Episode 319: Romantic Compatibility, Protein Powders, Detox Diets, Smooth Skin, Cellular Renewal, Retinols, And More!

Intermittent Fasting


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May 28

Welcome to Episode 319 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 Vanessa Spina, author of Keto Essentials: 150 Ketogenic Recipes to Revitalize, Heal, and Shed Weight.

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

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Listener Q&A: Sue - Smooth skin

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

Listener Q&A: Tara - What are your thoughts on retinols?

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 319 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, author of What When Wine and creator of the supplement line AvalonX. I'm here with my co-host, Vanessa Spina, sports nutrition specialist, author of Keto Essentials and creator of the Tone breath ketone analyzer and Tone Lux red light therapy panels. For more on us, check out ifpodcast.com, melanieavalon.com, and ketogenicgirl.com. Please remember, the thoughts and opinions on this show do not constitute medical advice or treatment. To be featured on the show, email us your questions to questions@ifpodcast.com. We would love to hear from you. 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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One more thing before we jump in, are you fasting clean inside and out. So, when it comes to weight loss, we focus a lot on what and when we eat. It makes sense because these foods affect our hormones and how our bodies store and burn fat. But do you 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. So, as it turns out, Europe has banned over a thousand compounds found in conventional skincare and makeup in the US due to their toxicity. These include endocrine disruptors, which mess with your hormones, carcinogens linked to cancer, and obesogens, which literally can cause your body to store and gain weight. Basically, when we’re using conventional skincare and makeup, we are giving these obesogenic compounds direct access to our bloodstream.

And then in our bodies, studies have shown they do things like reduce our satiety hormones, increase our hunger hormones, make fat cells more likely to store fat, and more resistant to burning fat, and so much more. If you have stubborn fat, friends, your skincare and makeup may be playing a role in that. Beyond weight gain and weight loss, these compounds have very detrimental effects on our health and they affect the health of our future generations. That’s because ladies, when we have babies, a huge percent of those toxic compounds go through the placenta into the newborn. It is so, so shocking. And the effects last for years.

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

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

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Hi, everybody, and welcome. This is Episode number 319 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with Vanessa Spina. 

Vanessa Spina: Hi, Melanie. 

Melanie Avalon: I have a question for you, Vanessa. 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, yay. 

Melanie Avalon: Is love blind?

Vanessa Spina: That is a great question. I think it definitely can be. What do you think? 

Melanie Avalon: I have a lot of thoughts about this. [laughs] So, for listeners, Vanessa and I realize we're both big Love is Blind fans, the reality TV show, which I don't normally watch, like, I don't watch any other reality TV. I don't know why I'm obsessed with that show. Do you watch reality TV? 

Vanessa Spina: I do. I like relationship shows like this one. They're kind of my mental relaxation. I'm just fascinated by interpersonal dynamics and especially what generates chemistry between people, especially what generates chemistry in a couple. What is it that causes chemistry between these two people that it doesn't and these other and I find it endlessly fascinating. 

Melanie Avalon: It's so fascinating, especially when there're all these different options. You could be very physically attracted to somebody and emotionally attracted to them and like them as a person, or you could be physically attracted to them and not like them as a person, or you could really like them as a person and not be physically attracted to them. There're so many options. It's like what you just said, what is that visceral, chemical, physical attraction, like what's creating that. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, I find it endlessly fascinating because I know some of it is happening beneath the surface. We all know about pheromones, but then there's these fascinating concepts like your histocompatibility complex. While women who go out to bars and meet men, they've done research where women will be more attracted to the scent of men. Those pheromones of the men that have an immune system that is compatible with theirs for their offspring. The women that get hit on the most at bars are the ones who are ovulating, there's so much going on that we don't even know. It all has to do with reproduction. [chuckles] 

Melanie Avalon: Also, apparently, I haven't read the book yet, but I know there's a whole book about this about how being on birth control affects who you're attracted to. And so, women will be on birth control, be attracted, select a partner, get married and go off of birth control and no longer be attracted to their partner. 

Vanessa Spina: That's the same study I'm talking about with the histocompatibility complex. The women who could smell who were not on birth control they could tell which men had the compatible immune system. But the ones who were on birth control, when they smelled their sweat, they couldn't tell the difference and they couldn't figure out which men were compatible for their offspring. It's unbelievable. 

Melanie Avalon: What I'm also very, very fascinated by and this goes back to the, is love blind question. I find it really interesting. I feel like I have to tiptoe saying this, not around you, just around the world [laughs] that we look down upon listing a person's attractiveness as a quality that we “should be attracted to.” You're supposed to like intelligent people or kind people that's okay to “like” and when I say okay, I mean sort of the way it's presented in the world. But it's like, oh, if you like somebody because they're very attractive to you, that's somehow seen as shallow when in reality all of these things are because this is my thoughts, you're looking for a mate that is most compatible with you. So, it's giving you something you need. So, the intelligence of another person. You're looking for a mate that will A, create intelligent offspring, B, be able to take care of you and survive in the world. 

And then with the physical attraction, it probably goes back to that physical compatibility. The kindness would probably be like a whole. I don't know, there's probably debates about that, about whether we're naturally altruistic or not. Basically, my point is I find it really interesting that it's kind of looked down upon to use physical attraction as something that would be valid. I feel like thesis of Love is Blind is that love should be blind. I feel that's their thesis.

So, for listeners who haven't seen that show, people speed date without ever actually seeing the other person and they have to propose and they meet in the real world and do they get married or not. And then they decide on the wedding day if they're actually getting married or not. But just my thoughts, I feel like that show is championing this idea that love should be blind and that we shouldn't base on physical looks. But I just feel evolutionarily, I don't know, wouldn't you want to be with somebody who you are physically attracted to. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, I think it is looked at in a superficial way, but I think it's a negative when people are making their whole decision, like, centered around that person's attractiveness. What I love about Love is Blind is that it takes the physicality out of the equation so that people can get to know each other more deeply. It's fascinating as a concept to watch people get to know each other without knowing what the other person looks like and making all those connections. But when they do meet in person, I think it's such a great point that you bring up about the importance of physical attraction because sometimes they don't work out and the main reason is because they're not physically attracted to each other, even though they've made that mental and emotional connection. The physical chemistry is really important aside from just sexual chemistry, but I think there's also components.

Like when I met Pete, I knew that we're going to have really beautiful offspring. I just knew I had a feeling. I know that part of my attraction to him was because I knew that he would impart qualities to our children that would beneficial and it wasn't just because he was hot. You know what I mean? I do think it's an interesting point because it is why I've personally always preferred just meeting people in person because you really can form so many of those micro decisions when you meet someone in the flesh, but you can also form amazing connections with people without even ever meeting them.

Melanie Avalon: Well, first of all, listeners, Vanessa's son Luca is just the cutest thing ever. He's going to be such a beautiful, I mean, he is a beautiful human being, but he's going to grow into such a wonderful man. I can tell. 

Vanessa Spina: Thank you so much. 

Melanie Avalon: Very excited for his future. Yeah. That's something they often say with dating apps today that I feel like I just keep hearing this. If you are interested in somebody on the dating app, you should meet them sooner rather than later, rather than draw out this long conversation, because you just won't know until you see them in person. Like you just said, you can answer so many micro decision questions, I think, about attraction and compatibility just by meeting somebody in person. So, yes, dating thoughts. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. I love that we're both fascinated with the show, and I think the whole world has been really I mean, I know this podcast is coming out a little bit after when it's all sort of been blowing up, but it's a really fascinating concept. It's a lot of fun to watch. I was just amazed this season by how many couples really formed beautiful connections, loving connections, like real connections, and stayed together. 

Melanie Avalon: Yes. I was too, because I was watching it and I was like, “I don't think any of them are staying together.” [laughs] This is like a lost cause. But then, yeah, also something I like about the show, not to make this all about that show with most reality TV, I get the feeling, and I've been on a lot of reality TV shows, so I know this from the other side. Even, oh, sidenote, speaking of humans and evolutionary, I was on a National Geographic docuseries called How Human Are You? It was about all of this and it was like a speed dating thing and they were analyzing how humans interact and speed date, but it was just a little bit upsetting because it was all staged. I was like, I thought National Geographic was real, but it was casted, basically. So, the Love is Blind, I feel like they actually have non-actors. It's actually real people. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, they're not trying to create fake storylines and things like that. 

Melanie Avalon: So fun times. Well, anything new in your world before we jump into all the fasting stuff? 

Vanessa Spina: I've been working on launching my new line of protein supplements. I've been working with your partner Scott at MD Logic. I'm just having so much fun with our conversations and how it's all going and I'm just really, really excited to be working on that. I'm working on some other just really exciting projects. I feel like everything is happening at once as it tends to. 

Melanie Avalon: I am so excited for you with that. I don't know how much you can share, but like protein powder-type situations? 

Vanessa Spina: Yes, I've been wanting to make one for years. I've been looking into it for years. With Scott and MD Logic, I think it's just the perfect partnership because he has such high standards, which I know is why you partnered with him. And I think it's just the perfect fit. We're talking about a couple of initial products that we're going to do, but all of them are centered around helping women, especially men as well to build more lean mass and improve their body composition. I just want to have the highest quality possible protein supplement out there without fillers that's really clean and that you can trust. You can trust that it'll help you to optimize your muscle protein synthesis without having to just be eating protein all day long or drinking massive protein shakes. So, I'm really excited about the potential. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay. This is so thrilling for so many reasons. Well, one, we get questions all the time about recommended protein powders. So now we will have a go to and it will be one that I can feel so, so good about because I personally don't really use protein powders, but I have in the past and the amount of-- there're just so many brands and they are full of so many terrible ingredients. It's really, really hard to find good quality clean protein powders, at least in my experience, because I have gone through periods where I would play around with them. That's really exciting that you'll be able to make the best of the best. 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, thank you so much. Yeah, that's the biggest thing for me is I've gotten just endless questions over the years on the different protein powders and I've always stayed brand agnostic, but I always try to post guides on what to look for in a really good high quality protein supplement. The number one thing is checking the amount of leucine that's listed. So, the more detailed the packaging is, especially when it comes down to the individual amino acids. You can look at the ingredients and see the order that they're listed in to find out what it's made of. 

But if you are looking at a really high-quality brand, they'll tell you how much leucine is in each serving. That amount of leucine should be, for example, with weight, it should be at around 11%. So, if it's not 2 to 3 grams for a scoop of 20 to 30 grams, then something would be off. And if you just don't see a breakdown of the amino acids of the exact amount of leucine, then I would question it. It doesn't mean that they're necessarily trying to be shady or anything, but I would just question it because you would want to see that they understand the importance of those leucine amounts and that they're putting in all the right things. 

Melanie Avalon: That's so incredible. Yeah, I think that's something I mean, I imagine that people who are really into the bodybuilding sphere and really into all of that will be aware of it. But I'm just thinking about the audience on this show in general. I feel a lot of people are not aware of, there needs to be some education surrounding this. That's so exciting that you can provide the education and you'll be able to provide the resource. 

Vanessa Spina: Thank you. 

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. When this airs, I think that will probably be coming out around this time. I'm not sure. I just had a call with Scott yesterday about this, but we're probably launching subscriptions for my berberine supplement, which is exciting. We're trying to figure out right now. 

Vanessa Spina: Let me ask you, what's new with you? 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, yeah, just launching that and we're trying to figure out right now what bottle size to go with and so much fun, yes. I was polling the audience. It's really interesting too. It's all these little things you don't think about until you have a brand like things, just so many decisions and hours and hours of conversations that people just have no idea. Like talking about bottle size for an hour. 

Vanessa Spina: I love when I chat to Scott. I feel like I'm talking to you too. It just flies by. It's like I'm in the zone. I'm like, it's been 2 hours. I'm like, “Oh, my God, I got to go. I got to go make dinner.” 

Melanie Avalon: I know. That's one of the problems about-- Scott's into all this stuff. Listeners are familiar with him because we've had him on the show, maybe three or four times now. When you launch your protein powder, we'll have to have him on and do an episode. 

Vanessa Spina: Yes. So, what is new with you? 

Melanie Avalon: Really? Just yeah, working on the supplements we are starting just really quick brief teaser, my next supplement. So, we launched the Magnesium Threonate which has been amazing. Which I think I told them to send it to you. So, hopefully it's hard to get stuff to Vanessa over in your land, but you should be getting it soon. That's been amazing for I've been taking it every night for sleep and relaxation. Now, baby teaser, we're starting on my next supplement, which is probably going to be in the chlorella, spirulina world. So, I'm very, very excited about that. And then Friday, I'm seeing the Taylor Swift concert. 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, my gosh. I'm so excited for you. I was laughing the other night because I was on Twitter, and I was like, I think I'll follow Melanie. I went to your Twitter because I'm barely ever on Twitter, and your last tweet was something about how being on the phone crying to your mom about not being able to get Taylor Swift tickets is the definition of first world problems and I was laughing. It was so funny. 

Melanie Avalon: It really is. It really is.

Vanessa Spina: I remember when you were doing that like trying to get tickets. So, that's so exciting. It's this week. Wow. 

Melanie Avalon: I literally think about it too much, too much. So, that's going to be an experience on Friday. I don't know. I might have a heart attack. Like we'll see. I might faint. But all is well. All is too well. I will tell you, so yeah. So, I'll give links for listeners. For my current supplements, you can go to avalonx.us. You can use the coupon code MELANIE AVALON for 10% off sitewide. You can get email list updates on that at avalonx.us/emaillist. So, that's where you'll hear about the spirulina and chlorella and subscriptions and all the things. Vanessa, have you started an email list for your supplements? 

Vanessa Spina: Yes. You can sign up for notifications about the protein at tonepotein.com. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, awesome. Is that going to be the name you think? 

Vanessa Spina: Yes. I'm sticking with the Tone. I mean, it was perfect for the Tone device because it was like toning and ketones. But it's all about toning getting toned. 

Melanie Avalon: That is perfect. I'm so excited for you. Okay. This is great. 

Hi, Friends. We talk all the time on this show about the beneficial effects of intermittent fasting and especially how it can affect your blood sugar levels. How much do we talk about this. How diet affects them, how exercise affects them, how fasting affects them. But how do you actually know what your blood sugar levels are besides when you go to the doctor and get a snapshot of that one moment in time or give yourself a finger prick, which again, is a snapshot of that one moment in time.

What if you could know what your blood sugar was all the time? That would be revolutionary insight that could really help you meet your health and wellness goals. Guess what? You can do that now and I'm going to tell you how to save $30 off while doing it. So, we are obsessed with a company called NutriSense. They provide access to and interpretations of the data from the biosensors known as Continuous Glucose Monitors aka CGMs. 

Your blood sugar level can significantly impact how your body feels and functions. NutriSense lets you analyze in real time how your glucose levels respond to food, exercise, sleep and stress. How does that work? Well, a CGM is a small device that tracks your glucose levels in real time. The application is easy and painless. I promise, promise, promise. Check out my Instagram. I have so many videos of putting them on so you can see what that process is like. It's actually really fun. Then you can use the NutriSense app to scan your CGM, visualize data, log your meals, run experiments, and so much more, and you get expert dietitian guidance. Each subscription plan includes one month free of dietitian support. 

One of my friends recently got a CGM and she was going on and on about how cool it was to talk one on one with a dietitian who could help her interpret her results. Your dietitian will help you interpret the data and provide suggestions based on your goals. Of course, if you're already super knowledgeable in this space, they will still be able to provide you more advanced tips and recommendations. Friends, seeing this data in real time is what makes it easy to identify what you're doing well and where there's room for improvement. 

Some benefits and outcomes that you can experience, weight loss, stable energy throughout the day, better sleep, understanding which foods are good for you, controlling your cravings, seeing how you're responding to fasting, and so much more. Each device lasts for 14 days and of course, lasting sustainable change takes time and that can be achieved with a longer-term subscription. So, we definitely encourage you to choose a 6 or 12-month subscription, which are cheaper per month, and allow you to not only achieve your goals, but also ensure that you stick to your healthy lifestyle for the long term. 

You can go to nutrisense.io/ifpodcast and use the code IFPODCAST to save $30 and get one month of free dietitian support. That is, nutrisense.io/ifpodcast and use the code IFPODCAST to save $30 and get one month of free dietitian support. Friends you want to be in the world of CGMs. It is such a cool experience and you will learn so much. So, definitely check it out and we'll put all this information in the show notes. 

All right, shall we jump into questions for today? 

Vanessa Spina: Yes. So, our first question today comes to us from Sue Kimpton. Subject is smooth skin. “Why is my skin smoother when I follow a good fasting protocol? For example, clean fast of decent length for a number of days. I've done IF for almost three years and I enjoy it immensely. Thanks for all your hard work.” 

Melanie Avalon: All right, Sue. Well, thank you so much for your question. This is a great question and I did a deep dive into it. It's interesting because when I thought about the question before doing any research, I just felt intuitively, like it makes a lot of sense. The first things that came to my mind for this were reductions in inflammation from fasting, increases of stem cells, like the detox effect. It just seemed intuitively that it makes sense that fasting promotes good quality skin. But there actually is a bit of research. So, interestingly, there's actually a lot of research on calorie restriction and skin health. And I think a lot of the benefits that we receive from calorie restriction, we receive from fasting, there might be similar or there are similar pathways activated. So, I think a lot of that can extend to each other. 

So, for example, calorie restriction specifically can affect plasma proteins, hemoglobin, and skin collagen. All of those are involved in our skin health. There was one study that looked at the impact of calorie restriction on side effects with topical retinoid treatment, and they found that there was a reduction in irritation from that retinoid treatment from calorie restriction. And they hypothesized that this might be due to a boost in local antioxidant levels, which is something we also see with fasting, and also specifically on the inhibitory effect of a transcription factor. It's called the matrix metalloproteinase, MMP genes. And those are involved in tissue destruction. So, basically stopping signaling that would otherwise be destroying our skin. So, again, this is calorie restriction that had that effect. But I do think we can probably extend some of that to fasting as well.

And then studies have also found in general that calorie restriction can improve the appearance of wrinkles and decrease oxidative stress. Again, we know that intermittent fasting definitely has a profound effect when it comes to reducing oxidative stress. I found a super cool study. This was published in very recently, March of 2023, and it's called The Effects of a Fasting Mimicking Diet on Skin Hydration, Skin Texture and Skin Assessment, a randomized control trial. It was published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine. This was looking at the fasting-mimicking diet protocol, which we talked about a lot on this show that was created by Valter Longo, who we've also had on this show, as well as on my Biohacking Podcast. Have you interviewed him, I think I asked you that before. Have you interviewed him? 

Vanessa Spina: I haven't yet. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, we did talk about it because I was saying he's really hard to lock down. So, his protocol is a severely calorie restricted fasting mimicking-type approach for five days. They actually looked at that on the effects on skin health. Again, the reason I think this is applicable to intermittent fasting in general is they find that with the fasting-mimicking diet, it basically activates a lot of the circumstances and situations and benefits of fasting, but you're still just eating like a tiny, tiny bit. 

So, in that study, they found that the fasting mimicking diet increased skin hydration in the participants. The participants were a group of 45 healthy women between the ages of 35 and 60. It also helped maintain their skin texture in the fasted group. But for the group that was not doing the fasting-mimicking diet, they actually saw an increase in skin roughness. And so, then they went and talked about the reasoning behind this, and they said that probably due to how it affects the skin barrier, the things I mentioned before with oxidative stress, also the role of stem cells and then super interestingly-- So, this was discussed in that fasting-mimicking diet study. 

They were saying that another way that the fasting-mimicking diet might help skin health is actually through the gut-skin connection. So, basically, the effects of fasting can have a beneficial anti-inflammatory effect on the gut microbiome and support members of the gut microbiome that might be related to skin health. So specifically, those are lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria. They referenced another study, for example, and that was children with eczema. Those children were found to have less gut colonization of Bifidobacteria and lactobacillus compared to controls.

And then in another study, this was animal study, but they found that different strains of Bifidobacteria could actually help with supporting skin hydration and actually protected against UV damage, which is pretty cool. So, basically, they are hypothesizing that maybe the fasting has a beneficial effect on the gut microbiome and that might actually be supporting skin health as well. So that was very long. But all that to say, there's a lot of mechanisms whereby fasting can help promote skin health. Vanessa, do you have thoughts? 

Vanessa Spina: Wow, that was such an incredibly thorough answer. I love that you elucidated all of the main mechanisms and some of the studies there. I mean, I know that you're absolutely correct when it comes to stem cell production, stimulation of that cellular renewal that can happen through that, and definitely the autophagy makes a huge difference. I think the main point that you brought up about lowering the inflammation because you're spending more time in the fasted state. But I definitely always notice it for myself. 

When I just did my recent five day seasonal fast, I had a massive improvement in my skin it just feels so soft, like a baby's bum. I've been combining it with red light as well. The red light therapy, I think, makes a big difference because it's stimulating all those epigenetic growth factors in the collagen and elastin. So, combining it with that's made a big difference. It's amazing how tangible the difference is. I think that's awesome that Sue is noticing that, because this definitely motivates you when you have those kinds of tangible results. 

Melanie Avalon: It's interesting. My brother is engaged and he's getting married. His fiancée reached out to me, and she wanted to know about-- she said she wanted to work on her skin for the wedding, and she wanted to know my thoughts on doing one of those, like, juice cleanses. I think she wanted to do some lemon water juice cleanse. 

Vanessa Spina: The Master Cleanse. 

Melanie Avalon: It wasn't the Master Cleanse. Have you done the Master Cleanse? 

Vanessa Spina: I did years ago when I was very misinformed. 

Melanie Avalon: That's the one with the pepper, right? 

Vanessa Spina: Yes, it's lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne. In Canada, anyways, we use maple syrup. 

Melanie Avalon: Wait, in Canada you use--

Vanessa Spina: Maple syrup. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, yeah, Canadians are known for their maple syrup. 

Vanessa Spina: But you're basically just drinking spicy sugar water.

Melanie Avalon: Sounds miserable. I don't think I ever did it. I remember my friends in college were doing it, and they said, [chuckles] I will never forget this. They were like, they say when you do that you shouldn't, I apologize if this is crude, “Don't trust a fart when you're on it.” 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, I bet. Don't trust your farts for sure. People misinterpret that as, like, detoxification, but it's not. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. What's the craziest diet thing you did? 

Vanessa Spina: Probably that, but I remember just being out of college, so many cleanses and detoxes. They were so popular. I think now, like, teas. Detox teas have been pretty big in the last few years, which I never tried any of that. But probably the Master Cleanse was the craziest thing. What about you? 

Melanie Avalon: Two things, the cookie diet. 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, yeah, that's right. You did the cookie diet. 

Melanie Avalon: I was all about those cookies and then I went back and yeah, I looked at the ingredients, and it's literally gluten. I think the first ingredient is gluten. It's like fiber and gluten. It was so miserable. I will get these shipments, like, shipped, and I was living with roommates at the time, and they were like, “What is Melanie doing?” That one and when I ate, I did the apple, what's his name-- like the apple diet, Edgar Cayce or something, basically, where you're supposed to eat just apples for three days and then you take some olive oil and it's supposed to flush out. 

Vanessa Spina: I've never heard of that one. That's hilarious. 

Melanie Avalon: What's funny, though, is I did it for-- so you're supposed to do it for three days, oh gosh. You're supposed to do it for three days and I did this in college, and I felt so amazing. I felt high. This was before I had done intermittent fasting. I wasn't overweight, but I had weight to lose. Now I'm such a low body weight, I would not feel comfortable doing something like this. I want to clarify about that because I was reading not that I get wrapped up and we don't have a lot of trolls, but comments from people. But I did see a comment somewhere the other day about how I guess I talk about these crazy things I've done, so people shouldn't listen to me. 

Friends, listeners, I'm just being completely transparent. Before I became super aware of the importance of food and how it affects our bodies and fasting and paleo and keto and all of that. I mean, I was just trying all the things because you so desperately want to find something to lose weight. So, I hope it's not a reflection on me now. I think people get confused about that. 

Vanessa Spina: That's what I always say. I'm like, I have tried it all. Name me one thing. Okay, maybe I haven't done the apple one, but I've done it all. I've tried it all. And that's how you learn. It's part of how you learn. 

Melanie Avalon: Exactly. I've been super transparent about how I went through my period where I just ate, like, every night, a massive rotisserie chicken. People are like, “You shouldn't listen to her because she went through a phase where she just ate rotisserie chickens.” 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, my God. When I heard you talking about that, I was like, that is the best. You're in college, you're on a budget, and you're taking advantage of a clearance sale at the end of the day. I had so much respect for you. 

Melanie Avalon: 11:00 PM, my night classes would get over at 10:00, and then I would go to the grocery store and get my rotisserie chicken. It was amazing. 

Vanessa Spina: I love rotisserie chickens. They're so good and they're never as good when you make it at home. They can be good, but the ones that you buy from, like, yeah, they're delicious. 

Melanie Avalon: Really quickly so that was my whole disclaimer about the story I'm about to tell. Please don't, well, you can judge if you like. But I went three days only eating apples. I felt amazing. I was like, I'm just going to keep doing this indefinitely until I don't want to do it anymore. So, I did it. I wasn't drinking or anything, so I did it 10 or 11 days. I was in a film professional fraternity, Delta Kappa Alpha, shout out. We had a film school prom. And so, I went and I drank what I normally would have drunk going out, but this was in the context of only having eaten apples for 11 days. I died. I just died. [laughs] It was the worst night of my life. I remember the next morning I think my roommates thought I was dead. They were like, calling my mom. I was on the floor and my mom was on the phone. She's like, “Melanie, eat some bread.” I was like, "I can't eat bread. I'm not eating carbs now, I don't eat bread." With a very few exceptions, I have not had hard alcohol since then. 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, my gosh, yeah, that combination sounds deadly literally. 

Melanie Avalon: Have you ever had a bad night? 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, yeah. I feel I used to have such high tolerance, especially when I was in university and I could go out and drink, and I could out drink like my guy friends. Now I'm such a light weight. Also, you just don't want to be hungover anymore. The older you get, it's like a day of my life lost, feeling miserable. When you're optimized and you're a biohacker and you feel amazing most of the time you have an off day. You're just like, “What is this?” Yeah, it's not a good combination. Actually, I've been thinking a lot about the but and thing, how if you're saying but, you're negating. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, it's so good. 

Vanessa Spina: So good. I was thinking about and about how it is fun. I do like to do a couple of big nights a year, like New Year's Eve or someone's wedding or something. It's fun to let loose. But when you have a kid and you're hungover, you never want to be hungover. [laughs] So, it's the next level. 

Melanie Avalon: I can imagine. I was actually reflecting on this last night with gratitude. I do drink wine every night, and I drink Dry Farm Wines only, really at home. When I go out, I look up all the wineries of the wine list and I try to find the ones that are organic, and then I also try to find the ones that are probably lower alcohol content as well. But I was reflecting last night on how grateful I was. It's so nice to like you said, I can have my drink and drink it too. I have my glass of wine every night to wind down, and I feel really wonderful the next day. I do all the health things and I just love it. It's just a great experience and that's me. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. Get the polyphenols, get all those health boosting, the resveratrol all of it. 

Melanie Avalon: All the things. So, for listeners, if you would like to get Dry Farm Wines, dryfarmwines.com/ifpodcast and all of their wines are low alcohol, low sugar, and organic and tested to be free of toxins and mold, and you really notice the difference, drinking those. All of that to say, skin. That's what we're talking about. I don't even remember how we got on this. Oh, my brother getting married. His fiancée reached out to me and wanted to know if she should do one of these lemon juice things for her skin. And I was just reflecting on how, honestly, the first thing I think about with skin now probably is fasting. It's not really about what you put in. It's about giving your body that break and that detox period. I think people's skin really can glow with fasting. If I had to pick three things for skin health, like three lifestyle practices or things, I would say fasting. Well, fasting, and the foods that you're eating as well. And then red light therapy, which, by the way, how can listeners get your red light therapy devices? 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, the Tone Lux. You can check them out at ketogenicgirl.com. I have three different models there and they have all the wavelengths of light that I found were the most associated with the evidence-based benefits, including boosting collagen in the skin and elastin and really giving the skin a softer, more youthful appearance. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, awesome. Nice. So, listeners get that. The third thing I would say would be people's skincare and makeup. It's just so ironic because we turn to these products to support our skin health, and so many of them, especially in the US are they're toxic to our skin. They're marketed as making our skin better, but really we're putting in problematic ingredients that are contributing to our toxic burden and in the long term, probably not doing any favors for our skin's appearance. And then same with makeup. I'm all about makeup. I love makeup. It's ironic that we could be putting on makeup to improve the appearance of our skin, but really doing some damage by again exposing ourselves to these endocrine disruptors, these obesogens, these toxins. So, that's why I am obsessed with Beautycounter, because they make nontoxic skincare and makeup. So, yeah, I would say the diet, the red light, and the skincare products. 

Vanessa Spina: One last one. So, exfoliation is my secret weapon with the red light, is for me those three pillars. I also love the nutrition one, but the fasting, red light, and exfoliation and using a facial scrub has been life changing. I also do the whole-body scrubs and I have various loofas and things for that. But exfoliation really is the key to maintaining youthful skin because you can remove that top layer of skin. I'm not a skin expert or an esthetician, but it works wonders for my skin if I do it once or twice a week, a high-quality facial scrub. You can also get chemical ones and different kinds of chemical, at-home peels that you can do or just go for regular facials. I don't have time, so I just exfoliate. I've spoken to estheticians in the past who've told me the key is just to exfoliate. Antiaging really is exfoliation. So, I notice a massive difference. Do you do much exfoliation? 

Melanie Avalon: I'm really excited because I know you just received, I sent Vanessa this massive shipment of Beautycounter products, which, by the way, they do not make it easy to ship to Czech Republic. I told you it didn't even come up in the USPS system. 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, my goodness. That's wild because I ship myself with USPS, like, the Tone device all the time and different things. I wonder what was going on there. 

Melanie Avalon: So, they were, like, going through the computer. They're like, “Oh, it's not in the computer.” I was like, “The country is not in the computer?” Not like they listed it and were not available. They just took it out. [laughs] So, I literally went to UPS, FedEx, post office and then finally DHL. So, we got the box to Vanessa. 

Vanessa Spina: You know who ended up shipping it?

Melanie Avalon: DHL.

Vanessa Spina: USPS. 

Melanie Avalon: What? 

Vanessa Spina: Or maybe that was just a label that was still on it. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, no, no, no, yeah, yeah, that was the label. Yeah, that was because basically when I went to the post office, I boxed it all up with their stuff, and I was like, I'm not going to rebox this. That's funny. So, to answer your question, one of the products in there is the Reflect Effect mask. 

Vanessa Spina: I saw that. I can't wait to try it. 

Melanie Avalon: So, okay, I'm obsessed. This answers your exfoliation question. You put it on your skin and it's like tightening and brightening and all the things, but it has little beads in it. There's a little tool that comes with it as well, which is optional, so listeners don't have to get the tool if they don't want. But when you remove the mask because you're scrubbing your face to wash it off, it exfoliates while removing the mask if that makes sense. Definitely try. It makes my skin glow. If you use a little tool that you can buy as an add on, you can remove it with that, and that will further exfoliate. 

Vanessa Spina: I'm so excited to try that and also, I think there was also a chemical peel in there. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, yes. Okay, let me tell you about it. It's the Overnight Resurfacing Peel. So, it's misleading in the name. It's not actually a peel. They call it that because it rivals the effects of getting a chemical face peel. But it's really a leave-on treatment. Every night I wash my face and then I put that on immediately. 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, I'm going to try it tonight. 

Melanie Avalon: It's so great. 

Vanessa Spina: I tried the foundation today I was telling you earlier. I tried the foundation for the first time and I had the little sample and it was amazing. I usually use Mac foundation, and I've always felt okay with it because we are in Europe, so I know that they control what's in it a little bit more. But this one, I felt like I could still see my skin, but I was getting coverage and more so just like an overall even, but not so even that it's unnatural. It was a more natural lighter weight. But I like to have a consistent shade across my face and then contour. So, it was just really nice. I felt like I could see more of my skin. So, I'm excited to order that one actually. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness, I'm so excited. Yes, I think you texted it to me, but I'll order it for you to get it over there. 

Vanessa Spina: I can't wait to try all of it. It's a treasure chest. Thank you so much for sending it to me. 

Melanie Avalon: You're welcome. The awesome thing about the makeup, because I used to honestly, for me, the last thing I “cleaned up” in my diet was my makeup and skincare because it was just so overwhelming. It's really hard to switch out your makeup because it's your makeup. So, I was just so thrilled when I found Beautycounter because knowing that is their mission about the endocrine disruptors, it makes me feel really good about everything. And then on top of that, I went through a phase where I was like, “Oh, everything needs to be completely natural.” It needs to be “natural.” But really the toxicity potential isn't about if it's natural or not. It's about if it's toxic or not. So, they still use a combination of, “natural” and synthetic ingredients, but the testing is surrounding toxicity. So, you can feel really good about what you put on and it means that the products really work. 

Like, for example, I've mentioned this before, but the makeup when Tina Fey hosted the Golden Globes, she wore all Beautycounter makeup. So, it's really good makeup. It's ready for the high-definition cameras. Yeah, so, you have to let me know what you think. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, I'm going to try all of it. You're converting me over I think. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: So good. It's so good. 

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Here's one last question from Tara and it's from the Facebook group, and it actually relates to what we just talked about, so we can quickly answer it. Tara wants to know what are your thoughts on retinols. “Do either of you use it in your skincare routine?” 

Vanessa Spina: So, I know retinols are amazing for acne prone skin, which I have been really lucky to not have to deal with much acne. My skin is pretty normal, so I don't use a lot of it. But I think for people who do have acne prone skin, it can be a game changer. The one thing that I do know about retinoids is you have to avoid them when you're pregnant because of the potential levels of the retinoids in them. So, what about you? Do you use them? 

Melanie Avalon: I do not. It's interesting because there's a lot of controversy surrounding them. People say that they might be damaging, might have toxic effects, and then that there aren't really super long-term studies on them. But I also had on Rachel Varga on my show and she was actually very pro retinols. She didn't think there was issues with them. I just-- So, I don't use them personally. I know they also increase sensitivity to the sun, I believe, so I don't personally use them. I've just stayed on the side of erring on not the counter timeline from Beautycounter. They formulated it to have the effects of retinols without having any actual retinols. 

Vanessa Spina: That's really interesting that they avoided putting retinols in it. I think that says a lot. 

Melanie Avalon: They gave a name for their complex that they created, that they have studies showing comparing it to retinols and showing similar effects. Since I can just easily not do it, I just go that route. So, yes, I would check out the counter timeline from Beautycounter if you're interested in an alternative. If you want to learn more about a supportive side of retinols, check out my episode with Rachel Varga and I will put a link to that in the show notes. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, I really like all the exfoliation techniques that we're just talking about, and I like to use glycolic peels and masks that have glycolic agents in them. I know some of them can be a little bit stronger, like salicylic acid, but there's a lot that you can do, I think, without having to use retinoids. I think they're mostly for people who have acne. 

Melanie Avalon: I always thought they were for skin, for antiaging. Maybe it's both. 

Vanessa Spina: The retinoic acid, I think that's what's in Accutane. I think it's related. 

Melanie Avalon: Did you do Accutane? 

Vanessa Spina: I did do it because [chuckles] I had a boyfriend when I was in college and I had this weird episode where I did randomly break out, and he was like, “Oh, just take Accutane like I took it.” I think I did it for a week or something. My entire life never have any breakouts. I couldn't tell you the last time I had any kind of breakout or pimple or anything, so I've been really lucky with that because I know it's really difficult to deal with, and especially with using different creams, and then your skin becoming more sensitive and having to balance out an irritated eye. I just like I really feel for people who are dealing with acne. 

Melanie Avalon: I had it growing up. It was the worst. I was always doing what was that brand, that Proactiv. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, I remember those ads. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness. It was the bane of my existence. So, I empathize as well. Beautycounter has counter control, which I don't have acne anymore. I did Accutane as well. That was a game changer for me. I do wonder now about the effects. There's a lot of controversy. 

Vanessa Spina: Yes. Like, you have to get blood work done and everything. It's really intense. 

Melanie Avalon: It was a whole thing for me. They made me go on birth control first before going on it. So, I went on birth control in 10th grade to get on Accutane, which, looking back, I'm like, that's just really annoying to me, you know the system. 

Vanessa Spina: It's a good thing that you didn't pick your lifelong partner when you were on birth-- 

Melanie Avalon: I know. My high school sweetheart. Oh, that's so true. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, your immunities would have been just not complimentary. 

Melanie Avalon: Whoa. Wow. Good point. Yes, so, friends, skin, fasting, red light, Beautycounter, exfoliation. Awesome. Well, this has been absolutely amazing. If listeners would like to submit their own questions for the show, they can directly email questions@ifpodcast.com or they can go to ifpodcast.com and they can submit questions there. These show notes will have links to everything that we talked about and those will be at ifpodcast.com/episode319. 

Something I didn't mention yet on this show. Speaking of Beautycounter, if you would like to be entered to win over $500 worth of products, just go to Apple Podcasts and pull up your review of this show or write a new review. To update it or write a new one and include in the review what you are excited to experience with Vanessa as the new co-host or what you're enjoying about the change in the show with Vanessa here on board, which we are having so much fun. So, send a screenshot of that to questions@ifpodcast.com and we will enter you to win over $500 worth of Beautycounter. 

And then lastly, you can follow us on Instagram. We are @ifpodcast. I am @melanieavalon, and Vanessa's handle is @ketogenicgirl. Okay, I think that's all the things. Anything for me, Vanessa, before we go? 

Vanessa Spina: I had so much fun. I love all the wonderful questions and I can't wait to record the next episode with you. 

Melanie Avalon: Likewise. Have a good evening. 

Vanessa Spina: Thank you. Bye. 

Melanie Avalon: 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.

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