Welcome to Episode 321 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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Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 321 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. And I'm here with my cohost, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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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Hi, friends. 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 or beautycounter.com/vanessaspina, and new customers can use the coupon code, CLEANFORALL20 to get 20% off sitewide. That's CLEANFORALL20 for 20% off sitewide. Definitely get on our Clean Beauty email list for all the latest special sales and updates. And I give away a lot of free things on that list, so definitely check it out. Mine is at melanieavalon.com/cleanbeauty and Vanessa's is ketogenicgirl.com/cleanbeauty. 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.
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Hi everybody, and welcome. This is episode number 321 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with Vanessa Spina.
Vanessa Spina: Hi everyone. I'm so excited for today's episode.
Melanie Avalon: How are you today?
Vanessa Spina: I'm doing amazing. How are you?
Melanie Avalon: I am good. I'm excited. I started reading your book, which I am embarrassed to say I hadn't actually read yet and I am loving it.
Vanessa Spina: I'm reading yours for your interview on my podcast next week.
Melanie Avalon: I'm reading yours for your interview on my podcast in a few weeks. We match. That's so exciting. So, you were a vegetarian for a long time?
Vanessa Spina: Yeah, when I was 16, it was more toward 17, I just suddenly decided to become a vegetarian. And it wasn't until I started keto, which was like in my early 30s, I was like, I guess I'm going to go back to eating animal products but fully because a few years before then, my naturopath in Vancouver, I had been going to see him for a while because I had such low energy levels. I didn't feel good in my body at all. I realized later my body composition was getting really poor and he was a full vegan. There're a lot of vegetarian people. It's a huge community in Vancouver.
He looked at me straight in the eyes. He's like, "I think you should start eating animals again." [laughs] And I was like, "Whoa," this is my vegetarian or vegan doctor telling me. And he's like, "Just start eating some fish, chicken, and turkey, just do like poultry." And I immediately started feeling better. And that's like when I started getting into intermittent fasting and keto and everything. I felt the more iron-rich food, the more nutrient-dense food I was eating, the better I felt, my energy levels started coming back. Then most of my adult life I was vegetarian. So, it was a huge, huge change.
Melanie Avalon: Because you thought it was healthy or was it an ethical choice or what was the reasoning?
Vanessa Spina: For first becoming vegetarian?
Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm.
Vanessa Spina: It was partly because I loved animals so much and partly because I thought it would be a good way to lose weight. I think a lot of people go vegetarian or plan -based because they're drawn to that aspect of it. I thought it would be an easy way to maintain weight as well. So, it seemed like the perfect combination. There's also this virtue that you feel when you're vegetarian. It's almost like a religious feeling; you feel so virtuous that you're doing such good things for the planet. And it wasn't until many years later that I realized that there's no diet that's completely death free as virtuous as being vegetarian or vegan made me feel at the time.
I had a lot of bad facts and misinformation about it. I applaud anyone who chooses to make that decision for themselves. But my opinion on it now is that it's a privilege to be able to do a vegan diet, especially, which I did for a long time, and a vegetarian diet in a proper way with enough nutritional supplementation. And it really disadvantages people who are below the poverty level or who live in countries where it's almost impossible to get the kinds of supplements that you need when you're a vegan or vegetarian. To deny those things, I think, to people who are struggling because of some moral or ethical principle. I have a lot of problems with it. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I feel really similar.
Vanessa Spina: Yeah. What's your background?
Melanie Avalon: I think, I may be tried vegetarian for like a week. [laughs] I was like, this is not for me.
Vanessa Spina: That's was like, my husband, he tried it for, like, an afternoon. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: I eat a very, very high animal protein diet, and I have for years and years, and years. First of all, I really do support people finding the diet that works for them like you do you. I just get so over the dietary wars and-
Vanessa Spina: Ah, so over it.
Melanie Avalon: -the virtue signaling that goes with it, especially because I think there's like you said, there's a lot of misunderstanding, but with a lot of aspects of it. The privilege, I do think is a big piece. And also, there's just a lot of debate about especially like the environmental concerns. There's a lot of nuance and complexity there that it's confusing because you can read either side and walk away very convinced. So, it's hard to know what's actually happening. I do really love Robb Wolf's book Sacred Cow. Have you read that book?
Vanessa Spina: Yeah, I interviewed him about it a couple of years ago.
Melanie Avalon: Yes, I love. We should have him on the show.
Vanessa Spina: Yeah, that would be awesome.
Melanie Avalon: I was going to email him about something random anyways, so I think I'll invite him back on. Would you be down?
Vanessa Spina: Of course. I would love to.
Melanie Avalon: I love that man. I've been following him for so long-- for listeners, literally, we were talking about origin stories last episode. Robb Wolf is the reason I started doing the paleo diet. He's had a huge effect on my life. But yeah, so, yeah, long story short, I think it's very complicated and nuanced and I do think it can be really hard for people to get enough protein and nutrition, especially on like, a vegan diet. But I also respect and I also respect people for their decisions and choices.
Vanessa Spina: Can I mention there's a really interesting paper that just came out. These researchers in Animal Frontiers, they said that what's really interesting is that the link between red meat and disease is almost eradicated when you combine it with a healthy diet. And it's really actually they're suggesting that it's really the rest of the diet that is the cause behind the health issues. Like, often the red meat is blamed. And it's a really interesting article. They're saying 1000 academic scientists are saying that meat and animal protein is crucial for human health and they're calling for an end to the zealotry pushing vegetarian and vegan diets. Speaking of Sacred Cow there's, almost 1000 academics from leading universities around the world signed an initiative that argues that livestock farming is too important to become the victim of zealotry. And they published in the Academic Journal Animal Frontiers as a part of a collaboration with professional animal science societies and dozens of experts.
And they looked at these claims saying that eating red meat causes diseases as well as being harmful for the planet. The people that they're really the most concerned with is the people who, like I was saying earlier, are below the poverty line. Or people who live in poor communities that have a low meat intake, they can't afford to have meat, or they're discouraged from eating meat. Like, a lot of schools are instituting, like, meatless days in the schools.
Melanie Avalon: Meatless Mondays.
Vanessa Spina: Yeah, and it's like that may be the only time that people from those communities actually get animal protein. These communities often suffer from a lot of nutrient deficiencies and diseases related to that, like stunted growth, wasting, and anemia. And this was reported in the Telegraph. Animal protein is responsible for providing B12 vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, iron, and zinc in addition to organ meats, which we don't even talk about in here.
But I think that they were saying that if you remove fresh meat and dairy from diets, it would lead to more human harm. Women, children, elderly, and people who live on low income would be particularly negatively impacted. And foods that are derived from livestock, they provide a variety of essential nutrients and other health-promoting compounds which are lacking in diets, even among the populations with higher income.
So, well-resourced people, they might be able to achieve adequate nutrition while heavily restricting meat, dairy, and eggs in a vegan scenario. But this approach is not something that should be recommended for everyone. I think they're trying to fight back or push back a little bit on some of the zealotry. I'm not saying that every vegetarian or vegan is a zealot. Like, I was a vegetarian myself for most of my adult life and I don't think I was as zealot about it. Now that I've learned so much more about the bioavailability and nutrient density in animal protein and how animal proteins have amino acids that are made for us and plants have amino acids that are made for plants. Although if you can afford to, you can supplement and you can do a vegan or vegetarian diet well. But if you are below the poverty line, it's going to be near impossible and your health is probably more likely to suffer.
Melanie Avalon: I could not agree more. Yeah, the concept of the healthy user bias, I think, is so important and it's not exactly the same thing, but it's what you were talking about with the diet that maybe it's not the red meat that's the problem, it's the other things with it. And so that's the idea. And I think there's been quite a few studies on this with the healthy user bias. I remember there was one study where they looked at-- they basically, I would have to find it. The way they did it was they looked at people who shopped at Whole Foods or certain grocery stores versus not and their red meat consumption and how it affected outcomes. And all of the health issues with red meat just are gone when you take into account the whole context of the person. And then on the environmental side, Robb Wolf makes a really good case in Sacred Cow that a completely plant-based system would just wreck the planet. I mean, he makes a very compelling case for that. It's not the natural ecosystem of the world. And yeah, just read the book.
Vanessa Spina: I'm so happy that he's out there with I think his co-author was Diana Rodgers. I'm so happy that she's out there, that Robb is out there speaking about this, and he's doing such a good job with it, just to understand the power of regenerative agriculture. And I don't know why farming has been-- it seems like farming has been under attack in the last year or two. And it's really sad to see because we need agriculture. We need regenerative agriculture so much and livestock and it's just all a part of this greater good for the planet like you were saying.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I think we're so disconnected from our food, and I say this as a disconnected person. I haven't even gone hunting, so I don't have that experience of what goes into that system and ultimately manifests as food on my plate. I think we're just so disconnected. And I don't know, we don't really-- and I'm tiptoeing a little bit, but I feel like we often think of, especially in the US, like the Native American culture, as being something that was really in tune with the land and really connected and we idealized that. They were definitely not plant based. They had, like, a connection with the land and the animals and understood that it was like a circle of life type thing. I feel like I'm being esoteric right now, but I do think that we just waltz around in this land of ideals without understanding the practical implications of things and unintended consequences.
Vanessa Spina: Yes. I think human suffering is also an important factor. And I know for myself, I was suffering a lot when I was denying myself animal protein, especially with my health and my body composition. And even though I had resources to supplement. Since making the change and going back to including animal protein in my diet, I'm not suffering on that same level anymore. My body composition is great and I feel like I'm effortlessly lean now from incorporating an optimal amount of protein and really nutrient-dense food. And I really think beef is a superfood. Salmon is a superfood. Why are we always talking about blueberries and kale and spinach? The real superfoods are animal proteins. And I agree we're very disconnected, but I think that it's really important to make sure to include foods that have a lot of high biological value of protein and bioavailability and absorption. It's going to reduce human suffering, which I think is an important factor as well.
Melanie Avalon: I agree so much. Also, this might seem a little like woo woo, but ever since I started growing my own cucumbers in my apartment, which I am looking at right now. Which I love.
Vanessa Spina: That is the cutest thing ever.
Melanie Avalon: Do you know about my cucumbers in my apartment?
Vanessa Spina: I did not know that you were growing them. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: Oh, Vanessa, it's a thing.
Vanessa Spina: I think, I need to start too, because cucumbers are my number one plant food.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness. Okay, wait. Okay. So. Have you heard of AeroGarden?
Vanessa Spina: Yes, I've seen it with tomatoes.
Melanie Avalon: Okay. So, I am obsessed. I have five units. They come in all different sizes, but the two really big ones that I have, I think it's called, like, the Farm XL. That's the one. It's about, I'm so bad at gauging height. It's probably 4ft high. You can grow tomatoes, cucumbers. So, I grow cucumbers and it's right by the window and they grow up my window panes. So, they grow, like, all the way up. I mean they grow high. And it's funny when I first started doing it, it's so crazy. "Okay, Vanessa, you have to grow cucumbers." Because they're so cute. They have these little tendrils to grab onto things. So, they go and they grab onto the windows and they wave their way up things. When it first started, the cucumbers started trying to grow onto the windows, and I was like, "Stop." And I would, like, pull them away and try to make them stay in their little farm, and I just let them do their thing. So, they go up, like, 10ft. The point is you would love it so much.
Vanessa Spina: I need to do it because I'm obsessed with cucumbers. Like, large, normal-sized cucumbers and small cucumbers or pickles. Like, when I discovered that pickles were small cucumbers, I was like, "Oh, my God, this makes so much sense." They're like my two favorite plant foods. One is just a smaller version. So, I would love to actually do that. Pete's been wanting to do plant boxes in our garden.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, outside?
Vanessa Spina: Yeah, like, you set up a box and you fill it with soil. So, I think maybe we should do it this summer--cucumbers. I just always thought, how could I keep up with my demand for cucumbers? Because also, Luca loves them too. So, yeah, we go through a lot of them. Like, I'm constantly peeling cucumbers.
Melanie Avalon: I mean, I buy, like, pounds and pounds of cucumbers. And I get asked so often, people on Instagram will DM me all the time. They're like, what do you do with those cucumbers? I just eat them because I go to Costco and I buy, like a lot. I can't tell you how many times I've been asked, how do you eat them and how long does it take you to eat those? Because I'll buy probably like let's see. I'll buy like 50 at a time, the really big ones, and I eat them pretty fast.
Vanessa Spina: I love that. I use them for everything. Like, when people-- when I was like, I used to make my turkey or chicken liver pâté all the time on my Instagram stories, and the number one question I would get is, "What do you eat this with?" And I'm like, "Well, you can do pork rinds or cucumbers and make amazing crackers. Whenever we have people over, dehydrate them, we have people over. Just fresh cucumber slices make an amazing cracker because it balances out, I guess, the texture of the pâté. But you can also use them for other things, like a salmon dip or like if you make any kinds of dips or things. It's actually quite nice to have a cracker that's not super dry, but it works so well just for a delivery device for pate or dips or things. Cucumbers are amazing. They're so refreshing. They're so packed with water and yeah, I'm a huge fan. I'm going to start growing them to you.
Melanie Avalon: Well, just really quick to that point. The reason I started eating them. So, I love drinking wine, obviously, and so I wanted to find something to munch on while drinking wine, like before my actual meal. And so, I started with lettuce. I would like, just eat lettuce plain. I was like, lettuce pairs so well with wine because it's hydrating. I can munch on something. It's like a nice little snack. I know that sounds crazy and I sound like a rabbit. It was fun. But in any case, I realized I was like, allergic. I don't know if I was allergic to the lettuce or like, maybe some of the I don't know, whatever they spray on it. I started getting psoriasis on my hands. I realized it was probably contact dermatitis from the lettuce, like, mind blown. So, I stopped. I was like I got to find something else. And so, that's when I found cucumbers and I never looked back.
Vanessa Spina: What was your favorite lettuce? Mine is iceberg. And I love, I could just have like-- I'll do like, salmon sashimi and I make the Japanese like ginger dressing and cucumbers and iceberg lettuce. It's so good. But sometimes I find that I don't handle the lettuce as well. And there's been a lot of, like, negative press in the last few years about lettuce as well. People always think that you get bacterial infections and things from eating meat, but a lot of times it's actually lettuce. I think it was a year before last, there were three deaths from E. coli and lettuce and stuff. So, I don't know what's going on with it, but I definitely haven't been having it as much as I used to.
Melanie Avalon: If you want to talk about controversy and I won't tell the whole story because it's a tangent, I would just say listeners, look up the history of why. Look up the history of milk production and raw milk and pasteurization.
Vanessa Spina: Bill Schindler?
Melanie Avalon: Yes, yes. Mind Blown. We both interviewed him.
Vanessa Spina: I think we must have both interviewed him. I remember listening to the interview you did with him. It was really, really good. And I loved having him on the podcast. I loved his book. He's one of my top 10 favorite guests. And just in terms of class and humility and kindness, he's just brilliant and so, so down to earth and nice. And I learned so much from him.
Melanie Avalon: Same. He's amazing. One of my favorite episodes. There's just so much shocking stuff there's A-- [crosstalk]
Vanessa Spina: Really disturbing.
Melanie Avalon: It's like, really, really disturbing stuff in the milk industry that was happening, and then I mean, disgusting stuff. And then on the flipside, the demonization of raw milk, he puts the stats of how many illnesses there's been contributed or deaths to raw milk compared to-- I mean, it's just shocking. It's almost nonexistent. And one of the top causes of death now is over-the-counter medication and stuff or yeah, but it's just crazy.
Vanessa Spina: Yeah. Accidental deaths. I think it's like number three or number four is like accidental deaths from healthcare.
Melanie Avalon: I could be wrong. I thought complications in hospitals was number one. I don't know if it's number one or number two. It's up there. It's really high. I'm going to bring this party home. The reason I brought up the cucumbers because I got to come full circle, is because when I started growing cucumbers the first time, well, A, I was like these things are alive. Like, these things are alive. Like, they've got, like, not thoughts, but they're like [laughs] alive. Like, they're like they have personality. And the first time I picked my own cucumbers, I was like, I feel like I'm eating something, like, not conscious, but it was an experience of, how do I wrap this up? I think plants are very much alive as well as our animals. And so, I find it really interesting and this would be a whole other conversation for another day, but it's like, again, going back to the circle of life, like, the plants die as well when we eat them. I'm just putting that out there. And they were alive.
Melanie Avalon: And when you eat them, they're alive. I feel like they're still alive when you're eating them. Okay, now I'm done.
Vanessa Spina: It's really interesting you said that. And I don't know if you've ever interviewed Dr. Gerald Pollack. I think he's one of the most brilliant yeah, he's absolutely brilliant paradigm-shifting scientist. But he discovered exclusion zone water and he believes that one of the best things we can do for our health is to eat foods that have a lot of water in them because plant foods that have a lot of water. He says that some of it is exclusion zone water that's made in the plant. So, I think there's, like, a vitality or something. I get what you're saying about eating, like, a fresh cucumber, but I think it's hilarious that we both love them so much.
Melanie Avalon: I just feel like not that plants are sentient, but if you think about-- I mean, they signal to each other things. I don't know. You can go down rabbit holes.
Vanessa Spina: I'm just picturing you, like, petting the cucumbers and like telling them compliments and like "Your tendrils are looking so beautiful today."
Melanie Avalon: No, I talk to them. I, like, play music for them. They like Lana Del Rey. [laughs]
Vanessa Spina: Okay. My goal is to grow at least one cucumber by the end of the summer.
Melanie Avalon: Yes, get an AeroGarden. We'll do it outside for sure. But if you get an AeroGarden, you can do it indoors, and it takes care of itself. And Luca can, like, play with them.
Vanessa Spina: Yeah, that'd be a fun educational project for him actually.
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So, on that note. [laughs] Shall we get into some questions for today?
Vanessa Spina: I would love to. We have our first question from Alyssa, and the subject is probiotics and supplements. I know there are a lot of benefits to a probiotic supplement. When do you all recommend taking a probiotic or any other supplement?
Melanie Avalon: Oh, I totally missed that she also had any other supplement. That's a big question. I did research for just for probiotics. This is really interesting because I thought that there would have been like, when I sat down to research this. And I had researched it historically, I thought there would be a ton of studies. I was like, "Oh, this will be easy." I couldn't find that many. There are not many studies looking at the timing of probiotics, which is very interesting. I did find a really good one. This was published in-- it was a while ago, though. It was 2011. And what's interesting, though, is I did find another article or journal or something talking about probiotics. And I was like, "Oh, another source." But then it was just referencing this one. I hate it when that happens. Like, I think I found something new. But then it's all just going back to this one thing.
This study was called "The impact of meals on a probiotic during transit through a model of the human upper gastrointestinal tract." It was published in Beneficial Microbes. And what they did was they looked at a probiotic that contained four different strains of probiotics. And I wonder if I should define probiotics. I'm sure most people are familiar with what probiotics are. Basically, they are bacteria, microorganisms that can beneficially modulate our own GI system. And some of them are natural to humans. So, some of them are like naturally in our system. Some are actually not natural, but still natural. And what I mean by that is like the lactobacilli strain, for example, that's often found in dairy products. It's normally a member of the human GI tract, but it's not actually from us, like we have to get it from food compared to the Bifidobacteria most people tend to have that if that makes sense. It's a really subtle nuance, but there is a slight difference there.
Then, of course, there's the whole strain of gut microbiome bacteria that we have that we can't get from probiotics. Also, and I'll circle back to this, probiotics, there's a thesis surrounding dead versus living probiotics because studies have actually found that dead probiotics can still have a beneficial effect on our health, which is really, really interesting. I've been fascinated by that. But what's really interesting about that is so I actually found a study by Professor Colin Hill and he has a paper talking about the definition of probiotics. That study is called The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics Consensus Statement on the Scope and Appropriate Use of the Term Probiotic, that's a really funny title, that was last updated in May 2023. But he actually makes the case that a probiotic must be alive when administered, otherwise, it doesn't count as a probiotic.
And I think that's really important to keep in mind because if we do see that dead probiotics are having a beneficial effect, we might think, "Oh, it doesn't really matter if they're alive or not because they can be dead and we'll still see a beneficial effect." It's probably different not different mechanisms of action. But if it's a dead probiotic, basically you're still having an immune response to it. And so that might be a reason that there's a beneficial effect. But we're probably getting benefits from alive probiotics in and of themselves, so there's probably something to that.
So, coming back to the study, they looked at two different types of lactobacilli as well as a type of Bifidobacterium that I just mentioned, and then also Saccharomyces boulardii. And they put the probiotics they gave them to the participants at different times either before or after a meal. They also gave it with different things. So, like milk versus milk with oatmeal versus apple juice or water. Some of the takeaways they found was that they found that probiotics given after the meal did not survive as well as probiotics given before the meal. An exception was Saccharomyces boulardii was not affected by the meal timing or what you had it with. And Saccharomyces boulardii is actually a yeast, it's not a bacteria. And interestingly, in interviewing Izabella Wentz for her new book on Adrenal Fatigue, she talks a lot about the benefits of Saccharomyces boulardii. But then they also found that probably better to take it before and then as far as what to have it with. Lactobacillus strains seemed to do better when they were in the presence of glucose. And they think that might be because they actually use glucose as a source of fuel.
So, that's why it probably did better when they were with the milk and the milk and oats, oh wait. They also found that protein content of the meal in particular didn't really seem to affect anything, didn't really seem to affect survival rate, and that fat did seem to have a beneficial effect. So, their conclusion was for non-enteric-coated bacteria probiotics. And so, to clarify, some probiotics come in enteric coatings and those actually help the probiotics survive the harsh conditions of the GI tract.
So, for ones not in enteric coatings, it's probably best to take them just prior to a meal or with a meal containing some fats. And my thoughts on all of this is that-- I like to think about it from sort of like an evolutionary perspective. So, how were we getting these beneficial microbes in the natural world? So, lactobacillus and such we would get from obviously milk and dairy products. That like is the food, it's with the food and then the Bifidobacterium and stuff. Also, I feel like it would be when we're eating. To me, it makes sense that it would be like right before a meal with a meal compared to afterwards.
The long story short, I personally when I take probiotics and throughout my life, I've taken a lot of different ones and I usually take them right at the start of the meal. And then I did find one other study. It was called effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium longum on the healthy gut microbiota composition at phyla and species level. This is a 2017 study. They did one month of administration of both of those bacteria, the Bifidobacterium longum and the Lactobacillus rhamnosus. And they found that in both the preprandial and the postprandial groups. So, they were comparing before and after that both of them led to a significant increase within the study participants of their gut bacteria. So, they basically found that both strains were able to colonize the gut taken before or after a meal. All of that to say, I would take it with meals err on the side of earlier. Just know that there's not a ton of data out there. I thought there would be more. What are your thoughts, Vanessa?
Vanessa Spina: I think you covered the question so well. I love the recommendation of taking it with meals. I'm a little bit skeptical about probiotic supplements because of our stomach acid kills off so much of it, as you mentioned. And if you are taking a probiotic, please make sure that it has enteric coating because if it just has a vegetable capsule, it will just dissolve in your stomach acid. Our stomach acid is like 1.2 to 2 pH. It could dissolve almost anything. So, I also know that, although I'm more so a fan of getting probiotics from whole foods like yogurt, fermented foods, I think especially fermented foods, some of that can also be killed off by stomach acid. So, it might be beneficial to supplement actually in that case with a probiotic that has an enteric coating.
I'm also a little bit skeptical because I've heard from different experts that people have been taking so many probiotics now that it's actually causing more so the opposite problem of bacterial overgrowth in the intestines, like things like SIBO issues like that. But I'm definitely not an unexpert in probiotics and gut bacteria. I think there's so much that we don't know and that we're still learning about. So, it'll probably be more beneficial to supplement with some kind of probiotic if that's something that you want to do. I personally am not supplementing with one right now.
I get probiotics through fermented foods and through yogurt, which is also a fermented food and that seems to be working for me right now. I also believe that your gut microbiome naturally shifts and adapts to your diet, which is really fascinating. Like they've done research where people who are eating carnivore diets, they have a completely different microbiome that's shifted to just helping you process just animal protein. It's so fascinating, endlessly fascinating. But I think that the research that you looked at, on the timing of it just answered the question perfectly. So, those are just some of my opinions.
Melanie Avalon: I'm glad you brought that up about the stomach acid and interestingly. So, in one of those studies that I was talking about, they talked about that specifically and it's the lactobacillus strain, which is one that people often have fermented dairy for. They're actually intrinsically resistant to acid, particularly in the presence of glucose. I think a takeaway for that is, if you're having a fermented dairy product which would have a little bit of glucose from the carbs, it's possible that that is surviving. So, I think if people are having fermented dairy that maybe that condition sets it up to survive the journey naturally, like the natural probiotic. I agree. I just think it's just a huge ocean. We just don't even know what all is happening and I think a lot of people do. I mean, I personally had small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, which is like the bane of my existence. It's all confusing. And I definitely think I'm so glad you emphasized the role of real foods because I think a lot of people turn to pills as like a fix all and I think starting with diet is key.
Vanessa Spina: Yeah, and there's something to be said about I'm a big fan of intuitive eating, not in the sense of how it's typically used, but in the sense of connecting to your body and listening and paying attention to your cravings and what you are particularly inclined to eat. And I'm a huge fan of yogurt and dairy in general for improving body composition. It's an excellent source of protein, it's an excellent source of calcium, and it's also got probiotics in it. So, I'm a huge, huge fan of fermented dairy and it's so great to learn that it's particularly resistant to stomach acid.
Melanie Avalon: Have you taken soil-based probiotics before?
Vanessa Spina: I haven’t. I know there's a lot of buzz about them, but I haven't tried that yet.
Melanie Avalon: I have in the past. I've tried all different things in the past. Something else to consider too is some probiotic strains are more histamine-producing than others. People who have histamine overload issues might benefit from low histamine strains. So, lactobacillus is known to be higher in histamine.
Vanessa Spina: I think it would be super beneficial and I know that you and I think Gin have talked in the past about this maybe, really beneficial to get an assessment of what's going on in your gut and see what experts think of the strains that you have. Some of the most fascinating research that studies the actual types of gut microbiota have found that humans and animals that have a higher amount of Firmicutes bacteria tend to be more obese and those who have a higher amount of Bacteroides are just naturally more lean.
And I think there've been studies done with fecal transplants and that kind bypasses the whole stomach acid issue as well. But I think that there's a lot that we could potentially learn from that because I think there's actually studies where they did transplant the bacteria and the obese mice became lean when they had more Bacteroidetes. I mean, imagine if it was that simple that it was just like, "Oh, you've got the wrong gut microbiome ratio Firmicutes to Bacteroides. So, I think it's a really promising area of research.
Melanie Avalon: I think this is huge, especially people debate, like, calories in versus calories out. A different person with a different gut microbiome, they could eat a certain food and because of their gut microbiome, the gut microbiome could determine how many calories they extract from that food and ultimately store. It's sort of like there's some indigenous tribe where they ate, like, a really high bulk plant diet. Their gut microbiome specifically can pull more calories from that in a way. There's just so many factors involved with weight loss and weight gain, and I think the microbiome is a huge part of that.
Vanessa Spina: Yeah, I'm exciting to see what the research discovers in the next decades.
Melanie Avalon: Me too. I feel like we probably shouldn't answer because you also want to know supplements in general, but that's just, yeah, there're a lot of supplements. So, if you would like to know about a specific supplement, Alyssa, definitely write us back and we'll address it.
Vanessa Spina: Hi, friends. This episode is brought to you in part by AG1. Some of our listeners have really had wonderful experiences with AG1 and we wanted to highlight some of them on the show. Laurie says I like them. "My husband also takes it and for someone who doesn't like to take a pill-formed supplement, it is perfect for him. I like all the vitamins, pro and prebiotics, adaptogens, and much more than what AG1 offers. And the taste is pretty good. I can take it alone or with water or I'll even put it in my vanilla protein shake. Yes, it is pricey, but it's worth it for me." I love getting to highlight some of our listeners own experiences using Athletic Greens. If you would like to take ownership of your health, today is a good time to start. Athletic Greens is giving you a free one-year supply of vitamin D and five free travel packs with your first purchase. Go to athleticgreens.com/ifpodcast that's athleticgreens.com/ifpodcast and check it out. All right, now back to our show.
Our next question is from Grace and it comes to us from Facebook and she asks, "What's your favorite black coffee brand? I'm ready to try some other things besides Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Folgers, and Maxwell. I would love your personal recs." Kindly, Grace.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, coffee. I'm excited to talk about this. I know we talked about this a little bit before. Do you drink coffee in the mornings?
Vanessa Spina: I usually do. The last month and a half, I have gone off coffee and I'm just doing ginger tea, but I am a huge coffee fan.
Melanie Avalon: How historically, did you ever, like, what was the most coffee you were drinking? Did you go through really intense coffee times in your life?
Vanessa Spina: I only ever did, I never drank coffee except for when I was in university because I had to stay up all night sometimes to study. And then I never drank it. And then when we moved to Prague, it was the hottest summer on record and we had this like 40 Celsius day. I'm sorry, I don't know what that is in Fahrenheit, but it's like, can't think hot. And we had some friends visiting and went to this cafe and I was like just bring me anything with ice in it. And they brought me an iced coffee. And it was the most delicious thing that I had ever had. So, I've been learning about coffee since then. So, I definitely want to chime in on this after you answer because I have a bit of a different take, I think.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, I love it. Okay. The times I was drinking the most coffee was definitely in college. And I shudder thinking about how much-- like how was I sur-- how did I not just kill me? [laughs] So, I drank a ton in college. And then after graduating, I did the Bulletproof coffee for a little bit. Did you go-- oh, no, you did, because you talked about it in your book.
Vanessa Spina: Yes, it was a part of the keto craze.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, yes. Did you do like butter or MCT oil? What would you do?
Vanessa Spina: I was more the MCT oil or the powdered MCT. And I really like that combination. I still do it sometimes, actually. I have powdered MCT that I still put in my coffee sometimes.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, when I do that, it makes me really hungry. Interestingly.
Vanessa Spina: Yeah, I haven't noticed that. I usually find that it has a warming effect and interestingly, especially in the abdomen, because I think it has a thermic effect and it's signaling the mitochondria. So, I've been experimenting with it off and on in the last couple of years to see what happens. But yeah, MCT has really interesting reactions in people.
Melanie Avalon: Yes, it definitely does.
Vanessa Spina: Do you do the butter?
Melanie Avalon: When I first did it, I read going back to origin stories, I'm trying to remember if I read Dave Asprey's The Bulletproof Diet book first or if I was listening to his podcast. I just remember in 2012 when I first discovered paleo with Robb Wolf. Also, around that time, I was finding Dave Asprey's stuff and I printed out his Bulletproof diet from his chart. Actually, I think it was like on his website. I printed it out and I made this thing on my refrigerator and I made it like Mulan themed because her transformation scene. So, I put all these Mulan stickers and I was like, "I'm going to do the Bulletproof diet." It was like a thing because you know the opening scene in Mulan where she like.
Vanessa Spina: Yeah, [laughs] that's so cute, oh my God.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, good times. And so that's when I was experimenting with Bulletproof coffee. And I would put-- I would get the grass-fed, like, Kerrygold butter and do it. Yeah, it was fun. It was a fun time. That's when I started getting really cognizant of the role of clean coffee. Mostly because of how much Dave talked about it with like mold exposure. So, I started drinking Bulletproof Coffee, the brand, because he was just so intense about mycotoxins in coffee and his own mold exposure experience. And then the irony, the utter irony of all this is this is the time period that I was living in a mold-infested apartment and didn't realize it. And I really think that that did a huge number on my health. But in any case, so I've been drinking the Bulletproof brand since then, so over a decade because I trust him with it basically.
I have recently switched though because as of like a few weeks ago and I think I talked about this on a recent episode. I don't know if he sold the Bulletproof brand. I'm not sure what happened. Something happened. It's no longer his brand. So, he has a new coffee called Danger Coffee. And I just received it and it's a remineralized coffee, which is super cool because coffee can be-- like it can be demineralizing, I believe. And so, it has added minerals in it. I am loving it. And what's really interesting is I hadn't heard about it until I read his new book, Smarter Not Harder, and then interviewed him. I talked about in my Facebook group and I got a lot of comments from people who love it. And people were asking for coupon codes. So, that's my new coffee brand. You can actually get a discount if you go to melanieavalon.com/dangercoffee and use the coupon code MELANIEAVALON. I think it would actually make a really good present for people because it is a little bit on the pricier side. So, this would actually be a really good present for people. It's funny, one of my assistants randomly was emailing me. She was like if you ever need birthday gift suggestions, I would love some Danger Coffee. Okay, I got you covered.
All that to say last thing about the coffee and then I'm dying to hear your experience. I literally just have like a sip of coffee now every morning. I basically don't drink a lot. I cold brew it. I leave it in the fridge all week and then I just have a little bit in the morning. And then I also splash it on my face. Do you do that? I don't know why I asked it like you would like because I feel like nobody does this.
Vanessa Spina: This sounds like a Melanie thing. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: Because there're all these skin products and they're like tightening. And I realized that caffeine is often a compound in them and/or there're all these like face products where it's like with coffee. And so, I had a moment one day, I was like, I'm just going to put coffee on my skin and it works so well. I wash my face and then I just splash it all over and I feel like I probably absorb some of the caffeine through the skin. I need to research that a little bit, but it's tightening. I feel like I get the antioxidants. I mean, I'm sure I get the antioxidants.
Vanessa Spina: I mean, some people do coffee enemas, like you're putting it on your face.
Melanie Avalon: I do those too.
Vanessa Spina: I figured.
Vanessa Spina: I've heard about them a lot, like in clinics and stuff. But I'm a huge fan of coffee because as a sport nutrition specialist and someone who studies biochemistry, it's one of the only scientifically validated supplements that is effective. And it's effective for a lot of things. It's an ergogenic performance aid, so it's wonderful for performance if you're an athlete. It's also wonderful for fat burning and lipolysis because caffeine stimulates adrenaline and noradrenaline or epinephrine and norepinephrine to be released into the bloodstream, which then can dock on the receptors on fat cells, the beta-adrenergic receptors on fat cells, which then releases fat into the bloodstream.
So, it's a fat burner and it's why all those fat burner pills and things, which I definitely discourage, but they always contain caffeine because it's scientifically backed ergogenic performance aid and also a fat burner. So, I love it for a lot of reasons. I really got into it, like I said when I had it in Europe, and I think it's because the coffee is better here. I don't know what it is, but I think my recommendation, and this is not going to be for everyone, but I started noticing that I enjoy the coffee when I'm in Europe. I don't enjoy it as much when we're in the US or Canada and I think it's the way that they process it here. So, they have really good machines. Several years ago, I invested in a home-like Barista coffeemaker and I have found that it doesn't really matter so much which coffee beans you're using, because if you look the ingredients on all the different brands, they're all using the same thing. It's like Arabica or what is it called? The actual coffee beans. It's all the same.
And Pete and I have gone to actual coffee farms in Tanzania and spice farms and it's just all the same beans going to different brands, factories with different packaging, right? But they all have the same beans. So, I think what it comes down to is how it's processed because I have a home office, I invested in this, and Pete and I use it every day. And it basically you put the coffee beans, like in the hopper in the top and then it grinds them. So, it's fresh every time you make a coffee. It grinds them, grinds the beans. The beans stay fresh because they're in an insulated chamber, so you're getting fresh coffee each time, freshly ground, which you could also just do at home with a coffee grinder. And then it's being put into the actual machinery which at high pressure extracts all the oils and things.
And I make a coffee with a couple of shots of espresso and then add hot water. And it's so good, it just hits in all the right ways and it's just like the right amount of bitterness, the right amount of oils everything. And it doesn't really matter the kind of beans that I put in there. I think it's more about the processing. So, that's just my opinion on it. If you're really big into coffee and you're wanting to try something else, maybe sometime in the future I would suggest looking into the way that you're processing it. Are you freshly grinding the beans before you make your own cup and then turning that into coffee?
You don't have to invest in a whole legit setup like, I did because I'm a little bit crazy about my coffee. But I also think coffee is great if you're a busy person because it can help in the morning to just get that BM out of the way and then you can go on with your day. And some people find that's not necessarily good to rely on caffeine for that. But if you're someone who is busy and you're going to be out and about and you want to actually have your bowel movement in your home, it can be really helpful for that as well because it expedites things. So, I like it for so many different reasons and I've been taking a little bit of a break and just noticing because I think it's good to switch things up from time to time and just see how you feel.
And I actually had coffee for the first time in about a month, Sunday and yesterday and it made me a little bit too anxious. So, I think I have to crank down my dose to maybe like one shot because after being off of it for a month, I think my receptors had downregulated a bit. So, it's also just interesting to notice because today I was like I think I just don't want to feel that way today. So, I'm going to just go back to my ginger tea which I've been doing for a month and a half. And I'll probably go back to the coffee but just doing a little bit less expresso shots in it. So, that's all my thoughts on coffee. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: I love it. I'm glad you brought up. I as well always get the whole beans and grind them myself. I think it's better for freshness. Also going back to the mold and the issues with that, I think that's much less of an issue with the whole beans. And interesting about the anxious reaction. Well first of all, it's really nice when you are not on a high normal dose of caffeine or coffee because it's like a tool in your back pocket where if you have a day where you just have to like, for example, when I was getting my Taylor Swift tickets and I had to wake up at like 08:00 AM., which is not my time, and I was sleep deprived and I had two shows, I pulled out some coffee and it was like bam.
It's like, magical. So, it's nice to have it in your back pocket that way. I do wonder as well if sometimes people getting jittery or side effects from coffee if it is like, the mycotoxins or I mean, it probably is primarily the caffeine if they're not used to it. I get very concerned about nonorganic coffee and the compounds that might be in there. And like Danger Coffee, for example. It's not certified organic, but I trust Dave in producing it and he's really big on the testing. And they even say on the website that they go above and beyond the testing of normal testing standards.
And actually, I've learned a lot about that, creating supplements because we're working on our next one, which I don't know if I'm allowed to announce it yet by the time this comes out probably-- okay so we're working on a chlorella and a spirulina, and it's been really interesting. I'm so excited. We've been looking at different sources for it and some are certified organic and others aren't. But it's like stepping back from that. If we ourselves go and do all the testing on our own, in a way, I trust that more because we can go above and beyond just what the organic certification would assure. So, I love organic. I always err on the side of organic and I think if you really trust the producer, it's possible that there are nonorganic things that could be even better than "organic." So, that's a whole tangent. One last thing, though, to end on. Are you going to come to the Bulletproof Conference with me?
Vanessa Spina: It was so funny because I was talking to Dr. John Limansky today, and he's a really good friend. He's with Heads Up Health and he's known as a biohacking MD, and he's just an amazing person. And he's like, "You know we've been talking about trying to meet up for so long." And he's like, "I'm actually going to be at the biohacking conference." And I was like, "No way. Oh, my gosh." What are the dates again? I feel like at least if it's not this year, it has to be at least next summer. But what are the dates again?
Melanie Avalon: Yes and to answer your text in real life, I don't know him. Vanessa texted me asking me if I knew him. It's June 22nd through June 24th. So, when these airs? It's 10 days away.
Vanessa Spina: June 22nd to July 4th. Wow, that's long.
Melanie Avalon: June. So, June 22nd.
Vanessa Spina: Okay.
Melanie Avalon: I was like, "Whoa, this is like a month-long conference." [laughs] Oh, man.
Vanessa Spina: Yeah. I was like, Is this like a retreat?
Melanie Avalon: Can you imagine?
Vanessa Spina: Yeah, that's a long time, two, three days max for me at an event like that because you just, like, are interacting with so many people.
Melanie Avalon:" Yes. June 22nd through June 24th. Listeners, please come. I am actually going. This is like mind blowing. This girl does not travel, so come see me if you're there. And I have discounts for people. So, it takes place in Orlando. June 22nd through June 24th. So many speakers, obviously. Dave Asprey, a lot of people I've had on my other show, like Dr. Mercola, Max Lugavere, the BiOptimizers guys, tons of people. Somebody I'm about to interview. I'm really excited about Molly Maloof.
Vanessa Spina: Yes, same.
Melanie Avalon: You're interviewing her, too?
Vanessa Spina: Yes. It was supposed to be this month, but it was when we're traveling. So, I think it's going to be early next month, but I'm looking forward to chatting with her. So, that's great. She's going to be at the conference.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, she's one of the keynote speakers, so I'm really excited about that. I'm excited to finally just meet in real life all these people that I feel like I know it's going to be very exciting.
Vanessa Spina: Conferences are so fun.
Melanie Avalon: I haven't been to one of these, like, a health biohacking keto. I've never been to one.
Vanessa Spina: Oh, you're going to love it. And you're going to have to pace yourself because so many people are going to come talk to you and want to get photos with you and everything, take breaks.
Melanie Avalon: I cannot go all day every day. I just can't in this conference situation. So, I'm going to be kind to myself and have boundaries and go to when I am most thriving, which is, like, not early morning. So, I will not be at the early morning speaker things, I'm sorry. But listeners, please come. You can actually get 40% off tickets, which is crazy. Just go to melanieavalon.com/biohackingconference. Use the code M-A-4-0, MA40. And if you do come, Facebook me. Come to my Facebook group, IF Biohackers, or DM me on Instagram. I would love to meet people. It's going to be so fun. Vanessa, we have to manifest going to something at some point.
Vanessa Spina: I know we will. And I'm so excited for when that happens. It'll be so much fun. I know it'll get easier again in the future. Right now, with Luca being so young, I still breastfeed him. So, for me to be a part, it's like we're a unit right now. The three of us we are a unit. So, we either go everywhere together. There's a Biohacking Conference I was invited to in Europe in September, and it's like, either I go by myself and Pete and Luca are on their own or all three of us go together. Pete came with me before when I spoke at a different biohacking event in Finland but it's so different with a one-year-old. So, I know that this is like a season in my life. And I'm enjoying it so much. I never want it to end actually.
But it's not a season where I'm also prioritizing speaking, but I know that season will come around again. So, I am excited to be able to go to events again because they are truly so much fun, like the connections, getting to interact with people so much in real life, because so much of what you and I both do is online and it's also very much like a one-way medium. So, having Facebook groups is so helpful, but when you actually get to connect with everybody in person, it's just the best.
Melanie Avalon: Well, I'm so excited and I want you to know that I completely support you in the current season of your life. I really want you to come. And I also understand why it's probably not the time.
Vanessa Spina: Yeah, thank you for understanding, but we'll see.
Melanie Avalon: Completely. I mean, look at me. Like me going, I'm probably just going to go to the evening stuff. Okay, well, this has been absolutely wonderful. So, a few things for listeners before we go. If you would like to submit your own questions for the show, you can directly email email@example.com or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. And these show notes will be at ifpodcast.com/episode321. They will have a full transcript as well as links to everything that we talked about, so definitely check that out.
I think this will be the last time that I mention it. Last chance to enter to win over $500 worth of Clean Beauty and Safe Skincare from Beautycounter, which we love. You can check out the products online at our links, which is beautycounter.com/melanieavalon or beautycounter.com/vanessaspina. But if you write a new Apple Podcast review or update your current Apple Podcast review and include what you're enjoying having Vanessa on the show and then send a screenshot of that to firstname.lastname@example.org, we will enter you to win over $500 worth of Beautycounter products.
So, I'm going to make a note of when this airs so I can actually draw a winner shortly after this. Yeah, I think that is all the things. Oh, you can follow us on Instagram. We are @ifpodcast. I am @melanieavalon and Vanessa is @ketogenicgirl. So, anything from you, Vanessa, before we go?
Vanessa Spina: No. I enjoyed this episode so much. It flew by again in like two minutes and I can't wait for the next one already.
Melanie Avalon: I know, I feel the same way. I'm just having so much fun. So, I will look forward to next week and I will talk to you then.
Vanessa Spina: Talk to you then.
Thank you so much for listening to The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. Please remember, everything we discussed on this show does not constitute medical advice, and no patient-doctor relationship is formed. If you enjoyed the show, please consider writing a review on iTunes. We couldn't do this without our amazing team, administration by Sharon Merriman, editing by Podcast Doctors, show notes and artwork by Brianna Joyner, transcripts by SpeechDocs, and original theme composed by Leland Cox and recomposed by Steve Saunders. See you next week.
[Transcript provided by SpeechDocs Podcast Transcription]
STUFF WE LIKE
Check out the Stuff We Like page for links to any of the books/supplements/products etc. mentioned on the podcast that we like!
Melanie's What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine
Vanessa's Keto Essentials: 150 Ketogenic Recipes to Revitalize, Heal, and Shed Weight
The Tone Device Breath Ketone Analyzer
More on Melanie: MelanieAvalon.com
More on Vanessa: ketogenicgirl.com
Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox: LelandCox.com
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