Episode 229: Serrapeptase, Burning Alcohol As Energy, Poor Fasted Sleep, Too Much Fasting, Over-Restriction, Donating Blood, Properly Fueled ADF, And More!
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.
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18:45 - Listener Q&A: Anonymous - Body Burning Alcohol for energy
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48:05 - Listener Q&A: Evelyn - NSV and donating blood Question
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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 ifpodcast.com, melanieavalon.com, and ginstephens.com. 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 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 melanieavalon.com/email 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 melanieavalon.com/serrapeptase, 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 melanieavalon.com/emaillist and melanieavalon.com/serrapeptase. The show notes by the way will be at ifpodcast.com/episode229, 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 dryfarmwines.com/ifpodcast 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.
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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 ifpodcast.com/episode229. 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 melanieavalon.com/serrapeptase. You can submit your own questions for the show, just directly email email@example.com or you can go to ifpodcast.com 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.
STUFF WE LIKE
Check out the Stuff We Like page for links to any of the books/supplements/products etc. mentioned on the podcast that we like!
Melanie's What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine
Gin's Delay, Don't Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle
Feast Without Fear: Food and the Delay, Don't Deny Lifestyle
Fast. Feast. Repeat.: The Clean Fast Protocol for Health, Longevity, and Weight Loss--Including the 21-Day FAST Start Guide
Clean(ish): Eat (Mostly) Clean, Live (Mainly) Clean, and Unlock Your Body's Natural Ability to Self-Clean
More on Melanie: MelanieAvalon.com
More on Gin: GinStephens.com
Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox: LelandCox.com
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