject is cayenne pepper and other spices. Hi, girls. My question is, "Is a hint of cayenne pepper, ginger powder, or cinnamon sprinkled in water still considered clean fasting? Will it break my fast? I'm new to intermittent fasting and have noticed that spicy flavors like cayenne pepper and ginger sprinkled in hot water curbs my habitual hunger cues when first starting out on IF, plus they each serve several health benefits to the body. However, I don't want to lose the effects of the fast, specifically fat loss." Thank you, Kara. 

Melanie Avalon: All right, Kara, thank you so much for your questions. I know people are going to have different opinions on this. Did she include cinnamon? She did include cinnamon because I know a lot of people are big fans of cinnamon while fasting for reducing blood sugar and things like that. I personally find, just from a theoretical perspective, these very flavor intense things. I would not have them while fasting. So, the pepper, the ginger, the cinnamon, I would include them with your meals. I did go on a really intense research tangent in the past. I was really curious about the effects on these compounds on weight loss. The research was very interesting. There actually is a lot of research on pepper and ginger and stuff increasing metabolism. What's interesting is people will often make the takeaway. They'll be like, "Oh, but it doesn't realistically make a change." Because it only leads to X amount of calories extra burned and what is that doing but I think there is something to the modulating power of if you're making your meals rich in ginger and pepper and spice, then they're becoming a more thermogenic meal in general. So, I don't know that we can just look at it as like, "Oh, you're going to burn X amount of calories extra if you eat ginger or pepper." I don't think it necessarily manifests that way. I think it might be a more holistic effect of having more, like I said, thermogenic-type meals. But as far as it goes with the fasting, I personally consider them breaking the fast. I know again, like I said, I know a lot of people really like cinnamon for lowering blood sugar. That's just my thoughts. 

That said [chuckles] to undo what I just said. I think if people find a fasting window that works for them and they have a diet and a lifestyle that's working for them and the food that's working for them, and maybe they're having these things during their fast and everything's just working. Like, who am I to say not to do that? You really have to find what works for you, even if that's not a "straight up," "clean fast," which I know might be of a controversial answer but Cynthia, what are your thoughts? 

Cynthia Thurlow: Well, Kara, thank you for the great question. Based on my research and I do talk about this in the book, cinnamon in particular will improve insulin sensitivity, so I wouldn't worry about that. This is obviously Melanie and I will respectfully agree to disagree on this and based on the research that I have read; cayenne pepper and ginger can upregulate autophagy and so I wouldn't be fearful. The cayenne pepper that someone else has distilled and created a spice from. I think that one thing that I have learned is that when you're looking at research and you're considering things that can be very beneficial for, as you said, the hot water curbs your hunger cues and you're first starting out, more power too. If you're enjoying cayenne pepper and ginger because they can both be pretty spicy, I think that's certainly fine. From the context of wanting to help upregulate fat loss, I'm not per se sure that they're helping with that. 

Certainly, if you're struggling to fast longer and you're finding that the ginger and cayenne pepper is helpful for that, I think that's absolutely fine. In fact, when it pertains to cinnamon, this is usually something I will recommend as people are transitioning from a fatty coffee or if they're transitioning from milk in their coffee, to understand that cinnamon will help change the flavor profile, much like if you add high quality salt like Redmond's to the coffee, it will help adjust the bitterness profile. Don't be afraid of bitter. Bitter is actually beneficial. It means there're a lot of polyphenols, there're a lot of plant-based compounds that have a ton of health benefits. So, from my perspective, I wouldn't worry about cinnamon and I certainly think if you're transitioning to fasting and you're struggling a bit with longer fasts, I don't think the cayenne pepper or ginger should be things that you need to worry about. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. To that point, I will say I think the majority of people, maybe Gin and I aside, I've seen a lot what you just said. I know Thomas DeLauer talks about it. I know Ari Whitten talks a lot about it, you talk about it. So, I think it's all really great. That was very educational and I really want people to find what works for them. So, more power to people if they're doing that and it's working and they're getting all those benefits that you discussed. So, thank you. 

Cynthia Thurlow: You're welcome. Thanks for the great question.

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. So, a few things for listeners before we go. If you would like to submit your own question for this show, you can directly email questions@ifpodcast.com or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. These show notes will be @ifpodcast.com/episode308. Those show notes will have a full transcript, so definitely check that out. Then you can follow us on Instagram. We are @ifpodcast. I am @melanieavalon. Cynthia is @cynthia_thurlow_. Yes, I think that is all the things. Anything from you, Cynthia, before we go? 

Cynthia Thurlow: No, keep the great questions coming. I'm really enjoying the variety that everyone is asking of us. It doesn't have to just be fasting related. 

Melanie Avalon: Likewise, I cannot agree more. Okie dokie. 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 a review on iTunes. We couldn't do this without our amazing team, administration by Sharon Merriman, editing by Podcast Doctors, show notes and artwork by Brianna Joyner, transcripts by SpeechDocs, and original theme composed by Leland Cox and re-composed by Steve Saunders. See you next week. 

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Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox: LelandCox.com

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