Episode 335: Fasting Misinformation, Exciting Announcements, Taking Research To Your Doctor, Berberine, Blood Sugar, Cooked Fruit, HBA1c, CGMs, And More!
Welcome to Episode 335 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, hosted by Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine and Vanessa Spina, author of Keto Essentials: 150 Ketogenic Recipes to Revitalize, Heal, and Shed Weight.
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Listener Q&A: jackie - Why do many nutritionists/dieticians stand by IF not being a healthy for your body, your hormones, etc. and what do you say to them?
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Our content does not constitute an attempt to practice medicine and does not establish a doctor-patient relationship. Please consult a qualified healthcare provider for medical advice and answers to personal health questions.
Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 335 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. If you want to burn fat, gain energy, and enhance your health by changing when you eat not what you eat, with no calorie counting, then this show is for you. I'm Melanie Avalon, biohacker, author of What When Wine, and creator of the supplement line AvalonX. And I'm here with my cohost, Vanessa Spina, sports nutrition specialist, author of Keto Essentials, and creator of the Tone breath ketone analyzer and Tone Lux red light therapy panels. For more on us, check out ifpodcast.com, melanieavalon.com, and ketogenicgirl.com. Please remember, the thoughts and opinions on this show do not constitute medical advice or treatment. To be featured on the show, email us your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you. So, pour yourself a mug of black coffee, a cup of tea, or even a glass of wine if it's that time, and get ready for The Intermittent Fasting Podcast.
Hi, everybody, and welcome. This is Episode number 335 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with Vanessa Spina.
Vanessa Spina: Hello, everybody.
Melanie Avalon: How are you today, Vanessa?
Vanessa Spina: I am doing amazing. How are you?
Melanie Avalon: I'm good. I have so many exciting things happening right now.
Vanessa Spina: That's amazing. I feel the same way. I'm just like buzzing. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: Okay, we should buzz together. What's one of your exciting things?
Vanessa Spina: Well, today I woke up and I had a message from this podcast most recent host, Cynthia Thurlow. And she shared with me that her interview that she did of me on her podcast, Everyday Wellness, which came out on Friday, hit number one on nutrition on the US.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness. What? That's so cool. Wait, that's so cool, Vanessa.
Vanessa Spina: I was so excited. Then I went to go look, and for me, of being an interviewer, I do interviews a few times a year, but this was like one where I felt as were doing the interview, I was like, "This is a good interview." In terms of my interviews, we're talking about all the things that I wanted to talk about, all my core passion topics. It's very educational for women, just women's health, like optimal protein, body composition, just all my favorite topics, even like, mitochondria, ketones, how do you support the mitochondria with red light and cold plunging and just everything. I just felt I've gotten to my stride in terms of doing interviews. And it's also because Cynthia was such an amazing host and asked such phenomenal questions, and I was just like, "Of all the interviews that you would want to do well, this one was awesome." And it has to mean like people were sharing it a lot, so it definitely resonated with people. So, it's made me so happy all day since I woke up and got that message. And, yeah, just a little thrill.
Melanie Avalon: I mean, I know her show already has a massive audience, but do you think somebody shared it as well. Do you think it had like, a snowball effect somewhere?
Vanessa Spina: I have no idea. If someone did, I don't know about it, so I don't really know. I just assumed that it just got shared by a lot of people.
Melanie Avalon: I mean yeah, that's very possible. That's amazing.
Vanessa Spina: Yeah. Yeah. So just, been buzzing a little bit all day about it, but yeah.
Melanie Avalon: That's so cool. Congratulations. That makes me so happy.
Vanessa Spina: Thank you. Yeah, I'm sure some listeners heard it because they probably follow Cynthia's podcast also, but yeah, share with us what are you buzzing about?
Melanie Avalon: Also, just quick. It's so cool. It's like the two, Intermittent Fasting podcasts at one point, cohosts having an interview together.
Vanessa Spina: Totally. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: Aww, I love it. That's apropos because mine involves interviews as well. Mine have not happened yet, but Newsweek wants to interview me for a story on biohacking.
Vanessa Spina: Oh, my gosh, that's huge.
Melanie Avalon: So that was very exciting. And they sent over the questions and what you were just saying. Okay, I don't want to get over comfortable, but I feel very in my vibe and energy answering these types of questions about biohacking, especially the more I talk about it and the more interviews I do, the questions she sent over are just so great. So, I'm really excited about that. And then just before this, right before our call, I just found out tomorrow I have an interview with Men's Journal.
Vanessa Spina: Wow, that's also huge. Both of them have massive distribution.
Melanie Avalon: I know. And the one tomorrow, I don't have the full prep tomorrow, but I don't think it's biohacking. I think it's about wine.
Vanessa Spina: Oh, really?
Melanie Avalon: I think so. So yeah, it's just exciting.
Vanessa Spina: Wow. Congratulations to you. [chuckles]
Melanie Avalon: Thank you. What are the odds that both of ours have to do with interviews and the vibe of really enjoying talking about these things?
Vanessa Spina: I love that. And I feel like I used to cringe a lot of times internally when I would be interviewed by people because a lot of times, they want me to share my story. And I'm one of those people in a group I don't like to be the one who's dominating the conversation or having all the attention on them. So, I'm always felt uncomfortable doing interviews, but I feel like I'm finally, at the point where I can talk about certain topics in an educated way, and I'm well informed, and so I have a confidence about those specific topics that I'm actually sharing useful, helpful information. And I much prefer talk about that than talk about my health story or I don't really like doing that as much. So, we did that a little bit. But yeah, there's something about doing it enough times too that you've hit a stride. And I love that you feel like you're at that point as well where you're just feeling really good about those topics and being interviewed because it's uncomfortable [laughs] sometimes to be interviewed.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. No, I feel the same. And well, it's interesting because my ultimate love has always been acting and performing. So, I'm not camera shy, I don't have any of that. I though, have impostor syndrome surrounding, I think as far as the topics go, because I'm not like a doctor, I'm not a nutritionist, I have a nutrition certification, but I don't have these credentials. So, I always felt uncomfortable, even honestly [laughs] with this show, like talking about medical-related things or even diet-related things. I always just felt and still feel a little bit like I'm not credentialed enough for it. With the biohacking topics, I feel a lot more comfortable with it because it is becoming this thing more and more in the news and it is people like me talking about it. So, yeah, I feel I'm just finding my stride with the questions.
Vanessa Spina: I love [laughs] that we're both having that, it's awesome. That's really, really cool. A little bit of synchronicity, not synergy.
Melanie Avalon: That's so exciting and then I have one other little announcement. It's a teaser announcement, but I think I'm launching a third podcast.
Vanessa Spina: Wow, that's amazing.
Melanie Avalon: Yes. Listeners, stay tuned. I mean, I am. I should just say it, I am launching a third podcast. It's not going to be health related, so it's branching out and I'm very excited. And listeners, a lot of you guys know the cohost. Stay tuned. Get on my email list for the updates melanieavalon.com/emaillist. I am so excited about this.
Vanessa Spina: What is it? Can you tease anything else about what it's about? Saying it's not health related.
Melanie Avalon: You know how I like going on all the rabbit holes and tangents about all the things and oftentimes they're not health related. It was inspired by that. So, it's going to be really fun, exciting topics, but not health related. Some might be health related depending.
Vanessa Spina: That's amazing. I've always wanted to do that. I think I was telling you maybe a year or two ago that I wanted to start a podcast about living a beautiful life intentionally and designing your life. And whenever I think about it, it makes me really giddy and happy. But I'm scared to do it because I don't want it to turn into work, you know what I mean? But I also feel like I would just enjoy it a lot. But yeah, then it might become work.
Melanie Avalon: I totally think you could find a way to do it where it wouldn't become work at the same time if it was focusing on one-- I guess it would depend how it manifested when you did it. But I can see how focusing on that one message or topic might make it. Yeah, it seems like work or--
Vanessa Spina: The commitment. When I first started my podcast, I was so scared to commit to something every week that I purposely didn't release the podcast on the same day [laughs] each week, I would just release it randomly. Because--
Melanie Avalon: All because you didn't want to be committed to having to have it released one day.
Vanessa Spina: Yes, and I didn't want the expectation to be there or like I heard other people on podcasts say if my podcast is late, people get upset, and I definitely get that. Sometimes I'll get messages from people like that, but it's okay. I finally realized it's okay. And it's much better to just be consistent. But I just laugh when I think back about, I thought I was being really strategic [laughs] or something that I was like, "This week it'll come out on Tuesday, but next week it'll be Friday and Thursday and Wednesday," I was, "No, no it's got to come out one day." It's kind of like a happy thought I have, you know, like in Hook or Peter Pan, like your happy thoughts, you are happy thoughts that make you feel like you're flying. It's one of those for me. So, I'm really happy for you that you are going to actually do it because I know you have a lot of interest, just like everyone else outside of just health. And you have such a talent and skill for podcasting and hosting and all of that acting, training and everything that you did definitely created you, like, this person who's amazing at hosting and podcasting. And I think any topic that is something that you're really passionate about or interested in, people will definitely want to listen.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness. Okay, first of all, thank you. Quick, rapid-fire thoughts. One, last night I dreamed about Peter Pan, that I walked the plank.
Vanessa Spina: What?
Melanie Avalon: True story. Two, [laughs] I did a similar thing with my show. Okay, that's really funny about you [chuckles] not releasing on-- It's so interesting how that one little-- that seems like such a simple thing, like committing to releasing on a certain day. It's funny how just giving ourselves these small little commitments can have such a profound effect in our lives. Sorry, now I'm thinking I'm not going to go on tangents. Okay, I did something similar. I was really hesitant to have sponsors on my biohacking podcast for that same reason, which was if I have sponsors, then I'm committed. Then I have to always turn out an episode.
Vanessa Spina: Yes, I did that for the first two years, I had no sponsors at all. There're no ads at all. Yeah, I felt it would add pressure and yeah, [chuckles] I just felt it would better to not have ads, and people would message me like, other podcasts would be like, "How do you not have ads?" And I was like, "I don't know. I just don't." [laughs] But I can see their perspective now.
Melanie Avalon: Third thing, the exciting thing about this one I want to do is each episode is going to be a different topic. And once I tell you, Vanessa, who I'm doing it with, you'll understand I'm doing it. I didn't tell you already, right?
Vanessa Spina: You told me about an app.
Melanie Avalon: Okay. Oh, yes. Oh, that I'm even more excited about, but I'm so excited about that. I can't even-- There might also be an app coming listeners, but stay tuned. [laughs]
Vanessa Spina: I hope it was okay to say that.
Melanie Avalon: Oh no, no, you can. Yes, definitely. Once you know the cohost, you'll understand, I'm really just doing it or we are just doing it for fun and we'll see how it goes.
Vanessa Spina: That's so exciting.
Melanie Avalon: Anything else or shall we jump in?
Vanessa Spina: Yeah, we can jump in. The last little thing I'm buzzing about is I officially put through, I guess you could say, the final order or the final everything for the second generation of the Tone this morning and it felt so good.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, congratulations.
Vanessa Spina: Thank you. Yeah, because now we have the actual date that they'll be ready, and it's looking like the end of September and then shipping. And I just spent a lot of time today updating the SKUs and the ISBN, like the barcodes and the new packaging. We just got done with that and just all that stuff I love. I love the journey [laughs] to the new product. Once it's out, it's also fun, but the best part is when you're in the creation mode and just seeing it all come together and it's also beautiful. And I just love creating biohacking products for women. There're just so many biohacking products out there that are designed visually, they're appealing to men, and I love creating things that are for us. I'm not saying that if you're a man that it's not for you, it's also for you. But I like creating things that are also feminine and beautiful and are still, like wellness tools or technology or whatever, because the technology doesn't have to be masculine all the time. It just tends to be. So, yeah. I'm really, really excited, but, yeah, we can jump [laughs] into questions. I'm ready.
Melanie Avalon: Wait, can we just reflect how can we just reflect on the poem Tech Duo's Inspiring Vision? [laughter]
Vanessa Spina: I can't wait for that episode to come on because I want to listen to us laughing again.
Melanie Avalon: For listeners who missed it, ChatGPT wrote the most beautiful poem about Vanessa Spina and Elon Musk titled Tech Duo's Inspiring Vision. [laughs]
Vanessa Spina: It blew me away.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, my God.
Vanessa Spina: I was really, really impressed. I was really amazed. And I might get it framed and put it in my office.
Melanie Avalon: I really want you to. [laughter]
Vanessa Spina: Because every time I look at it, I'll start laughing.
Melanie Avalon: It's so fun. I just love that it picked up on everything that you just said. It picked up on that and it incorporated that into the poem.
Vanessa Spina: It's uncanny. It's like it read our minds and souls and everything. I don't even understand.
Melanie Avalon: It's so cool. Yeah, awesome. Well, I really appreciate your appreciation of creation of entrepreneurship products and such, I love it. It's a rare trait in humanity, especially in women, I think. I think there are less female inventors and such. That's probably a stat. I'm not trying to be controversial. I think that's just a stat.
Vanessa Spina: No, I think you're probably right. It's in the process of shifting more as more and more women are doing STEM and stuff. But I didn't do STEM but you don't have to do STEM to invent things either. You can just learn everything now with the Internet. You can learn anything. That's one of the things I'm the most thankful for in the world, is you can learn any skill, pretty much almost probably any skill in the world, except for, underwater welding or something just on the Internet. And even then, there's probably some course for that.
Melanie Avalon: Wait, underwater welding. Is that a thing?
Vanessa Spina: Yeah. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: Like welding with metals underwater?
Vanessa Spina: Yeah. And it actually came to mind because I think it was on a reality show that I was watching, and that's what one of the people did. Like, one of the suitors. He was like an underwater welder. And I was like, "Didn't know that was a thing." [chuckles] But apparently it is.
Melanie Avalon: You might can learn it online.
Vanessa Spina: Yeah. There's probably a course somewhere, but you can learn any skill. You can teach yourself anything, but maybe in a couple of decades, it'll start being more even. But people are always really surprised when I tell them what I do. So, yeah, I think you're probably right.
Melanie Avalon: Do you lead with podcaster or do you lead with-- what do you lead with?
Vanessa Spina: Sometimes it depends on the context and who I'm talking to. But I usually say that I create wellness tech products, and I'm an author and I podcast, and they come out in different orders depending on the context or if I think the person knows what podcasting is or doesn't, depending on who you're having conversation with. But I also feel like I have those sort of three roles, and they're not all equal, but they're all, like, my main roles. So, it's a lot, [laughs] it's like a mouthful. And I haven't found one way of describing it that, does all of it maybe I said entrepreneur, but I find that really cheugy when people say that.
Melanie Avalon: I feel like influencer, health influencer kind of embodies everything I do. But that word is like--
Vanessa Spina: It really has a negative connotation to it but you're absolutely right. That really encapsulates it.
Melanie Avalon: Literally everything I'm doing is influencing people.
Vanessa Spina: Yeah. But you're also one of the world's top six biohackers, so you could just say that [laughter] according to ChatGPT.
Melanie Avalon: According to ChatGPT. Oh, my goodness. So many things, yes. Well, on that note, shall we answer some listener questions?
Vanessa Spina: Let's do it.
Melanie Avalon: All right. So, to start things off, we have a question from Jackie and this comes from Facebook. And Jackie says, "Why do many nutritionists/dietitians stand by IF not being healthy for your body, your hormones, etc.? And what do you say to them.
Vanessa Spina: Oh, it's a really good question. I know you definitely have things [laughs] to say about this. I think that it probably has to do with misinformation, bad information or bad facts that people have. We talk a lot about how there is this one mice study. It was a rodent study where I believe it was young mice that were baby mice practically, who were given this extreme fasting regime. And it was equivalent to a nine-year-old child fasting for every other month at a time. And it's one of the studies, I can't recall the name right now, but I talk about it a lot on my podcast and I've mentioned it before on here as well. But it's one of the studies that the media really tends to quote a lot, because in that study, when they were doing this aggressive fasting on what was equivalent to a young child, it had a negative effect on their reproductive hormones.
So, it's one of the things that I think has imparted this sort of perception that fasting is really bad for women's hormones. And unfortunately, people don't always look further at what the study was exactly. And anyone fasting a child for a month at a time every other month, I'm sure it did a lot more than just affect the reproductive hormones. Like, I'm sure it had a lot of negative effects. Like children should not be fasting. No one really should be fasting for a month every other month, even an adult. So, to take that and extrapolate the results of that to anything that has the word fasting, like intermittent fasting, I personally prefer the term time restricted eating. It has less of a negative connotation, but we often use those terms interchangeably, especially when it comes to research studies. And I think that there're certain studies that just get undue amount of attention and it just creates this false perception.
I've done so many episodes of my podcast where I just break down study after study showing the benefits for women, especially, who are in a situation where they need to have their hormones regulated or they need to improve their blood work or their cardiometabolic markers. And I think that another side of it, it may be the fact that if you are someone who is extremely low body fat or an athlete, then doing too much fasting or even just intermittent fasting or time restricted eating can also have negative effects, especially if you're a female athlete. They are the ones in the research who tend to lose their periods, that's obviously affecting their hormones. And they tend to have a lot of negative repercussions to doing things like fasting. Because as an athlete, you have to fuel your body really adequately and you have to feed yourself a lot because you're expending a lot of energy.
So, there are certain situations where young children, athletes, people with extremely low body fat, those situations are probably contraindicated for a lot of different forms of fasting. But on the other hand, for people who need these kinds of interventions, who are overweight, morbidly obese, or just having metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, prediabetes, which, according to research, like somewhere close to 88% of Americans are not metabolically healthy. It's a huge chunk of the population that needs these kinds of strategies, interventions, and they're extremely helpful for all women's hormones in those kinds of situations. That's my opinion on why I think some nutritionists, dietitians have a negative perception of intermittent fasting. So, I think you really have to look at the context and the person and the exact situation, and then look at research that is not done on really like baby mice for [laughs] extremely long periods of time.
Melanie Avalon: I am so glad you went that route because I agree so much. And the first thing I thought of is a completely different aspect. So, it's like we're covering all of it. So, the first thing I thought actually was the political history that led to the state of nutrition that we exist in today. I just think it's so saturated in politics and I really cultivated that and learned about it when I interviewed, I'll put a link in it to the show notes when I interviewed Marion Nestle. Did I tell you about that interview, Vanessa? She was so cool. I just looked up her Wikipedia. So, she's 86 years old and she's written so many books. Well, she's written a lot of books, including, I think her biggest one is called Food Politics – How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health. I brought her on for her memoir that she had recently released, but in her book-- and she was so inspiring-- speaking of women doing things in the world.
She was so inspiring because she was born in the 30s, so she was in college, you know in the 50s I guess, pursuing a career in the lab and actually as a scientist. And a lot of her memoir was about what that was like, being a woman in college pursuing that, but also being a mom. And just it's crazy some of the stories she tells about and she literally was given a grant, and when they gave it to her, they were like, "Yeah, we're just giving this to you because no men applied." [laughs] They literally told her that. And she talks about the differences in wages between the men and women and it's just a really cool story. But she dives deep in her books into the crazy political history of the food pyramid and the recommendations that we have today. And in particular, I learned a lot about the Dietetics Academy, and I don't want to disparage dietitians. I think that's amazing and I think there are a lot of great dietitians. I will just say, after reading her book, it really made me question some of the associations that lead to dietitians and things like that. And I really can't do justice in this very short overview. But it's all very interlocked with political incentives tied to agriculture and the food industry. And so many nutrition associations are tied to processed food and junk food companies.
So, she talks about the American Society for Nutrition partnering with Mars and Pepsi and all these really big companies. She talks about how also the American Society for Nutrition-- and I'm going to tie this back into the question, when they released their Smart Choice label, which was this whole big deal to show that food was, "healthy," the first thing that was labeled that was Fruit Loops, [laughs] which is just like really crazy. She talks about the Dietetics Academy and their relationship with Coca Cola and McDonald's. And point being, we've come to this place where because her question, Jackie's question, is about nutritionists and dietitians, that culture is not really founded on science or it's not really founded on health science as much as politics. And so whatever ideas have come to that, it's going to be whatever is best suiting the powerful interests that stand. And what that has been historically has been the food pyramid, has been eating multiple small meals per day. The concept of intermittent fasting is the concept of not eating, which is not in any service to any food industry producer [chuckles] at all. It's the antithesis of that actually. It just doesn't align.
So, I think a lot of that goes into it after reading, because I read-- because I was bringing her on for her memoir, and I was so impressed with her that I wanted to read. I think I might have read five of her books. I read so much prepping for her. It really honestly changed the way I view the word nutritionist and the word dietitian. And again, I don't want to discredit. There are really good nutritions and dietitians out there. I just so often see, especially here's a good example. How often do you read articles in magazines online? And then there's this disclaimer at the end where it's like, talk with your nutritionist, talk with your dietitian. I feel like this is controversial. I don't really think they're saying that because they think nutritionist and the dietitian necessarily has the answer. I mean, they might, but it's more just a safety thing. It's all political-
Vanessa Spina: Liability.
Melanie Avalon: -liability. Yeah. I think a lot of that is going into that. So, for the two parter of what do you say to them? Well, first of all, nobody's making you work with a nutritionist or a dietitian, and nobody's making you work with a certain nutritionist or dietitian. So, if they're not supportive of your choices surrounding intermittent fasting and I want to make the disclaimer that you're not doing intermittent fasting while really using it as a mask for disordered eating. If it truly is intermittent fasting, getting your nutrition, getting your protein, doing it in a healthy way that supports your lifestyle and your nutritionist or your dietitian is against it, you don't have to work with that nutritionist or dietitian. So same with your doctor. You don't have to work. I mean, trust me, I understand. I have an HMO insurance plan where I can only work with certain doctors. And I know the hassle of trying to find a doctor you like and how difficult it can be to switch doctors and when all of your labs are with one person. So, I know how hard it is to find a new doctor and you don't have to work. You are hiring the doctor. They're not in charge of you. So, you get to choose who you work with. So that's, one is just maybe not work with this person, but two, if you do and you do want to and you do see that they're open to working with you, I bring in literal studies, like actual printed out studies on paper. I cannot tell you how many times I've done that. I just did the other day, emailed a doctor some studies, you can email them studies and talk to them about what you've learned.
Vanessa Spina: Can I just say that's a litmus test for if you are working with someone that you want to be working with, is even if you just bring up different studies or bring up different research. If they have a knee jerk reaction and shut you down, or they say something egotistical like, "Well, I haven't read that study yet or blah, blah, blah" and they're closed off to it, then that may not be someone that you want to work with, but if you bring them studies or they're open, it doesn't take a lot just to be open and be like, "Oh, I would love to check those out or I'd be happy to look through that research for you." That's someone you want to be working with. Like whether it's a nutritionist or a physician, someone who can tell that you are genuinely looking at the research, which is what they do like doctors and nutritionists, dietitian, especially physicians are reading research all the time, so they should respond in a way that's very positive and open and yeah, I'll definitely check that out. Or they don't have to be over the moon about it, but just open and not close off to it. And that always for me is like, "Okay, this is a practitioner that I want to invest time with, and they're definitely listening to me and also open to looking at different research and not just like closed off or close minded."
Melanie Avalon: I agree so much. I'm so glad you said that. And also, I have two examples to share because I really have done this a lot. Also, I agree with what you said that how they initially receive it is so key and so telling. And even the doctor that I was working with recently where I did this, he was just so receptive that I was like, "This is great, even though I didn't think I wasn't sure if he was really going to be on the same page as me." I did learn something because I don't want to make this like anti-- I don't have any sort of anti-doctor stance here, which is not what I'm trying to communicate. I did learn something recently, though, that gave me so much more empathy for doctors, and it was that. So actually, the doctor that I was sending my studies over to, because I'm always trying to figure out my thyroid panel, which is wonky, long story short, and if we're listeners who are familiar with thyroid, this will make sense. If not, it might not. [chuckles]
But basically, my thyroid hormones tend to be low and my TSH tends to be low. And the TSH is the pituitary hormone. It tells the thyroid to release hormone. So, it needs to be higher to indicate that you're not hypothyroid. Because when it's low, it basically seems like what it's saying is that the pituitary is saying, "Oh, we have too much thyroid hormone." It's a very simple, simplistic way of viewing the thyroid because it's not even a thyroid related-- it's a pituitary signaling molecule, not thyroid, which speaks to a lot of the reasons with thyroid panel interpretations today. But in any case, so my TSH is often low, which would indicate I'm hyperthyroid, but my thyroid hormones are low. But this makes sense because I'm on compounded thyroid hormone. Point being, doctors in the past have wanted to lower my thyroid medication because my TSH is low, even though my thyroid hormones are low, which would just make me hypothyroid, which just can't happen.
That has been the response of conventional doctors and it's been really frustrating to me. And I'm like, "Why don't they get it? And I'll send them over studies? And it was just really frustrating. And then I was working with a holistic doctor in the past few weeks, actually, to do-- have you done ozone therapy, Vanessa?
Vanessa Spina: Like hyperbaric chamber? Or is this something different.
Melanie Avalon: Like ozone gas into your body? Okay, I just actually got vaginal ozone therapy. I've never done that before. Apparently, it's really great for balancing, cleaning out, really optimizing your female health down there. So, I was, [laughs] sitting on the couch with my bag of ozone, and they were like, "Wear a mask so you don't breathe in the ozone." I was like, "This is like next level." I posted it on my story and got some interesting responses.
Vanessa Spina: I'm sure. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: So always something--
Vanessa Spina: I love that you're just always trying things like that. It's amazing.
Melanie Avalon: I was scared, actually. It's so interesting how your body's response to I could feel my body, like the physical, I was scared to put it in me because I didn't know what it was, but I didn't feel it at all. It was fine. It was a great time. I just worked on my laptop on some notes, so why am I talking about that? Oh, so the doctor [chuckles] that prescribed it, she was a holistic doctor out of network, out of insurance, but she really gets the thyroid stuff. And she said that doctors legally, if they lower a patient's and I know we have so many listeners with hypothyroid issues. So, this is going to give you context if your doctor is being a little rigid with your lapse. I guess they can get in big trouble medically if they get reviewed and it's found out that they lowered a patient's thyroid medications while they had a suppressed TSH. And I was like, "Oh, that makes so much sense." That's why all these conventional doctors I've seen have been so resistant to addressing the issue differently. And I didn't realize that. And if that's just one example, I can't even imagine how many other examples where people have health issues and there are unknown laws and medical rules that we don't know where they would get in massive trouble if they do what we're asking them to do. So that's another context to bring in mind and also another argument for if you can afford it going outside of the conventional medical system where maybe they aren't quite bound to those legalities as much.
Vanessa Spina: I totally agree with that. I mean, I think you have to prioritize where you spend your disposable income and you can spend it on a lot of different things. We're like one of those families that spends a lot of it on healthy food and nutrition because I think it pays dividends. It's just a really good return on investment, whereas there're a lot of other things that you could spend your money on outside of health that you won't really get returns from they'll just be like one-time things. So, yeah, I think it comes down also to how you prioritize things. And if you do have the ability, like you said, to do it, I think it's definitely worth it sometimes, especially if it's something that you will totally change your quality of life or the way you feel in your body.
Melanie Avalon: It's so true. And actually, I'm going to make a recommendation. I mentioned them before on the podcast, but I'm just so obsessed with them and just talking about the rates and everything. They're so affordable for what they're doing, and it's because they want to make this all affordable. And they're in Atlanta, but they see patients virtually nationwide. So, you guys can all do a virtual consult. So, they're Elite Personalized Medicine, epmlife.com and if you tell them I sent you, they'll give you $100 off. And their entry thing is already really, really affordable. So, if you want, like, hormonal panels and figuring out what's going on, definitely check them out. I found them because I was doing a regenerative process that I was very excited about doing and I did it with them and I love them. And they actually referred me to the other practice where I got the vaginal ozone.
Melanie Avalon: So yeah, did we answer her question. Sorry, I went on that tangent about doctors.
Vanessa Spina: I think so. I think yeah, we can probably go to the next one.
Melanie Avalon: All right. Would you like to read from Andrea?
Vanessa Spina: Yes. So, Andrea on Facebook says, "I listened to today's episode where you talked about your new InsideTracker results and lower A1c after stopping eating cooked fruit and adjusting when you took berberine, wondering if you really needed to do both or if just one of those implementations would have done the trick. Maybe with the berberine, you could have had your pie (cooked blueberries) and eaten it too. [chuckles] Did you try testing the heated blueberries with a CGM, heated versus cold and then with/without berberine?"
Melanie Avalon: Andrea, first of all, I wish you were here so I could ask you how you pronounce your name. I always want to know with Andreas and Andreas, I love your question. Thank you for sending it in. Thank you for cultivating that sentence about you could have had your pie (cooked blueberries) and eaten it too. That was incredible [laughs] because I said probably on here and on Instagram that the cooked blueberries tasted like pie. So, I really appreciate the effort in that sentence. This is a great question. I'm so excited to talk about it. So, brief review for listeners who missed my story about this. My HbA1c, which is a marker of your-- it's a tentative marker of your blood sugar levels over three months. It's your glycated hemoglobin. A normal HbA1c is below 5.7%. And then if you have 5.7 to 6.4, that's prediabetes, and then 6.5 or more indicates diabetes. And so, when I started cooking-- so I eat as listeners know, I eat pounds and pounds of fruit every night in the context of a high protein, low fat diet. And my HbA1c is usually around 5. Vanessa, who has a flatline on her CGM. Vanessa, what did you say yours normally is around--
Vanessa Spina: 4%.
Melanie Avalon: 4% [laughs] [crosstalk] That's insane. Yeah. I do want to see your CGM, your graph. Shout out to NutriSense. If listeners would like to get a CGM, check out the ad for NutriSense in today's episode and go to nutrisense.io/ifpodcast with the coupon code IFPODCAST to get $30 off to measure your blood sugar levels constantly for two weeks. Okay, so in any case, I started cooking my fruit and my HbA1c went up to 5.6, which is almost prediabetic and I freaked out. And I immediately stopped cooking my fruit and also started taking berberine before my meals. Prior to that, I was only taking it in the fast when I would wake up. So, this is a great question and I agree that I did change two variables. So how do I know if it was the fruit change or how do I know if it was the blueberries or both? And how do I know that maybe berberine alone might not have just addressed it enough.
So, my thoughts are I am fairly certain the-- oh, and then did I test on the CGM? Okay, as much as I know it was most likely the fruit because that is the only dietary change I made. My HbA1c is not always 4 like Vanessa, but it is always usually 5. Very historically, I check it all the time with InsideTracker. It's never gone above 5-- I don't think 5.1. And so, to jump that much with that one change, I'm fairly certain it was the fruit. So going back, I'm fairly certain the fruit was involved. And then adding in the berberine, I don't normally do get 4.9. So, I feel like there was probably two things. A, your HbA1c is usually a three-month marker and this reversed in one month. B, it reversed to lower than I normally am as well. So, I think the combination of no longer cooking the fruit and adding in the berberine had a massive effect.
To answer your actual questions, maybe I could have just had the berberine and had my cooked blueberries and eaten it too. I am so glad you're asking about this. So berberine is a plant compound that's been used for thousands of years by ayurvedic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine. There are so many studies on it. It was thrilling to create my version, my AvalonX, reading all the studies, I was blown away because originally, I thought it was really just for blood sugar control. There're a lot of studies comparing it to metformin, which is the go-to drug to reduce blood sugar levels. And it really does like in the studies, it typically always matches metformin for performance without a lot of metformin side effects, with additional health benefits as well.
It has so many other health benefits. Cholesterol lowing effects, inflammation, gut health. It even activates AMPK, which is something that-- something like fasting activates, as well as calorie restriction and dieting and exercise that's a pathway in our body that helps with the repair process and supports longevity. So, it's a super cool supplement. I used to be a server for a very long time, for like five years in fine dining. And I had this memory that I will never forget, where I remember I was serving a table and it was time for dessert, and they were, like, all looking over the menu, and the guy was looking at the desserts. And then he made a comment about getting the cake or something, and he was like, "Well, good thing I can take my diabetes medicine." And that really stuck with me. [laughs] It really stuck with me because--
Vanessa Spina: I feel so sad.
Melanie Avalon: I know it did. It made me really, really sad because-- so metformin, diabetes medication, berberine, at least for me, the purpose is not to say eat all the things that are like, actually would be messing up your blood sugar level, but you're just helping combat it. That's not the purpose here. The purpose here is to further support health and in the context of everything that we're doing, help lower blood sugar levels because people struggle with it. It's not a get out of jail free card to eat all the cake. So, let's say as a thought experiment, let's say yes, let's say I could eat the cooked blueberries and take the berberine and it's all normal. So, on paper that would look good. I would wonder, though, what's going on behind the scenes that the berberine is combating. Basically, I don't know if I'm communicating this correctly. That would not be the mindset approach that I would want to have with this if I already knew that something historically was really, really raising my blood sugar. Yeah. Do you have any thoughts? I have other thoughts, but do you have any thoughts on that concept?
Vanessa Spina: I've never done it. I know that some people do. I've seen even different researchers I admire doing experiments all the time. And that's what I was going to say to you before. I can't wait to do a new CGM cycle when I can do a bunch of experiments where I can learn things like maybe I'll find out. I can have a just ripe banana here and there. I always think of Cynthia when I think of a just ripe banana because I remember she has those sometimes on her workout days. I'm like, remember that there's research that shows that some people will react to bananas by having a huge blood glucose spike and other people don't at all. So, I'm curious to do those kinds of experiments. And I know there are people, like I said, who do experiments with different carbs and then they take a bunch of berberine or they take berberine when they have Sushi or it's like a regular-- And I think that's great for them.
It's nothing I've personally ever done. I love that it's there for me with berberine and other supplements or drugs that are similar to that. I love that they exist to help people who cannot make those changes. But yeah, I agree. I don't think it's like a license to go and eat whatever you want and then just take something with it because you're not really going to get healthier that way, like you are just not. It's more so for me. I'm just glad that-- I know there are some people who will never be able to make certain changes and I'm glad that that stuff is there for them. But it's hard to speak to it because I just prefer to eat a certain way and not have to take anything. And it's just kind of the way that I approach everything.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, that helped me clarify my thoughts. Thank you so much.
Vanessa Spina: Okay, good. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: That was so helpful because I was trying to clarify my thoughts more. So basically, following a diet and a lifestyle that works for you, I think most people can benefit from adding in berberine to although Vanessa might go hypoglycemic, [laughter] like adding it in to further lower your blood sugar level. So, optimize what you're already doing, like it's a great way to optimize, a great way to get the other health benefits. And then also, like Vanessa said, if you have a one off or a time where you are having something that, you know, raises your blood sugar a little more, then maybe you up your berberine a little bit more in that context. I just wouldn't want to be in a state where, so me having this knowledge now that cooking my fruit raises my blood sugar substantially, I wouldn't want to be in a pattern of doing that every single day and combating it with berberine.
I would rather not be doing that. So having a diet that does work for me and adding berberine to further optimize that diet. And speaking to that so I did do a round of my CGM after all of this and I didn't do it again heating the fruit because I probably should now. So, this was in the time period between-- so I got my result about 5.6 and then I was in my really intense no cooking, I put on a CGM immediately. I switched to frozen fruit, I added in the berberine, so it wasn't the time to try the heated fruit again because I was on damage control. I was on like, "Let's fix this." [chuckles] So now that I'm back at an HbA1c that I feel comfortable with, now is the time that I would be open to trying that one night and seeing what happens so stay tuned.
Vanessa Spina: Yes, I want to know how it goes when you try that. That's a fun experiment.
Melanie Avalon: I definitely recommend listeners those two resources though, getting a-- I really, honestly-- can you imagine, Vanessa, if every single person in the world-- if it was like part of education, where they had to wear CGM for two weeks, like how that would change the world?
Vanessa Spina: Oh yeah, you would learn so much. Even people I'll never forget this one interview I heard with Peter Attia and he was like, I just didn't think that he was traveling in an airplane or something and he had this snack and he saw his blood sugar go crazy. And just visually seeing it made him suddenly realize the effect it was having on his body, whereas before he knew that it maybe was doing something. But there was something about actually seeing because we don't see how our bodies react normally to food. It's all happening inside us. So, when you have a visual, it can kind of snap you out of maybe a little bit of denial or something. So, I have a friend who's doing a CGM right now. I recommended NutriSense to her of course, it's the first time she does anything like this. And were just talking and she's like, "You know what advice do you have," and I'm like, "Just monitor your reactions." Keep a journal of when your blood glucose rises by more than 20 points after eating a certain food. And then you can go back and do experiments with those foods and see if you add some protein to it. Does it actually bring your blood glucose more normal instead of having these big excursions, like if you add some healthy fats, if you add some fiber and you can do experiments like going for walks after meals, that information is just so, so valuable. So yeah, I agree. If everyone could see how their body is reacting to what they're doing, I think it would really, definitely have a huge impact.
Melanie Avalon: It's so true. I had one moment in one of the CGM courses that I did where I don't know why, but I got this massive craving. I think it was like triggered by-- it was probably emotional for childhood cereal. I hadn't had cereal and I don't even know. And I went and got one of those healthy, gluten free, all natural cereals and I ate it. And I don't remember what my blood sugar went to, but it was insane. And that image is like, in my head. And ever since then I'm like, "Oh, it's like, now I know what happens [laughs] if I have processed foods like that and you just don't realize it until you see it." So yeah, speaking of Peter Attia, [chuckles] I finally started his book.
Vanessa Spina: Oh, nice. My husband's cousin, who's here right now, she's reading it right now and she really liked it.
Melanie Avalon: Have you read it?
Vanessa Spina: I haven't yet, no. Yeah, it's on my list.
Melanie Avalon: I'm enjoying it thus far. I realized if I'm ever going to book him, I just need to read the book and try to cultivate the most epic of epic pitch emails [sigh] someday.
Vanessa Spina: He did write back to you, though.
Melanie Avalon: I treasure his rejection. [laughs]
Vanessa Spina: You're going to frame it?
Melanie Avalon: [laughter] Yes. His rejection where he's like, "I personally loathe going on podcasts." [laughs] Something to that effect.
Vanessa Spina: Wow. Everything full circle to how we started this whole episode out in multiple ways. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: How perfect. [laughter]
Vanessa Spina: He's what celebrities, they're just like us. Dr. Peter Attia, he's just like us. He also doesn't like being on--
Melanie Avalon: He also doesn't like podcasts. [laughter] No, seriously, it's funny. I literally was so happy when I got that email. I was like, "Oh, my gosh, Peter Attia personally rejected me. I'm so happy." [laughs]
Vanessa Spina: It would be such a mix of thrill of like, "Oh, my God," did he really just write to like, he knows I exist and then being aww, but he's not coming on. But still at the end overall just being like, I don't care anyway. This is amazing. I feel the same way about Elon, maybe I should invite him on the podcast- [laughter]
Melanie Avalon: Yes.
Vanessa Spina: -and get rejected.
Melanie Avalon: Rejection. [laughter]
Vanessa Spina: And I know what I'm going to put in the subject line.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, Tech Duo's Inspiring Vision. [laughter]
Vanessa Spina: Maybe I should just send him the poem.
Melanie Avalon: Please do. [laughter]
Vanessa Spina: Yeah. I'm sure he gets weirder stuff all the time.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, can you imagine? I can't even imagine. Let's manifest it. Let's manifest. Okay, Vanessa, let's manifest me, you, Peter, and Elon and your husband. [laughter] Oh, and Peter's wife. [laughter] Sorry.
Vanessa Spina: Yeah. Pete, he has mixed feelings about Elon you know. He likes him, but he also is unsure and also knows that I admire him a lot, so, yeah.
Melanie Avalon: He's keeping his eyes open. [laughter]
Vanessa Spina: He's got his eye on Elon.
Melanie Avalon: He's watching you Elon.
Vanessa Spina: It's funny, though, because you never know how sometimes you can get people on the podcast like Gretchen Rubin.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Have you had her?
Vanessa Spina: Yeah, I had her on the podcast. It was, like, my biggest interview ever at the time. I think I was, like, two years into doing the podcast at the time. It was called Fast Keto. And she does low carb. So that was, like, my pitch to her. I was like, do you want to come on and talk about low carb? And that's mostly what we talked about. We also talked about her concepts and her books, but we talked about being an upholder, being an abstainer versus all these concepts that apply also to health and nutrition. And it was so much fun because she loves keto and low carb. So, she was also really enjoying talking to me about keto, and it was really fun. But you never know. If someone does keto, they might want to come on or if they do intermittent fasting you know--
Melanie Avalon: It's so true. That's how I felt with Gabor Mate. I was like, "I can't believe he's talking to me right now." [laughter]
Vanessa Spina: Did you interview him? I remember Cynthia saying she had the most powerful episode of her podcast with him or something.
Melanie Avalon: I did, yep. And it was similar to Cynthia. He was like, "Do you mind if we just kind of just ask you questions right now?" Like, we had, like, a therapy session. I was like, "Oh." I was like, "Oh, this is a moment." He thinks everything is trauma from childhood.
Vanessa Spina: Oh, that's right. That's right.
Melanie Avalon: So, there're a few people I want to reach out to that similar. It's like they seem unapproachable, but when I think about it more and more, I'm like, "You know what? I think I see ways in." Like, I could see how I could maybe get them on the show. I would love to get Bill Nye, The Science Guy.
Vanessa Spina: Oh, I love him. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: That would be, like, the most exciting thing ever.
Vanessa Spina: That would be actually, I bet he would do it.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I should [chuckles]-- I think I had a crush on him before I knew what crushes were.
Vanessa Spina: Aww. [chuckles]
Melanie Avalon: I'm pretty sure I did. Looking back at my five-year-old, six-year-old self, like, had a crush on Spock from Star Trek.
Vanessa Spina: Oh, that's funny. I could see that.
Melanie Avalon: Well, on that note, anything from you before we go? This was so fun.
Vanessa Spina: I had so much fun, as always with you. It's just such a treat to hang out and to engage with listeners' amazing questions. I love them and yeah, I can't wait for the next one.
Melanie Avalon: Me too. Well, I will talk to you next week. Oh, wow. I didn't even sign off. Okay, listeners, [laughter] like, in the moment. This is like being at the restaurant and just leaving the restaurant not paying for the check. [laughter]
So, for listeners, if you would like to submit your own questions for the show, you can directly email email@example.com or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. You can also ask questions in my Facebook group. Although I'm going to emphasize because ever since I started saying that, I have started getting questions everywhere. People DM me on Instagram, on Facebook. I'm like, "Wait, no, pause. This was not the avenue." So, in the Facebook group as a public post, because if you DM me, you can DM me. Feel free to DM me, but I'm going to redirect you to post it in the Facebook group or to email firstname.lastname@example.org. And then the show notes for today's episode will be @ifpodcast.com/episode335. We will put links to everything that we talked about and you can follow us on Instagram. We are @ifpodcast. I am @melanieavalon and Vanessa is @ketogenicgirl. I think that is all of the things. Anything from you, Vanessa, before we go?
Vanessa Spina: I just had the best time. Yeah, I can't wait for our next one.
Melanie Avalon: I did too. I was thinking during it because normally we record two back-to-back and we're just doing one, I was like, "I want to record another one." [laughter]
Vanessa Spina: I know, [crosstalk] totally.
Vanessa Spina: Well, we have to wait till next week.
Melanie Avalon: It's a good problem to have. Well, I will talk to you next week.
Vanessa Spina: Sounds great. Bye for now.
Melanie Avalon: Bye.
Thank you so much for listening to The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. Please remember, everything we discussed on this show does not constitute medical advice, and no patient-doctor relationship is formed. If you enjoyed the show, please consider writing a review on iTunes. We couldn't do this without our amazing team, administration by Sharon Merriman, editing by Podcast Doctors, show notes and artwork by Brianna Joyner, transcripts by SpeechDocs, and original theme composed by Leland Cox and recomposed by Steve Saunders. See you next week.
[Transcript provided by SpeechDocs Podcast Transcription]
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
Vanessa's Keto Essentials: 150 Ketogenic Recipes to Revitalize, Heal, and Shed Weight
The Tone Device Breath Ketone Analyzer
More on Melanie: MelanieAvalon.com
More on Vanessa: ketogenicgirl.com
Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox: LelandCox.com
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