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Jun 26

Episode 271: Slow Weight Loss, Extracellular Matrix, Endocrine Disruptors, Inflammatory Grains, Alcohol Cancer Link, Liver Detoxification, Cholesterol, And More!

Intermittent Fasting

Welcome to Episode 271 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 Cynthia Thurlow, author of Intermittent Fasting Transformation: The 45-Day Program for Women to Lose Stubborn Weight, Improve Hormonal Health, and Slow Aging.

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

BUTCHERBOX: Grass-Fed Beef, Organic Chicken, Heritage Pork, Wild-Caught Seafood: Nutrient-Rich, Raised Sustainably The Way Nature Intended, And Shipped Straight To Your Door! For A Limited Time Go To And Get Free BACON For life and $10 off your first order!!

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To submit your own questions, email, or submit your questions here!! 


1:10 - BUTCHERBOX: For A Limited Time Go To And Get Free BACON For Life And $10 Off Your First Order!!

4:10 - BEAUTYCOUNTER: Keep Your Fast Clean Inside And Out With Safe Skincare! Shop With Us At or And Use The Code CLEANFORALL20 For 20% Off PLUS Something Magical Might Happen After Your First Order! Find Your Perfect Beautycounter Products With Melanie's Quiz: Melanieavalon.Com/Beautycounterquiz
Join Melanie's Facebook Group Clean Beauty And Safe Skincare With Melanie Avalon To Discuss And Learn About All The Things Clean Beauty, Beautycounter And Safe Skincare!

22:25 - BON CHARGE: Until The End Of June 2022. Go To And Use Coupon Code
BONCHARGE To Save 25%.

25:00 - Listener Q&A: Mary - Slow weight loss

The Melanie Avalon Podcast Episode #75 - Joel Greene (Part 1)

The Melanie Avalon Podcast Episode #88 - Joel Greene (Part 2)

37:50 - Listener Q&A: Denite - Alcohol should have cancer warning labels, say doctors and researchers pushing to raise awareness of risk

#193 – AMA #31: Heart rate variability (HRV), alcohol, sleep, and more

1:03:40 - AVALONX SERRAPEPTASE:  Get On The Email List To Stay Up To Date With All The Special Offers And News About Melanie's New Supplements At Avalonx.Us/Emaillist, And Use The Code Melanieavalon For 10% On Any Order At And!

DRY FARM WINES: Natural, Organic, Low Alcohol, Low Sugar Wines, Paleo And Keto Friendly! Go To To Get A Bottle For A Penny!

1:07:00 - Listener Q&A: Deborah - LDL higher since IF

Ep. 128 – Cholesterol Obsession: Why It’s the Intellectual Property of the Animal Kingdom with Dave Feldman

The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #126 - Azure Grant

INSIDETRACKER: Go To And Use The Coupon Code MELANIE25 For 25% Off All Tests Sitewide!

Our content does not constitute an attempt to practice medicine, and does not establish a doctor-patient relationship. Please consult a qualified health care provider for medical advice and answers to personal health questions.


Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 271 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 and author of What When Wine: Lose Weight and Feel Great with Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, and Wine. And I'm here with my cohost, Cynthia Thurlow, Nurse Practitioner and author of Intermittent Fasting Transformation: The 45-Day Program for Women to Lose Stubborn Weight, Improve Hormonal Health, and Slow Aging. For more on us, check out,, and Please remember, the thoughts and opinions on this podcast do not constitute medical advice or treatment. And no doctor-patient relationship is formed. 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, friends. I'm about to tell you how you can get sugar free, nitrate free, heritage breed bacon for life, plus $10 off. Yes, free bacon for life, plus $10 off. We are so honored to be sponsored by ButcherBox. They make it so, so easy to get high-quality humanely raised meat that you can trust. They deliver 100% grass-fed, grass-finished beef, free range organic chicken, heritage breed pork, that's really hard to find, by the way, and wild caught sustainable and responsible seafood shipped directly to your door. When you become a member, you're joining a community focused on doing what's better for everyone. That includes caring about the lives of animals, the livelihoods of farmers, treating our planet with respect and enjoying deliciously better meals together. There is a lot of confusion out there when it comes to transparency regarding grazing practices, what is actually in our food, how animals are being treated. I did so much research on ButcherBox. You can actually check out my blog post all about it at But I am so grateful for all of the information that I learned about their company. All of their beef is 100% grass-fed and grass-finished. That's really hard to find. They work personally with all the farmers to truly support the regenerative agriculture system. I also did an interview with Robb Wolf on my show, The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast, all about the massive importance of supporting regenerative agriculture for the sustainability of not only ourselves, but the planet. This is so important to me. I'll put a link to that in the show notes. 

If you recently saw a documentary on Netflix called Seaspiracy, you might be a little bit nervous about eating seafood. Now, I understand why ButcherBox makes it so, so clear and important about how they work with the seafood industry. Everything is checked for transparency, for quality, and for sustainable raising practices. You want their seafood. The value is incredible, the average cost is actually less than $6 per meal, and it's so easy. Everything ships directly to your door. I am a huge steak lover. Every time I go to a restaurant, I usually order the steak. Oh, my goodness, the ButcherBox steaks are amazing. I remember the first time I had one and I just thought, “This is honestly one of the best steaks I've ever had in my entire life.” On top of that, did you know that the fatty acid profile of grass-fed, grass-finished steaks is much healthier for you than conventional steaks. And their bacon, for example is from pastured pork, and sugar and nitrate free. How hard is that to find? I'm super excited, because ButcherBox’ bacon for life is back and it's even better, because you get $10 off as well. Yep, right now, new members will get one pack of free bacon in every box for the life of your membership, plus $10 off when you sign up at That's one pack of free bacon in every box for the rest of your life plus $10 off. Just go to And we'll put all this information in the show notes.

And one more thing before we jump in, are you fasting clean inside and out? When it comes to weight loss, we focus a lot on what and when we eat. It makes sense because these foods affect our hormones and how our bodies store and burn fat. But do you know what is possibly one of the most influential factors in weight gain? It's not your food and it's not fasting, it's actually our skincare and makeup. As it turns out, Europe has banned over a thousand compounds found in conventional skincare and makeup in the US due to their toxicity. These include endocrine disrupters, which mess with your hormones, carcinogens linked to cancer, and obesogens, which literally can cause your body to store and gain weight. Basically, when we're using conventional skincare and makeup, we are giving these obesogenic compounds direct access to our bloodstream. And then in our bodies, studies have shown they do things like reduce our satiety hormones, increase our hunger hormones, make fat cells more likely to store fat, and more resistant to burning fat, and so much more. If you have stubborn fat, friends, your skincare and makeup maybe playing a role in that. Beyond weight gain and weight loss, these compounds have very detrimental effects on our health and they affect the health of our future generations. That's because ladies, when we have babies, a huge percent of those toxic compounds go through the placenta into the newborn. It is so, so shocking and the effects last four years.

Conventional lipstick, for example, often tests high in lead and the half-life of lead is up to 30 years. That means when you put on some conventional lipstick, 30 years later, maybe half of that lead has left your bones. On top of that, there is essentially no regulation of these products on the shelves. That's why it's up to us to choose brands that are changing this. The brand that is working the hardest to do this is Beautycounter. They were founded on a mission to change this. Every single ingredient is extensively tested to be safe for your skin, so, you can truly feel good about what you put on. And friends, these products really, really work. They are incredible. They have counter time for anti-aging, counter match for normal skin, counter control for acne and oily prone, and counter start for sensitive. I use their Overnight Resurfacing Peel and vitamin C serum every single night of my life. And their makeup is amazing. Check on my Instagram to see what it looks like. Tina Fey even wore all Beautycounter makeup when she hosted The Golden Globes. So, yes, it is high-definition camera ready. They have so many other products. Deodorant, shampoo and conditioner that I love, products for babies, and so much more. You can shop with us at or and use the coupon code, CLEANFORALL20 to get 20% off your first order. Also, make sure to get on my clean beauty email list, that's at I give away a lot of free things on that list. So, definitely check it out. And you can join me in my Facebook group, Clean Beauty and Safe Skincare with Melanie Avalon. People share their experiences, ask questions, give product reviews, and I do a giveaway every single week in that group as well. 

And lastly, if you're thinking of making Clean Beauty and Safe Skincare, a part of your future like we have, we definitely recommend becoming a Band of Beauty member. It's sort of like the Amazon Prime for clean beauty. You get 10% back in product credit, free shipping on qualifying orders, and a welcome gift that is worth way more than the price of the yearlong membership. It is totally, completely worth it. So, again, to shop with us, go to or and use the coupon code, CLEANFORALL20 to get 20% off your first order. And we'll put all this information in the show notes. All right, now, back to the show.

Melanie Avalon: Hi, everybody and welcome. This is Episode number 271 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with, Cynthia Thurlow.

Cynthia Thurlow: Hey there. 

Melanie Avalon: How are you today, Cynthia? 

Cynthia Thurlow: I'm doing well. How are you? Now, we're three days before our vacation. So, I'm super excited.

Melanie Avalon: Yes, I'm really excited for you. I can't wait to see the pictures from all the places. Are you guys’ big touristy people? Do you do all the touristy stuff or how do you approach a vacation?

Cynthia Thurlow: I think it depends. My kids, well, I should say, we've been incredibly fortunate that even when our kids were younger, it has always been a big priority to expose them to different countries and travel. Believe it or not, there's ways to do that very affordably. I think there's this perception that it's all obscenely expensive. I think a Disney vacation could cost as much as or even more than going to Europe, as one example. We find a balance. To me, I always like to stay in places where it's not so touristy. When we've stayed in Paris, we have stayed in areas where it's still wonderful, but you can walk right outside and go to a café, and I like to go to grocery stores in there, I like to make picnics. To me, there's a lot to be said if you're really exposed to the culture. We'll do cooking classes and we'll still see some of the iconic sights when we're in certain cities. But to me, it's a combination of togetherness, and connection, and being able to be exposed to different cultures, and see museums. My kids actually if you were to ask them their favorite thing they've seen in London as an example, they would say, Westminster Abbey. We're definitely a family that like to be inspired when we go on vacation, but I'm also not someone that necessarily wants to do a lot of tourist trapeze stuff. 

We like good food and we definitely do our due diligence prior to arriving. We're going to be in Prague for a couple days and where we're staying is like a restored monastery. It's got this cool vibe and everything I've heard about Prague is that it's beautiful, and the people are wonderful, and I'm just looking forward to just exploring, and not having too too much plans. One thing I don't like on a vacation is feeling micromanage like, “Oh, every day, we get up and we do this and every day we get up and we do that.” There's built in downtime, which I think is really important, especially coming off of the book launch. I feel I owe my family a lot of family time and connection. I feel there hasn't been as much of that over the last six months. 

Melanie Avalon: Are you going to Budapest? 

Cynthia Thurlow: We are and we're ending in Budapest and I'm super excited.

Melanie Avalon: I was talking with a friend actually, the girl who does my hair at the salon this week, and she was going on and on about Budapest, and she said her favorite thing there was, have you heard of the bone chapel? 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yes. 

Melanie Avalon: Are you going to go there? I like the creepy morbid stuff.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. No, it's interesting, because we had the ability to stay longer in Budapest. We opted not to just because of the proximity at the time we were booking this with the Ukraine and all the unrest that was going on there. I just said, “Okay, well, we'll just be in Budapest for two days,” and then we'll head home, but the heading home part is a little less fun than the going to, because Budapest doesn't fly direct to any major place that's close to where we're going. We have to fly to Paris, and then Paris to Boston, and Boston to our new hometown. So, it'll be a long leg back. But I kept saying the kids, I was like, “It's going to be so great. We don't have to fly into New York, which is great,” because I don't know if anyone listening is flown into. Anytime you fly internationally, there are certain airports you want to avoid when you have to go through immigration and it's been my experience in New York is one of those that you want to avoid. So, I'm actually happy we're flying into Boston, little smaller of an airport, but we'll see. 

Melanie Avalon: Very nice. I'm just thinking, my favorite thing in London was probably Tower of London and in Paris going back to the morbid stuff. Have you been in the catacombs?

Cynthia Thurlow: I have. But I haven't done that with my kids and so, I think there'll be old enough this time when we go back. You know it is, I'm a total Francophile. I actually love the culture, and the food, and just how Parisians are unlike anywhere else in the world and it's such a beautiful city. I love the architecture and I don't know I just absorb it all.

Melanie Avalon: I remember when I was there, we were eating on a street café, and a girl from my film fraternity walked by, I was like, “What are the odds?” Makes you wonder and especially, people that you meet in the future who you might have crossed paths with. It's just crazy. How can be such a big world, but such a small world?

Cynthia Thurlow: It's funny. My cousin and I were just talking yesterday, and she's actually going to Paris with one of her college friends, and she was saying, “Oh, the exchange rates fantastic. You can really get a nice bag.” I was like, “Oh, don't make me jealous.” The last few times I've been there, the lines are so long that I've just completely discouraged me from procuring a bag at a great price. I just said, “I'll live vicariously through you.”

Melanie Avalon: Oh, the shopping. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Mm-hmm. That's dangerous. Although, it's funny. When I'm with my husband and my boys, I don't do a lot of shopping, which my husband really appreciates largely, because teenagers don't want to be dragged into any shopping situation. They've always not been big shoppers. I think that's probably been a blessing. So, we go to these amazing cities and I'm not as encouraged to go do that.

Melanie Avalon: My mom is just like a shopaholic. There's more estrogen in my family than testosterone where me and I have a sister and a brother. My brother's the one with all the girls. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Oh, that's funny. Yeah, no, it's funny. I have one sibling, and my brother has all girls, and I've all boys, and I always say, “God has a sense of humor, because if you had asked us before we had kids, I would have ended up with all girls, and he would have ended up with boys.” But I ended up with exactly what I needed. And now that I have boys, I can't imagine-- I’ve three nieces who I love, but now that I have boys, I can't imagine things being any different.

Melanie Avalon: I love it. Love it, love it. I got to see pictures of them for the first time yesterday.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, the other characters. They are characters. One in particular doesn't like his photo being taken anymore. I basically told them their last day of school was June 2nd. I said to them, because obviously, one was in middle school was in high school, now, they're both going to high school in August, and I said, “I didn't get my end of the year photo” and of course, they were giving me a hard time and my husband's like, “You are going to stand on that porch in front of that door with your backpack and you were going to smile or we're going to leave you here.” They both looked at each other like, “Fine.” But it's amazing how when they were younger. They loved having their photos taken, they love doing those first day and last day of school things, and now, I hear my husband saying, “You're doing it for your mother.” So, if anyone's listening and you understand [laughs] why we say just let me take one photo. That's why we say, it's actually hard to find photos of all four of us, because they do everything they can to undermine said photos. They'll make a funny face, they won't smile, my 14-year-old scowls now on purpose, even though he's not like a kid that walks around with that expression on his face, but he'll do it on purpose, and my husband's like, “Your mother does so much for you.” I'm like, “That's right. [laughs] Just do something for me. It'll take 30 seconds.”

Melanie Avalon: I feel the biggest meltdowns we had in our family were always around taking the Christmas photo. Actually, [chuckles] one of the biggest inside jokes in our family is one year we were doing the Christmas photo, and we had a photo of all of us in Rome at the Coliseum, but my mom didn't like that one of her. She had me photoshop her in to another picture at the Coliseum, and we did it in black and white, and I should find it and see if it's noticeable. I guess, we thought it wasn't noticeable. But I do know, I think my dad got some feedback from work colleagues being like, “Did you photoshop in Europe?” [laughs]

Cynthia Thurlow: That's hilarious. That's hilarious. We are our own worst critics. I know sometimes I'll look at photos of me and I'm like say to my team, “Don't ever use that photo again.” [laughs] But once we don't like a photo, I totally get it.

Melanie Avalon: Yep, I'm the same way. Can I update listeners really quick on my magnesium supplement update? 

Cynthia Thurlow: Sure. 

Melanie Avalon: For listeners, I know you're eagerly awaiting the launch of my magnesium. By the time this comes out, you know what, it probably is launched by now. Maybe. No, no, it's probably right on the cusp of launching. Get on my email list, so you don't miss the updates. That's at But my first serrapeptase supplement did so, so well. The second one I'm doing is magnesium. Magnesium is just such a crucial mineral in our health and wellness. I'm always a proponent of getting nutrition from food, but it can be hard to get all of our nutrients all the time due to our depleted soil today, and our living environment, and our stress depletes magnesium, our lifestyles deplete magnesium. I think a lot of people can really benefit from a magnesium supplement. As you guys know, I wanted to make the best form possible. Mine is going to have eight forms of magnesium. Eight, because actually, my partner and I at MD Logic, we're trying to figure this out how many magnesium types there actually are, I think there's around 17, actually. We picked the eight that we think are most beneficial and it actually has activated cofactors to help you absorb it. So, it has methylated B6 and chelated manganese, no potentially toxic fillers, no rice, no seed oils, no palmitates, no stearates, it's in a glass bottle. Basically, it's the best of the best. 

Then here's the fun thing. We really wanted to include magnesium three and eight in it or I wanted to, which is a specific type of magnesium that crosses the blood-brain barrier. We had it in the initial formulation, but then we realized that in order to get the full therapeutic amount, it wasn't enough, basically. And also, not everybody wants the mind effects of magnesium three and eight. We're going to release it as a second launch as a nightcap that basically you can add on to your magnesium if you specifically want that relaxation effect, that sleep-inducing effect, and the amazing incentive that we're doing for that is, so, my magnesium supplement is going to be called magnesium spectrum eight. If you get it at launch before we sell out, because I anticipate that we're probably going to sell out. Everybody who gets it from that first run, you'll get a coupon code for when we launch the magnesium three and eight nightcap for a major discount. So, definitely get the magnesium spectrum eight at launch before it sells out. Again, get on the email list because that's where I will be releasing the information. In the meantime, if you'd like a discount on serrapeptase or any supplements at MD Logic, you can use the coupon code, MELANIEAVALON for that. But ooh, I'm just really excited. I've been bit by the supplement bug. So, yeah.

Cynthia Thurlow: That's very exciting. I'm very excited to see your product and I look forward to when I can share officially what I'm working on. But I'm starting to respond to people's DMs on Instagram to stay tuned. I will definitely be creating something that is relevant to some of our past conversations.

Melanie Avalon: I am so excited. I can't wait. [chuckles] Between me and you, we're going to have people covered I think with-- Once we fill out the lines, it's going to be such an amazing resource for people who-- Because the supplement industry is so sketchy and so it can be really hard to find quality stuff and know what you're putting in your body and trust it. It's nice that I think you and I-- We were talking about this before recording how in general, there are a lot of things we want to do, and there are things I want to do that Cynthia might not do, and things Cynthia would want to do that I might not do. So, I think between the both of us, it's going to be really great.

Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely. I want to express publicly how grateful I am that you made the intro with this company and I'm really excited because one of the things that I've always been very verbal about is why supplement quality is so critically important and why, generally speaking, you shouldn't source off of big websites like Amazon that most of the pharmaceutical grade companies don't third party source. I'm saying in most instances. And so, it's really nice to know that MD Logic has super high qualities, super high integrity, which I think is also really important and also transparency.

Melanie Avalon: Yep, I'm so, so grateful. They're actually making, because some of their products right now have fillers that I personally wouldn't use. That might not be a problem for everybody, but I personally don't like, but they're actually making A, what you said about transparency. They're so transparent. You're not going to have to worry about the quality or things are tested for toxins, things are tested for allergens, but they're also making steps to move towards even less of those ingredients. So, definitely, check out their website. We talked in the past about their melatonin that Cynthia really likes.

Cynthia Thurlow: Oh, my goodness, I laugh about-- Actually, it's interesting, my cousin, who I think the world of and is a physician. She now listens to this podcast. The first thing she said after she listened to that podcast was, “Tell me how to get [laughs] their melatonin because I need that.” She just bought a couple bottles and I'm waiting to get her feedback. But yeah, it's very potent. I've used another brand and really did not find the potency to be equivalent at all. Meaning, the MD Logic was clearly more potent and more potent means you actually will end up using less product. And so, that was really important to me.

Melanie Avalon: Actually, we actually both have codes. You can use the coupon code, MELANIEAVALON or CYNTHIATHURLOW and get a discount on the MD Logic products. 

Hi, friends. One of our favorite brands is having a limited time 25% off rebrand sale. I am often asked, “What are my favorite “biohacking products?”’ Something I truly, honestly cannot imagine my life without are blue light blocking glasses. In today's modern environment, we are massively overexposed to blue light. It's a stimulating type of light, which can lead to stress, anxiety, headaches, and in particular, sleep issues. Blue light actually stops our bodies from producing melatonin, which is our sleep hormone. Our exposure to blue light, it can completely disrupt our circadian rhythm, make it hard to fall asleep, make it hard to stay asleep, and so much more. Friends, I identify as an insomniac. I would not be able to sleep without my blue light blocking glasses. I also stay up late working and wearing blue light blocking glasses at night has made it, so I can do that and still fall asleep. My absolute favorite blue light blocking glasses on the market are Bon Charge, formerly known as BLUblox.

Bon Charge makes an array of blue light blocking glasses in all different designs, so you can truly find something that fits your style and reap all of the benefits of blue light blocking. They have their clear computer glasses. You can wear those during the day, especially if you're looking at screens all day to help with anxiety, headaches, and stress. They have their light sensitivity glasses, those are tinged with a special yellow color, scientifically proven to boost mood, and they block even more blue light. Those are great for the day or evening. Then they have their blue light blocking glasses for sleep. Those are the ones that I put on at night while working before bed. Oh, my goodness, friends it's something you truly have to experience. You put on these glasses and it's like you just tell your brain, “Okay, it's time to go to sleep soon.” They also have amazing blackout sleep masks. Those block 100% of light with zero eye pressure. I wear this every single night and I don't know how I would sleep without it. In honor of the rebrand, Bon Charge, for a limited time, this ends June 30th, uou can get 25% off sitewide. Just go to and use the coupon code, BONCHARGE to save 25%. That's B-O-N-C-H-A-R-G-E dotcom with the coupon code, BONCHARGE to save 25%. After the sale is over, you can use the coupon code, IFPODCAST to save 15%. Again, that's all at and we'll put all this information in the show notes. All right, now, back to the show. 

Melanie Avalon: Well, shall we jump into some questions for today?

Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely. 

Melanie Avalon: To start things off, we have a question from Mary. Subject is: “Slow weight loss.” Mary says, “Hi, I've been listening to your podcast for the last month and I've learned a lot. I have been overweight all my life, but in my teens gained a huge amount of weight due to a shop which we had for three years. I'm thinking maybe this fat does not want to shift because it's been there a long time stored. Can fat laid down for years impact on how slow weight loss occurs or do you think slow weight loss could occur because of the fact that I've passed menopause or I have an office job? I walk for 30 minutes a day in my breaks, I do mostly 20:4 these days. My average weight as an adult has fluctuated from 193 to 167, but I usually hover around 172. When I started IF in July after a stressful year, I was 185 and I'm down 12 pounds to 173. I'm thrilled because it has been very low and I'm aiming to get down to 145 pounds now that I'm not scared of looking old as I realized that autophagy will help with that and also remove the loose skin from my legs, which I've had all my life. I'm thinking to do the DNA test too to see if I would be better off cutting out grains altogether or not. I've included a lot here and I hope that you can give me thoughts on anything I mentioned. Thanks in advance.” Mary is from Tasmania, which is super cool.

Cynthia Thurlow: That is super cool. Well, hi, Mary. Thank you for your question. I would say, first and foremost, give yourself grace. You've been on this journey for a long time and I do find that when women in particular, I don't know your age. It's hard for me to speculate. I think that when women get north of 35, there's a little bit of hormonal flocks that can make weight loss-- can give you some plateaus. I think, first and foremost, we have to really get back to basics. I applaud you for your efforts thus far. Slow and steady wins. We don't want to be losing a nonsustainable amount of weight too quickly. We definitely want to do one to two pounds a week is really what we want to be focused on. I think that your questions about carbohydrates, I would say, we really want to reframe that thinking and be making sure that we are hitting our protein macros. During your feeding window really focusing on good quality animal-based protein, 35 to 40 grams of protein with your meals, which is going to help with satiety. I think non-starchy carbohydrates are a great way to go. I'm not anti-carb, but really earning your carbohydrates. If you're going to have starchy carbs like sweet potato, or root vegetables, or if you tolerate grains, keeping the portions very small especially if you're trying to continue to lose weight and being very mindful of your physical activity, it sounds you do a good amount of walking, which I think is fantastic and that can help with insulin sensitivity as well. 

If you get to a point where you want to start adding in, more things that can help with insulin resistance. Thinking about strength training is very important, getting high quality sleep, which means seven, eight hours a night is very important, and also understanding that if we're aligned with our own chronobiology, if we're really aligned with our sleep-wake cycles, we really want to be eating when it's light outside and not eating when it's dark outside. Now, with that being said, I know you're in a different hemisphere and we're heading into summer and you're heading into winter. That might be a little more challenging. But eating earlier in the day is going to be easier for insulin sensitivity than later in the day. And then obviously, as I mentioned, I don't know your age range, but if you are north of 35 or 40, there're a lot of things to really lean into in terms of your physiology that can help as well. You definitely don't want to be over fasting around your menstrual cycle as well. But I think you're off to a great start. And yes, I do find that long-term insulin resistance, inflammation, and oxidative stress in the body takes a bit of time to get to a point where your body's better calibrated. 

The other thing that I would really encourage you to do is to make sure that you are getting some baseline labs with your primary care provider or internist. You have things to compare to. Really looking at inflammatory markers, things like high-sensitivity CRP, looking your fasting insulin, really examining, looking at your lipid profile, which here in the States we're looking at triglycerides, and HDL and LDL, and then looking at your sex hormones as well to get a good sense and a good baseline so that you have something to compare it to.

Melanie Avalon: That was all really great, really comprehensive. I'll just speak briefly. I'll just add to it about the does fat not want to shift because it's been there a long time stored and does the amount of time that it's there affect? It's basically your weight loss potential. There's actually quite a few factors involved here. I know Cynthia and I have both interviewed Joel Greene for his mind-blowing book. His book is very intense. The Immunity Code, that's what it's called, I think. He talks a lot in his book about the extracellular matrix, the ECM. Basically, it's kind of like the clothing on your body in a way and how if you lose weight and your clothing is now too loose, how it is a lot of energy intensive to alter your clothes, and take it in, and make it fit. Your body would almost rather just wait until you regain the weight and keep the clothes on. That was not a very scientific answer. Only to provide more context. Basically, the extracellular matrix, he talks about how every time we lose weight this fluctuation in weight loss, the fat cell is having less fat in it and it still has this matrix that is too loose in a way for the fat cell. The body would rather just fill up the fat cell again, then actually, address that matrix and make it smaller, and that's one of the reasons that the body would prefer to just regain weight rather than maintain a sustained loss. 

He talks about how every time we lose and regain and lose and regain, it actually becomes harder and harder to make the changes to that matrix. It actually becomes stiffer. Basically, the longer you've had the fat, especially if you are fluctuating back and forth, which it sounds you have done, it might make it harder each time to have a more permanent change with the fluctuations. Something else that I think is so, so huge and this is something that people don't talk about a lot, but our exposure to endocrine disrupters through our diet, our lifestyle, our environment, especially our skincare and makeup, those compounds mess with our hormones, and can get stored in our fat cells, and they're even compounds called obesogens. These are endocrine disruptors, which actually make the fat cell more likely to gain weight, more likely to be inflammatory, more insulin resistant, and less likely to lose weight, and then it gets even worse. Basically, it's self-perpetuating. When our fat cells enter this signaling state of inflammation and weight gain, they signal to the rest of the cells to also do this as well. The longer you've been alive, the longer you've probably been exposed to endocrine disruptors and obesogens, especially if you're using conventional skincare makeup, if you're using conventional skincare makeup, you're most definitely putting these compounds into your body. That can have a huge effect. 

You could be doing all the things and dieting, but there could be hormonal signals because of these endocrine disruptors in your fat cells that are making it harder to actually lose weight. A reason that Cynthia and I love Beautycounter, for example, because they make skincare makeup that is free of endocrine disruptors and obesogens. There's also-- The number three would be, there's a set point theory. This is debated and I've done deep dives into this, but it does seem that the hypothalamus in our brain basically perceives a weight that it wants to be at and it will defend that weight. Some people think that there is a timeline aspect to it, so that basically, the longer you've been at a certain weight, the more your body's going to want to stay there. It's possible that even when you lose weight that you have to stay at it for a certain period of time before that resets in the hypothalamus. Again, this is debated, there's not a ton of literature on it I found some, but just anecdotally and from what I see with people, it does seem to be a thing. I say all of that to validate you and that yes, it is quite likely that it is harder to lose the weight, because of the time that you've been alive and what you've experienced. I actually want to be empowering and all of that aside, you can definitely work with your body hormonally, and through diet, and with fasting, and it's not like this is a closed door. Once you have the knowledge, you can be empowered to make the change that will actually work for you.

Then just the very last thing, I don't know what DNA tests you will be doing to check about the grains. I'm just curious what that would be because normally the testing for grains would be something like a food sensitivity tests, but those are heavily debated. I don't know what your thoughts are on food sensitivity tests, Cynthia.

Cynthia Thurlow: I do see some value. I don't use them as often as I used to, because typically when I'm working in a group, we'll do a broad-based Whole 30 and that usually knocks out most things that people are sensitive to whether they're aware of it or not. I know that there's some genetic susceptibility to-- There's a small percentage and I don't even know the statistics offhand. There are some people that don't do as well off of grains, although, I do find it's usually someone who's already insulin resistant that is craving the grains or craving the carbohydrates. I do think broad-based elimination diets like a Whole 30, which there's tons of recipes. Unlike 10 years ago, when I think I first did a Whole 30, you had to make your own ketchup, and you have to make your own mustard, which is craziness. Now, there are Whole 30 compliant things that you can buy ahead of time, which is really nice. But that can oftentimes be very beneficial for people to determine what their specific threshold is. I do find, especially for most of the women, I work with that gluten grains and dairy can be hugely inflammatory, not to mention the processed sugar. So, pulling them out even for a month can be very insightful.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I do think that can be the gold standard for a lot of people is doing that short term. It might be long term if you stay on a Whole 30 type approach, but at least a short-term “elimination diet” of sorts can really be a way to figure out what is inflammatory for you personally. Actually, this will tie into the next question, I have done, because I have my data from-- Did you do 23andMe? 

Cynthia Thurlow: I did.

Melanie Avalon: I did a Facebook group version of it. It was called Genes for Good and it was a research project on Facebook. It was completely free and you got your genetic data. It basically was the equivalent of 23andMe. But I have run that data, well, through Prometheus, which is a mind-blowing rabbit hole of looking through everything, but also through different services that will interpret it for you. It basically told you how well you processed grains, carbs or different food-related things and then alcohol. I was red for everything and green for alcohol. So, basically, genetically, I was like, “I'm good with wine and nothing else,” which will tie in to the next question. But any other thoughts about this question? I guess, there's also the celiac test, but it's a little bit different.

Cynthia Thurlow: Obviously, Australia has progressive allopathic medicine routes. I don't know what the gold standard is there. Here, they generally like to do biopsies and there's different ways around it. But autoimmunity is not at all uncommon to see in women and especially women having-- All of us have been through a pandemic the last two years, we've been under unprecedented amounts of stress would not be at all unlikely that there could be something else at play. But that's why I think getting a check in with your primary, get those labs done, especially thyroid function, which I don't think I mentioned earlier, looking at those sex hormones, looking at a fasting insulin, inflammatory markers, all that could be very helpful.

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. Shall we go to our next question?

Cynthia Thurlow: Yes. This is from Denite. “Alcohol should have cancer warning labels,” say doctors and researchers pushing to raise awareness of risk. “I sure enjoy your podcast and want to say thank you for all the work you do. I came across the article below and it piqued my interest. I do not drink alcohol myself, but my father and mother-in-law recently started drinking wine and/or gin every night to help them sleep. My father-in-law also has high cholesterol and someone suggested he drink wine to lower it. What do you think about the articles claims of the carcinogens in alcohol? In your opinion, do the benefits outweigh the risks? I know that you promote Dry Farm Wines and I actually suggested to my in-laws that they check them out as a better and healthier option. I would love to talk to my in-laws about intermittent fasting for the lowering of cholesterol, but I feel that they will not understand it and just shrug it off. Do you have any advice for me on how to broach the subject in a way that they will understand the great benefits of it and at least give it a try? Thank you so much for your help.”

Melanie Avalon: All right, Denite. Thank you for your question. She actually had two questions and actually didn't plan this, but our next question ties into the cholesterol. Maybe when we get her cholesterol question, we can read that second question and do that all together. To talk about the alcohol, okay, we've been looking forward to talking about this for a while. I have so many thoughts. First of all, I will start this off by saying, I have no agenda either way about if you do or do not drink alcohol. I just say that because I know my book is What When Wine and I've been very vocal about being a fan of the benefits of wine for health and how I personally really love wine. And yes, I drink Dry Farm Wines, which we can maybe talk a little bit why we love them in particular. The thing about alcohol is, whatever opinion you hold about it, if you want to support that opinion with hundreds of studies from the scientific literature, you can do that. The reason I'm saying that is because I want to step back and I say that I think context is so key. Because if you want to say it's a carcinogen and nobody should ever drink it, you can find tons of studies probably showing that. On the flipside, if you want to say, it's the best thing for longevity, and supports heart health, and everybody should be drinking, you're going to be able to find tons of studies showing that. So, I think it really does come down to the individual. 

Yes, alcohol is a carcinogen and that's what the link is talking about. If it was a carcinogen, which it is, but if that was the end, so if alcohol is our carcinogen, so, we shouldn't drink it, period. I don't think the epidemiological data would support what we find, which is that it often correlates to longevity, to reduce cardiovascular health. There's something more going on here that is beyond looking at a potentially reductionistic view of alcohol like saturated fat. I know it's not the same thing, but you could make arguments that a lot of people in the actually plant-based sphere will say, “Saturated fat is a toxin and by itself is just something we should not have.” I don't think that takes into account, the full picture of things. As far as the actual correlations of alcohol to different health conditions, it tends to be a J shaped curve. What that means is basically the biggest benefits correlationally are with low to moderate alcohol consumption. If you're a complete abstainer, if you're not drinking alcohol in most of the studies, you actually have a higher risk of certain things like longevity and cardiovascular health than if you're actually having a small amount of alcohol or a moderate amount of alcohol, and then of course, the J shaped, if you can envision like a J on a graph, it starts a little bit high, and then it curves down, and so that down curve is when you are the low and the moderate drinkers, and then it shoots up. Because once you get to high consumption, then it's correlated to a lot of detrimental health effects. 

As far as the cancer specifically, so, the cancers that alcohol tends to correlate to are related to parts of the body that actually touch alcohol, specifically. Throat cancer, esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, it does also correlate to breast cancer. But then other cancers, there's often found no correlation and even kidney cancer, there seems to be a reduced risk of cancer with alcohol consumption. Then other conditions that correlate to health benefits are diabetes, gallstone, stroke, and many things related to cardiovascular health. I was reading one study. It was a review of alcohol and cancer. It talks about how drinking, especially heavy drinking does increase cancer risk, which is what she's bringing to us with this statement. But the study actually concluded that “total avoidance” of alcohol, although optimum for cancer control cannot be recommended in terms of a broad perspective of public health and particular in countries with high incidence of cardiovascular disease. I think that really speaks to her question because basically they're saying, yes for cancer control, avoiding alcohol is really important. But if you take in the full picture because of cardiovascular disease, having some alcohol intake might actually be beneficial. 

Then just some other last thoughts to it. I think there is something to the context, especially something like wine. The role of the other compounds in wine like polyphenols seem to have a beneficial effect on our health. Even in the blue zones, which I know is hotly debated, but that's seven countries that are linked to longevity, and six out of seven of them all include alcohol in some part in their diet. Something else and-- I feel I'm going all over the place, but something else important to point out is that gender does play a role here and what is low or moderate drinking, and actually, Peter Attia had a really good episode recently on this that I can put a link to in the show notes. It's recommended that women drink less than men and there're two reasons. There could be more, but there're probably two main reasons for that. One is that it has to do with the hydration content of our bodies, and how that affects the metabolism of alcohol, as well as what it's called first pass metabolism in the stomach. Women, because of the levels of that in the stomach, we actually experience a quicker effect from alcohol than men do. That was all over the place. But to step back, basically, I think context is key. What is the role of alcohol in your diet? For example, Denise says that her father and mother are taking it to help them sleep. That is not a reason I would suggest somebody take alcohol to help them sleep because while it is a depressant and it can make you feel sleepy, it actually can have a rebound effect and cause reduced quality sleep in the long term. 

I think the reason that you're having alcohol is important to consider. I wouldn't take it to induce sleep like I would not take it for that reason. I would take it though, maybe she's talking about high cholesterol and the benefits there that might be a reason to include it in your diet. I also think maybe reason that we see a lot of longevity with people who drink could be the-- especially not the heavy drinkers, but just people who have it in their life as part of a healthy lifestyle. I think there's a social aspect to it. Not advocating turning to alcohol for stress relief, but I think some people, especially low to moderate drinkers, it's a part of their ritual, it's part of their lifestyle, it does provide stress-relieving benefits, and I don't think we should discount that, because I think that can have a huge, huge effect on health. I do want to mention, because a lot of studies will find that like I said that low to moderate drinking is better than complete abstainers. That's a little bit confusing though because people who abstain often were heavy drinkers. The data might be a little bit convoluted and that it can be hard to separate people who don't drink at all from people who were alcoholics and just aren't drinking now. That was all over the place. Cynthia, I'll let you provide some perspectives.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, you brought up some really good points. Like you said, at the very beginning of the answer that question is, there's almost always research that will support whatever prevailing philosophy you have. I do, however, want to be very transparent and say that one of the things about alcohol that lot of people don't talk about is, people drink alcohol because they think it helps them sleep. We know that it disrupts your REM sleep, it reduces melatonin, it increases cortisol, it dysregulates your blood sugar. For people who suffer with hot flashes, it can actually make them worse. The vasomotor symptoms, a lot of people experience in perimenopause and menopause. There's actually some research to demonstrate that alcohol, of course, is considered to be a toxin and it can actually shrink the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that actually helps regulate the HPA or the hypothalamus pituitary axis, which why is that important because this is our main communicator from our brain to our endocrine system. If this is dysregulated and for a lot of people it has been. We've dealt with a lot of stress the last two years. And so, a lot of the work that I do is helping people understand the interrelationship between stress and the net impact on the body. 

The other thing that I would mention that I think is important about alcohol, as we know, it impairs estrogen metabolism. Most of our estrogen metabolism occurs in the liver. We have Phase 1 and Phase 2 liver detoxification. It's important to understand that this puts a burden on the liver. If you're drinking excessively and often they can actually impair the way that your body packages up and gets rid of estrogen. Melanie touched on earlier, we can get exposed to estrogen mimicking chemicals in our environment, personal care products and food, and you laid that on with a lot of alcohol drinking, it can really up your risk of things like fibroids, and even breast cancer. It's interesting a lot of the work that I do is looking at women's breast cancer risks. And so, you really have to make the decision that makes most sense for you. There's no judgement from either of us about whether people choose to drink or they don't choose to drink, but you want to make sure that you're doing it responsibly. Obviously, if you're drinking alcohol to help you sleep, it really isn't helping you sleep. If you're drinking alcohol to help manage stress, we have to be thinking broadly about ways that we can manage that really effectively. 

The last thing that I want to add is that I moved from a very much a drinking culture, the environment that I lived in, in my last city. I think for a lot of women, there's the mommy drinking culture and just being aware, building awareness about our habits, and how that can influence decisions that we make the joke is, I don't drink alcohol because it's the only thing that gives me hot flashes and it wrecks my sleep, and so that's my personal choice. But obviously, I work with many women who do choose to drink alcohol. I always look at it from a very objective opinion to make sure that people fully understand the impact of alcohol and just being responsible about it. I think that's the big takeaway that I would say that I think is important that I love that this young woman is so concerned about her in laws and wants to help educate them about good decision making. Maybe it really needs to just come from a place of sometimes with men I feel if you're really straightforward and just let them know, actually, it's not helping your sleep, let's think of some other ways to help you sleep. That might be an effective strategy.

Melanie Avalon: I love that and I also think it's important-- I know Cynthia and I have talked about this. I think it's very possible to understand that alcohol may or may not work for some people, and may be a detriment to some people, and still provide a resource to people who do want to drink. So, the Dry Farm Wines, for example, because Cynthia, you don't drink, right?

Cynthia Thurlow: No, I don't. I made that decision during the pandemic because I was like, “It's the only thing that makes me get hot flashes and it just wrecks my sleep.” In my hierarchy of my life, as a 50-year-old woman, my sleep is pretty important. [laughs] Because of that the one thing that I needed to eliminate and it's amazing to me, Melanie, how triggering that is for people. I always say like, “I don't judge what other people do.” We even had a party at our house last night and it made people uncomfortable that I wasn't drinking. I said, “I'm totally fine. I'm here drinking my LMNT electrolytes and I'm great. I'm totally happy,” because I'm not going to go to bed dehydrated, I'm not going to go to bed and wreck my sleep, I'm going to hit the pillow, and I'm not going to wake up until I wake up. It's a very interesting dynamic as I try to navigate reassuring people, I'm completely fine in this space. There are no issues that I have whatsoever. People choose to drink. Of course, my husband drinks responsibly, but it's an interesting place to navigate. Figuring out what works best for us and the N of 1 that very powerful value of bio-individuality figuring out what works for you or what doesn't.

Melanie Avalon: It's similar to I feel, if you are doing fasting and you're not partaking in the food situation for whatever reason at a social gathering and people can be very triggered or pressure you to that you need to be eating to enjoy yourself. Especially if I go to, so, not like a dinner, but a gathering where there's food involved, I'll often just not eat. I just would be happier if I go and then I'll eat later. It's so interesting, people-- the social pressure. I used to really struggle with it, but now, I just realized like, “I don't owe anybody anything. I can just do what will make me feel the best in the situation.” But social pressure is definitely very interesting. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Oh, absolutely. 

Melanie Avalon: Going back to the Dry Farm Wines, so, you don't drink and I don't want to put words in your mouth, but based on the conversation that we just had, I think we can both understand for some people that they do have a healthy relationship with alcohol and for them it's beneficial that we can provide a resource like Dry Farm Wines, for example. So, for the people who do want to drink can do it in the healthiest way.

Cynthia Thurlow: Exactly, they have healthy choices. Yeah. I think one of the things I did not know, until I dove down that wine rabbit hole is just how many contaminants are in wine, and how they're exposed to so many chemicals, and how most of the wineries here in the United States really don't even protect consumers. That was something that when I found that out, I was like, “Wow.” I make good use of buying Dry Farm Wines for family members or friends as gifts and just to try to introduce them to products that are certainly cleaner and safer.

Melanie Avalon: Yes. For listeners, who aren't familiar with Dry Farm Wines, because it's really shocking if you think about it. If you go buy a bottle of wine, there's not a label. There's not a nutrition label. It doesn't show the ingredients. You would think it's just fermented grapes, but it's not usually, especially in conventional wines in the US, they have additives, they have stabilizers, they have colorizers, there's something called mega purple, which is actually to make wine look more purple. If you've ever had wine, especially if it's cheaper wine and you've noticed that it really stains your teeth like red, wine shouldn't do that. Not to the extent that it can when you're drinking cheap wine. It's not from the grapes. It's from this mega purple color additive, which is just shocking to me. Dry Farm Wines, I am obsessed with Dry Farm Wines. They're all a drink. 

They go throughout Europe and they won't even do wines from the US, because they said none of the wines in the US meet their standards. They find all of these wineries practicing organic practices, because there are a lot of wineries that are being organic, but they don't have the time or the money to get an organic certification. They test the wines and then they make sure the wines are free of toxins, free of additives, free of mold, free of pesticides, dry farmed, meaning, they're not pumped up with water. The wines are also low alcohol and low sugar. They're all 12.5% alcohol or less and they're all less than, is it 0.5 or one gram of sugar. They're all low sugar. When I drink Dry Farm Wines, it's such a difference. When I drink “normal wine” if I'm at a dinner or something I'm like, “Oh, this is either too sweet or high alcohol.” I really, really recommend them. You can actually get a bottle for a penny at our link which is at I as well, Cynthia, I gift it to so many people, especially when the holidays come, I'm like, “Okay, just going to send the Dry Farm Wines to all the people.”

Cynthia Thurlow: No, and it's so easy. It's funny. My husband really likes their reds. The thing about Dry Farm Wines is you get three bottles, or you get six bottles, or 12 bottles. And so, they pick them out for you and my husband, who is pretty picky about his red wine, actually, he's really liked what they've been sending recently.

Melanie Avalon: I think they've really evolved because I've been promoting them since almost a long time. In the beginning, I just think they found so many more wineries that the wines just continued to get better and better. What's really cool you can do, I did this literally yesterday because like Cynthia said, you get a mixed collection of wines. You don't choose them. If there's one that you really like, you can actually email them and order that bottle specifically. You can do an order of three. I asked if I could get two of one and then one of another, and they were actually out of the one, but they said they would pick one that was similar to it, and put that in there. So, I'm excited.

Cynthia Thurlow: Do you want to hear a fun fact? 

Melanie Avalon: Yes. I love fun facts.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yes. I am speaking at an event in July here in Virginia, which never happened. Like unicorn event in Virginia and it's me, and Vinnie Tortorich, and Dr. Phil Ovadia, who's this cardiovascular surgeon who's changed his life by eating a low-carb lifestyle, and fasting, and then actually, Todd White will be there. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, nice.

Cynthia Thurlow: I’ll get to meet him in person.

Melanie Avalon: I've actually interviewed him twice, I think. Have you interviewed him on your show?

Cynthia Thurlow: I have not. It's on our fall to-do list. As I'm sure is a podcast, you have a podcast where you have people and we're booking into December, and some people want us to create other slots, and I'm really, now that the book launch is behind me, I'm trying to be very deliberate about my availability. Because as an example, I have three podcasts this week to record and sometimes, the unicorns pop up and you have to say yes. Both you and I are interviewing Mark Sisson this week, which is really super-duper exciting. It's hard to find balance. I struggle constantly and one thing I've told my family is heading into the summer, I'm always working in my business. But I'm only working in my business where I'm visible on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays this summer, because I want to be able to spend time with my kids and not be working constantly. So, hopefully, I'll get to interview him in the fall.

Melanie Avalon: For Mark Sisson, was that a last minute? Was that a spontaneous thing?

Cynthia Thurlow: It was. The opportunity came up, I was told he was in town literally, in the country for two days. And so, I was like, “I have an opening on Tuesday. I'll make that happen.” So, it was that spontaneous.

Melanie Avalon: Wow. I wonder if the two days are-- Because I'm interviewing him the day after you.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, exactly. I think that's exactly what it is and then I think he's out of the country again. 

Melanie Avalon: Wow. That's amazing. 

Cynthia Thurlow: So, yeah. When you have those unicorn interviews and one thing I think is really cool about-- I know this isn't relevant to this podcast, but I'm sure listeners, we've interviewed some people, we've had overlap and others we haven't, but I've listened to your interviews that I've done interviews with, and we get different information. If you're a really good interviewee, you can get different information. I'm sure you probably have interviewed people that they spout the same rhetoric to everyone they talk to, but I think we've been fortunate that we've been able to interview some pretty dynamic individuals that really make interviewing them. It’s just such a blessing, it's such an amazing experience.

Melanie Avalon:  I know. I am so grateful and I'm so excited to see how both of our interviews go.

Cynthia Thurlow: I'm sure Mark doesn't remember me, but I met him actually in-- Not intentionally met him. I literally was not paying attention. My head was going in one direction, my body was going another, and I bumped into him. He was very polite and that's what struck me he was incredibly polite. I didn't realize, when I ran into him who it was until I fan geeked after he walked away and then I was like, “Oh, my God, I just ran into Mark Sisson. How does that happen?” And he could not have been more polite.

Melanie Avalon: I love that. I love that. Can I tell you what was my funniest celebrity run and moment that but I didn't realize like yours that you didn't realize? This is so funny. I was doing a really small little feature bit in a commercial. I didn't know much about the project and so the director came up to me, and he said his name, and I didn't really hear, and then I said, “Sorry, what was your name again?” He said his name then he walked aside, and then I specifically sought him out and said like, “Sorry, what was your name again?” It was Lance Bass.

Cynthia Thurlow: Well, I guess, that's forgivable. I think it's good to be humbled. I really, really think it's important to be humbled. It's been my experience. Sometimes, I go to events or places and everyone knows me. Sometimes, I go to events and people, no one knows me. I always say to my husband, he's usually with me, “It's actually good to be humbled.” It's actually a good thing to sometimes have people not know who you are.

Melanie Avalon: It was just funny because I remember I said, “What was your name again?” He said, “Lance” and then I walked away and I was like, “Oh.” [laughs] 

Cynthia Thurlow: I think that's hilarious. Like I said, it's good to be humbled, right?

Melanie Avalon: Growing up, I was very sheltered. I was like NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, Britney. I was exposed to them through school and the skate rink, but they were not in my collection. I was not watching, listening to their stuff at home. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Okay. So, I'm now curious. What does “I was sheltered mean”? What does that represent? I want more information.

Melanie Avalon: A very Christian-- I don't want to say moral because that sounds you're not moral, if you're not Christian. But everything had to be filtered through focus on the Family, and nothing sexual, and so things like Britney Spears, and even NSYNC, and all of that was not something I was listening to the Christian pop stuff.

Cynthia Thurlow: Do want to hear something funny. The very first time I saw Britney Spears on a video, I was like, “Oh my gosh, she's going to be a flash in the pan.”

Melanie Avalon: Really? [laughs] 

Cynthia Thurlow: Well, because you have to remember, I was at different stage of life, I was in my 20s, and I was like, “What is this?” Because it was so highly sexualized. Her very first single that came out that I remember, we were at a party and of course all the guys were gawking at her. I remember just thinking like, “Oh, every other teenybopper teenage oversexualized singer that's out there. Where was I wrong?”

Melanie Avalon: Because I know a lot of people can feel they were suppressed or they could be resentful. I'm not a rebellious type and I don't feel bothered by that upbringing specifically. But even looking back now, I'm like, “Oh, yeah.” I don't think my mom was being crazy and not wanting me as like a third-grade girl to be watching Britney Spears’ stuff. Looking at it now, I'm like, “Oh, yeah, that is little bit sexual.” [chuckles] 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. Well, and it's interesting because I view things through the eyes of a parent. My husband and I were making returns, which this is completely irrelevant to the conversation, but I'm going to just to share. I'm the type of person I'm now in a city where the shopping is terrible. I buy a bunch of stuff online and I just bring it all back. My husband was walking around with me as I was making these returns, and there were a couple of young women that passed us who were probably teenagers, maybe early 20s, and my husband was like, “Thank God, we have boys because I don't know what I would do if my daughter walked out of the house with her boobs hanging out and super short, booty shorts. I know that a lot of that's the style.” It's not a judgment. It was just funny that he said that because of course, the boys there're a lot less options for them and certainly, there's not stuff hanging out when they go out. But it's very interesting viewing things as a parent like things that maybe weren't on my radar in my 20s and 30s that I now seen, I'm like, “Oh, God, that's bad.” Meaning, that's an oversexualized representation of what a young woman could be doing for herself positively or negatively.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Friday nights were the Friday night skate nights and I loved it because that's when I got to hear all the music, because it's really-- It was the prime time of really good solid pop music. Her music’s really amazing for pop. [laughs] So, needless to say, that is why I did not recognize Lance Bass is my excuse.

Cynthia Thurlow: I think that's a good thing. You probably humbled him enormously.

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AvalonX supplements are free of all common allergens like wheat, gluten, eggs, soy, dairy, shellfish, nuts, even rice which is very, very common in a lot of supplements. Check for that. They also come in glass bottles and are vegan. For my first supplement serrapeptase, we created a special process that requires small batches to make that uses only a small amount of MCTs as the lubricant and filler. None of the other serrapeptase is on the market are doing this. That was actually one of the biggest things to tackle because most of the serrapeptase on the market as problematic fillers and suspicious enteric coatings, which likely contain plastics and other potentially toxic compounds you don't want in your body. We use a special delay release capsule that ensures the serrapeptase reaches your small intestine, so that it can be absorbed into your body. What is serrapeptase? It's a proteolytic enzyme created by the Japanese silkworm. When you take it in the fasted state, it actually breaks down problematic proteins in your body. It can really help anything where your body is reacting to problematic proteins. That's why it can radically help with allergies, it clears my sinuses like none other, and it can clear brain fog, studies have shown it may help reduce inflammation, enhance wound healing, help with pain, even reduce cholesterol, and break down amyloid plaque. 

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Melanie Avalon: Okay. And then to briefly address Denite’s other question and I'll go ahead and read the second question we had because it all ties together. So, Deborah, her subject was: “LDL higher since IF.” She just said, “I've gotten my best friend to join me in IF, but after only two months her blood work came back with an LDL of 148. Previously, it was completely normal. Her son, who was an RN told her that's why he stopped IF. Help, research on this,” and then as a refresher, so, Denite’s question was about “Intermittent fasting for lowering cholesterol and actually advocating it to her in-laws” and did we have any thoughts about that? So, fasting and cholesterol.

Cynthia Thurlow: Okay, I think everyone by now knows my whole background as an NP for 16 years was in cardiology, so, you better believe I have seen a lot of lipid panels, both straightforward lipid panels, which are total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, triglycerides, and then advanced lipid analysis. Number one, I don't really worry about total cholesterol. In fact, we don't want it to be too low. I had patients on very, very powerful lipid-lowering agents and when their total cholesterol got close to 100, you have to remember what cleaves off of cholesterol that includes our sex hormones. How many patients had erectile dysfunction and other issues related to too low cholesterol? You don't want to be looking for a too low of a total cholesterol. I'm not sure if she was specifically referring to triglycerides and HDL, which I typically see being abnormal, meaning, triglycerides over 150, HDL for men being under 45, women under 55, we know those are pathologic. With that being said, I do generally, when I see someone with an LDL that's “abnormal.” I want more information and I actually don't think 148 for an LDL is all that bad. What you want is more information. You want an advanced lipid analysis, you want to look at particle size. This is super important because not all LDL is bad. 

I think we have to start really re-familiarizing ourselves. This includes healthcare professionals and the general public. There are a lot of physicians, and nurses, and nurse practitioners who are practicing with 30-year-old medicine. I see it all the time because I get this question probably five or six times a week. The first thing is you need more information. You need to do an advanced lipid analysis, we used to call it a VAP. I'm not sure what your insurance coverage will cover or even if your physician or nurse practitioner even going to order this, but it is generally covered by insurance. It's looking at LDL particle size. You want light and fluffy like light, fluffy, non-atherogenic. LDL cholesterol is benign. That's actually what I have. Number two, if it's small and dense and you also have concomitant risk factors for cardiovascular disease, or you are insulin resistant, or diabetic, then you've got work to do. Generally, first line of defense is lifestyle management. Can intermittent fasting be part of that? Absolutely. Have I read anything that suggests that you're going to have a worsening of your lipid panel relevant to fasting? No, but it's interesting. 

I always think about Dave Feldman's work. He's an engineer, entrepreneur, and he is doing research in this area. He's changing the way clinicians are practicing because of the work that he's doing. There's actually something called a Lean Mass Hyper Responder. It is beyond the scope of this discussion, but I highly recommend you check out my podcast that I did with him at the tail end of 2020. He's doing a lot of really interesting research. There are a lot of people who actually in a low carb, ketogenic fasted state will actually produce more cholesterol, but it's not pathogenic. I definitely encourage you to dig a little bit deeper, get those advanced lipid analysis done, they are covered by insurance. Not all LDL is bad and I want that to die a death on a hill, because there are a lot of people that are stressed and worried needlessly. 

The other thing that I want to reemphasize is, we do not want our total cholesterol to be too low. When someone says it's high, my question is always quantify it. When you're sending us questions, please tell us how old you are and [chuckles] please tell us, what it is that? If it's too high, tell me what that is, tell me what the lab is, so that I can at least lay my eyes on it. But I would say don't fast because of your concerns relevant to total cholesterol, which is bogus. Not saying you're bogus, but the claims that fasting is somehow going to hurt your cholesterol are bogus. The other thing is if you're told that your LDL is “too high,” you want more information before you get yourself into a panic.

Melanie Avalon: I thought that was very comprehensive and you have so much more of a knowledge base about this than I do. So, I'm super grateful for that. The only thing I will add to it is that if you google, go to Google Scholar, you can actually find a lot of studies looking at fasting and cardiovascular health. I'll put links in the show notes to one I found because it was about this specifically. It was time restricted eating to improve cardiovascular health and it was a 2021 review. Looking at everything, but basically, it concluded that the effects of fasting on cholesterol tend to improve parameters when it comes to that and decrease total cholesterol, even though I know Cynthia was just talking about that's not necessarily always the thing, but does it have a beneficial effect on LDL? Interestingly, some studies sometimes don't find any effects on HDL. Not really sure what's going on there, but in general fasting seems to have a beneficial effect on our cholesterol panels. Something that people can experience is an increase in cholesterol transiently due to weight loss. So, that can be something to consider because basically if you're freeing up all of the stored fat, and triglycerides, and it can lead to a transient increase in cholesterol levels. But it's not necessarily-- It doesn't mean that they're increasing over the long term. Then one other last thing I was going to mention-- what was it? Wait, it'll come to me.

Cynthia Thurlow: One thing I just wanted to say while you're thinking about that is, you think about the reduction in inflammation, and oxidative stress, and the improvement in mitochondrial efficiency relevant to vis-à-vis, eating less frequently and changing your macros is pretty significant. That's just something to keep in mind. I think unfortunately, we, and I say we as an allopathic trained physicians and nurses many times just are so reactionary instead of thinking, “What could be going on?” I try to be very, very respectful of my peers and there are a lot of people doing some tremendous work, but this is definitely an area of medicine that I’ve gotten more and more outspoken about that we really need to turn the tide and stop focusing on the wrong parameters.

Melanie Avalon: I thought of it and also I'm so glad that you said that because that was something I wanted to touch on was, I think it can be a little bit nearsighted to just look at fasting, because with Deborah's question, she's talking about fasting was the thing that raised her LDL, which unlikely to me, but the broader context of the effects of dietary interventions is just huge. I would look at diet as a key player in your cholesterol. But the two things I just thought of, one was, I interviewed Azure Grant on the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. Her focus is actually ultradian rhythms. Basically, the different time rhythms in cells and she's done a lot of work that helped influence the work of Oura Ring. That's how I was connected to her through Harpreet, who used to be the CEO of Oura. But in any case, she has a fascinating study where they tested cholesterol levels and a group of people constantly throughout the day, which is super cool. These people were testing their cholesterol, which must have been very unpleasant with all of the pricks, but all throughout the day. The fluctuations in the levels were crazy. Every single person at some point during the day had a result that went into the pathological levels, even if they probably didn't have a pathological panel. 

The point of that is that when you test, it was 148, but if you had tested at a different time during that day, it might have been completely different. I think that's why it's actually important to be regularly monitoring these things. I use InsideTracker to keep all of my data together and it's amazing because I can see over time. I put my cholesterol panels in there because we can get really microscopic, and just see this one result, and it can be hard to see the overall picture of like, “What does my panel look like in general? Where am I moving, where am I trending, how are the different levels relating?” I have my cholesterol levels since I started using InsideTracker in 2019. And looking at those graphs, it has been very, very helpful for me, I think get a more, I guess, telling picture of what's happening. But yeah, a lot of good stuff. I got to interview Dave Feldman some time.

Cynthia Thurlow: He's amazing. We spoke together at Keto Salt Lake, and that was the first time I had met him, and my husband got to meet him in person. Dave went on a tangent talking to me to a level that at one point, I was like, “Dave, you just blew my mind.” He's absolutely one of the smartest people I've ever met and just brilliant. He's doing cutting edge research in relationship to LDL particles, and cholesterol, and he's really changing the narrative for medicine, and I'm just so very grateful to have had the opportunity to speak with him, and also be his friends. I would absolutely encourage you to connect with him. He's just so smart. He'll blow your mind. [laughs] He'll have a good meeting of the minds with him for sure.

Melanie Avalon: I'm so fascinated by all of the cholesterol stuff because it is just so debated. There are some really intense camps. It's confusing. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. A few things for listeners before we go. If you'd like to submit your own questions for the show, you can directly email questions at or you can go to and you can submit questions there. The show notes for today's episode will be at The show notes will have all of the links to everything that we talked about, which was a lot of stuff, as well as a full transcript. So, definitely check that out. And then you can follow us on Instagram. I am @melanieavalon, Cynthia is @cynthia_thurlow_ and our joint account is @ifpodcast. So, definitely check that out. All righty, well, Cynthia, enjoy your trip.

Cynthia Thurlow: I can't wait. I'm so excited. I'll be posting as much as I can photos of our journey. But I'm really so excited and it's been a very exciting last six months, but I am ready to disconnect and get rejuvenated. We took a big vacation in December and I planned this at the same time knowing that I would need it, and I'm so glad that I did.

Melanie Avalon: Well, I am so excited for you. I can't wait to see and hear all about it. Actually, I'm glad we're talking about this now. For listeners, since Cynthia will be traveling, next week, we're going to air an episode that I did recently with Rick Johnson. Cynthia and I are both major fans of Rick. His work is so mind blowing. Get really excited because I think you guys are really going to enjoy it. That'll be next week. So, all righty, well, this has been absolutely wonderful and I will talk to you in two weeks.

Cynthia Thurlow: Sounds good, my friend. 

Melanie Avalon: 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 your 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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Jan 18

Episode 248: SIBO, Antibiotics, Insulin, Wine, Alcohol Metabolism, Fatty Liver, Whole Foods Diet, And More!

Intermittent Fasting

Welcome to Episode 248 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 Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living An Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle

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

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21:00 - Listener Q&A: Keri - Seeking Patience and Answers. My Saga and road to IF

The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #117 - Tim Spector

The Delay, Don't Deny Community

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Episode 125: Roxi

Episode 50: Renee and Joel

56:05 - PREP DISH: Get a free 2 week trial At! You'll get weekly gluten-free and Paleo grocery and recipe lists!!

Episode 170: Kristi Osborn


Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 248 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, author of What When Wine: Lose Weight and Feel Great with Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, and Wine. And I'm here with my cohost, Gin Stephens, author of Fast. Feast. Repeat.: The Comprehensive Guide to Delay, Don't Deny Intermittent Fasting. For more on us, check out,, and Please remember, the thoughts and opinions on this podcast do not constitute medical advice or treatment. So, pour yourself a cup of black coffee, a mug of tea, or even a glass of wine, if it's that time, and get ready for The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. 

Hi, friends. I'm about to tell you how you can get free electrolyte supplements, some of which are clean, fast approved, all developed by none other than Robb Wolf. Have you been struggling to feel good with low carb, paleo, keto, or fasting? Have you heard of something called the keto flu? Here's the thing. The keto flu is not actually a condition. Nope. Keto flu just refers to a bundle of symptoms. Headaches, fatigue, muscle cramps, and insomnia that people experience in the early stages of keto dieting. Here's what's going on.  

When you eat a low-carb diet, your insulin levels drop. Low insulin in turn lowers the production of the hormone aldosterone. Now aldosterone is made in the kidneys and it helps you retain sodium. So, low aldosterone on a keto diet makes you lose sodium at a rapid rate. Even if you are consciously consuming electrolytes, you might not be getting enough. In particular, you need electrolytes, especially, sodium and potassium, in order for nerve impulses to properly fire. Robb Wolf, who as you guys know is my hero in the holistic health world worked with the guys at Ketogains to get the exact formulation for electrolyte supplements to formulate LMNT Recharge, so you can maintain ketosis and feel your best. LMNT Recharge has no sugar, no coloring, no artificial ingredients, no junk. They're used by three Navy SEALs teams. They are the official hydration partner to Team USA weightlifting, they're used by multiple NFL teams, and so much more. 

Guess what? We worked out an exclusive deal for The Intermittent Fasting Podcast listeners only. Guys, this is huge. They weren't going to do a deal, I begged them, here we are. You can get a free LMNT sampler pack. We're not talking a discount, we're talking free. Completely free. You only pay $5 for shipping. If you don't love it, they will even refund you the $5 for shipping. I'm not kidding. The sample pack includes eight packets of LMNT, two Citrus, two Raspberry, two Orange, and two Raw Unflavored. The Raw Unflavored ones are the ones that are safe for your clean fast and the other ones you can have in your eating window. Word on the street is the citrus flavor makes an amazing margarita, by the way.  

I am loving LMNT and I think you guys will, too. Again, this is completely free. You have nothing to lose. Just go to That's D-R-I-N-K-L-M-N-T dotcom forward slash IF Podcast. And I'll put all this information in the show notes.  

One more thing before you jump in. Are you fasting clean inside and out? Did you know that one of our largest exposures to toxic compounds, including endocrine disrupters, which mess with our hormones, obesogens which literally cause our body to store and gain weight, as well as carcinogens linked to cancer is actually through our skincare? Europe has banned thousands of these compounds for being toxic, and the US has only banned around 10. It's honestly shocking. So, when you're putting on your conventional skincare makeup, you're likely putting toxic compounds directly into your body. These compounds can make you feel bad, can make it really hard to lose weight, can affect your hormones, your mood, your health. And ladies, if you're thinking of having kids, when you have a child, these compounds actually go directly through the placenta into the newborn. That means your skincare makeup that you're putting on today actually affects the health of future generations.  

Did you know that conventional lipstick for example often test high for lead and the half-life of lead can be up to 30 years in your bones? That means when you put on your lipstick, 30 years later, half of that lead might still be in your body. Thankfully, there's an easy, easy solution to this. There's a company called Beautycounter and they were founded on a mission to change this. Every single ingredient and their products are extensively tested to be safe for your skin. You can actually feel good about what you put on and on top of that, their products actually work that's because they're not “all natural.” They actually combine the best of both worlds, both synthetic and natural ingredients to create products that actually support the health of your skin and make your skin look amazing. They have skincare lines for all your skin types, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner that I love, anti-aging and brightening peels, and vitamin C serums, and incredible makeup. If you see my makeup on Instagram, that's all Beautycounter. You can shop with us at 

And if you're thinking of making safe skincare a part of your future like we have, we definitely suggest becoming a band of Beauty member. It's sort of like the Amazon Prime for clean beauty. You get 10% back in product credit, free shipping on qualifying orders, and a welcome gift that is worth way more than the price of the yearlong membership, totally completely worth it. Also, definitely join my clean beauty email list at, I give away a lot of free things on that list and join me on my Facebook group, Clean Beauty and Safe Skincare with Melanie Avalon. I do a weekly giveaway every single week for Beautycounter, people share their experience and product reviews, and so much more. And again, the link to shop with us is All right, now, enjoy the show. 

Melanie Avalon: Hi, everybody and welcome. This is Episode number 248 of the Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with, Gin Stephens.  

Gin Stephens: Hi, everybody.  

Melanie Avalon: How are you today, Gin?  

Gin Stephens: Well, I am fabulous. It is January 2nd and I was late putting up my Christmas decorations this year. So, I took them down earlier than usual. [laughs]  

Melanie Avalon: I was going to ask you. I've been stressing about the proper time to take them down. I was going to take them down today.  

Gin Stephens: Well, I follow the, like, take them down to the 12 days of Christmas kind of a thing. So, therefore, January 5th would be the official or 6th depending on what you count as day one, I don't know. But right around January 5th or 6th.  

Melanie Avalon: Wait, I thought the 12 days of Christmas ended on Christmas.  

Gin Stephens: No, that's when it begins.  

Melanie Avalon: What? Are you sure?  

Gin Stephens: Yeah. There's the season in the Christian faith called epiphany. That's the name of the season. If you look up epiphany. 

Melanie Avalon: I will say, listeners, I feel good. I typed in when are the-- It is the 4th search. People are wondering.  

Gin Stephens: [laughs]  

Melanie Avalon: Do you want to know what the first three are?  

Gin Stephens: What do you mean? The first three what?  

Melanie Avalon: What people are searching for when they search for? When are the- 

Gin Stephens: Yeah.  

Melanie Avalon: -college football playoffs, Winter Olympics, Grammys, 12 Days of Christmas.  

Gin Stephens: Love it. 

Melanie Avalon: Then, Oscars. Whoa.  

Gin Stephens: What? 

Melanie Avalon: Mind blown. I always thought the 12 days of Christmas ended on Christmas.  

Gin Stephens: Yeah. See, Gin knows her stuff about stuff. [laughs] So, officially, I always keep it up till later. But I've got so much going on this week. Yesterday, I was like, I'll just take down a few things and leave up the trees. And then, I was in such a roll and I was already all dirty from taking dusty stuff and whatever, and then, I'm like, "I'm just doing it." So, I did it. So, my house is un-Christmased, whatever. un-Christmased. That is a hard word to say. [laughs]  

Melanie Avalon: I feel so much better now. I was stressing about-- Because this is my first time having my own tree, and I was like, "When do I take it down?" Okay, I thought I was late.  

Gin Stephens: No. I was just early and was a little sad. But like I said, I was on a roll, so, I did it, and here we are 2022. Officially, our first time talking in the New Year.  

Melanie Avalon: I know. A question for you. I asked you this before, but you sent me a Christmas tree that is in a pot. What do you think will happen if I keep it in the pot? Will it overtake the container? What I was asking you before is, they say that goldfish, and I don't know if this is true, because I just briefly googled it, and I think it might not be true. But I'd always heard that goldfish grow to the size of their container. So, that's why like when you have a goldfish at home, it's small, but if the goldfish in ponds are big.  

Gin Stephens: Yeah, I don't know the answer to either of those questions because I am the last person to ask about how to keep a plant alive. So, Chad does all keeping plants alive and I keep other things alive, like, children and cats. [laughs] He keeps plants alive. Here's what I always do. I keep it in the pot until it dies, and then I throw it away. Now, when I was a teacher, one year Chad gave me this beautiful orchid on the first day of school, and I kept it in my classroom, and it was beautiful, and then it died. There was another teacher at my school who saves things. 

Melanie Avalon: Wait, you know about orchids?  

Gin Stephens: I don't know anything about orchids, but I know that my friend, who was like, "I can save that." So, I gave it to her instead of throwing it away.  

Melanie Avalon: Fun fact because Gin and I have the same agent. All the people that I worked with there, so, the main agent and then two assistants, they're actually agents now, I sent them an orchid plant, three of them. It was so perfect. They came in three different colors. So, I was like, they can pick whatever color they want. Are you ready? So, the orchid blooms once a year. It "dies," but it comes back. So, it might not have been dead.  

Gin Stephens: Well, I gave it to her. Normally, I just would throw them away, and then I felt bad. Here's my whole rationalizing this. I felt bad. I'm like, "This plant died and then then I had to throw it away, and that's like a waste of a good plant." Then I'm like, "Wait a minute. Anytime we cut flowers, since you cut flowers, they die and you throw them away."  

Melanie Avalon: And it probably wasn't even dead.  

Gin Stephens: I don't know. Hopefully, she revived it.  

Melanie Avalon: The thing is, I had never realized this. So, I put everywhere in the note. I explain this because I didn't want them to think it died, because they were dyed. 

Gin Stephens: Brittle looking?  

Melanie Avalon: Well, the flowers were dyed. D-Y. Dyed colors. It said that it would die and then it would come back, but it would be its normal orchid color. So, then, I sent them a follow up email and I was like, "Maybe this is common knowledge. But just FYI about those orchids."  

Gin Stephens: No, no, when I think an orchid is dead, it's not that the flower falls off. It's that the entire stem is now brown and twiggy looking. That's what I call it, it's dead now. Not just because the flowers fell off. I mean, I do know if it's still green just because the flower fell off, that doesn't mean it's dead. But once the stem would get twiggy, actually, I do know my friend did save it. When I said, I hope she saved it, she did. She told me she did.  

Melanie Avalon: Speaking of plants, this is actually so perfect, unplanned. I interviewed Farmer Lee Jones last week.  

Gin Stephens: His book is beautiful.  

Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness, Gin. So, up until this point, so, I've had over a hundred something guests on the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. Up until this point, everybody's been really incredible, really amazing, a lot of people are really passionate, but when I'd interviewed Wim Hof, he was just like another level of passion. Everybody was like at this kind of hit this glass ceiling of passion, and then he was just lightyears ahead. Farmer Lee Jones is on the Wim Hof spectrum of passion. He was yelling at the microphone. I was like, "Oh, my goodness." He was incredible. I have never felt so inspired to support regenerative agriculture, and bring back nutrient density, and revive our soil, and take charge of our health through growing better food. This man is incredible. He's so amazing. So, for listeners when that episode comes out, definitely check it out. The entire time I was just smiling. I was watching myself having the interview and I was just smiling. Can you imagine if everybody had that type of energy, what type of world we would live in?  

Gin Stephens: Oh, I know.  

Melanie Avalon: So, it was amazing.  

Gin Stephens: That's great. Oh, I'm actually, finally listening to Why We Get Sick 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, Dr. Gregor.  

Gin Stephens: No, no. Benjamin Bikman.  

Melanie Avalon: Oh, that's how not to die.  

Gin Stephens: You had Benjamin Bikman on your podcast, right?  

Melanie Avalon: Yes. Oh, I loved that. Oh, he's amazing.  

Gin Stephens: Yeah. Spoiler alert, insulin. [laughs] But it is everything I already thought and he's saying it, I mean I haven't gotten all the way in but so far, the beginning talking about hyperinsulinemia. 

Melanie Avalon: [sighs] I remember when I was doing all that and I was like, "Gin, read this book." It's basically like the insulin manifesto.  

Gin Stephens: It really, really is. What inspired me to go ahead and get it as someone in my community said that it was available included through Audible Plus, with their new Audible Plus Catalog where you don't have to use a credit for it. You just can listen. 

Melanie Avalon: I haven't used that yet.  

Gin Stephens: What Audible Plus?  

Melanie Avalon: Mm-mm. 

Gin Stephens: I've always just had Audible and didn't ever join it. I just had it as my audiobook library and I would just buy a book. I didn't buy very many. But now, I'm driving to the beach and back-- 

Melanie Avalon: Sorry to interrupt. So, this is different then, because I have a membership with credits.  

Gin Stephens: This is the Plus membership. They have a new membership level, the Audible Plus. 

Melanie Avalon: And this book is on it?  

Gin Stephens: And you still get a credit, but you also have more things that you can listen to that are included that don't take credits and this is one of them. It's got good stuff in there. It's not just like, stuff you don't want to listen to that you can listen to for free. No, it's stuff you do want to listen to and it's included and you don't have to use a credit. So, that finally got me to pull the trigger on getting Audible as a membership, especially, now that I'm driving to the beach so much and in the sauna I can listen. So, I'm finally listening to something. 

Melanie Avalon: I'm obsessed with Audible. Actually, for listeners, because right now, as of the time of recording I'm not sure if they're still sponsoring the show. We were actually booked on inventory but I'm so passionate about them that might see if I can keep them in. So, if we do have a code for them right now, because this airs in January. I'll put in the show notes. We probably do.  

Gin Stephens: They do sponsor IF Stories. I just read an ad for them today, but yeah.  

Melanie Avalon: There probably is still an offer at the link, listeners, if you go to or text IF PODCAST to 500-500. Well, I'm glad, Gin that you are on the Audible train with me now. Audible is like my life.  

Gin Stephens: It's funny as an author of course. As soon as our books come out, you find like a typo, right? You're like, "Oh, they're--" I was just looking through Clean(ish) and they've already been printed, and of course, by this time, they come out, everybody will have them already, because we're past the date that will be released when this podcast releases. But as soon as I got my copy of the final version, I look, there's some kind of weird typo in one of the reflect and take action sections, and it's clearly just an extra character got inserted, because it's not a letter of the alphabet in the middle of a word, like an and or something. I don’t know.  

In the middle of the word, someone just leaned on their typewriter, I don't know, or their keyboard. I'm like, "Well, there's one right there." But that was not in the original document. But typos get in there all throughout the way. But I was listening to Why We Get Sick today, and an entire paragraph was repeated. I swear, I just heard that exact-- 

Melanie Avalon: In the audiobook.  

Gin Stephens: Yes.  

Melanie Avalon: That's funny.  

Gin Stephens: It exactly is in there twice. So, I'm like, I don't care how many people are part of the process, things happen. It makes you feel better when you see in other places, because you want your work to be perfect, but perfection is an illusion.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, and I told you this before on the show, but when my narrator recorded my audiobook, she did find an error in mine, but she said every single book she's ever recorded has always had an error.  

Gin Stephens: Yeah. Also, one of the websites that I mentioned as a resource no longer exists and I hate that. Because it existed all the way through, and even when we checked it, and all the way through all the final, and then, all of a sudden, it's not there anymore. I'm like, "Great." [laughs] So, people would be like, "I can't find that website." I'm just waiting for the emails to start. Yes, it doesn't exist anymore. Sorry. The internet is elite living thing and it changes.  

Hi friends, I'm about to tell you how you can get 15% off of my favorite bone broth, which is an incredible way to open your eating window. I've been talking about the incredible health effects of bone broth for years. Bone broth is so nourishing for our body. It's rich in collagen, which can really support your gut health, your skin, curb cravings, boost your energy and your immunity, but there are a lot of brands out there, a lot of them have ingredients that I don't like, and making it yourself can also be very time consuming. That's why I am thrilled about Beauty & the Broth. So, Beauty & the Broth was created by Melissa Bolona. She's an incredible actress and entrepreneur. I've had her on the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. So, I'll put a link to that in the show notes. But Melissa started Beauty & the Broth after she realized the profound effect that bone broth was having on her own health specifically, gut issues, and its ability to give her radiant skin perfect for the camera. She founded Beauty & the Broth which hits everything I could want in bone broth. It uses 100% whole organic ingredients. Yes, it is certified USDA organic. It is one of the only few bone broth companies in the entire US that has a USDA certification for organic bone broth. It has no artificial flavors, no preservatives, no phthalates, no sugar, and something that I love no salt. 

Friends even other bone broth that I really love always have salt added. This doesn't. Her bone broths are made from grass-fed ranch raised beef and vegetarian-fed free range chicken bones from Certified Humane USDA Organic Farms and all certified organic vegetables are used in the broth as well. There're no antibiotics, no hormones, only the good stuff. Here's the super cool thing about Beauty & the Broth. It can be a little bit of a hassle to transport bone broth. It's heavy, you have to keep it frozen. Guess what? Beauty & the Broth comes in shelf stable packets with no preservatives that you keep at room temperature and they are in concentrated form. That means that you add back water to reconstitute and you can make it any strength that you like. They're single servings, so you can take them with you on the go and even on the plane, as yes, they are three ounces and they're delicious. Oh, my goodness, friends, they will just make you light up. They're honestly one of the most amazing things I've ever tasted. So, if you've been looking to finally jump on the bone broth train, do it now and do it with Beauty & the Broth. And Melissa has an amazing offer just for our listeners. You can go to or and use the coupon code MELANIEAVALON to get 15% off. That's with the coupon code, MELANIEAVALON for 15% off. All of the listeners who have tried it, ever since I aired my episode with Melissa have talked about how much they love it. It is so delicious. You guys will definitely love it. So, definitely check that out.  

By the way, bone broth does break your fast. So, this is something that you want to have in your eating window. In fact, it's an amazing way to open your eating window because when you're in that fasted state, when you take in bone broth as the first thing, all of those rich nutrients and collagen go straight to your gut, help heal your gut, help with leaky gut, help digestive issues. And again, you can go to and use the coupon code, MELANIEAVALON for 15% off. I'll put all this information in the show notes. All right, now back to the show.  

Melanie Avalon: Shall we jump into everything for today?  

Gin Stephens: Yep, let's get started.  

Melanie Avalon: All right. So, to start things off, we have a very long question. It's from Carrie. Carrie, I cut down your question a lot. But it has a lot of good stuff in it, and a lot of good questions, and a lot of stuff to discuss. So, I thought we could just tackle it. This question comes from Carrie. The subject is: "Seeking patient answers, my saga and road to IF." Carrie says, "Hey, Melanie and Gin, I'm 46 and I started IF-ing two and a half months ago to lose weight. I haven't lost a pound yet nor an inch. Clothes still fit the same too. But I do love the convenience of it and the way I feel while I am fasting, energy, clarity, productivity. I clean fast. I was pretty sure drinking black coffee and giving up my Coffee-mate would cause certain death and it still hasn't. I haven't read any of your books but I did just start What When Wine this week. I chose that one because my story is very similar to Melanie's. So, I went with that one first in hopes of finding help.  

In May 2013, I had my appendix out. A couple of weeks later I got a sinus infection and they put me on, I'm thinking it's an antibiotic, which wrecked my gut bad. I was also nursing our third kid. The doctor said, I should do the BRAT diet which is Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast. A week or two later, I got a positive C. diff test, more antibiotics, it worked. The C. diff was gone and eventually, I felt like myself again. Over a year later, I was training for another half marathon and doing daily HIIT for training. I was tracking calories and MyFitnessPal, and I never want to do that again. I lost 15 pounds which was the rest of my baby weight and I was very happy. But while the weight was coming off other things were starting. Anxiety, panic attacks, brain fog and hives. If I bumped my arm or leg on an edge or the counter or something that scratched it, I would end up with hives. In hindsight I think all the training and running exacerbated gut problems from all the antibiotics, but I have no proof.  

By the end of the summer, I gained 40 pounds. In spring, 2016, a chiropractor who does kinesiology put me on herbs for a liver parasite and liver virus. I added essential oils and that helped not needing Zyrtec. In 2017, she said she started a, it is a name brand 'Weight Loss Drink' thing. She says, eventually, the brain fog and anxiety cleared and I lost 15 pounds, but I plateaued and quit those. In 2019, I gained the 15 pounds back even though I ate very healthy 80% to 90% of the time. June 2020, a naturopathic practitioner put me on some remedies from Europe to support my organs. My once very poor digestion has improved, but it still has its poor movements. I did a parasite detox remedy and a heavy metal detox. I had my fillings replaced. Believe it or not, I had tiny pieces of metal coming out of my skin. I would be skeptical if I hadn't lived it. All of my traditional blood tests are always normal. A few elimination diets, food tests, which change every time, my thyroid appears fine. Now, I'm contemplating a SIBO test. It's like throwing noodles against the wall and waiting for something to stick. There's a reason I'm going through this, I just haven't discovered it yet.  

I did start that 'Weight Loss Drink' company thing again a couple of months ago because it worked the first time until it didn't. Now, it's almost 2022 and I still have 40 pounds. If not for your podcast, I'm sure, I'd have jumped ship by now. But you two keep me afloat in this sea of confusion. I fast a minimum of 16 hours, sometimes, up to 20 to 21. Eat later in the day, so I can eat with the family at night. IF worked for me in all the ways, except the one that outward shows every day and my clothes size, clothes comfort, self-esteem etc. I have three active kids and I cannot keep up with them at this size. I'm 5'4" and I currently weigh 175 pounds on a small frame. I spent so much time researching and going down rabbit holes. For exercise, I love walking and yoga. I don't do it regularly because it's not helping. I used to focus on 10,000 steps a day, but I've lost my motivation and discipline. One of the reasons I can't lose weight is also probably because I'm stressed.  

I also love wine and beer. Beer for socializing and I'm very good at it. I do try to get organic wines, I'm anxious to get to that part of the book that discusses it. I admittedly drink too much alcohol. It's how I deal with stress. I drink nearly a gallon of water daily. A couple of random things to share, I started serrapeptase a while back not for anything specific, but to see if something happened, I wouldn't have thought of. The verdict is still out on that. I did the ZOE program. While interesting, the foods still require tracking and I really don't want to track anything, and maybe, I misunderstood the program, but healthy foods were what was encouraged and less healthy were not. They seemed geared towards plant based and I'm not plant based. I was born to eat meat as well." 

Gin Stephens: That actually is the point of ZOE is teaching you what is healthy for your body so they're going to give those higher scores. That's the point. They are encouraging you to eat what will help your microbiome be healthy. They don't want you to eliminate plants, though. They're not like, "No, don't eat any meat." We're also not trying to get a score of a one hundred. So, I think that's where a lot of people get confused when they do ZOE, because they're not trying to teach you, only eat these foods that give your body a hundred, a score of hundred and don't eat anything else. It's wanting you to live in the real world by encouraging you to emphasize certain foods and de-emphasize other ones, if that makes sense.  

Melanie Avalon: I'm very, very impressed with their-- 

Gin Stephens: Support.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. You're connected with somebody who can answer your questions, and I've been drilling them on some of the questions I have about some of the foods in the app, and they've been very good at getting me really detailed answers. I do agree that I think it is very plant based. Some of it, I think is a little bit off with the meat and the seafood just as far as some of the things that it recommends. But in general, the concept that it's addressing is processing fats versus glucose like carbs and that effect. Then, the foods have to do with effects they've seen in the gut microbiome. I think it's a really helpful app and it's really interesting seeing feedback, especially, my Facebook group. Some people are like, "This is a game changer, this completely helped me break through a plateau, I feel better." For some people, it tells them what they feel like they already knew, and then, some people, especially people I think who are more low carb parts of it don't quite resonate. But either way, regardless the information that you get with the CGM and the gut microbiome test, there's a lot to learn there. So, it's really cool. I'll put a link in the show notes. I interviewed Tim Spector, the founder. So, that was a really, really cool conversation.  

Gin Stephens: Oh, and I'm talking to him. When this comes out, what, is this comes out on the 17th? I'm talking to him on the 19th. We're doing a webinar in my community. We've never actually talked, even though, he wrote the foreword to Clean(ish), we've never actually talked. So, we're going to do a webinar only available for members of the Delay, Don't Deny Community. Go to You still have time to get there. But the replay will be there in the community as well. That's the only place it will be available. But they're very gut focused. So, that is why they're encouraging the foods that will feed your gut really, really well.  

Melanie Avalon: Exactly. Just we're talking about little pieces as we go. I want to say briefly about the serrapeptase. So that's the supplement that we've been talking about for a while on this show and I finally developed my own, which is very exciting, and it's a proteolytic enzyme created by the Japanese silkworm, and when you take it in fasted state, it actually goes into your bloodstream and it breaks down potentially problematic proteins. So, things that your body might be reacting to, it can help address. So, inflammation, allergies, it can clear your sinuses. Things on the backburner that you might not quite notice but you need to be on it long-term to possibly see difference in your bloodwork would be things like it can break down fatty deposits, and it may reduce cholesterol, it just has a myriad of potential benefits, wound healing.  

It's really interesting to see because so many people in my audience have been getting it, and some people go to it with a very specific goal like, "I want to clear my sinuses," and people have really been seeing that. Some people are more like Carrie, where they're not quite sure what they're taking it for. But I just know for me personally, I think it has a very just general synergistic helpful effect on the body like fasting does in a way. So, if you'd like to get your own, it's at 

Gin Stephens: All right, well, if we're going back, I have one more thing that I highlighted that was farther back. The part about alcohol and she said, "I admittedly drink too much alcohol." and it's how she deals with stress. I'm going to just come right out and say, Melanie and I have a different recommendation when it comes to how much alcohol might support weight loss are affect it negatively, and I think a lot of it is your own bio individuality. But for me, alcohol, when I was trying to lose weight absolutely stalled my weight loss. Like the period of time when I was trying to get to my goal weight, I didn't have alcohol for about 10 weeks at all, and I really focused on eating real foods. I didn't count fat grams, I didn't count carbs, I didn't count calories. I just didn't eat ultra-processed foods. I didn't drink alcohol. I lost two pounds a week. My body did so much better. Over the holidays, yes, I'm still drinking Dry Farm Wines. Yes, I love it. But my body doesn't feel it's best, even if I drink too much Dry Farm Wine. So, to feel my best, I'm better with zero alcohol, am I going to be alcohol free for the rest of my life? No. But if I wanted to lose weight and I knew I was-- If I actually said the sentence, "I admittedly drink too much alcohol." I would really start there.  

If you're worried like, "Oh, my gosh, I can't stop drinking alcohol, I just can't. How am I going to have fun?" Well, that's really when you need to start looking at how much you're drinking. And that's where I would recommend the book This Naked Mind. Annie Grace is the author, and I read it, and I was like, "Wow." Because I always have this, like you said, beers for socializing. I almost like that, too. I was like, "If I get together with my college friends, we're going to be drinking. That's what we do. We always have." So, the first time we got together, I was having a month where I wasn't drinking at all, and I was like, "Okay, I'm not going to tell them till we get there." It sounds like, they're going to be like, I'm not even coming or whatever and then when I got there and I'm like, "I'm not drinking, surprise." They're like, "Oh, okay, that's weird but that's fine." So, I was the designated driver, I had just as much fun, I socialized great, and I felt great the next day. So, I just really want you to-- Like I said, This Naked Mind, consider that book. It really will make you think about your alcohol consumption even if you like me decide you're not going to be alcohol free. But if you feel like you're drinking too much, I would not hesitate to read this immediately. Sorry, I had to pop that in there.  

Melanie Avalon: No, no, no. I'm really excited for her to get to my section on the book on alcohol and I agree. I think it's super context dependent on two things. Before that, I think there is something different between having what a person would consider minimal or moderate alcohol and trying to lose weight by adjusting it compared to knowing that you're probably overdrinking and wanting to lose weight. Like that's two different situations in my head. As far as the context, I think, people can be very different in how they metabolize alcohol. And then, also, I think the context of the diet that you're having it with is huge. So, for example, like for Gin, it sounds like for you, you would rather cut out the alcohol, that's an extreme approach to the alcohol compared to a more extreme approach to the food. 

Gin Stephens: Well, for me, I learned through the DNA testing that my body metabolizes alcohol slowly. Some people metabolize caffeine slowly, I don't. But my body does metabolize alcohol slowly. So, my liver has to work on the alcohol like, we had that breathalyzer that would test your ketones, I actually was using that for a long time, I don't know about a year ago or a little before a year ago. When I would drink, it would vastly affect the amount of ketones I would produce the next day. To the point like, it would take me a while to get it. My liver was busy processing alcohol for a long time is what I'm saying. So, it really affected my body. If I want to lose fat, my liver needs to not be busy processing alcohol.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I guess, what I meant about the food context is, so, I don't want to use Carrie as an example because she's admitted that she does think she overdrinks. But for another person who is moderately drinking and not losing weight, so, one option might be cutting out the alcohol completely and seeing what happens, or another option might be keeping in the alcohol and adjusting the food more, and either of those situations could potentially lead to progress.  

Gin Stephens: Yeah, absolutely. But putting them together, one, two, I think would also very likely supercharge it for almost anybody. I just really feel that way. 

Melanie Avalon: That's the thing I actually don't know.  

Gin Stephens: I know. But I do want people to try it, just to see if they think. I don't know. Go ahead.  

Melanie Avalon: Well, I'm just going to say, I'm not actually-- and I talk about this a lot in What When Wine. So, people can check that out if they'd like to learn more. But I think some people might lose more if they're really intense on the food but still having alcohol, just because of some of the ways that alcohol does affect metabolism, and its thermogenic effect, and its effect on insulin, and especially like wine, potentially its effect on insulin, its effect on like a few different things. I think some people, let's say that the diet is controlled and it's a certain type of controlled diet, be it macros, Whole Foods, whatever it is, some people might lose more actually having wine with it, and I'm saying wine, but some people might not.  

Gin Stephens: I think probably a lot of it has to do with whether you're a good alcohol metabolizer or not. I've just seen my effects over time knowing how I feel. Also, having that feedback from the breathalyzer showing how it really affected how long it took me to get into ketosis versus when I didn't have it. I mean, that's huge for me. So, it would just be something I would always recommend as a tool in the toolbox for somebody.  

Melanie Avalon: I will say, if you are drinking wine, specifically drink Dry Farm Wines. 

Gin Stephens: Oh, 100%.  

Melanie Avalon: So, I went out on New Year's and we went to two different places, and the first place I went, I was able to get a wine that I had looked up the winery, like I'm pretty sure it probably wasn't as low alcohol as Dry Farm Wines or as low sugar, but I can tell now when I drink a wine at a restaurant that's not from Dry Farm Wines. I can pretty much tell if it's approaching the Dry Farm Wines spectrum. So, that one was and I was like, "Okay, I'm good." But then we went to another bar, and I got the only organic one I could find. But now, I can just so tell how high in alcohol and sugar, a lot of wines are. I wasn't hung over or anything but I had a tiny, tiny little headache and I was like, "Oh, my goodness. I got to stay with my Dry Farm Wines." So, if listeners would like to get Dry Farm Wines, they can go to and they can get a bottle for a penny there.  

I do have a question for listeners. I was brainstorming actually on New Year's Eve with one of my friends. Let me know, would you be interested and I'm contemplating developing an app that would, I know there's so many wines in the world, but you would look up wines and it would tell you if they're organic, or sustainable, or biodynamic, like that would just be so helpful for me personally, when I'm out at restaurants. Let me know if that would be something of interest for people. 

Gin Stephens: I think it would be of interest, but there really are so many different- 

Melanie Avalon: Wines. 

Gin Stephens: -wines that I don't know how you would compile that. Because some are produced in small amounts and here's what I do. I always stick to, if I'm out, I try to get something from France. [laughs] That's my metric. You know, France. If it's made in France, it's smaller kind of a thing. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. No, actually, so, my people, if they want to know my protocol, I look at the wine list. I don't even look at US. I don't. 

Gin Stephens: No. Not at a restaurant.  

Melanie Avalon: I look at the European ones, and then, I google the winery, and this is why I want to make this app. I google the winery and you'd be really surprised how many of them actually are implementing organic practices. The thing that Dry Farm Wines goes one step beyond is, they test the wines on top of that to make sure they are organic, and free of pesticides, and free of mold. But then they also test the alcohol and the sugar content, which when you're drinking low sugar, low alcohol wines, it's just such a massive difference. But yeah, the reason I'm thinking it's doable is the Vivino app I love and you scan bottles with it and it comes up with the bottle, and people write reviews, and it has all the information, and it has almost every wine that I scan ever so it's possible to do. Let me know listeners if that would be something of interest.  

Back to Carrie. She says, "I feel like my body is not my own even after all these years of battling the things I have not grown accustomed to it. I feel like I am battling it all the time, but I do not know why. I cannot figure out what is wrong and that is hard for me because I am a fixer." And then, what's interesting is, Carrie sent us this whole email and she didn't mention what she's eating, which is something I actually want to talk about. I emailed her to ask, what she's eating? And she said, "I eat meat, seafood, eggs, lots of veggies, salads with homemade vinaigrette, feta or parmesan, and toasted walnuts or pecans, a variety of fruits, fats, butter, avocado, olive oil, occasional cheese, processed foods like tortilla chips, occasional candy, especially, when the kids share Halloween candy, taco shells, occasional desserts, basmati rice a few times a month. I rarely eat bread and when I do its usually Ezekiel, no milk, sometimes a tiny bowl of ice cream but again once a month, a little sour cream. We do not eat out a ton because we're busy with the kids and work. I'm not perfect with my diet partly because I know it's not sustainable and if I try and fail, I will just say, nope."  

I want to circle back to this. She says, "So, I try to make the best choices as often as I can. Sometimes, I have the cupcake the kids didn't take to Boy Scouts. So, I guess my questions for you are, here we go. Number one, "Podcast listening. I love it. But should I continue working my way through it," because she has started at the beginning, "Or start with the most current and go backwards?" I'm about three years behind right now." I thought this was a really great question. I don't think anybody's ever asked us this before.  

Gin Stephens: No. I don't think so either.  

Melanie Avalon: Gin, what are your thoughts?  

Gin Stephens: I don't know. I feel like I might would start with the most current and go backwards. When we started, so many things have changed. For example, remember when we like the first year, we got that question about CBD oil and we're like, "We think that might be illegal. Don't do that." [laughs] And now, it's like there's a CBD store on every block, right? 

Melanie Avalon: I was just thinking about that. I was ordering some more Feals and I was like, "Wow, things have come so far."  

Gin Stephens: Because we're like, "I don't know. It's against the law probably. Don't use that." Times have changed so much. So, probably listening to the early ones might even be like a hilarious. [laughs] I don’t know.  

Melanie Avalon: I probably suggest doing-- so, the way I handle podcast is-- so, I listen to the new ones as they're coming out, and then, well it depends on what type of show it is. But then, I usually go back and find the episodes that look intriguing and listen to them. But yeah, you could binge listen. A lot of people tell us that. A lot of people write in and say that they're starting at the beginning. I'd be really curious to know how many people, in general, our listeners-- our new listeners, how they approach it. Like, do they go back? That's a good question.  

Gin Stephens: I would definitely listen to the new ones as they come out and also Intermittent Fasting Stories. If people are not listening to that one yet, that's one that I think-- and the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. So, I would be more likely to listen to recent of all of them versus going deep dive way back in the archives, unless, you're really looking for something to listen to, and then, that would be tell us the funniest thing you heard from Episode Two or whatever we know. Anyway, I just think we would probably cringe at some of the things we might have said early on.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. It's such a different format, like the Biohacking Podcast would definitely be one. It doesn't-- 

Gin Stephens: It's not sequential.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. It's like episodic. So, any-- 

Gin Stephens: Same with IF Stories. 

Melanie Avalon: You would basically just go on the topics that you want to listen to. This one it's a lot of the same topic but yeah, it's a good question. So, number two is, "Two and a half months with zero results a thing. All the questions I've heard, no one else asked about going this long with no weight loss. I keep listening, thinking someday someone will ask all the same questions and the clouds will part, the angels will sing, and I'll know what to do." So, two and a half months with zero results.  

Gin Stephens: All right. So, here is a place where Intermittent Fasting Stories can come to the rescue. There are lots of episodes. Lots and lots of episodes out there, but two that really stand out for me as episodes for going a long time with no weight loss. One of the most recent ones that I did has still been a while. Episode 125, Roxi. If you just go to like Google and type in Intermittent Fasting Stories, Roxi, it'll help you find Roxi's episode. But Roxi started intermittent fasting, she was feeling great, she was rolling along, losing no weight at all. Then, she went back to her doctor and had a re-check. She had been diagnosed with fatty liver disease before she started fasting. Doing intermittent fasting for all these months, went back to the doctor, her fatty liver disease was completely reversed, but she hadn't lost any weight. So, it didn't show up on the scale, but clearly her body was busy doing something, which is pretty exciting.  

Now, there's another episode to look at. Oh, and by the way, I just want to say imagine, if Roxi had quit, because she thought it wasn't working for her. "Oh, this isn't working. I'm going to quit." She was clearing out a fatty liver. So, eventually she did go on to start losing pounds on the scale and she's gotten smaller or sizes changed, but that episode just really always inspires me and her story.  

Melanie Avalon: How much did she weigh?  

Gin Stephens: I don't remember the weight exactly but she was overweight.  

Melanie Avalon: Okay. I'm just wondering if she was obese.  

Gin Stephens: I'm not sure exactly whether she was in the obese category or not but she definitely had the fatty liver. So, having a fatty liver, it's not something you want. So, here's another story that is, it's Episode 50, and it's Renee and Joel. They are mother-son. Renee is the mother, Joel is the son, and when they started intermittent fasting, they both started it at the same time. He did not lose a single pound for the first eight months of doing IF. But in the ninth month, the weight just started to fall right off, he didn't change a thing, just boom. The weight started to go and he lost the 20 pounds that he wanted to lose after eight months of losing nothing. So, listen to those two stories.  

The thing is that something is happening in the body. You know what was going on in Joel's body? I don't know. Maybe, his insulin was coming down. Listening to this, Why We Get Sick? If he had hyperinsulinemia, insulin is such a storage hormone. It may be all that was happening for eight months is his body's fasted insulin level, his level of circulating insulin that goes around all the time was going down, down, down, down, down. Then, when it got to a certain point, bam he was able to lose the weight he wanted to lose. That 20 pounds dropped off so quickly after nothing.  

Melanie Avalon: That's like Gary Taubes' theory about the insulin threshold. 

Gin Stephens: Yeah, absolutely. I totally believe that could be a factor. For Roxi, fatty liver, fatty liver, fatty liver, bam. All of a sudden, she started losing the weight. So, something good is happening in the body when you're doing intermittent fasting and you can't always see it. So, there was that.  

Melanie Avalon: She didn't say what window she's doing, does she?  

Gin Stephens: Well, she said that minimum of 16 and sometimes 20 to 21. Here's what I've noticed from years in the Intermittent Fasting Community. When people would say, "I always do at least whatever, and sometimes, I did this." If they start tracking their fasts on an app, they realize that they might skew a lot more to the 16 and less to the 20 than they thought. That's just something to keep in mind. If you're fast or usually 16, 16, 16, 16, every now and then you do a 20 or 21, you're likely not getting into that peak fat burning that starts to ramp up around our 18. Just pushing it to 19 consistently instead of 16 consistently could make a difference. Just something to consider. Try an app and see what you're doing. Because for me, I needed a consistent 19 to really get that fat burning in and to lose the weight that I wanted to lose. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I guess for me, so, I think it's very telling for Carrie, well, first of all, Carrie, I really, really identify with you and I can see why you feel like our stories are really similar because for listeners, who are not familiar, a lot of my health issues started with GI distress, and SIBO, and antibiotics, and just feeling like my gut got off after this catalyzing incident, and just being a rocky road ever since then. So, I completely identify and I know what this is like for so many people. This isn't even about the weight loss. This is about the health issues that she was experiencing. You just you know something's off, and you just want to find answers, and you try all the things like Carrie has done. So, parasites, and heavy metals, and herbs, and cleanses, and going after this liver virus, and antibiotics, and just trying all these different things. I know that it's very scary and it can feel very disheartening. So, I'm completely there with you.  

For me what happened, I hit burnout with all of it. I hit a point where I was like, "I don't care." Like, I'm not testing anymore, I'm not going to try to fix whatever the specific thing is through a specific supplement or through a specific thing, and I don't know that the ideal mindset to be in either, but the takeaway that I learned from all of that and where I am now, it's really easy to get caught up in the minutiae and try to go after these specific things that you think might be in you or that might be off. When I think if you just step back and breathe, and take a more holistic approach that's foundationally based on diet and food, I think there's massive, massive potential there. You can be doing all these things, but if you're taking in food that is not supporting your gut microbiome and it's contributing to these issues, that's difficult to address. And then, on top of that, there's so much potential that can be gained when you are eating a diet that's really, really supporting your body and helping address that. All that said, so, as far as like, where to focus and like, "Where the answer is?" There might be things that you really, really do need to focus on and address. 

So, for me, the heavy metals were really bad for me. My blood levels of mercury were over 30 which is just shocking. So, that was something I did need to address. For me, I do have to keep monitoring my anemia, for example. That's not something I can just be like, "Oh, I'll just eat food and be okay." No, I actually, I use InsideTracker and I stay on top of my ferritin and my iron because that mine has a tendency to drop. So, there are things that are important to focus on and keep in mind, but I think maybe getting out of the detox mindset and entering a healing diet food mindset can't be understated. I also empathize as well. Carrie has this mindset of the perfectionism mindset. So, she's worried that, I'm going to say it again. She says, "I'm not perfect with my diet partly because I know it's not sustainable and if I try and fail, I will just say, no." So, that's really hard to navigate because I as well, I'm a perfectionist and an all or none person. And I know it's very easy, it's a slippery slope, where some people respond to not being perfect with just throwing it all out the window, which is a really interesting mindset justification that we make that doesn't have to be. So, you can still strive for perfect and then, if you're not perfect, that's okay. But if you're not perfect, it doesn't mean that you throw everything out the window and just lapse into rebelling against perfectionism. You can still strive for perfect but things can be good.  

It's interesting, I just finished Cynthia Thurlow's new book, and she talks about this, and she recommends a, I think, she calls it a good, better, best mindset. So, she says, "Every single day is either a best day." So, that would be like the equivalent of "perfect." So, you ate all the foods you want to eat, you did the fasting the way you want to do it, etc., Then, there's the better day. So, that's where like, you're almost there but some things were like a little bit off, and then, there's the good days, which maybe more things are off, but either way, you're always making progress. So, I would really suggest that mindset, Carrie, applying that to your diet. So, striving for those best days rather than saying, "I'm not even going to try." Because I know you don't want to track and you don't want to be perfect, but it might be that you're not going to be able to make the progress that you want without addressing the actual food choices of your eating window. Intermittent fasting can be amazing. But for some people, it's not going to be enough to actually make the change. We can tweak the window, we can fast more, but at some point, some people, you've just got to look at what you're eating. 

Gin Stephens: And you know to me, that's funny to hear you say that, because what she described is what she eats sounds pretty great. It sounds very cleanish. It's very much like the way I eat. She's eating meat, seafood, eggs, lots of veggies, salad with homemade dressing. It sounded like a pretty, pretty great diet to me.  

Melanie Avalon: Well, that's the thing. So, I think what it sounds like to me, just looking at it briefly, skimming through the foods like, "Oh, this is a good diet." So, I think maybe she's found a safety within that, when you're saying people, they think they're fasting a certain amount but they're not quite. I think it might be the situation with the food. So, she feels like it's healthy, but the cheese, the fat, the processed food, if her insulin levels are high enough and her carb intake is enough such that she is at a more of a storing mode than having the fats, the cheese, the things like that, they might be every time she's eating, adding in enough excess nutrition that she's not going to ever lose weight unless she gets a little bit more strict.  

Gin Stephens: That's what my tweaks recommended would address that exact thing would be try to delay the alcohol for a month. See what happens if you just avoid the alcohol and just push that window length a little bit. That would give you the same benefit in lowering your insulin because you're fasting a little bit more. It seemed like a pretty good a balanced kind of a way because otherwise you're just like dieting hardcore. So many of us don't want to diet hardcore.  

Melanie Avalon: Okay, that's the mindset I'm trying to dismantle right now. Because she's eating what she's eating but she doesn't want to diet hardcore.  

Gin Stephens: Right. I don't think she needs to change what she's eating.  

Melanie Avalon: She could substantially change what she's eating without it being dieting hardcore.  

Gin Stephens: See, I don't think she needs to substantially change what she's eating. I guess, that's where we're having that disconnect. She has occasional candy. I eat tortilla chips. I eat occasional candy. She seems like she's eating a very good diet to me. I don't know. To change it up would seem hardcore to me.  

Melanie Avalon: I think for some people if they're eating fats and carbs in their meals, especially, cheese in there, butter in there, nuts in there, cheese, nuts, things like that can easily be very weight promoting. It might be that in order to lose the weight, it doesn't have to be crazy. But eating just Whole Foods, so no longer adding additional fats like still eating your normal meats but not adding the fats, not adding nuts, not adding cheese, you might see massive, massive changes. It doesn't have to be like counting calories, and it doesn't have to be super intense, but just making some tweaks, and that's what I'm trying to dismantle like, there's a lot of change she can make to her diet. That's not going to be crazy dieting, it doesn't have to seem like really restrictive, but it might make super, huge changes pretty quickly. It could also be a macros approach. So, if you do want to keep in the fats, maybe, you're trying low carb. There're different ways that you could try it. But you could tweak it within a paradigm that is not super restrictive, not super crazy, but might be addressing the things that might be making it impossible. 

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Gin Stephens: I think that probably a good majority of the people out there don't want to tweak by eating less fat, or less carbs, or go low fat, or go low carb, I think we just want to eat real food. I don't want to have a potato with no butter or butter with no potato. I want to have a potato with butter. The way that I and a lot of people are able to have the potato with the butter is by focusing on maybe a 19-hour daily fast instead of 16, and by being careful with how much alcohol and things like that. I know that some people are really excited to try leaving out certain macros. But I think a lot of people really just don't want to do that. I don't know. Something to think about. She could certainly do whichever of those seems appealing to her. We've given her a lot of tools to pick from, I think. 

Melanie Avalon: I don't want to make blanket statements because I don't know what the majority of people want.  

Gin Stephens: Can I be honest with something? Somebody in my community listened to last week's episode, where we talked a lot about cheese and nuts, and was a little salty about it. There was some feedback of feeling like, we are telling people what to eat and what not to eat. She said, "We." She wasn't talking about you, it's about me and you. A very interesting discussion ensued in the community. So, that's why I wanted to bring that up. A lot of people really don't want to count macros. They don't want to do the low fat, they don't want to do the low carb, they just want to eat food. 

Melanie Avalon: What's interesting is, I had some feedback as well, but it was the complete opposite. This is why I think like, I'm just about telling people options and you find what works for you. People just find what works for you but we had one listener write in and she was saying that, I think she was talking about the protein and the fruit. We made the suggestion about maybe trying to bring in other types of carbs because, maybe you could have them and then she reported back to me, she was like, "Nope, you know that didn't work at all." I think it's all very individual and I think we see the world through the way we approach it. So, for me, I do better with macros, and I do better being more strict on what I'm eating. And some people are like that as well. I think you see through the lens of not like that.  

My foundational thing, though is that, I think people are so nervous about falling into restrictive diety mindsets and they don't want to ever count calories, they don't want to ever track anything that sometimes it can be-- we like to ignore the fact that certain foods are very likely weight promoting, and make it harder to lose weight if they're in there, and that might just be-- I don't like to ever saying something is a reality, but approaching a reality. That's why I'm trying to suggest like the good, better, best approach, and I just thought it was really interesting that she didn't even mention what she was eating. The email I cut it down from, it was probably three times as long. But there wasn't any mention of the foods, which said to me that there wasn't a focus at all on the food. She probably feels like the food is a healthy approach, and so, there's not much tweak there, and I just think there's so much progress that can happen if things are tweaked. I am never trying to enforce or impose my beliefs on anybody. This is going to sound callous, but I really could care less when people do. Like, "Do what you want, I don't care." I just want to tell people, what has worked for me and it may or may not work for you. But if things aren't resonating with people, I'm sorry. But it doesn't really bother me-- that does not bother me.  

Gin Stephens: Yeah. The feedback was that, we were demonizing cheese and nuts. I really don't think that we came across as demonizing cheese and nuts. We were just saying, they're easy to overeat. But that's not us saying those are off the menu. I eat cheese, I eat nuts, but I am mindful that I can easily over eat cheese. But I'm not overeating cheese right now.  

Melanie Avalon: I know the way I've talked about cheese and nuts. I don't think I've demonized them. I have not intended to. I do think pretty objectively they are foods that can be very weight promoting. So, it sounds like a defensive reaction because people want to keep it in. 

Gin Stephens: Well, I definitely want to keep cheese and nuts in my diet and I want to eat them. I just need to be mindful. The same with like tortilla chips. She eats tortilla chips, I eat tortilla chips. But I mindfully eat them and I choose really high-quality ones. 

Melanie Avalon: So, a simple concept of cheese is easily weight promoting. Again, I don't like to say anything black or white, I'm fairly certain that that's a pretty accurate statement. So, what you do with that is up to you. So, you know you can keep it in moderation, find the way that it works for you, it doesn't change the fact that it might be weight promoting if had in excess, which often happens. 

Gin Stephens: Right. I think that's often very key said in excess and it's just hard to know. You're probably not going to have broccoli in excess, but it is a lot more likely to have cheese in excess. So, I just wanted to point that out. 

Melanie Avalon: Literally, listeners, do what you want. [laughs] Do what you want. I just think it's funny because I think people, I know we're on like tangents, but I think sometimes people think that I have an agenda or I'm trying to convince people of anything. I really not. Like, do what you want. I'm just going to tell you what worked for me, and what I've learned, and what I think might help. Yes, I have no agenda. 

Gin Stephens: I do have an agenda. Do you know what it is? I want people to enjoy what they're eating without stressing about it. That is it. That is what I know you do, too. But that is what Clean(ish) is all about. it is figuring out what things you want to include. There's the 'ish.' I know that a tortilla chip fried in an oil that is one of those inflammatory oils is not great for my body. But I'm still going to include them in small amounts because I enjoy them. I'm not going to veer so far to perfection that I'm not enjoying the way I love and you're not either, Melanie. You very much enjoy the way you live. But it's a matter of finding your own balance of what foods you enjoy that make you feel good. My friend, Laurie Lewis, she says it beautifully. She says, "You want to love the foods that love you back. You want to pick the foods that make you feel great and are delicious, and you're balanced in a way that your weight ends up being at a stable level, where you feel comfortable." Sometimes, you do have to make some, like that period of time where I didn't drink alcohol and I didn't have those tortilla chips or other ultra-processed foods for 10 weeks.  

This was in the spring of 2015. So, would you say that I was dieting? All right, maybe so. I was not having certain things because my goal was to lose weight more quickly. I still ate a lot of good things, I had plenty of fats and carbs together, but I just didn't have alcohol or ultra-processed foods. Potato with butter, yes. Tortilla chips, no. I lost weight the most quickly I ever lost two pounds a week and then kept it all off. That was that kind of a thing. But it was delicious and I enjoyed it. So, my agenda and I think Melanie's, too, is for you to find a way to get the results you're looking for while loving the journey.  

Melanie Avalon: Yes, exactly. This is what you just said but it might be for certain people with certain goals. But you do have to do some sort of tweak. 

Gin Stephens: There's the delay, delay, delay the extra cheese that whenever you eat it, you don't lose weight. Whatever it is. For me, it was delaying the alcohol. So, someone might say, "Gin is anti-alcohol." No, I'm not. I wish I could enjoy it more. My body tells me, "Nope, that's too much for you. I have to have a little bit." But I'm certainly not anti. I just know that for me, that is a big, big factor. So, I'm always going to suggest that, that might be something to look at.  

Melanie Avalon: I'll just read really quickly her next question. She says, "I'm sure there will be more supplements introduced to me through future episodes as I catch up. Based on my situation, do you have any you really recommend for me? Obviously, you're not doctors. I get that. Based on anecdotal evidence, are there any that you recommend?" Again, so, this was from her original email, which did not mention anything about food? Again, it was this five I got of looking for the answer in a supplement rather than the foundation of diet.  

Gin Stephens: Yeah. I don't think there're any supplements out there that you can take that. It is like the reason you're not losing weight that I can just blanket say is everybody's reason. Maybe, let's say, your thyroid is all messed up. A thyroid medication or thyroid support is obviously going to be transformational for your body. But that doesn't mean everybody needs to go take thyroid medicine or a thyroid supplement. So, there's nothing we can blanket say, "Here's what you need to help the weight loss happen." 

Melanie Avalon: I will say, one I do in general, that one that I do take every day though. But this is not to lose weight but to help with insulin sensitivity and stuff like that is I do take berberine every day. But there's not some sort of magical supplement that is going to make you lose weight. And then, her last thing she says, "Tips, advice, or anything I may not have thought of. I wish you both a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Much love," Carrie. So, keep us updated with how your journey goes. I will say, I really, really like her mindset. Despite all of this, she said multiple times, she said things like how she like, I'm paraphrasing, but something about how she doesn't know why she's going through this. But she knows there's a reason, and she's not giving up hope, and we're right there with you. Like, your mindset is really, really wonderful, and I know you'll find answers, and I do want you to know that I've definitely been there with everything just feeling like it fell off the wagon health wise, and not knowing what to do. So, I applaud you for really taking agency and trying to find answers, because a lot of people don't. So, yeah, you'll find it. 

Gin Stephens: I did have one more thing I wanted to pop in there, and it was me circling back to the fact that she did the ZOE program, and I really think if you've got all that data from ZOE, that could really help you figure out your diet without trying to be perfect about it. Because again, ZOE doesn't expect you to be perfect, you're not trying to get hundred on your score. So, if you put the meat in and it takes you down to a 70, you might be like, "Oh, this is terrible." But actually, it's not. That 70 is not a terrible score. So, you may want to listen to Episode 170 of Intermittent Fasting Stories. I interviewed Kristi Osborn. She's also really active in the Delay, Don't Deny Community. For anyone who's looking for that, you can go to Kristi's story is pretty amazing. She was also having a really hard time losing weight, loved intermittent fasting, and how she felt.  

But once she really embraced ZOE, and she doesn't like tracking either. She's not like loving the tracking part or trying to be perfect with ZOE. But it absolutely changed everything. So, I just wanted to pop that in there. She finally lost a lot of weight. She's actually in the community and she is part of the-- we have a little ZOE space in the Delay, Don’t Deny Community where people can come and talk about their experiences. She really does a great job guiding people how to make the most of it without letting it make you crazy. Because if you look at it through the lens of perfectionism, and like, it's a diet that's telling you what you have to eat and what you can't eat, that would be very like that diet brain kind of thing going on. Instead of like, "Oh look, my avocado toast score is higher with more avocado than adding an extra egg or something." It just might surprise you. You had to tweak those food combinations to get a higher score for you.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, and actually to that point, the mindset that's worked well for me. So, if you are addressing the types of foods you are eating, focusing on unlimited of certain types of foods rather than like, "Oh, I can't have this, I can't have that." Being like, "Oh, I can have unlimited of all of these foods and then--"  

Gin Stephens: [laughs] That's just so the opposite of the way I could be. If I get told myself, "I can have unlimited of anything, I just don't do well with that approach."  

Melanie Avalon: Within the certain macronutrient that I'm following.  

Gin Stephens: I know. But I'm just saying that, it is just so interesting how our minds like the way that we-- I'm trying to explain how to put it. I don't know. I could overeat something if I told myself that's unlimited. Okay, I'm sorry.  

Melanie Avalon: Even if it was within an intense macro nutrient. So, unlimited within a low-carb world or unlimited within a low-fat world.  

Gin Stephens: I'm pretty sure I did overeat when I was unlimited in the low-carb world because I never lost any weight.  

Melanie Avalon: I guess, I do high protein, low fat. It's so funny. IF turned so many people onto this. I'm really trying to think of this should be my next book.  

Gin Stephens: High protein, low fat, is that what you said?  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. But lean meats and fruits specifically for me. This is what I've been doing for years. It is like unlimited lean protein, unlimited cucumbers, unlimited fruit, all I want. It's just a setup because of the metabolism of those macronutrients, especially, within a fasted window. It's very unlikely you'll gain weight and if anything, you might lose weight.  

Gin Stephens: I just know that the one reason I never did Weight Watchers is, they have the zero-point foods. I'm pretty sure I would be overeating zero-point foods, I'd be gaming that system and probably gaining weight. [laughs] I don't know. I just know my own mindset. I do much better focusing on satiety, listening to those hunger cues instead of telling myself this one's on limited. I don't know.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Which I guess the foods I focus on, like, protein is the highest for satiety. So, it's like a double whammy. But yeah. People view the world all different ways.  

Gin Stephens: It is. Just like, we were naming foods whether we liked them or not. We were the opposite on all of them.  

Melanie Avalon: Oh, Gin and I, yeah, [laughs] I can tell you, every food Gin won't like or will like based on if I like it or not.  

Gin Stephens: Probably for a lot of them. Does Gin like cucumbers?  

Melanie Avalon: You like cucumbers?  

Gin Stephens: No.  

Melanie Avalon: Okay. Do you like lima beans?  

Gin Stephens: I love lima beans.  

Melanie Avalon: I can't stand lima beans.  

Gin Stephens: If you told me, I could just have unlimited lima beans, I would just eat lima beans till I exploded.  

Melanie Avalon: If there's one bean I can't, like, lima beans. Or, what about hazelnuts?  

Gin Stephens: I like hazelnuts. They're so good.  

Melanie Avalon: I don't like hazelnuts or oranges.  

Gin Stephens: I love oranges.  

Melanie Avalon: I love most foods. So, that's the thing. There are very few foods I don't like.  

Gin Stephens: There's really very few foods I don't like. 

Melanie Avalon: What do you not like?  

Gin Stephens: I don't like cucumbers. Well, when I start listing them, I don't like anything that you're going to have on sushi. Let me put it that way. When I was in Tampa-- 

Melanie Avalon: Ginger?  

Gin Stephens: Oh, I like ginger. Okay. I like ginger. I like ginger, I like wasabi, I like the sauces. But everything they roll up, I mean, I like rice. But anything else practically that they're going to roll up in there, I don't like the cucumber and they all have cucumber. I don't like fish, they all have fish.  

Melanie Avalon: I love fish.  

Gin Stephens: [sighs] Anyway, it's like the one restaurant I do not want to go to you with is a sushi restaurant because I have a hard time finding anything I want.  

Melanie Avalon: It's so funny. What is the one food you dislike the most? Oh, I don't like oysters.  

Gin Stephens: I don't like any kind of fish and I don't like oysters.  

Melanie Avalon: But mine is probably oranges.  

Gin Stephens: I love oranges. You do not like oranges that much?  

Melanie Avalon: They give me a raging headache.  

Gin Stephens: Oh, no, I love them. If I'm ever sick, I start to crave orange juice and it always makes me feel better. I need the pulpy kind. Pulpy orange juice, love it.  

Melanie Avalon: Oranges and grapefruits.  

Gin Stephens: I like grapefruits.  

Melanie Avalon: I think I have a reaction to some compound--  

Gin Stephens: To citrus?  

Melanie Avalon: I love lime and lemon. There's something in orange that just-- 

Gin Stephens: That's so interesting.  

Melanie Avalon: You're not a huge watermelon fan, right?  

Gin Stephens: Oh, I hate it. It's gross. I don't like any kind of melon. See, I think cucumbers are in that Melanie kind of. I don't like cucumber or any kind of melon. I don't eat a fruit salad that has melon in it because it has infected the rest of the fruit with its grossness. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, the best, because I'm a fruit lover and out of the fruits, all of the melons.  

Gin Stephens: I like pineapple, I like oranges, I like strawberries, I like any kind of berry. 

Melanie Avalon: I like berries.  

Gin Stephens: I'll eat an apple if it's in a pie.  

Melanie Avalon: It's so funny.  

Gin Stephens: It really is. It is so funny.  

Melanie Avalon: All right. Well, this was a fun time. So, for listeners, if you'd like to submit your own questions for the show, you can directly email or you can go at and you can submit questions there. The show notes will be at Definitely follow us on Instagram because we just got actually a new fabulous woman who is going to be helping us with our Instagram. Shoutout to Shannon. So, we're going to start posting and interacting there more. Oh, and in case you're wondering, it's not like just Shannon. I am very much-- Gin and I are both, we see it and I'm there. When I go on to my Instagram on my phone, I'm there. Don’t want to think they were like outsourcing it. So, definitely follow us on Instagram @ifpodcast, I am @melanieavalon on Instagram. Gin is @ginstephens, and I think that is all the things. Anything from you, Gin, before we go? 

Gin Stephens: No, I think that's it.  

Melanie Avalon: All right. Well, this was absolutely wonderful and I will talk to you next week.  

Gin Stephens: All right. Bye.  

Melanie Avalon: Bye.  

Melanie Avalon: Thank you so much for listening to the Intermittent Fasting Podcast. Please remember that everything discussed on the show is not medical advice. We're not doctors. You can also check out our other podcasts, Intermittent Fasting Stories, and the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. The music was composed by Leland Cox. See you next week. 


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 Gin:

Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox:

If you enjoyed this episode, please consider leaving us a review in iTunes - it helps more than you know! 



Sep 05

Episode 229: Serrapeptase, Burning Alcohol As Energy, Poor Fasted Sleep, Too Much Fasting, Over-Restriction, Donating Blood, Properly Fueled ADF, And More!

Intermittent Fasting

Welcome to Episode 229 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 Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living An Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle

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

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1:10 - BIOPTIMIZERS:  Go To And Use The Coupon Code IFPODCAST10 To Save 10% Off Any Order! plus the chance to get more than $50 worth of supplements for free!

3:45 - BEAUTYCOUNTER: Keep Your Fast Clean Inside And Out With Safe Skincare! Shop With Us At, And Something Magical Might Happen After Your First Order! Find Your Perfect Beautycounter Products With Melanie's Quiz:
Join Melanie's Facebook Group Clean Beauty And Safe Skincare With Melanie Avalon To Discuss And Learn About All The Things Clean Beauty, Beautycounter And Safe Skincare!

Spoon-Fed: Why Almost Everything We’ve Been Told About Food Is Wrong (Tim Spector)

The Diet Myth: Why the Secret to Health and Weight Loss Is Already in Your Gut (tim Spector)

Stay Up To Date With All The News And Pre-Order Info About Melanie's New Serrapeptase Supplement At!

18:45 - Listener Q&A: Anonymous - Body Burning Alcohol for energy

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29:20 - Listener Q&A: Sarah - Waking up feeling exhausted during ADF

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46:15 - PREP DISH: Get A Free 2 Week Trial With The Paleo, Keto, And The September Freezer Meal Challenge At!

48:05 - Listener Q&A: Evelyn - NSV and donating blood Question 

56:35 - Listener Q&A: Stephanie - 4:3 Window

#171 – Steve Austad, Ph.D.: The landscape of longevity science: making sense of caloric restriction, biomarkers of aging, and possible geroprotective molecules


Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 229 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, author of What When Wine: Lose Weight and Feel Great with Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, and Wine. And I'm here with my cohost, Gin Stephens, author of Fast. Feast. Repeat.: The Comprehensive Guide to Delay, Don't Deny Intermittent Fasting. For more on us, check out,, and Please remember, the thoughts and opinions on this podcast do not constitute medical advice or treatment. So, pour yourself a cup of black coffee, a mug of tea, or even a glass of wine, if it's that time, and get ready for The Intermittent Fasting Podcast.  

Hi friends, I'm about to tell you how you can get $50 worth of some of our favorite supplements all for free. Yes, for free. A really good question to ponder is, can you avoid all digestive issues by only eating organic whole foods? Don't I know that this would be absolutely amazing? But sometimes, it's not exactly possible. Our natural ability to digest food actually declines as we age. This is because our body produces fewer enzymes, which are the proteins responsible for digesting food. Fewer enzymes means more difficulty digesting food, and even organic whole foods don't necessarily provide enough enzymes to properly digest them. This is especially true if you cook your food because cooking kills enzymes. This is why you may have digestive problems even after a healthy meal. Your body just can't produce enough enzymes to get the job done. 

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And one more thing before we jump in. Are you fasting clean inside and out? Did you know that one of our largest exposures to toxic compounds, including endocrine disrupters which mess with our hormones, obesogens which literally cause our body to store and gain weight, as well as carcinogens linked to cancer is actually through our skincare? Europe has banned thousands of these compounds for being toxic, and the US has only banned around 10. It's honestly shocking. So, when you're putting on your conventional skincare makeup, you're likely putting toxic compounds directly into your body. These compounds can make you feel bad, can make it really hard to lose weight, can affect your hormones, your mood, your health. And ladies, if you're thinking of having kids, when you have a child, these compounds actually go directly through the placenta into the newborn. That means your skincare and makeup that you're putting on today actually affects the health of future generations. Did you know that conventional lipstick for example often tests high for lead, and the half-life of lead can be up to 30 years and your bones? That means when you put on your lipstick, 30 years later, half of that lead might still be in your body. 

Thankfully, there's an easy, easy solution to this. There's a company called Beautycounter and they were founded on a mission to change this. Every single ingredient in their products is extensively tested to be safe for your skin, you can actually feel good about what you put on. And on top of that, their products actually work. That's because they're not “all natural.” They actually combine the best of both worlds, both synthetic and natural ingredients, to create products that actually support the health of your skin and make your skin look amazing. They have skincare lines for all your skin types, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner that I love, antiaging and brightening peels and vitamin C serums, and incredible makeup. If you see my makeup on Instagram, that's all Beautycounter. You can shop with us at 

And if you're thinking of making safe skincare a part of your future, like we have, we definitely suggest becoming a Band of Beauty member. It's sort of like the Amazon Prime for clean beauty. You get 10% back in product credit, free shipping on qualifying orders and a welcome gift that is worth way more than the price of the yearlong membership, totally completely worth it. Also definitely join my clean beauty email list at, I give away a lot of free things on that list and join me on my Facebook group, Clean Beauty and Safe Skincare with Melanie Avalon. I do a weekly giveaway every single week for Beautycounter, people share their experience and product reviews, and so much more. And again, the link to shop with us is All right, now enjoy the show.  

Hi, everybody and welcome. This is episode number 229 of the Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with Gin Stephens. 

Gin Stephens: Hi, everybody.  

Melanie Avalon: How are you today, Gin?  

Gin Stephens: Well, I am packing up to go spend three weeks at the beach. 

Melanie Avalon: It's exciting. 

Gin Stephens: It’s the longest I've ever been away from home. Chad just realized that I'm leaving tomorrow, he's known that I was going but he's like, “Wait a minute. Three weeks is a really long time.” I'm like, “Sorry.”  

Melanie Avalon: Is it the longest, really?  

Gin Stephens: It's the longest I've ever been away from him, yeah. Our whole married life. Yeah.  

Melanie Avalon: Oh, wow.  

Gin Stephens: It just worked out. We got to have a lot to do with the house and in between rentals and lots going on, and also got friends coming. I didn't go for the entire month of July, because the house was rented. I only spent one week there in June. So, I grabbed these three weeks in August for myself, and I have a lot to do, like I said. So, I'll be very, very busy, but I've got a couple of friends coming down, one, then she's leaving, then and others coming, then she's leaving, then Will's going to come and spend some time with me. I'll be doing a lot of recording while I'm there too. My regular podcast recording schedule is still happening.  

Melanie Avalon: I'm sure it will be super fun and productive.  

Gin Stephens: It will but Chad is going to miss me. So, he's already let me know. Yeah, I think it's going to be awesome. I'm very excited. The ocean is very warm in August. So, that's nice.  

Melanie Avalon: I love the Atlantic, the warm Atlantic.  

Gin Stephens: I'm going to get in the ocean every day. I like to get in the ocean and jump around with the waves. It's like a really great workout. Like really.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I agree. I'm an Atlantic Ocean person. I feel that people are either Atlantic or Pacific.  

Gin Stephens: Or, you might be Gulf of Mexico. Some people are Gulf of Mexico. I am not.  

Melanie Avalon: That's what I am.  

Gin Stephens: You’re Gulf of Mexico? You'd like the calm?  

Melanie Avalon: It is just what I-- growing up, that's where we went.  

Gin Stephens: That's what it all boils down to.  

Melanie Avalon: At whatever beach you went to growing up. 

Gin Stephens: Guess where I went, Myrtle Beach. That's where my grandmother took me. [laughs] So, that's where I go. We found a picture that-- my mother came to visit us, a couple weeks ago, and she brought some old photos that actually a cousin on my granddaddy's side gave us pictures we'd never seen before. Because they were like my aunt, my old, old aunt and my granddaddy's side had them. So, we'd never seen them. It was some pictures from my mother was little, and right down there where we bought our house, like 10 minutes away from where we bought our house, my mother, and my uncle, and my grandparents were there in the 50s. Actually, I guess it was the early 50s. Maybe, right even before my house was built that I'm in, that was built in 1956, 10 miles away, it's really fun. We have vacation routes in this area. So, no wonder I love it. 

Melanie Avalon: [giggles] I love that. 

Gin Stephens: So, what's new with you?  

Gin Stephens: I have two exciting announcements. I was just looking at the calendar, though. One of them will have already happened. But all the more reason friends to be on my email list, because if you missed this, you would have known about it. You can get on my email list at list, although, I might also send an email through our email list because it's relevant. I'm doing a Q&A with the people at Zoey.  

Gin Stephens: Oh, I love that.  

Melanie Avalon: Not like an interview for my show. We're going to do a live Zoom, because I've been getting a lot of questions about Zoey--  

Gin Stephens: In the Facebook group?  

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm, yeah, and people. Well, people loving it, but then also people a little bit confused about the recommendations, and just wanting some clarity. I sent those questions all over to them, and they were super great. A, they got me very detailed answers, but then they said they would prefer just doing a live thing and talking to people. So, that should be super fun. One of the main things that people were, I guess, curious about was it seemed like a lot of the food recommendations were very similar. I mean they are. They say they are, but it's evolving and that they're working on making it more personalized. 

Gin Stephens: Even though the foods might be similar as far as recommendations go, the scores are different. That's what I noticed working with the moderators of my Facebook groups and the social network, the friends of mine who went through it that are moderators, comparing our scores, like we would put in the same meal just out of curiosity and see what our individual scores were, and the scores were very varied. Even though the same foods are scoring typically higher, the combination would get a different result. That was what was fascinating, we didn't get the same exact number.  

Melanie Avalon: Okay, yeah.  

Gin Stephens: Even though we were both putting in the same-- we would even check brand names and things. Somebody's like, “Oh, look, this scores 99 for me on Zoey," and someone else would put it in and it would not be a 99.” 

Melanie Avalon: I haven't done Zoey. I wonder if it'd be more appropriate if I do it first before. 

Gin Stephens: Well, that's a thought. Remember, you got to eat those muffins. You've got to do it for science.  

Melanie Avalon: But it's just one day, right?  

Gin Stephens: I can't remember and it's always changing. It might have been two days of muffins, but then what they're doing right now is even different from when I did it because, just like you said before, it's always evolving. This is really research in action. They're not just like a program you buy, and here's the program. They are actually doing scientific research. They published something in the journal, Nature, which is a very well-renowned scientific journal recently. So, they're evolving their recommendations and everything about it based on as they learn, as the science evolves. 

Melanie Avalon: I might email them. I might see if they would prefer me to do it first. 

Gin Stephens: Yeah, that's a great idea. Also, I have a friend, they actually asked her to do it again, like they're comparing data. As part of the study, they said, “We would like for you to go through it again with your-- just to see.”  

Melanie Avalon: I also finished Tim Spector’s book because I'm interviewing him in less than a month as well.  

Gin Stephens: Isn't he wonderful?  

Melanie Avalon: Well, I guess, just from what I'd seen from the feedback about Zoey from my audience, I was anticipating it to be much more not open to something-- His section on meat, for example, he was very much clear that most long-lived populations eat meat and very clear on what might actually be going on with that, and he was also-- I loved his perspective on salt. I loved his perspective on wine and alcohol.  

Gin Stephens: Can I pop in something real quick that confuses a lot of people about Zoey?  

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm. 

Gin Stephens: Just because something doesn't score 100, doesn't mean you're not supposed to eat it. That was just an example. We tend to want to gamify and beat our scores, and if this scores a 90, then I should try to get a 95. People can mistakenly think that a meal that includes meat the Zoey scores 75 and that means you shouldn't eat meat, but that's not what it's saying. We follow their recommendations and follow their program. They don't tell you that all your meals should score above a 90. So, people mistakenly think that they're being guided to not eat meat at all, when really that is them looking at numbers and thinking I want to get 100. We were trained to get 100 in school. Getting 100 is what you want. Always a 100. That might be something Zoey could keep in mind maybe for feedback, because we're so trained, it's ingrained in our psyche, the goal should be 100. That's not how they want you to live your life and I'm glad that you got that sense from reading Spoon-Fed. 

Melanie Avalon: I thought it was going to be not as nuanced in his perspective on the things I just mentioned, meat, salt, alcohol. The things I learned in the alcohol chapter, I've learned so much. Just things I didn't realize, like the recommendations for alcohol intake between different countries, I knew it was different but it's shockingly different. Then, the correlations to health just don't line up. He said in Chile, the recommendation-- which I tried to verify this and I couldn't find this number this high, so, I'm not sure where this was coming from. But he said in Chile the maximum recommended intake is the equivalent of six glasses per day. Then in the UK, I think now it's like zero or something, but they have the worst health-- It's just really, really interesting. Not saying that alcohol equals health automatically, but he definitely creates a really nuanced picture. 

Gin Stephens: But also, you can't go by recommendations as equating for health. Just because they recommend, they have zero in the UK, I don't think the UK is following that recommendation. Just because they recommend zero and have terrible health doesn't-- you know.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it's a very valid point. He even said some pretty what I thought were very controversial things about the role of alcohol in pregnancy. I was like, “Oh, did not anticipate this.” I'm really excited to interview him. 

Gin Stephens: He's a scientist. He's looking at that info, and he's not always telling you what is politically correct to say.  

Melanie Avalon: It was something to the effect of drinking during pregnancy-- I'm sure there was more context about the amounts and everything. But basically, it very rarely actually creates issues in the child. But again, don't quote me on that. Read the chapter.  

Gin Stephens: It's been a long time since I read it. I read it when it first came out, and I haven't read it since. Maybe, I should go back and read it. I think it's on my Kindle. I think that's how I bought it. If not, I'll get it on my Kindle, and I'll read it on the beach.  

Melanie Avalon: It's Spoon-Fed. I haven't mentioned the title yet. So, for listeners, I'll put a link to it in the show notes. 

Gin Stephens: And his other book, The Diet Myth, is really good too.  

Melanie Avalon: I'm going to try to read it if I have time before interviewing him.  

Gin Stephens: But just keep in mind. It was several years older. He evolves his thinking. But I learned a lot. It was way early in my-- we're all different. Opening up of my mind, it was really early. I read it in maybe--0 it was either 2015 or 2016. So, it was well before I wrote Feast Without Fear. It really is what got me thinking and it was like a foundational-- just like The Obesity Code was foundational for me, so was The Diet Myth by Tim Spector. 

Melanie Avalon: We might start production this week on the serrapeptase supplement. So, listeners get on my email list for that. I have an email list just for that supplement. It's at, and we're going to do a preorder special and the prices will probably not be that low ever again. I say this every time but basically serrapeptase is an enzyme created by the Japanese silkworm. You take it in the fasted state. It breaks down residual proteins in your body. So, it really addresses anything that-- or it can address anything that is from a protein buildup or your immune system reacting to proteins. So, arthritis, inflammation, brain fog, fibroids. An article just came out in June, and I haven't read all of it yet, it actually talks about the role of serrapeptase to treat COVID. 

Gin Stephens: I saw that somewhere. Eating up the proteins, I actually saw something related to COVID and serrapeptase. I wondered if that's where you were going with that.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, probably.  

Gin Stephens: It wasn't that article I sent you, was it?  

Melanie Avalon: Well, I just saw this yesterday.  

Gin Stephens: Okay, then it wasn't. 

Melanie Avalon: I'll put a link to it in the show notes, but I haven't sat down and read every serrapeptase study that I can find. So, I need to actually do that. I'm really excited too.  

Gin Stephens: You'll be like the world's premier expert on serrapeptase.  

Melanie Avalon: The few studies I've read, it's just so overwhelmingly clear that it has so many health benefits, and it's really appreciated in countries like Japan and here, it's just not even-- People are just not aware about it. One of the studies I was reading, it was saying that it rivals NSAIDs for its effectiveness without any of the side effects of NSAIDs. 

Gin Stephens: Just to be clear, we're not hinting that it's going to prevent or reverse or COVID or anything like that. But what it does is, it breaks down proteins, and so that's an interesting thought. 

Melanie Avalon: Maybe, I'll report back next week after I've read the whole study about what it actually says. Because I think it talks about a few different mechanisms of action. In any case, I'm creating my own brand. I've been taking it for years, different brands, but I'm just going to create my own. So, the two emails to get on are and The show notes by the way will be at, and I'll put links. We've already talked about so much to everything there. Shall we jump into everything for today? 

Gin Stephens: Yes, let's get started, and we have a question from Anonymous. Bum, bum, bum  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, for some feedback.  

Gin Stephens: Oh, yeah. It's feedback. Yes, and the subject is "Body burning alcohol for energy." Anonymous says, “Hello, and thank you for your podcasts. On Episode 225, you answered a burning question I've had for years about the body using alcohol as a fuel source. I know someone who fasts daily and eats only dinner. He's very lean and well defined, although, he does not lift weights or exercise. In fact, he's disabled. However, he drinks beer all day long.” Now, this is just me interrupting. I would not consider that fasting all day. Beer has plenty of fuel in it.  

Melanie Avalon: Beer actually has carbs as well. It's not just pure alcohol.  

Gin Stephens: He's definitely not fasting. I just wanted to get that out there just in case. Let's say someone was listening and they-- 

Melanie Avalon: And stopped listening?  

Gin Stephens: Right. If he's drinking beer all day long, he is not fasting, not even close to fasting. She continues to say, “I always wondered why he doesn't gain significant weight while adding fuel to his body. This couldn't possibly be fasting.” That's her who said that but you're correct, Anonymous. All right, let's keep going. “Then you posited that in theory, one could drink alcohol and burn more calories taking in as alcohol isn't stored as fat. So, I suppose then my friend is the realization of this theory. While I wouldn't want to replicate his pattern of eating or drinking, it makes sense to me now why he is so lean and still dirty fasting. Thank you for your thoughts. It helps bring so much into perspective.”  

Again, I really don't like the words ‘dirty fasting,’ because I really don't think it's true. We like to have the opposites. If there's something called clean fasting, there must be something called dirty fasting? I actually think the opposite of clean fasting is you're not fasting. 

Melanie Avalon: Not fasting.  

Gin Stephens: Right. The only reason I say clean fasting is because so many things have the words fasting in there. Like a juice fast, or a bone broth fast, or a fat fast, and I don't think those are actually fasting either. They're just a pattern of eating different things or drinking things that are not really fasting. Anyway, I just had to throw that in there. Sorry.  

Melanie Avalon: I guess, if you were doing a juice fast or bone broth fast, you're fasting from physical food, but you're not fasting in the sense that we think of fasting. 

Gin Stephens: Well, if you were asked to fast for a medical procedure, that would not fly. They would not want you to drink bone broth before your fasted surgery. That's a good way of thinking about it. If it's off limits [laughs] for a medical procedure, then we wouldn't want to drink a lot of beer right before medical procedure, either.  

Melanie Avalon: I'm just saying terminology wise like, you could eat food and be fasting just from apples, and you're not eating apples like you can fast from something. 

Gin Stephens: I'm fasting from apples. Yeah, well, it's like the Daniel Fast. It's a religious fast that my parents' church. They're eating, it's food. But it's just as special. They're refraining from certain things. But it's not the fasting we mean when we say fasting.  

Melanie Avalon: Exactly. It's a very interesting observation from Anonymous. So, yeah, we've talked about this before, but basically-- and again, beer is on the higher carb side of the alcoholic drinks. Well, I guess it really just depends, but alcohol itself doesn't really become body fat. I highly doubt it ever does. So, if people are just partaking in alcohol, they're actually probably not going to gain any fat from that alcohol. That said, what you eat with the alcohol can very easily be stored, and then on top of that, if you take in 2000 calories from alcohol, that's 2000 calories of energy. So, it's still adding to your total daily caloric intake and that the other food is more likely to be stored. 

Gin Stephens: Beer is technically, typically only 5% alcohol. Wine is about 12% alcohol or more. These are averages. According to average, beer would average 5%, some will be more, some will be less. Wine will average 12% and spirits, really only like spirits like vodka, usually only about 40% alcohol, unless you're drinking grain alcohol or something.  

Melanie Avalon: I wonder if that is averaging together like sweet wines and normal wines?  

Gin Stephens: I would think that's what they do for an average.  

Melanie Avalon: If you go to the store and look at the back of all the wines to see the alcohol percentage, which is something I have done trying to see if I can find any Dry Farm Wines equivalent wines in the store. It's so hard to find wines with alcohol less than 12.5% which is what Dry Farm Wines uses as they're cut off-- Usually, they're more than that.  

Gin Stephens: Well, again, that could be all data. Maybe, now, it's higher. Maybe, it used to be 12, and no one's updated, and everybody's just assuming it's still 12.  

Melanie Avalon: It’s a good question. 

Gin Stephens: That just shows that all these alcoholic drinks that we're drinking, it's not just alcohol. So, you're not just taking in alcohol calories that other 95% of your beer is not alcohol calories. 95% of it is not alcohol. So, yeah.  

Melanie Avalon: I'll give a link since we mentioned Dry Farm Wines. 

Gin Stephens: Of course, some of it's water. [laughs]  

Melanie Avalon: Oh, right, because it's by volume, not by calorie.  

Gin Stephens: Exactly.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Okay. Yeah, because I was thinking about in my head. I was like, “Mm.” 

Gin Stephens: I don't know the percentage of a beer that is of the calories. The percentage of the calories that would be the alcohol. That's another question. I don't know.  

Melanie Avalon: I just realized this recently. The Dry Farm Wines, a lot of them a relabel with their own label. For listeners, Dry Farm Wines, they go throughout Europe. They find wineries practicing organic practices, and then the wines have to be low sugar, low alcohol, less than 12.5 or less, like you just mentioned. They test them for toxins, and pesticides, and mold. I experienced such a difference drinking them but they often now relabel the back label to give more information and it shows grams of sugar, which is so cool. Most of them are 1 gram of sugar.  

Gin Stephens: I love the label that they put on there.  

Melanie Avalon: It's so helpful. So, that would be very negligible calories from carbs and alcohol. 

Gin Stephens: Will’s coming over for dinner more lately. Last night we're all sitting around and each of us had like a tiny little glass. We opened the bottle day before yesterday of Dry Farm Wines. It's red wine. I don't drink much red wine, but I had a tiny little bit. Now, we've had four servings from it and it's still only half the bottle because we're each having tiny little bits and even Will, because he's 21 now.  

Melanie Avalon: Oh, fun.  

Gin Stephens: He's going to be spoiled rotten with his Dry Farm Wines.  

Melanie Avalon: I know. No kidding. Oh, my gosh.  

Gin Stephens: Making this 21-year-old have expensive tastes but in a good way, right? 

Melanie Avalon: Yes. Oh, well, she'll be editing this and she'll hear it and her birthday has already passed. But just to show how much we love it, we gave our fabulous girl on our team who helps edit the podcast and create show notes and artwork, we gave her Dry Farm Wines for her birthday. 

Gin Stephens: Happy birthday, again, even though it's passed, Brianna. 

Melanie Avalon: Happy birthday again, Brianna.  

Gin Stephens: We're like, “What should we get her?” We're going back and forth, and we're like, “Well, you just can never go wrong with Dry Farm Wines.” Can never go wrong.  

Melanie Avalon: Never. So, for listeners if you'd like to get your own, you can go to and that link will also get you a bottle for a penny.  

Gin Stephens: So, that's exciting.  

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Melanie Avalon: Shall we go on to our first question? 

Gin Stephens: Yes.  

Melanie Avalon: This question comes from Sarah. The subject is "Waking up feeling exhausted during ADF." And Sarah says, “Hi, Mel and Gin. I wonder if you can shed some light on this. I've been IF for two years and lost 40 pounds. I have PCOS and am about 10 pounds for my goal/healthy weight. I’m currently 151 pounds and 5’4". I've been doing three 42-hour fasts most weeks since January. Never less than two a week. I tend to only lose weight if I'm low carb in my eating window which I find quite difficult and really watch what I eat. I don't eat bread, pasta, or rice usually. Otherwise, I maintain with three 42-hour fasts which sucks. I've tried shorter length fast and one meal a day, which causes me to gain weight. 

My question, on the days I do 42-hour fast, I sleep really, really well, but feel awful when I wake up, really tired and find it difficult to get out of bed. It goes once I'm up and awake, but I love to feel better. It doesn't happen on days I've eaten. I've recently had my general blood checked all fine. I take multivitamins, magnesium, fish oil, primrose oil, and electrolytes when fasting. I'm 50, and with perimenopausal symptoms such as hair falling out. Can you suggest ways to feel better? Love all your podcasts, books, and websites. Awesome. Thank you." 

Gin Stephens: I do want to say that I'm not certain that hair falling out is a perimenopausal symptom.  

Melanie Avalon: That's what I was going to say.  

Gin Stephens: I feel it's not. It actually is a symptom that what you're doing is stressing your body out. So, I wonder if you may be overfasting for your body. I don't know. Count back three months, as a rule of thumb. Three months or so before the hair started falling out. Did you go through something stressful? If the answer is, “Oh, yeah, that was when my son was in the hospital or that was when I started a new stressful job.” Stress can make our hair start the hair fall process, and it's whatever your body perceives to be as a stress. You even could have had an illness that your body perceived as a stress. We try to make a lot of connections with what it is, and sometimes, we're not right. It might not be menopause. So, just keep that in mind. 

Melanie Avalon: It can be a sign but I think everything you just said is probably more likely the case and given the context of her question, it might not be menopause. 

Gin Stephens: Yep. If you have PCOS, then, that lets us know that your body likely has an issue with insulin because generally PCOS is related to higher levels of insulin. So, you're going to need to do things to get your insulin down, and that is why the longer fasts tend to be good for your body, and also, that probably why your body responds better to lower carb. So, you said it sucks, that's a bummer, and I know that it's frustrating. I get it. Because I would not be happy either, if my body needed me to do something that didn't feel like the thing I wanted to do. However, that being said, we have to work with the bodies we have, not our idea of what we want.  

For example, I wish I had a body that was doing great with allowing me to have a glass of wine, a big glass of wine every night, maybe two, but I don't. So, I've had to say, “Well, you know what? That isn't what my body does well with." If I eat too much sugar, I get restless legs. So, I have to adjust what I do to match what I want to have happen. I want you to reframe the three 42 inch-- 42 inch, I don't know where that came from. [laughs] The three 42-hour fasts. Instead of doing three 42-hour fasts, what if you did three 36-hour fasts? That might make a big difference. 36 to 42 is a lot of difference. Six hours. So, three 42-hour fasts might be more than your body wants to do. Try three 36-hour fasts instead. That would mean you're eating earlier in the day. Maybe model after the carbohydrate addicts' diet, which is an oldie but a goodie. But that was really early days of realizing how insulin affects us and she talked about it in there. Maybe do a low carb on the days that are your up days and you're going to have a 12-hour eating window instead of six because I really do think that three 42-hour fasts might be ever restriction, because the research on ADF, they weren't restricting at all on the updates. They weren't having a six-hour eating window. So, if you're having a six-hour eating window every single time that just might be over restriction.  

So. back to the carbohydrate addicts' diet, what I was talking about is, she had the plan. It was low carb breakfast, low carb lunch, regular dinner, and that was it. That was the whole plan. People lost weight doing that. So, if you do that on your updates, low carb breakfast, low carb lunch, regular dinner maybe still not if you don't eat bread, pasta rice usually but just allowing yourself to have more whole food carbs in that dinner. So, 36-hour fast, up day where you try low carb breakfast, low carb lunch, and then maybe slightly up your carb intake at dinner, see how that goes. See how that makes you feel. That might make you feel better. If it doesn't, if you still feel terrible on the days after your what are now 36-hour fast instead of 40-hour fast, if you still wake up feeling terrible, I want you to restructure your down day.  

Maybe on your down day, you have a low carb dinner instead. So, it would look like on what's your down day, instead of having a complete full fast, you would have a down day that has a low carb dinner. And then the next day, low carb breakfast, low carb lunch, higher carb dinner, and then just alternate that. See if what you're doing isn't just too restrictive. Because really the hair falling out, the fact that you're doing three 42-hour fasts, the fact that you're having trouble. The fact that, that you're seeing weight gain on one meal a day, that just makes me feel you might need to do just a little something else. You might be over-restricting. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, between Gin and me, I think we're going to offer a lot of different options. I'm glad that Gin took the approach of still keeping in the longer fast, but just not quite as long. So, that's definitely an option. I would probably suggest not doing any longer fasts. Gin was just talking about how the fact that you gain weight on one meal a day or shorter fasts is signifying that there's a lot that you can work with what you're actually eating in your eating window. Because I feel you should be able to find an eating pattern and a one meal a day pattern where you at the very least maintain, which would be my goal. So, my goal would be next 42-hour fast, I think what you're doing is sounds way too restrictive.  

You're 10 pounds from your goal weight, that's always when it's the hardest. You wake up exhausted, you don't feel good. You said, you feel good once you get going. That's probably from adrenaline kicking in. Your hair's falling out, I would stop. I would stop these long fasts, I would not do them. I would suggest trying one meal a day, every day, and really working on the food choices. Don't even try to lose weight. Just find something that maintains and then you can move forward to losing weight. I almost wonder if the fact that you're doing three 42-hour fasts, if the weight loss that you perceive that you're losing and the weight gain that you perceive that you're gaining, if it's literally just volume of food.  

Gin Stephens: Fluctuations from volume of food.  

Melanie Avalon: By 42 hours, you've probably lost the physical volume of all the food and then you're probably not retaining water. So, then when you eat, you probably gain back volume wise, just food, and then it's like if you were to keep doing one meal a day, you might feel you're gaining weight, but it's really just that now you have a volume of food in you every day that you didn't have before. 

Gin Stephens: Yeah, that's so true. People do find that to be the case. I've actually had people say, “Gosh, every time I shorten my eating window, I gain weight. I don't gain weight on a six-hour window, but if I have a 1-hour window, I gain, gain. gain.” Really, I think it's just the volume of the food sits differently in the body when you eat it all in a constrained window, and then it causes you to even retain water differently, because a bulk of that food is moving through your system in a different way.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. So, I think just psychologically, the way you're interpreting the game might have a lot to do with that. It's just seems so restrictive to me. A lot of people are really, really proud of themselves if they do one 42-hour fast and you're doing it three times a week. I think there's so much potential. For what I would suggest to do if you want to try one meal a day, well, first of all, like I said, accept the fact that you're going to “gain some weight,” but it's the volume. You're going to need to do it long enough for that to stabilize to actually see what is weight gain, and weight loss, and what like I just mentioned, the volume. 

You're doing low carb. We don't know what foods you're eating in low carb. I don't know if this is something that you're doing, but a lot of people in the low carb sphere, don't lose weight, even if it's working for them because they think that low carb means unlimited fat. But if you're eating enough fat to the point where you're not tapping into your body fat, you're probably not going to lose weight. I think this is one of the biggest things that people experience in the low carb world when they can't lose weight.  

I don't know if you're adding fats to your food. I don't know if you're just doing low carb like low carb foods or if you are also adding fats. A lot of people when they do low carb, they're adding olive oil or butter, maybe even cheese. If you're doing any of that, I would stop doing that and replace it with more protein. So, focusing on lean protein because that's the most satiating, that's the most thermogenic, meaning it's going to stimulate your metabolism the most. That's the least likely to become fat as a macronutrient. So, if you want to stay with low carb depending on what you're doing, reconceptualize it. Focus on the protein, focus on not adding fat. If you want to add fat, I say this a lot, but I would add C8 MCT oil. That's actually very pro-metabolic. So, that's a way to sort of like--  

Because some people's metabolisms on low carb-- and it's not a bad thing. But they might actually slow down a little bit just because of the nature of the macronutrients and I found that adding C8 MCT oil actually can combat that a little bit, because it's very thermogenic, and metabolism stroking, and to clarify, not in your fast, with your food. I'll put a link in the show notes to the one that I really like. As far as the carbs go, I know you said that you only lose weight if you are low carb. But I really like what Gin was saying about the potential of-- what is it called, where you add in the carb days? 

Gin Stephens: It's the carbohydrate addicts’ diet. Because since Sarah has PCOS, we know that insulin is likely a big issue for her. So, getting the insulin down more should be something that she targets. That's why low carb is so beneficial for people with PCOS.  

Melanie Avalon: I misheard. So, the carbohydrate addicts' diet, you don't have carbs, do you?  

Gin Stephens: You do. You have a low carb breakfast, low carb lunch and a “regular dinner.” 

Melanie Avalon: Okay. So, I would suggest something similar. If you're going to do a one meal a day thing, having low carb days, then if you want to have a day with carbs as a carb up, so, it's like cyclical keto or something like that, having a carb up day in your one meal a day and making it very high carb, but making it very low fat for that day. 

Gin Stephens: I want to also say that you're likely to see a four-pound weight gain the next day after a high carb day after being low carb, and that is why people think, “Oh my gosh, I gain with carbs.” No, that's water weight. You did not gain four pounds of fat overnight from a high carb day. I actually did a program years and years and years and years ago back in my trying all the diets day. It was called Carb Nite. I've talked about that before, Melanie?  

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm. 

Gin Stephens: Keifer. Yep, yep. Carb Nite. The whole point of that was, your low carb for like-- I can't remember. I guess six days a week, and then one night a week, you have Carb Nite. It was where you added in lots and lots of carbs, and you're really trying to get those carbs in it, and he had the whole scientific reason why he recommended that because it keeps our hormones from-- Anyway, all the things that are said to happen when you're low carb with your hormones, this prevents all that. So, it's keeps your metabolism going a thing. It's been a long time, years since I read that work. But the whole premise was once a week, Carb Nite. You had to understand that after the Carb Nite, your weight was going to skyrocket. But it wasn't all fat. It's the water weight, and that comes because carbohydrates make us retain water, hydrate water.  

Melanie Avalon: For the Carb Nite, you do focus on being lower fat as well. That protocol works really, really well for a lot of people. That's probably the protocol I would actually recommend, would be a one meal a day situation, making the low carb days low carb, making them very high protein and not adding any fats. If you do add fats, add the MCT and then have a Carb Nite one night a week where you do high carb, low fat. 

Gin Stephens: No, I don't recall it being high carb-low fat because I remember I was in the community for a while. This was a long, long time ago. There was a Facebook group for it. I recall us eating things like gelato and we were not low fat. So, I don't know if we all were doing it wrong, but I don't recall the emphasis being low fat. 

Melanie Avalon: I think if I recall correctly and I can double check, I think he suggests, you're allowed to have fat, but I think he suggests you start with carbs. The idea is to fill up, and then if you're still hungry at the end, that's when you add in the fat but you don't start with the fat. 

Gin Stephens: That's not how I remember it but again, I could be misremembering it. 

Melanie Avalon: Or, might be the other way around. But there's an order to it.  

Gin Stephens: I just know, I was not doing low fat in there too. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, well, that's the thing is you can have it. I'm pretty sure. Because I read this a few months ago, and I think there's an order to it. 

Gin Stephens: Also, it could have been revised since then maybe he revised his recommendations since whenever it was I was doing it years ago. That is entirely possible. 

Melanie Avalon: Regardless of what he writes, I personally believe that if you make that high carb day low fat, then what's so incredible about it is, if you've been low carb, so you've been a fat burning ketogenic metabolism, lowering insulin, when you have that carb up day, you get all of the metabolic benefits of carbs. So, thyroid stimulating, metabolism, promoting filling up your glycogen stores throughout muscle, and your liver, if you do that in the context of high protein, high carb, low fat, it's actually-- even though, you'll most likely gain water weight, it's actually unlikely that you will gain much weight at all. So, it's like you get to have this. 

Gin Stephens: You're not really gaining fat. You see it on the scale. But that's what I don't want people to be freaked out about is like, “Oh my gosh, look at the scale. I'm up. I've gained all this fat from this. See, my body can't eat carbs.” That is not what that means. 

Melanie Avalon: Right. If you do eat fat on that high carb meal, you're going to store whatever fat. Basically, that's where you can see it. If you do this high carb day, this carb up day, basically, see it as whatever fat you eat that day you are most likely going to store. 

Gin Stephens: Not if it's not over what you needed.  

Melanie Avalon: True.  

Gin Stephens: Just because you eat fat doesn't mean your store it. I eat fat every day and I'm not storing a bunch of fat. I eat fat and carbs together every day. Only in the paradigm of now you're overeating. If you're overeating, what's leftover will be stored.  

Melanie Avalon: When I'm saying in my head is a lot of people who do this carb up, they make it really intense. It's like the big feast day. 

Gin Stephens: The cheat day kind of paradigm which is not really what it's supposed to be.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, right. Exactly.  

Gin Stephens: I don't like the idea of cheat day anyway. 

Melanie Avalon: So, let us know, Sarah. Let us know how it all goes. I will also-- just because I mentioned this last week, I'm reading Dr. Michael Platt's book about Adrenaline Dominance, and he really recommends and-- I started doing it. He really recommends progesterone cream for all hormonal issues really. But he actually recommends it right before eating for insulin sensitivity, which was really interesting. Apparently, if you take it right before eating, it's only in the bloodstream for a brief amount of time. It can possibly help you with your insulin response. 

Hi, everybody. I want to take a minute to tell you about Prep Dish and what they have going on for you this summer. Summer is my favorite season. I'm sure that you've heard me say that before. But one thing about summer is that we are busy. That's why I'm so excited to tell you about the free bonus menu Prep Dish is offering this month, and it's only good through the end of June. 

If you're a regular listener, I'm sure you're familiar with their new Super Fast Menus. If you thought prepping five healthy dinners in just an hour was the best it could get somehow, they're upping their game. Just for the month of June, Prep Dish is offering all new subscribers a free bonus menu. It's not just your average meal plan though. It's designed to let you prep five healthy dinners in just 30 minutes. It seriously doesn't get any easier than that. Don't worry. Just because the meals come together quickly, that doesn't mean you'll be missing out on flavor. The bonus menu includes things like California burgers with berry salad, shrimp tostadas and a slow cooker Italian pork. When you subscribe, you'll have access to the gluten-free, paleo, keto and the Super Fast menu, in addition to the bonus menu. 

If you're still not convinced, remember that you get a two-week free trial if you go to, so you can try the meals out yourself before you commit. Again, that's for two weeks free, and for the month of June anyone who signs up gets the fastest meal plan ever bonus. Now back to the show.  

Melanie Avalon: All right. Shall we go on to our next question? 

Gin Stephens: Yes, and this is from Evelyn and the subject is "Non-scale victory and donating blood." She says, “Hello, ladies. My name is Evelyn and I have been doing Gin's Fast. Feast. Repeat protocol for just over a year. I would like to report a few non-scale victories and ask one question. First a bit about me. I am 51 years old, a mother of four adult children, happily married for nearly 30 years, and work at home as a private piano teacher. Mid July 2020, during the middle of COVID and shutdown, I was taking inventory of my life. My weight was the highest it had ever been at 210 pounds.” Gosh, I just want to say, we have so much in common, Evelyn. I only have two children, not four. But I've been married for 30 years, I got up to 210, so many similarities. I'm 52, you're 51. Anyway, back to the question.  

She said, “I was entering into menopause. A few more months and I will be past that famous one-year mark. I was charting my blood work from several years past and began to see that the trend was getting higher and higher in almost every category. I could see the writing on the wall that medicine would be in my future, kind of depressing. When my girlfriend graciously shared her copies of your two books, Gin, I read them both in two days and started immediately. I was a rip the bandage off kind of girl. My first hope of course was to lose weight, which I have. I am currently 158 pounds with about 10 to 15 pounds to go. But I also wanted to work on my blood work. I'd like to report this year my wellness checkup that all my numbers improved, and are once again within normal ranges.”  

Melanie Avalon: Hooray. I'm cheering. That was me cheering for Evelyn.  

Gin Stephens: “My total cholesterol dropped 30 points and the nurse said, that doesn't usually happen without medicine. Amazing. My blood pressure and blood glucose numbers are near perfect and today I saw my eye doctor for the first time in a year. He made the comment that the health of my eye looks like a 20-year-old. He has never said that in all the years I've seen him. He mentioned that my eye pressure, which I take daily drops for, has gone down. He seemed pleased with that. I also realized today that I no longer have any floaters. They've disappeared." For anyone who doesn't know that's, when you see these little spots like floating in your field of vision that just pop up. You think there's like something floating in the air, but it's just something in your eye, in your field of vision.  

All right, she said, "They've disappeared. That must be autophagy at work doing its thing, cleaning up the old and used up parts. It's been exciting to see how my health has improved in such unsuspecting ways because of IF. Okay, my question, as part of my turning 50 and becoming an empty nester, losing weight, and just enjoying life in this new season, I started giving blood. I have never done it before and so, unwittingly went to the blood drive without eating breakfast, a good 12 to 14 hours into my fast. I got through all the screenings with good “grades” and then they casually asked me, “You've had a good breakfast, right?” “Um, no, I hadn't.” They almost turned me away. I promised them that I am very much used to not having breakfast and that if I were to get dizzy, I would tell them. I know that for many people who are not fat adapted, giving blood without their regular source of energy stocked up may not be good. But do you know if you must or even should eat either before and after, and when donating blood? They also offered food afterwards too. I will gladly break my fast to give blood several times a year if I must, but must I? Can you see a day when this eating protocol is different as more and more IF people show up at blood drives? Thank you for fielding this question and rejoicing with me on the non-scale victories."  

After reading this, I'm so curious. I wish Evelyn had said how she felt after giving blood in the fasted state because that would be very instructive. Because she said, they almost turned her away, but it sounds like they didn't which sounds like she followed through giving blood in the fasted state and in which case, it would be very interesting to see how she felt because I'm a big believer in listen to your own body, and how you feel, and if she felt perfectly fine after giving blood, that would be a big indication that it works well for her body. Again, they have food afterwards. If you feel that dizzy, low blood sugar, there's something there you could eat it. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, because it does sound like she actually gave the blood. When I first heard her question, I was thinking she didn't. Let us know, Evelyn, if you did give the one the fastest day and how you felt. I will note, she was saying that maybe because she's fat adapted, that she would be less likely to be dizzy or faint. I do not recommend people give blood in the fasted state. It's actually not about blood sugar, it's about blood pressure. So, it's not something that has to do with your fat burning metabolism. So, not everybody faints, but it just has to-- Well, obviously, because people are fainting left and right. But it has to do with how your body reacts to a perceived blood pressure dropped that can happen pretty quickly from giving a large amount of blood. It's obviously up to you if you want to try. I have fainted before with blood, and it's a very unpleasant experience, and I don't wish it on anybody. It's not terrible, but if you haven't fainted, it's surprising. 

Gin Stephens: I have never fainted ever, not in my entire life. You probably could have guessed that, right?  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I probably could have.  

Gin Stephens: Has Gin ever fainted? Yes, or no? No, Gin has not. 

Melanie Avalon: Has Melanie? Yes. It's just funny. I have only fainted once from a blood draw, and it was forever ago. But still, just because it's such an intense experience-- because you feel like you're dying because you don't know what's happening and then, you wake up and you don't know what happened, and it's just not pleasant, and what's really interesting, I do blood tests all the time, listeners know this. All the time. I still get nervous now because I fainted that one time, maybe this is something I can work on with a therapist or something. but I still get nervous. Even though I'm like a champ at blood tests. I'm always worried I'm going to faint. I do all my blood tests fasted, obviously, because we have to be usually fasted for blood tests. 

But giving blood is a whole another-- I would just be really nervous to be completely fasted and do a blood draw. But I would love to hear it. If any listeners who are doing fasting, I would love to hear their experience. So, yeah. I do think that's really interesting, though, that it's not related to blood sugar. Oh, something that has reassured me though about just getting blood tests is that the amount of blood they take for a normal blood test, it's negligible as far as your body reacting to it. So, if you faint from a blood test like I did, that's usually psychosomatic. It's not going to be because of this massive blood pressure drop most likely, that is possible when you're giving blood. Or, it could be psychosomatic blood pressure drop. But my point is, when you're giving blood, it's a physical amount of blood that can create that blood pressure drop compared to when you're getting a blood test where it's actually not a huge difference in your overall blood stream. Fun fact. Any thoughts, Gin? 

Gin Stephens: Well, this is just one of those things that I'm not comfortable saying yes or no to. I'm not going to say yes, fast or no, don't fast, because that's not-- I would always follow the recommendations of medical professionals before any procedure, even giving blood. If you're not doing it very often, go later in the day after you've eaten. If they want you to have something to eat before you get blood, go when your window is open. Then, now, we don't even have to worry about it. You're not having to sacrifice your fast or making them happy and whatever the reason is, maybe the reason is wrong and you don't need to, but I'm not going to say that. I would do it later, personally, when my window was already open just to not even have to ask the question or worry about it. That's just what I have to say about that. I never want to go against a medical professional. Does that mean I think every medical professional is always got the most updated information? No. We know that things change. Protocols change, recommendations change, doctors have different ideas about things, research changes. So, follow the advice. If you go to give blood and they say you should have had breakfast, then have something to eat, come back later. Go during your window. Better safe than sorry.  

Melanie Avalon: Exactly. If you eat, you're much less likely to faint, and then it will much more likely be a successful blood draw.  

Gin Stephens: Exactly.  

Melanie Avalon: All right. So, our next question comes from Stephanie. The subject is "Four-three window." Stephanie says, “Hello, I just love you girls. I've been doing IF for three months, and I'm down 25 pounds. I just love it. I recently started the four-three window. I only have 500 calories on Monday, Wednesday, Friday. I've always done a 20:4 window. I was just wondering on my up days, do I fast for 20 hours still or can I start eating whenever I get hungry on my up days? Also, I'm a fitness instructor. So, I burn about 1000 extra calories a day and exercise. Should I up my low days to 1000 calories or stay at 500 calories? Thanks so much. So thankful for your podcast.” 

Gin Stephens: Well, this is a great question, Stephanie and I can answer it pretty quickly. Please do not fast for 20 hours on your up days. No, no, no, no, no. There's a lot of confusion with up days. And the research that was done on alternate daily fasting, they did not have any sort of fasting paradigm or window on updates. I mean, none. They were not instructed to skip breakfast, eat breakfast, eat in a window. They were just told on a down day, depending on the study, some down days were full fasts, and some down days were 500 calories depending on the study. And the up day was just, now you eat. So, they had the down day protocol they were following whether it was 500 calories or zero calories. Then the update, they were just instructed to eat normally. So, I'm pretty sure there was nobody in those studies that was also continuing to fast on the up day.  

We don't have data on that. We have no research on that. Maybe, there was somebody. When I say I'm pretty sure there wasn't, no, it wasn't reported in this study. Probably most of them ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That is why I make the recommendation for an up day to purposefully make sure you're eating at least two meals, at least six to eight hours. Just because it's hard for some of us that have been doing intermittent fasting with the time-restricted eating for a while. It's hard for us to wake up and have breakfast at 7 in the morning. So, we feel better delaying our breakfast or not eating first thing when we get up. But we need to consciously make sure we're eating at least two meals, at least a window of six to eight hours. But again, notice that at least that doesn't mean, okay, well then, I'm going to do six every day, that first question that we answered from Sarah, she's doing three 42-hour fasts a week. Just because I say at least six to eight hours doesn't mean all right, I'm going to go with six, because I'm really dedicated. Sometimes, we feel like more is better and it's not always. 

With alternate daily fasting, they found the metabolism didn't slow down from that alternate-- that rhythm. But the up days, they were eating more, of course, we don't recommend calorie counting. There's a lot of flaws with that, but I'm going to use the word 'calories' in terms of energy intake, they were eating more calories, then their bodies needed on the up days. I can't remember the percentage, 100 and something percent of their daily caloric needs on up days. So, you want to eat more food. It needs to be up. You want to slightly overeat on up days. So, if you're comparing an up day to a normal day when you're not doing intermittent fasting, you want to slightly overeat on an up day. If you're doing a four-hour eating window on an up day, are you going to be slightly overeating? Doubtful.  

Oh, for the other part of Stephanie's question, the research on alternate daily fasting, they were right around 500 calories, and it didn't matter how active you were, if you were a man, if you were a little tiny woman, it was just. “Hey, let's just do 500 calories.” If you want to have 1000 calories, you could do your own approach to it. It won't be exactly the same as the researched alternate daily fasting, but if your body needs more than that 500 calories down day, you just try it and see if it works for you. That would be okay. Because you're still having that-- It's like a hybrid approach or you're modifying it. You just don't want to over restrict. You don't want to err on the side of over-restriction is my point. 

Melanie Avalon: That was great. I was going to say it was-- You used my word 'hybrid approach.' I guess the thing to clarify is just in general with ADF, it's not like you adjust your calorie intake based on your activity to do ADF, which I think might be the confusion maybe for people. They think, “Oh, it's 500 calories, but I adjust for my activity.”  

Gin Stephens: Everybody was assigned the same 500 calories on the down days. Although in Dr. Johnson's book, I can't remember the title of it but it was one of the early ADF books out there, he actually did have like men can-- maybe 600 calories. I don't know. There was a little bit of variability in there, but he was just basing it all just on calories. It was before we really understood, there's a lot more going on than just calories. 

Melanie Avalon: I'm going to put a link in the show notes. I'm listening to an interview. It's the latest interview on Peter Attia. It's with Steve Austad, PhD. It's making me so happy. They're diving deep into studies on calorie restriction, especially because there have been quite a few studies that have been confusing. There was the one in the rhesus monkey studies and the monkeys on whole foods diet versus I don't know the exact details, but it was calorie-restricted monkeys on either a whole foods type diet or calorie-restricted monkeys on a processed diet. 

Gin Stephens: I don't think I've ever seen a monkey study with ultra-processed and whole foods. 

Melanie Avalon: I don't think it was one study. I think it was two different institutions. But it's been something that has been perplexing, because I believe there was greater benefits in the process diet monkeys. Basically, the takeaway was that when you're eating a whole foods diet, there might be less benefit to gain from calorie restriction compared to when you're on a processed diet. That's been a conundrum, and then there was something I talked about when I interviewed Dr. Steven Gundry. There were two different mice studies looking at mice on processed diet or whole foods, and perplexing findings with the mice eating the processed diet experiencing greater benefits. I don't know if it's because it was like protein amounts. But Dr. Steven Gundry's theory and it's the theory that I immediately thought of when I read it was that by eating a processed diet-- because they only put out the food a certain amount of time. By eating the processed food diet, it actually created a longer fast because they ate it so fast and it was digested fast. 

In any case, there's been a lot of really interesting studies on calorie restriction in rodents and monkeys and perplexing findings, and so, if you listen to that episode with Peter Attia there, I'm only halfway through it, but they're diving deep into it. They also talk about that famous calorie restriction study. You know the biosphere where the people went in? They were talking about that too. And he's been talking about how calorie restriction in rodents in the wild actually, probably does not lead to longevity. It actually reduces lifespan. I'll put a link to it. It's really, really interesting.  

Gin Stephens: That does sound really interesting.  

Melanie Avalon: Yes, but you did an excellent job answering that question. [giggles] Gin's got it.  

Gin Stephens: Well, I know how to answer these questions because I've heard them all in the Facebook groups back in the day. That's why I love helping people. Melanie is the one who loves what are the monkeys doing. [laughs] I mean that with love Melanie and I'm like, “Let me tell you the nuts and bolts of this of how you can make this work for your life with your question." [laughs]   

Melanie Avalon: I think that's why you make a good team.  

Gin Stephens: I think so too. 

Melanie Avalon: Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. So, a few things for listeners before we go. Again, the show notes will be at There will be a full transcript there, all of the links. I'm plugging it again, definitely get on my email list for the serrapeptase at You can submit your own questions for the show, just directly email or you can go to and you can submit questions there. You can follow us on Instagram. We are @ifpodcast. I'm @melanieavalon and Gin is @ginstephens. 

All right, well, this has been absolutely wonderful. Anything from you, Gin, before we go?  

Gin Stephens: No. I think that's it. Next time, I will be coming to you from the beach.  

Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness. I'm excited. [laughs] I'll talk to you then.  

Gin Stephens: All right, bye-bye.  

Melanie Avalon: Bye. 

Thank you so much for listening to The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. Please remember that everything discussed on the show is not medical advice. We're not doctors. You can also check out our other podcast, Intermittent Fasting Stories, and the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. The music was composed by Leland Cox. See you next week. 


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

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Jan 10

Episode 195: Ketones, Insulin Resistance, Measuring Insulin, Alcohol, Resting Heart Rate, Heart Rate Variability, And More!

Intermittent Fasting

Welcome to Episode 195 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 Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living An Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle

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

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14:30 - Listener Q&A: Sallie - Question for Gin

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23:25 - Listener Q&A: Michelle - In Search of lower Insulin

The Melanie Avalon Podcast Episode #74 - Benjamin Bikman, Ph.D.

Why We Get Sick: The Hidden Epidemic At The Root Of Most Chronic Disease―And How To Fight It (Benjamin Bikman, Ph.D.)

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43:30 - Listener Q&A: Kelly - Alcohol effects on Resting Heart Rate


Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 195 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, author of What When Wine: Lose Weight and Feel Great with Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, and Wine. And I'm here with my cohost, Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle. For more on us, check out,, and Please remember, the thoughts and opinions on this podcast do not constitute medical advice or treatment. So, pour yourself a cup of black coffee, a mug of tea or even a glass of wine, if it's that time, and get ready for The Intermittent Fasting Podcast.

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Hi everybody and welcome, this is Episode number 195 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with Gin Stephens.

Gin Stephens: Hi, everybody.

Melanie Avalon: How are you today, Gin?

Gin Stephens: I'm good. How about you?

Melanie Avalon: I am great.

Gin Stephens: You sound super great. What's super great? That was like more emphatic great than usual.

Melanie Avalon: I'm really, really fantastic. Are you aware of what happened this past weekend?

Gin Stephens: Well, no. I'm not aware. What was it?

Melanie Avalon: Taylor Swift released a surprise album.

Gin Stephens: Oh, yeah, definitely not aware of that. [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: This is the second time she's done this in quarantine where she doesn't say anything, and then she releases an entire album. I always feel like I have to defend myself being a Taylor Swift fan. But her first album is the bestselling album of 2020, and I am obsessed lyrically with Taylor. Do you Spotify?

Gin Stephens: No.

Melanie Avalon: Okay, you know what it is though, right?

Gin Stephens: I mean, yeah, I do know what it is. I have Apple Music, so I listen to Apple Music. I'm an Apple girl. I listen to Apple Music and I listen to my podcasts through the Apple Music app.

Melanie Avalon: Well, Spotify, they give you a Your Year in Review thing and they show you like your top artists and your top song and everything. Well, obviously mine was Taylor, but the shocking thing was it told me I was in the 0.5% of her listeners. I feel like you have to listen to a lot of Taylor Swift to be in the 0.5.

Gin Stephens: Hmm. I'm probably in the 95.5 [laughs] or 99.5. I should say. There's one song I know that I've heard that I liked.

Melanie Avalon: Which one?

Gin Stephens: I don't know the name of it, but I know I liked it. If you'd like saying all of them, I'd be like, “Yeah, that's the one I've heard.”

Melanie Avalon: All Too Well?

Gin Stephens: No.

Melanie Avalon: Okay.

Gin Stephens: [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: Sorry. Very few things just like light me up with the amount of excitement that I was lit up with.

Gin Stephens: Well, I'm so glad to hear it. You don't listen to Apple Music, you listen to Spotify?

Melanie Avalon: No. Yeah, Spotify. I've been in Spotify person since it came out, really. I remember when it first came out, and I was like, “Wow, how is this even possible?”

Gin Stephens: The idea of just listening to whatever you wanted, yeah.

Melanie Avalon: I was like, “There has to be a catch here.”

Gin Stephens: Yeah, there wasn't. Look, I'm old enough to remember the days of Napster when everyone was just giving away their music for free and illegally.

Melanie Avalon: And always wondering if you were going to infect your computer with, because on Napster, you could get anything you want, and it was all free.

Gin Stephens: Anything. Yeah, and it was all terrible. Now that I understand how we were all stealing music, it was bad, very bad, but I didn't know.

Melanie Avalon: They actually started suing people who had it, do you remember that?

Gin Stephens: No. I was probably off of it by them because I'm such a rules follower that as soon as I realized, “Oh, gosh, this is not just like listening to the radio,” because-- [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: I remember they brought out the scare tactics. I think they locked up a few. I don't know, they sued some people, like my age who were using it, I mean, it ruined their life basically.

Gin Stephens: Well, now that we are producers of content, like books, I completely understand. If all of the books we ever wrote were now available for free illegally, and people were just able to share them, that would be terrible.

Melanie Avalon: If people paid for this show, and then it was--

Gin Stephens: Right. As soon as I realized it was wrong, I was like, “Oh my God. [laughs] I'm breaking the law.”

Melanie Avalon: Get it off the computer.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, exactly. I like to follow the law. Anyway, but it was fun while it lasted. And now that we have Apple Music, everything really is there, or Spotify or whichever you like. It really is amazing because you used to have to buy them one by one. I mean, you don't even remember the day of like driving to the music store, I'm sure. Listening to 45, did you have a record player?

Melanie Avalon: Oh, no. Well, I do now, with my Taylor Swift albums.

Gin Stephens: On a record player?

Melanie Avalon: Uh-huh.

Gin Stephens: Okay.

Melanie Avalon: Vinyl.

Gin Stephens: That's so funny. We had vinyl everything, but we had little 45s. Have you ever seen a 45?

Melanie Avalon: I think I have. I think my dad has some.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, that was the way to do it. You'd go get the one little single and there was always something on the other side and you'd flip it over. Then you would play them over and over again. Good times.

Melanie Avalon: Good times. I remember cassettes.

Gin Stephens: Yes.

Melanie Avalon: Because Chick-fil-A had all the-- we talked about this before the-- What is it, the virtues, the--

Gin Stephens: The cassettes that you could get. I remember that. Yeah, the freedom with music now is just remarkable, though. So, I'm glad that there's another album. She's been very productive it sounds.

Melanie Avalon: I have one more really exciting announcement, actually related to the content of today's show.

Gin Stephens: Well, awesome. What is that?

Melanie Avalon: It's so exciting. You know what it is, though? I think it's really exciting.

Gin Stephens: Well, share the excitement. So, friends, listeners, I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm about to give away completely free electrolyte supplements. That's not even what I'm so excited about, even though that is very exciting. Mostly it's because we are partnering with Robb Wolf's company, LMNT. As you guys know, Robb Wolf is my hero. He is the reason that I am in the whole paleo world. Like I read Paleo Solution, and then that's what happened. I think he is an amazing figure of information. I don't want to say authority figure, but I really get the sense that he doesn't cherry-pick that he's open to the science, the information and I really trust his information.

He recently started a company called LMNT, L-M-N-T. Tailored towards listeners who may be following specifically keto diets, because as you guys know, Gin and I are not keto. I go through times of keto. Gin had her keto phases in the past, but they--

Gin Stephens: 2014.

Melanie Avalon: She is no longer keto. I'm not currently keto. I flirt with it occasionally, but in any case, if you have heard of something called the keto flu, it is often posited that the keto flu is not actually a condition, but it may be for a lot of people due to electrolyte issues, and that is because when you go on a low-carb diet, your insulin levels drop, and we know our insulin levels drop off fasting, but when you're doing low-carb, they're significantly drops all the time, and that lowers the production of a hormone called aldosterone. Aldosterone is made in the kidneys. Aldosterone helps you retain sodium. When you have chronically low aldosterone on a keto diet, you are losing sodium at a rapid rate. That is why a lot of people may experience symptoms of keto flu. So, that's things like headaches, fatigue, muscle cramps, insomnia, all this stuff. To address this, Gin, are you familiar with Ketogains?

Gin Stephens: Yes.

Melanie Avalon: Okay. Ketogains is probably, I would say it is the biggest keto community out there. The founder is Luis and I can never say his last name. It's like Villasenor. He and Robb actually developed-- I don't know if he would like actually developed it, but Rob worked with him to develop LMNT to have the exact electrolyte balance that you need to support your electrolyte status, especially if you're on a keto diet. Some people having carbs in their eating window and fasting might also benefit from the electrolyte supplements, but it really varies by the individual. In any case, they made LMNT, and it has no sugar, no coloring, no artificial ingredients, no junk. They have flavored and unflavored versions. The reason I'm also excited, the flavored versions, those are not clean fast friendly, obviously, because they have flavor. There is a raspberry, a citrus, and an orange flavor. The raw unflavored one is clean fast friendly. It's literally just electrolytes. If you feel like you are on the electric-like struggle bus, you can have the raw unflavored version during your clean fast.

I didn't realize this. This is not just like some small company. They're doing really big things. They work with three Navy SEAL teams. They are the official hydration partner for the USA weightlifting team in the Olympics, which is really cool. They've worked with a lot of other people, like five or more NFL teams. So basically, it's a really cool way to go. I'm so excited because you can get it, listeners, completely free. They weren't going to do this, they were just going to have our spots be educational and tell you about them, but I begged them for something. It's not even a discount, it's free. You can get their sample pack and that will include two raw unflavored. Again, those are the clean fast friendly ones. Two citrus, two raspberry and two orange. Again, the flavor ones you would want to have in your eating window. Apparently, the citrus one is a really great mix for Margarita, word on the street. I have friends who do that. It was actually in the information they gave us, I was like, “Oh, if this makes sense.” But you can just go to That's D-R-I-N-K-L-M-N-T dotcom, forward slash, ifpodcast. They will cost $5 for shipping only. That's the only thing you'll pay. If you don't like it, they will refund you the $5 for shipping. So, don't even worry about that. This free giveaway is only for January. So, guys, get it.

I'm just so excited because we're like working with Robb Wolf and I love this product. This is so exciting to me, and free things.

Gin Stephens: I'm so happy that you're happy.

Melanie Avalon: And free things for listeners.

Gin Stephens: Well, free things are always good.

Melanie Avalon: Yes. Everybody, go get it now. I think people on the keto diet who are experiencing these issues like this could be a game-changer for them. Even if you're not, get it for the flavors and get the citrus one and make margaritas and report back.

Gin Stephens: Eating window margaritas.

Melanie Avalon: Eating window margaritas.

Gin Stephens: It's like, “I heard Gin and Melanie say that you could have margaritas during the fast.” No, no, that is not what we said.

Melanie Avalon: Clarification. Eating window margarita with all clean ingredients

Gin Stephens: Fasting with Margarita, that's a joke. Do not fast with Margaritas. [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: Yes. All right. That's that. Shall we jump into our questions for today?

Gin Stephens: Yes.

Melanie Avalon: To start things off, we have a super short question. The subject is “Question for Gin.” It's from Sally. Sally says, “Hi, Gin. What made you keep going at your second attempt at IF? When did you start seeing results and what results did you see?” Maybe you can tell us a little bit about your first versus second attempt.

Gin Stephens: Really, I did not keep going at my second attempt, nor my third. It was more multiple, multiple. I first heard about intermittent fasting in 2009, and I've talked about this many times over the course of this podcast and Intermittent Fasting Stories and even in my books, and in the Mindset chapter of Fast. Feast. Repeat. I tried it multiple times, many times over those years from 2009 to 2014. For anyone who has Fast. Feast. Repeat., I really get into why it didn't work for me in all those attempts, in the Mindset chapter. There were several things that were the problem.

First of all, I didn't understand clean fasting. In fact, no one did, because everyone really thought that intermittent fasting was only something that helped to “eat fewer calories.” We thought that anything that was zero calorie was going to be fine. Even if you had just a little bit of calories, that was probably also fine. Fasting was really, really hard. I was white knuckling it all the time, because I was not fasting clean.

Second of all, I didn't understand about the adjustment period, and that your body needed to get fat adapted and so I would start and stop. I feel like I was constantly trapped in the adjustment period, my body never got fat adapted, I just kept living in the hard part. Never got through to where it was easier. Plus, I wasn't fasting clean, put all that together, it was doomed to fail.

Third, I expected weight loss to be linear. I would do it for a few days, it would be hard, I wouldn't lose any weight, and then I would quit. The time that it finally stuck, I still wasn't fasting clean yet, because remember, this was 2014. It was well before The Obesity Code. It was before we understood the hormonal things that go in our bodies while we're fasting. I had been doing keto, that we just talked about, that keto summer that I had, the summer of 2014. I didn't lose any weight, but I was in ketosis. I had a ketone breath monitor. It was one of the early Ketonix models. I was doing keto and I would blow in the Ketonix and I would get red. I was making ketones, but the way I was eating, I wasn't tapping into my stored body fat. I think it was just all the fat I was consuming, putting me into ketosis.

It was at that time that I shifted to intermittent fasting, because I was like, “I'm not losing weight. I don't feel good. Keto is not working well for me. I am going to do intermittent fasting, and this time, it's going to work for me, darn it.” Amazingly, that was the time I never did quit. I think that doing keto for that whole summer obviously, my body was making ketones. I was fat adapted. Suddenly, intermittent fasting was easier than it had been before. I also remember, Melanie, this is how little I understood at the time. I remember a post that I had made on an intermittent fasting group I was in, it wasn't one of my groups. Obviously, I hadn't started one yet, but I remember, I had like a cheeseburger and fries. An hour later was blowing on the Ketonix and registering a red. I'm like, “I'm already back in ketosis. This is amazing.” Well, no, that's not what's happening. Those were ketones that I had made during the fast and I believe that obviously, I was excreting them through my breath. Even though I had just had a cheeseburger and fries. I thought I was back in ketosis. It would be amazing. I didn't know what I was talking about. It was before we understood that, or before I understood that fasting got you into ketosis as well. Now that we understand about liver glycogen, and glycogen depletion, and all of that.

Fasting was easier because I was fat-adapted, thanks to the keto. Also, I immediately started losing weight. Finally. After that whole summer of not losing weight with keto, and also, I was weighing daily and calculating my weekly average. So, I saw the weight loss. Even though my weight fluctuated day to day, I saw week to week, my weekly average was going down. Finally, I saw success. So that was why when I write Fast. Feast. Repeat., I'm emphatic about not expecting weight loss during your first 28 days. Even when you do have weight loss, don't expect it to be linear. First of all, your body has to adapt. And then you have to be aware of how weight fluctuates and that it's only the overall trend that matters. Once I made that shift and understood it was the overall trend, then I could stick with it. I wasn't looking for down, down, down, down, down because that's not what weight loss looks like. And I just felt so much better. After not feeling good doing keto for that whole summer, reintroducing carbs, and intermittent fasting at the same time, feeling better seeing the results I was looking for, that was when it truly over time turned into a lifestyle. I didn't understand it was a lifestyle still as I was losing the weight, it wasn't until later, when I started to understand the health benefits. Intermittent Fasting is more than just weight loss. It took me becoming educated. The more educated I got, the more I realized this is something I would do forever. So, there it is. Anything to add?

Melanie Avalon: Our experiences, we're complete opposite. I was like, “I'm going to do this for a week,” and then I never stopped.

Gin Stephens: You were eating paleo before you started?

Melanie Avalon: Low carb.

Gin Stephens: You were low carb. See, again, we both transitioned from low-carb and started doing it. I never quit again. See, that's the thing. When I started in 2014, I never quit again.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, mine was low-carb IF and then paleo. That was like the--

Gin Stephens: The transition. Yeah. Awesome.

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Gin Stephens: All right, we have a question from Michelle, and the subject is “In Search of Lower Insulin.” She says, “Dear Gin and Melanie, thank you for changing lives. Gin's advice about not chasing ketone readings makes sense to me. As your body uses ketones more efficiently, your blood ketone level may drop. I'm wondering if I can use my blood ketone levels for a different purpose. So please bear with me. I would love to be able to directly test my insulin levels at home, but alas. As I understand it, a higher ketone reading should indicate a lower insulin level. For example, if ketones were 0.5 to 1.0, insulin would have to be fairly low. Is this true? Do we know if a certain ketone level corresponds to a certain range of insulin level? I accept that the converse doesn't indicate anything. So, I could have lower insulin without having high ketones. I tend to have pretty high ketones fasting around 24 to 22 with the occasional longer fast. I'd love to take my ketone readings as a good insulin sign. I am not diabetic or pre-diabetic, A1c 4.9. But I do wonder if I have some insulin resistance, and I'd love to have a gauge on how certain foods affect my insulin. Best wishes to you both, Michelle.”

Melanie Avalon: All right, Michelle. Thank you so much for your question. My initial thoughts are that there is most likely the correlation, with the exception of, I was just thinking that this follows up pretty appropriately to what you were just saying, Gin, because you had that experience where you measured ketones, but it was right after eating a cheeseburger. So, it really would depend on where the ketones are coming from. I don't think this is the case for Michelle. Especially if you're following like a ketogenic diet, you could, in theory, always measure ketones, but there would still be insulin release when you're in the fed state. You can be producing ketones and be producing insulin, but if you're in the fasted state, and you measure ketones, probably your insulin is low, but the whole issue is, with insulin resistance, people can experience higher baseline levels of insulin and not realize it. If you're generating ketones, that way it would imply that, hopefully, your body is fat adapted, and the insulin is working correctly, but I can't really make blanket statements about it, especially after reading, for people who want like the deepest dive into insulin ever, check out Dr. Bikman’s Why We Get Sick. I also interviewed him on the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast, that episode might be out when this show comes out. I'll put a link to it in the show notes.

I don't want to say correctly working body but if things are working the way they should be, there should be a correlation, but then there could also be lots of other factors that might finagle it. What are your thoughts, Gin?

Gin Stephens: We don't have a gauge. She said she'd love to have a gauge about how certain foods affect her insulin. I wish we could measure at home like that, but we can't. Minute to minute, you can't know what your influence doing. For example, a friend of mine is using a company called Walk-In Lab. I don't know anything about that company, she just mentioned that she was using it and they're able to order the test for you. I'm imagining that they have physicians on staff, they look at your request, and then they approve it or not. You can actually get that through companies like Walk-In Lab. I'm not endorsing Walk-In Lab, I don't know anything about them, like I said other than a friend of mine, just use them and mention their name to me. So that would give you an idea of what your fasted insulin level is. Obviously, you can't do that all day. I wish we had an at-home insulin test, or a way to know exactly what it was doing.

If you're interested in going down that rabbit hole of ketones and what's going on, there's somebody named Marty Kendall of Optimising Nutrition, optimizing with an S because he's from Australia. He's got some really great stuff. I've learned a lot from reading his blog over the years. In fact, some of his stuff on ketone levels actually is what taught me that our ketone levels went down over time. So, chasing a high-- I actually learned that from Marty Kendall. Go to with an S for optimizing and dig in through there. He's a big proponent of measuring your blood glucose before you eat, to give you an idea of what's going on. That's just something there to check out.

I wish we could see how certain foods affected your insulin because proteins there. It's not just carbs that affect insulin. Thanks to the insulin index we know that proteins also affect your insulin levels, and even fats do, to a degree. The whole idea that fat has a zero effect on insulin is not true.

Melanie Avalon: Dr. Bikman actually talks about all of that in Why We Get Sick. Yeah, because actually protein I believe, it releases comparable or even more insulin than carbs, but it also releases glucagon, which has the opposite effect. It doesn't have the same effect on your overall blood sugar levels and state as far as the connection to insulin as straight-up carbs do. It's pretty complicated.

Gin Stephens: It's also complicated.

Melanie Avalon: I'm really fascinated by protein, and I found this one study that was looking at protein and diabetics, and it was theorizing or going through all of the research on protein and diabetics because protein can be turned into blood sugar, or sugar, carbs via gluconeogenesis. And it does, that does happen, but for some reason, it doesn't really seem to affect blood sugar levels. They don't really know why. There's all these theories like that the blood sugar that gets produced from protein gets used faster than it would into the bloodstream. There was like three different theories, but I find it so interesting that we know so much about the body, but then we still don't know really seemingly basic things, like we can't figure that out.

Gin Stephens: Which is why to me, that helps me to be like, “Why worry so much about it then?” If you're healthy, look, you're A1c is 4.9, so I don't know why it matters. If you're healthy, you've got a healthy A1c, you're wondering if you have insulin resistance? Well, do you have signs that you do? I just wouldn't worry about it is what I'm saying. If you're healthy and your health markers are good, you don't have to know what your levels are. I know it's interesting, and sometimes some of the things we don't even-- like Melanie just said, we don't even really understand all of it.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, when I found that study, it was so long. It was a review, and I was like, “This is the best thing I've ever read,” like eating protein and diabetic patients. Actually, I'm glad you said that, because I was just thinking, a good enough proxy-- she's measuring blood ketones, is she measuring blood sugar, though?

Gin Stephens: It doesn't look like it.

Melanie Avalon: Michelle, I think that's what you could measure at home.

Gin Stephens: There's a ratio that you can figure out with your ketone reading and your blood glucose reading. A lot of people are using, I think Marty Kendall’s--

Melanie Avalon: For autophagy.

Gin Stephens: I'm not sold on that. I won't get into that. To measure your fat burning, basically, they're using it-- I think he calls it Data-Driven Fasting, and there are a lot of people following his protocol where they are measuring their blood glucose and measuring their ketones and then doing some sort of ratio of that to determine your fat-burning state. People are finding great success with that. I don't want to measure all that. I know some people do, I actually interviewed someone recently on Intermittent Fasting Stories, the episode won't come out till February, I believe. But she talked about how she's using his ratio, and it's really been helpful for her.

Melanie Avalon: The last thing was I did just release the episode with Kara Collier, the founder of Nutrisense CGMs. I don't know anything about this. Michelle, if this is what you're looking to ascertain your level of insulin resistance, wearing a CGM, doing a round of CGMs could-- I mean, that, for me has been the most eye-opening thing as far as how are foods affecting me, you see how foods affect you. You see like, is your blood sugar level-- how is it rising? How long does it take to get back to normal? Rather than focusing on insulin, and we talk in that episode all about, like the implications of how it relates to insulin, but I think that would be the thing you'd want to do. I'm writing a guest blog post for Sunlighten, which is really fun. They wanted me to write a blog post on health and wellness trends for 2021. I had to decide what did I think would be the biggest health and wellness trends for 2021. One of them is CGMs.

Gin Stephens: Oh, yeah, I hope so because they're such a useful tool. They're not a toy. They're a powerful tool for figuring out how your body responds. But, really, Michelle, I would get a fasted insulin level. If you're a morning fasted insulin level, you'll have an idea. I mean, if it's five or something really low like that, or below five, then chances are you're not insulin resistant. If it's like 10, okay, that's a good signal that you're going to need to do some work. You don't need to know how it responds all day long. It's that fasted insulin level that'll really give you a good picture.

Melanie Avalon: The good thing about that is, I feel it's not as finicky is because wearing a CGM, the one thing I realized is, “Oh, your blood sugar could be changing a lot more than you realize.” But I think for a fasted insulin is pretty telling. I'll give you the ranges that Dr. Benjamin Bikman gives. According to Dr. Bikman, ideally your blood insulin levels should be less than six micro units per milliliter. Eight to nine is average for men and women, but he says it's not good to be average, you would prefer for it to be lower, a person with eight actually has doubled the risk of developing type 2 diabetes as a person with five. I guess anything over nine is above average.

Gin Stephens: In a way that you don't want to be above average.

Melanie Avalon: Right. He says you don't even want to be average, which is eight to nine. He would prefer that you are below six fasted insulin. Then on top of that, there's a secondary value that you can calculate if you want, it's the HOMA score. That one actually considers both fasting glucose and fasting insulin. It is even more telling for your levels of insulin resistance. At the time that you got your fasted insulin measured, you would also have to have had your fasted blood sugar measured as well. If you have those two, there's a mathematical formula that you can do that will give you your HOMA score, which is a number. It's complicated. It's basically glucose times insulin divided by 405. So, random for the United States, or glucose times insulin divided by 22.5 for other countries. That is so random. I don't know. I feel like we have provided all the potential data we can on this.

Gin Stephens: I think so too. That's a lot of data. Yeah. Also don't have coffee before you go because coffee can cause your liver to dump glycogen, your blood glucose can go up, and then therefore, you can have a little insulin urge, too. Go completely with nothing but water.

Melanie Avalon: Good call. One more last resource for you, Michelle. I will put in the show notes the link to the episode that I did with Kara Collier of Nutrisense. Then if you'd like to get your own CGM, or if any listeners would, you can get 15% off. The link for that is I will also put that in the show notes. Listeners, there will be a transcript of this episode in the show notes, so that will be at, which also I do need to plug. I don't know if any of the episodes have aired yet where we asked for questions for Episode 200 because we haven't received any questions, so I'm guessing not, but listeners for Episode 200, random plug, it's going to be an Ask Me Anything episode so you can submit any questions you want for that. They don't have to be health or fasting related. They can just be like, questions for me and Gin.

Gin Stephens: Awesome. I look forward to the questions.

Melanie Avalon: Like what is my favorite Taylor Swift song?

Gin Stephens: [laughs] Don't ask me what my favorite Taylor Swift song is. I'd be like, “That's the one I heard that time.” [laughs]

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Melanie Avalon: Shall we go on to the next question?

Gin Stephens: Yes.

Melanie Avalon: The next question comes from Sara. The subject is “Hangry Still Sometimes.” Sara says, “Hi, Gin and Melanie, I'm a solid three weeks in of doing IF daily 18:6 to 22:2. Eating to satiety and I am still having days where I'm hangry in the morning.” For listeners, 18:6 is where you fast 18 hours and eat for 6, and 22:2 is where you fast 22 hours and eat for two hours. She says, “I've done one meal a day and IF for years without knowing it was a thing, just because I don't seem to digest well, and I feel better eating one meal a day. I've gone months and years not listening to my body and creating issues for myself. This is now my everyday life and I won't go back. Can be hangry be from eating late in the evening? It's weird and maybe a coincidence that it's worse on days that we ate late the night before. Thanks for all of the product recommendations. Can't wait to see if I can be headache-free of Dry Farm Wines and all that you do.

I just found out my aunt and uncle are following you, have read your books and are in love with IF and losing weight and having tons of non-scale victories. Someone told my aunt she is aging in reverse, ha, ha. And then was worried about her when my aunt told her about IF. Thanks for helping people live their best life. Sara. Gin, what are your thoughts for Sara?

Gin Stephens: Well, first of all, I love that your aunt and uncle are following intermittent fasting and aging in reverse. As people around her watch her continue to look fabulous, that won't look so crazy anymore. That's how it seems to work. Once you're successful and you show it, people are like suddenly believers. All right, so your question is, “Can hangry be from eating late in the evening?” Well, let's think about this. First of all, you're three weeks in so even though you've dabbled in intermittent fasting here and there, it doesn't It sounds like you've consistently done it. So, you're still probably in the adjustment period. Hangry is more likely during the adjustment period than it is, once you're adjusted. The question, can you be more hangry in the morning, if you eat late in the evening? Let's think about this. Why do we feel great and have lots of energy during the fast? Well, it's because we're tapping into our fat stores, as we go through the fasts, I actually feel better. I might have a little wave of hunger right around hour, I don't know, 14, 16, something like that. Then on the other side of that, I feel fabulous. If you eat late in the evening, to start counting from then, you're not going to be as far into the fast by the morning, depending on what time you stopped eating. If you stayed up really late and ate till like midnight, and now it's morning, you're only maybe seven, eight hours into the fast. So, you're really not in the fasted state yet. Yeah, you would be more likely to be hangry. Just count back and see how far you are into the fast that could really play a role in it. What do you think about that, Melanie?

Melanie Avalon: Two main thoughts. One was that exactly, that you know you're quite into the fasted state yet. That said, I really associate the hangry feeling with blood sugar regulation issues, because I find people who-- if they are eating, and they don't have blood sugar regulation issues, they don't tend to ever get the hangry feeling. It's really the people who have difficulty transitioning into the fat-burning state, like the body's a little bit like hesitant to do it for whatever reason. I think that's when the hangry feeling comes in.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, I think so too, which is why the fact that she's only three weeks in is also very important.

Melanie Avalon: It could be that the context of when she's eating late, it could correlate to meals, not-- well, she already said she has digestion issues. So maybe meals not digesting as well, maybe macronutrients not really working for her. It could be a combination of things, but it could possibly be something about the actual meal itself, like the contents of the meal itself, rather than the timing.

Gin Stephens: Or, those together. The factors together. If I'm eating really late at night, it's probably because I'm out and I'm off my schedule, and I'm eating different things than I would normally be eating. So, all that plays in, plus the fact that it's not as many hours since I stopped eating. It's just a lot of factors.

Melanie Avalon: Exactly. That's what I was trying to say. I'm glad you said that. It often correlates to a slight disruption in your normal eating pattern that might be something more suitable to your blood sugar regulation and your digestion and everything. Let us know if the Dry Farm Wines makes you headache-free. I'm going to give my mom a box of whites, and my dad a box of reds for the holidays. I'm so excited.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, by the time this comes out, the holidays will be over, but that's what I'm giving Chad. I'm making sure he's not like listening, the box of reds.

Melanie Avalon: That's right. For listeners, if you'd like to get a bottle for a penny, our link for that is

Gin Stephens: Awesome. I highly recommend it.

Melanie Avalon: Speaking of, the next question. I did not plan this.

Gin Stephens: Oh, that's funny. Okay. Oh, I could definitely answer this one for with some data of my own. All right. This is from Kelly. The subject is “Alcohol Effects on Resting Heart Rate.” “Hello ladies, I've been listening to and following IF/One Meal a Day since January. I'm down 10 pounds. I'm loving this lifestyle. Thankful that my co-workers introduced me to this way of life before quarantine hit in March. I have a question regarding alcohol and resting heart rate. I noticed when I go for more than a week without alcohol, my Fitbit says that my resting heart rate can be as low as 56. When I go away to the beach on the weekends and have a good amount of wine and white claws, but all within good limits, of course, my resting heart rate can skyrocket up to 64. I also noticed on the beach weekends when we are less physically active with alcohol, that also makes the RHR go up. Just wanted to know your thoughts on this. Thank you for always having great insight and topics to discuss on the podcast. I truly learned so much from you both. It makes keeping this lifestyle maintainable and achievable that much easier.”

Melanie Avalon: All right, Kelly. Thank you for your question. Oh, my goodness. This is one of my recent obsessions, the resting heart rate. I talked about this before, but I actually did just interview the CEO of Oura ring, which I've been wearing for-- I don't know like a month now or so. It's so, so cool during the nighttime, it measures your resting heart rate, measures your heart rate variability, it measures your body temperature, it measures your activity levels during the day, it measures your respiratory rate. It gives you a really good idea of-- if you're recovering from your activities, how your body is doing, because basically, for some terminology here, so our resting heart rate is, it's the consistent rate of our heartbeat. Lower is typically considered to be better. It does go up when you're exercising, though. So that's why they call it resting heart rate is what you're looking at. Heart rate variability is the amount of time measured in milliseconds between heartbeats.

What's really interesting is you would think that you want your heart rate to be very consistent. I mean, that's intuitively what I would think, but what you actually want is it to be more erratic, because it shows that your body is adapting and reacting to stressors. A constant thumping on a pattern, that's actually signifies the stress state because if you think about when you're really stressed, what happens? It's like you're on alert and it's like--

Gin Stephens: [imitating heartbeat sound effect] Sound effects by Gin.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. [laughs] Thank you, Gin. It's like not changing. Compared to being more fluid and reacting to everything that comes at you, there's a time lag and a time difference in between heartbeats and that's heart rate variability. So, you actually want more heart rate variability, that was just some information for listeners. Things that affect resting heart rate, the cool thing about Oura, I'm just pulling out my Oura app is it gives you so much information and a lot of education as well surrounding everything. What’s really cool is when you wake up, it tells you based on how you slept because it measures your sleep cycles and your restfulness and your sleep efficiency and all these things. Based on how you slept, based on your resting heart rate during the night, which is what Kelly is referring to, based on your activity to the previous day, and some other factors, it gives you a readiness score, and it tells you like, “How ready are you to tackle the day?” It really makes it personal to you. So, it'll say like, “You're great. You're rested. Go hard today,” or it might say like your resting heart rate was raised last night, you didn't sleep, maybe you didn't sleep as well, maybe you should take it easy today. It makes it very, very specific.

I thought it was going to be a generic, maybe one of five options that it gives you. I mean, it literally gives you very, very specifics. Mine today said, I had a readiness score of 84. It said, your resting heart rate lowered late last night because it should lower or raise at certain times during the night. So, I guess the fact that it lowered late in the night wasn't as good because it says, “Your resting heart rate lowered late last night, but your overall readiness is still good. If you feel tired, how about taking a rest day, some light relaxing activity can help you get back on track.” Things that affect resting heart rate, what does she say that hers was, she said--

Gin Stephens: As low as 56 but it skyrockets to 64, which doesn't seem that high. That's pretty low.

Melanie Avalon: That's pretty low, I think. Mine is normally low 50s to mid-60s, like 65 is normally the highest that mine goes but I don't consider that skyrocketing at all. In their app, they say that the normal average is anywhere from 40 to 100. Slightly below your average is a good sign of readiness and exceptionally high or low resting heart rate indicates that an easier day maybe an order. It says, “An intense training day, a late-night workout, elevated body temperature, or a heavy meal just before bed can keep your resting heart rate elevated during the night.” Alcohol can also affect that, which Kelly is asking about. My thoughts on it, Kelly, are that, yes, alcohol affects resting heart rate, but I don't perceive yours as skyrocketing.

Gin Stephens: Right. 64 is still a really good number. Can I give an example from mine? I have not been drinking. I feel so much better, but I looked way back when I was doing my PREDICT study and wearing the CGM. I had a night where I drank a good deal of-- it was Dry Farm wine, and it was champagne. I wanted to see how it affected me through the PREDICT 3 study. I went back to that night on my bed, I have a Sleep Number bed and it measures things like heart rate variability, breath rate while you're sleeping. My heart rate skyrocketed to 81 while I was sleeping from alcohol. My heart rate variability went down. I do think mine skyrocketed, but alcohol 100% made my heart rate skyrocket and then I didn't get a restful sleep. That right there was such important data when I realized, when I got the Sleep Number bed and started tracking, that was when I realized, “Gosh, my body really has a different sleep when I drink alcohol.” Now I know that my body does not metabolize alcohol well. I'm a slow alcohol metabolizer. So, that makes more sense why that happens for me.

Yes, if you think that it's alcohol, yep. I mean, and you're seeing it from the data, you're drinking, it's up when you drink, but I wouldn't say 64 is skyrocketed either.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I'm just looking back through my data because I usually have half a glass up to a glass, probably a glass every night now. If I do that, I don't see appreciable effect on anything. But if I have a night where I did drink a lot, which I've had a few of those in the past month, I do see it majorly. I think the only time I woke up to a readiness score of like, 60, something was after that, I was like, “It knows.” It knows. It was really exciting to interview the CEO of Oura. The thing that I really liked about it the most was I was so hesitant to actually use Oura ring, because you know how I am. I'm going to overanalyze, there's going to be so much data, and I'm going to wake up and get my score, and it's going to ruin my day because I'm going to be like-- I'm going to judge everything by the score. We talked about this in the interview, they really don't want you to have that response. It never makes you feel you're failing, and it's very gentle in how it talks to you. It always makes me feel like, “Oh, this is the steps I can take to make--”

Gin Stephens: It's actionable.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. My favorite thing about it is, it determines your ideal bedtime, and it does it based on how you're sleeping and how you react based on different things. Guess what? If you're going to bed at 1:00 AM, it's not going to say, “Your ideal bedtime is 7:00 PM. It's not going to say that. Mine right now says my ideal bedtime is between-- it was saying between 1:00 and 2:00 AM. Now it's saying between 12:45 and 1:45. I think it's trying to nudge me earlier. It's never going to give you something you can't do. If it does think you need to be early, it's going to slowly get you there. It's not going to try to force early bird on late night owls. For Gin, it would like--

Gin Stephens: It's 9:00 PM, time to go to bed. Why are you still awake? [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: Well, what I asked him was because my sleep score, to determine your sleep, how well you're doing it sleep, it looks at your total sleep, your efficiency, your restfulness, your REM, your deep sleep, your latency, and your timing. Your timing is the one where that does involve circadian rhythms. You can only have a good timing score if the middle midpoint of your sleep is between midnight and 3:00 AM. I'll have nights where I actually get really, really good scores on everything, except timing. Which is just a zero because I go to bed at 2:00. I asked him, I was like, “Does that mean it's impossible for me to get a really, really incredible sleep score because the timing is off?” He said I can still though get like a crown and an optimal score, but I won't ever get like a 99 if I'm going to bed that late. I would love for you to get it Gin and see what it says about your sleep.

Gin Stephens: Well, Sheri, my co-host on the Life Lessons Podcast has one. She's had one for a while and she loves it.

Melanie Avalon: It's so great.

Gin Stephens: But I love my bed that that does that. I don't know if I would like-- The ring itself on my finger, I would like to try one, I guess.

Melanie Avalon: I love it. Yeah. Love to get you one.

Gin Stephens: If I had one, I would wear it. But just getting one, I just don't know. We'll see.

Melanie Avalon: So, that was a lot of information. Any other thoughts?

Gin Stephens: No. I think that's it.

Melanie Avalon: I did take my heart rate while I was in the sauna because it doesn't measure your heart rate during the day, only while you're sleeping, unless you do-- it has this moment option where you can like take a restful moment and not move and check it. I did it while I was in the sauna and it got up to like 99 or something.

Gin Stephens: Oh, that's interesting.

Melanie Avalon: I was like, “I'm just laying here.”

Gin Stephens: One day, my sauna will be put together.

Melanie Avalon: I know. I was going to say-- did it arrive?

Gin Stephens: Oh, it's here. It's in the boxes.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, right, because you're redoing the garage first.

Gin Stephens: Hmm. Don't get me started.

Melanie Avalon: Okay, never mind. [laughs]

Gin Stephens: This is out of my control. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: I will put out good vibes.

Gin Stephens: I'm a patient girl.

Melanie Avalon: I'm really excited for you to--

Gin Stephens: Yeah, me too.

Melanie Avalon: I hope it happens while it's cold.

Gin Stephens: Me too.

Melanie Avalon: Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. A few things for listeners before we go. If you'd like to submit your own question for the podcast, you can directly email Or you can go to and you can submit questions there. Remember, you can submit questions for Episode 200 Ask Me Anything episode. You can follow us on Instagram and Gin, how is Instagram going?

Gin Stephens: Well, I'm doing it, here and there.

Melanie Avalon: Are you enjoying it?

Gin Stephens: Yeah, when I think about it. I just don't remember it. I have to remind myself.

Melanie Avalon: Now I'm looking at yours, I'm looking at your freezer from Daily Harvest.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, love the Daily Harvest.

Melanie Avalon: It's a lot of Daily Harvest.

Gin Stephens: Well, it is.

Melanie Avalon: Is that a mini freezer?

Gin Stephens: No, that's a regular freezer. It's actually a big freezer. It's a old KitchenAid side by side built-in freezer and fridge.

Melanie Avalon: We just ordered my mom a chest freezer and then she said she doesn’t want it, so we're returning it.

Gin Stephens: She doesn't want it?

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, she said she wants one that she can open so she can reach in. I think she doesn't want to like reach down--

Gin Stephens: Oh, that makes sense.

Melanie Avalon: --into it.

Gin Stephens: But, yeah, this is just one side of my freezer. Not one side of the freezer, but one side of my built-in. It's really old. They redid the kitchen. I don't know when they did it, but the appliances they're nice, but they've been around since, I don't know, at some point in the early 2000 era. Just from looking at the backsplash, that's when they redid the kitchen. But I love my kitchen.

Melanie Avalon: Everybody is now going to go to your Instagram and look at.

Gin Stephens: And look at my freezer. [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: Good times. So, you can follow us, I'm @MelanieAvalon, Gin @GinStephens, I think that is all of the things.

Gin Stephens: Yeah.

Melanie Avalon: All right. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. Anything from you, Gin, before we go?

Gin Stephens: No, I don't think so.

Melanie Avalon: Nothing?

Gin Stephens: Not a thing. Like I always have so much to say. [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: Well, I will talk to you next week.

Gin Stephens: All right. Bye-bye.

Melanie Avalon: Bye.

Thank you so much for listening to The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. Please remember that everything discussed on the show is not medical advice. We're not doctors. You can also check out our other podcasts, Intermittent Fasting Stories, and the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. Theme music was composed by Leland Cox. See you next week.


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

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Oct 11

Episode 182: Scale Anxiety, Antibiotics Damage, Microbiome and Weight, Hypothyroidism, Weekend Sabotage, Alcohol Metabolism, And More!

Intermittent Fasting


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Welcome to Episode 182 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 Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living An Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle

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

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Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 182 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, author of What When Wine: Lose Weight and Feel Great with Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, and Wine. And I'm here with my cohost, Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle. For more on us, check out,, and Please remember, the thoughts and opinions on this podcast do not constitute medical advice or treatment. So, pour yourself a cup of black coffee, a mug of tea or even a glass of wine, if it's that time, and get ready for The Intermittent Fasting Podcast.

Friends, I have a story for you. I recently got septoplasty to fix my deviated septum so that I could breathe better. And in the recovery period, you're not supposed to wear glasses. Oh, my goodness. I cannot tell you how much I realized how much I adore and need and love BLUblox blue light blocking glasses. I've been wearing them every single night of my life until I got that surgery. Guys, you need this in your life.

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And one more thing before we jump in. Are you fasting clean inside and out? Did you know that what you put on your skin gets direct access to your bloodstream, and in your body can do a lot of detrimental things? So, while you may be fasting clean, you may at the same time be infusing your body with endocrine disrupters, which can mess with your hormones, obesogens, meaning they literally cause your body to store and gain weight and even carcinogens.

In Europe, they've banned thousands of these compounds found in conventional skincare and makeup, and the US has banned less than 10. In fact, most conventional lipstick, for example, is high in lead and the half-life of lead in the body can be up to 30 years. That means every time you put on some lipstick, you might be putting some lead into your bones which might not leave for three decades. This is a big deal.

Thankfully, there's an easy all-encompassing answer. There's a company called Beautycounter, and they were founded on a mission to make skincare and makeup products that are safe for your skin. Every single ingredient is extensively tested to not burden your body and support your skin health. You can shop with us at and if you use that link, something really special and magical might happen after you place your first order.

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All right. Now enjoy the show.

Hi everybody, and welcome this is episode 182 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with Gin Stephens.

Gin Stephens: Hi everybody?

Melanie Avalon: How are you today, Gin?

Gin Stephens: Well, I'm a little bummed because it's so much the change of seasons. You know how much I love summer?

Melanie Avalon: I love it.

Gin Stephens: I'm wearing jeans. I'm still not wearing shoes, though. I was playing in my closet today looking at-- it's not time to switch it out yet that it's still warm enough, but it was like 76 here. But I have these shorts. Have I ever talked about my GAP shorts from the 90s that I still have?

Melanie Avalon: Maybe, refresh my memory.

Gin Stephens: Well, I don't know why I saved these shorts. It was before I had kids. It was these GAP shorts, they're size 8 from like 1995 I'm guessing. It shows how sizes have changed so much over time. Because in college, I was probably about the same weight I am now, I might be a little smaller now but I don't know, but in college, I was a size eight.

Melanie Avalon: So, sizes have--?

Gin Stephens: Oh, changed big time. Yeah, vanity sizing.

Melanie Avalon: So, what would an 8 be now?

Gin Stephens: Well, just for a perspective, these are size 8 from the GAP from, like I said, about '95 and they're too big for me everywhere except the waist. The waist fits me. So, I have the same size waist that I had when I was 25 years old, which is awesome. But the butt and the thighs are just giant. But again, also, they're pleated and they're khaki shorts. I mean the clothes we wore back in that era were just not attractive.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah.

Gin Stephens: Pleated khaki shorts. I mean they're like a bell. They're not cute. The waist fits me perfectly, but they're size 8 and I'm sitting here right now in zero jeans that the waist fits. So yeah.

Melanie Avalon: So, they're similar sized, but those are an 8 compared to zero now.

Gin Stephens: Yes. Well, I mean, they are too big for me except in the waist. But I think a lot of things now have relaxed waists.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Wow. So, back then zero must have been like?

Gin Stephens: I don't remember anyone being a zero, really. I don't remember it. I don't remember people even being a zero. Did they even have zero? I'm not sure it was. I know when I was 12 years old, I was tiny. Okay, tiny. My mother got remarried. And I was like a flower girl, it was this tiny little wedding, but I had a Gunne Sax brand dress. This is from the 80s, okay. Early 80s, maybe even late 70s, this brand Gunne Sax. It was this [unintelligible [00:07:54] style with ribbon and all that. And I think I was a size 3. I was like 12 and tiny.

Melanie Avalon: Because kid sizes are in one, three, five?

Gin Stephens: This is junior size.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, okay.

Gin Stephens: This junior size 3, someone who wears a 5 or a 7 now versus-- but I was itty-bitty and wearing a 3. I mean, I haven't been able to wear junior sizes though ever since I really went through puberty. I've always been in the even sizes, because I'm curvier.

Melanie Avalon: I remember going to Paris, and the sizes there are like--

Gin Stephens: Really different?

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, they're probably more like what it used to be here.

Gin Stephens: Probably what it used to be here in like the 50s or something. [laughs] But sizes have changed so much. And every time I pull out those shorts, it's hilarious. I have a pair of jeans from the GAP that I wore in the early 2000s. It was after I finished having kids and I lost the weight back. It was in the unfortunate diet pills era, but I felt really good in these jeans. They're size 4. No, wait, they're size 6, that was a lie. They're size 6 from the GAP. And they're like mom jeans, and they are big in the waist. I'm smaller now than I was during the diet pill days, but they're hilarious fitting too. And the GAP was just not having good clothes, and I was buying them up apparently. [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: For shirts, because I'm a pretty small person but I like all my-- like t-shirts and stuff, I always like extra larges or extra-extra larges. Especially because brands want to send us stuff and they want to send shirts a lot and they're like, “What size?” I'm like, “Extra-large.” They're like--

Gin Stephens: I'm like small.

Melanie Avalon: Every time, Gin. Yeah.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, I don't like them being big.

Melanie Avalon: I don't like being confined. I don't like clothes actually.

Gin Stephens: I don't like feeling confined. But I like things to fit me.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Oh, wait, can I mention one thing since we're talking about clothes? I just got a-- new company from LA, they're making grounding shoes. I am so excited. I can probably get them to send you a pair if it's something you're interested in.

Gin Stephens: I would love to try their shoes.

Melanie Avalon: I will get on that. For listeners, they only make the sandals. But I just got my pair and I'm so excited because what I had been using was these grounding strips, I don't know if they actually work. For those who don't know what we're talking about, it's basically so that when you walk on natural earth, the ions in the earth-- it's something to do with the energy of the earth. And it's not like some woo-woo thing, it's very much real.

Gin Stephens: Well, my husband who's an organic chemist, things have charges. Every time you have static electricity, or thunder, lightning, that's static, that's energy being transferred. So, we know scientifically that energy transfers, that's not woo-woo. It's real, we see it.

Melanie Avalon: And by being on natural earth, it has a very natural healing effect on the body compared to when we're constantly not actually touching the ground. So, it's beneficial to get yourself grounded, which you do by walking outside barefoot. But if you have shoes on, obviously, you're not touching the ground. That's why they made these grounding shoes that they conduct the charge from the earth to your body. So, they're really cool. I got really excited. I'll put a link because I think I have a discount for them too. So, I'll put a link in the show notes to it.

Gin Stephens: Well, the reason I brought up the clothes, in case, everybody's like why are we talking about the GAP clothes from the 90s, the point is that people get so caught up in sizes and it's just meaningless, the way things are sized. I have things in my closet that fit me, zero to four. If I go to my old clothes, six and eight. If you go to a vintage store, sizes are going to be really different. So, you've got to just not worry about the sizes. Easier said than done.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, actually, Gin, we have a question, since we're talking about all of these sizes and what it all means, this wasn't on the lineup for today, but how would you feel if I do a surprise question?

Gin Stephens: That would be awesome. I would love a surprise question.

Melanie Avalon: Okay, because I've been wanting to do this question for a while. So, I feel like it's appropriate right now with everything that we're talking about. Our first question comes from Nicole, the subject is "Product You May Love and Questions." And Nicole says, “Hi, Gin and Melanie, thank you so much for your awesome podcast. Gin, I love your down-to-earth personality. And Melanie, I adore your curious mind. First off, I wanted to share with you a product for your listeners, especially the ones that have a fear of the scale. I own a zero scale. It's a digital scale that sets your weight at zero and tells you up or down pounds. It doesn't reveal your weight. I'm not sure this exact scale is around, but I've seen similar items, and I've attached a link.”

And she attached a link to a scale called Shapa. When we got this email, Gin was like, “I want to talk about this!” So, Gin, would you like to talk about this? I have no idea what this is.

Gin Stephens: Yes, I'm so glad you pulled that one out today because I have a Shapa scale. You know how I said I haven't weighed myself since 2017? Well, it's both true, and now false. It's true that I have no idea what the number is because the Shapa numberless scale does not show you your number. Well, you can set it to show you your number, but I have set mine not to show my number. If you get this scale everybody, do not sync it with Apple Health, or it will show you your number on Apple Health. People are like, “Oh, no, it showed me the number!”

We were just having this conversation, in fact, my moderators today about weight maintenance and the scale going up and down. If you're in maintenance, you're going to be within a weight range, which means that your weight might fluctuate within even a 10-pound range and you're not gaining weight or losing weight. But you get on the scale and it's up five pounds from yesterday, and then you have this panic of, “Am I gaining weight?” “What's happening?” Because we know the only thing that matters is your overall trend.

In all of my books, I wrote about weighing daily, and then once a week, you calculate a weekly average and you only compare the weekly averages, and that will really save your sanity. But you still have to see the fluctuations of like today, you're up five pounds, and it freaks you out a little bit. At least it did me. So, that's why I threw my scale away and I haven't gotten on a scale from 2017 until today. I mean not today, but I mean like the past six weeks. So, over three years, not standing on any kind of scale.

Well, someone told me about the Shapa scale. I've been raving about it in my Facebook groups, but if you go to, it tells you all about it. Now, the creator of this scale, I don't know how to say his last name. His name is Dan Ariely. A-R-I-E-L-Y. That’s how I'm saying it, that could be so wrong if it is, Dan, I'm sorry. He's the creator of Shapa. He actually is a professor of psychology and behavioral economics from Duke University. His TED talks have been viewed over 15 million times. I'm reading this off their website. Now, I just went to it real quick. And he's written three New York Times bestsellers. In 2018, he was named one of the 50 most influential living psychologists in the world.

Okay, so this guy, I wanted to say that to let you know, that he knows what he's doing with psychology. For me, the thought of having a scale with numbers really gives me anxiety because if I got on the scale and I didn't like the number, it would make me want to diet or make me want to do certain things. Any of us who have been obese or overweight, we had this panic that we're going to regain all the weight. Even though I've been maintaining since 2015, seeing a number on a scale could really upset me. It is what it is. So, the scale does not show you a number unless you set it to, it only gives you color feedback.

So, for the first 10 days, you stand on it, and you have to do it twice a day, while it's calibrating, you get on in the morning, you have to have the app open on your smartphone. You get on it, you get off of it, then you do it again in the evening, you get on, you get off. And then after about 10 days-- it could take a few more than 10. It took me 10. You start seeing colors. And the color lets you know what your trend is doing. So, if you get green on your app, that means your weight is maintaining over time. If you get teal, that means you're losing a little weight, you're on a slight downward trend. Blue means you're on a really good solid downward trend. And there's a couple of shades of grey you could get, which shows that your trend is going up.

Now some people are like, “Well, how does that help because what if you got on one day and it was green, and the next day it was gray, and the next day it was blue?” And that's not how it works. So, that wouldn't happen. Remember that Dan is a professor of psychology, so he understands the fluctuations are the problem. He doesn't just give you fluctuating color. It does complicated statistics, and it only shows you what your actual trend with all this complicated math is doing. So, if you get on, it's not going to just give you random fluctuation colors. So, that's why-- I've just loved getting on it. It coincided with the month that I had first given up drinking for a month, no alcohol for a month. So, I actually the first color I got was green the first day based on my calibration. But then after that, I've been slowly teal. I've been slowly losing some weight, some of the bloat that I guess I put on over the increased baking and drinking of the pandemic. The only change I've made is not drinking and I've been on a solid teal. So, I'm losing a little bit of that pandemic fluff that may have come on. But that's the thing that's so fabulous for me. I don't have any nervousness about stepping on it. I'm not worried, even if it showed me gray, just showed my trend was going up, I would be like, “Alright, time to reverse this trend,” but it's different than that number.

So, anyway, if anyone's interested, go to And I actually have partnered with them because I love them so much. As soon as I read about it, I got it. And then, I started badgering them with emails till they finally returned my email. And I'm like, “I really, really, really want to have a relationship with y'all for my podcast because I think that this could be life-changing.” There are a lot of people like me that are absolutely terrified of the scale and don't want to see that number. It might be crazy. Maybe if I was 100% healthy, I wouldn't care but there's still that emotion tied up in it. Dan, the behavioral psychologist degrees, a lot of people really don't do well with that. So, if you go to and you use the promo code 'IFSTORIES,' which is associated with my Intermittent Fasting Stories podcast with the program, you sign up for their program, and it's like a yearly subscription to their app, but then they send you the scale for free, you save $30 on the program.

And after the year is over, the year that you've signed up for, you do not have to renew, and you can continue to use the app. It doesn't stop working. You don't have to renew. Anyway, it's super awesome. And I am weighing on it every day. I don't know how much I weigh, but I don't need to.

Melanie Avalon: That is really cool. I had never heard of this before. So, what does it look like? Does it look like a normal scale?

Gin Stephens: It doesn't have a window. It just it's like a round disc and it has like these little silver crescents that you step on. And so, you step on them and it reads what's happening. It also claims that it is reporting the changes in your body composition, not just your raw weight. So, if you're building muscle but losing fat, it should adjust for that, I think, based on what I've read, because it's checking your whole body composition and looking for positive changes. It does not reveal what the colors mean, as far as how much you're losing. It just shows you the overall trend, but I'm really enjoying it. From someone who said, “I'll never have a scale again,” I've got it.

The whole time I've gone through menopause-- by the way, I am two weeks away from officially being able to say, “I'm done with menopause,” or through it on the other side, because you have to go a year. But you worry-- when you have lost over 80 pounds, you worry that one day maybe it's going to be menopause, maybe it's going to be too much wine, but all of a sudden, you're going to balloon back up again and gain all the weight back. So, now, for the rest of my life, I'll be able to get on the scale and not have that fear of, “Oh no. Am I secretly gaining weight?” or “My pants a little tight.” I'll know.

Melanie Avalon: Well, actually, to your point, Nicole, the follow-up sentence where she says, “I have anxiety about numbers, and this has been life-saving.”

Gin Stephens: Yeah, she's got the zero scale. And I don't know that tells you whether you're up or down pounds. I don't know that I'd like that. Because remember, if I got on it, and it said, “You're up five pounds,” I think I would start to cry. I wouldn't like my scale telling me I was up five pounds or down two pounds. I don't want to hear any numbers, which is why I like Shapa so much. I don't hear numbers. I don't hear anything. I just only see that nice little blue or the teal or the green. And I don't even know.

Melanie Avalon: I wonder if it tells you the actual pound or if it just is like up.

Gin Stephens: I wouldn't want to hear up. It feels like to me you would get on and it would just tell you whether you were up or down. I just know me. I weighed for the first year of maintenance, I weighed, but every time I got on and it was up, I panicked in my brain, even though I was like, “All right. It's okay.” Every time I saw up, it made me feel, “Ugh.” And when it went down, I was like, “Ooh.” But not even having to know the fluctuations, just knowing what the overall trend is doing, it's just a breath of fresh air. Anyway, to get me to have a scale again is pretty incredible. And the company's been great. So, I'm a huge fan. And my, promo code 'IFSTORIES.'

Melanie Avalon: Awesome.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, you should get one too.

Melanie Avalon: You actually convinced me. I'm pretty sure I'm going to go get one right now.

Gin Stephens: And then you could see what's happening. But you don't have to worry about the number.

Melanie Avalon: I like colors too.

Gin Stephens: I like colors too. They have one that's like white, that's the one I got. It's like a wood-tone white. And then, they have like a grayish-blackish white, and then they have an oaky-- no, the black is just not white, I don’t know why I said white. It's a blackish wood-tone grayish-blackish. Anyway, white, black, wood tone, but they all have wood graining. It looks really pretty in the bathroom.

Melanie Avalon: Can I say one thing about colors just because it made me think of it?

Gin Stephens: Yes.

Melanie Avalon: Yesterday, I saw a rainbow and I think I literally contemplate the nature of rainbows for an hour. I was googling and reading all about rainbows. And then, I was reading about linguistic relativity, which is my new favorite thing.

Gin Stephens: I don't even know what that is.

Melanie Avalon: I think we've actually talked about it before. It's the idea that we can only understand things we have words for. So, different cultures can see different colors based on what words they have colors for.

Gin Stephens: Wow, that's cool.

Melanie Avalon: It's really cool. And then my mind was being blown, I was like, “Wait, so what colors can I see that other people can't see?” [laughs] Because we don't have a word for it.

Gin Stephens: And then, there's the wrinkle of-- I've talked about before, I guess, Chad having that weird colorblindness. Remember me talking about that? Or did I? How he can't see? He's got blue-yellow colors, I'm crazy, I don't know I'd never heard of. We've all heard of red-green colorblindness, but I had never heard it. Well, I assume we all have. I had never heard of the blue yellow. It's driving me crazy though, Melanie. He sees things so differently. We got some art, and he can't see it. I'm like, “What is your problem? It's beautiful. It looks perfect." And he's like, “No," I want him to see and love the environment that he lives in too, so that's what's hard. I'm not dealing with someone who sees it properly. I am having to make my house look good to someone who sees it differently than me because I care about how he feels in the home. That's tricky.

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All right, now back to the show.

Well, back to Nicole's question.

Gin Stephens: Anyway, I was so excited when I read that question when it said Shapa, the link that she gave to Shapa numberless scale, I was like, “What?”

Melanie Avalon: Just for listeners. I go through and categorize all the questions and occasionally, Gin will pop in her thoughts. And if it's really important to her, she makes it very known. So, with this one, she was like, “I was just so excited.” She's like, “I must talk about this.” So, yeah. From the rest of Nicole's email, she says, “Now to my fasting question. I've mostly stayed at an average weight since puberty, but always struggled to lose 20 pounds, which would put my five-foot-six frame at around 130, 135. I've gone up and down with those 20 pounds throughout my life, but around four years ago, I was able to get to 133 effortlessly, I am 42. The only thing I changed at the time that I can remember was eating more lentils and broccoli. Lol.

A year and a half ago, I got two tooth infections, had to have wisdom teeth removed and a root canal. The wisdom tooth surgery was a coronectomy, awful pain, and I basically lived with clove essential oil in my mouth for two months. The root canal was regular, but I had to go on antibiotics for prevention. I'm pretty sure I'll be doing holistic dentistry from now on. After these instances, weight crept on and I was back up to 155 even though no eating habits had changed. I had tried all my tricks of the past, but nothing worked.

After a trial with keto, which did not end successfully, I came across IF and started studying the science behind it. That's where I found all three of your podcasts. Happy to report I started IF in February of this year, I'm fasting completely clean and I can easily do a window of 16 to 20 hours, give or take that awful mid-March to May time, I've noted many non-scale victories. Rosacea is gone, aches are gone, energy, etc. But I've not lost weight. I had an awful time in the beginning, which is what I think was my body detoxing, awful menstruation, skin issues, etc. But it all worked itself out. I'm eating less than I ever have now and healthier. My diet is well rounded, 90% clean, organic, wheat, dairy, and egg-free by choice. I'm incredibly in tune with my body and I know something is still missing even with all the health benefits.

I also have hypothyroid and I am working on finding a new endocrinologist who do extensive testing since my current doctor will not run these tests. I can't find anyone local to run proper and extensive hormone testing, but I'm trying to find a telehealth doctor. I will continue to investigate these issues. But can there be anything I'm missing from my teeth incidents that can clue you to what path I should take, considering as when I saw a huge change in weight to happen so quickly? I've cut alcohol during the week, lowered carbs, changed windows meditated, tapped, and tried changing what I ate, bought a glucose monitor to track as well. I feel like I'm obsessing but getting this under control especially since losing this weight before menopause is very important to me.

Any help, advice is appreciated. If patience is key, I'll get there. I haven't done ADF. Can't seem to get there. But if that is what it takes… You both to me are masterminds at figuring these things out. I'm hoping you give me some suggestions as to what to do. I am celebrating the non-scale victories and the health benefits but losing weight to me, especially since I know I was at that 135 range for a long time, is very important. Thank you so much for all you guys do. You are my favorite podcast to listen to and are a super team. XOXO. Nicole, from New Jersey.”

Gin Stephens: Well, Nicole, it is great to hear from you. And that struggle, I can totally understand when you've been maintaining for your whole life. Even though you had to go up and down a little bit, you could always get there, and then all of a sudden, nothing is working. And I think it's great that you can pinpoint that turning point when you had that dental work, and you had to go on to antibiotics for prevention. We hear that kind of thing a lot. People have a turning point with their health. Often, it involves some medication. Sometimes, it might be steroids. For you, it was antibiotics. And that causes something in your body to change and then all of a sudden, your weight is really different on the other side of that event.

I've talked before about a friend of mine who had food poisoning. And then after that, she could not keep the weight on, she could not maintain her weight. Her weight just went down and down and down and down for like forever. She was getting skinnier and skinnier and trying to eat more, trying to put the weight on, and she could not. I tell this story again to illustrate that that affected her gut microbiome, and something in there shifted. And so, whatever that population was, she could not use her food properly and she could not gain the weight at all. She had to really work. It took her, I don't know, over a year to rebuild her gut microbiome and get her health back to where she could maintain what was a healthy weight for her.

I would really think about focusing on rebuilding your gut microbiome. I understand the importance of it, but I am not a gut microbiome rebuilding expert. Dr. Ruscio. How do you say it? Michael Ruscio, is that his name?

Melanie Avalon: Dr. Michael Ruscio. Healthy Gut, Healthy You.

Gin Stephens: Healthy Gut, Healthy You, that was the name of the book. He came on our podcast, gosh, was it 2017 or 2018?

Melanie Avalon: It was a while ago. I had him on mine too since then. But, yeah, he's great.

Gin Stephens: He's great. His book lays out some different things to try because his goal is to get your gut back to where it needs to be building things back up. I believe it can be done after watching my friend go through that, and how she was able to heal. But it's really, really important. A lot of it is trial and error. Do you have anything to add about that?

Melanie Avalon: That was exactly what I was going to say. The gut microbiome plays such a huge role. And it really can for so many people, I think, be the defining factor in making this shift between struggling with your weight or not, struggling with your weight. I'm actually reading a book right now. Have you heard of Joel Greene?

Gin Stephens: I don't think so.

Melanie Avalon: I heard him on Ben Greenfield’s podcast, and it was like a two-part podcast. The stuff he was saying was like the most mind-blowing stuff ever. I think I talked about him briefly on this podcast. He was saying how all the problems with yo-yo dieting and how losing weight-- was it losing or gaining weight? How one of those actually damages the fat cells or damages your body to lose and gain weight. In any case, I'm reading his book right now, and I just started it, and it's a doozy.

Gin Stephens: What's it called?

Melanie Avalon: It's called The Immunity Guide. Like I said, just started it, but his theory is that all of this goes back to our immune cells, and how they're reacting to things and whether it's inflammatory or noninflammatory, and that the gut microbiome plays a role in that. Apparently, this book has a whole plan to fix it. The reason I brought it up is that when there are foundational shifts in the body, it's hard to know what's what. But the shift itself can create change, like with the microbiome, how your body reacts to all of that can change. So, you might start having chronic inflammation and reactions to everything whereas you did before. It's really hard to lose weight in an inflamed state, it's a lot harder.

In any case, I like what Gin said. I would say something to focus on-- especially since you don't want to go like the ADF route, I do think focusing on the gut microbiome would be the way to go. The cool thing is there's not one answer to that. People will say there's one answer, don't we know that? But people seemingly “fix their microbiome” or get it back to a healthy state on a variety of diets. Some people feel they do that through a keto approach, some people through a higher-carb approach. That's why I do really love Dr. Ruscio’s Healthy Gut, Healthy You because it's like a choose your own adventure. He goes through the science of everything and then a plan, but it's not one plan. Pretty much every other book out there is one plan.

Gin Stephens: Right. Like, “Here is the one thing that's wrong with everyone, just do this.”

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. And do this plan. So, occasionally, it'll be like, “Oh, maybe skip this step or this step.” But his is very much like, “If you're this, start here. If you're this, start here. Then when this happens, go here.” So, it's very individualized.

Gin Stephens: Yes. And which was what I loved about it.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. It's also almost macronutrient agnostic. He does talk about how a lot of people do need to start at low carb just because they can't tolerate the carbs because of all the dysbiosis or their metabolic health or whatever. But he's very much like about finding the carb level that works for the individual. And so, it's all different carb approaches as well. So, yeah, we'll put a link to it in the show notes. I would say definitely, definitely probably try that out. And it's so great that you are experiencing all these other great non-scale victories. Which actually, to that point, I think I've said something a little bit misleading because I was saying it's really hard to gain weight if you're in a constantly inflamed state, but other non-scale victories indicate to me inflammation is going down because your rosacea has gone, aches are gone, energy, etc. So, that's really exciting. Sounds like your body's really benefiting from this. I do think with tweaks and patience even like she says, you could definitely find your way.

Gin Stephens: Yeah. And there's also the other factors that-- she's hypothyroid is also an issue. That could be something too. It all kind of just goes together.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I'm really glad, actually, that you pointed out the hypothyroid thing. I totally meant to talk about that, because that could definitely be huge. She does say that she's working on finding a new endocrinologist since her doctor won't run the tests. Well, she sounds like she's aware about the tests that are needed. Nicole, you can check out our interview with Elle Russ, All About The Thyroid. But, yeah, if you're not on the right dose for thyroid medication or don't have that address, then it can definitely be really hard to lose weight. But, in any case, it really sounds like you are on the right track. You're seeing lots of benefits, non-scale victories like we talked about. And I really think that patience like you said and trying some things, and I'm sure you can get there.

Gin Stephens: And also thinking about ADF, if you wanted to try an up-down day approach that's more of a mild up-down day-- you could do a one-hour window, and then more of a long window the next day, and then a one-hour window. So, it's not like full-on ADF but you're giving it that up and down-ish pattern. So, try that and see.

Melanie Avalon: I love it. All right. Shall we go on to our next question?

Gin Stephens: Yes. All right. So, the next question is from Sheree. And the subject is "BiOptimizer Confusion. “I am doing IF and it is going slowly, but steadily. Listening to your podcasts is a good inspiration and motivation for me. My question is on the BiOptimizer products. I would like to add in a product one at a time, but don't know where to start or what is best for me. I am 60, fairly healthy. Sugar’s a bit high but coming down. I sleep okay. I'm fairly calm. From the podcasts and all the reading I have done on their products, it sounds like I may benefit from several products, but my primary focus should start with helping to lose weight. What would be your thoughts? Thanks, Sheree.”

Melanie Avalon: All right, Sheree. So, fantastic question. Definitely, if you're not in my Facebook group, IF Biohackers, definitely join there, because people talk about BiOptimizers like every single day. But I know it can be confusing because they have a lot of supplements. And for listeners, we've had Wade and Matt, the founders on the podcast, what like three times now? Two or three times?

Gin Stephens: Yeah, I think it's three.

Melanie Avalon: Three? I think so.

Gin Stephens: We had Wade by himself. Then we had them both together. Did we have Wade by himself twice? I know we've had him together twice. I don't know.

Melanie Avalon: I think we had them both together twice and Wade-- we might have had them four times. I don't know. We've had them a lot.

Gin Stephens: I just love them, though because they coexist with such different dietary regimens and acknowledge that we're all different. Those are my favorite people.

Melanie Avalon: Yes, because Wade is like plant-based vegetarian-- I think he's still vegetarian. And Matt is like keto, like carnivore at times. They're like complete opposites. But they realize that our bodies are so unique. Their main thing is that the root of a lot of issues are in the gut, which is what we were talking about earlier. And that addressing that and getting our digestion order can be so huge for just everything and performance, health, everything. I remember Wade made a comment on-- I think when we interviewed him, and it's something that has like, stuck with me to this day. And he said, “People confuse the results with the change.” And this has haunted me, but it was basically the idea that oftentimes people will make a drastic dietary change, and they'll lose weight or things will get better. But then, they'll plateau or things will even get worse. But they think because all of the results happened when they made that drastic dietary change, they think that dietary change was the answer. When really, it was most likely-- it was probably pulling something out of their diet or adding something in. That actual paradigm shift wasn't like the be-all end-all. But the quote has just haunted me to this day.

In any case, so for the confusion, because they do make a lot of stuff. So, none of their stuff is like a weight loss thing because they're not like a weight loss pill. Like I said, it's more holistic. If the reason you're struggling with your weight or struggling with your health is because you're not digesting things, for example, they make digestive enzymes. They can help you digest your food. They make P3OM, it's a probiotic. It's a proteolytic strain, meaning, actually breaks down protein, has antiviral properties. It's one of the few probiotics-- Actually, it's probably like the only probiotic I consistently will take or turn to. I could also probably recommend it for Nicole as well. So, I'll put links to that in show notes. They make a keto supplement called kApex for people doing ketogenic diets. Somebody actually just posted in my Facebook group the other day about it. They were like, “This is a game-changer.”

Gin Stephens: In what way?

Melanie Avalon: I guess they were doing keto for a long time, and not digesting their food well or not feeling energy from the keto diet. And they started taking it and they said that they were digesting food better, that they had amazing energy, and that it was the answer to making the keto diet work for them, which is the reason they make that supplement. And then, they make magnesium because magnesium is super important for stress. It's one of the one-- I don't want to say one of the one because the book I'm reading right now is talking about how we're depleted in all micronutrients. But it's probably one of the primary nutrients that we really need more of, and we just don't get enough of because of our modern soils and modern food. So, they make a really comprehensive magnesium supplement that, again, in my group, people talk about all the time about just being a game-changer. But, Sheree, so none of them are to help you lose weight. They're to help you get your body back into balance so that you can lose weight naturally.

Anyway, definitely join my Facebook group and ask your question there, because people will give you lots of opinions and you can probably get more specific answers.

Gin Stephens: Yeah. And it really just depends on issues that you're having and what you need. We don't all need the same supplements. We don't all need everything that BiOptimizer sells. You might need one of their things or two of their things, or zero of their things. But don't feel like, “Well, I've got to get their entire catalog of things.” So, you have to figure out what do you need. I've told this story before, maybe not everyone has heard it. But a friend of mine takes some supplement and she was like, “This supplement is the one that's changed my life.” And then I was like, “Oh, maybe I should try that. I would like to change my life.” And I started taking it, and it made me feel worse and worse and worse. And then, I started researching it and it is based on like a genetic thing that she's got and I don't, and it was the wrong supplement for me. So, never take a supplement just because someone else is having great results with, it might be totally wrong for you.

Melanie Avalon: And we talked about this last week, Gin. I'm more and more of the opinion of minimal supplements, less supplements rather than more. I would prefer 100% that we could just get all of our nutrients from food and never need a supplement ever again. That's why actually if you look at what BiOptimizers makes, it's not actually-- with the exception of magnesium, which is a nutrient, their main thing is digestive enzymes and HCl. So, it's something that is helping you digest your food.

Gin Stephens: It supports digestion.

Melanie Avalon: But in a dream world, nobody would need digestive support because they could just radically digest everything. But a lot of us do because of our gut situation, the foods we're eating, our environment. Our vagus nerve is just all out of whack. So, that can be really helpful. And then, the other one they make probiotic which is different than like a nutrient per se. Like I said, the only really nutrient they do is magnesium. I think they have a mineral supplement. In a dream world, we would not need any. Although I will say, I plucked this last week, but, Gin, I'm taking NR and NMN again, and I swear it's changing my life. Like, why did I stop?

Gin Stephens: And I'm pretty simple. I just take my magnesium at bedtime. There's one multivitamin that I take it with my dinner and that's it. And really, it's because I do try to eat a wide variety of foods and hope to get everything I need for my foods. But it's a really good high-quality multivitamin. They actually sponsor my podcast. So, other than that, though, that's pretty much it.

Melanie Avalon: I'm excited because I'm about to interview, and I mentioned this last time, but Caltons who Rebuild Your Bones. Although now, they have me worried because they're talking about studies where apparently, there was one study where they challenged dietitians to make a diet in different categories, I don't know what it was. I think one was Atkins and one was DASH-- I don't know there's different ones and they were challenged to make a diet that would fulfill like all micronutrients and be “palatable,” which may be the key, maybe that's the key, but be “palatable” and be a certain amount of calories and none of the dietitians could do it. I was like, “Oh, that's disconcerting.” So, yeah,

Hi friends. You guys know I'm always working on naturally managing stress levels. Life can be a little bit stressful these days, don't I know it, and I'm always trying to find the best tools to address that. While I love things like meditation, mindfulness, vagus nerve treatment, and all of that, it turns out there's a supplement that can be incredible for stress and anxiety, also pain and sleeplessness, and a lot of other things.

That would be CBD oil. CBD oil is so incredible because it works on your natural endocannabinoid system to regulate it. It's not making you need more of the substance to feel better. Rather, it's helping you feel better naturally. There's no high, no hangover, no addiction. I think it is so wonderful that CBD is becoming available to the public now, but the problem with that is that it's sort of everywhere and that means there's a lot of CBD products on the market that you don't want to be taking. It's really important, in my opinion, that your CBD meets all of my stringent criteria that it's high quality, full spectrum, tested for potency, organic and made with an organic MCT oil carrier.

Would you believe I've only found one company that fits all of that? That would be Feals. I adore Feals. It's almost shocking if I feel a little bit of tension rising or some stress getting to me, I can take Feals and within minutes, I will feel a sense of calm, and often be laughing. It's really, really crazy. Feals is premium CBD delivered directly to your doorstep. I will never not have Feals in my “medicine cabinet,” because it's that effective.

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All right, now back to the show.

Melanie Avalon: In any case, shall we go on to our next question?

Gin Stephens: Yes.

Melanie Avalon: All right. So, we have a question from Laura. The subject is "Weekend Sabotage." Laura says, “Hi ladies. so thankful I found you. What When Wine started all this for me. Feeling great but would love to lean out but crave tough workouts and that muscular look. Would you be able to explain what effect alcohol on the weekends is doing to my body? I will be honest, I am not just having a glass of wine on the weekends on my up days, definitely more than that. But wondering what the science is behind alcohol on the weekends.

Here's a typical week for me. I've been IFing since March of 2019. Monday through Thursday, one meal a day, 24, always a whole30 meal. It is a struggle on Monday though, but I power through. Friday, I fast, till we go out around six but eat and drink whatever I want breakfast, lunch, and dinner but smaller portions because I know I'll be eating three meals, not whole30 until Sunday afternoon around 2:00 PM, then have a healthy dinner whole30. I work out four to five days a week including rowing, running, Peloton, and weights, a variation of these options all week. Plus, walk the dogs four to five times a week, one to two miles a day.

I'm totally stuck. I'm not losing weight. I am at a healthy weight, but definitely squishy in the middle. I read Fast. Feast. Repeat. and I think I will try Some Things Out of the Toolbox with messing around with the length of my window and up and down days. But I'm still curious what my Friday nights to Sunday afternoon is doing scientifically, glycogen stores, insulin, etc. I've also been listening to Melanie talk about Siim Land and muscle building tips. I check my activity with my Apple Watch and it says I burn 2200 to 2500 calories a day, which I don't think I'm eating one meal a day. So, I recently added last week a protein shake to open my window to help get more protein in during my eating window. I'm five feet five inches, 45 years old, newly retired middle schoolteacher, Gin. My hubby and I typically don't drink during the week Monday through Thursday. I weigh on Friday mornings and it takes me till Thursday the next week to get back to where I started. Ugh! Thank you for all your research. I admire both of your passions for health and educating people. Hugs from So Cal.” I have so many thoughts about this question.

Gin Stephens: Me too. And to be honest with you, I'm just going to say, Laura, you've probably heard me talk about-- I don't know when this came in, in relation to what I've been talking about my month of no alcohol and it's extending because I just feel so much better. Did I talk last time, Melanie, about how I drank for my PREDICT study and then couldn't sleep and felt terrible?

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I don't think I connected it to the PREDICT study, but yeah.

Gin Stephens: Okay. Oh, that's why I wanted to see what it did on my blood glucose meter. So, I did it for science and then I felt awful again and--

Melanie Avalon: Oh yeah. Yeah, you did.

Gin Stephens: Yeah. I thought so. Basically, Laura, what just rocked my world recently was realizing that I am a slow alcohol metabolizer. I talk about in Fast. Feast. Repeat. how when I was trying to get to my initial goal weighed in 2015, I delayed alcohol. It was about a 10-week period. I was almost at my goal, and I wanted to lose, I think it was 20 more pounds to get there so I could buy all my spring clothes and just be that size and not have to buy different clothes, and spring was coming. So, I delayed alcohol, meaning I didn't have any alcohol at all. And I also delayed ultra-processed foods and I ate just whole foods, real foods, plenty of carbs, but real potatoes, real beans, lots of butter or sour cream cheese, just real food. And I lost about two pounds a week. Thinking back on that, now that I understand that I'm a slow alcohol metabolizer, it really like it takes my body days after drinking to get back to a good fat-burning state. And you might say, “Well, how do you know that?”

Well, I went the whole month without any alcohol at all and then I tested a couple glasses of wine at the beach with Chad. I'm using this breath ketone monitor that Melanie had them send me to play around with, and I can 100% see that it takes my body a while to get back into ketosis when I've had alcohol. So, one big thing that jumps out at me is what you said how it's a struggle every Monday, but you power through. So, that indicates, if you're sluggish and struggling-- yeah, I always just assumed it was I'd refilled my glycogen storage. I just assumed that. But now I realized that-- even when I was at the beach with Chad, I didn't eat all that much. I waited till late in the day, I didn't have longer, relaxed vacation windows. Chad doesn't like to pay for a lot of money to go out to eat. So, we ate at the condo, which made him really happy. And I like to cook, so that was fine. I didn't mind. So, it wasn't like I had eaten a lot and refilled my glycogen stores. But then, the same thing happened from just two glasses of wine. It took me a few days to really get back to normal.

So, I would like to challenge you to delay alcohol, give it a month. I just want you to see. You'll know at the end of that month if it's making a difference or not, see how you feel on Monday. Don't change the weekend eating, just the drinking. And I want you to try that experiment and then write back and let us know. I'm just so curious if it might be as huge for you as it is for me. I knew that it made a difference for me when I was losing weight. Now, I have a hunch as to why. I haven't been able to find a lot of science out there, a lot of people writing about this idea of this-- the whole idea of being a fast alcohol metabolizer, slow metabolizer, whatever. But I think it could be an issue for a lot of people that maybe don't realize it.

Melanie Avalon: This is funny because I'm probably gonna say almost the exact opposite thing. But I think it's great because it's a lot of different approaches and we're all so different. So, I'll give you another perspective, Laura, maybe we can try it all out and see what works for you personally because like Gin said, we're all different. When I read this, I see that you're doing one meal a day, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Then, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, so not even one day, but the weekend, like she says, “Weekend Sabotage.”

Gin Stephens: Well, she fasts till 6:00 PM on Friday.

Melanie Avalon: Okay. So, Friday normal and then Saturday all day. And then, I'm assuming alcohol on Saturday. And then, Sunday--

Gin Stephens: She eats from 2:00 till dinner. Yeah.

Melanie Avalon: So, still eating. Saturday and Sunday. Alcohol added on Friday, assuming alcohol on Saturday evening, and then eating basically all day Saturday and Sunday.

Gin Stephens: Well, Sunday, she fasts until Sunday afternoon around 2:00 and then have a healthy dinner. I'm not really sure what she does on Sunday. Sunday's confusing.

Melanie Avalon: She drinks whatever I want breakfast, lunch, dinner, because [unintelligible [00:53:57] eating three meals until Sunday afternoon around 2:00 and then have a healthy dinner. Oh, it sounds like she does that non-whole30 from all day, Saturday, Sunday, but then she jumps back into whole30 Sunday evening. That's how I'm reading it.

Gin Stephens: Well, yeah, she does say Friday night to Sunday afternoon later. So, you're right, that she does say that later. Friday night through Sunday afternoon.

Melanie Avalon: When I see this, I see Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, whole30, one meal a day. Then Friday, one meal a day, but alcohol, and then eating-- completely changing what you're eating and eating all day, Saturday, anything all day Sunday with alcohol throughout on the weekend. So, just seeing that objectively, the thing that really jumps out to me isn't the alcohol. It's the massive change in the food. It could be just the alcohol. Just like stepping back and this is like a crazy thought experiment and this is not meant to be taken literally. But if for example, you ate what you'd normally eat whole30 but all you did was add alcohol-- and don't do this, it's not I'm saying-- I'm going to extremes, just think about this. Even if you added like thousands and thousands and thousands of calories of alcohol to your preexisting whole30, you wouldn't store any of that alcohol. It wouldn't be healthy and would not be a good thing to do. But that's not actually going to create weight loss. Compared to eating thousands and thousands of calories, which we don't know if you're doing but switching from whole30 to eating whatever you want, especially with our modern processed food, it's really easy to take in a lot of calories, especially if you're in this mindset of weekends, like no whole30, like go big or go home. And you're not just going big or going home one day, which can often be really helpful, especially for people fasting every single day, one meal a day and then having an off day, but this is sort of starting on a Friday night, going in all day, Saturday, continuing Sunday, and not going back to normal until Sunday. So, that's a long time to switch your food choices from noninflammatory whole foods that even if say they're the same amount of calories of more processed foods, you probably extract less calories from them. This is a huge food shift is what I'm seeing. And on top of that, if whole30 is anti-inflammatory for you, that inflammation from food can also lead to a lot of weight gain, just from water retention and things like that.

So, what I would encourage you, alcohol could be playing-- It's ironic, I was even thinking it's possible that alcohol might even be slightly protective of weight gain because some people with alcohol actually are less likely to gain weight, some more likely but results are all over the board. And, yes, it was a rodent study, but my mind is still just being blown by that rodent study I read recently that came out this year pretty recently about rodents fed diets meant to make them gain weight and when they had alcohol with it, they didn't experience the metabolic issues that they did when they weren't having alcohol.

So, my advice would be to change just one variable to determine what the cause is. Well, there are a lot of ways you could go about this. Basically, what this is saying to me is you can't have your cake and eat it too. I don't think you can continue in this pattern if you want to not gain weight or not have to take-- it says it takes her until Thursday to get back to normal. If you want to break out of this pattern, something's going to have to change. So, you can try a lot of things. You can try cutting out the alcohol and still eating the same and see what happens. You might start losing weight, you might not change, you might even gain more weight. You could try still eating three meals and eating all time but keeping it whole30 foods that would be like a happy medium even with alcohol. Maybe that's like a baby step to try. Like still doing it but not just eating whatever you want but eating whole30 but eating whenever you want whole30 with alcohol. You could try maybe still doing one meal a day eating whatever foods you want but adding alcohol. There are a lot of things you could try, but I wouldn't jump to the conclusion automatically that it's the alcohol. I think it's all of it together.

Gin Stephens: And for me, I would like to reiterate, I would try the alcohol first. It just from what I've learned about my own body. Also, alcohol makes me choose different foods. That's a point that-- you may find that just cutting out the alcohol for a month suddenly, you're not craving eating and drinking all those things. That would be what I would start with. But let us know what you do and what works.

Melanie Avalon: One last thought is taking in a lot of alcohol, obviously not good for the liver, you don't want to be overdrinking and binge-drinking and heavy drinking, that's not going to be healthy. That said, the long-term effects on body weight or fat storage or things like that are not necessarily-- because we don't know what she's eating, but she's eating whatever she wants and it is things like processed food, especially foods high and seed oils, high in inflammatory fats, and in a calorie excess and in a gaining weight situation, those fats are changing the composition of your fat cells if you're gaining weight. Actually, even not if you're gaining weight, if it's high in these inflammatory fats, it's a long-term change. A long-term thing you're going to have to deal with, compared to the short-term change of alcohol. There's just a lot more potential for “long-term damage,” I think. Unless you're binge-drinking crazy and you get psoriasis or something like that.

Gin Stephens: Well, for me, just realizing two glasses of wine one night kept me from getting into deep ketosis for days, versus I can eat more carbs and plenty of foods-- and my diet’s not as clean as yours by any means. I eat crackers out of a box. I'm sure I'm getting-- you would probably die at the number of seed oils I have. And the alcohol has made a huge difference for me to the point that I'm a little shocked by it. I'm surprised at what a big difference it's made. I'm disappointed that my body doesn't do well with alcohol because I really enjoy it, but I'm feeling so good without it.

Melanie Avalon: No, I 100% get it. I guess I just like to provide the other picture. Like I said, we know everybody's unique. So definitely, Laura, try it and report back and let us know what works. I just think if you can have alcohol in your life, especially looking at epidemiological studies, so many long live populations who are lean, healthy, have moderate alcohol intake, if it can be a part of your life and it's something you enjoy, I want it to be part of your life. And I guess I'm coming from the opposite perspective where I was drinking a lot of wine for a long time and it was not an issue at all for my weight, and then I cut it out-- I actually did gain weight when I cut it out, probably wasn't related. But now, I'm finally starting to drink wine again, and I'm so happy.

Gin Stephens: And you're a fast alcohol metabolizer, right?

Melanie Avalon: I think so. Yeah.

Gin Stephens: Yeah. So, see, I really think that that is a key that people-- I don't think we know yet. I haven't been able to find anything. Maybe somebody knows. I just don't know. But to me, I really think that could be a huge factor. If someone is a slow alcohol metabolizer that maybe like the thing that's holding them back. I just know what a difference it's made for me all along, and the period of time when I lost weight the quickest was the period of time I wasn't drinking at all. But recently, the only thing I made, the only change I've made is alcohol. I haven't changed what I'm eating. And my Shapa is showing me slow weight loss.

Melanie Avalon: That's a huge key. The only thing you changed was alcohol. She's changing so much. She's changing the types of foods, the amount, the timing, and alcohol, that's four.

Gin Stephens: No, but I mean, but she's maintaining in this range she's with this protocol. What she's doing right now, is she can't lose any weight, she's doing this protocol. And her protocol is she eats really, really clean and then she stops for the weekend. But my point of what I was saying was, I haven't changed what I'm eating. I only took out alcohol before when I was losing two pounds a week when I was trying to get to goal, I changed what I was eating and the alcohol. So, but now, my point was to-- I'm trying to contrast those two times. Right now, I only took out the alcohol. I didn't change what I'm eating.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, I get what you're saying. Yeah, so I was talking about something else. You were saying that that was the only factor, so it was the factor.

Gin Stephens: For me, back in 2015. I took out alcohol and changed what I was eating. So, I was eating really high-quality foods and not drinking, and I lost weight really quickly. Right now, I haven't changed what I've been eating from what I've been eating for the past year, I've been eating-- I did experiment with the lower fat a long time back this year just to see, but I feel better with more fat, but the only thing I've changed in the past two months is the alcohol.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, because I guess because she changed four factors. She added alcohol, she's changing what she eats, how much she eats, and when she eats.

Gin Stephens: But what I'm saying is she needs to pick something to experiment with and pick one variable right now.

Melanie Avalon: So, change one variable, it's like what speaks to you. And you can try different things, so I was going to say if you want to try to start just change a few variables, You have to like look at your week-- So, what is important to you on the weekends that you want to keep in to make the weekend feel like a weekend. Is it the alcohol? Is it eating whatever type of food you want? Is it when you eat? Or is it how much you eat? Or is it a combination of those? And I would really think about it and try to find a happy medium where you can keep in what's most important to you and what makes you happiest on the weekends. But not doing all four of those because all four of those is not working.

Gin Stephens: Yeah. Well, definitely, I want Laura to experiment and then write back and tell us what she tried and what worked.

Melanie Avalon: Yes. Let us know.

Gin Stephens: Because you'll figure it out. There's a tweak that works.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, and we have to mention though, if you do drink alcohol, Dry Farm Wines. Please, please.

Gin Stephens: I'm a big believer too. I'm going to continue to drink alcohol here and there just not as part of my daily life. I'm not going to be a drink around the house kind of person, I don't think. But it's going to be Dry Farm because now Chad is also hooked on it.

Melanie Avalon: I just got my sister hooked on it. I'm so excited.

Gin Stephens: Chad's a believer.

Melanie Avalon: I want to get my dad hooked on it because that's where I get my love of wine from and he's not like alcoholic or anything but he drinks wine every night. And I'm just like, “Oh, I need to get him drinking Dry Farm Wines.” Basically, their wines are low sugar, low alcohol. They're tested to be free of toxins, free of mold. They grow all throughout Europe. There's no California wines or US wines because none of the US wines meet their standards. That's how pervasive pesticides are in the US, which is really upsetting, even on organic farms. So, they go throughout Europe and they test individually all the wineries to find wines meeting their standards, even if the wineries don't necessarily have an organic stamp. So, you can get a bottle for a penny at

Gin Stephens: You have to get used to it because it's so different than wine you're used to but once you get used to it, you'll drink a standard wine and you're like, “Oh.” At first, when you try Dry Farm Wines, you're going to say, “This is different,” but it has a cleaner mouthfeel, it's so different. And one thing I want to point out, it's lower alcohol than standard ones, but it's still enough alcohol to bother me if I drink too much of it, or to drink it a lot.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, all of their wine is 12.5% or less. All right. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. So, a few things for listeners before we go. You can ask your own questions to us just directly email or you can go to and you can submit questions there. The show notes for today's episode, which we talked about a lot of things, so definitely check those out, the scale, the grounding shoes, Dry Farm Wines, studies, all the things. That will be at You can follow us on Instagram, we are @IFPodcast. You can follow me, I'm at @MelanieAvalon. And you can follow Gin, she's @GinStephens. I think that's all she wrote.

Gin Stephens: Yep, that's all.

Melanie Avalon: All right. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. Anything from you, Gin, before we go?

Gin Stephens: No. I think that's it.

Melanie Avalon: All right. I will talk to you next week.

Gin Stephens: All right. Bye-bye.

Melanie Avalon: Thank you so much for listening to The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. Please remember that everything discussed on this show is not medical advice. We're not doctors. You can also check out our other podcasts, Intermittent Fasting Stories, and the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. Theme music was composed by Leland Cox. See you next week.


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Jul 26

Episode 171: Alcohol Metabolism, Eating Large Meals Without Embarrassment, Limiting Fat, Eating For Your Genetics, Pickle Juice And More!

Intermittent Fasting


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Welcome to Episode 171 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 Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living An Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle

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

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 PREP DISH: Prep Dish is an awesome meal planning service which sends you weekly grocery and recipe lists, so you can do all your meal preparation at once, and be good to go for the week! It's perfect for the IF lifestyle! And better yet, the meals are all gluten free or Paleo, which is fantastic if you're already doing so, but also a wonderful way to "try out" gluten free or Paleo with delicious meals, and no feelings of restriction!! We can't recommend them enough!​ Get A Free 2 week trial At!

 PREP DISH: Also Check Out To Download An Awesome FREE Meal Plan For Freezer And Pantry Items!

To submit your own questions, email, or submit your questions here!! 


1:10 - BUTCHER BOX: Sign Up Today At To Get High-Quality Meat Delivered Directly To Your Door. 

2:55 - BEAUTY COUNTER: Keep Your Fast Clean Inside And Out With Safe Skincare! Shop With Us At, And Something Magical Might Happen After Your First Order!

8:00 - Listener Feedback: Jana - Episode 138

10:30 - Listener Q&A: Josephine - Champagne + Restaurant meals!!!

Dry Farm Wines: Natural, Organic, Low Alcohol, Low Sugar Wines, Paleo And Keto Friendly! Go To To Get A Bottle For A Penny!

19:40 - BIOPTIMIZERS:  Go To And Use The Coupon Code IFPODCAST10 To Save Up To 40% Off Select Packages.

29:00 - Listener Q&A: Sara - SO confused about fat

IF Biohackers: Intermittent Fasting + Real Foods + Life

Joe Cohen: Genetic Testing, CBD, Top Biohacks, Covid And Your Genes, Supplements, Biohack Regrets Iodine, Sensitive Butterflies, Early Vs. Late Night Eating, And More!

46:45 - PREP DISH: Free Subscription! Get a free 2 week trial At! You'll get weekly gluten-free and Paleo grocery and recipe lists!!

48:15 - Listener Q&A: Ana - Chlorophyll

Teri Cochrane: Protein Problems, Gluten, Glyphosate, Animal Stress, Wild Meat, The Importance Of Sweets, Serrapeptase, MTHFR, The Dark Side Of Enzymes, Fat Malabsorption, Amyloids, Juicing, And More!

53:00 - Listener Q&A: Amy - Really, No pickle juice?


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


BUY Melanie's What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine, Gin's Delay, Don't Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle, Feast Without Fear: Food and the Delay, Don't Deny Lifestyle and/or Gin's Fast. Feast. Repeat.: The Clean Fast Protocol for Health, Longevity, and Weight Loss--Including the 21-Day FAST Start Guide

The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast

Intermittent Fasting Stories

More on Melanie:  

More on Gin:

Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox:

If you enjoyed this episode, please consider leaving us a review in iTunes - it helps more than you know! 



Aug 11

Episode 121: IF And Eating Disorders, The Placebo Effect, Non-Scale Victories, Alcohol And Fat Gain, Weighing For Your Job, And More!

Intermittent Fasting


 Subscribe For Updates HERE!

Welcome to Episode 121 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 Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living An Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle

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

Audible: This is Melanie's well-known secret for reading #allthebooks #allthetime! Audible provides the largest selection of audiobooks on the planet, in every genre! With Audible, you can listen on any device, anytime, anywhere! We're obsessed! Audible members can choose 3 titles every month (1 audiobook and 2 Audible Originals), with rollover credits, easy exchanges, discounts on titles beyond credits, and audiobooks you'll keep forever! Go To Or Text IFPODCAST To 500500 For A 30 Day Free Trial, Including A Free Audiobook!

 JOOVV: Like intermittent fasting, red light therapy can benefit the body on so many levels! It literally works on the mitochondrial level to help your cells generate more energy! Red light can help you burn fat (including targeted fat burning and stubborn fat!), contour your body, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, produce collagen for epic skin, support muscle recovery, reduce joint pain and inflammation, combat fatigue, help you sleep better, improve mood, and so much more!! These devices are literally LIFE CHANGING!! Use The Link With The Code IFPODCAST For A Free Gift!

kApex by BioOptimizers: Struggling with energy levels or digestion on a low carb or Keto diet? kApex is specifically formulated to help you digest your food, burn fatty acids, power your mitochondria, and so much more! Say goodbye to Keto-struggles, and hello to epic energy, without crashes or burnout! Use The Link With The Code IFPODCASTKX For 20% Off Your Order!

To submit your own questions, email, or submit your questions here!! 


01:05 - kApex: Use The Link With The Code IFPODCASTKX For 20% Off Your Order!

Listen To The Melanie Avalon Podcast!! Subscribe on iTunes (, and follow on the Himalaya App! (

9:45 - Listener Feedback: Amy  - Update On IF Journey! Supplements, NSVs, Military Weighing For Your Job

The GB4000 Rife Machine

23:00 - Listener Feedback: Naomie - IF To Recover From Eating Disorders

Ketogenic diet and anorexia nervosa

9:45 - Listener Q&A: Sophie  -The Human Brain And Curing Conditions

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence (Michael Pollan)

​Dr. Kirk Parsley's Sleep Remedy: This is the ultimate sleep supplement!! It was developed by Dr. Kirk Parlsey after years of research and experimentation to naturally restore sleep to the sleep-deprived, insomniac Navy Seals. Rather than knocking you out with drugs, this simply provides the necessary neurotransmitters and nutrients in the perfect amounts to naturally support your body's sleep process. Use the code MELANIEAVALON for to save 10%!

34:15 - AUDIBLE: Go To Or Text IFPODCAST To 500500 For A 30 Day Free Trial, Including A Free Audiobook!  FIX BOOK

The Diabetes Code: Prevent and Reverse Type 2 Diabetes Naturally (Jason Fung)

27:55 - JOOVV RED LIGHT THERAPY DEVICES:  Use The Link With The Code IFPODCAST For A Free Gift!

41:05 - Listener Q&A: Becca  -The Human Brain And Curing Conditions  FIX NAME

People Are Now Taking Placebo Pills to Deal With Their Health Problems—And It's Working

You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter (Joe Dispenza)

"Effects of alcohol administration on hepatic alcohol and drug-metabolizing enzymes and on rates of of ethanol degradation" - Journal of Laboatory and Clincial Medicine 77, no, 1 (January 1971)

1:02:05 - LISTEN TO US ON HIMALAYA! Download the free Himalaya App ( to FINALLY keep all your podcasts in one place, follow your favorites, make playlists, leave comments, and more! And with Himalaya, you can LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST 24 HOURS IN ADVANCE!! Also check out our Playlist, Intermittent Fasting Podcast Stuff We Like, for all the other podcast episodes we like!


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


BUY Melanie's What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine, Gin's Delay, Don't Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle, and/or Gin's Feast Without Fear: Food and the Delay, Don't Deny Lifestyle

More on Melanie:  

More on Gin:

Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox:

If you enjoyed this episode, please consider leaving us a review in iTunes - it helps more than you know! 



Feb 11

Episode 95: Sugar Free Gum And Fasting, Wine,Alcohol And Reflux, Gravity Blankets And Sleep Hacks, Nicotine, Breath Freshening, And More!

Cravings , Intermittent Fasting , Sleep , Sweeteners , Wine


 Subscribe For Updates HERE!

Welcome to Episode 95 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 Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living An Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle

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

BioOptimizers: A company whose mission is to fix your digestion! They make a range of awesome supplements, including digestive and proteolytic enzymes, gluten-hacks, a "one size fits all" superstar probiotoic, HCL, and more! Check out the interviews we had with their founder, Wade Lightheart, in episodes 74 and 84! Use The Link With The Code ifpodcast, To Save 20% On All BiOptimizer Products!!

Joovv Red Light Therapy: Like intermittent fasting, red light therapy can benefit the body on so many levels. It works on the mitochondrial level to help your cells generate more energy! Red light can help you burn fat (including targeted fat burning and stubborn fat!), contour your body, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, produce collagen for epic skin, support muscle recovery, reduce joint pain and inflammation, combat fatigue, help you sleep better, improve mood, and so much more!! Use The Link Joovv.coom/IFPodcast with the code IFPODCAST for a free gift!

To submit your own questions, email, or submit your questions here!! 


01:05 - BIOPTIMIZERS:  Use The Link With The Code IFPODCAST For 20% Off!

Are You Th1 or Th2 Dominant? Effects + Immune Response

Gravity Weighted Sleep Mask, Made by the Creator of the Gravity Blanket, For Sleep and Stress

Hypnoser Weighted Blanket 2.0 for Kids and Adults 

Home-it Adjustable Bed Risers or Furniture Riser bed lifts 

Game Changers: What Leaders, Innovators, and Mavericks Do to Win at Life (Dave Asprey): A wonderful book on hacking your biology, mindset, and life, through the tried and true methods of the world's most successful people.

12:25 - Listener Q&A: Sally   - Does Sugar Free Chewing Gum Break The Fast?

Insulin Response: Why Doesn't Everyone Agree?

26:05 - Listener Q&A: Pamela   - Does Sugar Free Chewing Gum Affect Insulin? Does Coconut Water Affect Insulin If It Doesn't Make You Hungry

28:15 - Listener Q&A: Adam  - Does SugarFree Gum And Aspartame Affect The Fast?

31:55 - Listener Q&A: Adam  - How To Drink Wine With Reflux?

We wholeheartedly recommend you check out Dry Farm Wines. They travel the world and conduct lab tests to find small, sustainable wineries which produce all natural, organic wines with no additives or pesticides, and which are low alcohol (<12.5%), sugar free (<1 g/L), and mold-free!  Check out for more information, and to get a bottle for a penny with your first subscription, shipped straight to your door! #Wine #Winning

​Different effects of white and red wine on lower esophageal sphincter pressure and gastroesophageal reflux.

Is alcohol consumption associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease?

38:55 - JOOVV RED LIGHT THERAPY DEVICES:  Use The Link With The Code IFPODCAST For A Free Gift!

43:10 - Listener Q&A: Don  - Can You Use Nicotene Gum To Ward Off Hunger?

49:06 - Listener Q&A: Lilah  - Is ANY Gum Acceptable During IF?

50:25 - Listener Q&A: Karina  - What Else Can You Use For Breath? Can You Use Gum Or Any Essential Oils?

50:40 - Listener Q&A: Kasey  - How To Address Breath While Fasting?

Want to banish keto breath, without all the additives and sweeteners? Mix a drop or two of Organic Peppermint Oil with some water, in these perfectly sized, adorable glass bottles

In Brief: Study suggests how nicotine suppresses appetite

55:10 - LISTEN TO US ON HIMALAYA! We're super excited to be a Himalaya network partnered show!! Download the free Himalaya App ( to FINALLY keep all your podcasts in one place, follow your favorites, make playlists, leave comments, and more! And with Himalaya, you'll soon be able to LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST 24 HOURS IN ADVANCE!!

56:00 - Submit For Episode 100 Ask Us Anything!


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


BUY Melanie's What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine, Gin's Delay, Don't Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle, and/or Gin's Feast Without Fear: Food and the Delay, Don't Deny Lifestyle

More on Melanie:  

More on Gin:

Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox:

If you enjoyed this episode, please consider leaving us a review in iTunes - it helps more than you know! 



Sep 03

Episode 72: Alcohol And IF, Candida, Pirates, Weight Regain After Weight Loss, Supplement Cautions, MTHFR, And More!

Alcohol , Fasting Approaches , Intermittent Fasting , Personal Stories , Supplements


 Subscribe For Updates HERE!

Welcome to Episode 72 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 Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living An Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle

Hi Friends! You can support us and help keep our podcast and research going, by pledging on Patreon! Every dollar helps!! It would seriously mean the world and help SO much!

To submit your own questions, email, or submit your questions here!! 


1:30 - The Pirated Copies Of Delay Don't Deny

20:25 - Taking Supplements Because They Work For Someone Else

22:30 - The MTHFR Mutation And Methylated Folate

Melanie's Blog Post On MTHFR

25:30 - Listener Q&A: Allison - Does Your Body Process Alcohol Differently With IF?

Dry Farm Wines (Get a bottle for a penny!)

Episode 26: IF & Low Sugar/Alcohol/Toxin Wines For Health – Special Interview With Todd White Of Dry Farm Wines!

20:20 - Listener Q&A: Natalie - Weight Regain After Initial Weight Loss With IF?

 The Yoga of Eating: Transcending Diets and Dogma to Nourish the Natural Self

50:00 - Listener Q&A: Lauren - How Does IF Impact Candida? Can Candida Feed On Ketones?

50:35 - Listener Q&A: Shauna - Can I Fix Candida With IF Only, Not Food Choices? Can Essential Oils Help Candida?

51:21 - Listener Q&A: Kathe - Can IF Cure Yeast Overgrowth?

Jarrow Formulas Saccharomyces Boulardii + MOS (This beneficial yeast can help fight candida in the body!) 

Pau D'Arco (Tea) - A potent antifungal and great for sugar cravings! 

Doctor's Best High Potency Serrapeptase

Doctor's Best Proteolytic Enzymes

Biocidin (Amazon Link)

 Norm Robillard/Paul Jaminet Candida Ketone Debate

The Healing Power of Essential Oils: Soothe Inflammation, Boost Mood, Prevent Autoimmunity, and Feel Great in Every Way (Eric Zielinski D.C.)


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


Diet rapidly and reproducibly alters the human gut microbiome

Potential of plant oils as inhibitors of Candida albicans growth

Essential oils and their components are a class of antifungals with potent vapour-phase-mediated anti-Candida activity

Honey has an antifungal effect against Candida species

Hominids adapted to metabolize ethanol long before human-directed fermentation


BUY Melanie's What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine, Gin's Delay, Don't Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle, and/or Gin's Feast Without Fear: Food and the Delay, Don't Deny Lifestyle

More on Melanie:  

More on Gin:

Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox:

If you enjoyed this episode, please consider leaving us a review in iTunes - it helps more than you know! 



Jun 25

Episode 62: Alcohol After Your Window Closes, Transitioning To IF, Salivating And Insulin, Nattokinase, Thinking IF Was “Wrong,” Restless Leg Suggestions, And More!

Alcohol , Intermittent Fasting


 Subscribe For Updates HERE!

Welcome to Episode 62 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 Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living An Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle

Hi Friends! You can support us and help keep our podcast and research going, by pledging on Patreon! Every dollar helps!! It would seriously mean the world and help SO much!

To submit your own questions, email, or submit your questions here!! 


The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It (Kelly McGonigal): A wonderful book on how our brain dictates our behavior, and how you can hack it for ultimate willpower!

Ergonomic Vertical Mouse: Switching to a vertical mouse can really alleviate stress on your hand at the computer. Love it!!

9:40 - Listener Feedback: Francesca  - Success With IF, Thinking It Was "Wrong" In The Past

14:45 - Listener Feedback: Katie  - Arch Support And/Or Potassium For Restless Legs 

17:00 - Listener Feedback: Sarah  - Supplement For Restless Legs 

Simply Vital Quiet Legs

Dopa Boost - A great supplement for naturally boosting dopamine levels!

18:10 - Listener Feedback: Briana  - Smaller Serrapeptase Pills And Nattokinase

Kal Serrapeptase Tablets

21:35 - Listener Q&A: Kim  - How Did You Transition To IF?

31:30 - Listener Q&A: Aaron  - What If You Have A Drink After Your Window Closes?

36:00 - Listener Q&A: Diana - Does Salivating And Thinking About Food Break The Fast?

Butter Bob Link

Dr. Kraft Link


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



BUY Melanie's What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine, Gin's Delay, Don't Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle, and/or Gin's Feast Without Fear: Food and the Delay, Don't Deny Lifestyle

More on Melanie:  

More on Gin:

Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox:

If you enjoyed this episode, please consider leaving us a review in iTunes - it helps more than you know! 



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