Episode 322: Genetic Testing, Blood Testing, Food Allergies, Medical Care, Leptin Resistance, Insulin Resistance, Nutrient Deficiency, And More!

Intermittent Fasting


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Jun 18

Welcome to Episode 322 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.

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Listener Q&A: dina - Blood Test

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The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #117 - Tim Spector

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Listener Q&A: Niki - Leptin Resistance

Mitochondrial Health Series: Fructose & Dr. Rick Johnson Recap (Part 1) Optimal Protein Podcast (Fast Keto) with Vanessa Spina

How to Start the Leptin Reset and Regain Leptin Sensitivity

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 322 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 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.

Hi, everybody, and welcome. This is Episode number 322 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon, and I'm here with Vanessa Spina.

Vanessa Spina: Hello.

Melanie Avalon: I feel like it's been so long.

Vanessa Spina: It feels like ages. Like, I'm so happy that we're back at it.

Melanie Avalon: Me too. So, what is new in your life? You've been gallivanting about the world?

Vanessa Spina: Yes. We just got back from absolutely stunning Greek Islands, which is one of our favorite places to go. And we go to this absolutely beautiful resort. It's actually a design hotel, but it's for families and young kids mostly, so everyone there has a one- or two-year-old or multiples. And it's really fun because it makes it so easy and casual to go to eat because they have baby seats already set up. And then if your kid makes a mess, like, you don't care, because they're used to doing that. And if your kid screams, there're two other kids who are screaming more. So, it's very nice to just be in that environment. And it's super easy because we do like this halfboards, they have breakfast and dinner, and it is one of the most phenomenal buffets I've ever experienced. It's just such high-quality food and it's Greek food, which is amazing.

We just had an incredible time. And they have this thing every night called the baby disco. So, after dinner, we usually go and watch the sunset at the beach. And then at 8:15, all the babies and the parents gather in this area they call the place. They also have movies and stuff there, and they do baby disco for like half an hour and they just do songs and all the babies dance along. And so, at the beginning, Luca was really overwhelmed and at the end, he was, like, doing all the moves and it was so adorable. It's some of the most adorable videos I've ever taken of him.

At one point, they all had sombreros on and they were dancing along to the music and it was so unbelievably cute. And then the babies, some of them like, one of this-- one girl tried to dance with Luca and was kissing him. It's just like so cute because they're like 1.5. It's the most adorable thing ever. So, we had an incredible time, like recharge, all the sun, all the grounding in the water, playing on the beach all day, swimming in the ocean. I feel incredible right now.

Melanie Avalon: That's so amazing.

Vanessa Spina: I was telling you I was thinking of you while we're there.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, I'm so excited to hear.

Vanessa Spina: Yes. So, this buffet, I'm telling you, it's amazing. Of course, they have all the things. The breakfast buffet is, like, insane. And the dinner every night is different and it's just, like, never-ending and just so amazing. But every morning and every night, they have this station near the salads, and they have several different types of cucumbers. And they're all peeled, and some of them are in sections, like long sections, others are in just slices, and then they have cubed. And this is like a cucumber, just like this cucumber section. I love cucumbers. Like, sometimes just the seeds, like the seeded part in the middle, and they have these long stems of them and stuff. So, every time I went to get cucumbers, I was laughing. Melanie would love this as well. It's just like it all peeled for you, all sliced, all done and it's like unlimited.

Melanie Avalon: And it's different types of cucumbers?

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, they have a few different types. And then, of course, because it's Greece, they have Greek salad every night, which is, like, basically cucumber base. And then like, fresh feta and peppers and tomatoes and stuff. But it's just like the freshest food, so amazing. But the cucumbers are like it's just so nice to just-- I don't know, have a break from cooking, have a break from meal prep. And I was like, "Melanie would definitely appreciate this cucumber situation as well."

Melanie Avalon: I would wipe out that section, it would be gone.

Vanessa Spina: And they have amazing fresh fish, like every night, fresh seafood. Yeah, it's a dream.

Melanie Avalon: They have blueberries?

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, actually, no, they didn't have blueberries because they're not in season there, but they had fresh strawberries and they grow a lot of the food that they serve there on the property gardens. So, it's so organic. They have this amazing organic garden that you can go tour and it's really high quality, amazing food. So, whatever diet you're doing, you can keep up. And then I switch up my intermittent fasting when we're there. And I do the breakfast and then fast till dinner. So, yeah, it's awesome. But how have you been?

Melanie Avalon: I've been good. Do you want to help me with my current conundrum?

Vanessa Spina: Of course.

Melanie Avalon: Okay. I don't know if I should share this because I feel like it's going to make me sound crazy and neurotic, but I guess we're way past that point anyways. Okay. So, I love wine right. At home honestly, I only drink Dry Farm Wines, which listeners have heard me talk about all the time. I guess they don't deliver to Europe.

Vanessa Spina: I tried it at KetoCon once.

Melanie Avalon: That was a while ago, probably, right.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. And I had a friend who at some point she wanted to set one up over here. They really should.

Melanie Avalon: To do European delivery. Yeah. So, basically, for listeners who aren't familiar, it's not like a brand of wine. They go all throughout Europe and they find all the wineries that are practicing organic practices, and then they test the wines to make sure that they are low sugar, low alcohol, organic, free of mold, free of toxins, all the things. So, it's really only the wine I drink because it is what makes me feel really amazing still the next day. So, when I go out, I just look and I think I've talked about this at length, but when I go out, I just look up all the wines on the wine list and I try to find the ones that are organic at whatever given restaurant because normally if it's like a nice restaurant and you look up all the wines.

Normally some of the wineries are practicing organic practices. And then I normally even go one step further and I'll try to find that alcohol content and try to find ones that are 13% or less alcohol by volume. Dry Farm Wines is 12.5% or less. In any case that's what works for me. But coming up is my brother's wedding this weekend. So, it's the rehearsal dinner on Friday and then the wedding on Saturday, which Vanessa, it is not my skill set to go out and do something very social two nights in a row. It's just not, I cap out at like once per week.

Vanessa Spina: I can relate.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. So, like, going out and it's funny because I'm an introvert and I love going out. I love it. But I have to recover the next day. I'm already a little stressed at, like, going because it's far. It's like an hour and a half away. So, going to the rehearsal dinner, coming back an hour and a half, going to bed, rinse and repeat, an hour and a half, there wedding, and then coming back. So, all of that to say, if it was just one event, I would just suck it up and drink the wine. If I was just going to the wedding, I would drink the wine there. It'll be fine, live and let live. But I don't want to drink nonorganic wine on the rehearsal dinner and then go to the wedding the next day because I don't know how it'll make me feel.

Melanie Avalon: And like, literally, it's not like I go crazy. I just don't feel well now when I don't drink organic wine. So, the question is, at the rehearsal dinner. Can I bring up my own bottle of wine?

Vanessa Spina: Why not? I mean--

Melanie Avalon: Here's the caveat. It's at a winery.

Vanessa Spina: Ooh. Yikes.

Melanie Avalon: Can I hide it in my purse and then pour the wine in the trash?

Vanessa Spina: No, that's legit. Something I would do. I would put it in a nondescript bottle or something and just bring it because no one would really know or care. But I'm very specific about certain things like that. And I would say if it was anywhere other than a winery, go for it. But yeah, if it is at a winery, what I would do would probably be to put it in something else, like a water bottle, something that looks like a water bottle and just like.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, I have my wine bottle. So, like, when I went and saw Moulin Rouge, I got this amazing Moulin Rouge aluminum water bottle, but it's actually my wine bottle. [laughs]

Vanessa Spina: That's perfect. You're all set.

Melanie Avalon: Okay, so maybe I'll just do that. Although people are going to be like because the Dry Farm Wines wine is very light. It doesn't look dark. People might be like, "Where is that from?" Like "I don't know."

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, I would just, like, be like, "Look over there." [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: Mm, what? Okay.

Vanessa Spina: Just ask them a question about themselves and yeah, they'll instantly be distracted.

Melanie Avalon: This is true. One of my friends, actually, Scott, my business partner, I was asking him, he's like, "Just bring a 20, go up to the server beforehand, can you just fill my glass with this wine instead?"

Vanessa Spina: That's a great idea. I would go with either of those. But it depends on how the wait staff is. If the wait staff works for the winery or if they're contracted in or something because they might have rules about that. And you're like going up to the owner's son or something.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, man. So, the things I stress about. And again, if it was just like the one event, I would just suck it up. But I want to feel really sparkly at the wedding.

Vanessa Spina: You should, it's your brother's wedding.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Everybody else is staying down there, but as you know, traveling stresses me out. So, literally, that's why I'm like going there, coming back, going there, coming back.

Vanessa Spina: You got to do what works for you and not worry about what anyone else thinks.

Melanie Avalon: Thank you. Thank you. For listeners though, so, if you'd like to get your own Dry Farm Wines, you can get it at dryfarmwines.com/ifpodcast and that gets you a bottle for a penny. Okay, I have one announcement, but just first, do you go to a lot of weddings? Are weddings different in Prague?

Vanessa Spina: I mean, we had our wedding here and it was amazing. It was like a fairy tale.

Melanie Avalon: Was it at a castle?

Vanessa Spina: We had it in this beautiful place called the Hall of Mirrors, which is like this incredible chapel. It looked like an Italian just frescoed, just absolutely stunning roof and room and everything. But we took a horse-drawn carriage after from there, all through the city, like through this main town, old town, over the bridge and then to the Mandarin where we had our reception. And I just felt like a princess because we had the horse-drawn carriage.

There're just so many things about Prague that are like a fairy tale. Weddings are pretty much the same here. They have some different traditions, but they're not all that different. It's definitely wedding season now because there's like a stag party or a stagette or a hen's party. People call it that in England.

Melanie Avalon: Is that like a bachelor party wait, a stag's party? What is that?

Vanessa Spina: Stag is like yeah, bachelor party, stagette. And then they also like there's a lot of Brits that come here for those events and some of them are called like a hen something like for the women, I don't know all the terms, but you regularly just see people in crazy costumes like if they're with their guy friends or things like on their stagette or stag party.

Melanie Avalon: Wow, awesome. Because I feel like I have a lot of family in Germany and I feel like they talk about weddings being days and days long.

Vanessa Spina: Oh, yeah, definitely traditional Czech weddings can be like that.

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. Okay, well, one quick announcement for listeners because we finally just made a decision about this. We were really on the fence. I have four supplements out to date. And the last thing we did, I think maybe or I don't know if it was this last or the Magnesium Nightcap, but in any case, we released a large bottle subscription option for my serrapeptase. And the benefits of that is it's more sustainable for the environment because it's less bottles, less shipping costs and it saves money for everybody. So, everybody wins. Helps your wallet, helps the planet. All good things.

We don't currently have a subscription out for berberine, which I love berberine. For listeners who are concerned with their blood glucose levels, it is amazing for modulating blood sugar levels, it's been found to be comparable to metformin, the pharmaceutical. And then it has a lot of benefits beyond that, like cholesterol lowering. It can even support longevity pathways like AMPK, which is something that we talk about a lot with fasting. So that's super cool. Beneficial effects on the gut microbiome. All cool things. I've been getting a lot of requests for a subscription for it. And we wanted to do the large bottle because people were loving the large bottle idea. But here's the thing. We aren't quite sure how people are currently taking it. We don't know how often, how many because people seem to be all over the place. The general recommendation is two of them before meals. You could do that once or twice a day. We don't know what size bottle to create and how many capsules to put in it.

So, what we're going to do is we're going to do a special trial launch special where you guys get to help us know what you want when it comes to a large bottle. Okay, so July 7 at 07:00 P.M., we're going to launch berberine subscriptions with two options. So, you can either get two bottles of the normal bottles every two months or three bottles of the normal bottles every three months. That will help us know sort of how often you guys are wanting to get the berberine and how many. And from there we'll make the large bottles.

Hopefully, that wasn't confusing. Basically, this is a chance for A, you to get an amazing launch special on the subscription and help us figure out what you guys want so we can make the best large bottle option possible. And just in case you're wondering, I've learned so much about the supplement industry. Like, before this, I would have been like, it's no big deal. Can't you just make multiple options? But friends, it is not that easy. You're like committing to order numbers and it's basically a pretty solid decision that we have to make. So that's why we're doing this trial run.

So, you can get updates at avalonx.us/emaillist or text updates by texting AVALONX to 877-861-8318. And doing that also gets you a 20% off coupon code. Okay. That was so long. Yes, Vanessa, I'm excited for you to maybe enter the supplement world with me.

Vanessa Spina: Me too. Yeah, I'm super excited for the first one, Tone Protein. And yeah, I think it's going to be just really exciting. I love creating things and just like creating all the things that go with it, especially the design aspects. It's just such a satisfying process to create something, especially when it's something that you feel passionately about, like mitochondrial health or ketones or protein or serrapeptase or magnesium. It really lines up with your values and what you are passionate about. So, I think it's really thrilling. Thank you.

Melanie Avalon: And how can listeners get on your email list for updates about what you'll be creating?

Vanessa Spina: Yes, if you go to toneprotein.com, you can sign up to be the first to know when we announce and release and also get access to exclusive sales and promotions and all the things. So that's toneprotein.com.

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. And for listeners, something I love about Vanessa, you're just such a boss woman. Like, "Anytime I text you about anything, I don't even blink and then it's done." You're like "I'm doing it. You're amazing."

Vanessa Spina: Thank you for saying that. Sometimes I just feel like I'm running all these businesses, like, flying by the seat of my pants. So, it feels really nice to hear that. And yeah, thank you.

Melanie Avalon: You know, you're really efficient at executing things and you're doing it all with a child, which blows my mind.

Vanessa Spina: Thank you so much. I really appreciate that.

Melanie Avalon: But in any case, shall we jump into some questions for today?

Vanessa Spina: Yes, I would love to. I was previewing the questions yesterday and was really excited for these ones.

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. So, would you like to read the first one?

Vanessa Spina: Yes. We have a question from Dina, and the subject is a blood test. "Hello. What is the blood test or genetic testing that you recommend to figure out which foods suit me best? Thank you.

Melanie Avalon: Awesome Dina. Thank you for your question or Dina. Dina. What did you say? What do you think it is?

Vanessa Spina: Dina.

Melanie Avalon: Dina, probably.

Vanessa Spina: Yes.

Melanie Avalon: Dina. Dina. So I have a curveball answer for this question. I wonder if you can guess.

Vanessa Spina: I mean, I know you work with InsideTracker. We work with InsideTracker, but I also know, like, you did a bunch of testing with was it the ZOE.

Melanie Avalon: Mm. Okay. "Oh, that didn't even occur to me. Okay, that's a good one, too. Okay, you're very close." So, I will talk about InsideTracker as well. But actually, because when people think of what foods work for them, they're wanting to do a blood test. Often they're thinking of things like Dina said, so, like an IgG sensitivity blood test or an IgE panel. To clarify, IgE would be-- that's more "concrete." So, if you do an IgE blood panel, which is something that even a conventional doctor is probably more likely to test, that will show you what you are actually allergic to.

So, for example, I'm allergic to wheat, which was so exciting when I found out because I'd been gluten-free way before that. So, then I felt like I officially could say no to gluten-containing things. I do know that there's more to wheat than just gluten, but in any case and then I have an IgE reaction to sesame. Do you know if you have any IgE food allergies?

Vanessa Spina: My main one is gluten.

Melanie Avalon: Okay. Yeah. So that's IgE, then there's IgG, which is a very debated food sensitivity topic. The debate is because basically, IgG are markers of the immune system's memory to things that you've been exposed to, like, often foods. And some people say that you have IgG just to things that you're eating anyways, that doesn't necessarily indicate an allergy or a sensitivity. Other people say that if you have a sealed gut, you wouldn't be reacting to those proteins. So, it's a whole debate. I don't know. Where do you stand on that debate, Vanessa?

Vanessa Spina: I don't really have an opinion on it, actually. I don't think I know enough about it.

Melanie Avalon: Okay, well, that's a nice place too because it's stressful. [laughs] Also, I really respect you in saying. Maybe we talked about this, one of my favorite things is just reserving the right to not have an opinion, especially in today's world, where everybody has an opinion about everything all the time. So, I love that concept. You don't have to have an opinion. It's very freeing. So that's that world honestly. And I realized I opened this by saying I was going to give my answer and I went on a rabbit hole. But for the IgG, I don't really have a go-to recommendation. Historically, I have done a few different ones, but honestly, I don't have a go-to for that. And then genetic testing. So, I'll circle back to InsideTracker because they do provide that.

But all of that to say the first thing I think of when it comes to food reactions is actually wearing a CGM. So, that does relate to ZOE like Vanessa was saying. And the reason I recommend that is because if you're wearing a continuous glucose monitor, you're going to see how different foods are affecting your blood sugar. So not necessarily an allergy per se or a sensitivity per se, but you are going to see what foods are suiting you because it's going to show you metabolically with your metabolic health, what is best supporting your blood sugar levels so that you're not getting crazy spikes or so that your blood sugar is not staying elevated. On top of that, some people will also say-- I feel like Vanessa, did you maybe talk about this in your book? Some people will say that "If you do have a sensitivity to a food, you might get a blood sugar spike just from the sensitivity aspect of it."

Vanessa Spina: I did talk about it in the book. I'm pretty sure.

Melanie Avalon: I think you did. Do you still feel that way or do you not have an opinion?

Vanessa Spina: I mean, I think it's really interesting because you can get so much insight from measuring your blood glucose. And I think that it's definitely like one form of feedback. Like, I wouldn't say it's the be all end all, but if your blood glucose is spiking after something that maybe shouldn't necessarily be spiking so much after, it could give you some insight. But I remember it was one of the things I would get the most questions about that people were like, "Can I use this to identify sensitivities?" I just find the interpersonal variability on reactions to foods to be fascinating, but, yeah, it could definitely maybe signal something to look into more.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, and there's that. And then I know some people. I haven't sat down and done a test for this, but I have noticed it after eating, if you feel like your blood pressure is going up or you get an adrenaline response, that can often be a sign of reacting to the food. And then I don't remember who talked about this. "Oh, man, I wish I could remember." I was like, "Whoa, that's crazy." One person was saying what you could do. "Oh, man. Okay, make sure I say this correctly." It had to do with time perception. I'm going to have to find it. It was something about using a met, is it a metronome? Something that taps for time? Metronome?

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, there's one on my-- I'm not a musical person. Metronome sets like the pace, yeah.

Melanie Avalon: Yes. I'm going to have to circle back to this and figure out what they said. But it was something about using a metronome for time perception before or after eating a food. And if you are reacting to the food, you would perceive the time differently because of the adrenaline response. I was like, "Whoa, that's next level." [laughs] It's next level. So, in any case, ZOE actually would be a really good example. I'm so glad you mentioned that. I had Tim Spector on the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. Have you had him on the Optimal Protein podcast?

Vanessa Spina: I haven't, no.

Melanie Avalon: Let me know if you'd like me to connect you to him.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. Thank you.

Melanie Avalon: So, he has the ZOE program and they actually pair up a CGM with a food. So basically, you eat these-- We've talked about it a lot in the show. You eat these muffins.

Vanessa Spina: Oh, my God the muffins.

Melanie Avalon: So, you've done it?

Vanessa Spina: No, but I remember listening that "You had to eat the muffins and you were like, I'm going to get to it." You were maybe stalling on it a bit or something.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, I was majorly stalling because I knew it was going to be after fasting for so long. After not eating processed food for so long, the idea of sitting down, eating a processed sugary fatty confection, and then just sitting with that and not like "I knew it was going to majorly create cravings." And then I was going to have to not eat. This is going to be miserable.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, I would feel the same way.

Melanie Avalon: And I remember you might have been listening, but Gin and I kept debating because Gin was like, "You're going to hate the muffins." And I was like, "I'm going to love the muffins."

Vanessa Spina: Yes, I remember, you talking about that. And I was like, "She's probably going to love the muffins."

Melanie Avalon: That muffin, Vanessa, I still think about it, "Oh, it was so good."

Vanessa Spina: Was it because she didn't think they were that great?

Melanie Avalon: She said it was hard to finish them.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, but if your receptors have been totally reset from not eating any confectionery like that, even the most basic, gluten-free, basic muffin would probably taste amazing.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. No, it literally, I watched my brain light up like a drug. I was like, "This is a drug." [laughs] And then it was so sad. I had one bite and I was so sad because I was like, "This feels amazing and it's going to be over soon." And then I have to sit there. [laughs] It was so awful. Oh, man. And then interestingly, I did do a poll in my Facebook group after, and I asked people. There was like four options. It was, "Do you eat processed foods? Did you like the muffins? Do you eat processed foods? Did you not like the muffins? Do you not eat processed food? Did you like the muffins? Do you not eat processed foods? Do you not like the muffins?" And it was exactly what I predicted. People who normally eat processed foods did not like the muffins, and people who don't eat processed foods liked the muffins.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, I would have guessed that.

Melanie Avalon: Yes. All that to say with that experiment, it actually helps, you know, how you clear carbs and fat. So, do you clear carbs better from the bloodstream or fat? And I actually have some thoughts about there.

Vanessa Spina: What were your results? I don't think I ever heard.

Melanie Avalon: It was what I thought, that I am better with fats, actually.

Vanessa Spina: That's interesting because I remember, I think Gin found out that it confirmed that she would not be optimal for keto or something like that.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I'm trying to remember.

Vanessa Spina: I remember her saying it was showing that's why all those years ago when she tried keto, it didn't work for her. And now she knows that it's because she doesn't clear the fat well.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, she did have a whole thing with that. My primary issue with the program and I think it's a great program, and I talked to Tim about this when I interviewed him. But my primary thing is that the conclusion they draw if you don't clear fat well-- there's not a low-carb muffin. There's no setup for people to clear fat in the absence of carbs. But it's a higher carb, lower fat, and then it's a higher fat lower carb, but it's not low carb. I don't know if you can get the information that you need from it. And then on top of that, the irony is that it might say that you're not good at clearing fat and that might actually mean that a low-carb diet would be really good for you because it's signaling that you need a different context to deal with fat. This is just my opinion.

So, the conclusion they draw, like, if you don't clear fat well, you should not be having fat. I think some people, those might actually be the perfect people to go on a low-carb diet. Not necessarily a high-fat diet, but a low-carb diet, which is the opposite of what they recommend. All of that to say, "Oh, you also get a gut microbiome test with it." So, all of that to say, this is getting very long links for people. If you would like to get a CGM, get NutriSense and you can save $30, just go to nutrisense.io/ifpodcast and use the coupon code IFPODCAST, and that will save you $30, and it will get you one month of free dietitian support. And what I love about NutriSense, people love the dietitian support option. It's super cool from your results and it's optional, of course, you don't have to talk to anybody.

But it gives you so much data. Like, when you download the app, there's just so much data there, it can be hard to interpret it or know what it means. Did I even say what a CGM is? I don't know if I did. It's something that you put on your arm, and it measures your blood sugar via your interstitial fluid around the cells constantly. So, you get a continuous picture of your blood sugar levels, 24/7 for two weeks. So, it's very telling. And like I said, it will really help show what foods are appropriate for you. So, $30 off with the code IFPODCAST at nutrisense.io/ifpodcast and that will get you one month of free dietitian support. And if you would like to try ZOE, I thought we had an IFPODCAST code, but I'm not finding it. So, you can actually use the coupon code MELANIEAVALON10 and that will get you 10% off their program.

And then lastly, for blood and genetic tests, I do love InsideTracker. On the blood side of things, they're not going to give you food sensitivity options. It's more about biomarkers related to metabolic health, longevity, all of those things. It's all the things you really need to be testing to get a clear picture of your health, your metabolic status, but gives you something called your inner age, which is your, "biological age." And so, you can see how young you are on the inside and you can track your levels of everything over time, which is a game changer for me. And they actually just added some women's biomarkers, which is super cool. So, they added estrogen, progesterone, and TSH. And then right before that, they had recently added ApoB, which I'm very excited about. "Oh, I have a really quick story, Vanessa." So, doctors in Prague? Is the whole medical system completely different or is it similar?"

Vanessa Spina: It's quite different, I would say, but in some good ways and some negative ways. It's quite different.

Melanie Avalon: Do you guys have insurance companies?

Vanessa Spina: Yes, everyone who's here has to have state insurance and they used to have private insurance companies. Now they're like debating in Parliament what they're doing with that. But what's fascinating is that if you go to the hospital, when we first got here, I spilled hot tea on my leg and we had to go to the emergency, and I paid just cash at the hospital for being seen by the doctor and getting medication. It was like $4.

Melanie Avalon: Whoa. Really?

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, because they still have this state sort of communist-style medical system where no one pays for medical, and they don't have the same systems where the prices get inflated and stuff too, by all the insurers. So even if you're here and you don't have insurance and something happens to you, you will never go bankrupt or broke or something like that because something happens, and then they really are not like a litigious society. So, I always find this funny, but say you slip and fall on someone's property, like in North America, sometimes people sue for that. You can't sue for damages. There's a schedule of-- if you broke your knee or you twisted your ankle, you get this much money, you just get a small fee, but it's all preset instead of these crazy settlements and stuff. So, it's quite different. Yeah.

Melanie Avalon: Does that work well, because it just stops people from-- I don't know like all this-- I don't want to say drama because justice can be served, but I don't know, does it make things easier?

Vanessa Spina: I think in a way it sets like a tone of self-responsibility. So, it's like, okay, if something happens, it's more so about your self-responsibility. If you spilled a hot beverage on yourself from a place, even if they didn't have a warning label on it, you could never sue for millions or something like that. They would just throw you out. They would just, like, laugh you out, of there because they'd be like, well, you spilled the coffee. There're a lot of things that they have different mindset mentality about. But it's really interesting as a North American to be an expat and compare and contrast the two systems because there's also things about it here that I really don't love. When you give birth, you don't necessarily have a private room assigned to you. It's only if there's enough private rooms. And that's one of the leftovers of that socialist system that is like, weird, where you'd be like, well, why don't they just give everyone a private room? So, there're definitely things that I love and things I don't love as much.

Melanie Avalon: And you had Luca there?

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, I gave birth to him here and it was a wonderful experience and we're lucky that we ended up getting private rooms so that we could all be together, because during COVID if you didn't have a private room, your partner just couldn't be there at all.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, wow.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. So, I have a lot of friends here who had really bad experiences where their partner couldn't be there or could just come for an hour or two for visiting hours. Things got so wonky all over the world during COVID. But yeah, that was, like, a very stressful thing. So, I was like, "Oh, my God, I hope we get a private room and you can be there with us." And luckily, we did get that. But I definitely had thoughts at times of just, like, going back to Canada, North America, and giving birth there, but we were at a really top hospital.

Melanie Avalon: What year did you have him in?

Vanessa Spina: In 2021.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, wow. Did you have to wear a mask during delivery?

Vanessa Spina: No, thank God. It was, like, right after that. But yeah, there were definitely situations that people went through that were just so horrible, like, having to wear a mask during labor. I've heard some stories that are just pretty horrendous, but yeah, thankfully everything is pretty much back to normal now. But yeah, totally different systems. But why do you ask?

Melanie Avalon: Quick question. How long were you in labor?

Vanessa Spina: I was in labor for like two and a half days.

Melanie Avalon: I can't do it.

Vanessa Spina: No, it's fine. My whole life my biggest fear was childbirth.

Melanie Avalon: I think that's my biggest fear. [laughs] That's why I'm--

Vanessa Spina: Every time I would be like, in a stressful situation, I'd be like, "Well, at least I'm not pregnant right now. I don't have to give birth." Like, it would always make me feel better, but your body's built to do it, which in the end made me feel better. But I actually had to be induced. My pregnancy was so amazing and seamless and smooth, but I didn't like, Luca just wasn't coming out, and he was like two weeks late, so I had to be induced. And then I wasn't progressing. And then his heartbeat started slowing. So, after like, two and a half days, I just got so exhausted. And the doctor was like, I think we should do a C-section now before it gets more complicated and stressful and have to be unconscious. So, I was like, "Okay, let's just do it." And it ended up being amazing. I barely have a C-section scar, recovery went really well and also used red light for my recovery. And I have no C-section scar, but I'm going on so many tangents right now.

Melanie Avalon: No, I love it. I love it. Man, I feel like if I had a baby, I'd like, outfit that delivery room, be like, let's bring in the red light, some cold therapy.

Vanessa Spina: I'm definitely bringing it this time because I started the red-light therapy quite a bit after giving birth and having the scar, and I still can like, you can barely see that I even have a scar. It's crazy. So, I only imagine just the internal and external healing that'll happen this time that I've got all these super powerful panels and I'm going to bring one with me. And yeah, it's definitely like, we'll see how things go the next time around. But yeah, I definitely could see you outfitting your room with a whole bunch of biohacking tools and things.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, yes. Wow. And did you have your red light at that time, your product?

Vanessa Spina: No, it was before that. I was still, like, researching at that point, so I think I had a different red light, but I didn't think about it at the time to use it.

Melanie Avalon: So many things. And how can people get your panels? What's your link?

Vanessa Spina: Oh, thank you. The panels that I created are called the Tone Lux and they are at ketogenicgirl.com, you can check out the three panels that I have there and yeah, thank you, for asking.

Melanie Avalon: I thought about it. Although now I have one other tangent. I am so sorry. When you spilled the tea on your knee, whenever I hear that, I think about the time that I spilled on my knee, because I feel like people hear that they're like, "Oh, that's not bad." "No, if you have spilled coffee or tea, it is the most painful thing."

Vanessa Spina: I can't believe that happened to you, too.

Melanie Avalon: It was coffee, but yeah, and the memory from it you know when you have a memory that's so impactful, it's in slow motion in your head?

Vanessa Spina: Yeah.

Melanie Avalon: Just like assuming.

Vanessa Spina: I know, I know what you mean. I know what you mean.

Melanie Avalon: This is on my list. There're a few key memories where I've seen very attractive people and it's in slow motion in my head. And I had this memory of spilling the coffee on my knee at the car shop in Santa Monica and them calling the ambulance. And then I just remember the ENT coming in slow motion and he was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. And I just have this vision in my head. So, every time I hear tea spilled, I'm like, beautiful, attractive ENT man running to my rescue.


Melanie Avalon: Oh, yeah.

Vanessa Spina: That's really funny. Yeah, it's one of the most painful things I've ever experienced.

Melanie Avalon: It's so painful. How did you spill it?

Vanessa Spina: We were in the car and went through a drive-through and I got hot tea, and I think I just put it between my knees for a second or something like that, and then I can't remember exactly what happened, but, yeah, it spilled all over my leg. And it's crazy because at first, you're like, "Oh, that hurts. That hurts a lot." But it's later that it gets so much worse.

Melanie Avalon: Yes, I remember I spilled-- I don't know how I did it, but I spilled a whole thing of coffee. And at first, it was like this really intense pain, but I was like, "Oh, it's fine." Do you want us to call an ambulance? I was like, no, it's fine. And then I sat there and then I started getting nauseous, and I was like, "Okay, maybe this is not fine."


Melanie Avalon: Oh, man, good times. Good times in life. So, the reason I was asking about the doctor situation. So here I do have a conventional doctor through my insurance and I think I've talked about this before as well, but it's hard to find I know, for instance, it is hard to find a conventional doctor who tests what you want to be testing. And I don't want to judge the whole system, but I have personally found it hard to find a doctor who is really in line with my thinking who's on my insurance.

So, where I have landed is I have found a conventional doctor through my insurance. So, everything's covered, who will literally just test whatever I want him to test? Like, I don't think he really knows or cares. So, what do you want to test? And I just give them a laundry list and then they just check it all off. But the reason I thought about this, I was talking about InsideTracker and ApoB. I don't get my blood drawn at the office because I have in the past fainted.

So, I'd like to just go where I like to go, which is a certain Labcorp. Like, I like my routine, so they give me the order form and then I leave. And every time they give me the order form where they filled it out per my recommendations. And then I see all the other tests I want on it. And I'm like, can I just click off these boxes?


Melanie Avalon: I like the claim. You think they'll remember that I didn't.


Melanie Avalon: So last time the one I saw was ApoB. And I was like, "Ha, I just want to check the box."


Melanie Avalon: I did not, though. So, I'll just get it from InsideTracker. To wrap this all up. "Oh, my gosh. I've talked the whole episode with this one question and you haven't even answered yet?". Okay, so InsideTracker, they do have blood testing and they have genetic testing as well. And what's really cool is they will show you when you get back your blood results what your genetic tendencies are. So, you know if you're doing worse or better than your genetics might indicate, because as we know or maybe we don't, but I think it's becoming more well known that epigenetics are highly much more influential than genetics. So, just if you have a genetic tendency towards something doesn't mean that you are destined to that, your diet and lifestyle have a much more profound effect even genes that people think are deterministic.

So, for example, people often think that the ApoE4 gene for Alzheimer's is deterministic, but it actually is not. It's actually something that people can really take agency with their diet and lifestyle. If you would like to try InsideTracker, our link for that is you can get 20% off their plan. Just go to insidetracker.com/ifpodcast. So that's 20% off at insidetracker.com/ifpodcast. And I will say one last thing. One of my favorite things about InsideTracker is you can upload your own labs as well. So, for example, those results that I get back from my doctor, I upload them into the portal and you can see over time, you can track everything. And it's been a game changer for me. It makes charts, it makes graphs. It really just gives me sanity and peace when it comes to my blood work. So, Dina, you were probably hoping I was going to give you a food sensitivity test and I did not. So, Vanessa, what are your thoughts?

Vanessa Spina: No, I think she was asking about the stuff that you've talked about before.

Melanie Avalon: Okay, you think so?

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. I didn't actually prepare an answer because I don't have any to recommend. And as soon as I saw the question, I was like, "Oh, she's probably asking about what the ZOE one is?" Because I know you guys talked about it a lot in the past or maybe it was InsideTracker, but I could be wrong. Dina, I apologize if I'm wrong, but I think Dina is asking about the one that you have recommended in the past about the ZOE.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, right, because it's written in past tense. What is the blood test or genetic testing that you recommended? Ooh. Well, that was a nice recap then. Okay. Shall we answer another question?

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, I would love to.

Melanie Avalon: And this one is much more in Vanessa's court. So. this comes from Nikki. The subject is leptin resistance, and Nikki says, "Hi, Melanie and Vanessa. I suspect I have leptin resistance in addition to insulin resistance, and I was wondering if you can give some advice on how to tackle this. I know some say to do low carb, but by way of background, I have a history of very restrictive dieting in my 20s, which then led to years of binge eating disorder. While I am no longer binging, I don't restrict foods because it would trigger binge eating. I practice intuitive eating and food freedom but within the context of prioritizing protein and crowding out the more processed foods as much as possible. So, while I do eat pretty well, going keto or low carb isn't really an option for me. But I do have Vanessa's Tone device, and I get into, "Light fat-burning mode every day." So, I don't want to think my carbs are out of control." And I do want to clarify for listeners because we've mentioned Tone now twice with Vanessa, but it's actually not this thing. So, we mentioned her tone protein and we mentioned her tone red light panels. This is actually her Tone ketone breath analyzer device. Is that also the same link that you gave?

Vanessa Spina: It's also @ketogenicgirl yes, it's the tone device, the original tone device.

Melanie Avalon: So different thing there. So, she says, "I do have Vanessa's Tone device and I get into light fat-burning mode every day, so I don't think my carbs are out of control. The other advice I hear is to stop eating after dark, but that's easier said than done when you're hungry at night due to the leptin resistance. I always feel hungry right before bed, even when I've had a great day of nourishing food. No amount of protein makes me not hungry at night LOL. Will more aggressive fasting 24-plus hour fast lower my leptin levels like they lower insulin levels? Do you have any other suggestions for how to tackle this problem?" Thanks, ladies. Nikki. So, this is a Vanessa question.

Vanessa Spina: I really love this question. Hi, Nikki. Thank you for submitting this question and providing so much background. Now, leptin is such a fascinating hormone because it's a more recently discovered hormone. So, we're still learning so much about it. And I definitely talk about it on my other podcast, Optimal Protein podcast, quite a bit. And I think that keto, as you mentioned, is definitely a great tool for lowering leptin. But I do have some other tips for you.

The first one would be to test your leptin levels because then you can really know for sure if you have leptin resistance. So, actually, Dr. Rick Johnson, I interviewed him. One of the interviews I did with him on the podcast, he talked about the specific range of leptin that you should look for for it to be optimal. So, I have to find that episode for you. But the first thing I would do is test because you said that you suspect that you have leptin resistance and insulin resistance. But I think it'd be good to confirm it to know because then you can know if these strategies and tools will sort of help with that.

What's so interesting about leptin is that you kind of want to have this sort of Goldilocks amount of it. You don't want to have too little leptin you don't want to have too much. And leptin is basically secreted from our fat cells, especially after we eat. And they are supposed to signal to the brain when they dock on the leptin receptors in the brain that we should stop eating now because we have enough fuel on board. And the fact that you said that you have this sort of insatiable hunger at night, sounds like it could potentially be connected to that.

And so, if your leptin signaling is blocked and what's really fascinating is if you have insulin resistance, insulin actually competes at a similar receptor site for leptin. So, if you have a lot of insulin floating around, then you could potentially be impeding that docking, that leptin docking. So, the brain is not getting the signal that you have enough energy and also, you're not able to then turn on sort of the fat burning as well, which is what happens in a lot of cases with obese people, is that it's a problem with leptin signaling.

So, one of the best things that you can do is actually, like you mentioned, is not eating at night, is closing your eating window early in the day because a lot of that signaling with leptin actually happens around midnight. So, if you've just eaten a big meal before you go to bed, then you also may be interfering with the leptin docking. So, it's definitely one of the big sorts of strategies. I would also recommend, like getting your circadian rhythm synced up well, getting morning light can really help with the cascade of hormones that's triggered from melanopsin and the eye detecting morning light.

That specific light wavelengths that you get in the morning, they trigger a lot of hormonal cascades so it could really help support that. And you mentioned that you prioritize protein and you crowd out the more processed foods as much as possible. And I think that's a really great strategy. As far as fasting, like sort of doing extended fasting, 24 hour-plus fast, that definitely is something that will lower both insulin resistance and leptin resistance. So, that's one of the things that is attributed to keto is that it lowers leptin.

So, it definitely could be something, especially because there is this interrelationship between insulin and leptin as well. If you lower blood glucose, you lower insulin, you're going to also be able to lower leptin levels. I haven't looked at specific research on leptin and doing extended fast. I don't know if you have Melanie and maybe you have anything to add on this question.

Melanie Avalon: I have not looked at it in extended fasting, actually I do have a question for you because you're talking about testing leptin levels. When do you test that? And what's the timeline of leptin in the system? And does leptin in the bloodstream reflect? What does it actually tell you?

Vanessa Spina: It's actually a question we should have Dr. Rick on for when we have him on.

Melanie Avalon: When we have him on, we should yeah, I'll make a note. So, he knows a lot about this?

Vanessa Spina: He does. And he tests for leptin with his patients and he knows a lot about it. I mean, he wrote a lot about it in his book, but he knows what that sort of optimal amount of leptin, like what healthy leptin looks like so that you are at getting the proper signaling. And when leptin is really elevated, it means that it's not docking because it's leftover circulating in the blood. But I don't know what the ideal time is for it. I don't know if there is an ideal time. Like, I don't know if you would get different measurements at different times of day because it is secreted after you eat from your fat cells. So, it's a great question and a great question for Rick.

Melanie Avalon: So, I'm going to make a note now because we are bringing him on. That's going to be so fun. Vanessa and I are Rick Johnson fan girls. I showed Vanessa this. I got so happy the other day. He wanted to know how I enjoyed the Taylor Swift concert and said I looked like Taylor Swift at the concert. And my day, I like a life was made. He's a nicest, precious man.

Vanessa Spina: Precious gem of a man.

Melanie Avalon: And he loves musicals. His daughter is very musically talented and his son. It's so cool that I love when there are families like that are, like, sciency and creative.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, it's really interesting.

Melanie Avalon: Okay, that was a fantastic answer. I knew Vanessa would be able to do that much more justice than I can because I haven't done a lot of research into leptin, and I really probably should. The only thing I will add on is two things. So, this, well, three things. One Vanessa, do you have thoughts on "Is it Jack Kruse, the Leptin Reset diet?"

Vanessa Spina: Yes, he has a great Leptin Reset protocol.

Melanie Avalon: So, that might be something to check out. I have not done it, but I just know-- especially when I was really steeped more in the low-carb world and gallivanting about the forms and such, I would see people talking about his work a lot. That might be something to check out. I'll put a link to that in the show notes and then two other things. I completely hear you and understand. And first of all, congratulations with no longer struggling with the binging or no longer binging, I don't know if you're struggling with it emotionally. I am happy for you that you are finding what works for you.

So, I'm wondering two things. One, you're crowding out the processed foods as much as possible. I wonder if you're still maybe like I was talking about earlier with how I react to the muffin, for example. I wonder if you're still eating something that is creating a blood sugar drop and a response like if you're eating something that is not serving you. And if that's the case, of course, we don't want you to fall into a restrictive pattern or binge eating or anything like that,

I just wonder if that is the case, if instead it's possible to have a sort of paradigm shift where it's not about restricting, but maybe focusing on what you can eat. So, maybe you could try and experiment for just a day. I don't know if this is happening every night for her. Always feel hungry right before bed. So, what if you tried one day where you only ate whole foods, like nourishing whole foods to abundance, so no restriction, and just see how that affects your hunger before bed? Oh, also this would be a great time to try a CGM like we talked about earlier. You could see when you're hungry at night if it is from a blood sugar drop. Actually, you might want to start there or do that as one of the first things, because then you'll know in that hungry moment, are you having a blood sugar drop or not. And that will be so telling. So again, nutrisense.io/ifpodcast, coupon code IFPODCAST for $30 off.

And then my last recommendation would be I know you are eating nourishing food, but really focusing on high nutrient-rich food. It could be like a micronutrient deficiency of some sort. So, I don't know what you're eating, but seafood and meat and fish and things really, really high in nutrients, maybe egg yolks, if that's something that works for you. I just find that when people focus on nutrition that that can really move the needle for some people.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, that's a great tip. And I'm a huge fan of making liver pate and having it once or twice a month just for that nutrient density. But I love that you brought up the Leptin Reset protocol by Dr. Jack Kruse. And I know that his recommendation is to have like, 50? I think it's around 50 g of protein when you wake up, right? Yeah. Within half an hour to an hour of waking.

There's also a book, a really interesting book by an author, he wrote a book on leptin going through all the research and science on it. And he says, make sure you get that protein. But also, no snacking between meals is a really important thing for lowering leptin. Yeah, I think that's the last thing that I wanted to add, but, yeah, there's definitely a lot of things you can do to reset it. Yeah, let us know how it goes.

Melanie Avalon: Yes, please keep us updated. All right, 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 questions@ifpodcast.com or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. The show notes for this episode, which will have links to everything that we talked about, which is a lot of things, as well as a full transcript. That is at ifpodcast.com/episode322. And then you can follow us on Instagram. We are @ifpodcast. I am @melanieavalon and Vanessa is @ketogenicgirl right. Yes, I think that is all of the things. Anything from you, Vanessa, before we go?

Vanessa Spina: No, I really enjoyed all the questions and I can't wait to record the next one.

Melanie Avalon: Me too. All right, well, I will talk to you next week.

Vanessa Spina: All right, talk to you soon.

Melanie Avalon: Bye.

Thank you so much for listening to The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. Please remember, everything we discussed on this show does not constitute medical advice, and no patient-doctor relationship is formed. If you enjoyed the show, please consider writing a review on iTunes. We couldn't do this without our amazing team, administration by Sharon Merriman, editing by Podcast Doctors, show notes and artwork by Brianna Joyner, transcripts by SpeechDocs, and original theme composed by Leland Cox and recomposed by Steve Saunders. See you next week.

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