Episode 323: Re-HIIT, Heated Fruit, Cold Therapy, Cold Plunging, Cryotherapy, Mood Boosting, Brown Adipose Tissue, Muscle Growth, And More!

Intermittent Fasting


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Jun 25

Welcome to Episode 323 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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To submit your own questions, email questions@IFpodcast.com, or submit your questions here!! 


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

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NUTRISENSE: Get $30 Off A CGM Program And 1 Month Of Free Dietitian Support At nutrisense.io/ifpodcast With The Code IFPODCAST!

Listener Q&A: Niki - Cold Therapy

Peter Attia: The Drive #254 – AMA #47: Cold therapy: pros, cons, and its impact on longevity

Andrew Huberman: Huberman Lab: The Science & Use of Cold Exposure for Health & Performance

INSIDETRACKER: Go To insidetracker.com/ifpodcast For 20% Off InsideTracker’s New Ultimate Plan— Complete With Estradiol, Progesterone, And TSH.

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 323 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 323 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with Vanessa Spina.

Vanessa Spina: Hi, everyone.

Melanie Avalon: How are you today, Vanessa?

Vanessa Spina: I'm doing amazing, feeling great. How are you doing?

Melanie Avalon: I'm doing really well. I have a new contraption in my life, I'm a little bit obsessed with.

Vanessa Spina: Oh, really? I want to know. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay. You are a gym goer, correct? 

Vanessa Spina: Usually, but since having Luca, I work out at home.

Melanie Avalon: Okay. Before Luca, did you do cardio, weights?

Vanessa Spina: Kind of a mix of both, depending on what I was working on at the time. But I also like to just do stuff in nature as much as possible. So, like walking, it's my time to listen to podcasts walking in nature, walking in the forest, hiking and we do a lot of that in Prague. Just like lots of outdoor activity and stuff. What about you? 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, wait, rapid fire question. Sorry. [chuckles] In Prague, in the outdoors, what animals do you have? Are there bears?

Vanessa Spina: It's like the cutest question.

Melanie Avalon: I need to know. [chuckles] 

Vanessa Spina: I don't know if there's bears. I think the wildest thing that you would come across in the forest would be like a boar.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, aren't those really intense? 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. I don't think I would be deep enough in the forest to encounter a boar [laughs] probably, mostly they don't really have so many squirrels and things. It's more like a lot of birds and bunnies. There're a lot of bunnies. 

Melanie Avalon: Wow. Nothing super dangerous. 

Vanessa Spina: No, but I mean, like, the forests that I'm hiking are around our place and they're connected to parks and stuff, so there're huge parks. I think most of wildlife has moved out of them.

Melanie Avalon: Okay, got you. I'm learning so much about Prague. To answer your question, I'm not a huge gym goer, as in I'm not a gym goer. And I've talked at length about EmSculpt on the show, so I do that. I find that incredible for building muscle, and then I wear weights during the day. But then when it comes to cardio, I pretty much just live my life [chuckles] and park far away and wear weights to the grocery store and all that stuff. But I have historically been intrigued and done high intensity interval training. And now there's this new version of it called REHIT. Are you familiar with this? 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. We were talking about it, I think, on a recent episode, because of Dave.

Melanie Avalon: Yes. Okay, so I did talk about it. Yes. I got the CAROL bike. Yes. Oh, my goodness. I'm obsessed.

Vanessa Spina: This is the bike that integrates AI and biofeedback, right?

Melanie Avalon: Yes. I am so obsessed.

Vanessa Spina: So, you love it well?

Melanie Avalon: Yes. [laughs] Can I tell you about it? 

Vanessa Spina:  Yes, I would love to know. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay. Friends, I literally, exercise bikes are not my thing, so I was very suspicious. I'm obsessed, I'm going to stop saying that. So, it's an exercise bike, like Vanessa said that integrates AI. You wear a heart rate monitor that syncs with the bike. It has this screen and so you have to train it at the beginning. But basically, what it does is it uses AI. It coaches you through these REHIT, which apparently is the more efficient, faster form of HIIT, high intensity interval training and the purpose with that is to get the maximum, maximum bang for your buck health wise in the least amount of time possible. And so, the bike actually-- so it coaches you through these sessions where you go slow and then you go really, really fast and you go slow and then really, really fast, and it coaches you through it. And what I love about it, it adjusts the resistance of the pedals so that you're always exerting as much energy as you need to be exerting. So basically, like, if you're slowing down and it knows you need to be going harder, it'll make it harder to pedal so that you are still-- I don't know. I'm acting like I know what it's doing. It adjusts to do what it needs to do. 

But the workout is only like the first one that I've been doing, and I think there are different lengths, but it's only eight minutes or nine minutes total. And you only have to do it. I did a whole call with them and I'm going to bring them on the show. You only have to do it three days a week to get all of the benefits they've seen in their trials, which is improve blood work cholesterol. They have so much data and I haven't even told you the coolest part yet, so [chuckles] they have a lot of different options. But you start with this one called Tiger. So rather than playing, like, music and stuff, it acts like you're a hunter-gatherer. And so, you're like on the bike and it talks to you and it's like, "You're a hunter-gatherer. You're walking through the woods." You get in the story of it and it's like you walk and then it helps you breathe. It's like, "Let's just breathe slowly in and out." And so, you're like doing it, you're just like, pedaling. And then it's like, "Oh, what is that? Is that a tiger?" And [laughs] it's like, "Oh, no, it's coming. What are we going to do?" And so, then you're like, "Oh, gosh, there's a tiger." And it'll be like, "It's coming, run." And then it flashes red in you, and then it screams at you, like, "Run faster. There's no time to think." And so, you're like, "I just got to run." And you get so invested in the story of it. And then you're like and then it's like, "Okay, you're fine." And then you walk again and you breathe and then you do that again. I love it. It's amazing. It goes by so fast and it doesn't feel like you're working out because the way it talks to you and the way it coaches you, it's so cool.

Vanessa Spina: That's incredible. And I was skeptical, too, when you were telling me about it because I was really interested to know what you thought. But the fact that it's so efficient time wise is, like, definitely sounds like it's got some really interesting aspects to it if you can save time and get so much benefit out of it. So, you're going to be super jacked [laughs] and extra toned.

Melanie Avalon: What I love at the end of the tiger track, so I've only done the tiger track because there are music tracks, but at the end, its little quote is it says something like, "Good job, you've done your workout for the day. Go to the gym if you want to, not because you have to." [chuckles] Oh, yeah. I'm really excited. I'm tracking my blood work, so I did blood work right before starting. They said that it takes, I think, 30 days to see the benefits. It's so cool, and I can't wait to interview the founder, but apparently there's just massive benefits to all out exertion, max capacity, a few quick brief times, and then the way your body compensates recovers, so, we shall see. I'm a fan thus far. So, you can actually get $100 off. $100 off with the code MELANIEAVALON so for that, just go to carolbike.com. And what's interesting is I asked two different people about it in our sphere, and they both told me how obsessed they are. One of them was Brad Kearns. Do you know Brad? 

Vanessa Spina: Is he a scientist researcher. 

Melanie Avalon: He writes all the books with Mark Sisson.

Vanessa Spina: Oh, that's where I heard his name. Okay.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, I love him. He's fantastic. And he is an ultra-endurance marathon runner, a triathlete champion and he's all into the athletics and everything. And I told him about it and he's like, "Yeah, it's like the most efficient way to get your exercise super quick."

Vanessa Spina: Wow. I want one now. [chuckles]

Melanie Avalon: I know I'm obsessed so I will keep listeners updated and then I really want to see the effect that it has. I was telling Vanessa my HbA1c has always been low/normal. Always for years, it's always been the same number. And it went up a lot. I mean, not into the prediabetic range, but it went up a lot. This last test that I had, which freaked me out a little bit, and I actually-- did you know that there are at home HbA1c? They're like glucometers, but they're for HbA1c.

Vanessa Spina: I didn't know that. I didn't know that was even possible.

Melanie Avalon: I didn't either. So, I remember I had a wonky test once on mine, and I thought it was off from my blood work and it was. And James Clement, who I also love, he wrote a book called The Switch, and he sent me in the mail a HbA1c blood fingerpicks. So, you can do it yourself when you're at home, which is amazing. I verified it recently for my blood test, and it was that number, which is high, which I'm very upset about. So, I'm excited to see, A, if this CAROL affects it and B, I think I know what I did that caused this. And I'm trying to decide if I should tell the audience now or wait and see.

Vanessa Spina: No, I want to know. [laughs] I've been waiting to know what this thing is. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay, if you can guess it, I will tell. [chuckles] You get three guesses. [laughs] 

Vanessa Spina: Okay. Wait, is it a food? 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, my gosh. We're playing the guessing game. This is my favorite game of the whole world. [laughs] I love this game. involves food, yes. 

Vanessa Spina: Involves food. Is it a sweetener?

Melanie Avalon: No.

Vanessa Spina: Involves food, involves food. [laughs] I don't know if it's a food or not. 

Melanie Avalon: It is a food, It is a food, it involves food. [laughs] 

Vanessa Spina: It's obviously something you don't normally eat. 

Melanie Avalon: No, I do normally eat it. 

Vanessa Spina: You do? 

Melanie Avalon: Mm-Hmm. And this might not be what it is, but it's something I've been doing. And intuitively, I'm like, "I feel like this might be having a bad effect." I really don't know. I really wish I'd been wearing a CGM during all of this. 

Vanessa Spina: Yes, that would have been super helpful. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. It's something that I thought of you. It's something you mention. 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, protein powder. 

Melanie Avalon: No.

Vanessa Spina: Oh.

Melanie Avalon: Well, that's in your favor because [laughs] 

Vanessa Spina: No, because I remember when we're talking about Tone protein recently, you said that you're not using them right now, but, like, you have in the past. So that's why I thought maybe.

Melanie Avalon: It's something that you have talked about on this podcast in your past. And I literally think about you when I engage with this behavior food.

Vanessa Spina: Tequila.

Melanie Avalon: [laughs] No. 

Vanessa Spina: Engage with this-- wait, behavior. It's not--

Melanie Avalon: Well, yeah. Because that's why I'm saying it involves food.

Vanessa Spina: Man, I'm stumped. I just want to know. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: I'm trying to decide if I should tell you. I've been doing something to my existing food.

Vanessa Spina: Geez.

Melanie Avalon: It's the exact same food. 

Vanessa Spina: Cooking your fruit. 

Melanie Avalon: Sort of. Yes. So okay. Did I start doing this? Not because I didn't start doing this because of you, [laughs] but I remember you talked about how you used to-- did you cook your fruit for dessert? 

Vanessa Spina: Yes. I would make, like, a big batch of sliced up apple and banana, and I would either fry it or bake it. And it goes back to my childhood because in China, growing up, there was these desserts that were like, cooked apple and cooked banana that we would have all the time in China. It's actually called Basi Pingguo, [laughs] which is like this hot apple and they also sell it on the streets. So, it was a comfort food for me. And I thought, "Well, fruit is so amazing, so healthy for you." So, I was having a lot of it at night after having all my other food and I was having a lot of it, just wasn't optimal for me. [laughs] But maybe if I was doing low fat and just like, protein and fruit, it would have been better.

Melanie Avalon: Because I historically, I've been eating pounds and pounds of fruit, blueberries every night for years, like, years. And I've always had the same HbA1c and it was a while ago now. Why did I do this? Why did I get the urge to heat up my blueberries? But I did [chuckles] in the microwave, which that's, like, debated, but in any case, I did and I was like, "Oh, wow. I was like, this tastes like a whole another level."

Vanessa Spina: It's like blueberry pie or something. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. No, that's what it tasted like. It tastes like pie. I was like, "This tastes like pie." And what's interesting is, shortly thereafter that night, A, it tasted way sweeter and B, I sort of felt like I was getting an adrenaline response to it. And it kind of like when I would have honey in the past. I didn't completely start heating my fruit, but every night I started adding in as, like, my final treat, like, heated up fruit. And I wonder and I realize I could be wrong with this, but it definitely, I think, breaks down the-- it increases, I think, the accessibility to the sugar in that fruit for sure, for sure.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. That actually explains why it tastes sweeter. Yeah.

Melanie Avalon: That's really the only thing I've changed and so I'm stopping that, and I'm going to retest, and I'm going to see if the HbA1c is back down.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. And then you have to do it again with the CGM.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Okay. We are on the same page, Vanessa. We're on the same page because I was like, "Wait. Because I want to stop doing it now, but I also want to get a CGM and keep doing it and see what's happening."

Vanessa Spina: Because it could be completely nothing. It could be something else.

Melanie Avalon: So much to do. But all of that to say.

Vanessa Spina: That's most likely it, though.

Melanie Avalon: I really think it is. I really don't know. I don't know what else it would be, honestly. So, we shall see. Stay tuned. I will be using a Nutrisense CGM, nutrisense.io/ifpodcast with the code IFPODCAST will get you $30 off. Yeah, that's my whole tangent. So, CAROL bikes and CGMs and heated fruit. [chuckles] What's new in your world?

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. I'm really excited because we're going to Denver soon, to Colorado. I've been working really hard on transferring and setting up a new fulfillment center, a new warehouse for my Tone device, the red light panels. And I've just been growing, so I've needed to add new warehouses. I just set one up in Australia, working on Europe next, and I just set up this new center in Colorado. But a lot of that involves switching everything over from the one that is or was in California and then shipping everything over there. And logistically, it's just a lot so it's been quite stressful for me for the last few months to be working on that just like transition. And then when you set up the new ones, there's a lot of integrations. And I love doing this stuff because I'm a computer nerd. I love all this side of things. But it's just a huge relief that we're actually set up and up and running at the Colorado warehouse. And that's just been the most exciting thing for me.

Of red light panels that I have, the Tone LUX Gem, which is the small portable version, is now shipping out from the Colorado warehouse. So, it was a preorder all of this time from December until last week and we started shipping out the first orders. The preorders all went out. So that's been very gratifying and also just feels like so much of my bandwidth for focusing on things has been freed up that I can start focusing on other products. There's other red light sort of variations of products that I've been wanting to work on. I've been also working on developing some blue blocking glasses, like blue light blocking glasses. I've been working on a bunch of other things and I love product development, but finally having everything moved over just feels amazing. [chuckles] It just feels like a huge relief. That's been like a really big development for me.

And yeah, there's just so much that goes into running your, like having your different fulfillment centers. And the great thing about having these new locations is that, like, for people in Europe, Europe is coming next. I've been working on that for the past few months as well. But in Australia, I've been shipping out my Tone devices from California to Australia. But now we can ship out directly from Australia to Australia, New Zealand. And it just is so much more cost effective and fast for residents of Australia, New Zealand than shipping from California. It just takes so much more time. It's so much more expensive and especially with the red light panels because they're heavier. Like, the Tone device is really small and light. So, this is the stuff that [laughs] takes up a lot of my bandwidth and my time and my focus, but I love all of this stuff. And I've told you a few times that I've been working on the second generation of the Tone device that has a few different features and there's just a lot of testing back and forth that goes on and just trying to perfect the sensor as much as possible. It's kind of my mission right now to make it as sensitive as possible to smaller ketones for people who are not necessarily going into deep, deep, deep ketosis, but just maybe doing intermittent fasting during the day or maybe doing a couple longer fasts here and there during the week. So, I'm really excited for when it comes out because it also has a little bit of a fresh look to it, which I'm really excited about. So, this is the stuff that gets me going and that I love working on.

Melanie Avalon: That's so amazing. I feel like when I have you, I don't know what all we'll talk about, but when I have you on my show, I have so many questions for you about all of this. I'm so impressed with your development. I can't imagine moving alone is stressful. Like moving your own stuff from point A to point B. You're like moving stuff that then has to go out to people that's like a whole another level of craziness.

Vanessa Spina: It's been way more stressful than I think. I realized it would be and just feel so good now that it's done and just like seeing the orders going out to people and people who've been so amazing and supportive in preordering my products and then waiting for them to come out, I just appreciate it so much. So, it makes me so excited and happy when they finally can get them in their hands and they're like sending me pictures and telling me how much they love them and that's the gratifying part of it all.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness. Congratulations. So, you literally just wrapped that up like that move.

Vanessa Spina: Yes, last week they just started shipping out and then yeah, we're still transferring some inventory over, but I'm going to be able to shut off everything that was going out of the California one, so yeah, it feels so good. [chuckles] 

Melanie Avalon: Congratulations.

Vanessa Spina: Thank you. 

Melanie Avalon: And wait, so to clarify, that's not why you're going to Denver though. 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, yeah, sorry, I don't know why I went on that tangent. We're getting excited to go to Denver. Part of my excitement is that I get to go in person to the new fulfillment facility, which is why I even brought that up. So, I'm really excited to go see, visit with all my inventory there and meet the team and everything in person. So that's going to be really fun. But we're mostly going to visit family. It's been a while since we've been back. The last time we're in Denver, I was 13 weeks pregnant with Luca. It was Christmas time, so that was Christmas 2020 and then early part of 2021. It's been a long time and we've gotten to see all of our family. They've been coming over here to visit us but this is our first time back. So super excited to be back in the US for a few weeks and just be with everyone and visit with all our family there and have some celebrations. We're going to be there for the fourth and we have a bunch of birthdays, so it's going to be really fun.

Melanie Avalon: So exciting. We're going to be so close.

Vanessa Spina: I know we're going to be podcasting and texting each other on the same day, like same time zones and stuff. Melanie and I text every single day, so we're [laughs] always like, going to sleep when the other one's waking up. So, it'll be fun to be closer, same similar time zones.

Melanie Avalon: So exciting.

Vanessa Spina: I know you have exciting travel coming up too. 

Melanie Avalon: Well, when this airs? So, this airs on the 26th of June. Oh, so when this airs, you'll be in Denver and I will have just come back from the Biohacking Conference. 

Vanessa Spina: Wow, that's amazing.

Melanie Avalon: Wow. [chuckles] Okay. Listeners will have to stay tuned to know how that went down. 

Vanessa Spina: I just can't wait to hear how you enjoy it all. I will be like waiting for your text to hear how you're enjoying it because I know it's your first time really going to a big event like this or like a conference in our space. I just think you're going to have the best time.

Melanie Avalon: I know it's going to be such an experience. And then we're recording this way in advance. So yesterday was Memorial Day, so I definitely got on all the websites and ordered all the dresses to try to find what to wear for the conference. I'm going to return most of them, which I know it's not sustainable. Yikes. [laughs] But I'm so bad with online sales. Oh, my goodness. 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, there was a lot of sales. Yeah.

Melanie Avalon: So basically, I was ordering all the-- because I'll need four black dresses for the conference. One during the day, then one for the dance, and then one for the next day and one for the dance.

Vanessa Spina: Oh my gosh. Yeah, I saw there were some fun-looking events at night and everything. So yeah, and you're being a night owl is going to be perfect for you. 

Melanie Avalon: There's a 70s/80s dance party, which is not my decade. Like, the 70s and 80s are not attractive, dark clothing.

Vanessa Spina: I can't really get into 70s music as much. I love the style from the 60s. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, 60s is cute.

Vanessa Spina: 70s, I don’t, yeah, not as much. 

Melanie Avalon: I found a dress that I think is I don't know. I polled my audience, I was like, "Can this pass 70s or 80s?" 70s, which one's disco 70s, 80s. 

Vanessa Spina: I literally couldn't even tell you what, 70s is like. [chuckles]

Melanie Avalon: 70s, in any case, it was 50-50, so I'm going with it. It's a really cool dress. 

Vanessa Spina: And 80s is, like, so chaotic and crazy. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: I know. 

Vanessa Spina: I love the music from the 90s that's my husband and I will like. It's so good. 

Melanie Avalon: Who was your favorite pop 90s? 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, Britney for sure. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: We had the best; we had the best 90s music. I was in college during, this will kind of give away my age, but I was in college during Kesha in her prime, which is the perfect artist to accompany college. I'm just so grateful. I'm literally grateful for that gratitude moment that Kesha was in her prime while I was in college. 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, my gosh, that's hilarious. I love it. 

Melanie Avalon: So yeah. Was anybody in their prime when you were in college? Like, artist? 

Vanessa Spina: I had a poster of Britney in my dorm room and also this rapper, but I cannot remember her name right now for some reason. Was it Aaliyah? Aaliyah, maybe. Yeah, I can't remember. But there was a lot of really good music around that time. I don't listen to music as much as I used to back then. Something that I try to make a concerted effort to do because I spend so much time listening to podcasts. And then you realize sometimes like, "Well, I haven't listened to music in a while, [laughs] so I try to make it-- try to be more intentional about that." 

Melanie Avalon: I have one last question. I know we're on all the tangent rabbit holes with the podcast. Do you have certain podcasts that you have to listen to at certain times of the day? 

Vanessa Spina: At certain times of the day.

Melanie Avalon: I'll clarify. [chuckles] So I have certain ones that I listen to them during their day podcast, so they make me feel awake. And there's some that I listen to as they're my wind down podcasts, and so I listen to them at night while I'm having my dinner, and it kind of gets me in my wind-down time. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. I get that. I definitely get that. And for me, my brain shuts off at night. I just have to-- my days are so intensely cerebral, like reading, studies and reading really amazing books of so many of the people that we get to interact with and interview. And then it's like at night, I just crash and I have to turn my brain off completely. And I can't listen to anything educational. It can only be entertainment, like fluff. And I'll put stuff on in the background while I'm working-- I still do work at night, but I just want to listen to something that I don't have to focus on or think. And then in the morning, I like more affirmations. There's one podcast I love that has really good affirmations, and that is, like, the best early in the day. If you want to set the tone for the day, just like, positive affirmations, positivity? Yeah, I guess. Does that kind of work? 

Melanie Avalon: Completely. What is that podcast? 

Vanessa Spina: I think it's by this guy named Bob Baker, and I listen to it pretty much every day. It's called the Affirmation Meditation Podcast by Bob Baker. They're really short. They're like 10 minutes, but it's just so much positivity, appreciation, thankfulness. Like, the one from today was just, "I'm grateful for my life." 21 affirmations of gratitude and then he has other ones, even, that are about self-confidence or just like they're all just so positive, and he has, like, a really good vibe. So yeah, I love starting the day with that one. What about you? 

Melanie Avalon: Nice. Does he have, like, a "I'm grateful for Kesha during my college years?" Affirmation. [laughs] 

Vanessa Spina: You can add that one. [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: Oh, man, that's amazing. Yeah. Actually, I realized I actually listen to audiobooks during the day and then at night is when I listen to my podcasts, which are really just Robb Wolf's Healthy Rebellion Radio, Peter Attia's The Drive, Noelle Tarr's Well-Fed Women and Rich Roll. Oh, and Rogan and Huberman. Okay, a few different things. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. I have a lot of the same ones. I think we have a question that's actually about this. 

Melanie Avalon: I know. So, this is perfect timing. I was just going to say with audiobooks, since I'm prepping for the show, I have to be, like, taking notes, and it's more cerebral and it requires a lot of brain power. But with podcasts, I don't normally take notes unless it's prepping for, like this next one would be an exception. I just feel like more I'm like, hanging out with my friends or people I want to be friends with, like Peter Attia someday. [laughs]

Vanessa Spina: I don't know about Peter these days. Some of his opinions are getting to me. Yeah, he's got some controversial opinions. And by controversial, I mean opinions I don't agree with lately. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, man. Well, speaking of that goes nicely into our first question. Would you like to read it from Nikki? 

Vanessa Spina: Yes. So, Nikki Bowen, subject cold therapy. Hi, Melanie and Vanessa. I'm super excited for you both to answer this question because I know it's something you're both interested in. On a recent Peter Attia episode of his podcast, he said that, "He doesn't think cold exposure really moves the needle as far as potential fat loss from increasing brown adipose tissue. " Crying face emoji, [laughs] what are your thoughts? 

Melanie Avalon: It's the streaming tear, crying face emoji. 

Vanessa Spina: Yes. I love it. "I have access to cryotherapy through my local Restore Hyper Wellness, so it's easy to do. I know it has so many other benefits such as workout recovery, sleep, and mood enhancement, but if I'm being honest, the fat loss is what truly motivates me to actually do the cold exposure thing. If you do think it's beneficial for fat loss, can you lay out a good protocol that takes into account, strength training sessions, fasting and red light, I eat how many times a week before or after a workout, before or after breaking a fast and before or after red light." Thank you for all you do Nikki.

Melanie Avalon: Awesome, Nikki. Thank you so much for your question. Okay, I know she's asking just about the brown adipose tissue. I however have a lot of notes about all of this so I was going to give a deeper dive if that's okay into the cold therapy. 

Vanessa Spina: Of course. Yeah, love it. Because I'll talk about cold plunging. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay, perfect. So, I did listen to that Peter Attia episode. He had a whole episode on his more updated thoughts on cold therapy and cold exposure and then appropriately enough I will relate his thoughts, which Nikki sort of touched on. Appropriately enough that same week, Andrew Huberman had an episode on cold exposure, an interview with--

Vanessa Spina: That one I actually listened to.

Melanie Avalon: Oh perfect. Dr. Soberg. Dr. Susanna Soberg. And it was kind of a nice anecdote to Peter's episode because it was all about this and very pro the benefits for metabolic health and especially brown adipose tissue. I'll go through first the notes I have from Peter's episode. So, his podcast is called The Drive. We'll put a link to it in the show notes but he went through everything and so he talks about how they're basically in the clinical literature, two different types of cold exposure therapy that are studied mostly. They don't really study cold showers as much, so it's usually cold-water immersion. So, like ice baths and things like that. And for those it's normally around 40 degrees Fahrenheit up until 60 degrees. Oh, until when you're colder than that, like 30s or on the lower side, like the 40s people will do it for about two to three minutes. And then sometimes there are protocols where it's warmer, like 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit and that'll be longer protocols, like around 30 minutes. And then on the other hand we have whole body cryotherapy so that's what I do every single day. And that's where you go from around 160 to around 260 degrees minus so negative Fahrenheit. 

And some takeaways for example, so there was a 2022 meta-analysis of 52 studies of adults who were exercising and that was cold water immersion. And they found that cold water immersion did have a significant beneficial effect on muscle power 24 hours after exercise and that it had actually a large effect in reducing delayed-onset muscle soreness, 24 hours after high intensity and a moderate effect on reducing that after eccentric exercise, but not until at least 48 hours.

He talks about how this is one of the main benefits that people see with cold water therapy is this reduction in delayed onset muscle soreness. And then there were a few studies that compared cryotherapy to cold water immersion also for delayed onset muscle soreness and exercise recovery and they were mixed. So, some would find benefits, some would find no differences, some would find benefits of some, but not the other. So, it's kind of confusing. [chuckles] But he thinks that the majority of the research is supporting cold water immersion being superior for that. And then, okay, this was interesting, Vanessa, I had a moment with this. I had a big moment with this.

So, he has a section on mood and depression and the effects of cold on that. And the question they asked him in the episode was, "Is there any new research on how cold water or cold therapy can affect mood?" And I was surprised listening to it, because he only talked about one study, which he said was a 2020 study in 10 subjects, looking at how they responded to cold water immersion. And it found that they actually had an increase of over 500% in norepinephrine and over 250% in dopamine, but actually no effect on epinephrine. But that basically the effects were a beneficial increase in mood.

What was weird to me is I was like, "I thought there had been a lot of studies on cold and mood." And so, I went and did my own research, and I found a lot of studies. But not only did I find a lot of studies, the study he referenced wasn't 2020. It was a 2000 study, which isn't a big deal, people make mistakes. But even it made me realize just how much I need to be conscious of going and fact checking and even people I completely adore, like Peter Attia, I think it's always the responsibility is on us to double check source materials for things. I literally checked it like five times because I thought I was wrong. But in his show notes, yeah, it says 2020 new study, but it's actually a 2000 study, which is an old study that's like 23 years ago. The studies I found on mood, for example, I found this one is older as well, but a 2013 study, Mental state and quality of life after 10 sessions of whole-body cryotherapy that found a beneficial effect. It was 55 subjects and it found a beneficial effect in their-- they took a questionnaire for their mood and their quality of life, and it found that whole body cryotherapy-- this is cryotherapy had a significant influence on improving their well-being and their mood, leading to an improvement in their quality of life. And that the worse they felt before doing the cryotherapy, the better they felt afterwards. 

Then I found a 2021 study, the Improvement of cognitive deficits after whole-body cryotherapy, that actually found an increase in cognitive performance with cryotherapy, which was interesting. And then a 2019 study, Whole-Body Cryotherapy, as a promising add on treatment for depressive disorder. That was in 30 adults, 21 who actually completed the study. And they did 10 two-minute cryotherapy sessions within two weeks, and they saw significant improvement in their depressive symptom scores. So that's really cool. And that's just a few. There were quite a few others, but I didn't want to put like a million. So, I just thought it was interesting that when asked that question, which was, what is the newest research on mood that not only did he say throughout the episode that there isn't that much cryotherapy studies, I actually found a lot of cryotherapy studies on mood specifically. And that's the benefit I personally experience the most from cryotherapy. Like, I go into that chamber, it's negative 270 degrees, I think the one I do for three minutes, and I just feel so good after. Like, the effect is just amazing for me.

And so, in that episode, Peter was hypothesizing why that might be and it seems to be possibly two things. So, the increase in those neurotransmitters as well as potentially a reduction inflammation, although, interestingly a lot of studies don't find any measurable effects on inflammatory markers. So that's interesting, especially because just subjectively when I do it just feels so anti-inflammatory. So, I'm not really sure what's going on there. But he did talk about another okay, my bad.

He did talk about another study in his podcast, which was a 2020 study, Efficacy of Whole-Body Cryotherapy as an add-on for treatment of depression. And that also found a statistically significant difference in clinical depression for the patients who are doing whole body cryotherapy. And what Peter talked about, what's super cool about this study is they sort of had a control placebo group because it's hard to have-- you can't really have like an actual placebo because you can't put people in shocking cold and tell them it's not cold. That's just not possible. But what they did do was they had people in like an actual cryotherapy. So negative 166 to negative 256 degrees Fahrenheit, five days each week for two weeks. And then they had another group that also went into a chamber, which is super cool, but it was not cryogenic. It was just negative 58 degrees Fahrenheit. And so, they did find more of a benefit for the cryotherapy. And so, like Peter said, "That's actually very telling because it was more placebo controlled." And so, again, I want to emphasize that he did list two studies related to mood, and then people did ask him about showers. Like, do you need your head to be under the water? And he was saying that the upper torso is actually probably the most or is the most thermally sensitive region. And so, you don't actually have to have your head under the water when you're doing cold showers.

Okay, to Nikki's question, the brown adipose tissue, so he says that there really isn't a lot of evidence. So, yes, cold exposure increases brown adipose tissue and brown adipose tissue is a type. So, we have three well, -- we have different types of fat in the body. We have white fat, which is the type of fat that we think of, which is its primary purpose is to store excess calories for the lean times. And it's the type that's linked to negative health effects, especially when it's visceral fat around our organs. There's beige fat, which is in between white and brown and has more mitochondria. And then there's brown adipose tissue, which is very rich in mitochondria, which is the energy producing part of a cell. And so brown adipose tissue, yes, it's fat, but it's actually very thermogenic and it creates-- it burns energy. So, it's linked to health. We have higher levels of it when we're young, we have lower levels when we're older. If you have more brown adipose tissue, it's better for your weight loss, things like Nikki is asking about. And one of the main ways to increase it is cold exposure. So, I actually thought it was really interesting that in his analysis, he thinks that the data on brown adipose tissue is pretty limited. So basically, we do see it increase from cold, but he doesn't think it will create any measurable effect long term. I don't agree with that.

And then I didn't really agree listening and then I listened to the episode on Huberman with Dr. Soberg and she has a book. I really want to get her on the show. She has done a lot of research on cold water immersion and how it affects metabolic health and brown adipose tissue. And her findings are, I mean, really interesting, especially like its effect on insulin production. Yeah, so metabolic health. And so, to answer the question, well, first of all, this is completely anecdotal, N of 1, not scientific. My weight tends to be the same, mostly the same year-round. I do tend to lose a little bit of weight in the winter and I'm eating the same. That's just me. But I think there is a benefit to the cold. And it's interesting because we'll talk about things like unconscious things that can really have a measurable effect on weight. So, things like meat, non-exercise activity thermogenesis so that's like the unconscious. It's the movement that you're doing throughout the day that is not conscious exercise. So, fidgeting and just like moving around more and doing your groceries and that can add up to measurable differences in people's calorie burning potential and their weight. I think activating brown adipose tissue a lot. I just think it's something that you could do more subtly that-- I think would be like a small thing that could have a long-term effect if you're doing it consistently. This is just my personal opinion. I have a lot of other thoughts and I know she wants to know about specific protocols, but I'm going to stop talking for a second. Vanessa, do you have thoughts about the brown adipose tissue and the cold? 

Vanessa Spina: Yes. So, I think it's actually huge and hugely effective. But the key is the word that you just said is consistency. And so, a little anecdote that I can share is, so one of my listeners of the podcast, he heard me talking about cold exposure, I think on an episode, we're talking about brown adipose, and he has a Tone device which can measure your rate of fat burning. And he did a cold plunge and the next day, his level of ketosis or his ketones that he was reading on the Tone device were double. So, I was like, "That's huge." I actually remember texting you at the time that this happened and being like, "I need to tell you about the Tone and cold." So, I did the experiment myself, like, a week later, and I had the same thing happen. I did the cold plunge in the evening and the next morning, I took a reading right before I did it, and then I took it in the morning, and mine was also doubled. Now, it wasn't always doubled, but that first time I did it, it did double. And I think it's really the catecholamines, the norepinephrine, epinephrine that's released when you get into the cold that produces this shock in the body, but you're also literally activating brown fat. That brown adipose that, like you said, "We're born with so much of it, and then we're older. We don't have that much left." But unless you work outside or you're in the cold, or you do practice cold exposure on a regular basis, we mostly have a little bit left around the clavicle region.

But Dr. Soberg's research is absolutely fascinating because she actually studied, like, what is that sort of minimum amount that you would need in a week to get that minimum effective dose where you can really get benefits. And that's why I mentioned consistency. So, she found that for cold immersion into cold water, which is what I do and what my listener did and what I did in that experiment is getting into a cold bath up to the neck and really being immersed in cold water that is somewhere between 10 to 16-degrees Celsius. I'm sorry, I don't know what that is in Fahrenheit, but I have posted about it before. And yeah, quick Google search could [chuckles] probably find what that temperature range is. But Dr. Soberg found that, that minimum effective dose with the cold immersion was 11 minutes total per week. That's it. So that means only going in for one to two minutes. I've done baths where I was in there for, like, 20 minutes. [laughs] And what's so cool about the baths is that when you get in the cold water, it's definitely really intense at first. But if you submerge to the neck, like, basically to your chin, you actually activate the brown fat through this process called the turnover, I think, turnover effect, where you activate the brown fat because it is located up around the neck, the clavicle region, and usually within a minute I'm warm. So, once you're in, it's very easy to stay in, the hard part is actually getting out again, because that's when you sort of experience the cold again. But I'm a huge fan of these for so many reasons, like in terms of overall wellness, in terms of supporting mitochondrial health, but in terms of fat burning, I really think there's a lot of actual, legitimate fat burning increase that happens from doing this on a consistent basis. 

And what's amazing is that in some of Dr. Soberg's research, I think she actually mentioned this study in the interview, that there were these patients that had a benign tumor that was causing them to have excessive epinephrine release, and it caused them to grow or basically generate brown fat all over their bodies. So, we can grow it all over the body, not just around the sort of neck area. And we can do it through regular, consistent cold exposure. And over time, you can become cold adapted. I think it's an amazing tool because you're turning fat tissue, which normally is a storage form of energy, into a metabolically active tissue that is now burning energy for you. So, the more you do the cold plunging on a consistent basis, I think you can really ramp up fat burning. I know Tim Ferriss recommended it in his book as a great way to do weight loss, I think two to three times a week. So, 11 minutes total in a week, if you spread that out between two to three cold plunges, like it's only a few minutes at a time, it's really not that much. But I do personally think it can have tremendous benefits on ramping up the fat burning. As long as you're not overcompensating in some other way. It's going to help you burn more calories, not only when you're shivering afterwards and warming back up, but it's also going to make your tissue and your body more metabolically active because you're building more mitochondria in that brown adipose. You're making white adipose more beige, you're converting it to more brown, just like when you work out and build more muscle, you're generating more mitochondria in that tissue. 

Melanie Avalon: Yes. I felt like that was me talking. Like, I cannot agree more with everything that you said. I looked it up, so it's 50 to 60 degrees is what that correlates to. 

Vanessa Spina: Okay, thank you. Yeah, thank you for that. And they said that the research unequivocally shows that cold immersion lowers blood glucose, lowers insulin, which probably helps with leptin, too, lowers blood pressure, which is a huge factor for overall health and cardiometabolic health, and improves brown fat distribution and density. 

Melanie Avalon: It's so interesting because he said-- I think the quote he said and that what Nikki said, is that, "He doesn't think it really moves the needle or nudges the needle." I feel like this is the exact sort of thing that's like nudging the needle. It's like the example of the little thing under the radar that's making long changes. If you're doing it consistently.

Vanessa Spina: I think it's huge. And in terms of the protocol, I just wanted to mention a couple of things. So, you're talking about laying out some kind of protocol. One thing, that I do know about cold exposure -- cold plunging, you should never do it after a resistance training workout because it halts that muscle, sort of the inflammation that happens after doing resistance training that will cause muscle to grow. So, if you are talking about a framework in terms of how to incorporate these different things, I would do it in the morning or any time in the day before you do a workout. And I know that information isn't great because I'm one of those people who loved going in the cold plunge after a workout because you get all hot and sweaty and then you get in the cold plunge. But if you have access to a sauna, that's a great way to warm up and heat up before you get in the cold plunge, which makes it less uncomfortable to do. And in terms of red light, I would either do the red light before a workout to precondition certain areas on the body, if you wanted to do that for like stubborn fat loss or you could do the red light, which I've done many times after a cold plunge, because you get that infrared heat. You're generating all this heat to warm back up, and you have that nice warm, cozy sort of warming light, especially if your panels have infrared, it'll help warm you back up.

Melanie Avalon: To comment on that with the muscle afterwards. It was interesting because Peter did talk about a lot of studies showing a hindrance of sort in growing muscle with the cold like Vanessa was pointing at. He did find one interesting study where they had two groups, some used cold immersion and then some didn't, and all groups did still gain muscle mass and strength, but the cold group gained less than the other group. And the reason I'm bringing in that subtle nuance is I think it depends on your goals. So maybe, if you're doing resistance training and you just feel good having that cold exposure afterwards because of the reduction in delayed onset muscle soreness or how it makes you feel, I think it's possible you could still get some benefits from the resistance training, but it wouldn't be as much as if you had not done the cold. So, I think you have to ask yourself, like, "What do you really want from all this? What is your goal with your muscles? What is your goal with muscle soreness?" If it's just like cardio exercise or something like that, then it's probably fine to do the cold afterwards. So really you just have to see what works for you and what you're hoping to achieve. 

And then two other little things I wanted to point out was, I'm glad you talked about the getting out experience and getting colder. And Huberman talked about that a lot as well. And basically, he said, what's going on there is like Vanessa was saying, so when you get in the cold, all these things are activated to keep you warm, and then all of the blood is going away from your extremities to your core to keep you warm. And then when you get out, all of that blood is now going back to your extremities, and so you actually get a drop in your core temperature after you get out, which is ironic. So that's why you might start shivering after you get out. And then to clarify about the shivering, so when you're doing shivering, that is not what is activating brown adipose tissue or that is not from brown adipose tissue. It kind of activates it in that it sets the pathway for brown adipose tissue to take over but shivering is the mechanical way that your body creates heat and warms you up. Brown adipose tissue is when that fat tissue gets activated and then the mitochondria within the brown adipose tissue is actually generating heat. I actually heard it wasn't on that podcast, but Huberman talked about on some other podcast. He was talking about hacking or tweaking your cold exposure and doing it so that you always, I don't want to say it wrong. It was something about like it's nice if you can get it to where you shiver just a little bit every single time, and then that will give you the maximum benefits probably. I don't remember the specifics about it.

Vanessa Spina: I wonder if in the Attia the study that you mentioned if it was because those people who are doing the resistance training were doing the cold after working out. Because if you do it before or 4 hours after your workout, it shouldn't impact the muscle growth.

Melanie Avalon: So, I have it right here. 24 people on a 12-week lower body strength training program. Half of them did cold water immersion in a bath of 50 degrees for 10 minutes after each training session and the controls didn't do anything. The cold people, they had to wait. They weren't even allowed to rewarm themselves after the cold. They had to wait 2 hours. Both groups did increase muscle mass and strength but the cold-water group didn't get as much. So, like the actual stats were that leg press strength increased by 200 kg in the control group, but in the cold-water group only 133 kg.

Vanessa Spina: See if they did that and they did the cold plunge before the workout or 4 hours after, it may not have negatively affected them. Right?

Melanie Avalon: Right. Yes, my point about it was that I think some people-- like for me, I just like doing it after things like that. But my goal isn't massive muscle gain, but if it were, I would want to do like you said before or way after.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. That totally makes sense.

Melanie Avalon: So awesome. I don't know why he draws that conclusion, honestly.

Vanessa Spina: I'm frustrated with Peter because of his whole podcast recently saying that intermittent fasting causes lean body mass loss and stuff. I don't understand where he's coming from. He was someone who was championing intermittent fasting, and now he seems to have jumped on the-- well, he's been a big influence, too, in sort of interpreting some of these studies, saying intermittent fasting is just as effective as calorie restriction as being a negative when that's the whole beauty of them is that they're just as effective as caloric restriction without having to do the caloric restriction. So, I don't know why he soured on it so much. I think he still does some extended fasting I've heard him talk about. But yeah, I don't know what's going on with some of his opinions right now. And I was disappointed that he was negative on the moving the needle thing because Huberman's interview with Dr. Soberg, to me, just really, she brought up so much of the research showing this side. I don't know, I think maybe it doesn't move the needle if you just do it once a month or something. Right, like, if it's not a consistent practice, 

Melanie Avalon: I agree. And actually, that's a good thing to clarify. So, the 11s minutes per week total, so that's not like one 11-minute session, maybe it could be, but it sounds like it's more multiple, like two to four sessions, one to five minutes each so that consistency. It's kind of like it goes back, brings everything full circle. It's like that CAROL bike. You're getting massive benefits from eight minutes three times a week and they have studies on it. So, I'll be excited-- Robb Wolf as well is not hardcore fasting fan anymore either and he's going to come on our show. I'm so excited. [laughs] 

Vanessa Spina: Yes. He thinks it's bad for telomeres or something. 

Melanie Avalon: I know, for stem cells, he thinks. 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, maybe it was the stem cells. He said, what is it the Hayflick. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, well. The Hayflick limit is telomeres. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. I heard him talk about the Hayflick limit and how he thinks fasting has a negative effect on the telomeres. But I think a lot of information about telomeres is like being debunked. Like, there're theories that it's actually deuterium that makes the telomeres look shorter. Anyway, I'm going on other tangents.

Melanie Avalon: This is why we're friends. [laughs] As I drink my deuterium depleted water. I love it. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. I can't wait to have him back on as well.

Melanie Avalon: It's going to be fun. I think we're supposed to circle back with him in the late summer or early fall. So that'll be fun.

Vanessa Spina: I'm planning on having him and Luis on my podcast as a joint interview.

Melanie Avalon: Have you interviewed Luis? 

Vanessa Spina: I've had him on pretty consistently, about once a year, usually or every other. And I've never interviewed them both at the same time.

Melanie Avalon: That'll be so fun.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. I thought it would be a fun one to do. Yeah, Luis has an amazing story. He went from being anorexic to being this amazing bodybuilder. He was an overweight child, and then he just restricted, and then he didn't eat very much for a long time. He became like skinny fat, and then he really got into fitness, and he's just so fit and really sets a great example, I think. And he's always been someone that I admire for sort of calling out the fact that you don't have to have high ketones to be lean and get good results or burn fat. So, I've always really respected him a lot for that. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I love him. And for listeners, he created the Ketogains community, right? 

Vanessa Spina: Yes. Yeah, huge community.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. And he also is one of the creators of LMNT with Robb as well. Actually, friends, if you listen today's sponsor, LMNT, one of the sponsors that's the electrolytes created by Robb and Luis and people love those electrolytes, so listen to that.

Vanessa Spina: They're so good.

Melanie Avalon: I know, Luis, they specifically formulated it based on the Ketogains community, the ratios that really actually help people with their electrolyte status and their hydration needs and they posit that a lot of reasons people get keto flu is from electrolyte imbalance. So, they're great for the keto diet, for fasting, the unflavored version is clean fast friendly, so listen to the ad. But you can actually get a free gift with purchase if you go to drinklmnt.com/ifpodcast you'll get a sample pack with your order. So that is awesome. Okay, well, all the things.

So for listeners, 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 will be at ifpodcast.com/episode323, and then you can follow us on Instagram. We are @ifpodcast. I am @melanieavalon and Vanessa is @ketogenicgirl. I think that's all the things and I'm hoping-- I think next episode might be a special episode with a guest. He hasn't confirmed, unless he confirmed during this call hopefully, we'll see. [chuckles] We'll find out. So, yes, anything from you, Vanessa, before we go?

Vanessa Spina: I love the deep dive that we got to do on cold plunging. It was so much fun. So, yeah. Thanks again, Nikki, for your question and can't wait for the next one.

Melanie Avalon: I know, me too. I love that you love all of this stuff so much. Just casually throw in their deuterium. [laughs] Good times. Good times. All right, well, have a wonderful evening and I will talk to you next week.

Vanessa Spina: Sounds great. Talk to you next week.

Melanie Avalon: Bye.

Vanessa Spina: Bye.

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

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