Episode 331: Night Shift Work, Quality Sleep During Daylight, Melatonin, Red Light Exposure, Sugar Free Kids, Greenwashing, And More!

Intermittent Fasting


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Aug 20

Welcome to Episode 325 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: Kaila - My questions are regarding night shift work

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Controlled light exposure and intermittent fasting as treatment strategies for metabolic syndrome and gut microbiome dysregulation in night shift workers 

Sleep quality among shift-work nurses: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Effects of 2-hour nighttime nap on melatonin concentration and alertness during 12-hour simulated night work

Effects of melatonin administration on daytime sleep after simulated night shift work

Melatonin treatment of pediatric residents for adaptation to night shift work 

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Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 331 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 331 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with Vanessa Spina.

Vanessa Spina: Hi, everybody.

Melanie Avalon: How are you today, Vanessa?

Vanessa Spina: I am doing awesome. How are you?

Melanie Avalon: I'm good. I have an exciting announcement about something I'm very excited about. 

Vanessa Spina: You tell.

Melanie Avalon: Well, two things. So, two things. One is this is actually and people can listen to the ad in the episode to get the full details today. If you're listening today, is the last time that you can get a for life subscription, grandfathered in for 25% off for life for my Magnesium Nightcap, which is magnesium threonate, a special type of magnesium that crosses the blood brain barrier, helps with memory, mood, sleep, relaxation. I take it every single night. And basically, when we launch-- I'm so excited for you to launch your products, Vanessa, and experience this whole subscription thing. I don't want to assume that you're going to do it the way I do it. When we launch the subscriptions, we do this fun thing where if you opt-in during the launch period, you get grandfathered into this massive discount for life, and as long as you keep the subscription, you keep that discount. So, it's super fun. 

And by the way, you can always pause your subscription at any time, so it's not like you're hardcore committing for all of the commitment-phobic people. So, yeah. So, for that, just go to avalonx.us to sign up. And if you're listening after the 21st sad day, [chuckles] you can still get a discount with a subscription, but that 25% off will have passed. So hopefully you were on my email list and got the updates or the text updates. So that's avalonx.us/emaillist and texting AvalonX to 877-8618-318, which also gets you a 20% off coupon code. Vanessa, do you text updates for people? 

Vanessa Spina: Ahh, I'm working on some, but I mostly do email. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. That's like a newer thing for me. I really-- I like it. 

Vanessa Spina: I got really excited about it a while back, but I think because I'm in Europe, I just haven't been taking full advantage of it. And also, I don't like asking people for too much personal info. [chuckles] I'm just like, "Let's stick to email." But I know it's great. 

Melanie Avalon: The way I see it is I figure it's completely opt-in. I'm not forcing people, but it's really nice because you can do it all. And I'm sure you saw this. You do it all online through websites. But here's the second announcement that I'm so, so excited about. So excited about this. Okay, so, friends, as you know, I love clothing. I love wearing black dresses. I love wearing new black dresses all the time. I've been haunted by this for so long because I know it's not sustainable and not great for the planet that I buy so many new clothes all the time. Like it's just bad. It's one of the habits that I really do feel bad about. So now, I have a little bit of a solution that I'm very excited. Are you familiar with companies, Vanessa, like, Rent the Runway? 

Vanessa Spina: I've definitely heard of it, and I think it's great to be eco-conscious, and there's so much waste in fast fashion. So, I definitely think they're great services. 

Melanie Avalon: So, I agree. [chuckles] So it's not Rent the Runway. It's something I like even better. It's called melanieavalonscloset.com. I'm just so excited about this. So, the way it works, by the way, friends, if you sign up, you get the first month free, unlimited clothes. Unlimited clothes. So, the way it works, you sign up, you get an account, and they have different plans. So, like, two pieces of clothing at a time, four, six, eight, I think. Although, I have a little secret that I'll share about how you can get more than that. So, say you sign up for the two pieces at a time, then they have hundreds of brands, maybe not hundreds. There's probably, like, 100 brands on the website, including my favorite BCBG. And it's just this revolving amazing collection of the newest clothes, all the colors, all the styles, and it's unlimited. So, for one monthly cost, which, honestly, I am not making this up, is less than what a lot of people would pay on, like, one dress. You get unlimited clothes. 

So, you look through everything that you like, you pick what you want, they send the clothes to you, wear them, wear them as long as you want. And then when you want new ones, you send them back, they send you more. And it's just a revolving basis. It's so easy to send back. So, when they send you the clothing, it comes already with a return, pre-stamped, prepaid envelope. So, when you're done, you just stick the clothes in the bag, drop it off at the post office. You don't even have to go to this talk to somebody at the counter. You can just drop it in the box, and then they'll send you the new one. And then that's the little hack. So, if you do the two-piece option, the way it works is you have an account and so you have your virtual closet online of all the things you're thinking of ordering and the things that are coming. So, the second they send it, you click return already, even though you don't have it yet. And they'll go ahead and send you two more. It's a little hack. So don't tell anybody that I told you guys that. So, if you get the two plan, you actually can have four pieces of clothing at one time. But just as a-- well, something really important about it.

My one reservation was, I was looking at the site and it was going on and on about how clean it is and like, dry cleaning. And I was like, "Dry cleaning, huh? That's a problem," [chuckles] because of toxins we don't want to have all of that. So, I emailed them because there wasn't really any information about what they use. So, I emailed them and so, they are professionally dry cleaned, but they only use detergents that are free from dyes and scents. They don't use any harsh compounds or chemicals, and they use low temperature cycles. So, I was so thrilled to read that that it's not like this super toxic mesh of washing that they're doing. So, you can feel good about that. Friends, I'm just so obsessed. It's been really helpful for me recently because as you guys know, my whole wardrobe is basically black. Like, it's all black dresses. And I really want to go see the Barbie movie. Have you seen Barbie, Vanessa?

Vanessa Spina: No, but I'm really, really excited to go see it.

Melanie Avalon: Me too. And I was like, "What am I going to wear?" Because I don't have any-- I used to have, like, all pink clothing, but I left that phase of my life. So, [chuckles] I was like, "What am I going to wear? Oh, wait, let me go to melanieavalonscloset.com and check." And they had so many cute, incredible pink dresses and outfits. And I'm kind of convinced that maybe that's Barbie infiltrating into like the culture.

Vanessa Spina: Barbiecore. 

Melanie Avalon: Yes, yes. So, I ordered quite a few options. And so now I'm going to have my outfit for when I go see Barbie. And I didn't have to buy anything new. I know I'm just going to wear it once, but it's super sustainable. I can wear it then I send it back. And then I can go back to my black dresses ordering from them. I'm so excited. Again, you can get a free full month, so you have literally nothing to lose, like free clothes for a month, friends, melanieavalonscloset.com. And then after that, it's super, super affordable. I'm very excited. If this is something that you're interested in, Vanessa, I can connect you to them because I just think it's so cool.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. That's super exciting. It probably won't work for me because I'm in Europe. But anyway, right now [laughs] I'm just wearing a lot of Lululemon Align leggings because those are the good ones for pregnancy. [laughs] They stretch, I wore them the entire time up until like 42 weeks last time, and they are so buttery soft. I pretty much just live in these and like, big dresses. Although I'm not at that point yet, we're only around 20 weeks. But yeah, I don't think I'm going to be wearing a [laughs] lot of exciting clothing until postpartum maybe next summer, it'll be something for me to look into.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness. I can't do leggings.

Vanessa Spina: No.

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm.

Vanessa Spina: I'm wearing them today, actually, because we've had a little bit of cooler weather. And normally I'm wearing shorts right now, but, yeah, shorts and dresses or like shorts with dresses sometimes. But I'm wearing them today because we've had some cooler days and I'm like, "This is what fall and winter are going to be like for me, because I'm just going to be in leggings all the time." But, yeah, I find them super comfortable. I'm also, like a big yoga person, and so it's kind of infiltrated all my clothing is like the athleisure.

Melanie Avalon: Okay, wait, I have comments. One, yeah, I can't do pants or leggings. It's so [laughs] constricting. 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, I like that feeling.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, I shudder.

Vanessa Spina: I like really tight clothing.

Melanie Avalon: I can do tight. I like tight dresses.

Vanessa Spina: Hmm-hm. Similar. But, yeah. 

Melanie Avalon: But I don't even like it. I tolerate it because I like the way it looks aesthetically. Like I said, I went and saw Wicked recently. I got the most incredible gorgeous gown, and it was like a corset, and I was corseted up. My date was like-- Okay, [laughs] so it's like 100 degrees here in Atlanta. No, it's not 100 degrees. It's like in the 90s and so I'm going to theater at 06:00 and he texted and was like, "Do you want to meet outside theater? We can go in together." And I was like, "No, [laughs] I will not be doing that. I'll meet you inside." [laughs] It was a hard no. You got to have your boundaries. Do you remember the phase, it was very brief, it was like a passing moment in time of wearing dresses over jeans. 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, yeah, for sure. And dresses over pants. And dresses over pants that were like boot cut, which are back in now, like flared. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, flared jeans. 

Vanessa Spina: I loved flared pants. And I had a pair of black guest pants that were flared. I just love them so much. And, yeah, I would wear dresses on top. And I thought it was so cute, and I still think it's really cute. Actually, a lot of people in Czech for some reason in Prague wear skirts or dresses over their pants. So, either they're still in that time or they're like in the future, because sometimes Europe is a little bit ahead of the game usually with fashion, so it may be making a comeback [laughs] that’s what I mean.

Melanie Avalon: I love that. I feel like it was like a brief at least I'm remembering it. I feel like it was like a briefer period of time, but I was like all about it. This is really not important, but the pant loathing, I literally-- I tolerate it now. There was a period of time where I would not, like as a child, would not, I hated jeans. Hated pants, hated them. They were the worst thing in all of existence. And then I had a paradigm shift moment where I was like, "I can wear these. I can do this." And then I got really excited because I'd been longingly looking at my peers wearing jeans and was like, "What is it like to wear jeans?" And so, then I had this moment where I tolerated it and started wearing them again. And that's when I would try those styles. I wanted to explain how I know about wearing things over pants when I said I don't wear pants. But now we're back to no pants.

Vanessa Spina: We are so similar. I've totally gone through, like I remember for years, going through years where I just didn't wear jeans at all. And people were like, "Why don't you wear jeans?" "I don't know. I just don't really wear pants."

Melanie Avalon: Did you not like how they felt? Or did you just not like--

Vanessa Spina: I don't know what it was. But I remember distinctly that when I was a little girl, I would go through phases where I would tell my mom, like, "I'm only wearing dresses." And then I'd be like, "I'm only wearing pants." [laughs] So it's something that started at a really young age. Now I kind of incorporate all of it. And for a while, just like you, I also wore a black dress every day, I had like 12 of them. And it was my uniform. I posted about it. I have a uniform because Albert Einstein.

Melanie Avalon: Decision fatigue.

Vanessa Spina: Oh, yeah. All these different people saved their decision-making ability by not having to choose what to wear. And so, I was like, "I'm just going to wear a uniform." But now I like color, something shifted in me. We talked about this before, maybe since Luca. I don't know what is, but I am embracing color more [laughs] and all kinds of different styles and things that there was a couple years maybe right before I had Luca, where I was just wearing the black dress every day. And I like switching it up now. And I don't know what causes these shifts or what, but I do know that it started really young for me that I would have those phases.

Melanie Avalon: I love that so much. And appropriately enough, every time I post, like, a non-black dress, everybody gets so excited on Instagram. And I'm like, "Oh, man." So that's what happened with Wicked is like, I wore a green dress because I saw it twice. I wore it the first time, and I was going to wear a black dress the second time, but the response to the green was so supportive and overwhelming. I was like, "Okay, I got to do another green dress."

Vanessa Spina: I love green. Like, emerald green, forest green. It's one of my favorite colors to wear. Like, I've got a bunch of yoga pants in that color and tops, and it's really flattering. I think maybe with blonde; it's really flattering.

Melanie Avalon: So that's the thing. And that's where I was going with this. The reason I have to wear black, the main reason is because of the hair, because it contrasts a blonde, and so it makes your blonde look like fuller. And I'm convinced I only have good hair days with black dresses. And so last night, my pre bed contemplation what I was contemplating-- do they do Halloween? We talked about this. Do they do Halloween in Prague? 

Vanessa Spina: It's a mix. Yeah, they're doing it more and more now.

Melanie Avalon: Like, dress up and everything.

Vanessa Spina: Mm-hmm.

Melanie Avalon: Okay, good. So, last night, I was like, "What am I going to be for Halloween this year?" And I was, like, thinking of all the different blondes and what outfits they wear, because I really want to be Princess Odette from this one princess, but she wears a white dress. I can't wear a white dress.

Vanessa Spina: White is really flattering too on blonde, I find.

Melanie Avalon: It's like the same color as the hair, so you don't get the contrast. So, it makes your hair look like less. 

Vanessa Spina: No, I think white is, like, one of the most flattering colors on me, anyway. I don't know. It might be the same for you. You got to try it out. White is very flattering on people. Think about wedding dresses. Women look their best. 

Melanie Avalon: Well, that's a problem. It's another reason I can't get married. 

Vanessa Spina: You can do a different color. You could do a black one or a green one. 

Melanie Avalon: I probably would. I might go the Sleeping Beauty route or, like, get a wig and do something crazy. 

Vanessa Spina: That's fun. 

Melanie Avalon: Do you know what you would want to be? 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, I'm trying to think what I did last year. A lot of times I just go for Cats [laughs] because it's so easy. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, my God. It's like Mean Girls. Have you seen Mean Girls? 

Vanessa Spina: Yes. I don't remember that reference, but I just make the nose and the whiskers, and I put cat ears on, and I'm good, and I'm in a black dress, and I'm like, "I'm good to go." Last year we did--

Melanie Avalon: Wait, wait, you could be Catwoman. You could wear the tight bodysuit.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. Well, last year we did a cat theme. We went to a Halloween party here with some friends, and so I got Pete a full lion costume, which I was so proud of him because he fully owned it, fully wore it. Luca was a little lion, and I did a cheetah thing, so I had like cheetah ears and a cheetah dress. And it was so fun and cute and, yeah, it was great for the party, but their place is not that far from us. It's only like a couple of tram stops away. So, we just take the stroller, get on the tram, then you don't have to do the whole car parking, everything. And so many people were staring at us because it's like people are doing it more and more here now, but it's not fully, it's they're being influenced more and more, but still everyone was staring at us, seriously. And Pete was just like owning it. He was in the full lion. And I think he had a beer in his hand as we went down there too. So, it was kind of funny picture, but, yeah, we were cat family, a little pride.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, my gosh, that's amazing. I think the way to my heart is like, a man who would dress up like that and own it.

Vanessa Spina: Oh, yeah. I was so impressed. He's pretty good with stuff like that. And I think it helps that it was for Luca, you know what I mean? Like we rely in like family, cat family. So, I think that made it like it made him want to do it because I don't know if he would have done it, but we did Cleopatra one year. I was Cleopatra, and he did like a-- it was like not Caesar, but he was like a Egyptian God or something like that. And we went out downtown Colorado. That one was fun. We've done a few fun couple costumes. Yeah. I revert to the cat family a lot because it's like the easiest thing to throw together. If you have cat ears in your closet and you have a black eyeliner, it's like you're done.

Melanie Avalon: You're good. It's amazing.

Vanessa Spina: And always looks cute. 

Melanie Avalon: I'm feeling Catwoman for you.

Vanessa Spina: Oh, okay.

Melanie Avalon: Because she wears that bodysuit which you're like all about. 

Vanessa Spina: [laughs] Latex. I need to get latex. 

Melanie Avalon: Yes. Oh, my goodness. Yeah. I would like to be Cinderella before the dress. The issue is she wears her hair up, and I don't have the confidence to do that.

Vanessa Spina: I almost did Cinderella instead of the cat thing, I was like, "Okay, Pete, you be Prince Charming, I'll be Cinderella." And, yeah, I didn't like how the hair was up either. Pete was just not into the Prince Charming costume, he was no. [laughs] So we went with the lions. 

Melanie Avalon: It's so funny. Oh, my goodness.

Vanessa Spina: It's blue. I love that color. Blue too.

Melanie Avalon: Me too. So, like, literally last night I was laying there, I was like, "Can I be Cinderella with my hair down?" 

Vanessa Spina: You should be a princess, like at Disney. A lot of people do that or you should have been maybe when you were in California. I feel that would have suited you well.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, at Disney.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, oh. Okay, sorry. [chuckles] I was like in life? 


Vanessa Spina: At the grocery store.

Melanie Avalon: I'm not tall enough. I'm only tall enough for-- trust me I have gone down-- I went down that rabbit hole. 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, do you have to be a certain height? They have a height requirement?

Melanie Avalon: I could have only been Alice or Tinker Bell.

Vanessa Spina: Aww, Tink. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: Who wears her hair up.

Vanessa Spina: Alice. Okay, I could see that too, yeah.

Melanie Avalon: I think they have to be-- All the Disney people are going to fact check me on this. It's either five-- I think you're tall enough.

Vanessa Spina: I love that you went down this route. I'm like, "This would be the perfect thing for you." Of course, you must have thought of it.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, yes. No, I definitely did. Oh, okay. So, oh-- I could be Mulan. Wait-- I do not know if this is accurate. This says you can be 5'3" to 5'7" for Cinderella. Well, I'm not sure, I just know when I looked up-- [laughs] I just know back in the day, I felt like I was not the correct height for the main princesses.

Vanessa Spina: You got Halloween. So, you know--

Melanie Avalon: And last night I was, like, reflecting with gratitude. I was, like, contemplating Halloween. I was like, "How wonderful is it that in our world we have this day where we come together as adults and we all agree to dress up and pretend to be something." Like, "How cool is that?" It's really cool. 

Vanessa Spina: When I was little, it was my favorite holiday because of all the candy. [laughs] Yeah, I loved Halloween. So, I still have to figure out what we're going to do with Luca because he doesn't eat sugar. I make him-- we avoid sugar as much as possible, especially the first two years. So, yeah. I don't know, it's tricky. [laughs] Trick or treat. It's very tricky.

Melanie Avalon: It is tricky. Has he had a moment where he had a conventional candy?

Vanessa Spina: No. And actually last night, Pete randomly pulled out some of my dark chocolate with stevia. I don't know why, but he was eating some on the couch and I was like, "You know Luca was asking to have some." And I've given him that before at birthday parties when other kids are having the cake like, I'll give him some Lily's Chocolates and he loves it because he's having a treat with everyone else, he's like bonding. If I haven't made something like I did for his birthday, I'll make things that are naturally sweetened or whatever. But he has never had a standard candy with sugar or anything. And I really felt strongly about that, especially the first few years of protecting them from sugar because there's a nurse in Sweden, I don't know if you've ever heard of her, called Bitten Jonsson, and she is an educator on addiction. And she gave some really amazing seminars. We were both speaking at this conference, Low Carb Universe Conference in Spain together, and she talked about how the sugar when you're little, if you're consuming a lot of sugar, which tons of kids do, it creates this pathway in the brain that later on can make people more susceptible to other addictions.

She's a nurse as well and an educator, and she really does amazing work. But she said if you at least try to stay away from it for the first couple of years, then it won't have the same effect. So, she showed all this amazing research how that pathway would get lit up by sugar, it would then sort of lay the groundwork for alcohol addictions or every kind of addiction because that pathway would be sort of like set up from a really young age.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, I definitely believe that. And, see, that's something I wish more parents knew, because maybe they're-- and again, not that we ever really want to have our kids exposed in large amounts of these foods, but I can see how it would be really overwhelming for new parents, like, "Oh, I'm not going to be able to enforce this on my child for a long time." But knowing that, well, at least those first few years where you really are making all of the decisions and they're like, "You are making the decisions," and you can do that. 

Vanessa Spina: I've been really impressed since having Luca and being in a lot of mom communities and groups here how many people also don't give their kids sugar and they're not doing any kind of similar lifestyle to me, not even close. But it's like they know. I'll just meet people randomly and they'll be like, "Oh, I made banana bread, but don't worry, it has no sugar." Like, "No sugar for the kids." So, I'm like, "Okay." This is permeated to larger society. It's not just in the low-carb or paleo or keto or whatever health space. It seems to be a thing that a lot of people know. I can't say that's the case for everyone, but, yeah, I think it's really important information. So, it's the same with screen time. There's a certain period of time, the first couple of years where they're really the most susceptible to those kinds of things.

Melanie Avalon: And to that point, just a little quick PSA about greenwashing. The other night, I wanted to talk about this on the podcast, so this is a perfect segue to it. I was looking at, I think I've talked about this before on this show. I don't eat any of these foods. I like reading about them. It's kind of like how people watching cooking shows and stuff. It makes me sound-- I say it so hesitantly because it makes me sound crazy. Like, "Oh, she reads about the food that she doesn't eat." That's very disordered sounding, but it's because I have so much nostalgia and memory around all these things. So, I like looking at pictures of different cakes and stuff, but I don't actually eat any of them. And sometimes I'll look at like, "Oh, how would I make this?" I'll look up recipes for-- you were talking about making it with stevia, like how would I make it with more healthy ingredients? So, in any case, I came across this brand. I love looking at unicorn themed foods and magical looking foods.

So, I found this brand, and they had a unicorn themed snack thing. And the name of the brand is very encouraging and motivating, and it's about good things and the name of the brand, it's a celebrity brand. And then I was looking at this unicorn bar and all of the things it said, and it said, like, "Full serving of fruits and vegetables, 8 grams of sugar or less, only 80 calories, allergy tested, so it's great for your kids as a lunch item." I'm like, "Oh, this is so great." Like, fruits and vegetables, unicorns' sprinkles. And then I looked at the ingredients. [chuckles] Literally, these are the ingredients. One, rice and then in parentheses, which is rice, brown sugar, salt. Okay, so we already have sugar as the second ingredient. Second ingredient-- because that was in parentheses. Second actual ingredient, glucose syrup. Okay, so another sugar, third ingredient, sugar. Fourth ingredient, shortening, which is palm oil and canola oil. Fifth ingredient, sprinkle, which includes sugar. [laughs] I was like, "Oh, my gosh. It is literally rice, sugar, salt, sugar, sugar, fat, fat, sugar, fat, fat, cornstarch colors." That is the ingredient list.

Vanessa Spina: It makes me so enraged. Like, Scott and I were just talking about that on the last episode, about how many products will say certain things on the front. But then when you check the ingredients, it's like a complete opposite of what they're saying on the front of the package, but that people trust companies to not lie to them. So, they're like, "Oh, if you say it's this, I'll believe you," but you really have to look at the ingredients, because I would say, like, 7 or 8 times out of 10, it's nothing like what they say on the front. And it's so crazy to me, and it makes me so infuriated and the number of people who are eating things that they don't realize because they trust what the front packaging says. And, yeah, we were just talking about this on the last episode, the episode of the podcast that he was on, because it's wild. Like, what people get away with.

Melanie Avalon: It's crazy because literally, the front says fruit and veggies in every bite. Full serving of vegetables. And I'm looking at the ingredients, I'm like, "Where are the vegetables?"

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, where are they hiding? 

Melanie Avalon: Where? Is it the rice? 

Vanessa Spina: Make it make sense. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: So, like, way down in the list, after natural flavor, listeners are probably familiar, but it goes in order of concentration. So, when you're, like, at the end, you're like, barely anything there. So, way at the end, it has fruit and vegetable blend as almost the last ingredient. And then it lists, like, apple extract, onion extract. Is that the fruit and veggies? 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, it's like a sprinkling. [laughs] It's really upsetting. 

Melanie Avalon: It's mind blowing.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. We were just talking about that and how it'll say avocado oil mayo and then you read the ingredients and the first three are like canola oil, this oil, that oil. Or like we were talking about with protein powder, it'll say whey protein isolate. And you turn it around, the main and first ingredient is whey protein concentrate and then a bunch of other fillers. And then, oh, yeah, we sprinkled it a little Whey Protein Isolate, but we're calling it Whey Protein Isolate on the front. And it's crazy, you just have to advocate for yourself. You have to read the ingredients if you're buying anything that has packaging, you really have to because for some reason, you can say a whole bunch of stuff on the front and then actually have completely different ingredients. 

Melanie Avalon: It's such a problem. Was it Gabrielle's book? Gabrielle Lyon's book? Have you finished reading her book? 

Vanessa Spina: I haven't yet. No.

Melanie Avalon: I think it was her-- yeah, it is her book. I learned something in her book that I did not know, which was about the regulation differences between foods like meat, dairy, eggs, like whole foods basically compared to packaged foods. And so, it's like two different industries. And so basically the packaged food people can make all of these health claims and they can make anti claims against the meat and dairy industry and even like produce, the whole food side of things, they can't make claims, at least not to that extent.

Vanessa Spina: It's such a crazy double standard.

Melanie Avalon: It's like so crazy. It's like the actual [laughs] healthy foods, they can't really say they're healthy-- Oh, the reason behind it, now it's coming back to me. The reason behind it is because it's set up differently for the competition. This is so fascinating because the meat and dairy industry is not brand driven and I'm probably not telling this exactly the way it is, but this is the general vibe because they're not like-- I mean, there are brands, but there's not like one brand that's trying to be the thing. They work as a collective. So, the meat industry will promote the meat industry rather than promote one brand and the dairy industry promotes-- that's why you have the vague Got Milk campaign rather than for one milk brand. So that's why they have these laws. It's so that one "producer" can't compete with another producer. It's well intentioned, it's so that they all support each other. But the way it manifests is they can't make claims, like health claims. Isn't that so interesting? 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. It's so crazy. And it kind of reminds me of the double standard with research. Like if you are doing non sponsored, non-corporate sponsored research, you have to report everything. But then if you're doing corporately sponsored research, like if a fast-food company or a big brand that makes sugar drinks is sponsoring a study, they can choose whether to publish or not publish the findings if the findings don't line up with what they want to sell. Whereas if it's non-sponsored, non-corporate, then you have to publish everything. [chuckles] They can hide things. They can suppress things. The double standards make me so angry. [laughs] That's why different forms like long form media, like podcasts, make me so excited. And I know it's the same for you because we can actually get into these topics more deeply. 

We can talk about what does the research actually say beyond the clickbait headline, what's actually happening here. And the long form media is the only way to really get into these topics in a deep way, because so much content is just like for clicks, and clickbait and everything and it just drives these messages that certain companies and brands want to get across. Podcasting is like, to me, one of the antidotes to all the misinformation out there, especially when you can really dive deep and you can talk to experts who can help illuminate things and people like Dr. Gabrielle Lyon, she's been become such an amazing advocate for protein and also just like shedding light on topics that are difficult to talk about sometimes.

Melanie Avalon: I agree so much and I think it's really inspiring because I do get concerned and you referenced it just now, but the attention span of us modern humans, we have such a small attention span and can only look at really quick things. I think it's in favor of humanity that people still listen to podcasts and will listen to a long episode. It gives me faith in humanity. 

Vanessa Spina: Absolutely.

Melanie Avalon: On that note, 40 minutes into our show. [laughs] Shall we answer some listener questions? 

Vanessa Spina: Yes, I would love to. And it's been good just like catching up with you a little bit. I feel like we needed to do that as well. But, yeah, I'm excited to dig into some questions. 

Melanie Avalon: So, would you like to read our question from Kayla? 

Vanessa Spina: So, our first question is from Kayla Party and she says, "Hi, Melanie and Vanessa. Thank you both for all of the research and time you both give to the health and wellness space. I have learned so much from you both. My questions are regarding night shift work. I have been working night shift as a nurse for the last six years. I also had my three babies." Wow. Congratulations. "Ages five years to four months during this time. I'm getting ready to go back to work after my most recent baby and would love any tips you might have for getting sleep during the day. My room is very dark. I use white noise and earplugs and take magnesium and melatonin prior. I know this is not ideal in general and hope to get a day shift position soon, but any tips in the meantime would be great. Also, since I am sleeping during the days, would using a red light be beneficial? Oh, and I know everyone is talking about morning light right now, but is this helpful before I go to sleep or should I avoid light before sleep? Should I wait to get a lot of daylight in the afternoon when I wake would that have the same effect? Thank you so much. Kayla."

Melanie Avalon: All right, Kayla. Thank you so much for your question. And like Vanessa said, congratulations on your babies. And also thank you for what you do with your night shift work just as a gratitude moment for all of the night shift workers out there because it's necessary for our world and think about how much happens with night shift workers. And I don't even like saying it because I don't like putting negative spin in people's heads about things. But there's so many studies on the negative health effects of night shift work, it's pretty shocking all the conditions it's linked to, especially metabolic dysfunction. So, thank you to the night shift workers who do those jobs for us and experience the potential physical negative health effects from that. So, to answer your question, Kayla, I did a lot of research on this. Okay, to start things off, I want to say there's a lot of studies on night shift work and how bad it is for your sleep. 

That said, I encourage you above all else to not let that saturate your mindset because that's pretty much the worst thing you can do to not sleep is to be stressed about not sleeping. That is just going to make it worse. So, I encourage you and all night shift workers to have an empowered mindset about what can you do to take charge of your sleep. And maybe even on the flip side, think about all the people who don't sleep well anyways and they're not night shift working. You as a night shift worker can be so in tune with your sleep and really get a pattern that works for you that A, I think you can combat it and get decent sleep. I'm going to talk about different ways. And then B, you can maintain these sleep skills for life. So, empowerment moment for you. So, we have circadian rhythms in our body. We have clocks all throughout our body that determine our rhythms, and in general, they are informed by the rotation of the Earth. So, we are in line with this 24 hours-ish rotation of the Earth. And for the normal person, that's going to be determined by typical light and dark cycles as it is outside. And then we live in accordance with that and that also relates to our eating, which can affect it. 

There are these things called zeitgebers, which I think is such a fun word and it's basically all of the different cues that inform the circadian rhythm. So again, light is a very prominent one, but also things like temperature affects it, eating affects it. So, I'm going to talk about how you can maybe use food and fasting to help with all of this. When that gets disrupted, it's called chronodisruption and it's just not good for you [chuckles] health wise. And that's what can happen with shift work. So there have been a lot of different ways that they've looked at for people to combat the issues with shift work, which is there are a few different issues. One, it messes up your sleep when you do get it during the daylight hours. And then B, people while they're working there are issues with having fatigue or lack of alertness because it's during a time when they should be sleeping. So, one strategy, and this is to enhance alertness while you're in the shift. And this is something that I realize is probably not practical for most people, but maybe some people. The research does suggest that if you can have a nap break, again, I don't even know how this would be possible for people in a shift work situation. But if you can have a single nap break for two hours in the middle of your shift, that actually helps with alertness in the second part of the shift. So that is an option that I realize is not very accessible. 

So, beyond that, the sleeping around, it basically what you need to do is you need to find the pattern that works for you and it's going to be different for different people. What's probably important, like finding the pattern that works and then sticking to it consistently while you're doing the night shift. So, for some people, what that is, there's three basic options. 

One option is you get done from your shift, you immediately go to bed, you get your eight hours, you wake up and then you're awake for a bit and then you go into work. That's one option. Second option is you get back, you stay up, so you keep going with your "day." And then you go to bed like eight hours before your shift is going to start again. And then you wake up and then go to your shift, so that's the second option. Third option, some people come back, sleep, wake up, do stuff during the day, go back to sleep and then go to their shift. And so again, different strategies but experiment and try to find the one that works for you and then stick to it because what you want to do, you want to give your new circadian rhythm, a rhythm that works so you're not constantly changing all the time because that's what's even worse for your health, your metabolic health, your sleep, all the things, find the one that works for you in the shift. You want to actually-- I know it's during the night, but you actually want to stimulate daytime because you want to tell your body that this is like daytime, this is when I'm awake. So, this is actually when you would want to be exposed to blue light and things like that. But then when you're getting to the end of your shift and you're going to go into your wind down mode, that's when you want to start being very intense with having a pattern that will tell your body that it's going to be, "sleeping time," "night," even though it's not. 

So, Kayla, you say you're going back to work, so I'm assuming you're going in somewhere for this shift. I would start the-- depending on what you're doing, if you decide that you want to sleep immediately after the shift, I would start that wind-down routine, like on the way back. So, get a pair of blue light blocking glasses. Definitely get a pair of blue light blocking glasses. And when you are going back, put them on-- especially because you're going to be combating the daylight and you need to actually be telling your body to be winding down. So blue light blocking glasses, we love Bon Charge. I love bond charge. You can go to boncharge.com and the coupon code IFPODCAST will get you a discount. So definitely get some of those. Have a very intense wind-down routine that is telling your body that it's time to go to sleep. And I was reading about this, this is interesting. I've experienced this. I have a very intense wind-down routine. I do it every single night. It's multifactored. I use all Joovv red light therapy devices to create red light in my apartment. I have blue light blocking glasses on, I have the screens that block the red light from my devices. I go to YouTube and they have these different frequency wind down tracks. I use one called Love Frequency and it's so calming. I put that on and that's like my wind-down routine. And then I actually have my evening meal, which helps me further wind down. And I can initiate this wind down pattern pretty much at any time and will fall asleep. 

So even if I'm going to bed later that night or going to bed earlier, I can start the routine and then I will pretty much be good to go at a certain time later. And the thing that I learned that lined up with that is that it's not so much the amount of time spent in each phase of your wind down, it's the order. It's the order and doing that order. So, if you can create a wind-down routine that includes a shower, maybe like journaling, having your blue light blocking glasses, maybe eating, I'll talk about that. And even if it's like crunched because you get back later than normal, as long as you're implementing that order, you can teach your brain to wind down. And so that's what I meant earlier about you can get some pretty cool sleep skills that you're going to be able to maintain for life. 

As far as melatonin supplementation so the cool thing about melatonin, and I know this is debated and some people will disagree with me on this. I think it's a really cool tool in your arsenal for something like this because melatonin basically tells your brain that it is time to go to sleep. It doesn't help you stay asleep. So, it's not super hardcore going to benefit you with the sleep at length and quality, but it's going to help with that initiation of like we are now shutting down, which is hard to do when it's daylight outside. So that's why I think melatonin can be a great supplement for this and it's cleared pretty rapidly after release, so you don't have to worry so much about it having long term lasting negative effects. You can really use it as like a tool is my point. And I did find studies on this so I will put links to them in the show notes. I found studies on melatonin supplementation in night workers. 

And this is weird, I'm not really sure what's going on here, but in one study, they found that melatonin for night shift workers, that it helped them with their daytime sleep, but only on the first day that they used it, which that doesn't sound very helpful. I just have questions, because that's very odd to me. But they did find that it helped more people who demonstrated difficulty sleeping, they found melatonin more helpful, and of importance, they didn't have any hangover effects from melatonin administration. And then the conclusion was they said that although melatonin can help night workers obtain more sleep during the day, they're still likely to face difficulties working at night because of circadian rhythm misalignment. So, melatonin might help you sleep during the day but that doesn't get rid of the issues of the night shift work in general. There was another study I found, and this was also in night shift workers, they found a 20% reduction in circadian misalignment when people used exogenous melatonin. And this was all chronotypes. So, this was cool because they looked at the different chronotypes. So basically, people who are like night people versus morning people, they found melatonin for all of them helped 20% with the circadian issues. So, I would use melatonin, I would use it before you have your sleep period. 

And then on the food side of things, I actually think if you can find a pattern that works for you that using fasting and your meal is a great way to help create the rhythm that you want to have. And what I mean by that is we see there's a lot of studies with jetlag and fasting and using fasting with travel. And then you go and you eat, like, basically, you travel while fasted. And then when you get to your new location, you eat your meal in timing with the meal of that new location. And that helps sort of like reset your rhythm. I think that you could use this for night shift work. So basically, creating a pattern where, and again, it's going to depend what type of fasting you do and what meal works for you. But for me, I sleep really well after eating, that's what tells me it's time to sleep. So, if I was doing night shift work, what I would do, is I would do the shift, I would come back, I would eat, and I would use that meal as a way to tell my body that we're going to bed. 

I have not been a night shift worker, but I did spend six months doing background on a lot of movies and television shows. And we would have night shoots, which is basically like night shift work. And when we would do that, I would use my fasting and my eating window to deal with it. So basically, I would get back during the day from a night shift and I would eat my dinner [chuckles] because I've been doing intermittent fasting one meal a day. So, I would still eat my big dinner and then I would just crash and it kind of convinced my body that was like my normal night. And then I would wake up and then go to the night shoot. So, if you can find a fasting and eating pattern that kind of helps and train the rhythm that you want, I think that could be a very powerful tool. And then also just any other modalities that you can implement to help with your sleep. So, there was a 2020 review on night shift work and using aromatherapy, and they did conclude that aromatherapy likely has benefits for sleep with night shift work. So that's something to consider if there's like an essential oil that works for you. I know for me lavender has a very calming effect. I like using that. I would definitely get my Magnesium Nightcap. Shout out, today's the last day that you can get a subscription. 

Again, that's a magnesium threonate that crosses the blood brain barrier and helps with relaxation, rest, sleep and mood. So that's at avalonx.us, you can get a 25% off for life subscription right now. If it's after that, you can use the coupon code MELANIEAVALON for 10% off. And then your actual sleep environment, it sounds like Kayla, you're doing all the things. Very dark room is very important, white noise, earplugs. You take magnesium. If you're not taking the Magnesium Nightcap, definitely get that one. You're taking the melatonin, temperature is important you want a cool room. So, if you can turn down the AC, if you can get a chilling mattress, I love chilly sleep, their OOLER. It's a game changer for me for sleeping. That's something to consider. I do have a code for them. I think this is the code, but I might have to double check and put in the show notes. I think it's MA25 for 25% off the Cube and MA15 for 15% off the OOLER. But again, I will confirm and put the correct codes in the show notes. So that's something to consider. 

Oh, and then one last thing. I was reading as part of your wind-down routine. So, people often will talk about journaling and things like that. It's been shown that it's more helpful instead of journaling about what you did that day to make a worry list or a to-do list. So have a list. I know I've had Dr. Kirk Parsley on my show multiple times. He talks about having this worry list, which is where right before bed, he swears that it's a game changer for all of his patients. You write down everything that you want to worry about. So then when you wake up, if you can't sleep because you have worries or you wake up with worries, you just think, "Well, they're on the worry list, so I don't have to worry about them right now. I can worry about them tomorrow." And also writing a to-do list. So, studies have shown writing a to-do list actually can help with falling asleep, because then you know that everything for tomorrow you have on your list. I do also really like Dr. Parsley's Sleep Remedy. The audience loves that one. That's amazing for helping fall asleep. It has all of the ingredients your brain naturally needs to fall asleep without pharmaceuticals. So that's at melanieavalon.com/sleepremedy.com with the coupon code MELANIEAVALONE. And then I know she has questions about red light. Did you want to comment on any [laughs] of that, Vanessa? That was a lot. 

Vanessa Spina: So amazing. That was one of the most thorough answers I've ever heard [laughs] on any podcast for any question. It was absolutely brilliant. I mean you-- like, that is a guide. I can't tell you how many times I get questions about night shift, and I'm just like, again, I feel the same way. So appreciative of our night shift workers. They do so much for us, not at risk of their health, but they do so much for us while potentially compromising their future health. And the fact that you just provided this game, I think you should have an eBook or something on this. [laughs] It's so helpful. I'm sure that anyone listening who does night shift that'll be so helpful for them. You researched it so much, you provided so many tips. I think you hit just about everything. I think there was a little question about getting morning light. And, yes, it is very popular right now to get morning light. I'm a huge fan of morning light because of the hormonal cascades when certain wavelengths, especially UVA light in the morning are detected. But I think, just like you were thinking, it's probably going to work against you to have morning light signaling that it is morning and time to start your day when you're about to go to sleep. So, I would just do what you said, which is like sleep, and then get up and get as much daylight as you can and consider that your morning light, because you're not going to be getting those frequencies of midday, you'll be getting the later afternoon sun, and I think that's fine. 

Now, red light tends to be really beneficial for people at sunrise and sunset. So, if I were you, I would create your own sunrise when you wake up and do red light therapy, either in ambient mode or do an actual red light therapy session on your body, maybe, but on your face. Have all that melanopsin in your skin and your eyes detect that red light and you'll set it up as though it is sunrise for you. Some people recommend doing it at sunset as well. I would just do it at sunrise for you, which your sunrise would be when you wake up in the afternoon. So just like, go into your bathroom or whichever room or your bedroom and just do some red light therapy like first thing. 

I in the morning, especially in the winter time when it's still dark out. I get up, and I usually take Luca to the bath, and I put the red light, I put my Tone LUX Sapphire on, and it just illuminates the room, and it's kind of shining in our direction, and it gives our bodies that signal that it is sunrise, even though we're not getting that outside. And a lot of times I'm up so early that we do get some natural sunrise just by going outside because I like to go outside with him in the morning. If we don't, I just turn on the red light panel in the bathroom while I'm either showering or Luca's having his bath and I'm kind of doing my morning routine. So, I think it would be an amazing way to set up your own circadian clock with that. I guess you could call it artificial [laughs] sunrise. But it is the same wavelengths that you'd be getting at sunrise when that red light is so predominant. 

So, I love that you thought of that as a potential tool, as a potential therapeutic intervention to use. So, I hope that you let us know how all this goes. Melanie gave so many incredible tips and suggestions there and let us know if you implement any of them and how it's going for you, because I think it's just a question that so many people have and there are so many night shift workers I know that listen to both of our podcasts and this podcast as well. So this is really, really helpful information. I want to give you, like, a standing ovation on your answer. It was so great. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: No, you're so kind. I learned so much. I didn't realize there was all these different approaches and studies on these different approaches to night shift work. Everything that you just said, yeah, I agree so much, like, hack the light. [chuckles] It's like biohacking. I would definitely get those light blocking glasses, and like Vanessa said and I said, when you're coming back from the like, avoid the morning light, like you wear the glasses and then once you get in, get your red light device and turn it on to create that evening feel in your apartment or your house. And then I love the idea of Vanessa to-- again when you wake up using the red light for the morning, like the morning vibe, I love it. 

I did find one study, one last study, and I hadn't experienced this before. They gave snippets of the study and then make you buy it. So, it was such a tease. It has all these little paragraphs, and then it's just like, dot, dot, dot. And I'm like, [chuckles] "I can't read the rest of it." But it was called "Controlled light exposure and intermittent fasting as treatment strategies for metabolic syndrome and gut microbiome dysregulation in night shift workers." 

So, I really want to read the whole thing, but the snippets that I got from it was basically that they do think that using intermittent fasting can be a way to combat the metabolic syndrome issues of night shift work. And it might be how it affects the gut microbiome, which is super cool. Yeah, so like Vanessa said, Kayla, definitely let us know how it goes and what you learn. And just to end on a good note about it, I really hope you can feel empowered about taking charge of your sleep and gaining all these awesome sleep skills rather than being super stressed about it, because that's not going to help. 

Vanessa Spina: I love that point. It's the mindset is so powerful.

Melanie Avalon: And it feels super cool. I really do mean that about my wind-down routine with my meal, and everything is so intense that I really feel confident that I could go most places and implement my routine and probably fall asleep. 

Vanessa Spina: It's so funny because as you were saying that, I was like, "I've always wondered, what her wind-down routine?" Because sometimes we'll be texting and you're like, "I'm about to wind down or I'm winding down," and I'm like, "Okay, I feel like this is like a thing, the winding-down." And at some point, we need to talk about it because I want to know what your winding-down routine is, but I can tell it's something that you're super intentional about, and I love that. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay, just to further clarify really quickly, I do all those things with the light and the sound, and I'm still doing work and blue light blocking glasses, but then when I'm really winding down, I stop texting people. So, I stop all social interactions because that tells that's something I probably should have added earlier that can be stimulating to you. Like when you're sleeping, you're not talking to people. I stop all social interactions, and then that's when I enter my meal period, and that's when I start really eating a lot. 

Vanessa Spina: So, your wind down is before you have your main meal. 

Melanie Avalon: It's like leading up to it, drinking some wine, doing some work, got the light going. And then when I actually start eating, that's when I cut off communication with people and it's just like me time. I don't check email. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. I mean I put my phone, I plug my phone in and leave it in the kitchen so that I'm not having it at the table or anything like that. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, I have it, but I'm just like reading books on it. [chuckles] 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, okay. That makes sense. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. And that's part of my wind down too is like, I have to read something. It's work, but it really tells my brain that I'm going to bed. And that's why I meant earlier about the order of things. Even if I get back super late, I do all the things. I still read a little bit of a book. I still do everything. Oh, and this is one last thing to keep in mind, just how powerful food can be with your circadian rhythm. Think about the fact that yes, light is there and it tells you when to go to bed and when to wake up. If you're really, really hungry, you will probably not be able to sleep. And on the flip side, it could be the middle of the day and you ate a huge massive meal and you need a nap. So, food can have a really intense effect on your rhythm and I think we can use that to our advantage. On that note,- 

Vanessa Spina: Love it. 

Melanie Avalon: -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. Also, join my Facebook group IF Biohackers: Intermittent Fasting + Real Foods + Life. I ask them there for questions, so definitely comment on those posts. And also, if you have any questions about anything, it's a great community to join and talk about all the things. And you can follow us on Instagram. We are @ifpodcast. I am @melanieavalon and Vanessa is @ketogenicgirl. Okay, I think that's all the things. Anything from you Vanessa, before we go.

Vanessa Spina: I can't wait for your eBook to be out because I need know make copies available for all the night shift workers who contact me and ask about what they can do to hack the night shift. So, yeah, let us know [laughs] when your eBook is built. 

Melanie Avalon: Maybe I will make a guide. 

Vanessa Spina: I think it would be amazing. There are so many night shift workers and people who, unfortunately, they would love to get a day shift at some point. They're hopeful that they will be able to, but again, they're making those sacrifices for the rest of us, as you so beautifully pointed out. And I think, yeah, I mean, I know you're doing so many things, but maybe just something to think about. 

Melanie Avalon: I actually might do that. I could get the transcript of this and I could hire somebody to throw it into something and then I could just design it a little bit. 

Vanessa Spina: Totally. That would be fun. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, look at you inspiring me. 

Vanessa Spina: I love it. I think it would be amazing. But, yeah, I had so much fun with you, as usual. And, yeah, looking forward to the next one and catching you next week. 

Melanie Avalon: Me too. I will talk to you then. 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.

[Transcript provided by SpeechDocs Podcast Transcription]


Check out the Stuff We Like page for links to any of the books/supplements/products etc. mentioned on the podcast that we like!

More on Vanessa: ketogenicgirl.com

Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox: LelandCox.com

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