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Sep 17

Episode 335: Fasting Misinformation, Exciting Announcements, Taking Research To Your Doctor, Berberine, Blood Sugar, Cooked Fruit, HBA1c, CGMs, And More!

Intermittent Fasting

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.

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

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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?

The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #199 - Marion Nestle

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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,, and 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 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 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, 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 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 or you can go to 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 And then the show notes for today's episode will be 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]


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Sep 10

Episode 334: Protein Metabolism, Protein Fermentation, Bloating, Gut Bacteria, Beneficial Strains, Social Media, Resistant Starch, Insoluble Fiber, And More!

Intermittent Fasting

Welcome to Episode 334 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, hosted by Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine and Vanessa Spina, author of Keto Essentials: 150 Ketogenic Recipes to Revitalize, Heal, and Shed Weight.

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

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Listener Q&A: Lori - Can a high protein diet give you a distended belly?

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Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 334 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,, and 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 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 334 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with Vanessa Spina.

Vanessa Spina: Hello, everyone. 

Melanie Avalon: How are you today, Vanessa? 

Vanessa Spina: I am doing fabulously. [laughs] How are you? 

Melanie Avalon: I'm wonderful. I do have a resource I would love to share with listeners. Like, I'm very excited about.

Vanessa Spina: I'm excited to hear.

Melanie Avalon: I had a really cool regenerative therapy treatment done that I was very excited about here in Atlanta. And it's something I've been looking forward to for a long time, like, in general, looking about getting it done. And so, I'm really excited to see how it goes. But in any case, the practice where I got it done, they are so cool. And I get questions all the time for recommendations for doctors. So, I haven't done anything beyond this one treatment that I did but they do all the things. They're functional medical practice. They do virtual as well, so anybody in any state can see them. And I am just blown away. So, I've become really good friends with one of the co-founders and I'm just blown away by what they offer and their prices are so affordable. I'm really shocked. And it's because the founder says that their goal is to really just make this accessible to people.

So, for example, their women's functional medical panel that you can get, because I think when you come in, basically, they do a comprehensive lab panel, a 1-hour medical visit, and you get a personalized treatment plan. It's just so affordable. And they're actually offering our listeners $100 off as well, which makes it even more affordable. But for example, with the comprehensive panel for women, it's CBC, CMP, estradiol, fasting insulin, love that, FSH and LH, homocysteine, RBC, magnesium, progesterone, reverse T3, free T3, total T3, free T4, total T4, total and free testosterone, sex hormone binding globulin, thyroid antibodies, TSH and vitamin D, which I just love that panel and the fact that you can get that and have a comprehensive overview with them and get a plan. And then the follow up visits are so affordable. I'm just so excited that they are offering this. So, that would be like online, anybody could do that. So, if you're trying to make [unintelligible 00:03:36] your labs or just get a marker of where you are with your health, I definitely recommend reaching out to them. They're called Elite Personalized Medicine. 

And I'll give more information. But then if you live in Atlanta, they have a lot of services. So, like I said, they have very cool regenerative medical therapies. I'm not going to say much more beyond that, but you can ask them [laughs] about that if you want more information. They have IV therapy, vitamin injections, health coaching. They have NAD shots, which are friends, well, I've been doing NAD shots now for months and months and I'm getting them done somewhere else. Their prices on NAD are much more affordable, so I might start going to them instead. But their focus, in their own words, is prevention of disease, early diagnosis, anti-aging, and maintaining and achieving optimal health. So, the link for them is Elite Personalized Medicine, So, E-P-M for Elite Personalized Medicine And you can reach out to them, tell them I sent you, that you heard about them from this podcast and you'll get $100 off, which again, it's shockingly affordable because I see a lot of pricings on labs and [chuckles] they can be expensive. 

Just a resource for listeners. I think that's one good thing that did come out of COVID is the shift to more telemedicine. Like, people were doing it a little bit before, but then COVID just made everybody get their act together and really switch to TeleMed. Although, I think it did have a whole issue with I don't know if we talked about this already on the show. Yeah, I think we did. Like pain medication, prescriptions and things. A lot has come up with that. But beyond that, it's been a really great resource for people. 

Vanessa Spina: It definitely, I feel like, accelerated us into the future in terms of people taking their bricks-and-mortar business, putting it online in places that they wouldn't necessarily have needed to do that, but then suddenly the necessity was there, changing aspects of their business, remote workers, telehealth. It almost fast forwarded [chuckles] all of us into the future, I think a little bit and almost by like, I don't know what, five years or something, or maybe more in just a couple of years. It's really crazy how much it did. And like, we always had these technologies, but it gave us that push to have to kind of make the transition. It's really interesting. 

Melanie Avalon: It really, really did. And then parallel to that, everything with AI is just crazy. Do you follow all of that? I'm so fascinated. 

Vanessa Spina: I'm really fascinated. I want to learn as much as I can, as opposed to other things that have been announced that I'm just like, "Meta." Like, what is it, the metaverse? I'm just like, "Couldn't be less interested." [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: Or, like, all the Twitter wars, all the Twitter stuff. It's not even called Twitter anymore, right? 

Vanessa Spina: No. It's called X. And my husband is like, he's all about Twitter, so I get a lot of updates on it, and I've been an Elon Musk fan for years. I was a fan way before people really talked about him at all. I was following his career from a young age, reading all that I could about him. I just thought he was such a fascinating human. I thought he was, like, the modern day--

Melanie Avalon: Was he your crush? 

Vanessa Spina: Little bit. [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: I can see how he's like--

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, Pete's like, I think it made him at first-- 

Melanie Avalon: Is he a hall pass? [laughs] 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, probably. I mean, if I had to have one, my hall pass used to be Paul Rudd, but I think I have to officially change it to Elon. I mean, yeah, I've been a huge fan of his for years. I just think what he did to get us off, like, Russian rockets is just so amazing. So many of the things that he does is amazing. I just think he's like a modern day, like Thomas Newton or like Einstein, and to live in a time where we can see someone like that operating in the world but I also-- yeah, I find that and what he's doing interesting. And he's kind of been warning people for a long time about AI, but at some point, he was like, "All right, nobody's listening to me." [laughs] So, I think he's trying to sort of get ahead of it in a sense of like, "Well, it's inevitable, so I may as well kind of create one." I think it's really interesting, and it seems like we're in the start of a new revolution. Like, we had the printing press revolution and the computer revolution, information revolution, internet revolution, and it seems like we're in maybe now the start of the AI revolution. I don't know if I'm ready for it, but [laughs] it's like, you got to kind of get on it, I guess, and learn as much as possible about it and I think try to see the good in it. 

Melanie Avalon: Do you play with ChatGPT? 

Vanessa Spina: I don't. I've heard about it enough from you and my family and other friends, and I'm sure at some point I will, but I just keep hearing I think when you and I even talked about one episode that it's not super accurate yet, so I'm just, like, waiting for a version that's really reliable. But if something comes up where I have-- I think that people that do work for me, some different kinds of work for me, they might be using it already, [laughs] so I haven't directly used it myself, but maybe when there's a version that people are happier with, I will. 

Melanie Avalon: It doesn't have the most recent stuff, and then I just am so concerned because it just gives me wrong answers on things, but my favorite thing to do is to have it write poems about me and my crushes. 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, my God, [laughs] that's the cutest. 

Melanie Avalon: It'll write the cutest-- as long as your crush is somebody well known. [chuckles] 

Vanessa Spina: Should I have it write some fiction about poem about Elon and I or what? [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: I'm going to have it write-- Oh yeah, wait, I'm going to have it write-- Okay, I'm going to do this right now. Okay, I'm going to say write a poem, not okay-- Write a poem about Vanessa Spina,-

Vanessa Spina: Don't listen to this episode, Pete. [laughter] 

Melanie Avalon: -I'm so excited, I'm so excited and Elon Musk. Should we tell it we want it to be romantic or do you think it will go that route? 

Vanessa Spina: Let's just see what it does. I don't know. Maybe we'll just be like besties. I'd just love to hang out with him. 

Melanie Avalon: Here we go, ready? Here we go. I'm going to read this to you three paragraphs. The title of this poem is [laughs] I'm back, I'm back This is not where I thought this podcast is going to go, but I love it. I'm back, I'm back. Okay. The title of this poem is Tech Duo's Inspiring Vision. 

Vanessa Spina: Wow. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: I know. Can't even read it, I'm so happy right now. Okay, bringing it back. 

Vanessa Spina: Just the title made my day.

Melanie Avalon: I know, I know, I know. Okay, In realms of tech and space they tread. Vanessa Spina, Elon Musk ahead. She was knowledge, keto's queen. He, a visionary dreamer, keen. Vanessa's wisdom on health she shares. Keto insights showing how she cares. Elon's mind soars beyond the sky. Mars bound visions aiming high. Their paths converge in realms unknown. Health and cosmos seeds they've sown. Two souls with passions unconfined. Inspiring hearts and sparking minds.

Vanessa Spina: Are you kidding me? [laughs] That is unreal. 

Melanie Avalon: Wasn't that amazing? 

Vanessa Spina: I am, like, speechless. I'm actually speechless. 

Melanie Avalon: I know.

Vanessa Spina: I think I need a copy of that. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, no. I'll send it to you right now. Don't worry, I'm copying it for you. 

Vanessa Spina: You know what's funny is Elon used to do keto. He's dabbled with it over the years, which doesn't really surprise me because when I read his first biography, we were-- was it like maybe seven or eight years ago, the interviewer starts out the book. He's at a restaurant with him and he's like, eating this weird meal and he's like, it's called the ketogenic diet. And I was like, I got goosebumps, like, all over my body, I was like are you kidding me, like what-- Of course, he does keto. But I know he's gone on and off it. That was insane, like, maybe I need to start--

Melanie Avalon: I know. You can have it write stories about you, like fan fiction. 

Vanessa Spina: I know you looked up the top six biohackers in the world and it said Melanie Avalon, which was amazing. I know that you use it for your brother's wedding speech. I know you use it for product descriptions or looking up studies--

Melanie Avalon: I was using it to till-- I would have it write science pages on things and then I would go fact check it. And that's where I got really worried because it would be like, in this study, it found this and then I would try to go find the study. I couldn't find it. And then I'd be like, "Can you please send me that study?" And it'd be like, "Oh, I'm sorry. I was actually wrong." 

Vanessa Spina: I remember you told me so I was like, "How can you trust it?" 

Melanie Avalon: You can't, but you can trust it with its poems. 

Vanessa Spina: I'm keeping this forever. 

Melanie Avalon: Isn't that amazing? 

Vanessa Spina: I didn't know it could write poetry. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, yeah. I know, it's talented, I tell you. And when you've got a crush, you just put in that crush and it just writes the things and you're like. [laughs]

Vanessa Spina: I'm sure you've gotten some. I want you to read the other ones, but I won't ask you to do that on air. But who's your like, if you had a hall pass, who would it be? 

Melanie Avalon: Well, Johnny Depp was always my-- yeah. 

Vanessa Spina: So, did you watch the whole court case and everything? Were you mesmerized? [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: I lost, like, weeks of time. [laughs] This is awful. Literally, I would just play it, like, live because it was streaming live.

Vanessa Spina: Wow. I mean, that was one sordid tale. 

Melanie Avalon: I want to have him on the show for an episode on the Mandela Effect. I'm going to put that out to the universe. 

Vanessa Spina: No, the number of tangents that you would go on with him, his mind. He says that his brain feels like he's having explosions, continuous explosions in his brain constantly. Like, his brain is so active and powerful. 

Melanie Avalon: When I was a server at Ruth's Chris Steak House in Beverly Hills. 

Vanessa Spina: My favorite steak house. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, really? 

Vanessa Spina: Um-hmm.

Melanie Avalon: That was my first-- I had one serving job before that, but that was my first actual serving job. 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, my God. Maybe you can answer my questions about what they're doing with the steaks. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, of course I can.

Vanessa Spina: Because I've asked them [laughs] because no steak. I'm like, they're dipping it in butter. There's definitely a layer of butter on top I know that. But every time I ask them, they're like, "There's this rotating fire grill that goes to like 1000 degrees or something." 

Melanie Avalon: It's coming back to me. It's like the steaks in the hot plates with salt, pepper, butter, and parsley. And they take it from the super, super hot thing and put it onto the plate. And it's a little bit stressful as a server. 

Vanessa Spina: I remember just like so many times-- every time we go there, I'm like, "So tell me again about [laughs] this oven." And they're like, "It's like this vertical oven with these panels and it's like a thousand degrees," and then I'm like "Yeah, I just can't replicate it." I've tried to replicate it at home, but it just is so good there. 

Melanie Avalon: Man, if you had known me back in the day, I could have brought you back in the kitchen. You could have had a kitchen tour. Elon Musk was there one day. 

Vanessa Spina: What? When you were working there? 

Melanie Avalon: It was Elon Musk. It was at one table and it was like 20 people. And it was Elon Musk and a lot of other celebrities. 

Vanessa Spina: It's crazy, because when I first started following him, he was just this Silicon Valley entrepreneur and he's become an A-list celebrity. [laughs] It's crazy. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. This was a while ago, so it was before he was super famous. But he was famous enough because I wasn't the server on the table. But yeah, apparently, they tipped the servers like, $1,000. Amazing, yeah. So-- 

Vanessa Spina: Of course, he's generous as well. 

Melanie Avalon: Of course. [chuckles] 

Vanessa Spina: Big fan here. 

Melanie Avalon: It's so funny. 

Vanessa Spina: Did you say your hall pass was oh, Johnny Depp? 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, yeah. Probably Johnny, Johnny Depp. Yes. 

Vanessa Spina: He's still number. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Yeah, because I really had to think about that, I mean, because I have my number one in my mind right now. But it's not like that's like, my crush, but my hall pass, my perpetual hall pass is probably Johnny Depp.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. I thought you would have named a scientist or like a I don't know--. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, Peter Attia. Oh, wait, he has a wife. [laughs] 

Vanessa Spina: True. Yeah, but hall passes are like fantasy. 

Melanie Avalon: I do have a crush on Peter Attia. I'm just putting that out there. 

Vanessa Spina: And Harry Styles. 

Melanie Avalon: Not Harry Styles. I know he dressed up like Harry Styles. 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, that's what, okay. It wasn't Harry Styles. It was just dressing like him. 

Melanie Avalon: He dressed up like him for the Taylor Swift concert. [sigh] [laughs] I can't, I got to find my perfect man who is like all of that and also wants to go to the Taylor Swift concert. 

Vanessa Spina: If we're living in a simulation, you just have to dream him up and he'll manifest. 

Melanie Avalon: He'll manifest. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. Just keep writing those poems. [laughs] Put them under your pillow. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, man. [laughs] For a while, it was Jack Dorsey. Because I listened to an episode of him on something and he literally follows my lifestyle. Well, a little bit. He literally-- he told his lifestyle. And it was let me just tell you, he was like, "I wake up, I'm fasting." Then he's like, "Fasting some more." And then he goes and does, like, cold therapy. And then he does all of his work. And then at night, he said he eats, like, a steak, wine, and blueberries. I was like, "This is my man." 

Vanessa Spina: Apparently, he wrote a comment to Mark Zuckerberg, that was pretty passive aggressive or maybe just aggressive, [laughs] passive aggressive. I think, Mark Zuckerberg, he said he tweeted something and Jack Dorsey wrote back, like, "Too soon, Mark or something." [laughs] Because he was, like, kind of upset, I guess, that he started the Threads. Are you using Threads? 

Melanie Avalon: I saw that the other day. No, I'm not. Are you? 

Vanessa Spina: So, I was somewhat intrigued initially because I'm on Twitter. I don't really like Twitter. I like it more since Elon took the helm. But I don't really like it, I feel like it's very aggressive. I was actually bullied on there once by these two guys. 

Melanie Avalon: Really? 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. It was really upsetting. These two guys were coming at me about keto or something, and they were like teaming up and tweeting all this stuff. It was very upsetting, I never really had an interaction like that before, but anyway, aside from that, it just feels like people are just like I think Tim Ferriss said this once. "It's like you walk into Twitter and it's like people throwing bottles at your head." Which I don't really feel like that, but it just feels very angry and hostile there. And then people are just, sharing their opinions, putting them out into the universe. Just like so much information. I just don't vibe with it. [laughs] It's not my vibe. I've gone through phases where I use it anyways. I was like, "Okay, maybe Threads. Maybe I'll like it more." And because I don't spend much time on Twitter, I have like 10,000 followers, I think, on there or something like that. And with Threads, they were like, saying that initially you could take your Instagram following over to Threads. 

So, then I was like, "Oh, well, if I had the same amount of followers on Threads, then that would be like, I would have a Twitter with all these followers. It would be worth my time to put stuff on there." And the last thing I need is like another app. [laughs] But then it's like, they initially announced that you would be getting your following, but then it didn't quite work out that way. And then I would open it and it would have me following all these people that I didn't follow. So, then they were like, "Well, we're now working on ways to bring your followers over." It's like every time I log into it, I have more followers on there, but it's like a fraction of what I have on Instagram, so I just don't see the point. 

And someone I listened to on a podcast made a really good point about it because a lot of people have been talking about how there was this initial spike in interest and then it just kind of died off. And it's because people who use Instagram like the format of Instagram, so what they should have done is incorporated it into Instagram. So, when you have your feed, you have like, Instagram posts, and then some of them are like the tweet format, and then it would be integrated in that app and you wouldn't have to go to another app. You would just have it in there. And I'm like, "That would have made so much more sense than having a different app." I just can't be bothered unless there's a huge incentive, like, having all of my followers on there. Then it would be worth me sharing the information that I share. But as of right now, I'm like, "I'm just going to keep doing it on Instagram." That's the main place that I post stuff. 

Melanie Avalon: This is like where you go on the Instagram profile and it's like a little hashtag thing, like it's on your main profile. I thought that was a direct messenger thing this whole time. I didn't realize it was like Twitter. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. It's like if you open it up, it looks pretty much like Twitter. 

Melanie Avalon: It uses your phone number, right? 

Vanessa Spina: It doesn't use my number, but it basically looks just like Twitter, but it's Threads. I have like 7000 people following me on there, but it's like--

Melanie Avalon: Is it. The little @ symbol at the top by their name? 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah.

Melanie Avalon: I didn't realize it was like Twitter.

Vanessa Spina: No and I think what happened is some people were upset that Elon took over Twitter. So, this is like the alternative of setting up a non-Elon controlled Twitter. 

Melanie Avalon: Right now, it's the number one social networking app. 

Vanessa Spina: I think there was a lot of initial interest, but most people that I talked to say that after first week or two, they kind of forgot about it. I haven't really been checking it, except I'll go in there sometimes to see like have they migrated all my followers over? And I think they're not able to really do that. 

Melanie Avalon: Do you think I should wait then until maybe--

Vanessa Spina: No, you could do it anytime and you could see what you end up with. 

Melanie Avalon: Like, you don't think that maybe they'll fix it and then it's like if you start later, you'll get everybody from the get go. 

Vanessa Spina: I don't think so, because the way that they're doing it is every new person that joins. When they set up their profile, they say, "Would you like to automatically follow everyone that you follow on Instagram?" And if they click yes, then you get them as a follower, but if they don't, then you don't. So, it's kind of hit or miss, depending on who amongst your followers are joining Threads and then among them are selecting, "Yes" to that or going out of their way to follow you. As long as I still have more followers on Twitter, I still have like which I had no incentive to really use until now. The main thing that I use Twitter for is actually for podcast guests. Because sometimes an easier way to just hit up certain scientists or physicians or people that I want to talk to than an email or like I've gone the email route and I didn't get through because they're just not responding or they're in the lab or whatever but they'll respond to a tweet, so [chuckles] that's like the main reason I use it. But other than that-- but it's not great because then I forget to check. [laughs] That happened to me when I was in Denver and I had this one guest who was like, "Hey, I can come on today." And then I didn't check it for like two weeks and I was like, "Oops." [laughs] And then I checked back and they were like, "Oh, I'm back at Harvard now, so I can't, [laughs] next year."

Melanie Avalon: And then it never occurred to me to use it, to reach out to people. I think the last time I got on it, I literally spent forever. It was when Gary Taubes--, when I aired my Gary Taubes episode and he tweeted about it, I was like, "Well, I got to get on Twitter now. I got to tweet something. I got to retweet the tweet." Otherwise, I never really go there.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, I had a phase where I enjoyed it a bit, but I find Instagram just way happier, [laughs] way just a better vibe overall.

Melanie Avalon: I feel like I know I need to be on TikTok but I just don't want to do other-- just energetically.

Vanessa Spina: I did not join TikTok intentionally. And I also think that there's a good chance that it will be banned because it's one of the only political issues that both sides agree on, that it should be banned. And it makes sense, I can see why they would want it to, because it's a Chinese controlled app that's operating in the US. And China would never allow an American owned app to be operating within their population so, and both conservatives and Democrats agree [laughs] that it's probably a security risk. And I'm surprised it actually hasn't been banned yet. Maybe it won't. I know a lot of people love it, but yeah, I never really got into it. And the longer time has passed, the more I'm like, "What's the point if it gets banned and you spend all that time building up something there and it just gets banned?" So, we'll see what happens. Maybe it won't. Maybe it will. 

Melanie Avalon: I was thinking of paying somebody to just repurpose my Instagram content and just get it going. I just know if I do, then I'll go in and I'll want to check and I just don't want another thing. I just got Telegram yesterday because I wanted to get added to some Austin groups since I'm moving to Austin. 

Vanessa Spina: Are you officially?

Melanie Avalon: I think so.

Vanessa Spina: When? 

Melanie Avalon: My lease is up in the spring, so I think I'm probably going to take a trip, hopefully knock on wood in the fall and look at apartments and teaser for the audience. I'm hoping I might get to interview Dave Asprey in person in Austin when I go to look at apartments. So that would be super exciting for this show. So, send me actually-- glad I'm saying this. Send me questions, if you have questions for him because we're going to do a listener Q&A, possibly, in real life. I've never done-- Would you believe I've never done an in-person podcast? Have you done an in-person podcast? 

Vanessa Spina: I was just thinking [laughs] if I ever have. I don't think I have. 

Melanie Avalon: I'm not going to know what to do. Like, where do I look? What do I do? 

Vanessa Spina: It's funny, because I noticed that most people who do in person podcasts have props. They have all the podcasts, like paraphernalia. So maybe if you have stuff like that, then you'll have, like, props. 

Melanie Avalon: He said there's some good studios and we can rent a studio. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, that would be so fun. You have to do that.

Melanie Avalon: It's a lot to deal with. So, send questions, listeners, to for Dave Asprey, anything about fasting or his new Danger Coffee or the conference or biohacking, all the things.

Vanessa Spina: That'll be an exciting one. 

Melanie Avalon: I know. On that note, shall we answer [laughs] some listener questions? 

Vanessa Spina: I would love to. 

Melanie Avalon: I am so excited about this first question. 

Vanessa Spina: We have a question from Lori that comes to us on Facebook. "I have been having issues with bloating. I don't have any GI issues or other symptoms and I have been trying to cut out dairy thinking all the cottage cheese I was eating for more protein was the problem. Can a high-protein diet give you a distended belly? It seems to have been a frequent problem distended abdomen/bloating since hitting my protein macros of 100 to 125 grams." 

Melanie Avalon: All right, Lori, I am so excited about this question. I went down the rabbit hole. So, it's interesting because I do remember hearing every now and then-- I think Robb Wolf, every now and then will mention how protein can be fermented and actually how it can be fermented to create short-chain fatty acids, which we want to get from fiber, which sounds like a great benefit. Like, "Oh, we can get it from protein." However, that sounds like in the fermentation role of protein, that's probably the only good thing coming from that, because there's been quite a few studies on protein fermentation in the gut. And yes, I have a lot to say so before you jump to conclusions, being worried about protein fermenting, it's going to be okay. But the potentially toxic metabolites, so they include ammonia, amines, phenols, and sulfides. And they've been linked to a lot of potentially problematic issues like bowel diseases, colorectal cancer, ulcerative colitis as well as just bloating like Lori was talking about and GI distress. 

And so, what is going on there in addition to those metabolites? And this is ironic, because now I'm looking at another study, and it's talking about how excess protein can lead to decreased short-chain fatty acid production. So maybe sometimes it creates short-chain fatty acids, maybe sometimes it leads to less. But in general, it can potentially have a proinflammatory microbiotic profile. Okay, the GI tract, we have the stomach, the small intestine, the large intestine. The issue arises when protein reaches the large intestine and isn't getting fully absorbed the way it should be. So, it's estimated that in the normal population, around 6 to 18 g of protein reaches the large intestine daily. That's mostly from what you're eating. A small part of it is actually endogenously created so created yourself and that ranges. So, people on almost protein free diets, they'll still get around 3 grams that might reach the large intestine. If you're on a vegan diet, the average is around 16 grams. That will reach the large intestine. 

If you're on a moderately high protein intake, which they call 16% of total energy, which for me, that would be very low protein, that's around 17 grams that might reach down there. And basically, what happens-- For the processing of protein in the large intestine, there're two ways that it's metabolized. So, the first thing is that it undergoes proteolysis by two different things, by the gut microbiome primarily and then a little bit by pancreatic proteases. So, compounds created by the pancreas that break down protein, those are actually metabolizing and breaking down some protein in the large intestine as well. So, it's breaking down these proteins into smaller amino acids. And then, interestingly, those amino acids can be incorporated by the body structurally or they can actually be used and incorporated by the gut microbiome.

And then the second thing that can happen to protein metabolism down there and this is where the issues come in, is it can be fermented to produce gases. So, you can produce H2, CH4, CO2, H2S, see and now it's saying short-chain fatty acids. So that's interesting. It can create branched-chain fatty acids. And then, like I mentioned before, ammonia, amines, and phenolic compounds, and also compounds related to nitric oxide. Okay, so the potential harmful effect or the issues that you experience is probably directly related to how much. So, if there's not an excess, you don't have to worry about this. But if there is an excess that's happening, then you do have to possibly worry about these metabolites being created. And so, there's been quite a few studies on how it affects the gut bacteria and it might have a potentially negative effect on the gut bacteria down there. So, one study found that it looked at high versus normal protein diets for six weeks. And while it didn't affect a lot of the abundance of big populations, it did lower bifidobacteria, which is often thought of as a "good bacteria." 

Although, interestingly, in these studies, the amount of carbs alongside the protein was sometimes different. So, they said, "It's hard to know what's doing what. Is it the carbs? Is it the lack of carbs? Is it the protein? What is the main source here?" But there was another study, people on low-carb, high-protein diets, and they saw a significant decrease in the numbers of different populations of butyrate-producing bacteria. And as we know well, I'm saying that, like, it's common knowledge, butyrate-producing bacteria is something that we want because butyrate is a very beneficial fatty acid for the colon. And the reason this happens is that the large intestine, the bacteria there, they actually are obligate protein fermenters. So, their nutrient source is basically fermenting protein. So that's why this can happen. So have no fear though. There are ways to address this. So, there's been a few studies on adding in specific sources of carbs that can actually potentially help mitigate this effect. So, a high intake of resistant starch, something called arabinoxylan, I'm not actually sure what that is and inulin pairing that with protein had a beneficial effect on the ammonia and the nitrogen levels. 

But then another study, interestingly enough, when they added resistant starch, they didn't see a change. It seems to because with the resistant starch specifically, a few studies showed a beneficial effect, like it really helped. Some didn't find a change. Same with insoluble fiber. Some studies found that it helped, some didn't. And just reading through it all, what it seemed like is that it's very individual and there's a lot of factors going into play. Some of these carbs that you might add, so these non-starch polysaccharide, so, like a fibrous-type carb, what really matters is if it's actually making its way down to large intestine. So, some of the carbs, if they're absorbed and metabolized too far up, they might not actually reach the large intestine. So, they might not be able to create this beneficial effect of mitigating the protein issues. So, it really matters when you're taking in the fiber, is it going in all the way and is it reaching the large intestine and is it helping with that inflammatory profile? 

On the flipside, some studies have found that it makes it worse. So, they did a rat study, and they added pectin, which is a type of fiber, and they found that actually made more fermentation of protein. Basically, it's all over the place. Oh, this is really interesting. So, one of the mechanisms of action like why this might be working with the carbs when it does work, is that the carbs can encourage the bacteria to ferment the carbs and the bacteria proliferate, so it increases more bacteria in your large intestine. And then those bacteria actually need amino acids and nitrogen. So, then they synthesize the extra protein rather than fermenting it, which I know sounds pretty similar, but basically there's the potential for, by supporting the gut bacteria with carbs and fiber for them to better deal with the protein load. And this is something actually called the nitrogen sink. So, the conclusion of this one review that I was looking at everything, they did conclude that modifying, like, the best ways to deal with GI distress from excess protein is probably to modify the actual amount of protein, which I know is the antithesis of what we talk about a lot, because basically they're saying reduce your protein intake.

Secondly, the type of amino acids. So, it's primarily the sulfurous amino acids like methionine and cysteine that create this issue. And those are found higher in animal products. So, they're recommending more plant-based protein might help with this. Although interestingly, I think it's very N of 1, because I digest animal proteins so well and when I have plant-based proteins, it does not go so well for me. So, I think you really have to know how you react. And then the third option is they do suggest-- even after they talked about studies showing conflicting findings, they do suggest adding fermentable carbohydrates to help shift that bacteria activity from fermenting the protein to metabolizing the protein and using the protein. This is interesting, so casein in particular might be a problematic protein for bloating related to all of this. And I know Lori was saying that she was having dairy and experiencing this issue. So that might be something that's going on. Lori, you might want to try you're already trying to cut out the dairy, so maybe this will be the final push to maybe stick to non-dairy and see if that helps.

So, my suggestions again, this journal article is suggesting to cut down on protein, but I wouldn't really suggest that. I would suggest a few things maintaining your total protein, but maybe either having a longer window or having it not all in one large bolus and then really supporting digestion of that protein so that hopefully you can digest more of it higher up in the system and it won't be reaching the large intestine. So, I would definitely try out maybe HCl and digestive enzymes to help with that. And by the way, teaser, I do plan down the road to launch a line of HCl and digestive enzymes and I'm so excited. But in the meantime, I personally use right now Pure Encapsulations, their digestive enzymes and their HCl. So that's something you might want to try. And then you could try adding in carbs that work for you, fibrous carbs. Again, resistant starch might be a thing that works, although for me, resistant starch makes me so bloated and gassy. So, it really is individual and N of 1. You could just try different vegetables or different carbs with the protein and see if that helps mitigate the issues. 

And then just as one last tangent I mentioned earlier, nitric oxide, I hope I did call it nitrous oxide earlier which I might have. I love nitrous oxide, but that is something different. So, something that might be going on is that nitric oxide is created from bacteria, from dietary nitrites and that can produce a gas that can be problematic. And when we have excess protein down there, what can happen interestingly is that nitric oxide can have a signaling effect where it interacts with that protein fermentation and actually makes it worse. So that's really interesting. But they have found that changing from red meat to white meat like chicken or fish can potentially reduce the availability of those nitrites in the colon, which are the precursors with the bacteria for that nitric oxide fermentation or formation. So that's something else you could try is if you're having red meat, and I'm a huge fan of red meat, and it's so nutritious and nutrient rich, but it is something that you could play with, is maybe trying more white meats and fish. Yeah, so that was a lot of information. Vanessa, do you have thoughts? 

Vanessa Spina: That was so incredibly thorough and amazing. [laughs] I love that you dived so deep on the research as you always do and found it really, really interesting and insightful. So, it sounds like the takeaway is what I was going to reply, I guess, is that if you are feeling bloated, I would just try to eat less protein and see what amounts, like, using a tracker, we often do this to find the carb threshold, the protein threshold for getting into ketosis. So, if you're doing like 120 g a day, try 110, try 100, try 80. But the other thing I would say is, are you eating it all at one sitting? Because that could be the issue as well, because there's only so much protein that your body will use to make new proteins and then the rest will be converted to glucose. Like, the ratio is about 60 g out of every 100 I believe is converted to glucose, according to Dr. Don Layman. So, if you're eating 100 g at one sitting, it could just be a lot in terms of the digestive acids and the digestive-- sort of the pH that's needed for that much protein at one sitting. 

Like, if you were to break it up a little bit into two or three meals, it probably would result in a lot less bloating. And I think that it can happen where if people are doing one meal a day at times, and then they're sitting and having one whole meal with that much protein at one sitting, I wouldn't be surprised if someone would be bloated if they haven't sort of built up to that amount over time. I love that you brought up the digestive enzymes, HCl can definitely help with that as well. But my biggest suggestion would be just to change the amount, unless it is what you are eating with the protein. Like, could it be something else you are consuming with the protein that is contributing to the bloating? I would be far more likely to think that it would be like fibrous foods that's causing that. So, I always recommend an elimination diet if you're having a lot of bloating. I did one and I did carnivore for 30 days and then I went back and reintroduced all of the vegetables that I liked and I discovered which ones really bloated me. And it was such amazing information because once I figured that out by reintroducing each one one at a time, I figured out that all the cruciferous vegetables and especially broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower can really bloat me. And so, once I cut those out, I just didn't have bloating issues anymore. So, it can be as simple as that. 

There could just be one certain-- especially fibrous food they can be pretty difficult to digest and a lot of fermentation can occur. So, I would just put a question there. Is it necessarily the protein or is it something else that you're eating with the protein? Unless you're doing carnivore and all you're eating is like protein, you're not having anything else, any carbohydrate or any fiber with it, then it could just be the protein amount. So, I guess you kind of have to play with it. But I'd love to hear back from you on what you figured out and what you tried. And it sounds like from all the research that Melanie went through, that it really just comes down to the amount that's being consumed. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. It really comes down to the amount that's reaching the large intestine, which we would think typically correlates to what's being consumed.? But then, like I was saying, Vanessa was just saying, there's so much contextual other food around that that I just think it's important to look, know everything that you're eating. I'll put out a resource for listeners. It's funny, people always ask me all the time, "Why do I eat so many cucumbers?" And it's primarily for this reason that's the really fibrous, hydrating, watery, bulk vegetable that I can add with my meal that I digest so well. And that's just why I eat so much of it. And I find that actually helps me digest the protein more. Love my cucumbers, but a resource for listeners. You can get my app Food Sense Guide and get it now friends, because you want to get grandfathered in, because I'm probably going to be making some really big updates and changes to it and changing the system. So, get grandfathered in now, [laughs] like the way it is now. It's a comprehensive catalog of over 300 foods and it has 11 potentially problematic compounds that you may be reacting to. By looking at that, you can kind of see what you're eating. And if you're having issues with foods, you can look for trends. If you find that certain foods are making you bloated, you could see what compounds are those high in and it can be really helpful for that. And it does have FODMAPs. And for me, a low FODMAP diet is a game changer for bloating. I thought about it, because Vanessa, when you're talking about the ones that you react like, those are all pretty high FODMAP foods. 

Vanessa Spina: Such a good point. 

Melanie Avalon: So, the link for that is, and it is often a top app on Apple Podcast or in the App Store, which is very exciting. 

Vanessa Spina: Wow, that's amazing. 

Melanie Avalon: It blows my mind, really, honestly, because it's often top 10 for all food and drinks apps. When you think about it, like, how many food and drinks apps there are or like there could be. 

Vanessa Spina: Got to be millions. 

Melanie Avalon: Isn't that crazy? Blows my mind. I'm really glad it's helping people. So yeah. Wow. We went on all the tangents on today's episode. 

Vanessa Spina: I know. It was like Elon to Ruth's Chris Steak, [laughs] poetry with AI and then protein, then bloating. I mean, like, yeah, real variety of topics today, but I had so much fun. I really enjoy all of our episodes so much and I love the questions so much. I love talking about fasting and protein and digestion and all the research. So, I just enjoyed the episode so much.

Melanie Avalon: I did too. And I'll give the link again for listeners if they would like to find a holistic health practitioner and run labs. I really love Elite Personalized Medicine. So that's Tell them I sent you or that you heard about them on this podcast and you'll get $100 off and yeah. Okay, anything from you, Vanessa, before we go? 

Vanessa Spina: I think that was everything. Yeah, I can't wait for the next episode, as always, and look forward to next week's questions and being back here with you again. 

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

Vanessa Spina: Okay, talk to you soon. 

Melanie Avalon: Bye.

Vanessa Spina: Bye. 

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

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Sep 03

Episode 333: Tone Device Gen 2, Measuring Breath Ketones, Ketosis, Fat Loss, Muscle Sparing, Protein Recipes, The Mandela Effect, And More!

Intermittent Fasting

Welcome to Episode 333 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, hosted by Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine and Vanessa Spina, author of Keto Essentials: 150 Ketogenic Recipes to Revitalize, Heal, and Shed Weight.

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

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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 333 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,, and 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 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 333 “Oh, such a cool number,” of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, palindromes. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with Vanessa Spina.

How are you, Vanessa? 

Vanessa Spina: I love the number. It's so in alignment, 333. So, yeah, feeling good about that. And three is one of my lucky numbers, so it bodes well for the episode. 

Melanie Avalon: That's wonderful. And okay, I know we literally just had a conversation about the tangents we go on, but I just have to [laughs] ask you something really quickly related, because every single night now, I go in this rabbit hole, wormhole of something related to numbers sometimes. Are you familiar with the Mandela Effect?

Vanessa Spina:  Yes.

Melanie Avalon: It's haunting me. Do any of them land with you.

Vanessa Spina: Oh, yeah, oh, yeah and I've heard them talked about a lot on podcasts too, the Shazam movie. 

Melanie Avalon: Do you remember that movie? 

Vanessa Spina: Yep, I remember. It was called Shazam and not Sinbad was in it. The other guy was in it. 

Melanie Avalon: I think it's Sinbad.

Vanessa Spina: There was someone in it. And then when you look it up now, it's been like purged from our collective media members.

Melanie Avalon: You remember the movie? 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. 

Melanie Avalon: See? Mind blown. The one that got me most recently was the rearview mirrors saying, objects in mirror fill in the blank closer than they appear. And then what is in the blank?

Vanessa Spina: Maybe closer than they appear.

Melanie Avalon: I mean, that's what I thought. I thought it was objects and mirror may be closer than they appear. That's what my mom said, my sister and I polled my audience and hundreds of people answered and half said it was that, but it's not. It's objects in mirror are closer than they appear. I went and looked at all the cars in the parking lot and that's what they say. 

Vanessa Spina: I remember it from-- there was, this in Jurassic Park. There's a shot in the movie where he's looking in the rearview mirror and they zoom in on the text and it always stayed with me, but I thought that's what it was. It's funny how yeah, I wonder how much of that is that effect and how much of it is just like, I don't know, just not remembering it properly or your brain filling in a pattern or something.

Melanie Avalon: Some of the really weird ones, though, like the Fruit of the Loom, do you remember that one? 

Vanessa Spina: Yes.

Melanie Avalon: I mean, if you go down the reddit rabbit holes, there are so many people that remember learning what a cornucopia is, because they looked at that picture. So, why would thousands or millions of people have stories about learning what a cornucopia is by looking at the Fruit of the Loom thing if there's no cornucopia? That doesn't make sense. I think it has to do with reality changing. I'm not kidding. Now I've lost half the audience but I'm serious. 

Vanessa Spina: I think it has to do with that. I just don't stress about it too much. I'm like, “Whatever,” maybe we're in the matrix, there's a glitch in the matrix, I don't know I just can't focus on it too much or I won't get anything done.

Melanie Avalon: It's great. Chick-fil-A. I definitely spelled that “Chic” and my mom said she worked at Chick-fil-A in college and even she thought it was something different.

Vanessa Spina: That's funny.

Melanie Avalon: So, I don't know listeners, I want to do a podcast on this. I got to find some Mandela effects, like soap person.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, you totally should explore it.

Melanie Avalon: I could talk about this for hours. So, yeah, I'm going to lose people here. I do think it might be either parallel realities interacting or some blip or blackhole. I think it could be something with reality.

Vanessa Spina: There're so many possibilities, if this is a simulation or not, or what's going on, but I spend so much time wondering these deep questions, these existential questions, and then I'm like, “Well, we're never really [laughs] going to know, so I may as well just get on with my life.”

Melanie Avalon: That's funny.

Vanessa Spina: There's only so much speculating you can do until you realize, “Well, you're never going to know either way anyway.”

Melanie Avalon: I just like thinking about it. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, for sure. 

Melanie Avalon: It doesn't bother me, but when people like-- you think there could be something going on, but you're like, “It's fine.” Some people are like, “Oh, that's not happening.” I mean, it might not be happening, but I don't know. I like thinking about it. I like pondering the possibilities of reality.

Vanessa Spina: Same. Yeah, same. I think there're these questions that haunt you and they kind of come up bubble up every day or every week, and you're like, “Yes. Still don't know the answer.” [laughs] But it is fun to just contemplate what could be. I think also, we've both talked about how we love Star Trek and just sci-fi stuff, and so definitely there's a lot to ponder of what all those infinite possibilities and what could be.

Melanie Avalon: Well, actually related to that, I think it's interesting that we just accept reality the way it is. But there are, “How do I say this?” We really judge some concepts of reality as, “Oh, that could never happen.” But then some things we just accept. The idea that red light and near-infrared light, like this invisible stuff, or near-infrared, it's invisible and it is energy and it goes into our body from this device and does things. But we don't think that's weird. But if that didn't exist, we'd be like, “Oh, that's weird.”

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, that's true. 

Melanie Avalon: Yes. Well, on that note, is there anything new in your world in this reality right now?

Vanessa Spina: Yes. I've been so excited because some of you who are listening may know that I created a tone device, which is a breath ketone analyzer. It's kind of a huge passion of mine because I wanted to find a way that people could get biofeedback on their level of fat burning or how deeply they are in ketosis, especially if we're doing intermittent fasting or extended fasting just to get some feedback. That’s like, “What you're doing is augmenting your level of ketosis or deepening your level of fat burning.” I love biofeedback. I'm sure many of you listeners love biofeedback. It's like if you're running on a treadmill or exercise machine, you want to have the feedback of how long you've been on it and how many calories you're burning and your heart rate and all that just adds to the experience. So, I love data. The first generation of the tone has been amazing.

But I really wanted to create the second generation. I've been working on it for almost two years, about a year and a half of iterations of new devices. It's such a long process because every time you kind of go back to the drawing board with notes and then you test the new version and then you recalibrate something. So, we've changed a number of things. But the thing that I wanted to do with it based on feedback from people who are using the tone and love it, is that a lot of us who are doing daily intermittent fasting, we're not getting into 2.0 to 4 super deep ketoses. It's more like you could fast from say, dinner the night before to dinner the next day, a 24-hour fast, you will get into ketosis for sure. But the first generation was really really accurate, the more deeply you were in ketosis, because you get more ketones.

So, the level of acetone would be higher and therefore easier to measure. With breath it's very difficult because with the blood you're measuring millimolar units, which is like in the units of 1000. When you're measuring breath acetone, it's these tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny particles in parts per million. So, it's much easier to measure it when the concentration is higher. Anyway, we have a new airway mold, we have a new program, we have all these new features, and the device is so sensitive, it's amazing. I've been testing the latest version of it, which is the final version, I've decided, because it's working so well, it's performing so well, and it's making me so excited because it's picking up ketones of 0.1, 0.2. 0.3, 0.4, 0.5 really small ketones. But some of us in a day will get to say, if I fast from dinner to dinner, I usually get to 0.8 to 1 millimolar. 

And with the new second generation tone, you can see that. So, you can see if you test in the morning, you test in the early afternoon, you test before dinner, you can see your ketones going up. With the tone, you invest in one device. You don't have to buy all of those expensive wasteful test strips. You don't have to puncture your skin. You don't have to do any of the rigmarole that goes along with that. You can just test an unlimited amount of times and you just have one device. I always wanted to create something cost effective that would give people that biofeedback. I always found blood testing for ketosis was expensive and cost prohibitive. Most people at the most are going to test their ketones once a day, because if it's a dollar or 2 per strip and the costs have come down a little bit, they used to be even $4 or $5, they've definitely come down.

But this is just so much more convenient. If you're wanting to test your blood and you're at someone's house, you're at a restaurant, you have to go in the bathroom, you're not going to pull out your ketone strips in front of other people, your friends or family or whatever. But with the tone, you can just breathe into it. So, you can do it anywhere. [laughs] It's really cool. So, I'm super super excited for the second generation, and I think it'll be out in a couple of months from now. It just gives me goosebumps. It gets me so excited because the accuracy is so high and it's just very difficult to achieve this. But we're finally there and I couldn't be more excited [chuckles] about it. It's really really fun to use and just so valuable. Especially for people like us who do time-restricted eating and then if you do a longer fast, like a 36 hours or 72 hours, four or five-day fast, you also get that feedback, but just in the intraday fasting, like a lot of us do in this community, it can be a valuable tool for that. So, yeah, super super excited.

Melanie Avalon: I am so excited for you. Okay, I can't wait till you're on my other show because I feel like I'm going to ask you so many questions. Get ready. [laughs] So, when you're developing this technology, who are you working with to develop it? 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, I have a factory and I have an institute that studies acetone, so it's a collaboration between all of us together, because there's engineering that goes into the program and the program is directing the sensor. So, there's the technology inside the device, the sensor and the programming that goes with it, and then there's the actual mold, which we managed to change. But one of the big challenges with the first version is it only has a 20 second warmup. So, in 20 seconds, the device has to warmup, calibrate, and warmup the sensor. It's a big challenge and we really had to push it and just invest a lot in the new devices to make them able to warmup and do all of that in just 20 seconds because it's quite fast. Usually, you'll see at least 60 seconds I think, the closest other device in terms of the warmup and calibration, unless there's something new out there that I don't know about, but it's a very fast calibration.

So, yeah, it takes a lot of different components and just the trial and error. It is just so time consuming because I can't tell you how many devices I would test. I'd be like, “No, it was working until this and then it's not as accurate here.” So, figuring out, well, what's the next step? Do we do a new airway? Do we do a new sensor? Do we do-- it's just a lot of coordination of different things. It's the most fun thing [laughs] I've ever worked on by far. So, it's definitely a joy, even though it's very time consuming.

Melanie Avalon: That's amazing. It's just going to be so helpful for people. Oh, my goodness.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, I think it's going to be very motivational for people. That's really what I want for someone who's either been doing fasting for a long time or they're just starting out and they're blowing into it and seeing every few hours the numbers are going up. That's super motivational. I think people would be able to do that with the blood, but it's just so expensive and painful to test like three or four times a day. So, this, I think, can be a motivational tool for people where they're like, “Oh, maybe I'll do another hour and see how high my ketones go” or just to motivate people to practice time-restricted eating. Then my favorite part about it is trying different patterns and trying different things. I was telling you when one of my listeners did the ice bath and their ketones doubled the next day, and then I did it too and mine doubled. 

So, there's really interesting dynamics, because sometimes you can have really high blood ketones and then do a workout and then you test again and they've dropped to like zero. But if you test your breath, they don't go down because you are using those ketones, a high uptake of them that you won't see them anymore in your blood, but you'll still see them in the breath. So, it's a really cool tool I think that will also be motivational for people and that's a lot of feedback that I get is it helps keep me on track. That's how I discovered that, “Oh, breakfast and dinner really work well for me, especially when I'm traveling or staying at a resort or something.” And I don't want to go off the rails, but I could see that having a super early breakfast and fasting until dinner is 9, 10 hours. That got me really high ketones, too. Doing a fasted workout really drives my breath ketones up, whereas on the blood you wouldn't see it as much. So, I think it's definitely a great tool for experimenting and trying all kinds of different things, higher protein, lower protein, higher carb, lower carb. Well, you're not really supposed to use carbs with, it [laughs] no because carbs produce a lot of CO2 and also breath gases when people eat carbs and then the gut bacteria ferment the carbs, we produce methane and CO2 and all kinds of breath gases that really mess with the sensor.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, wait, wait that's interesting. Like me, I eat a really high-carb diet at night.

Vanessa Spina: So, you could use it in the morning when you wake up and all throughout the day until right before you have your first meal. But you don't want to do it after you eat because then the numbers will be conflated with the breath gases like the Co2 and the methane. You never want to use it after brushing your teeth or having alcohol. So, if you have wine, you'll see the numbers will go through the roof because the alcohol has a similar molecular shape to acetone, ethanol does. So yeah, there're a few things that you can't do with, but people who do high carb and do time-restricted eating or intermittent fasting can use the tone as long as you're only testing in the fasted state or at least say you have breakfast and lunch. Then you could wait four or five hours and you could test when you go back in the fasted state.

But that's why it's a tool that people can use. But if you are doing carbs above 20 g, then not after you eat. Because then, yeah, I had one person who was blowing like these crazy numbers and I was like, “What are you eating?” And she's like, “I'm eating low carb with all this cabbage.” I looked it up and there's this sugar in cabbage and some vegetables called-

Melanie Avalon: Do you know what it is?

Vanessa Spina: raffinose.

Melanie Avalon: Okay, I think I've heard of that, yeah.

Vanessa Spina: And it makes you blow like crazy amounts high, what the tone thinks is acetone. So, it would blow 60, 70. So, some carbs just have certain sugars in them or it's just the fermentation process in the gut that's causing that or it's the CO2, because that's what-- I think there's a lumen. It's mostly measuring the CO2 on the breath. That's because carbs produce the most CO2, whereas fat doesn't.

Melanie Avalon: Wow. Yeah, I've seen anecdotally I don't remember who was talking about it. At some point, I saw something about somebody getting pulled over and testing positive on breath analyzers for alcohol when it was really being in ketosis.

Vanessa Spina: Yes, it's totally happened to people. But yeah, if you do a blood alcohol test, you'll be fine. You can prove it. But if you blow into a breath alcohol meter and you're in deep ketosis, it'll set it off for sure.

Melanie Avalon: It's also interesting. I remember it was, I think when Dom D'Agostino was on Peter Attia or something. And that's when I first learned what you mentioned earlier about how the breath acetone-- Does it always or typically comes from burned fat?

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, it comes directly from your fat. So, your body, when it goes into ketosis, it creates ketones, as you know, in the liver, and it creates beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate, which are interchangeable forms, but one spontaneously will turn into the other depending on if it's needed. Because BHB is more the storage form as you know, acetoacetate is more the ready to use form. So, it can interconvert between those two forms. But as it interconverts and it turns into acetoacetate, about 15% to 20% of that ketone turns into acetone. It's small enough that it'll diffuse through the airways. So, it's really amazing because like I was saying, if you had high ketones and then you did a workout and then your body used those ketones and your muscles used those ketones and your brain used those ketones, then when you test, you're not going to see much left over in the blood, but you're always going to have that proxy and those molecules of acetone are coming from your fat. It's one of my favorite things and one of my favorite quotes of Dom's. I actually have a reel on my Instagram of him just saying that, “Like the carbons--”

Melanie Avalon: Oh, really? 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, he's like, “the carbons that you're measuring on the breath acetone are coming directly from your fat.” [laughs] And he's like, “You're at your highest rate of fat burning, essentially when you're in ketosis.” So, yeah, I think it's just such a cool thing to be able to breathe your fat and measure it.

Melanie Avalon: That's so cool. I have three thoughts. One's just a really quick tangent. Somebody commented something on my Instagram the other day, and it is haunting me, haunting me, relates to Dom. They said they found me through Dom's podcast, which I'm like, “Did he mention us or me on his show?”

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, maybe he did.

Melanie Avalon:  So, I commented back. I was like, “Oh, when Dom was on my podcast?”, but the person never answered. But I don't think they would mean that because how would they find--? Well, they could have, 

Vanessa Spina: But yeah, he launched a new podcast, so he probably mentioned you or something.

Melanie Avalon: I'm going to have to go listen to every episode, [laughs] I need to find it.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, you're like, “DMing him, like, “Hey, did you talk about me?” [laughs] Did you mention me?”

Melanie Avalon: Well, I tagged him in the comment when I commented back, but yeah, the comment actually wasn't very supportive. But that's fine, [laughs] turn that ship around.

Vanessa Spina: [laughs] Now I want to know what it was.

Melanie Avalon: He said, “I was too skinny.”

Vanessa Spina: Oh, and they also found you through Dom's podcast.

Melanie Avalon: They found me through Dom's podcast, but I'm too skinny. [laughs] Thanks for seeking me out and telling me that. So, the things we deal with, I would love to try it because I wonder if I get into ketosis at all. I don't know if I do.

Vanessa Spina: You're one of the first people I'm sending it to. [laughs] I've been waiting to send it to you for so long, and I knew for-- I don't know, a year and a half ago. I was like, “I'm going to send you the second generation when it's out,” because I knew that it would be more practical for the intraday use for you, because I know you were not doing strict keto. If you were, then you could use it anytime, but yeah.

Melanie Avalon: I think that was one of our first conversations way back in the day.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, probably.

Melanie Avalon: You were like, “I want to send it to you”, but I want to wait for the next one. Yeah, this has been a long time coming. This is exciting. I really do wonder though. I think that'll be really interesting to share with listeners because as listeners know, I eat pounds and pounds of fruit every night.

Vanessa Spina: So, what's your morning blood glucose? I'm just curious.

Melanie Avalon: It's usually, I always do get a dawn effect, but typically what I've seen on the CGM when I wake up, depending on when I look at the CGM and the dawn effect and everything, the dawn effect will actually make it go to like 115 or something for a spike and then it'll be 90s and then it goes down all day, 80s. After I do cryo, then it really starts going down in the evening-- So, when I really feel like I'm in my zone fasting, it's usually in the 80s. It used to be in the 70s, but now it's usually in the 80s and then when I eat especially, I noticed a huge difference when I started taking my berberine. Like I said, I was not expecting it to have that profound of a difference. But now when I eat, even with my meal, that will have probably 150 or 200 g of carbs from fruit, maybe it doesn't usually go above 120 and then it comes back down and then it keeps going down. The worst blood sugar regulation is really in the morning period up until afternoon.

Vanessa Spina: That's interesting because you wear CGM, so you can tell that it is the dawn effect. It's not like something else because mine was in the 80s for the longest time and then I just close my eating window. I know it doesn't apply to you because you eat late, but I close my eating window like around 7, 7:30 and now it's in the 70s. Sometimes it's in the 70s, low 70s every single day for months now. That was the main thing.

Melanie Avalon: So, flatline 70s.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, it's always low 70s. But I don't know if I have a dawn effect, I have to put one of those NutriSense CGMs on. I literally can't wait to postpartum to put it on because that's when it's going to be super helpful for me. Obviously, not the few weeks right after I give birth, but postpartum when I'm ready to focus on my metabolic health again and focus on my fitness and all that. It's going to be such an amazing tool and I think could be such an amazing tool for anyone who wants to focus on their fitness because I'm staying as fit as I can while I'm pregnant. But I think postpartum it could be a really good tool for that when you're sort of getting back on track with things.

Melanie Avalon: I truly think if everybody on the planet did just one round for two weeks, I think it would have a profound effect on people's life choices.

Vanessa Spina: I remember listening to-- you probably heard this episode with Dr. Peter Attia, maybe it was a couple years ago and he was experimenting with one and he was just talking about all the things that he was like, “I can't believe this did it to me and this spiked my blood sugar and this--.” I was like, “Well, duh, that did.” But there're always things that affect people differently. They've done studies where they'll show one person's response to banana is crazy and another person's is like nothing. So, those are things I want to learn because I'm like, “Hey, if I can have of an unripe green banana, [laughs] I would love that if it doesn't really affect my blood sugar.” There are so many things you can learn and then there's always going to be things that surprise you where you're like, “I never would have thought that that was doing it,” but it was some ingredient in your almond milk or something that you just don't know, is there? Yeah, it's such an incredible tool.

Melanie Avalon: I love seeing how I react to alcohol and wine. That's always really interesting. I love seeing how I react to like if I have either in the moment with the alcohol and wine or drinking more earlier on a night I go out, how that affects it later. I did have a night, the other night when I was wearing it, where I did just eat all meat and it was a flatline. I was like, “Oh, that is interesting.” I was like, “Maybe I should do like a round of carnivore and just have flatlines all the time for a little bit,” just for fun.

Vanessa Spina: That's when I was wearing it last time and it was so funny because it was a flatline. I was like, “This is really not giving me useful information right now, because it was always 80 something. It was always 82, 83, 84, 85.” It's amazing, though, because you learn that protein really is broken down over four or 5 hours, and that's one of the reasons it's so amazing for you. It does improve your blood glucose and it does improve your insulin and you can see it in real time. But, yeah, when I did it, I was carnivore and I was like, “Going to get any action here? What's going on?” [laughs] Like I'm always the same number. I remember there were a couple of people, Dr. Jaime Seeman, she was laughing about my post. I said, “It was just like a flatline.” So, yeah, it was not that exciting. But I can only imagine what-- some people's look if they're doing high carb or processed high carb all throughout the day or eating, starting off the day with some cereal and orange juice. [laughs] You could learn so much.

Melanie Avalon: Two things. One, some people I'd be curious, I bet some people on carnivore who are also really-- I could see how some people, either on higher protein carnivore or given their exercise and stress, I'd be curious, they might see spikes. That would be interesting totally.

Vanessa Spina: Well, we got a question on I did an interview with Dr. Don Layman. He's one of the most incredible protein scientists in the world and one of my favorite guests. 

Melanie Avalon: What did he discover? He discovered--

Vanessa Spina: He discovered the leucine threshold. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Vanessa Spina: He's really incredible. And a lot of other things. Like, he mentored Dr. Gabrielle Lyon. They came up with the muscle centric fitness concept, but his lab came up with so many different things, the 30 g of protein at a meal concept.

Melanie Avalon: That's him. 

Vanessa Spina: That's all him, so many things came out of his lab. It's super interesting and he believes one of my favorite things is that thermic effect of protein, that extra calorie burn we get from eating protein is because of the ATP being used for muscle-protein synthesis. He's just such an incredible scientist. Yeah. So, one of our listeners wrote in and she said that her husband was getting really crazy blood glucose spikes on carnivore and they're using a CGM to monitor. She's like, “He doesn't eat a single carb. Why is his blood sugar going through the roof?” Dr. Layman was just, “I don't know how to answer this and I honestly don't know.” I was like, “It makes me think of Dr. Ted Naiman.” He always says like, “Fat can also cause diabetes, too much fat.” What if it's the fat? What if he's eating really fatty cuts of meat, just only ribeyes and super high fat that that's what's causing it. Neither of us knew, but I was like, it'd be interesting, right? if it's the fat that could do it because your body is at some kind of energy toxicity and then it's converting all the protein into glucose and then creating this weird after effect that could give you diabetes. I don't know. [chuckles] 

Melanie Avalon: Well, that's what the vegan community is really big on, how the saturated fat literally affects the insulin receptors on our cells negatively.

Vanessa Spina: But it's so weird because we make saturated fat.

Melanie Avalon: We make it. Yes, but I guess when we're inundated in it or if we take in too much that's because I'm prepping right now. I think I said to interview Dr. Kahn, Dr. Joel Kahn-

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, that's right, that’s right. 

Melanie Avalon: -on Friday. I'm relistening to his interview on Rogan with Chris Kresser. So, he has a chapter or a section in there. So, I was just reading about it and he talks about how the saturated fat literally affects the insulin receptors and can make you insulin resistance, which I can completely see in the context of a carb diet, but in the context of no carbs. I guess what you just said, if your liver is producing more glucose from protein and then the fat is creating that with the receptors, I guess you could get in a state. I don't know I am not-- This is not my forte.

Vanessa Spina: I really want to know from her if-- and I'm going to follow up with her because she asked the question in our Facebook group for my podcast. I really want to follow up and see what if he did a lean protein carnivore? I wonder if it would change things, because people always assume it's the high protein, but it could be the high protein plus the high fat. And it's just so interesting because Dr. Layman was also saying there're so many studies done where the results that they get are just because people are just eating too many calories in general, too much carb, too much fat. Then they're blaming the protein levels, whereas the protein is like helping improve your blood sugar and insulin. It's the other stuff. It's the fuel macros or so.

Melanie Avalon: I mean, like I said, I’m really excited to interview Dr. Kahn because I think I'm such a good example of-- I know I'm N of 1, but I eat super super high protein and animal protein, very high. I mean, higher than most people definitely in my category and then really really high fruit. I don't have these blood sugar issues and my cholesterol is like plummeting. So, it just makes you question things [giggles].

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, I'm definitely going to listen to that one.

Melanie Avalon: I am excited. Well, and for listeners, I don't think we even said what a CGM is, but if they're not familiar it's a continuous glucose monitor. It's a sensor that you put onto your arm. It is painless to apply I promise and then it monitors your blood sugar via your interstitial fluid continuously for two weeks. We love NutriSense. You can get $30 off at So, the coupon code is IFPODCAST, that will get you $30 off. You do save money if you get a subscription. So, if you think you're going to be doing it more long term, we definitely recommend that route, otherwise do the two weeks. You also get a free month of nutritionist support, so you can actually chat with somebody in the app and they'll help you make sense of all the data. So, it's super cool. How can people learn more about your new Tone device?

Vanessa Spina: Oh, thank you for asking. I actually am doing a launch for it with a very special launch discount. And you can go and sign up for the list. And you'll receive that launch discount when they are out. And you'll also find out when they're available to order. But yeah, it's going to be in a couple of months, so it's coming soon. I'm very excited. 

Melanie Avalon: I am so excited for you. I imagine how many molds have you made? They're very pricey, aren't they?

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, and it's so funny because I literally have them. I'm in my office right now and there're Tone devices everywhere in our house. Almost every drawer you open, there's a Tone device. It's like Easter. It's like Easter eggs. [laughs] I'm like, “How is there one in this sock drawer? There's one in here, there's one in Luca's drawer. They just pop out everywhere and I don't know what to do with them. I label them which version they are and stuff. I almost just want to keep them all, put them in a glass case or something. [laughs] They are coming out of our ears here. There's just so many. But yeah, it's worth it because I think the new version is going to be just so cool. And that's the most fun part for me. The last note I want to say on this is, it's the most fun part for me is when people actually get them and they're using them and they're tagging me in their stories and they're like, “Look at my ketones today,” and I did a fasted workout and check this out. 

And as a community, I get to just interact so much with everyone. And it's the part I'm the most excited about. I know I'm sure you feel that way too when you get feedback from someone who's saying, “The berberine is like a game changer or whatever, it just makes your whole month.” It just makes you so happy. You're like, “This is why I enjoy doing this stuff.” It affects people in ways that make them happy. And when they love the stuff that you create, it just makes you feel like all warm and fuzzy inside. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: It's so fulfilling. I do the same thing with the supplement bottles. I had a moment the other day because I've embraced this new mantra and I say it in my head every night, throw away something every day. So, throw away every day. I'm trying to very slowly just cleanse my physical space, get rid of stuff. The thing I threw away the other day was I had the first glass bottle from the supplement line, but it wasn't even labeled. It's literally just a glass bottle. And I was like, “This has just got to go. I do not need this. I don't need to keep this,” but I want to keep all the bottles and everything.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, I think it's special to keep it. 

Melanie Avalon: Well, I threw it away, but [laughs] I have the ones with the labels still.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, got to put them in a glass case.

Melanie Avalon: It was when Scott sent me just a glass bottle that we're going to use for the glass bottles, it was that glass bottle. But I was like, “I don't actually need this on my shelf.”

Vanessa Spina: Right? Yeah, that makes sense.

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. I'm just going to throw one really quick link since we're talking about all the things. I am launching my EMF blocking product line. So, more information on that. We're starting with air tubes. Friends, please don't wear Bluetooth AirPods. I just shudder, I shudder, I shudder. But in any case, you can get more information for the launch special at So, get on that for sure. Shall we answer some listener questions? 

Vanessa Spina: I would love to.

Melanie Avalon: Okay, so I'm going to read two questions because they sort of go together and these are both from Facebook. So, the first one is from Nikki. She says, “I like to do a couple 24-hour fasts per week. I usually break these fasts around dinner. The goal of the fasting is fat loss, but I do still want to preserve lean muscle. On the other days, I typically get around 115 to 130 g of protein. Should I make sure I get 100 plus grams of protein on my two fasting days even though I have an eating window of two to three hours on those days? It's difficult to get that much in a short window. And I'm not sure how beneficial it is in one sitting. Could or should I make up for it by increasing my protein intake on the other days.” Then related to that is from Nancy and she said, “How can I possibly get 120 g of protein daily when I typically fast 20:4?” So, she's doing something sort of similar. They're both struggling to get all the protein. What are your thoughts, Vanessa? 

Vanessa Spina: I love both these questions. For me, I need to answer them separately because it's two different things, but they're kind of fun, especially to Nancy's creative ways to get the protein in, I'm all about that. So, in terms of Nikki's question, it's such a great question. So, the goal is fat loss, but wanting to make sure you preserve your lean muscle, which is key for your metabolism and maintaining as much lean body mass as possible for your body recomp. I wouldn't be concerned about only getting-- you're saying on the other days that you're getting 115 to 130 g. I wouldn't be too concerned with getting over 100 g of protein on your two fasting days. I don't think it's that necessary. I think you just focus on getting it on your eating days to get that 115 to 130. It's definitely like that 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, I think is great when you're doing body recomposition. But if you are also doing fat loss and you're practicing fasting, that's how you're also ramping up the fat loss is through that caloric control. So, I don't think that you need as much. If you're fasting, you're probably getting into some light ketosis. Ketones have a muscle-sparing effect, so I wouldn't worry about having to hit 100 g of protein each day. That might just make you uncomfortable trying to do it with less meals. So, that's my opinion on the first one. As far as Nancy's, “How can I possibly get 120 g of protein daily when you are fasting 20:4.” So, you're doing one meal a day. 

So, I have two different diverging thoughts on this. The first is, do you necessarily need to get 120 g of protein? I would question that first, and I don't have all the information on why you're consuming that much and what your goals are. But say you're doing 120 g of protein because you're targeting around 1 g of protein per pound of body weight or ideal body weight, and you want to get the optimal amount of protein in to preserve your lean muscle mass while doing body recomposition. I would say target as much protein as possible till you're getting those satiety effects. You need at least 30 g of protein per meal. I don't know if you are able to, but if you're able to have two meals in that 4-hour eating window, if you're having, say, either a dinner and then waiting a couple of hours and having a protein shake, you can definitely fit in a couple of meals, and you can definitely get at least 30 g of protein at each of those meals, which will mean you'll get at least 3 g of leucine, as long as you're doing high quality protein. 

If you're doing plant-based protein, you probably need a little bit more 35 g as a target but if you're getting at least 3 g of leucine at two meals in your eating window, then you're going to be more than fine in terms of preserving your lean mass and your muscle. I know that having a 4-hour eating window doesn't give you that many meal opportunities, but I would definitely try to break it up in that 4 hours so you have at least two opportunities where you are triggering muscle protein synthesis as opposed to just one meal where you're having like 100 to 120 g of protein. Now the other thing is, I myself tend to do a similar eating window. I change it up. Sometimes, I'm doing breakfast early early in the day. I was just doing that for the past week. Then I'll have a dinner about nine to 10 hours later.

So, I go back in the fasted state. But I have come up with so many different creative ways to get in as much protein as possible. So, I have turned different aspects of the meal into protein opportunities. So, the main proteins that I have at my meal, whether that's chicken or beef or fish. But then, I use nonfat yogurt to make a lot of sauces. So, there're so many amazing sauces you can make with yogurt. You can make tzatziki if you're doing kebabs or if you're doing a yogurt marinade. I make salad dressings with it that I'll have with my protein and with some salad. So, like honey mustard is super easy to make with some yogurt in there. Sometimes, I'll make like a tuna salad and I'll use high protein yogurt, which is like lower fat yogurt instead of mayo. And I also do a couple of other things. I make protein bread. So, I make this three to four times a week and I make a couple of loaves of protein bread. It's a bread, you may have heard of.

Melanie Avalon: It is a cloud bread?

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, so it's often called cloud bread. The version that I make is Maria Emmerich's recipe and its liquid egg whites and powdered egg whites blended together in a stand mixer and then you put it in the oven for about 30 to 40 minutes and it's delicious. It's the protein wonder bread. I use it in so many different meals. I make sandwiches with it. Sometimes, I'll do like a tortilla soup or like tomato soup and I'll use the bread to dip in it. I'll make protein churros with it with sweetened yogurt. There're just so many amazing things that you can do with it. 

Of course, toast with eggs and all that or just for breakfast, I'll have the protein bread and then cream cheese with lox, tomatoes, and capers. It's a lox bagel. There're just so many things that you can do with it and so that's another way that you're getting more protein in. Then, there's the sweet dessert options. You can make a protein shake using-- I like to use whey protein or egg protein and I usually do that either a couple of hours after my dinner or sometimes it's like closer to dinner if I haven't had as much protein with the dinner. But I do almond milk, frozen berries, ice, and whey protein and blend it up and tastes absolutely amazing. So, I'm hitting the protein at every step of the way and every aspect of the meal has some protein in it.

And sometimes, I think at first when you're starting to prioritize protein more, it seems overwhelming. Like, “How can I get this many grams of protein in one day?” But when you start using these different yogurts, different protein bread, different things to incorporate into the meal, it seamlessly becomes a lifestyle over time. Then you're like, “Gosh, my meals are just so incredibly satiating, so satisfying.” The biggest issue I have is I get so full, it's hard for me to sometimes have another meal because every component of my meal is protein related. So, the first part of the answer was like, do you necessarily need to get 120 g? But if you want to, there're a lot of creative ways and even not 120 g, hitting around 100, you can easily do it if you're getting a bit creative. What do you think, Melanie? 

Melanie Avalon: That was so helpful. Thank you so much. That was so impressive. That was like, so many great suggestions because I eat the same thing every single night, so I'm not much help. So, [laughs] it's really helpful to hear all of these options. Thank you. I'm thanking you from the listeners. Thank you. Some of the thoughts I had, so really interesting. I was really really curious what you're going to say about the 100 g of protein, especially because I'm reading Dr. Gabrielle Lyon's book right now and she's very adamant about 100 g every day. I'm like, “Oh, this seems very important.” So, you diverge a little bit in your thinking on that.

Vanessa Spina: Well, because if you're not doing time-restricted eating, you're not getting into any light ketosis. But I know our listeners are mostly practicing intermittent fasting or fasting. As Nikki was saying, “She's doing fasting.” So, because she's doing fasting of 24 hours twice a week, she's definitely getting into ketosis. So, she doesn't have to worry about getting that same amount of protein on those days because the ketones are providing that muscle protective aspect. But if she wasn't fasting and you are trying to optimize muscle growth, muscle gains, you want to get as many opportunities in the day to trigger muscle protein synthesis. And for most people, that's three meals a day, 30 g at each meal. I know that's what Gabrielle recommends and that's like 90 g to 100 g of protein a day. And that's a great target I think for the average person who tends to eat three square meals, but for people who do fasting, it's a little bit different. Especially with two 24 hours fasts, you're definitely getting into ketosis and those ketones will help protect your muscle.

Melanie Avalon: I can't wait to talk to her about it when I interview her, because she didn't-- I don't think because I'm almost done with the book and I don't think she has said anywhere I could be wrong. I don't think she said anywhere that fasting would indicate that maybe you could have less protein. Interestingly, she does say there are studies on exercise and maybe creating a muscle preserving effect. So, it's what you just said, but it's on the exercise front.

Vanessa Spina:  Right, right. Yeah, because you're sending a signal with resistance training to preserve.

Melanie Avalon:  Because I read that and I was like, “Oh, that's kind of like with fasting,” where we're upregulating human growth hormone and we're like creating this state where the muscles are basically primed. That's what she said. It was something about how-- I'd have to find the exact quote, but it was something about how when the muscles are really primed from exercise, then they can soak up those amino acids really well. I'm using very casual terminology, but basically you might not need quite as much because it's so efficient at grabbing what's there. And I feel that's a similar situation that's created from fasting. 

Vanessa Spina: Yes. For people who are over the age of 40 and really concerned about keeping as much of that lean mass as possible, I definitely recommend doing that kind of exercise-- resistance training when you're fasting, because you want to send that signal, we need these muscles, we need to hold on to them and not catabolize them. And then when you break your fast, of course, make sure that meal has all the protein in it. But I think that we are really integrating a lot of these concepts. Well, I can see from your community, this community, my community, and others, that people are really getting this information, putting it into practice, noticing huge amelioration or difference in their body composition. It's relatively recent that we've really started talking about protein, really focusing in on it. Unless you've been in the bodybuilding world for years, then you probably know some of these concepts a little bit more. 

But I really feel like this information has kind of been in that space, like the physique competitors, the bodybuilders or the science labs, and now it's reaching so many people. Thanks to advocates like Dr. Gabrielle Lyon. I just love getting questions like this because it's like, yes, we know how much protein to get, and we know how important it is, and we just want to know the best way to do it.

Melanie Avalon: I know. I love it so much. My suggestion that I'll add to your-- because you gave so many incredible suggestions about what to add. So, the thing I'll give as a piece of advice is maybe focusing on what not to have. What I mean by that is really leading with protein rather than having a super high fat, high protein meal because that might really fill you up. So, for me, when I eat, and again, I eat very similarly, it's always just really really high amounts of animal protein, like fish, chicken, steak, and I eat a lot of cucumbers and fruit. So, I'm not prescribing that because I know it's super weird and it's like what I love. I basically lead with protein. So, my hunger is being initially addressed with protein rather than with fat per se. Even with the carbs, I eat those as like my dessert. So maybe not letting focusing on the protein and not adding a lot that might prematurely increase your satiety. That would be my suggestion. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. That's great. I think that's what Ori Hofmekler always says to you right. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, yeah, we have to try to get him back on this show. We should have him and Dom and all the people.

Vanessa Spina: Both of those would be so much [unintelligible 00:53:12]. But Ori would be like a dream.

Melanie Avalon: Okay, I'm going to reach out to Ori. I'm writing that down right now. Ori, O-R-I and I have the thing I can use as the moment. Remember how I said his nephew is my sister's--

Vanessa Spina: Totally. Yeah. 

Melanie Avalon: And what about protein powders? So, when people have your upcoming protein powder coming out, how much protein will that add for them? 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. So, what's amazing about it? Scott and I have talked a little bit about the formulation, but because we've optimized it based on the science of leucine and muscle protein synthesis, you only need one scoop, which is about 15 g of protein. But because we've added in the leucine, you'll still trigger muscle protein synthesis, but without having to take these giant scoops of protein, which, as you were just saying, with regards to fullness, can make people feel super full or bloated, if it's not a high-quality protein, if it's whey protein concentrate or different blends, whey protein isolate, moderate amount. I only take one small scoop and it's great because I can have that an hour or two after dinner and I'm still not going to bed, feeling super full. I would never even think of doing that if I was using a traditional protein powder where you have to have these mega scoops just be digesting that for so long. I don't think it would be comfortable to go to bed with a full stomach like that.

Melanie Avalon: I love going to bed with a full stomach.

Vanessa Spina: I mean, like overly full when you're just like--

Melanie Avalon: No, true.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. 

Melanie Avalon: How can people get on the list so they don't miss your launch special for that?

Vanessa Spina: Yes, the other other Tone, You can sign up to get that launch discount and be the first to know when it's out. It's going to be the biggest discount ever offered on Tone Protein, and it'll be out in a couple of months, so you can stay tuned on it and just sign up with your name and email But thank you for asking me.

Melanie Avalon: No, of course. That just made me think really quick. Speaking of the naming thing, because I have AvalonX supplements and with my EMF line, I was like, “Do I use the same name? What do I do?” It's like a whole thing, like a big decision. I'm keeping it. I basically have AvalonX supplements and then my AvalonX. I have AvalonX powered by MD Logic for the supplements and AvalonX powered by SYB for my EMF line. But it was a big moment decision. Did you have that moment decision of calling it the same thing?

Vanessa Spina: I felt like it just made sense from the beginning because Tone, I created it because ketones and wanting to get toned. And for me, the Tone Lux just made sense because it's like somehow related to the mitochondria. But Tone Protein was, like, I always wanted to call it that because you're getting toned and it all connects back to that. But I think it's great to have one consistent brand across different things. So, I'm glad you're keeping AvalonX. I think it's such a great name. 

Melanie Avalon: Love it. Awesome. Well, this has been so fun. Great palindrome episode 333. For listeners If you would like to submit your own questions for the show, you can directly email or you can go to and you can submit questions there or you can ask in my Facebook group IF Biohackers Intermittent Fasting plus Real Foods plus Life and you can follow us on Instagram. We are @ifpodcast, I am @melanieavalon, Vanessa is @ketogenicgirl. I think that's all the things. So yeah, this has been super fun. Anything from you before we go?

Vanessa Spina: I had so much fun and I'm super excited to record the next one with you.

Melanie Avalon: Me too. I will talk to you next week. 

Vanessa Spina: Sounds good.

Melanie Avalon: Bye.

Vanessa Spina: Bye.

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

[Transcript provided by SpeechDocs Podcast Transcription]


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

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Aug 27

Episode 332: Special Guest Barry Conrad, Allergies, Food Fear, IF & Social Norms, High Protein Diets, Value Alignment & Lifestyle, And More!

Intermittent Fasting

Welcome to Episode 332 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, hosted by Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine and Vanessa Spina, author of Keto Essentials: 150 Ketogenic Recipes to Revitalize, Heal, and Shed Weight.

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

LMNT: For Fasting Or Low-Carb Diets Electrolytes Are Key For Relieving Hunger, Cramps, Headaches, Tiredness, And Dizziness. With No Sugar, Artificial Ingredients, Coloring, And Only 2 Grams Of Carbs Per Packet, Try LMNT For Complete And Total Hydration. For A Limited Time Go To To Get A FREE Sample Pack With Any Purchase!

NUTRISENSE: Get Your Own Personal Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) To See How Your Blood Sugar Responds 24/7 To Your Food, Fasting, And Exercise! The Nutrisense CGM Program Helps You Interpret The Data And Take Charge Of Your Metabolic Health! Get $30 Off A CGM Program And 1 Month Of Free Nutritionist Support At With The Code IFPODCAST!

TONE DEVICE: Introducing The Brand New Second Generation Tone Device! If You Practice Regular IF, TRE, Prolonged Fasting And Or Low Carb/Keto, Your Body Makes A Metabolic Switch To Primarily Burning Fat For Fuel! Being Metabolically Flexible Means You Can Readily Tap Into Stored Fat For Energy. With The Tone Device You Simply Breathe Into The Device When Fasting And Receive An Instant Reading On Your Breath Ketones. You May Test An Unlimited Amount Of Times, With One Investment In A Tone. Get On The Exclusive VIP List To Be Notified When The 2nd Generation Is Available To Order And Receive The Launch Discount At!

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


BEAUTYCOUNTER: Keep Your Fast Clean Inside And Out With Safe Skincare! Shop With Us At And Use The Code CLEANFORALL20 For 20% Off, PLUS Something Magical Might Happen After Your First Order! Find Your Perfect Beautycounter Products With Melanie's Quiz: Melanieavalon.Com/Beautycounterquiz

Join Melanie's Facebook Group Clean Beauty And Safe Skincare With Melanie Avalon To Discuss And Learn About All The Things Clean Beauty, Beautycounter And Safe Skincare!

LMNT: For A Limited Time Go To To Get A FREE Sample Pack With Any Purchase! Learn All About Electrolytes In Episode 237 - Our Interview With Robb Wolf!

NUTRISENSE: Get $30 Off A CGM Program And 1 Month Of Free Nutritionist Support At With The Code IFPODCAST!

TONE DEVICE: Get On The Exclusive VIP List To Be Notified When The 2nd Generation Is Available To Order And Receive The Launch Discount At Tonedevice.Com!

Special Guest: Barry Conrad
Link Tree

dealing with Food Fear

Body Dysmorphia

finding intermittent fasting

is it Metabolism?

starting IF

Listener Q&A: Joelle - What are ways to gracefully decline social food events at work? Depending on the person, I don’t always like to mention fasting.

Navigating Social Norms

Body Composition

Listener Q&A: Jill - Can you optimize for fat loss and muscle building at the same time while doing IF?

Listener Q&A: Deanne - Muscle building and needing to eat more protein...

eating high protein

aligning lifestyle with your values

biohacking favorites

2 truths & a lie

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 332 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 Device Breath Ketone Analyzer and Tone LUX Red light therapy panels. For more on us, check out,, and 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 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 332 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon, and I am here with a super special guest. We have a super special episode today for you guys. I'm just so excited. Okay, so the backstory on today's conversation probably, I don't even know now, a few years ago, I'm trying to remember the origin story of this. There's this fabulous human being named Barry Conrad who is here right now, and we were following each other on Instagram. Barry was actually a listener of the show, correct? That's how you found me through this show? 

Barry Conrad: Yep. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay. Yes. So, we have a listener here, and so I feel like, we’ve interacted a little bit on Instagram, and then I think we started actually talking because I was so perplexed, because this man looks very young, and he is young. [laughs] 

Barry Conrad: Can we not-- [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: Basically, I was curious about your age, and I think that's how we started actually talking. It turns out that he is an intermittent faster as well. Well, we can talk about the actual style of intermittent fasting that you do, but this man is so inspiring. He's doing so many cool, incredible things. I thought it would be an amazing conversation to have, a motivational conversation, to see what it looks like to have a really high functioning career, doing all the things, being an amazing physique, and also super appreciating food and doing all the things with fasting. So, I thought listeners would really enjoy this conversation. 

So, a little bit about Barry. And I will ask you about your personal story. So, I'm sure you'll touch on some of this, but he's done stuff with music, acting, and theater. This is actually ironic. So, was Fox's Power Rangers Ninja Storm your first big thing? 

Barry Conrad: Yeah, it was. Well, first of all, thank you so much for having, Melanie. It's crazy, it's surreal, because I started listening to your show. I just finished a show, and I stumbled on-- I've just typed "intermittent fasting" in Spotify. The show that you had with Gin when she was still on it came up and then I just started binging it, and that's how I found you. I was like, "This is really interesting." And then I think maybe shouted out the show on Instagram and then we started going back and forth. I don't know. I think that's the origin story. To answer your question, yeah, it was the first big deal situation to me doing Power Rangers. But the funny thing with that was, I was a huge fan of the show as a kid, so it was pretty surreal as well as I am on the set of a Power Rangers show, that was amazing. 

Melanie Avalon: The crazy ironic thing about it is we've had one other actor on this show and he was in Power Rangers. 

Barry Conrad:  Mm-hmm.

Melanie Avalon: What are the odds? 

Barry Conrad: That is actually weird. 

Melanie Avalon: Isn't that weird? 

Barry Conrad: Is that just a vibe that you give up like you attract?

Melanie Avalon: I guess like if intermittent fasting Power Rangers like-- [laughs] It's pretty telling. It's pretty telling how powerful it can be. So, Power Rangers and then you were in your first feature film, the number one box office hit, The Sapphires, and then you've been on stage, and Violet, which is a broadway hit. Hairspray, Grease, Beautiful, The Carole King Musical, Matilda. And then you originated the role of Kane Jones on Australia's longest running TV drama series, Neighbours. And then most recently, you have your web series Banter with BC, first of all, it's super awesome. Congrats. Are you producing it? Was that all your brainchild? 

Barry Conrad: Yeah. Thank you so much. Yeah, well, I was at lost for a new idea. What else can I post? Because, as you know, social media is such a huge part of what we do. I thought, what is interesting other than just, here's another event, here's another set, here's another shirtless photo, here's whatever it is. And so, I thought, "You know what? What do I enjoy doing?" Connecting with people and food. So, I just thought, let me just get someone. Let's have lunch, talk, and film it. And it just got traction from there. But it didn't start, as like, a business venture. It just started as something I'm passionate about, but now it's actually grown into something that is getting press and we're looking at expanding it. So, it's really exciting. 

Melanie Avalon: I love that. That's actually similar to this show. We started it as something fun to do and it was a passion project, and here we are now.  If listeners should not pick up on this, you banter with people. So, it's like an interview style show while having a full meal at a restaurant, because we got to love food around here. 

Barry Conrad:  We do. I have to say, though, Melanie, I haven't had scallops yet, so that's something that we need to add to one of the episodes is like a shout out to you. 

Melanie Avalon: Speaking of scallops, one thing I learned on your show, and I have learned more about since then, is that you used to have a shellfish allergy. Is that correct? 

Barry Conrad: Yeah. Good pickup, by the way. 

Melanie Avalon: Thank you. What I found fascinating about this, and I would actually love to talk a little bit about this. So, you liked it so much that you kept eating it, eating shellfish through allergic symptoms, and now you're no longer allergic. 

Barry Conrad: Is that weird? 

Melanie Avalon: It's awesome. I'm just wondering-- were you severely allergic and then you just stopped being allergic? 

Barry Conrad: It was really a situation. For example, I was in Houston one year, and I just had a couple of some shrimp, for example, and my face just blew up. I'd get hives, my neck would expand, my eyes would swell up. It was really bad. Like, the symptoms were pretty hectic, but I was so stubborn. I was like, "I'm not giving this up. There's no way. [laughs] It's like going up to a stove knowing that it's going to be hot and keep touching it. But I was not willing to give it up, so I just kept persisting and kept eating it. And now I'm very proud to say that I'm not allergic anymore. I can smash it. 

Melanie Avalon: I'm so fascinated. So, was there a transition? If you remember, did you start reacting less or did you just stop reacting overnight? 

Barry Conrad: It wasn't overnight. Maybe the symptoms started to subside a little bit. My lip would get a little bit itchy. My tongue would get a little bit itchy, but then I wouldn't break out in hives anymore. It did like overtime gradually decrease, but it wasn't overnight. I just ignored it suddenly. I was like, “Nah, keep eating.” 

Melanie Avalon: Well, A, I want to research this more, but I find this really encouraging and motivating because I think so many people have-- well, I'm not saying people who are allergic to things should go eat the allergic things, but in today's culture with food, people have so many sensitivities. I mean, I know, I do. And allergies, and there's a lot of food fear. If there's one thing I've learned about you over the past few years, it's that you are the antithesis of food fear. [laughs] You're very inspiring. 

Barry Conrad: It's hilarious. Maybe I should put that in my bio. The antithesis of food fear. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: No, I think it's so great because I think people-- I mean, I know speaking from experience for me personally, I feel like I react to certain foods and I try to be very careful in what I eat. So, it's very inspiring and liberating to see somebody like you, who you are very health conscious and at the same time you love enjoying the food, and I don't sense any food fear. I mean, you were severely allergic and just kept eating. What are your thoughts on food fear and how do you approach food? Do you have food fear? I might have just made a lot of assumptions. 

Barry Conrad: No. So, food fear, do you mean in the way of, "If I eat this, I'll have a reaction," or do you mean, "If I eat this, I'll gain weight, so I shouldn't eat it?" Or both? 

Melanie Avalon: Both. I think so many people, especially our listeners, are saturated in both. 

Barry Conrad: Okay. So with the first part of that question, not really. Like, I'm pretty game to try any food. Being from South Africa, we were raised a lot of animal protein, but also went camping a lot. So, we catch fish, pick shellfish from the rocks, shellfish. We tried different things. I've had, like, sheep's brains, I've had shark. I've always been adventurous of my taste buds. I'm not sure I would try rodents. That's not really my jam. Just saying. In general, I'm pretty open to trying food. So that's that side of things. In terms of fear of what the food is going to do to me aesthetically, I definitely have had that, for sure. Like, I've had body dysmorphia right after high school. One of my ex-girlfriends got me into modeling, and that set off a massive chain of events in terms of eating disorders. 

I had body dysmorphia big time, and food was definitely something that I'm more controlled, and I wasn't as liberated. Food is more something that I controlled and I wasn't as adventurous because I thought if I had this, I'd get fat or gain weight because an agent once told me, “Perfection is desired, darling, you need to lose some weight.” And that statement still resonates in my mind now. And that was so long ago, but that affected me so much. So, food fear, absolutely. I really struggled with that. But in terms of the allergy side of things, not so much. I'll try pretty much anything. What about you? 

Melanie Avalon: Well, just first of all, to comment on that really quickly, first of all, thank you so much for talking about that because I feel like it’s very women talk about it a lot, but men, it's like not a thing as much to talk about, like body dysmorphia or eating disorders. And I know it's still prevalent. It's not nice to know, but thank you for talking about that. I will answer your question because I know you asked me a question, but how did you deal with that? 

Barry Conrad: You know what? I definitely wouldn't say that I have body dysmorphia anymore. I don't identify as having that anymore. When I do get tired and weary, at times, a thought may come into my mind diet brain, if you want to call it that. But it's very much something that I don't think about anymore. I think it's just overtime and a lot of healing internally, more changing the view of myself and my self-worth. This is going to sound super corny, but my value isn't in what I do, but who I am. So, that really helped to bring myself back to who I was and to not be chained by the title of “Body Dysmorphia.” It was the point where I would lie to people. My friends would say, “Hey, do you want to hang?” I'm like, “Ah, I've got to help my parents with something.” But I'd be home working out and having chicken breast and stuff. So, it was pretty hectic. But now, as you know, I'll eat all the things. Fasting has just brought so much freedom to my life in that way, big time. 

Melanie Avalon: I think what also is hard about it is speaking of being at home and working out and eating a chicken breast, is it's an experience like the diet culture and the working out and all of that that it gives you things you want, so it can be effective, these restrictive diets and being super controlling and so you get what you want from it.  So, it can be compared to an addiction where it's really just negatives from the addiction, like a drug addiction. When you're engaged in this behavior where you're over restricting and dieting and the gym and all of those things, you're getting what you want from it physically, possibly. So, I think that makes it even harder for people to come out of. 

Barry Conrad: Absolutely, because you are getting a result and the more compliments you get or the more you see it changing, it's like, "Oh, well, I better keep on-- more is more." But that's actually not what you should do because then you get caught in a cycle of like you can't jump off that treadmill, pun intended.

Melanie Avalon: Perfect pun, actually, similar to you, because I can answer your question and it relates to all of this. I was always chronically trying all the different diets and feeling really restrictive and similar to you was because of my concern about being on camera and all of that. And then when I found intermittent fasting, I was like, “Oh, this is amazing.” I can actually eat as much as I want and not feel restricted, even though it might look restrictive to other people. It just works so well for me personally. Then also to answer your question, I am still very and I probably do still have food fear and am controlling on what I eat. At the same time, I super love what I eat. So, it's a weird combination. It's not like I would want to be eating other things. I loved what we've talked before [chuckles] about all the things.

Barry Conrad: The scallops and the cucumbers and the–

Melanie Avalon: Scallops and the protein, steak, elk, and lamb.

Barry Conrad:  Is lamb, yeah. That has the different taste. Yeah.

Melanie Avalon: That has a different texture-- an earthy texture, yes. So how did you find intermittent fasting? What made you start it? 

Barry Conrad: I'm trying to find the origin because I was thinking about that leaning in today. And I had done, like, the Body for Life situation, and then I did paleo for a long time, which I loved. I think it was definitely about six or seven years ago now. But I must have googled it or something like that and said, “Oh, you can eat whatever you want.” But it takes the decision fatigue out of eating. And I thought, "You know what? Let me try this and see what happens." It was during the end of Grease, when I did Grease, I think, and at that time, I hadn't been in the gym for two years because of-- well, I had the situation with my lung. There's so much to get into, but I had that, so I couldn't work out. I was doing body weight stuff at home and just more controlling my food. I've never thought, "This sucks, [chuckles] I won’t be able to eat more food." So, trying fasting helped me to do that, and I just binged your show, to be honest. That really educated me for real. No, seriously, that I got so much out of that and different protocols. I started with 19:5, and then I moved to 24, and now I averaged 20-hours a day, every day of fasting. Yeah. 

Melanie Avalon: Although you eat earlier. Well, compared to me. [laughs]. So, wait how does that manifest for you, the 24? 

Barry Conrad: Well, I like to eat later because it's more social. You can go out with your friends, go out, have some wine, have some drinks, have some food. But sometimes schedules don't permit that, so I have to do it earlier, which is fine. I'm not bound by, “Oh, wow, can't eat because I'm fasting.” If there's an occasion, I'll just eat, and then I'll just jump back on again. So that's not really a thing. But for me, it's more like a restaurant type situation where I'll have a glass of wine or two while I cook my main meal. I might snack on something, have the main meal, and then I'm done. I don't typically have dessert, but I usually have the one big meal and maybe some trinkets, they're like snacks, so like chocolate, chips. I really eat a lot. And people would be like, "How are you doing that?" 

I don't actually know because some people have that and they just can't like their bodies will just blow up. But I don't know, maybe it's just the protective effects of fasting. I'm not too sure. You tell me. 

Melanie Avalon: Tell you why it's working? 

Barry Conrad: Yeah, in terms of why, I mean, I have ultra processed food maybe once or twice a week, and it's not too bad. 

Melanie Avalon: Now it's coming back to me some of the things we talked about earlier when we first started talking, because you also were on team like protein high. You eat a lot of protein, right? 

Barry Conrad: High protein. 

Melanie Avalon: I mean, I think that's a huge key, especially right now I'm reading-- Do you follow Dr. Gabrielle Lyon? 

Barry Conrad: I don't. But should I? 

Melanie Avalon: Yes, you would love her. She's all about muscle centric medicine, and she's all about high protein. She has a new book coming out called Forever Strong. I love her. She's amazing. So, I've been really saturated reading her book and the power of a high protein diet. And I've just been thinking more and more. I think if people focused on protein, as like a cornerstone of their meal, I think that would help so much for people with body composition, with satiety, with sustainability. So, I think that could be playing a huge role. I mean, I think for you, you probably do have metabolically-- I don't want to diagnose you, but you probably-- [laughs] here's what's happening from Dr. Melanie. Nope, not at all. That's not what this is. I'm guessing, though, that your metabolism, you probably do well with food, especially if you are doing high protein and fasting, like, it works for you. 

I think a lot of people, when they start intermittent fasting, it's so great because now they can possibly have things, they might not would have been able to have if they were eating in a normal pattern, would make them gain weight or not work for them. But by doing fasting, because of all of these cellular mechanisms that are activated, they're now able to "have their cake and eat it too," no pun intended. 

Barry Conrad: Definitely pun intended. 

Melanie Avalon: Pun intended. Yes. [chuckles]  

Barry Conrad: But for example, can I just say I'm really annoyed with what you just said about the metabolism thing, because a lot of people are like, “Oh, bro, oh, if I was you and you had a good metabolism, I could eat that too,” because that makes me go, “I have to work really hard.” I can't just not exercise. Like, I have to still eat well. I eat well most of the time, but a lot of people just assume, “Oh, you're black and you have a good metabolism," or whatever. You know what I mean? 

Melanie Avalon: No, I'm so glad you said that. Even when I said metabolism, all of these billboard signs flashed in my head about all the assumptions people make about metabolism. I'm so glad that you brought that up to clarify. 

Barry Conrad: [laughs] I'm not calling you out, I'm just calling you out. Is that all right? 

Melanie Avalon: No, it's totally fine. Please, all the calling out. I agree. So, I will clarify. I think, yes, that happens so much, what you just said, where people will be like, "Oh, it's just their metabolism," or something. Wait, that's a line from something. It must be my metabolism or something–

Barry Conrad: Like a film. What is it? 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it's from a movie. Argh. It's going to come to me, in any case. So, I think people use that as a label all the time. And at the same time, there will be people who are not like what you're doing, who aren't exercising, aren't eating healthy and look good on the outside from that. And it probably is their metabolism but it doesn't mean that they're not healthy. 

Barry Conrad: Must be nice. 

Melanie Avalon: I get really worried about what's going on beneath the surface with that situation. So, I think it definitely goes both ways. I guess what I meant by the metabolism with you is that I think there could be another person in your situation eating the same thing, doing the same workouts, and for them, when they have those extra processed foods or whatever, it does, for some reason, land. It does have a negative effects physically. I think there might be some metabolism aspect [laughs] going on. 

Barry Conrad: You don't have to teeter around it. It's fine that you said that. I just had to bring it up because I always roll my eyes at especially like my bros. "Oh, bro, it's just your metabolism.” I'm like, "Can you not diminish my hard work? Thank you very much." 

Melanie Avalon: You work really hard, I will attest to that. 

Barry Conrad: I do think, though, I do think that. I mean, come on, let's be real. There has to be some sort of a genetic advantage, though, like exactly what you're saying, because someone else--

 Melanie Avalon: Genetic advantage. That’s a good phrase. 

Barry Conrad: Because some people could-- yeah, exactly. They could do the same thing, eat the same thing, do the same exercise, and not have the same result. So, you're right in that way. 

Melanie Avalon: Exactly. But it's not all your metabolism. You're doing the intermittent fasting, you're focusing on the protein, you're doing the exercise, and you're living a vibrant life. 

Barry Conrad: Do you think it could be effective like the up-day down-day thing as well? Because maybe, for example, I'll tell you so if I'm going to be on camera and I have some notice so maybe it's on Monday, I'll pretty much stick to very high protein and minimal carbs sort of thing. But then right after I film something, my ritual is like, I'll have a high carb meal, a celebratory feast. So, is that a metabolic boost caused from the up-day down-day situation? Do you think it could be that? 

Melanie Avalon: I bet that does help a lot. Yes. And we get questions about that a lot, like should you mix it up? Is it okay to do the same thing all the time? It's interesting because for me, I pretty much eat the same way all the time and it works for me. For some people, having that different, that up-day down-day or however it manifests, that actually is a key to them, for it working. Then for some people, I think it might just be an added benefit, but I bet that is very helpful. It makes sense to me. Especially from what we-- I feel like I'm being very casual. This is in the literature with [laughs] this type approach, because I think people will try to consciously do that as a pattern, but it's nice when you can just make it-- it's actually very inspiring, make it a part of your life and just do it on an on-call basis, like you said.  So, when you're going to be on camera a certain way and then when you're not, you can be a different way and then it's just like natural. 

Barry Conrad: It's actually clockwork at this point. It's not even something that I really-- I don't struggle with it. As soon as I know it's a work thing, my brain does this thing where it just switches and it just happens. Like, I don't have to go, “Oh, this is really hard.” It's just like, “Cool, I'm working.” Time to pull it in. And by pull it in, it means I know for my body, that's what works in terms of getting the results I want. But for someone else, they can eat all the bread, all the trinkets, all the pasta and look great. For me, if I have some bread, I'm just going to look puffy like tomorrow. And that's fine. 

Melanie Avalon: It's probably their metabolism. [laughs] Actually, okay, I have so many questions for you. Was intermittent fasting hard for you in the beginning, or was it easy or how was it when you first started? 

Barry Conrad: It was hard in the very beginning because I thought, how am I supposed to go without eating for like, 19 hours? Because I dove straight in. I didn't do 16. I just went to 19. And, yeah, it was tough, but I walked a lot and I used the walks to listen to your podcast. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, my God. [laughs] 

Barry Conrad: And so that would kind of like, inspire me to keep going, keep going. But then, I would open my window with not the best food because I thought I should treat myself, “treat” fasting. But then that changed and you hear people say that a lot like, “Your taste buds change,” but it's actually for real. What you feel like eating over time does change because you pay attention to your body, what your body wants. But yeah, it was hard. It was so hard in the beginning. What about you? Was it easy or? 

Melanie Avalon:  I was doing low carb before, so I was already pretty fat adapted. Actually, I remember I was working on my friend's film set the next day, and I had decided to do it, and I was like, “I'm going to do this one meal a day thing.” This is going to be so hard. I remember I went to the set and normally at crafty I would eat all the snacks, and instead I just drink all the tea. 

Barry Conrad: That's real fun. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I remember thinking, “Oh, this is doable,” because I was going to do it for a week. And then it was just so amazing that I just never stopped. And that was a decade ago. I do remember thinking, though. I do remember thinking because sometimes I would go to sets and the craft station would have the most epic food ever. And I was like, this is just a waste of money. It's a waste of money for me personally because I could be eating all of this amazing free food and instead, I'm fasting. Oh, well, next time. 

Barry Conrad: That's the only thing about that, because on set, you have that FOMO like, “I've got to make the most of this thing,” but I'm the same as you. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it was mostly FOMO financially, though, because I really had no money. And then it'd be like salmon, shrimp ice sculptures, and all this stuff. That's a true story. Once it had a shrimp ice sculpture. 

Barry Conrad: What do you mean? 

Melanie Avalon: At the craft food station, there was an ice sculpture with shrimp. I'm not making this up. 

Barry Conrad: You didn't have that? 

Melanie Avalon: No. [laughs] I was like, “This is such a waste of money right now.” 

Barry Conrad: That's hilarious and cool. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, but I would sometimes take food home, which you're not supposed to do, but I would. 

Barry Conrad: So, what you just will stuff it in your bag, casually? [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: Uh-huh.

Barry Conrad: Do you have a photo of this shrimp situation, by the way? 

Melanie Avalon: Are you questioning me? [laughs] 

Barry Conrad: I want to see it. I'm so curious because it's funny and awesome. 

Melanie Avalon: I don't. Actually, if I did, it was on a different phone. It was a while ago. It was on the set of-- I don't even remember. It was one of those live TV shows, like a studio audience. 

Barry Conrad: Oh, yeah, yeah, craft services. It's so good. 

Melanie Avalon: But it's also a problem, though, that's a reason fasting is so amazing, for it is just constant access to food. So, you mentioned this earlier, decision fatigue, the freedom you get from just not having to engage with that question of, “Am I going to have the snack? Am I not going to have the snack?" When it's just like a no, it's so freeing because you don't have to have that whole exhausting debate in your head, which is just very draining. 

Barry Conrad: I 100% agree. 

Melanie Avalon: Nobody wins. Because if you don't eat it, you don't get to eat it. And if you do eat it, you might feel bad about eating it. So literally nobody wins. 

Barry Conrad: Do you ever-- let me say this properly. Do you ever not cheat, but do you ever break your protocol, just say your bestie just came into town, surprised you, and she's like “Hey, let's go hang. I'm taking you out to dinner.” And in your head, you're like, “I was supposed to fast two more hours.” Would you ever open your window earlier? What's your view on that? Do you struggle with that? 

Melanie Avalon: This is such a great question and I'm so excited because it relates to a question I was going to ask you. So, everything is coming together in this moment [chuckles] because you mentioned earlier something about how I think you basically said that you will go to restaurants and you're not like super intense, religious. It has to be this way If life happens, that was the vibe I got from what you said earlier. I actually asked for questions, I didn't say who I was interviewing, but I asked for questions for how to do fasting if you're high achiever, career driven, socially, how to do fasting with that. We got a question from Joelle. She said, "What are ways to gracefully decline social food events at work, depending on the person, I don't always like to mention fasting.” So, I'm going to bring all this together into a question and a conversation, which is when these moments come up, Joelle said, where it's a social event at work, or like you just said, where a friend comes in town and it's a dinner. Do you decline? If so, how do you decline? Do you not, like, how do you act with that? So, for me to answer your question, if it's something where it's still in the dinner vicinity, like-- I eat really late. I don't even like saying how late it is. I'll eat at late 10:00. 

Barry Conrad: Oh, wow. 

Melanie Avalon Did you not know that? 

Barry Conrad: No judgment. Well, I mean, maybe I knew that, but I still had a reaction to that but also your sleeping situation is different too or so. 

Melanie Avalon: I sleep late too. Yeah, it's a normal pattern. It's just shifted. Everything's just shifted. So, typically I do eat late. I thought you knew that because Barry's in Australia. I didn't mention that yet. 

Barry Conrad: From Sydney, Australia. 

Melanie Avalon: Sydney. Although you're not from there. I learned this from Banter with BC that you moved there for your breakdancing group. 

Barry Conrad: Yeah, I was in a singing dancing break dancing crew. Yeah. We moved here from New Zealand. 

Melanie Avalon: Do you breakdance?

Barry Conrad: Let me loosely say I used to, but don't ask me to do a head spin now. I mean I could probably-- [laughs] but I used to be able to. 

Melanie Avalon: That's impressive. 

Barry Conrad: Yeah. What about you? Do you dance? 

Melanie Avalon: I wish I did. That's actually one of my-- I have very few regrets in life. Life is amazing. One of my few regrets that I have is that I didn't do dancing growing up. I just feel it would be so helpful for, A, your health, B, feeling comfortable in your body. 

Barry Conrad: It's not too late. You can do dance classes, as you can take.

Melanie Avalon: I know, I know. Maybe. Maybe. 

Barry Conrad: Then when I come to Atlanta, we can go dancing and you don't have to hug the wall? 

Melanie Avalon: Yes. I'll show you my skills. I'll show you my skills. I did in college. Did you go to school? College? 

Barry Conrad: I didn't, actually. No. 

Melanie Avalon: See, that's another inspiration thing. Okay, that's a whole tangent. I did, and when you like freshman year, you go and there's like it's great. Well, I guess it depends which school you go to. I went to USC, and there's all of these clubs and all of these things, and it's like, "Wow," for free. So, in freshman year I was like, "I'm going to sign up for everything." So, I signed up for fencing. That did not last very long. 

Barry Conrad: Fencing. [laughs] I can't picture that for some reason. 

Melanie Avalon: I think I would have done it longer. I can still. I got the muscle memory to do it, I think. When I realized you had to wear that that mask thing, I was like, "Hm-hm, hm-hm." [laughs] This is not for me. But the other thing I did was ballroom dancing, and so I think that would be-- that's something I think would be really, really fun. Do you ballroom dance? 

Barry Conrad: I can picture you ballroom dancing to a Taylor Swift song. Maybe All Too Well. 

Melanie Avalon: Argh. I have convinced Barry that All Too Well is a treasure. Well, I've convinced you that that it's talented. 

Barry Conrad: For the listeners out there, Melanie loves Taylor Swift, obviously, as you know if you follow her, and she convinced me to listen to the full 10-minute version, and I did it. I did what she said. And you know what? I liked it. It was good. 

Melanie Avalon: I was so happy. Especially he said, he was like, "I listened to it." And you took a while to tell me your thoughts, you built up. I was waiting with bated breath. I was like, "What if he doesn't like it? [gasps]" But yes, it's very good. All of that to say, okay, that's a whole-- What are we talking about? Break dancing. 

Barry Conrad: You eat really late, because of your sleep pattern, so you eat really late. How do we get into that? 

Melanie Avalon: Break dancing, Australia. Joelle wants to know how to gracefully decline social food events at work. I'm just going to bring it back to. 

Barry Conrad: Oh, you said if it's still in the dinner part of the day. Yeah 

Melanie Avalon: Yes. So, if it's still in the general dinner time, then I will definitely adjust accordingly. The problem is when you do eat so late and so much so late, it's hard to be hungry earlier. And I don't like eating when I'm not hungry, I will adjust. Basically, if it is yes socially, if it's a dinner, I will make the adjustments. If it's a lunch, no. Breakfast, no. I'll just go and not eat. Yes, I will just go and not eat.  And I want to encourage listeners, I think there's a lot of fear, and this speaks to Joelle's question about how do you decline, if that's your choice? There's a lot of fear about like, will I look weird? Will people judge me? She says she doesn't like to mention fasting, which I completely understand. Well, A, you start to realize that it doesn't have to be as big of a deal as you think it is, especially in large gatherings. 

So many people are just focused on themselves that they're probably paying less attention than you are to it if you're not eating. B, you can get away with a lot by just holding a drink, like holding water or something. C, you do you. You do what makes you feel good and don't do it for other people because of what they may or may not think. It's just my thoughts on the matter. And you don't have to say that you're fasting. I mean you could say you're fasting. You could say that for health reasons you're making certain choices, or you're just not hungry or you already ate, which is true, or you're going to eat later, which is also true. There's a lot of truth you can speak without making it a whole thing, I think. What are your thoughts? 

Barry Conrad: I think that's all exactly right. For me, I try to zoom out if something's happening that's special, I zoom out on the week and I go, "What am I doing most of the time?" I'm being consistent. I usually fast very consistently, make good choices, choices right for my body. So, if something comes up, it's not going to affect what my desired result is. So, it's like, fine, you have to go with-- for me, I go with moments because experiences only happen when they do. So, I'm not going to say, “Oh, sorry, I'm not going to eat.” If something's happening, I'll just have it. But if I'm focused on what I'm doing, I'll just say, “Oh, I've got plans, but thanks so much,” which I do. I've got plans to eat later, or I've got plans to do whatever. So, to what you said, it's not lying. You don't have to say, “Ah, sorry, I'm fasting,” and make it a big deal because it's only weird if you make it like a big issue. No one really cares. So, I just kind of say, “Oh, I've got plans, but thanks so much for inviting me,” or I'll be like, ‘Cool. See you there.” It's just really simple. 

Melanie Avalon: That's amazing. And to that point, talking about how it's not as big of a deal to the person as we might think it is. If it is, because that happens too, where it is a big deal to them, it's often coming from their own stuff. It's not necessarily you. I don't think people need to change themselves to accommodate other people's stuff. Although, interestingly, something that happened with me historically, this was before fasting, but this is when I went low carb for the first time and my family was pretty much okay with my crazy stuff, but my mom was not really about it, in the beginning. She's great now. She's wonderful now, but in the beginning she was not. I remember one of the family get-togethers, my grandmother would always make-- Do they make in Australia or South Africa, refrigerator cake or ice box cake? 

Barry Conrad: I feel like we might call it something different, but I feel like we do. 

Melanie Avalon: It's like where you put the cookies and the whipped cream and you don't actually bake it. You put it in the refrigerator and it turns it into cake? 

Barry Conrad: I make that. It's banoffee pie. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, wait, what was that word? 

Barry Conrad: Banoffee. So, B-A-N-O-F-F-E-E. It's like you set it in the fridge, right? You don't bake it. It's actually really good, Melanie. I'm really good at making it.

Melanie Avalon: Made from bananas. Oh, is it normally made from bananas?

Barry Conrad: You should slice bananas on top of it, but it's not made with that. It's condensed milk, crushed biscuit, cookie base for the crust. And then you pour the condensed milk in and it sets in the fridge, and it's delicious. Yeah, same, same. 

Melanie Avalon: It's a classic English dessert. Okay. So similar. Yeah, we have refrigerator cake, ice box pie, which is a similar concept. I remember my mom took me aside. She was like, “Melanie, are you going to eat the refrigerator cake at Thanksgiving?” I was like, “No.” And she was like, “But your grandmother worked so hard to make this cake, and it'll mean a lot to her if you eat it.” And I was like, “I'm sorry, I'm not going to eat it.” So, the story has a good ending. So, I went to the Thanksgiving or Christmas or whatever it was, and I didn't eat it. My grandmother asked me why, and I told her that-- this was when I was doing paleo, I think. Oh, that's what it was. Yeah, when I first started doing paleo. And so, I told her that I was doing the paleo diet, and I was eating certain things, like whole food. 

And my grandmother got so excited, she was like, “That's the way we used to eat. That's the way it should be.” She was all about it, and I was like, see, this is such a good example of there's so many narratives and so many things going in different people's heads. You got to just do you, just do you. 

Barry Conrad:  I think that's an awesome story. That's so good. 

Melanie Avalon: A little tip. So, I read this, I think from one of the guests that I interviewed.  They said that the issue with not accepting food, like, in that situation where it's from a family or a friend and they made something, it's an offer of love, oftentimes to you. So, the key is to decline politely and maybe say why and then give them an opportunity to show love some other way in that moment to you. So, you can say, “I'm so sorry, I'm following this diet. I can't eat that right now, but I would love if you would like make me some tea.” You give them an opportunity for them to show love some other way and then that can smooth things over a little bit. 

Barry Conrad: That's pretty evolved of you to have that perspective. A lot of people wouldn't maybe have the confidence to say that in the moment. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, let it marinate for people and maybe next time it comes up they can work on it. And I will say the more you do it, the easier it gets. Another question, speaking of eating all the things. So, here's two questions and they sort of go together, because I'm curious-- actually no, before I ask this, when you started intermittent fasting, did you see a big change in your body composition or what happened with that? 

Barry Conrad: Okay, this is a big thing for me because I'm not going to talk about age or anything like that, but what I'm going to say is, back in the day, I'll say in my early 20s, I feel like I look better now than before. And that's not like a flex, it just is what it is. My face looks different, my body looks different. It's so strange. And I feel like I eat more now if I had to spread it out in the day. I eat so much more food, so much more variety of food, and my body looks just different. It's like a different body type. I'm not as bloated looking. I'll have to send you a photo as well, but it's crazy. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I want to see your pictures. 

Barry Conrad: Yeah, it’s really, I don't understand how that works, but it's pretty magical what fasting can do with the body composition. So, it definitely did change. And people like, "How are you looking younger now?" Last night I went to an event and someone was like, “You look younger.” I get that so much. And that sounds really up myself to say, but that's one of the most common things people say. 

Melanie Avalon: I'll say it. You look younger. 

Barry Conrad: [laughs] Yeah. What about you? Do you get the same thing? 

Melanie Avalon: I do. Yeah, I do. I get that a lot. I get that I look younger than before, even. It's like something clicks when you find and I think different diets work for different people. So, when you find the food choices that really work for you, and especially when you find the fasting pattern that works for you, that together, I think can just be magic because then your body is given the fuel it needs to do what it needs to do. It's given the fasting it's giving the time it needs to detox and repair and recover. I think it's like antiaging in a dietary protocol. 

Barry Conrad: Your skin as well, your skin changes, like for real.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, yes. So, you notice that? I notice that big time. 

Barry Conrad: Skin, and even like nails, even just like they grow really quickly. I'm like, “Man, slow down.” 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, yeah.  I noticed that too. I'm getting flashbacks now. I used to have such brittle nails. 

Barry Conrad: What? They'd break like a lot. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. And what's interesting is I was probably eating way more calorie wise back then. But I think there's such a difference when you're eating, like, when you give your body the food that's actually nutritious and you're supporting its ability to utilize that food. I think it manifests in your body. So, the question from Jill.  Hi, Jill. [chuckles] She wanted to know, “Can you optimize for fat loss and muscle building at the same time while doing IF?"  So, did you find that you were able to do both of those at the same time, or do you have to do one or the other? 

Barry Conrad: I don't do the whole gym bro dirty bulking and then I cut, I don't do that. My gym protocol is very simple. I work out for 25 minutes, which sounds like a lie, but I do. I just get in there real intense, lift with dumbbells, push-ups, and then the rest is just really all food and fasting. I do think that you can lose fat and gain muscle at the same time because fasting promotes human growth hormone and it doesn't-- contrary to what people think. Fasting is not going to eat away your muscle because it's protective and your body's smarter than that. It's not going to kill your muscle off first if you haven't eaten in 20 hours. It doesn't work that way. Whereas in the gym culture, guys are like, “Oh no, you got to have your protein shake, like straight after your session, bro.”  I'm like, “Hmm, do you?”

Melanie Avalon: Fact check that. [giggles] 

Barry Conrad: Yeah. So, to answer the question, Jill, you can do both at the same time, I believe when you're in the fat burning state and you're fat adapted and your body is preferentially using fat for fuel, you absolutely can do that. 

Melanie Avalon: I agree. And I've experienced that as well, definitely. Then Deanne wanted to know, muscle building and needing to eat more protein. She says, “How do I eat more protein while fasting?” She said she's been doing one meal a day for two years and it's so hard to eat more often. Do I really need to--" well, we talked about this earlier, but how do you get all of the protein in your one meal a day eating pattern? 

Barry Conrad: I eat a lot of protein. I'm just going to say, for example, I might have 500 grams, this is like just a simple meal, but like 500 grams of ground beef with sometimes six eggs thrown into that and then just like a lot of protein. And I can eat volumes of food. So, that's not-- I don't struggle to get protein in, but I feel satiated so much more when I do high protein. My body just recognizes that. Whereas if I eat more carbs, I can tend to maybe overeat more than what I need to. What about you? 

Melanie Avalon: It's funny because I get this question so much. I empathize and I want to find solutions. It's just not my experience, I just love eating the pounds of proteins. I just love it, personally. So, it's like what I crave. I'm prepping right now to interview Dr. Joel Kahn. I don't know if you are familiar with him. He's really big in the vegan sphere. I'm just so hungry reading his book. It’s all talking [chuckles] about-- and more power to people who can do veganism, and it supports their body. I would just be so hungry on that. I just feel so good and satiated and full, but I also can eat a lot of it in one sitting. So, like, for Dan's question how to eat more protein, I don't even know what to say because for me, I just crave it so much. Like, it's what I want to eat. 

I would say maybe what you're eating, it can go both ways. Because you just mentioned right now how adding carbs can actually make you hungrier, make you want to eat more. At the same time, I think if you're focusing on protein, for some people, it might have maybe more like adding fats. They might get too satiated. So, I think a potential solution here would be to focus on protein as the opener and the foundation so that you don't fill up on other things beforehand, because lot of people in the low carb world would do really high fat, so maybe going lower fat so that you can have more of the protein. 

Barry Conrad: What I also did, I didn't forget to add is I'd start with 200 grams because I love salmon, smoked salmon. So, I'll have 200 grams of that with some freshly squeezed lemon juice over the top of that, snack on that while I cook my chicken or beef, lots of it. And then I'll always add eggs to that. Sometimes I'll have dozen eggs a day. I don't know if that's right, but it works for me. And I just can't get enough of protein, and that really works for my body. It really does. 

Melanie Avalon: That's good. I like the egg thing, sneaking in the eggs. For me, I would take it one step further. I would start with the salmon, have the meat, and then have more salmon as dessert. 

Barry Conrad: That's so wild. I've heard Melanie say this to all the listeners out there. She's like, “I have salmon for my dessert.” I'm like, "What?" But you have to let the kitchen know.

Melanie Avalon: You have to let the kitchen know in advance. People need to know that. I got to spread that awareness. I'm going to start, like, a trend of savory desserts, but let the kitchen know in advance. Oh, which that's something I learned from your Banter with BC that you got fired from your-- what job was it in the restaurant? 

Barry Conrad: I don't know if they call it that in America, Kitchen Hand, which is, like, you're just in the kitchen, maybe food prepping or just whatever they need, washing dishes, slicing up squid, whatever it is, just kitchen hand. I got fired. 

Melanie Avalon: What did you do?

Barry Conrad:  I was going to auditions too much, and it would just keep clashing. So, it wasn't something wrong I did, but they were like,” Barry, you're just never here. This is not working out. You're fired.” 

Melanie Avalon: Wow. I also learned you used to be a chain smoker. How did you quit that? 

Barry Conrad: You're just calling me out this whole episode, aren't you? 

Melanie Avalon: I think it can be very inspiring for people because I can't even imagine-- I mean, that must be really hard to stop. 

Barry Conrad: I would literally light another cigarette while I was still smoking one. That sounds hard to believe if people know me. 

Melanie Avalon: So, literally, the definition of wow. 

Barry Conrad: Yeah. 

Melanie Avalon: When you started, did it immediately become an addiction once you started? 

Barry Conrad: Yeah. I don't want to label myself, but I feel like I go all in with whatever I do. So, I really did become addictive. It started more socially like to be cool, whatever, but then I really enjoyed it, and it took me three times to quit, actually. 

Melanie Avalon: It took you three times to quit? 

Barry Conrad: Yeah, I tried three times, I should say. 

Melanie Avalon:  Oh, you tried, okay. 

Barry Conrad: Yeah. 

Melanie Avalon: How did you finally--? I'm just curious if it was a physical thing, did you use nicotine patches, or was it a mental paradigm shift? Was it environmental change? 

Barry Conrad: Definitely didn't use patches. There was a wakeup call because someone said to me, “Bro, like, your voice, don't you care about that?” And that was like, "Okay, you know what? I do value what I have, and that doesn't align with that, so that's not going to be helpful." And also, my mom's side of the family smoke a lot. No judgment at all. Like, you do you but it's just like, I didn't want to-- Yeah. It's just not worth it. And now I can't stand it, really. Especially, kissing a smoker. It's not ideal, being around them, their breath, the house, everything. 

Melanie Avalon: How long did it take for that, like, the smell in your clothes and your environment, did it go away pretty quickly, or did you linger? 

Barry Conrad: It may be kind of go as well. "Wow, do I smell like that?" I didn't like it once I quit, it was like, it's not for me, but in saying that, it doesn't mean that I haven't had an occasional here or there, like, whatever cigarette, but I'm not a smoker anymore. 

Melanie Avalon: I think that's so empowering what you said, though, and I think it's a really nice approach people can take to anything they're struggling with. It sounds like it took a value focus and you were running towards something, rather than being, "I can't do this thing," and that being the end goal, it's like, "I'm running towards what I do value." I think that's really inspiring. 

Barry Conrad: I think that's with every decision I have, I kind of go now, more so now, does this line up with what I actually say that I want or what I say that I believe that I want? And if it doesn't, then you just have to eliminate it for yourself, for my peace of mind. It's about exactly what you said, run towards your values and whatever is around that sort of, need to support that. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. So much easier to do that than to try not to do something. 

Barry Conrad: What about you? Do you smoke or have you smoked? 

Melanie Avalon: I think I've smoked a cigarette, like, three times in my life, maybe, and each time-- it's so interesting, and this could be a whole tangent. I'm really fascinated by how with different compounds, so drugs, smoking, alcohol, whatever it may be, how certain things really vibe with certain people and others don't. People struggle with different things and not others. So, for me, with smoking, it was interesting experience, but it wasn't anything profound. And then the next day, I was, like, coughing and my throat felt scratchy. I was like, “Oh, this is not my cup of tea.” So, I do wear nicotine patches. 

Barry Conrad: Why? 

Melanie Avalon: It's funny. [laughs]  

Barry Conrad: That's random. [laughs] You say that's so random. 

Melanie Avalon: People don't usually see them because I wear them on my ab, but every now and then when I'm doing cryotherapy, if it's like a new person, they'll see it. And I've had comments, “Oh, congratulations, good job.” I'm like, "No, no, no I don't smoke. [laughs] This is not--"  Nicotine actually has a lot of health benefits, so it's preventative of Parkinson's. My friend James Clement, who wrote a book called The Switch, which is all about the AMPK pathway activated by things like calorie restriction and fasting and dieting and longevity, not activated by longevity. The book is about longevity. And he talks about this really long-lived population that actually smokes, and not that smoking is good, I'm not advocating for smoking, but he thinks that possibly the nicotine has something to do with that. It makes me feel good. And what I like about it is, I don't have that addictive issue with it, so I could just not wear the patch and be fine. I'm not worried about it. But, yeah, in the biohacking sphere, there's like a whole nicotine thing.

Barry Conrad: Interesting. It was just more the timing of what you said, you were just talking, you're like, “I wear nicotine patches.” [laughs] I just wasn't expecting that. 

Melanie Avalon: I do. And friends can look this up, they can fact check this about nicotine and its health benefits. I will say, if people want to experiment with it, I feel like we're going to get listener feedback about this because I've talked about this before on the show and got emails. 

Barry Conrad: Good, feedback is good. It's good.  

Melanie Avalon: Feedback is good. So no, please. I do welcome the feedback. If people want to experiment with it, do not go high dose in the beginning because you will get sick, I'm just telling you. So, start small and stay small. That's a tangent. Some questions to end on because I know that you have another call coming up. 

Barry Conrad: So annoying. I'm sorry. 

Melanie Avalon: This has been so amazing. I literally can't wait to air this and get people's thoughts on everything. Okay, there's two questions I want to ask. Rapid fire. One is, you are into some of the biohacking stuff, like the red light and stuff like that. What's one of your favorite biohacking things that you do? 

Barry Conrad: I've got a Joovv. I've got one of those mini Joovvs. So, my ritual at night after I get home and everything's done, my wind down situation is I'll be listening to something whilst doing 10 minutes of holding my Joovv on my face. That's what I do. 

Melanie Avalon: On your face? Okay. Have you only done your face? Do you use it anywhere else? 

Barry Conrad: I've used it on muscles as well like if I've had aches and pains. And it seems to work, so I'm hoping that works, because I think it does. 

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. Well, we are all about the red-light therapy. You've got to meet Vanessa because she has her Tone LUX devices. She's hardcore about the red light. Oh, and I think she just had an update where she's shipping to Australia. So, let me see what I can do there. If you would like a larger device. I hope Vanessa might be down with this. And then something else. I thought, in honor of your Banter with BC, the way that you started off oftentimes, not every episode, you left out one episode. 

Barry Conrad: Good pick. 

Melanie Avalon: I know. I watched all of your episodes. 

Barry Conrad: That's because it got lost. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, it did. I was wondering, I was like, "Did he forget?" Oh, wait. Oh, I have a question. Are those extras in the background? 

Barry Conrad: They're actually not, but that's a good question. A couple of episodes when there's people there, that's a double show day. So, the restaurant kindly opens early for us before it actually opens. They do the kitchen and everything, but then sometimes when they do open, people come in and they're just sitting in the background staring and trying to get a look. But they're not extras. 

Melanie Avalon: I was dying to know. I was like, "Did he hire extras? Are those real people?" I need to know. I know you have to go. Do you want to play really quickly? 

Barry Conrad: Maybe I should 

Melanie Avalon: Go.

Barry Conrad:  No, I'll hire the extras. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay. [laughs] And mic drop. Okay, bye. It's been real.  [laughs] Oh, man. I do know you have to go in five minutes. Do you want to do two truths and a lie? I don't know if we can do that in five minutes, though. 

Barry Conrad: Okay, you go, you hit me with yours first. Go ahead. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay. I have mine because I planned this. Okay, ready? Number one, I was accepted into the USC School of Theater without submitting an application. Two, when I was three, I informed my mother that Santa Claus did not exist because, “There was no way a man could fly around the world with reindeer and bring presents to people.” Three, when I was on Millionaire Matchmaker, the millionaire did not pick me, but then afterwards, he sought me out and DM'd me and said that he wanted to pick me, but the producers would not let him and would I like to go on a date with him, to which I declined. 

Barry Conrad: I feel like the first and the third statements are the truths. Am I right? 

Melanie Avalon: Nice. I actually informed my mother that the Easter Bunny did not exist because there was no way a rabbit could go around giving candy to people. 

Barry Conrad: Yes, I got it right. I'm so excited. 

Melanie Avalon: And she was like, "Just don't tell your friends." How about you? I'm impressed. Good job. You win. 

Barry Conrad: It's just the vibe. I'm dyslexic. I don't have any tattoos. My very first acting experience performance was a school production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, man. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I'm going to go with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Barry Conrad:  What's the other truth.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, as the lie, but now I feel like it's the truth. 

Barry Conrad: Oh. Argh.

Melanie Avalon:  What? 

Barry Conrad: I don't know. I just was cramping up, so just had to stretch. 

Melanie Avalon: Wait, I'm so upset. Okay, wait, so wait, was I right?  Wait.

Barry Conrad: So, you're saying that's the lie. 

Melanie Avalon: It's like Millionaire Matchmaker, final answer. I don't know. Yes.

Barry Conrad: You are incorrect. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, man. 

Barry Conrad: The lie is I am not dyslexic. 

Melanie Avalon:  You just came up with that so quickly. I should have thought about that more. Who did you play? Were you Aslan? 

Barry Conrad: I played Edward. 

Melanie Avalon: Edward? 

Barry Conrad: Yeah. 

Melanie Avalon: Wow. With the-- what is it? Turkish Delight? 

Barry Conrad: Yeah. 

Melanie Avalon: You ate that Turkish delight. 

Barry Conrad: [laughs] I actually developed obsession with Turkish Delight after that role. 

Melanie Avalon: Really? See. Bring it all full circle, acting. 

Barry Conrad: Full circle, method acting. 

Melanie Avalon: Wow. Okay, well, I know you have to go. This has been absolutely amazing. Thank you so much for coming on the show. I just think it's so cool what you're doing. And, oh, if listeners are curious. So, you are an ambassador for a suicide prevention charity called R U OK? You're involved with We Are Lonely, a six-part reality podcast series which is super cool. Your upcoming TV series-- Okay, is it actually called Erotic Series or is that the working title. 

Barry Conrad: Erotic Stories, yeah. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, oh, your thing says Erotic series. Okay, so Erotic Stories. So, look for Barry there. Thank you so much for being here. This was amazing. Hopefully we can talk again in the future. 

Barry Conrad: I'd love that. Thank you so much, Melanie. 

Melanie Avalon: Thanks, Barry. Bye.

Barry Conrad: Bye.

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

[Transcript provided by SpeechDocs Podcast Transcription]


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Aug 20

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

Intermittent Fasting

Welcome to Episode 325 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, hosted by Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine and Vanessa Spina, author of Keto Essentials: 150 Ketogenic Recipes to Revitalize, Heal, and Shed Weight.

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

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Listener Q&A: Kaila - My questions are regarding night shift work

BON CHARGE: Go To And Use Coupon Code IFPODCAST To Save 15%.

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

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

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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 331 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. If you want to burn fat, gain energy, and enhance your health by changing when you eat, not what you eat, with no calorie counting, then this show is for you. I'm Melanie Avalon, biohacker, author of What When Wine, and creator of the supplement line AvalonX. And I'm here with my cohost, Vanessa Spina, sports nutrition specialist, author of Keto Essentials, and creator of the Tone breath ketone analyzer and Tone LUX Red Light Therapy panels. For more on us, check out,, and 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 We would love to hear from you. So, pour yourself a mug of black coffee, a cup of tea, or even a glass of wine if it's that time and get ready for The Intermittent Fasting Podcast.

Hi, everybody, and welcome. This is Episode number 331 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with Vanessa Spina.

Vanessa Spina: Hi, everybody.

Melanie Avalon: How are you today, Vanessa?

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

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

Vanessa Spina: You tell.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vanessa Spina: Barbiecore. 

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

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

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

Vanessa Spina: No.

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm.

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

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

Vanessa Spina: Oh, I like that feeling.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, I shudder.

Vanessa Spina: I like really tight clothing.

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

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

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

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

Melanie Avalon: Oh, flared jeans. 

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

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

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

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

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

Melanie Avalon: Decision fatigue.

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

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

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

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

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

Melanie Avalon: Like, dress up and everything.

Vanessa Spina: Mm-hmm.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vanessa Spina: That's fun. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vanessa Spina: And always looks cute. 

Melanie Avalon: I'm feeling Catwoman for you.

Vanessa Spina: Oh, okay.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Melanie Avalon: Oh, at Disney.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah.

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


Vanessa Spina: At the grocery store.

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

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

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

Vanessa Spina: Aww, Tink. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: Who wears her hair up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, where are they hiding? 

Melanie Avalon: Where? Is it the rice? 

Vanessa Spina: Make it make sense. [laughs] 

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

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

Melanie Avalon: It's mind blowing.

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

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

Vanessa Spina: I haven't yet. No.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vanessa Spina: Absolutely.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vanessa Spina: Oh, okay. That makes sense. 

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

Vanessa Spina: Love it. 

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

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

Melanie Avalon: Maybe I will make a guide. 

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

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

Vanessa Spina: Totally. That would be fun. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, look at you inspiring me. 

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

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

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

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Aug 13

Episode 330: Pregnancy, Fertility, Red Light, Indoor Air Quality, Animal Fat, Cholesterol, Cortisol, Coffee, Leptin, Insulin, Fat Burning, And More!

Intermittent Fasting

Welcome to Episode 330 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, hosted by Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine and Vanessa Spina, author of Keto Essentials: 150 Ketogenic Recipes to Revitalize, Heal, and Shed Weight.

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

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Listener Q&A: sunshine - Is just coffee, first thing in the morning, okay?

Listener Q&A: Sunny - I have the same question re: clean fast with coffee. Is it a stressor?

Coffee inhibits the reactivation of glucocorticoids by 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1: A glucocorticoid connection in the anti-diabetic action of coffee?

The acute effects of coffee consumption on blood glucose and it’s relationship with serum cortisol and insulin in females


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 330 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,, and 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 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 330 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 awesome. How are you? 

Melanie Avalon: I am good. We were just saying it's been a while since we've talked. It's been quite a while because you were traveling and things came up, but here we are. So, we're excited.

Vanessa Spina: So excited to be back here with you. I've been looking forward to it, as always and yeah, I'm feeling good. I'm feeling energized and [laughs] ready to go.

Melanie Avalon: Okay. I have so many things to talk about. I have one random question for you, though. I listened to your beautiful episode announcing your pregnancy on your podcast, which was really special to listen to and hear your backstory and everything that you've gone through, and congratulations again. 

Vanessa Spina: Thank you. This is it.

Melanie Avalon: Wait, have we talked about it? 

Vanessa Spina: No, this is it like, officially sharing it on this podcast that yeah, I'm pregnant again, and super, super excited about it. And when this episode drops, we'll be at 21 weeks. And the day that this is coming out, we're doing it at 21 weeks. We have the big ultrasound, the anatomy scan, and yeah, it's been so exciting. And the baby's due date is December 25th, which is absolutely hilarious. He's going to hate his birthday. I mean, he or she is going to hate their birthday. [laughs] Yeah, we're just so over the moon, so excited. But thank you for the kind words about it, and I've been excited to share it on this podcast too.

Melanie Avalon: Okay, that was a complete fail. I totally forgot that we hadn't-- I would have done [laughs] that differently, but we've talked about it so much and I listened to your episode. Okay, friends, that was a big announcement. [laughs] It just happened. Oh, man. Because I was going to ask you the most random question about it, but first, I'm going to focus on the moment. Yes, I am so excited for you. I'm living vicariously through you because I think, like we've talked about, I don't really anticipate ever having children. I mean, I won't say never. 

Vanessa Spina: I used to say the same thing, girl. And here I am like, baby number two coming so yeah, you never know. 

Melanie Avalon: This is true. But in the meantime, [laughs] while I'm not anticipating it, I'm just living vicariously through you because I feel like we would approach it very similarly, like the pregnancy experience. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. Probably very similarly. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: I'm just so happy for you. 

Vanessa Spina: Thank you. 

Melanie Avalon: I'm still going to ask my really random question because I was listening to your episode. We can put a link to it in the show notes where you talk in detail about your whole experience thus far. What do you think causes food aversions in pregnancy, especially things like meat, because you think with meat that it's like the most nutrient dense thing. But you were talking about how in your first pregnancy you had meat aversions and you were hoping that you don't get them this time around.

Vanessa Spina: Yes. It's so funny because I've talked to so many friends about this, especially people who are in the paleo space, who are in the keto or carnivore space. Why do you think that is? Because it obviously makes life a little trickier if you're mostly a meat eater and suddenly you are having meat aversions. I had aversions to steak, which is the most common one of all my friends and other moms who are similarly inclined lifestyle and diet wise. This time I haven't had it so far. And the predominant theory is that because of potential pathogens in like, for example, steak that is not fully cooked, because the risk is high from that it's almost safer to just avoid it. I think that it's probably a good theory. I also think it could have to do with other things like what your iron status is, because this time I was slightly anemic in the first trimester.

I actually have to check on how that's going, but I sort of ramped up my consumption of beef, especially because it has so much bioavailable heme iron in it and I wanted to kind of compensate for that a little bit. And I haven't had any meat aversions. So, I'm wondering because my theory was that maybe it has something to do with how many nutrients you need from that certain protein. And maybe if last time I was eating so much beef already going into the pregnancy that maybe I hit some kind of limit where my body was like, "Okay, we have enough of these nutrients, so we're going to have you crave chicken." Because that's what I was craving, [chuckles] it was chicken. So, I was making chicken fajitas like every night. But this time so far, I haven't had it at all. And for me, last time it started in the second trimester, so I may still be proven wrong, but I think this time because I was slightly anemic that my body needs the iron. And this time I'm not having any aversions. Like, we just had steak for dinner like an hour ago. So definitely not having any aversions. But when you have the aversions, it's really intense because a lot of people you can't smell it, you can't be around it. It's a pretty powerful instinct. There're some really interesting theories about it.

Melanie Avalon: Okay, wow. I have some follow-up thoughts and questions. Okay, so one that was going to be my two theories was the pathogens. My caveat about the pathogens is I find it interesting that we would have evolved enough for our bodies to know that we eat red meat more likely raw, but we typically cook other meats. Like, it's interesting that it would-- if that's the reasoning, it's interesting that our body would distinguish, "Oh, red meat is what we typically eat raw." But maybe and then two, I was going to say the iron, but I was thinking maybe it was because of avoiding nutrient overload, like iron and then the tangent from iron that you are going to like and you might be familiar with this. You probably are. So yesterday, actually two stories here. One, I interviewed a guest yesterday and have you ever lost an episode or like, have you ever recorded and you weren't recording? 

Vanessa Spina: It's like the most brutal, painful thing ever. [laughs] Yeah.

Melanie Avalon: It's so awful. Like, we recorded like 30 minutes, and then his mic messed up. So, we started again and we recorded another, like, 40 minutes. I realized that second 40 minutes, I never hit start. Like, I never hit record. We were like, "We're just going to put a pin in this." [laughs] We're going to come back later. Because it's so defeating. It's like-- 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, you can't do it the third time. 

Melanie Avalon: Like, I can't. But in any case, it was an episode on red light therapy and specifically, like, laser implementation because LEDs as well, but also the laser modality. This man is so knowledgeable. His name is Forrest Smith. He has a company called Kineon. 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, I got to interview him. 

Melanie Avalon: He has a modular device that you actually strap to your body. So, it's for targeted treatment of my knee issues and it's really great. And he's honestly, I think he's the most knowledgeable person I've ever talked to about red light, which is saying a lot. Speaking of iron and hemoglobin, did you know that red light interacts with the photoreceptors on our hemoglobin? 

Vanessa Spina: No, I didn't. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh. So let me tell you. [laughs] So apparently there're photoreceptors on our hemoglobin. The receptors on hemoglobin attach to both oxygen and nitrous oxide. And when red light interacts with these photoreceptors, it makes it drop the nitrous oxide, which goes into the bloodstream, then that has systemic health benefits. And then the hemoglobin can take in more oxygen. So, it increases the oxygen carrying potential of your hemoglobin. So, it's like a double whammy.

Vanessa Spina: That's amazing because a lot of the benefits from red light therapy are attributed to the nitric oxide. So that's a really interesting sort of, like, other side to it that I didn't realize that was happening. I'm going to be diving deep into that, probably late into the night.

Melanie Avalon: I know. It was so exciting. He was, like, blowing my mind in so many ways. He also talked about a study where they studied athletes with ACL injuries. And those athletes, if you have an intense injury like that, you're more likely to have cardiovascular tissue inflammation later in life. And it's because, literally, the inflammation from the injury travels to the cardiac tissue.

Vanessa Spina: Oh, wow. That's crazy. The body just is so incredibly miraculous and amazing. It just never ceases to amaze me. All the new things we're learning too about it.

Melanie Avalon: It's just crazy. And he was talking about that because he was saying, if you have an acute injury, how important it is to treat it with red light to help mitigate things like that. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, the red light is amazing. The whole reason why I really got into red light and wanted to create my own panels was because of my fertility journey and I wanted to really optimize our chances of conceiving. And I was going through all of these studies on red light that especially Japan and Denmark have been doing because they've been facing really low fertility rates. So, they've been sponsoring a lot of research on it. And the one in Japan is interesting, it had really good results, but the one in Denmark was actually incredible. And they had all these women who had been completely resistant to getting pregnant, and they did these red light therapy sessions with a laser, speaking of lasers, with something, a device called the GigaLaser. And they had such high rates of pregnancy, caring to full term and one woman was 50. 

And when I was reading it, it just gave me so much encouragement because I had a loss as I mentioned on the episode. And it's not that I suddenly thought like, "Oh, well, now I'm not fertile, but I was starting to feel like maybe I need some extra help or boost." And so, I used the frequency, the wavelengths of light from that study to create the Sapphire panel. So, it has four wavelengths in it. And the Sapphire, which I use and have been using every day, I use it specifically on my abdomen because a fascinating thing about our ovaries is it's, as you well know, like, one of the areas we have the most density of mitochondria along with the heart and brain. And so, in the Danish study, they used the GigaLaser over the abdomen and they hit them with, like the number of joules was like 20,000 or something. It was like a crazy number with this laser. And all these women who were resistant to getting pregnant, got pregnant, had full-term pregnancies, and it was just like, so exciting. 

I was like, this makes me want to create a panel that is specifically for this for myself. [laughs] I do think it probably boosted my fertility because the biggest thing as women get older is egg quality declines, and it's actually because of the mitochondria. And there's a number of things that can happen in addition to the mitochondria, just like losing steam or getting damaged over time. There's also a loss of CoQ10, which is one of the electron acceptors in the electron transport chain. So, I started doing the red light to support the mitochondria there in that area, and then also taking CoQ10. And yeah, it made me really passionate. So much so that I was like, [laughs] "I have to create my own line of red light therapy panels." But it's just like my personal story. But I also know that a lot of women deal with issues conceiving, and it's such an emotional, difficult thing for people that if I could create something that would help boost that in any way, it would just make me so happy. 

Melanie Avalon: That's amazing. So, the wavelength is different than the normal wavelengths that people use.

Vanessa Spina: Every kind of red light therapy panel has different wavelengths in it depending on the device. And the standard wavelengths that you see in a lot of red light therapy panels is 660 and 850 nanometer. So, 661 is red, and the other is the infrared, which is the 850 nanometers. So, I added the 630 and 830 nanometer, which were the wavelengths used in that Danish study. So, I wanted to custom create because a lot of red light therapy panels will just have those two frequencies because they have been supported in the research. But those, specifically the 630 and 830 were used in that Danish study. So, I wanted to customize it to have those four. So, you don't always have four or you don't have them in that specific range. It kind of depends on the device. 

Melanie Avalon: That is so cool. You know what I'm thinking we should do, [laughs] since I'm launching my EMF blocking product line and there're so many studies on EMFs and fertility, we should do like a fertility bundle [laughs] and it'll be like, buy the EMF blocking products.

Vanessa Spina: That would be amazing because I stopped using my AirPods at the same time about a year ago. And it was also because I didn't want that to interfere with my mitochondria, my fertility either. So, it's a really good combination. 

Melanie Avalon: It's crazy. We should brainstorm some sort of promo. How can people get the Sapphire?

Vanessa Spina: If you go to, you can check out the Tone LUX line of red light therapy panels. And the Sapphire is like the big one, the half body panel that has those four wavelengths. And you can use it for any area of the body. I use it on my legs. I use it to precondition my legs before workouts. It's just a really powerful panel. So, I was using it on my abdomen a lot. I'm not using it on my abdomen as much right now because I'm pregnant, but I'm still using it on my face and other parts of my body and also for ambient lighting around the room, like I know you like to do too. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, yes. [laughs] That's my favorite use of it, which I know is probably most people like lower on the totem pole. But, yeah, I'm all about the ambient lighting. 

Vanessa Spina: Yes. And I think the other thing that I have been and we talked about this on another episode, really researching is air quality and getting an air filter that is HEPA grade. And I know you know so much about air filtration, and that's kind of the next thing that I want to-- even though I am pregnant now, I'm still taking CoQ10. I'm still doing red light therapy. I'm still doing things to make sure because those things, they improve egg quality, but they also just improve your overall health and longevity and everything. So, I've been reading about how air quality and having an air purifier is so helpful for the mitochondria, because carbon monoxide is killer for the mitochondria. So, you really have to have really high-quality air. 

Melanie Avalon: Were you using air purifiers historically?

Vanessa Spina: No. 

Melanie Avalon: No.

Vanessa Spina: [laughs] This is a new thing for me. Okay, I have layers of different things that it's been, like, a thing I've wanted to look into for a while, but haven't. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay, wait. Pause. Oh, my goodness I'm like, then again, I feel like the air quality-- I don't know. Is the air quality better in Prague than here? 

Vanessa Spina: [laughs] No. And it was really bad when I was growing up in China. It was like, horrible, so yeah. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness. Okay, Vanessa, we got to get you on team-- Well, I guess you're-- I guess you're here. 

Vanessa Spina: But I want to be educated. Like, I've been learning so much from you. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay. I'm obsessed with air quality. I have so many. I mean, I go overboard. I have experimented with a lot of different brands, and it's overwhelming, basically, because, think about it, we're always talking about cleaning up our exposure toxins and our food, and then we think about our cleaning products, and then a little bit like our skincare and makeup. I mean, I'm talking about it all the time. But our air is what we are constantly in 24/7 [chuckles] and so many of us spend our time indoors, and they've done studies and apparently indoor air and this is for the US. So, again, I'm not sure about Prague, but in the US the indoor air can be 100 times more polluted than outdoor air, which is crazy. I just got some facts about this. We actually breathe around 30,000 gallons of air per day, which is just so much. There're all these different compounds that can just accumulate. So, people think about things like bacteria and viruses, but mold, VOCs, all of these chemicals from all of our products that we have. So, I am all about the air filters and purifiers. And so actually, we have a new sponsor on this show that I'm so excited about because I had been using their devices for quite a while and was a big fan of them because I think they make having high-quality air purifier so affordable for people. So, it's AirDoctor, I have one of their units. I love it.

Vanessa Spina: Literally looking them up right now to check them out because I want to invest in a really high-quality device or maybe multiple. See, they've got purifiers and well, they have HVAC filters for your whole house. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, I would love to do something like that once I have an actual consistent abode.

Vanessa Spina: Oh, it's nice looking. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Okay, so things I love about them, they look super nice, aesthetically pleasing, they're very quiet. It's actually one of the only-- this is a true statement. It's the only air purifier I have that I run while podcasting because it's so quiet, which is amazing. And they're super affordable, which is what I love. When I was researching them in the past, one of their missions was to make high quality air affordable to people, so people can listen-- We have an ad for them in the show, so you can listen to that for more details. But we do have an incredible offer speaking of affordability. So, the coupon code, IFPODCAST, depending on the model you choose, will actually get you up to 39% off or up to $300 off, which is like crazy. So, it depends, again, on the model. So that's So, A-I-R-D-O-C-T-O-R-P-R-O dot com with the promo code IFPODCAST, for up to 39% off or up to $300 off, depending on the model. I have the 3000, the AirDoctor.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. That's the one I was just looking at. It circulates about 638 square feet, four times an hour or 1200 square feet twice an hour.

Melanie Avalon: Yes, that's the one. I have the AirDoctor 3000.

Vanessa Spina: It's so cute.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I love it. I have it in my kitchen. Yeah, like I said, "Looks super nice, very quiet." Has an ultra-HEPA filter, a carbon gas filter to trap VOCs. I really like its auto mode. Oh, this is what I love about it. Okay, so it's in the kitchen because I don't always trust the auto modes on these things. I've had units of different companies and I don't really feel like it's doing the auto mode because it never changes. So, this AirDoctor is in my kitchen and it's always quiet doing its thing. Every time I cook on my George Foreman Grill, if I use it, if I open it, like, open the George Foreman Grill, it like kicks into high speed. I'm like, "Oh, it knows." So, it's very impressive. Like, it knows, totally knows. 

Vanessa Spina: It's like, intelligent.

Melanie Avalon: And it stays on for a little bit and then simmers back down. I'm probably going to get feedback about using a George Foreman Grill, but that's okay. You got to just pick your battles. It's easier to use than my cast iron. 

Vanessa Spina: This is a really nice discount. Like, I just put the coupon code in just to see. And yeah, it's a generous discount.

Melanie Avalon: And they're already affordable, very affordable pricing. Yeah, and then you put in that discount and it slashes it. So yes, AirDoctor. I'm just so excited to have them on the show because I've been using them for so long. So, I do have quick other announcement. Oh, wait, just last question about what we were talking about. I have to ask you. When you said you were anemic, because I struggle historically with anemia, in what lab markers were you anemic? Like, did you do a full iron panel with, like, ferritin and everything? 

Vanessa Spina: I did, and it's actually mostly because your blood volume increases by about 20%. I wouldn't say it's like a true anemia, but it's like a pregnancy kind of anemia, and it's mostly because you're diluting the volume of ferritin, everything, because your blood volume is increasing so much for the baby. And it plays a big role in my biggest pregnancy symptom, which was fatigue in the first trimester. I don't have any nausea. Any other issues? Same thing with Luca. The only symptom I really have is fatigue, especially in the first trimester and the third. So, I've really been amping up my consumption of beef. Like, we had burgers or steak pretty much every day when we were in Denver and trying to get at least some serving of beef in or some red meat every single day right now. But it's really interesting. It's like I didn't have it that I know of last time, but this time I seem to have it. And I know it's because I wasn't eating that much red meat for some reason. I just wasn't like, we just got out of the habit. I wasn't ordering as much steak; I wasn't eating as many burgers. I was just doing a lot of fish, like a lot of seafood, and I just was doing poultry, and I just wasn't thinking about it intentionally. So, I know that that's probably the main reason because I didn't have that with Luca. I was eating so much [laughs] red meat at least once, if not twice a day with him before getting pregnant and during up until I got the aversion. So, it's really interesting. It's like you have certain things like your cholesterol markers to change, and it's just like, transient part of pregnancy, so you kind of have a different lipid profile and overall blood profile when you're pregnant. 

Melanie Avalon: So, it was your ferritin that was low for the anemia. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. It was the ferritin, but it was also a couple of other markers. And I just knew right away that it was because blood volume increased so much. So, I wasn't too worried about it, but I was like, "I know that I can take some iron supplements, and I can just eat a lot more red meat, and it'll probably get better." And it did improve after that. So, we'll see how it continues to go. But women are often dealing with anemia because we tend to eat less red meat. We tend to eat healthier. We tend to eat more salads. Every time I go to a steakhouse, I look around. It's mostly men, not a lot of women there. And we also lose every month when we menstruate, we lose iron. When we give birth, we lose tons of iron. So, we're more at risk of anemia. And I do lots of posts about how women need bioavailable heme iron. And it's not the spinach, the heme iron, if you are not vegan or vegetarian, it's the red meat. It's the most bioavailable, absorbable, and it makes the biggest difference. And it's really not all in the spinach, as we've been told. 

Melanie Avalon: It's so funny. So right now, I'm preparing to interview I'm reading two books. I'm reading Dr. Gabrielle Lyon's new book.

Vanessa Spina: Me too.

Melanie Avalon: I love her. Are you going to interview her?

Vanessa Spina: Yes.

Melanie Avalon: I love her so much.

Vanessa Spina: She's a dear friend of mine and she helped me out so much with my pregnancy and birth with Luca because she's a physician too and she just had two kids, so we had a lot. But she really, really helped me. We kind of bonded over that. Yeah, I'm reading it also.

Melanie Avalon: I was texting her and I was mentioning you. It was like a really long text because she was asking, what podcast should she go on? So, I gave her this really long list, and I didn't know if you knew her or not, so I included this whole thing about you in it, and she didn't address it, so I was like, "That's weird." She didn't address it. So, I didn't know that you guys knew each.

Vanessa Spina: Oh, yeah. For a while and yeah, she's been on the podcast once or twice, but yeah, she's really an amazing person. And Dr Don Layman her mentor, I just had him on the podcast last week again, but I've had him on three or four times, which is how I connected with her initially.

Melanie Avalon: Got you. No, it's so funny because she texted me. She was like, "Do you know anybody? Any podcast I should go on?" And then she said she was like, "I feel like you know everybody." I was like, "I know everybody. You're Dr. Gabrielle Lyon." [laughs] Where's that? That always blows my mind. And what's funny, though, so I'm reading her book, which I am just loving, but at the same time, I'm reading do you know Dr. Joel Kahn? 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. He's the big vegetarian doctor, right, who went on Rogan's podcast to do the debate with Chris Kresser, I think.

Melanie Avalon: I think that was him. Was that? 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, I think so.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, I did not-- Okay. Yes, that was him and I listened to that. Do you know my story about how I'm getting him on the show? 

Vanessa Spina: No.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, this made my life. So, I have my list of guests to reach out to try to book on the show. I so rarely do that because I'm just so slammed with [chuckles] incoming requests anyways, so he was on this list of like someday.

Vanessa Spina: Your dream list.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I probably added him after listening to that episode with Chris Kresser honestly. I totally forgot that that's how I originally heard about him. So, when that article came out, the one that made my age the title, like, 32-year-old podcaster article on CNBC profile piece.

Vanessa Spina: Oh, yeah, yeah. That was hilarious. 

Melanie Avalon: So, after that came out, I talk in that about wine and alcohol, and he's like, for health and he's a big wine fan, so he saw that article, like, just organically and reached out to me and was like, "We should collaborate." And I was like, Oh, my gosh, [laughs] you're on my list." 

Vanessa Spina: That's a real moment.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. No, that was like a hardcore moment. I was like, "Yes." [laughs] So I'm reading his book right now, which is called-- Oh, we should tell Gabrielle's book. Gabrielle's book is Forever Strong: A New, Science-Based Strategy for Aging Well, hint, hint it involves protein and muscle, and then Dr. Kahn's book is The Plant-Based Solution: America's Healthy Heart Doc's Plan to Power Your Health. And ironically, it's not the antithesis of Gabrielle's work, but they have very diverging viewpoints. So, it's very-- I really love when I have these moments of reading just complete different viewpoints at the same time. I think it's so helpful for, [sigh] I don't know, finding truth [chuckles] to be exposed to a lot of different viewpoints. So, I'm very excited about that. Okay, very last thing about the steak. I thought about you the other night because I went to see Wicked, the Broadway show. Have you seen that? 

Vanessa Spina: No, but I think it's, like, in the news a lot right now because, isn't Ariana Grande in it? 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, yeah. They're making a movie of it 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, okay. I've heard really good things about the musical.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, it's so good. I think I've seen it now, I don't even know, maybe six times, but I saw it twice in a row, like, within five days. Oh, it's so magical. I want to see it again now. I almost cried when she was singing Defying Gravity. The second time I saw it, I was out very late, very long, drinking a lot of wine, and I got back and I was just ravenous. Like, ravenous and I felt like a caveman. Like, I went in my kitchen and I ate three steaks, and I didn't even really cook them. I mean, I sort of did. It's debatable.

Vanessa Spina: That's, like the thing I miss the most is from pregnancy is beef tartare.

Melanie Avalon: Ah, oh, yes you and I have this, we understand the raw meat. I literally just put on the grill for, like, a second. They were frozen too. [laughs] Put on the grill for a second, and then I just cut through it. It was so satisfying. And I was only going to eat one, and I was like, "I got to keep going." So, I ate three.

Vanessa Spina: That's what I was saying to Pete throughout our whole dinner tonight. I was like, "Steak is just so satisfying like, there's no other protein that-- I'm like every time we're eating it, I'm like, this is so satisfying." You know, it's a superfood. It's so nutrient dense. When it gives your body that much satisfaction nutritionally, it's amazing. 

Melanie Avalon: It feels like a sigh of relief when you eat it.

Vanessa Spina: Totally. 

Melanie Avalon: I also sometimes get that feeling with salmon, I think from the high omegas. 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, yeah. I've been having salmon every day. [laughs] I crave it so much. I crave it so much, especially when I'm pregnant. So, I've been having it every day. 

Melanie Avalon: It's so good. I'll go through, like, salmon periods, and I don't know what it is, but I'll just have to have salmon every night for a while. 

Vanessa Spina: I really think the body just needs those fats, and the more in tune you are with that, especially if it-- like for me, I tend to do more, like, tenderloin with the steak. I eat more like lean chicken. Most of my proteins are pretty lean, but I think the salmon is like the fatty one. So, it's like my body knows if it needs to get those omega-3s, it should ask for salmon and I will deliver. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: So good, so good. Sometime we have to hang out in real life and go to some meat place and just eat all the meat. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. And just, like, all the raw. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I want to apologize to our vegetarian, vegan audience. I do respect their viewpoint. [laughs] No, I'm being serious. I respect your viewpoints. I just personally need it.

Vanessa Spina: Yes, I was vegetarian for most of my life, so I definitely respect it. But I'm still making up for that time [laughs] all the time.

Melanie Avalon: Reading Dr. Kahn's book, I just feel so hungry like, reading it. I would be so hungry without.

Vanessa Spina: I was always hungry because of protein leverage, yeah. And I often think if I were to do it again now, based on what I know about protein, I would be pounding, like, plant-based protein shakes multiple times a day. And I think that that would probably help a lot in addition to the other supplementation that you need to do if you can do. [chuckles] Yeah, I would definitely go about it a different way now because I definitely was not getting enough protein for years. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Something I'm going to ask Dr. Kahn. I'm going to use myself as a case study because he talks a lot about cholesterol and how animal products affect cholesterol. I am the perfect case study. So especially because I've used InsideTracker. 

Vanessa Spina: Shout out.

Melanie Avalon: I love InsideTracker. Oh, did you get your results from InsideTracker?

Vanessa Spina: No, not yet. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, man. I can't wait for you to get them. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. It's just like I'm not really expecting much right now because I'm pregnant like everything is different. And we even discussed that when I went in for the test and they said, "This is not going to be optimal." I was like, "I know," because I'm like growing a person right now. So, I'm looking forward to doing it also afterwards, postpartum.

Melanie Avalon: Well, that's something great about it is how it keeps like in the app, you have all your data over the years now for me, and you can see-- and this is what I'm going to talk with Dr. Kahn about. You can see over time how everything's changing and it has these graphs and it's just so helpful. But the thing I want to ask him, because he's a cardiac doctor, so a lot of what he talks about is cardiovascular disease and cholesterol levels and how diet affects that and specifically how bad meat is for cholesterol. I want to be like, look at my cholesterol panel, which I have points in it with anti-tracker, it tests HDL, LDL, cholesterol, triglycerides and apoB, which is very exciting. You can see the trend. So, I have trends where everything's very high, not very high, but high cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and then right now, everything is shockingly low. And throughout that, I have been consuming the same amount of animal protein, very, very high amounts. The difference is the high spikes are when I would do low carb, higher fat and not animal fat, plant-based fat. So basically, I would do high protein with a lot of MCT oil. And in those times, everything's very high. When I do high-carb, low-fat, but very high animal protein, my cholesterol is low. And so that says to me it literally it can't be the animal. I mean, I guess it could, but it's really hard to look at that and say it's the animal protein because I've kept it consistent.

Vanessa Spina: I don't think it's animal protein, but people associate animal protein with animal fat. So, I don't eat high fat proteins except for salmon, which has healthy lipid profile. But I think if you're eating like carnivore and you're eating just like ribeye's and just tons of really high fat like pork and chicken, I think it could contribute to that. I prefer to get my fats mostly from salmon and olive oil and coconut oil a little bit, like just for cooking. But I don't cook with olive oil. So that's like, I think maybe the only other fat I get from animals like egg yolks, but it's so nutrient dense and nutritious. So, yeah, I can't wait to hear you interview him. 

Melanie Avalon: And to that point, it's exactly what you said, people associate, when they say animal products, they're talking about the fattier part and the ironic thing and the reason I think I'm a perfect case study and I can't wait to talk to him. I added plant-based fats and I basically would eat lean protein with, like I said, MCT oil, coconut oil, really just MCT oil. And that's what would drive everything up. And then now, my most recent panel, I'm just pulling it up on the InsideTracker app because people were asking because I posted this on my Instagram, and it's actually too low now. [laughs] So, like, my total cholesterol is 104, which InsideTracker has in the red, not even in the yellow. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. It's out of range, but we all know the reference ranges are not necessarily-- 

Melanie Avalon: This is by InsideTracker's range. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. InsideTracker ranges might better than the general population. 

Melanie Avalon: They actually don't have a-- Oh, this is so interesting. Is this the way it is for all of theirs. Oh, wow. I never realized this. So, this is not the way with all of their markers, like, HDL will go from green-- Like, on the low side, HDL will go from green to yellow to red. LDL will go from green-- So, LDL goes straight from green to red. So, you go from great to bad and same with cholesterol. So, in any case, everything is really low. So, my cholesterol right now is 104. My LDL is 49. But in any case, people wanted to know what I did. My HDL is low, too. It's 40. But the trigs are--

Vanessa Spina: What're the triglycerides? 

Melanie Avalon: The trigs are 69. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. That's perfect. 

Melanie Avalon: So, it's a good ratio and I do want to research more how high does HDL need to be if your LDL and cholesterol are very, very low? But in any case, people want to know what I did to make it-- because it really did, like, severely drop. You can see it on the graphs. I did three things. I started taking my berberine before meals. Before I was just taking it in the fasted state in the morning. So, I think that had a major effect because people typically take it for blood sugar, but it's been shown to have an effect on cholesterol lowering as well. I've been using my CAROL AI Bike, which I'm so obsessed with still. 

Vanessa Spina: That could have a huge effect. Yeah.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, because they have a lot of studies on theirs on cholesterol beneficial lipid level changes in people. So, I've talked about a lot before, but basically, it's a long story short, it's an exercise bike. You do two to three per week of these 8-minute workout. It's the easiest thing you will ever do. It's only 8 minutes. The majority of the time, you're just like breathing, literally breathing. Like it's telling you to breathe. And you're pedaling very slow and you're keeping your resistance below a certain level and then you just do two 20-second all out sprints during which time it is yelling at you to run. So, you feel very motivated. It makes a whole story that you're like a hunter-gatherer in the woods running from a tiger. It's amazing. And I am seeing such changes in my leg definition and now getting my blood work back, I really think that that played a role. And the main part of it is it uses AI to adjust the pedals so that if you slow down, it increases resistance, so you're still pedaling max effort.

So, it forces you to actually do it's a REHIT workout, not a HIIT. So, it's high-intensity interval training, but like a new version of it that's more effective and time efficient. I'm obsessed. So, you can actually go to and coupon code MELANIEAVALON will get you $100 off. And I'm going to be doing an interview with them soon, so stay tuned for that. But yeah, so that's the changes I made. Oh, the berberine and then I stopped heating up my fruit because my HbA1c had jumped through the roof from doing that and it went back down.

Vanessa Spina: That's right. Oh, so that's really what it was then.

Melanie Avalon: It's ironic because I changed three things. Taking the berberine, the CAROL AI Bike, and stopping cooking the fruit. But yes, friends, this was so upsetting. My HbA1c, which is always around like 5, I started heating up my fruit because it made it taste like pie and it jumped to 5.8. I was freaking out, that's like not [laughs] okay. I went cold turkey, no pun intended, literally cold turkey. Started eating the fruit frozen again. And now my HbA1c is 4.9. So, that was in a month. It changed, a month. 

Vanessa Spina: That's awesome.

Melanie Avalon: Which is really empowering to show how much change you can make in a short amount of time. Because even HbA1c, it's supposed to be a three-month marker, but it changed that much in a month. So, team exercise, team don't cook your fruit, team berberine before the meals.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. We just have so much incredible access to biofeedback and data now. In terms of-- that was the thing that it made me so excited the first time I learned that I could measure my own blood at home and I could see what was happening inside my body in response to what I was eating. And then obviously the ketone thing really took off for me too. But I just think now we have the ability to get so much feedback, we don't have to poke around in the dark anymore. You can actually figure out if heating up your fruit is making your blood sugar higher. You can actually figure things out with these kinds of incredible tools.

Melanie Avalon: And it's so telling, especially with the fruit theme, because I did not change the amount of fruit I was eating. The only thing I changed was I was heating it up and that it can have that big of a difference is so-- it really makes you think more about processed foods and how we might be eating the same amount of food, but in a processed form, like how that changes, how it interacts in our body. It's crazy. It's crazy. So, yeah, [laughs] all the things I did want to do a fasting question before we wrap up. Okay, so we actually have two questions related to coffee. Vanessa, would you like to read both of them and we can talk about it?

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. Let's get into it. So, we have the first question from Sunshine. It came to us on Facebook, in your Facebook group, and the question is, "Is just coffee first thing in the morning, okay. Lately, it has gotten so much negative attention. I have seen more and more lately about if you only drink coffee in the morning, it causes leptin resistance and imbalanced cortisol. I am a longtime faster, OMAD, one meal a day was my go-to for a long time until Cynthia on this podcast convinced me that I wasn't eating enough protein in a 24-hour period. So, I lengthened my window. I don't eat until later in the day and only have coffee for breakfast. Is coffee okay just by itself." Thank you.

Melanie Avalon: Okay. And then we also actually have another question. And this is ironic because the first question was from Sunshine and this is from Sunny, and they're not the same person. They are different people. So, would you like to read Sunny's question? 

Vanessa Spina: Yes. So, Sunny asks, "Melanie, I have the same question regarding clean fasting with coffee. Is it a stressor?" 

Melanie Avalon: Okay. So, friends, I went down the rabbit hole with this question. And so, honestly, when I read this because I feel like people do think coffee and they think that it rises cortisol. I know I did like, I read this and I was like, "Yeah, I've heard that." Let me see what I find. So, my takeaway I found a lot. [chuckles] So I think this is just my theory because I'm going to go into what I found about it. I think people are confusing. Okay, well, first of all, let me step back. There are conflicting studies. So, there are some studies that show caffeine raises cortisol and there are some that show that it lowers. Overall, though, I read this really amazing review and walked away from that feeling. Like in general, caffeine and coffee actually has a lowering effect on cortisol. And I'll talk about why. I think people are probably possibly confusing cortisol with catecholamines because both of the-- so catecholamines, like adrenaline, epinephrine, noradrenaline, both of those can stimulate a sympathetic state. So, like a fight-or-flight type response. We get that from cortisol. We get that from catecholamines. Coffee, caffeine pretty consistently stimulates catecholamines. It does not seem to do so with cortisol and it might actually do the opposite. So that's my theory about where the confusion is coming in, just a theory.

So, what's really interesting is that there is a lot of data and literature on coffee's beneficial effect on diabetes and blood sugar control. And so, I found this really cool study, it's 2022. It's called the acute effects of coffee consumption on blood glucose and its relationship with serum cortisol and insulin in females. And so, it was looking at how coffee affects cortisol and insulin in females. And it also referenced a lot of the literature up to that date. And again, I liked it because it was 2022, so it was very recent. And basically, a lot of literature has shown that coffee lowers cortisol levels in the blood. They think that might actually play a role in its beneficial effects on blood sugar levels because ironically, in the short term, coffee seems to reduce insulin sensitivity. But there's more going on there because like I said, "The long-term effects are beneficial effects on blood sugar regulation and diabetes." So, the response to coffee seems to be connected with the cortisol. So, cortisol seems to go down and blood sugar seems to go down with coffee consumption and it tends to be an acute response with that cortisol. So right after drinking is when you're seeing the decrease in serum cortisol levels. And that's what they found specifically in that study. It also can reduce glucose and glycogen in the liver and it does that by inhibiting muscle glycogenesis, which is basically the formation of glucose in the liver. 

And then at the same time, not only does it seem to lower blood sugar levels and reduce cortisol, but it might also affect other hormones. So, adiponectin and that might be playing a role in its beneficial effects on diabetes. And then Sunshine was asking about the insulin connection. There was another study from 2017, so they actually found that it did affect leptin levels, but that it did not affect insulin or cortisol levels. So that's like a baseline no response with cortisol. So, my takeaway reading all of it, and this is crazy because a lot of people are thinking coffee, stress, that it's the sympathetic state and a problem. But literally this article was positing that coffee might have antistress effect because of its reduction in cortisol levels. So, what is going on here? And then just as like another tangent, I didn't know this, there are over 1000 compounds in coffee that affect glucose metabolism, which is crazy, mind blowing and likely beneficially. So, my takeaway after reading all of that was coffee and caffeine is probably not having a negative effect on cortisol. It's probably having, if anything, a beneficial effect. And this fear and concern about the "cortisol," I think might be due to caffeine activating the sympathetic system via other modalities, which would be something to keep in mind. So, it might still be a concern for other reasons, but I actually don't think it's the cortisol. At least just not from what I was reading. And then I was going to go on a tangent about my new favorite coffee. But before that, do you have thoughts on the coffee and the cortisol?

Vanessa Spina: I'm so glad that you clarified that. Honestly, I'm kind of over the whole anti-coffee trend. As a sports nutrition specialist, I'm very aware that caffeine is actually one of the only scientifically backed supplements that is an ergogenic or performance aid. I'm such a huge fan of coffee and caffeine and not just because I'm super addicted to it, but also because I just think it has so many amazing properties. It actually helps with fat burning. It helps the body release those catecholamines that you were mentioning which bind to the beta receptors on our fat cells to help with fat flux. It actually even can stimulate brown fat. There're just so many wonderful things about coffee. I think the issue that people can run into is if they are doing too much potentially or if they're sensitive to it and they notice. If you have caffeine and you notice that every time you have it. I mean coffee, you feel anxious afterwards, try having a less potent dose of it or try going off it. I've done so many experiments where I was convinced by all this anti-coffee messaging, like maybe I should try it, maybe it is affecting my blood glucose, etc. And every single time I would cut it out for like a month, it would make zero difference, none whatsoever.

I probably was just like having less fat burning, less performance. I limit myself because I know myself. I have one cup in the morning and I make my own espresso. So, it's about 75 mg. I continue to have it during pregnancy because it's safe up to about 200 mg. If I really need it, I'll have another coffee in the afternoon, but I very rarely do that. So, I have talked to people though, like I have a friend who's a physician. She has like six or seven coffees a day because she's a super busy [laughs] physician who needs to be alert and on it all the time. And I think that potentially there could be issues, like if you were having just so much caffeine constantly, so much coffee. But I'm a big fan of it. I don't understand why it is being touted, like you said, "As having to do with stimulating cortisol." Other people say it makes your blood sugar higher if anything, that's probably just having you dump a little bit of glycogen from your liver and that's not a bad thing. It's not like, "Oh, it's making your blood glucose higher, so you're going to have diabetes kind of thing." [chuckles] Not at all, so I don't really get the anti-coffee rhetoric. I think it's a little bit like maybe trendy and so people are jumping on the bandwagon. And I think people like to deny themselves things and feel good about themselves for doing that. So, I think that may be where some of it's coming from, but scientifically it's like a proven performance aid. It's great for performance, [laughs] it's great for fat burning. So, I'm very pro coffee, just personally.

Melanie Avalon: Okay, so I'm so glad we're on the same page. And it's so interesting where that came from because that is the vibe that I have just tangentially experienced about coffee. Like I said, "I read the question." I was like, "Yeah, I've heard that, that makes sense." And then I went and looked at all the studies. I was like, "Oh, it does the opposite. It probably is really good for cortisol." 

Vanessa Spina: Busting myths here on The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. 

Melanie Avalon: My mind was a little bit blown and I walked away from reading all the studies and I was like; "I need my coffee for my blood sugar control." [laughs] 

Vanessa Spina: Totally. People have it totally opposite. A lot of people get it, but a lot of people have it totally opposite. And I don't think a week or two goes by that I don't get some kind of comment or message stating that, like, "Oh, this person said that it's bad for my blood sugar, bad for my cortisol." And I'm just like, [sigh] "Here [laughs] we go again." So hopefully people listening to this will know and understand. And I know you will link up all those studies in the show notes for people because some people may be like, "I don't believe it, I have to go read that for myself so that I can be convinced too." 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I'll definitely put a link. There was another study I found, and this wasn't coffee in the liquid form, it was coffee extract. But they found that coffee extract actually blocks the conversion of cortisol creation, which is crazy. So that's like also the antithesis that it increases cortisol. So, I'll put a link to it in the show notes. I do think that a lot of people can have an issue with mold in coffee and might be reacting to compounds in coffee and toxins in coffee. And that's why historically I'd been drinking literally Bulletproof Coffee since 2012. I am no longer drinking Bulletproof Coffee because, well, Dave Asprey is no longer with Bulletproof Coffee and can no longer confirm that they are-- I mean, they might still be doing all the mold testing and everything, but he's the reason I was trusting to drink that coffee.

So, he has a new coffee brand that I'm obsessed with. It is my official favorite coffee and I'm probably going to give this to a lot of people for like Christmas and stuff. It's called Danger Coffee. So, it's mold free. But what's really cool about it is it's remineralized, which is so cool because minerals are just so key. And this is probably something I need to go down the rabbit hole and research and see just how much does normal coffee potentially like, does it deplete minerals or not? Regardless, though, so Danger Coffee, he actually has a potent formula that has over 50 trace minerals, nutrients, and electrolytes in the coffee. So, you get all the benefits of coffee, none of the mold, tested for purity and potency, and you get these minerals, these nutrients, these electrolytes, and it tastes amazing. I prefer it to Bulletproof Coffee. So, it's my new favorite thing. I do have a discount if you go to and use the coupon code MELANIEAVALON. So that's my favorite coffee for intermittent fasting. But yeah, just last comment is that researching all the coffee, my takeaway was that it sounds like the perfect thing to pair with fasting if you're a coffee drinker.

Vanessa Spina: It totally is, like it also has appetite suppression effects. Like if you are wanting to do intermittent fasting, it's like your best friend, [laughs] especially in the mornings. Now, I know that there is some rhetoric out there, some discussion out there about skipping breakfast and having coffee in lieu of breakfast and that being bad for your hormones, as we just talked about, it actually doesn't really have that effect. But some people do find that having a high-protein breakfast is great. It's great for your muscle mass, your lean body mass, it's great for your metabolism and you can have coffee with it. If you like to eat earlier in the day, then I suggest either doing a break-- and you still want to do time restricted eating or intermittent fasting, doing a breakfast and lunch or doing and closing your eating window early for the day or having a breakfast and then fasting until dinner. And you can have your coffee with your breakfast. 

But if you prefer to eat later in the day, which I find so many people, myself included, prefer to do because we just don't feel that hungry in the morning, that's not a bad sign. And I think the fact that there's been this association, the fact that maybe people are saying that having just coffee for breakfast is causing leptin resistance, it's coming from the fact that having a high-protein breakfast can help if you have leptin resistance is not the same as having just coffee for breakfast as causing leptin resistance. So, if you do have leptin resistance, it's one of the things that's recommended in Dr. Jack Kruse's, Leptin Reset protocol, have a high- protein breakfast, like more so fat for calories, not so much carbs. Protein scientist Dr. Don Layman also recommends that. You know Dr. Paul Arciero, who we recently interviewed, also recommends that. It's definitely great for body composition, but I don't think that we can then infer that it causes leptin resistance. So, I'm really glad that you cleared it up with some of the research as well. 

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. I love that we are on the same page. 

Vanessa Spina: I'm a little bit passionate about this topic. [laughs] Don't take my coffee from me. 

Melanie Avalon: I'm passionate about it. I don't drink that much coffee, though. I just have a little bit every morning. 

Vanessa Spina: I know, yeah. And you're still passionate about it so.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I still love that little bit that I have, and I think it just works so well for so many people, especially just one last tangent. Like all of these pre-workouts and stuff that people are cramming down with all these weird ingredients. Coffee is a great pre-workout. I feel like you can get a lot of the benefits just with coffee and just like a lot of health benefits from it.

So, yeah, on that note, well, this has been absolutely wonderful. So, a few things for listeners before we go. We talked about so much in today's show. You can get links to everything that we talked about and a full transcript in the show notes. That will be at If you would like to submit your own questions for the show, you can directly email or you can go to and you can submit questions there and you can join me in my Facebook group IF biohackers. I've started to ask in there for questions and I kind of like using them because it keeps it really fresh. So, if you'd like your question featured, definitely check out that group and you can follow us on Instagram. We are @ifpodcast. I am @melanieavalo and Vanessa is @ketogenicgirl. And I think that is all the things. Anything from you, Vanessa, before we go? 

Vanessa Spina: No, that's everything. Thank you so much for the wonderful questions and I'm super excited for the next episode.

Melanie Avalon: Me too. I will talk to you next week. 

Vanessa Spina: Sounds great.

Melanie Avalon: Bye.

Vanessa Spina: Bye.

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

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Aug 06

Episodes 329: Protein Supplementation, Leucine Needs, Animal Vs. Plant Sources, Optimized Intake, BCAAs & EAAs, Protein Myths, And More!

Intermittent Fasting

Welcome to Episode 329 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, hosted by Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine and Vanessa Spina, author of Keto Essentials: 150 Ketogenic Recipes to Revitalize, Heal, and Shed Weight.

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

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Listener Q&A: Jobeth - What’s the science on how much protein to eat at a typical meal?

Listener Q&A: Mary - if I eat a meal that has 50 grams of protein, will I only be utilizing 20 to 30 of those grams?

Listener Q&A: Niki - How much leucine does protein have in it per scoop?

Listener Q&A: Kelly - I have questions about protein and the correct amount for women in perimenopause.

Listener Q&A: Hanne - What’s better EEA or BCAA?

Listener Q&A: Denise - Whey protein powder…any knowledge and opinions to share?

Listener Q&A: Sandra - What is the cleanest protein powder to buy and best protein bar?

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 329 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,, and 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 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.

Vanessa Spina: All right. Well, hello everyone and welcome back to The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm your host, Vanessa Spina and on today's episode, we have a very special guest and that is Scott Emmens joining us from MD Logic. How are you doing today, Scott?

Scott Emmens: I'm doing great, Vanessa. It's a pleasure to be back on IF podcast with you. 

Vanessa Spina: I'm so excited for today's episode because we're going to be answering listener Q&A, but specifically about protein supplementation. And I think it's something that so many people have questions too. I'm really excited specifically to get into some of the nuances around sort of processed food and all of that. There're just so many topics that I'm excited about. So, for listeners. Scott, you've probably heard him on the show before with Melanie because Scott is also Melanie's partner at MD Logic and Scott is the Chief Operating Officer and co-founder of MD Logic Health. And prior to that, he was an executive in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry for over 20 years, a bodybuilder, biohacker, certified personal trainer and health and wellness advocate. And Scott started MD Logic in 2021 after selling his former company, Olaregen Therapeutix, [laughs] and pursuit of a more natural approach to the maintenance of well-being and fitness. So, you are all probably very familiar with Scott and MD Logic if you've been listening to the podcast for a while. And today's episode we wanted to specifically talk about protein because myself and Scott are launching Tone Protein powered by MD Logic, which is a protein supplement. So, on today's episode, we're going to talk a little bit about the formulation behind it, why we wanted to create it, and also address some of your amazing questions. So, I am really excited. Did you take a look at the questions, Scott? 

Scott Emmens: I did. I think these are some fantastic questions. I wonder if some of them were spurred by the episode you had on, I think it was two episodes ago with the study on protein fasting versus sort of just a straight fast. And these questions look-- 

Vanessa Spina: The protein pacing. Yeah. So, Dr. Paul Arciero. 

Scott Emmens: That was a great episode. I thought he had a lot of really interesting things to say and I took a lot away from that. But I think these questions are fantastic. 

Vanessa Spina: You know hosting the Optimal Protein podcast. I answer a lot of questions in this vein, but it's so much fun to get to do it on The Intermittent Fasting Podcast because we do focus so much on intermittent fasting and the importance of getting that protein in, in your eating window. Because it does become a little bit trickier when you don't have 12 or 14 or 16 or even 20 hours in a day to just graze or eat. When you're eating in a more condensed window, you want to make sure that you are hitting your protein target. It's just so critical for so many reasons, as this audience well knows. So, I just think it's such an important topic and there are so many questions around it. And specifically, I think also about the supplementation of protein, not just eating protein in the form of animal foods. 

Scott Emmens: Yeah. Absolutely, I think there's a lot to learn about when do you take a protein shake, when do you eat animal foods or plant-based proteins as well? We'll get into that. But yeah, this is going to be, I think, a great episode to clarify a lot of the misnomers or old theories and the new up and coming science.

Vanessa Spina: Yes, exactly. I am so excited to get into the science of protein, protein supplementation and all of your questions specifically about protein. So, for listeners, before we jump into today's episode, if any of you are interested in learning more about Tone Protein, we are going to be offering a significant launch discount to listeners of this podcast members of this community, you can sign up at and you will not only receive that launch discount, you will also be the first to know when Tone Protein is available to order. So just go, sign up with your name and email address, and then you'll receive an email to confirm and make sure that you are added to the list. And you will receive that special launch discount and you will also be alerted as soon as Tone Protein is available to order. And we are going to be launching, we are hoping, by September, so it's not that far off. And I am just so excited for you all to try Tone Protein. We have so many amazing, delicious flavors coming, but it is also scientifically optimized to help you build the most amount of lean mass and muscle. And we are going to get into that very specifically in terms of the formulation on this episode because we have some questions about that, specifically. With that, shall we get started with our first question? 

Scott Emmens: Sure. 

Vanessa Spina: All right. Well, Joe Beth asks, "What is the science on how much protein to eat at a typical meal. Getting enough protein can be a problem7 for most. I read once, but I'm not sure if this is fact, but excess protein can turn into fat. We need this to be cleared up. LOL. Protein powder can be expensive of course, there is a difference in animal protein, plant protein and powdered protein utilization. Down the rabbit hole, Melanie Avalon and Vanessa Spina!" So, yes, I definitely agree with you that this needs to be cleared up in terms of the biochemical pathways of too much protein turning into fat. What are your thoughts just after hearing this question? What comes to mind? Because it's kind of a two parter.

Scott Emmens: Yes, I was going to say this is a multiple part question and I think a complex one. We could probably spend the whole show on this question and it's a [laughs] great one. So, let me start with what's the science behind how much protein to eat in a typical meal? Well, it's not too complicated, but essentially if you're eating both whole foods and a protein shake, it's more likely that you can get more absorption from a larger single bolus. If you are taking all of your protein, like, let's say you're trying to get 50 grams or even 35 grams out of just a shake, the research that I've done suggests that you're not going to optimize that protein and you could potentially be oxidizing some of that protein. Now, whether or not it's turning to fat, we'll get to. But your body can only process so much at a certain pace, and when it's pure liquid form, you're going to be getting sort of a bolus dumped all at once. 

Can your body actually take that in, synthesize it, utilize it, break down the amino acids, etc. So, what I've read is that if you eat a meal that has other macronutrients, a little bit of carb, a little bit of fat, like in your typical sort of standard protein diet. So, let's see a nice 4 ounce or 5-ounce slice of grass-fed organic beef along with a little bit of sweet potato and perhaps some additional fat, maybe in the form of a whole butter or something that's going to allow your body to digest it more slowly. So thus, it's going to reduce your insulin response and slow down the digestion process. And then if you cap that off with a protein shake, you're not going to get that bolus of just pure liquid, so you can get that extra protein with your meal. 

Now, some folks find that challenging to do, particularly when you're looking at some of these protein shakes that are trying to give you 25 to 35 grams of protein in one serving. The other potential issue, but maybe unlikely, is can it cause kidney damage? And it seems like there's a lot of mixed science on that, but definitely it's not good for people that have--

Vanessa Spina: It's actually pretty clear these days.

Scott Emmens: That it's not. 

Vanessa Spina: It's not for a healthy individual who has no kidney issues, it is even at excessive levels and excessive and beyond of what the average needs are, it will not harm the kidneys. It's only in the situation where someone has some kind of kidney issue and therefore has a compromised GFR, glomerular filtration rate, they can potentially have issues with overdoing the protein. But for a healthy individual, I have seen so much research now really debunking systematic reviews, everything showing that it is not harmful for anyone who is healthy. And in some cases, people actually need more protein than they think. 

Scott Emmens: So that's exactly where I came down. It was very clear that if you have kidney disease, especially dialysis, excess protein can be damaging. But for healthy individuals, to your point, especially athletic healthy individuals, you're going to be fine regardless of that bolus. So that's where the research that I'm looking at now is coming up with. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. And I think in terms of Joe Beth's first parter of this three parter, in terms of asking what's the science on how much protein to eat at a typical meal? I would say it depends a little bit on your goals. But I'm going to assume that a lot of people listening to this podcast who are interested in optimizing their protein intake are wanting to do so with the goal of having an optimal body composition and at the same time healthy metabolic health. So, the optimal protein intake per meal for that means that there's going to be enough protein at that meal that you will get enough of specifically the amino acid leucine. The level of leucine will raise in your blood above a certain level. For a lot of people, it's around 3 to 4 grams. That will trigger what's known as the leucine threshold and once you go above that amount and that amount is detected in the blood, what happens is it initiates a cascade of muscle protein synthesis. 

So, every day we have a certain level of muscle protein breakdown always occurring. And in order to just maintain the lean mass that we, we have to get enough muscle protein synthesis to keep that in balance. If you're wanting to grow muscle and put on more lean mass, you're probably going to need to have a balance slightly higher on the side of muscle protein synthesis than muscle protein breakdown. So, it depends a little bit on your goals. But I think most people listening to this podcast are wanting to optimize their body composition, their longevity, their health span, and therefore their metabolic health. And so, what that comes down to as well is your age in terms of the science. Because when you're young, as I like to say, you can just look at chicken breast and you'll pretty much put muscle on if you're in your 20s, you barely need to do anything and your body's just going to be synthesizing muscle all the time. 

As you get older, though, it really changes. And if you get, I think, above 45 to 50, the rates of muscle protein breakdown go up and you need way more leucine. It's actually a shocking amount. Like someone in their 70s can need as much as double the amount of leucine. And that becomes difficult, it becomes challenging for people because eating that much protein at a meal can actually be challenging. And I think that's where I really see the role of, say, protein supplementation really shining, because you can get an edge and you can really support muscle protein synthesis without having to eat, like, 12 ounces or two pounds of chicken breast at a meal, [chuckles] which can be a lot. Just to achieve that 5 to 6 grams of leucine that you might need. Because to build muscle, you'll be utilizing all the amino acids. But it really is that specifically that branch chain amino acid leucine that needs to raise in the blood. And this can all be credited to Dr. Don Layman, who I'm a huge fan of. He spent most of his career as an amino acid scientist, actually just discovering this one fact about leucine. So, we owe a lot to him when it comes to understanding the science about what is optimal. 

Now, just as a sort of neat and tidy takeaway, you can target around 30 grams at a meal, 30 to 40 grams of protein at a meal, say, three times a day, or a little bit more than that, twice a day, and you'll probably be able to hit that leucine threshold and initiate the process of muscle protein synthesis. So that's how I've come to understand the science on how much protein at a typical meal is critical. Now, that changes if you're doing time restricted eating or intermittent fasting and you have a shortened eating window. If you're only eating two meals a day or even one meal a day, it's going to look very different. 

Scott Emmens: Yeah. And I think that's where both your comment on leucine and supplementing your meal with a protein shake can really make the difference, because you're going to be able to get much more protein if you're eating it and both having it within your drink versus just having a high protein meal. I know for myself, I'm 175 to 180 pounds in my fighting weight and according to my age, which will remain anonymous for the time being. And this calculator, if I'm "highly active," it's saying I need 212 grams of protein. And I know I'm not going to sit down in a single meal or even a 4-hour eating window and eat two and a half to three pounds of chicken breast and lean grass-fed beef. So, it's just kind of infeasible for me to do that. So that's where I think the protein, and more importantly, what is the composition of the protein, amino acids and leucine to your point being the critical one. 

Vanessa Spina: That's so important when it comes down to selecting a really high-quality protein supplement, because there are, unfortunately, some kinds of protein supplements that are being marketed to people that are not really going to do the job. They're either not really complete proteins. Some of them are actually collagen masquerading as protein powders. There're a lot of proteins that really don't optimize for the amount of leucine. So, if you are going to supplement, you really want to make sure that you're doing it with a super high-quality kind and we will get into that a little bit because you talked about in your question Joe Beth, you asked about the difference in these different animal proteins. But let's talk about your next part of the question, which is about excess protein turning to fat and the pathway there. I can start there if that sounds good to you, Scott? 

Scott Emmens: Yeah. Please, Vanessa. 

Vanessa Spina: So, I do agree with you, this really does need to be cleared up. This is one of the most rare pathways that the body will probably ever undergo, is turning excess protein into fat. What is most likely to happen is once you have utilized all of the protein that you can at a meal, which can be around the range of 30 to 40 grams, the sort of "excess protein" that you've consumed, that is in addition to your needs, will likely be turned into glucose via the pathway of gluconeogenesis. And it's really not a bad thing. It's really not something to fear. It takes 4 to 5 hours after a meal just for your body to break down protein into amino acids. So, most people will see, like, if you're wearing a continuous glucose monitor, CGM, like the one that Melanie and I use from NutriSense, you'll definitely see that your blood glucose will stay pretty stable even if you've eaten a large bolus of protein. 

Some people have a lot of misplaced fears about the insulin spike that can occur after consuming protein because we know that higher levels of insulin can cause the body to store fat. But in the case of protein, it's really not comparable. If your insulin spikes after eating a high carb meal, a super processed high carbohydrate meal, that is definitely going to lead to fat storage. But when insulin spikes after eating a high protein meal, it's to help you build muscle. So, it's really not something to fear and it's very extremely rare. I've looked at so much research on this that the protein that is consumed in excess of what you need will then be turned into glucose via gluconeogenesis, and then that glucose will then be turned into fat. It's just very rare protein is mostly biological material that we are using. Most of our bodies are protein. Like, we're basically protein and water. So, we need protein for not just building muscle, but even for hormones like the hormone insulin itself is a peptide or protein-based hormone. We need protein for virtually everything. 

Our cells are little protein printers. They have little 3D printers in them that are printing proteins for us constantly. So, our requirement for protein is relatively high. Most people I find undereat protein, or even if they overshoot a little bit, it's better to overshoot slightly and have a little extra glucose that your body will actually store as glycogen in your muscle, likely maybe a little bit in your liver, than to undereat protein and not get enough. Because that's where people, I think, run into issues, is if you are eating protein at your meal, but every single time you eat, you're not eating enough protein to trigger muscle protein synthesis, you're not getting enough leucine. That's when it can all turn to glucose. And that's when I think people can run into issues with that pathway of potentially turning into fat. So, you have to hit that threshold, that minimum amount of leucine, to make sure that your body is triggering muscle protein synthesis. Whether you are an athlete, whether you do resistance training and workout or not, it's really important to hit that to make sure that protein actually does get mainly utilized to build muscle, to repair muscle, and for all the other processes that body needs. 

Scott Emmens: Yeah. Vanessa, I almost just want to say ditto so many great things that you said. One I just want to hit a little bit, which is insulin is an anabolic hormone, not just for storing fat, but for storing and helping to create muscles to get the glycogen and the amino acids into the muscle. So, it's really one of your most powerful anabolic hormones, is insulin. In my bodybuilding days, when I was doing heavy lifting all the time and taking a lot of protein, we utilized that little bit of insulin spike with protein, post a workout to help with the muscle growth or anabolic effect of the protein. Where I think it turns into fat is when people are eating protein with a high carb meal, particularly if they're eating like, mashed potatoes out of a box or something, your glucose is going to spike at that point, and that's what's going to put on the fat. But if you're eating a high protein meal with relatively low carbs, your protein is not going to turn into fat, more than likely to your point, I think you nailed it. 

It's really going to come down to the varying difference in how insulin works on proteins. And the other thing you hit on is every single cell in your body, every process, your cartilage, your ligaments, your skin, your muscle, it all requires protein. And you are in this continual stage of degrading protein. And if you're not telling your body, "Hey, we have enough protein." It thinks, "Well, maybe I need to eat protein and store fat because fat is the way your body survives and stored in starvation time." So, I completely agree that protein turning to fat is going to be exceptionally rare, if not almost impossible. But you'd have to eat an awful lot of protein in a single meal for it to turn into fat. 

Vanessa Spina: You just made me think actually about the example of rabbit starvation, which you know, occurs when people-- I forget what the context was exactly, maybe they were early explorers.


Scott Emmens: If you're in the Arctic or a cold environment and you're eating just rabbit that doesn't have enough fat on it or other nutrients, and you will literally starve death if you eat nothing but rabbits. 

Vanessa Spina: Yes. And part of it is because of the high thermic effect of protein. So, you burn so many calories in breaking down protein. And if all you're eating is protein, even if you're eating tons of it, rabbit is very, very lean, which is where the term comes from. You also don't have enough micronutrients and B vitamins to really help you process and break down all of the protein. But people don't get fat. [chuckles] These explorers, for example, they didn't get fat just eating tons and tons of rabbit meat, which is super lean. They actually were starving because the body burns so many calories. You really boost your metabolic rate when you eat a lot of protein and there was zero energy coming in from it because it is such a lean meat. So, if excess protein turned to fat, they would have all ended up obese. [chuckles]

Scott Emmens: Correct. And I learned that watching Alone, which is one of my favorite TV shows, which is, for those you don’t know, a survival show. And Joe Beth, we did not mean to go down the rabbit hole in that sense. 

Vanessa Spina: [laughs] Well, that's amazing callback. Finally, Joe Beth, you asked about the difference in animal protein, plant protein, and powdered protein utilization. Just to round out the question there in and the sort of last part of it, do you want to start with that one, Scott? 

Scott Emmens: Yeah, sure. So, I think animal protein is probably your best source and there is a way that you can look up like what is a complete protein. And what do we mean by a complete protein? It means that it has all nine essential amino acids plus others in certain ratios and it has to meet those amino acid ratios to be considered a whole protein. Animal protein is the only, well, I should say animal based. So that means egg, milk, meat. Those are things that are going to give you a complete protein in various amino acid concentrations. And we'll talk a little bit more about that as we get more into leucine and other amino acids, but leucine being the critical factor. So, animal protein, I think, is probably one of your best sources if you can get that and eat enough of that. But I find even I can't do that in a 4 to 6 hour eating window is just too difficult. Plant proteins are, in my opinion, a valid way to get some additional protein, but it's usually not going to be complete unless you blend multiple plants. And then you have other issues, like lectins or how much powder are you having to scoop from that if it's a plant-based powder, in terms of plant-based protein, you'd have to eat an enormous amount of varying plants, beans, legumes in order to get the right amino acid ratio to get to a complete protein. 

Honestly, there's no way I could survive on a plant protein diet in the lifestyle I want, in the muscle mass I want to maintain, and just to take a quick step back. Vanessa, there is so much literature on longevity and health span connected directly to your lean muscle mass as you age. So, I think that's something I really want to make sure the audience recognizes is if you look up what are the key factors that are going to determine your longevity and health span as you age, it's going to be muscle mass, lower body strength, grip strength, ironically enough, and bone in your skeletal system. And all of that requires protein. So, it's really important that you have significant lean muscle mass going into it. So, plant-based protein, well, I think should be a part of your overall healthy diet if you can tolerate that. But for me, it's just an inefficient way to get the protein I need into my body. And then in terms of the powders, you're going to utilize a great deal of powdered amino acid, depending on the kind of powder it is and depending on how much you're taking at once and depending upon what the amino acid ratio is in that protein. I don't know if you want me to go further into that or just leave it at that for now, Vanessa.

Vanessa Spina: Well, actually, our next question kind of segues into this, I think, a little bit of where you want to go with this. So, we'll jump into Mary's question. She says, "I recently read that you can only, "use a certain number of grams of protein at one meal." So, if I eat a meal that has 50 grams of protein, will I only be utilizing 20 to 30 of those grams? I figured out a way to make my protein shake 50 grams, but if I'm losing 20 grams, is it worth wasting a scoop of protein powder? I'm interested to see what you say."


Scott Emmens: I would not do 50 grams in a protein shake in one single serving only because your body's going to try to process that in that liquid form so quickly. That is when you can get into some potential oxidation of the protein. That is when you might get so much, you're just not digesting it properly, because liquid protein is going to go through your system much faster than, like you had mentioned earlier, 6 to 7 hours for-- 4 to 6 hours, like you said, for your animal-based proteins. Well, if it's a liquid-based protein, it's going to be digested much faster than that and I really think 50 is way too high in a single shake. That's my personal opinion. That's not based on any study that I've read, but in the overall cohort of protein synthesis, protein digestion, there are specific articles and clinical trials that look at or if you're taking just a liquid-based protein shake, like what that kind of peak is, it tends to peak out depending on who you are, etc., in terms of efficiency, around 25 grams for one single liquid shake. I think you're probably doing a disservice, and I would say probably a little bit of that extra scoop you're putting in is not going to beneficial. And again, it goes back to what is the amino acid breakdown of that protein and what type of protein is it. 

Vanessa Spina: Yes, I agree. And like you said, when you process food, you make it more easy for the body to digest and assimilate. So, it definitely speeds up that process of absorption in terms of the absorption rate, rather than if you're eating a large steak, you have to take a lot more time to break that down into individual amino acids versus when something is processed. And not all processing is bad, which is one of the sort of nuances I wanted to get into. Anytime you're cooking food, you are processing the food more. When we talk about processed foods being bad for you, it usually is with regards to hyperpalatable, ultra processed food, which is not really that much food anymore. A lot of times it's like food like product. Whereas when you are processing something like yogurt or cheese, you're processing it minimally in order to make it tangy, have some probiotics in it, give it some flavor. 

It's a minimal amount of processing, but it is still processing. But that doesn't mean that cheese or yogurt are not still whole foods and very good for you. And with protein powder, what's great is that it is a little bit more processed than, say, grass-fed steak. But that is really helpful when you are wanting to get in all the protein that you need in the day more efficiently or just hit your leucine threshold target, or just not having that much time. Like, I love either sometimes replacing breakfast or one of my meals with a protein shake because it's just so quick and easy, it takes me 5 minutes to make. And yes, that does come with a little bit more rapid absorption which is why, precisely to your point, Scott, you don't want to overdo how much protein you're consuming. And this sort of takes me a little bit Tone Protein and what we wanted to create here, because a lot of times I actually recommend that people sort of overshoot a little bit, like over the 25 grams, to make sure they get at least 3 grams of leucine. Because if you're doing a high-quality protein powder like a whey, which is about usually around 10% to 11% the amino acid leucine, in terms of content, you're probably going to get around 2.5 grams for 25 grams of protein and around 3 grams of leucine for 30 grams of protein. So, I tend to recommend people overshoot just a little bit because it's better, like I was saying earlier, to make sure you hit that leucine threshold than to underdo it and not hit the leucine amount that you need. 

However, with Tone Protein, we've sort of created something that really doesn't exist on the market, as far as I know, because it is scientifically optimized to help you build lean mass without having to put in two or three huge scoops of protein powder and have 50, 60 or beyond that protein grams, which could cause some issues, like overdoing it a little bit in terms of that absorption. Instead, what we've done is optimize the amino acid profile to contain more leucine, so that you have that leucine, which is like the key in the ignition, starting the car, it's turning the ignition, it's initiating the process of muscle protein synthesis, and then you have the other grams of protein there to help you. And I was doing some videos on my Instagram last night showing people the difference with that giant red scoop that you sent me, which is like a standard sort of "meathead" like protein powder scoop. And it's absolutely huge. You can fit at least two, if not more, of the Tone Protein scoops in there and it really shows you the difference in terms of volume. And so to just be able to put one scoop in and know that my body is going to be able to trigger muscle protein synthesis or initiate it without having to just have scoops and scoops of all this protein, which is going to make you potentially feel a bit sluggish, a bit bloated, maybe put a little bit of that protein towards excess glucose, like just overdoing a little bit. 

Whereas in my opinion, what you want to do is hit as close to your protein target as possible. You want to hit it so that you are initiating muscle protein synthesis, but you are not providing so much extra protein in the process that you can have those issues. And people have all kinds of issues like waking up all night to pee because they're just having too much protein to break down and sequester the nitrogen and the liver and then excrete that as urea in urine. There're just a lot of issues that can come up from really eating too much protein. So, I'm always about Optimal Protein, the name of my podcast, because it's not that easy to just hit the target to get enough. So, you are hitting your goals, but without overdoing it. And that's why I'm so excited in particular about Tone Protein and how it is scientifically optimized to help you build that lean mass in the most efficient way possible without all that extra protein. 

Scott Emmens: Yeah. Absolutely, I think it comes down to what is the minimal effective dose and what is the absolute optimal dose. And then some people, we go beyond the optimal because we want to make sure we hit optimal. And I think that's what's going to be great about Tone Protein is that it is engineered to be the optimal way to get the right amount of protein, but more importantly, the right amount of amino acids in the right ratios. Specifically, leucine, as you so eloquently put it. And I was one of those meatheads when I was 24 as a bodybuilder, taking those giant scoops of protein. And it got to the point where it was just like you felt bloated and you've got digestive issues because it's a huge scoop. Someone in the earlier had said they're doing the two scoops. I don't know how on earth I could do two of those giant scoops that I'd sent you. And even I was shocked when I opened up that scooper and I was like, "Holy moly, that is a lot of powder." [laughs] So just one clarification too, when I say engineered, so processed food, as you mentioned, is food that is processed like a frozen pizza. 

There's very little nutrition in a frozen pizza. Whereas protein powders for the most part are more like engineered versus processed. Yes, they are processed, but that's what allows them to be effective, that you're going to get that, it's easy to digest, it's easy to make, it's easy to get that protein into your body. So, what we're doing with Tone Protein, with MD Logic Health, is to just say what is the optimal ratio of amino acids and what's the perfect amount of protein that people can get? And if they want to add a little more based on their activity or their age, they can do that. 

Vanessa Spina: The next question from Nikki is another sort of follow up to that. Nikki asks, "I have a feeling that she's going to answer this anyway," speaking about me. "But how much leucine does Tone Protein have in it per scoop?" 

Scott Emmens: So right now, the current formula, we have 7 grams in there of leucine. We're still tweaking that because I think Vanessa, I think we were talking about 6 kind of being the perfect number. We might bring that down to 6, but it's going to have between 6 and 7 grams of total leucine in the formula.

Vanessa Spina: Which is huge, which means that no matter what age you are [chuckles] taking one scoop will get you enough leucine content in your bloodstream to trigger muscle protein synthesis. And it's going to help you be able to build muscle without having all that excess amount of protein that you probably don't need, but you don't have to worry if you're hitting that leucine threshold with your meal or with your shake, or with your meal plus shake. And this is something that I actually personally started doing with my father last year after he was recovering from back surgery, because he doesn't like to eat a lot of protein and he likes to eat more rice and noodles and just not a lot of animal protein. So, what I started getting him to do was to take leucine with his meals so that he could complement the protein that he was getting and make sure that at his age, he was hitting that leucine threshold and that would help him be able to recover much quicker from his surgery. 

A few weeks ago, he won his local golf tournament [chuckles] after having back surgery only a year ago. And that's a testament to all his hard work and recovery. But I definitely think that the fact that he was prioritizing his muscle recovery and making sure to supplement properly probably helped a little bit in making sure that he was able to recover all that lean mass and as much as possible, because it is so much harder to do, they say, after the age of 40. I know for women, I'm not sure if it's the same for men, but women have a much harder time maintaining our muscle because our hormone levels change and certain hormones, like estrogen especially, can go lower, and it makes it much harder for women to retain lean mass. 

And that actually leads us into our next question, which was from Kelly, and she says, "I have a question about protein and the correct amount for women in perimenopause. I keep hearing different amounts, 75 to 120 grams seems to be the range. Also, do amino acids replace animal protein or do you add it with protein? So, if you are doing one meal a day and potentially not getting enough animal protein, I have been doing one meal a day for eight months, and I have lost weight, but I'm also losing muscle (my butt has disappeared}." Crying, laughing emoji.

Scott Emmens: I think that's the critical issue. [laughs]

Vanessa Spina: "Yes. I don't want to necessarily gain big muscle, but I need help with getting that tone back. I am looking forward to having Vanessa on the podcast. What an incredible duo?" Awe. That's so sweet. [laughs] Thank you so much, Kelly. I really appreciate the kind comments, and I love that you asked about your butt and being toned, because let's face it, a lot of us are interested in metabolic health, but we also want to be toned and maintain that muscle tone that we work so hard to achieve in the gym. And so, yes, for sure. Like I was just saying, as you approach menopause, your hormone levels are going to fluctuate and change. And it's one of the reasons that women have a harder time just maintaining the lean mass that we've built over the years. And that's why it's so critical to make sure that you're hitting that leucine threshold with your protein meals so that you won't lose muscle. And I'm not saying that it's inevitable that you'll lose muscle if you're doing one meal a day, but it is a little bit trickier to make sure that you are getting enough protein in. So that's why making sure that you are hitting the right amount of protein at your meals is really key. Do you have any thoughts on that, Scott? 

Scott Emmens: Yeah. So, I think the differing amounts, 75 to 120 grams. Well, it really depends on your activity level and your lean weight. So, you should be getting somewhere between 0.8 and 1 gram or a little bit more per lean body weight. So, if you're 140 pounds of fairly lean body weight, you should be getting around 140 to 130 grams of protein. So, I don't know that a range of 75 to 120 is really an accurate range. And I think, again, it's going to come back to leucine, which also triggers growth hormone response. So, growth hormone is a powerful way to maintain muscle mass without gaining any excess weight. So, the leucine also acts as a way to keep your lean muscle without adding any fat. And there's another thing I might wait here, but she goes into the amino acids replacing animal protein. I don't know if you want me to get into that or just hold for a moment. 

Vanessa Spina: No, go ahead.

Scott Emmens: So I think part of the reason and I don't know if this is the case, Kelly, but if you're doing just amino acids to replace the animal protein, that could be causing some of the loss of muscle mass because you're not getting sufficient total grams of protein. And it's funny enough, amino acids, I was actually having a conversation with our lead formulator and chemist about essential amino acids, and you can't count them as protein. So, if you put an essential amino acid powder together, you can't say it's x number of grams of protein. You just have to list it as the amino acids that you're getting in grams or milligrams. And the reason for that is that even though the nine essentials might make up a fairly complete protein, it's not a complete protein. And so, you can't call it a protein. There's nothing else in there your body literally will absorb those really quickly. It will put it onto your muscle mass, but there's no additional protein there other than those amino acids. So, you might only be getting the comparison of maybe 10 grams of protein from an essential amino acid powder, which is not sufficient. So that could be part of why you're losing a little bit of weight. So, I think to answer the question, you might not be getting enough animal protein and/or just full complete protein from a whey isolate protein. That's my answer to that part of that question, which is can they replace? And I would say no, they're a great addition. I'm a big fan of both essential amino acids and branch chain amino acids. They're particularly helpful pre-workout and post-workout, particularly if it's resistance training, but they're not really a replacement for protein. 

Vanessa Spina: Yes, I agree with everything that you said specifically on the first question, I personally also like to use an equation depending on if you know your lean body mass or not. If you do know your lean body mass, if you had a DEXA body scan done and say you know that you have like 104 pounds of lean body mass, you can easily from that do a calculation of 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass. If you don't know your lean body mass, you can just go with your ideal body weight. So, if your ideal body weight is 140, like you said, you could have 140 grams of protein per day. I also have a macro calculator on my website, which is, where you can also check out Tone Protein soon, but there's a macro calculator on there and you can calculate calories. You can also calculate the macros and the protein depending on your weight and your activity levels, which also make a huge difference. So, age, weight, activity levels are going to be the biggest factors when it comes to figuring out how much protein. And again, as you age, you need more. If you are doing resistance training, you need more. If you're doing any kind of growth, [chuckles] like you're growing muscle or you're growing a baby, you need more. We need a lot more protein when we are trying to grow our muscles or even just maintain those toned butts that [laughs] we work so hard to achieve. 

Lastly, with regards to the question one meal a day, so I wanted to just share anecdotally that if I ever do one meal a day, which I do from time to time, especially when I'm really busy, because meal prep and cleanup and everything just takes so much time. I do sometimes do one meal a day and when I do, I always have a high-protein prioritized meal and I always chase it with a high-quality protein shake. And I make sure that I am getting enough protein at that meal because it is really hard sometimes with one meal a day to just sit there and eat that much protein in the form of animal protein. And I love animal protein, [laughs] like whether it's fish, chicken, turkey, beef, I just love it all. So, it is still hard for me to get enough protein if I'm doing just one meal a day. So, I always make sure to have a protein shake at the end. And I actually in the summertime, I usually have a protein shake after dinner just because I love making what I call protein ice cream, and I love having a delicious cold protein shake. It tastes like frozen yogurt or ice cream. I put unsweetened almond milk in there, ice, frozen berries, and I use Tone Protein and make a delicious either like a frozen sort of berry type of shake, which tastes a lot like frozen yogurt, or I just do vanilla plain, like a vanilla milkshake with Tone Protein, unsweetened almond milk and ice. And it's just a really nice way to-- it's like a dessert at the end of your meal. So, I love doing that in the summer as well.

Scott Emmens: Man that sounds fantastic. I can't wait to-- I love ice cream, but obviously not good for the waistline. So, I am definitely going to be trying, that for sure. So, if you're doing one meal a day, it might not be optimal to eat eggs at your one meal a day, but eggs, from what I've looked up and from bodybuilding days and from just a percentage of the amount of protein you're going to digest and how high quality it is, they're really easy to digest. Scrambled eggs, you can make four or five scrambled eggs, and it's not going to fill you up nearly as much as a meat would. So that might be a way to incorporate with your one meal a day, throw a couple of extra eggs into that meal and super easy to digest, very high-quality protein. So that might be a way to get that additional protein too. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. That's a great tip for sure. I love eggs. I'm obsessed with eggs, so [laughs] I love that idea. Now our next question from Hen or Hena on Facebook sort of circles around some of what we've just been talking about. So, "is there a real maximum of protein your body can uptake in one meal/drink? And should a 50-plus-year-old woman always take EAAs with their protein shake? What's better. EAAs essential amino acids or BCAAs, which is branch chain amino acids?" 

Scott Emmens: So, in terms of should you always take them? I don't think you always have to take them. I don't think they hurt. And if you feel like you're getting benefit from that, there's nothing wrong with adding essential amino acids, although I don't necessarily think you need all of those essential aminos because you're getting a complete essential amino in the shake. So, I think it's going to come down again to what Vanessa and I are talking about, which is what are the most important amino acids to get your body into protein synthesis, and particularly that lean tissue growth. And that's going to be leucine again. So, it's not necessarily bad, but I think you're probably taking in a lot of excess essential amino acids that you don't necessarily need with a protein shake. And if you're taking just a protein shake, BCAAs and the primary activate ingredient in BCAAs is leucine, isoleucine, and valine that's your BCAAs. So, leucine is really the primary kicker in that. That's why you'll always see like a 2:1 ratio. Well, that 2:1 ratio in BCAAs is 2 grams of leucine for every 1 gram of isoleucine and valine hence why leucine is so critical. So, I think if you're taking Tone Protein, you're not going to necessarily need any additional essential amino acids because you're getting all those essential amino acids within whatever that complete protein shake, you're taking is, and the leucine rounds it off. 

Vanessa Spina: Yes, that's exactly what I would have said. I definitely, choosing between the two. I would supplement by adding BCAAs, but you really don't need to add the essential amino acids unless that's all you're having. If you're not having any protein or a protein shake, then you maybe want to take essential amino acids. But if you're taking a protein shake or protein meal, you don't need to add essential amino acids, but you could add BCAAs or leucine, which is what we're doing already, and having the optimal amount within the protein powder, which would be Tone Protein. So that's all that I would add there. 

Denise asks, "with regards to whey protein powder, any knowledge and opinions to share? In my research, I have found many bad comments, such as it is inflammatory, toxic for the liver, highly processed and refined, not bioavailable, because only 18% is utilized by your body. The rest is passed through the kidneys, turned into sugar, stored as fat, and creates bulk." So, I just want to start off [chuckles] by saying that this reminds me so much of what I used to think about protein supplements, especially whey, when I was vegan and vegetarian. This is the kind of messaging that I would often see in vegan and vegetarian literature, vegan and vegetarian media, movies. This is the kind of stuff that I truly believed until I personally went back to school to study biochemistry, because I was tired of the politics of things and being influenced one way or another based on food politics [laughs] or animal politics. I wanted to just know the actual biochemistry. And I can tell you that every single one of those statements is actually false and is not actually scientific. So not saying that you are wrong in any way, but that these beliefs or these thoughts are based on bad facts. So, I'd love if Scott and I can just clear up some of these things. So, the first one is it inflammatory? 

Scott Emmens: So, Vanessa, in order to be complete, I wanted to make sure I answered this essential amino acid question fully. And to start, I just want to say that this particular piece of information is coming directly from an essential amino acids supplement company utilizing this number of percent of whey protein being absorbed. And that's a huge jump from what 18% number is really trying to state. And I'm not going to get into that particular company or who they are, as I don't want to say anything negative about essential amino acids or their company, but that particular piece of data, zero sourcing. And it's a huge, in fact, it's just a complete in factual leap to say that the other remaining amino acids are going to turn into fats and sugars. It's absolutely ridiculous science, in my opinion, and in the opinion of the science. So, let's talk a little bit about why a complete protein with essential amino acids is really a great way to grow your muscles and maintain your overall health. 

So just quickly, there are 11 nonessential amino acids. However, some of these nonessential amino acids are either considered more and/or supplementation with them is demonstrating positive results in certain areas. So, alanine, for example, functions by removing toxins from your body into production of glucose and it produces other amino acids. Cysteine acts as antioxidant and provides resistance to the body, and it's important for making collagen. Glutamine promotes a healthy brain function and is essential for the synthesis of DNA and RNA. Glycine is helpful in maintaining proper cell growth and its function. Glutamic acid is a neurotransmitter and involved in development of functioning brains. Arginine helps promote the synthesis and proteins of hormones, detoxification in the kidneys, and plays a major role in both wound healing and muscle recovery. Tyrosine plays a vital role in the production of thyroid hormones. Serine helps promote muscle growth and the synthesis of immune proteins.


Asparagine is mainly involved in the transportation of nitrogen in our cells and also supports the synthesis of DNA. Aspartic acid plays a major role in metabolism and promoting the synthesis of other amino acids. And proline is mainly involved in repairing the tissue formation of collagen, preventing the thickening and hardening of the walls of the arteries and the regeneration of new skin. And as we all know, collagen is one of the most in fact, it is the most prevalent protein in our body. So, if you're utilizing only essential amino acids and not getting a complete amino acid profile from a total protein, you're going to have to use all of those amino acids to make all these 11. And then these 11, once they're made, they have to be used to make some of the other amino acids. So, three or four of these amino acids are critical in the creation of the other amino acids in the non-essential. So, you really need to have certain essential amino acids? 

Yes, absolutely the nine are very important, but without getting a complete protein, you risk being deficient in one or more of these other amino acids as you're utilizing all of the essential amino acids for either muscle creation or the creation of all of these other amino acids. You can also have different disease states, such as metabolic diseases, liver disorders, just a general genetic predisposition to not be able to synthesize certain amino acids properly. Vitamin C plays a critical role in the development of many of these. So, your levels of vitamin C can be depleted. So, when you only take in essential amino acids, you're forcing your body to work harder, and it could result in a deficiency in some of these other amino acids. Let's take a look at a couple of examples just to prove that point.

So, here's a study on glycine. The results of recent studies indicate that endogenous, meaning inside, endogenous synthesis of glycine and proline is inadequate for maximal growth and collagen production. It also goes on to state that serine is a non-essential amino acid that is biosynthesized via enzymes, phosphatidylglycerol and also phosphatidylserine aminotransferase and besides its role in protein synthesis, it is a potent neurotropic factor and a precursor to a number of essential compounds, including phosphatidylserine and glycine, d-serine, etc. And it goes on further. Dietary proline another example. Dietary proline is a necessary amino acid for promoting tissue repair and nitrogen balance in mammals and humans, especially in respects to wounds and burns, meaning healing. Well, when you work out, you're doing minor micro damage to your muscles. Thus proline, proline is also critical in collagen. These findings have an important implication for proline as a dietary essential nutrient for humans and animals under certain physiological and pathological conditions. 

Meaning physiologically are you under great strain? Are you injured? Do you have achy joints? Or are your joints hurting? Does your body need to help create more collagen to protect those joints? And if you're burning up all of your other amino acids, you may or may not be getting sufficient proline. Further, new developments in proline metabolism are shaping the science and the practice of human nutrition. Merging evidence consistently points to proline as an important regulator of cell metabolism and physiology. Therefore, proline can be considered as both functional and potentially essential amino acid. This promising role of proline is expected to be translated into the efficiency of nutrient utilization and improved health in organisms. Another study that was done in combining essential amino acids and whey protein. This is just the conclusion. I'm trying to keep it brief. We conclude that a composition of balanced essential amino acids combined with whey protein is highly anabolic, essentially saying that EAAs by themselves are anabolic, whey by itself is anabolic, EAAs and whey protein combined is the most anabolic and that makes complete sense.

To me, I love essential amino acids, there's nothing wrong with them. But as your primary source of protein, it's probably not your best thing to do in combination with whey, which is what we're doing to create a balanced amount of whey protein and then include the proper amount of leucine and branch chain amino acids to stimulate the maximum amount of anabolic support with the amino acids that play the most essential role. So, getting a complete protein as well as the essential amino acids or the branch chain amino acids, I should say, that are so critical in your protein synthesis. So essential amino acids, to conclude, are really good when you take them, maybe immediately post workout and/or post workout with the whey, or have whey post workout and maybe your essentials before the workout. What I like to do is have essential amino acids prior to my work out because they're a little lighter on my stomach, and then have a whey protein. And I may or may not put a scoop of essential amino acids in with that, but whey protein by itself is going to give you all of the essential amino acids and all 11 of the non-essential amino acids. 

So, if you're looking for a one and done, that's your whey protein. If you are really into weightlifting and resistance training and looking for that max anabolic growth, then you could certainly add an essential amino acid. And I have nothing against that. In fact, it's probably a product we're going to be looking to work on down the road. But I just want to bring home the point. And also with this last study, biochemically, one third of collagen molecule is composed of glycine, also another nonessential amino acid. The next amino acid component is proline. So back to proline. Together they comprise 23% of the collagen molecule. They are very important to support wounded collagen and collagen synthesis, and for adequate nutrition, assuring that the provision of calories of protein is complete, it goes on to say, however, despite adequate nutrition, clinically, there is a need to enhance collagen synthesis. And research has focused on the fact that collagen synthesis is increased by proline and by arginine. And arginine is another nonessential amino acid which actually helps create proline. And so, you would have to make arginine from your essential amino acids, which is then converted into proline. So, you're again burning up those essential amino acids and kind of burning your body's metabolism, all of the other enzymes and vitamins and minerals that act as cofactors and the other amino acids, including the nonessentials, to create all 20 amino acids. 

So, again, nothing wrong with essential amino acids as an additive. It's a great way to add some low calorie aminos to your diet. But in terms of getting your full body, especially for collagen, if you want to make sure that your joints and your skin are really holding up, you really want to make sure you're getting complete protein, and then you can certainly feel free to add essential amino acids to that. But I just wanted to make sure we cleared that up. I hope that was helpful. Every single bit of literature I can find has nothing but praise for whey isolates. Where whey protein can be inflammatory is if you're getting a cheaper version of whey, which is called whey concentrate, they have not removed the lactose and other impurities in that protein. And so, what's causing the inflammation is the lactose. It's not the protein itself. So, in terms of where that's coming from, it's coming from, again, maybe a cherry-picked piece of data on whey concentrate, which is not often used these days. But if you see a very inexpensive whey protein, odds are its whey concentrate and that's the one that's going to give you bloating, inflammation and cause these other issues. But whey protein isolates not going to cause any of these. 

Vanessa Spina: Yes, and this is huge for anyone who is taking a protein supplement already, make absolutely sure that when you are purchasing your whey protein, that when you look at the ingredients, you just see whey protein isolate because a lot of the times you will turn the product around and the first ingredient will be whey protein concentrate and the second will be whey protein isolate. And so, the product is mostly concentrate and that's because it is much cheaper to produce.

Scott Emmens: And oftentimes it'll say whey protein isolates on the front of the labeling with the marketing part. But when you flip it around, you look at the supplement facts, that's what to your point, Vanessa, when it's going say, what's really in there and if whey concentrate is in there at all, I wouldn't take it. But if it's the first ingredient, that's going to mean the bulk of that protein is coming from whey concentrate. 

Vanessa Spina: Yes, I couldn't agree more and I think you're absolutely right. That is the issue with them being potentially inflammatory. And a lot of people believe that dairy is inflammatory when it's actually one of the best foods for building muscle. And the fact that whey is a derivative of dairy is because of the high leucine content. Like some of the highest leucine content foods are milk. The reason is to help you build muscle and grow. And that's one of the reasons it has one of the highest biological value in terms of protein. I think it's like breast milk, eggs and whey are the top three when it comes to just the biological value, the quality of that protein, and the higher quality, not only better absorption, but the better effects you're going to have in terms of building your muscle. So being toxic for the liver, I'm not sure where that comes from. 

It's definitely a myth because when your body breaks down protein, there is nitrogen with the protein, but your body needs nitrogen. We need nitrogen. We are a species that requires nitrogen. So, what happens is the liver will actually sequester that nitrogen and it will get rid of it. It'll excrete it via the urine, so it turns it into urea. So, it sequesters the ammonia that comes from breaking down protein in the nitrogen and it sequesters it very safely in the liver. And then you just excrete it as you do other things that your body doesn't need or use. So, it's not toxic for the liver. There was a lot of mythology out there surrounding protein being bad for the kidneys, which we addressed when we started off the episode. But I've done a lot of episodes of my podcast just debunking that and showing the systematic reviews, showing that for a healthy individual with healthy functioning kidney and livers, there are definitely no issues with regards to any kind of toxicity. 

Scott Emmens: And again, I would say this probably comes from whey concentrate and the low-quality protein, maybe there's dyes, fillers, chemical agents that they're using in that particular study. But this definitely where this came from, I think is looking at either a whey concentrate or some very impure form of a whey protein.


Vanessa Spina: Yes, and then the next part, it not being bioavailable, it actually is the most bioavailable protein because when you look at plant proteins, although I think that some of them have value to them, the proteins and the amino acids in the plants are made for plants. The amino acids and proteins in animal protein are made for us. So, [chuckles] our bodies are able to absorb, digest, simulate and build from them much more easily. So, it is actually the most bioavailable. So only being able to absorb or use 18% is definitely not true. You're probably absorbing and utilizing all of it. And because our protein recommendations are so low, they're a lot lower than they should be for most people. Most people are undernourished when it comes to protein. And so, it's very likely that if you start increasing your protein percentage or your protein intake, your body's going to use all of it, if not most of it. But it would never use such a low amount as 18%. 

Scott Emmens: I couldn't agree more. I'll just say [chuckles] absolutely correct. Whey protein is one of the most bioavailable forms of protein you're going to get. 

Vanessa Spina: Yes. And the rest being passed to the kidneys, turning into sugar and stored as fat, creating bulk this really is also untrue. And if you look at aesthetic competitor's, bodybuilders, they are probably the biggest users of whey protein and protein supplementation. And they are the ones who are the most lean, the most ripped, most jacked, the most muscled, and they compete against each other on stage for who has the most muscle. So, if all this whey protein or protein that they were eating was just turning into sugar or turning into fat, then they would all be obese. But the protein is not fuel in the same way that carbs and fats are fuel. Those are fuels that the body can store and can use. Protein cannot be stored. It is a biological material and you have to think of it in terms of two different categories. 

There're fuel categories which are fat and carb, and then there is building blocks and that's protein. So, when you're eating protein, not only are you losing 20% to 30% of the calories just in breaking it down, which boosts your metabolic rate, but you're using that protein to build tissue, to build muscle, to build organs, to build bone, which is mineralized protein to build hormones, to build neurotransmitters. There are so many things that we need amino acids for and it's definitely not being turned into sugar, being stored as fat. And the last point of making you bulky, I think this is a huge myth that was out there for a long time, that women should avoid doing strength training because they would become bulky. And anyone who has taken up resistance training and tried to grow muscle knows how hard it is to even just put on a pound of muscle. And even if you try your hardest and you're supplementing with all the whey and you're working out five to six times a week, it's still hard to put muscle on. So, women, when we put muscle on, we tend to not get bulky. We actually just look leaner and fitter and our clothes feel better. So, it's really such an outdated concern that people have. And I understand why people have this belief because it was something that a lot of us believed for a long time and why we were all just like little cardio bunnies working out at the gym and just being fueled off of all that cortisol which is not great for muscle instead of lifting weights, which out of a fear of becoming bulky and really that's not what happens at all. 

Scott Emmens: Yeah. And I can tell you as a former bodybuilder, I got on stage at 4% body fat and those --last yeah, it was really lean. And my last week of food was almost exclusively protein up until the day of the competition, where you eat a bunch of carbs and you carb up to get your muscles full of carbohydrates and glycogen to make them pop more. But yeah, you're basically eating pure protein. My diet was 12 egg whites in the morning, 12 egg whites in the afternoon, three or four chicken breasts at night, and a few protein shakes in between and that was on top of intense, intense training. So yeah, you're not going to be putting a lot of stored fat. I think, again, that's coming from glucose or lactose rather, or other impurities. And I think you nailed it on the bulk. I think part of that too, having been in that world, is a lot of my colleagues and a lot of even the female weightlifters were taking steroids. And so that's, I think, what created that myth in the 80s and 90s, that pervade into 2000s. I think we're finally breaking that myth. But you're exactly right, it takes an enormous amount of work. And I know because I was competing with people on steroids and I had to work incredibly hard at my diet and in the gym in my 20s to put on muscle mass, it was very hard to put on muscle mass. Now I'm 52, giving away my age, and it's gotten substantially harder to maintain and put on muscle mass. It definitely doesn't get easier. So, if you're in your 30s, this is the time to create your foundation because it's only going to get more difficult. 

Vanessa Spina: Now, Sandra asks, "what is the cleanest protein powder to buy and the best protein bar?" And Joe Beth says, I agree, that's my question as well. 

Scott Emmens: So, the cleanest isn't on the market yet, but it's about to be. That'll be Tone Protein. We're taking that very seriously, which is why the formula that we're engineering and tweaking to perfection will be out shortly. I know Vanessa will have updates for all of you guys as to when that's going to be available. There are some really good whey proteins out there, but I would encourage you to look at the label and see what is in the protein. And the less stuff in it, the cleaner it's going to be. You just want whey protein isolates without any concentrate and the least amount of additional dyes, flavors, etc., that you can get in there. Most of them, I don't know any of them that have extra leucine in them I think will be the first on the market, which might be a trendsetter, and I'm sure it will be. Is that also the plant based one or no, that's a different question. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. There was a question from Denise asking "if plant-based protein powder is a better alternative. I'm really trying hard to get my protein macros in for the day and using protein powder seems to be the only way for me." 

Scott Emmens: Okay, so I'll circle back to the bars. --I used to do the protein bars. I've stopped doing them because I haven't really found a protein bar that I personally like. So, I just take branch chain amino acids during the day or I'll take an extra protein shake rather than a bar. That's just my personal opinion. I don't know of any bars personally that I would take at this point. So, I don't know if you have a comment on the bars before we move on to the plant-based question. 

Vanessa Spina: I don't. Unfortunately, no. I don't use them myself. 

Scott Emmens: So, the plant based is a better alternative? No, it's definitely not a better alternative. In order to get a complete protein from plants, you really have to blend a number of plants and typically you're going to see a pea protein mixed with a pumpkin seed. Maybe like a hemp protein might be mixed in with that, but you're going to have to blend a number of different sort of plant powders and then you have to take pretty large scoops of that powder to get equivalent amounts of a complete protein. So, a plant-based protein powder is not a better alternative for bioavailability, for completeness, and definitely not for leucine. It's got a very low leucine component compared to a whey protein. 

Vanessa Spina: Yes. I definitely agree with that. Now, one of our last questions here, Anna asks, "in a recent Instagram post, Joel Green talks about BCAAs or branch chain amino acids, restricting three certain amino acids valine, leucine, and isoleucine for longevity. Thoughts?" 

Scott Emmens: So, I think what we're getting at is maybe like the mTOR process that people are concerned about. The body sort of overregulating, but if all you're doing is branch chain amino acids, you're going to be missing the complete protein. So, I would not recommend anyone do just BCAAs. You want to have a complete protein with additional BCAAs, because again, that's going to be the thing that helps your muscle synthesis. And as I had said earlier, longevity is tied to so many. if you just Google right now the top five things that project longevity, you're going to see strength, speed, lean muscle mass, lower body muscle mass, lower body strength. All of those things that are related to muscle are going to be the things that are going to most predict your longevity. As you get into your 50s and 60s, even your 30s, that's going to be the thing that determines it. From my perspective, if it's just BCAAs, yes, you could be triggering something that's not positive. But we're not recommending that you take just BCAAs. If you're going to take BCAAs, it should be in combination with a whole protein. The only time I take BCAAs solo is right after my workout. But almost always within an hour, I'm eating an egg white or a complete egg protein or some animal protein along with it.

Vanessa Spina: So, [laughs] this is a question that we talk about endlessly on the Optimal Protein podcast. Is that tradeoff between longevity and health span? And I recently asked Dr. Ted Naman, when he was on the podcast, what he thought about this, and he said, there definitely is a little bit of a tradeoff when you look at sort of different animal models and even rodent research, that if you do restrict the protein, you can add some years to those rodents or animal lives. But what if you end up being really frail, but you're just living longer? Is that going to give you a high quality of life? And I really like the answer that he gave that he would rather be strong and fit. And your muscle is that bank account, that savings account for your longevity and quality of life. So, if you want to live well and live long, I think that the priority really should be having an optimal body composition, having a good amount of lean mass, as much muscle as you can put on and keep on because that'll enable you to do all the things that you love doing.

Whether it's doing sports that you love, the hobbies that you love, whether it's chasing after your grandchildren in the garden, like whatever it is that you want to do in your older years. You want to be able to have energy, have a strong metabolism, and have a lot of lean mass so that you can keep up with all the things that you want to do. And so, I definitely think that there's actually a little bit of value to restricting not just those branch chain amino acids, but all food here and there. I do a few seasonal fasts every year because I like to get some autophagy and just clean up any misfolded proteins and organelles and ramp up the autophagy, and the mitophagy but we do it every night. You know our bodies --as long as we're prioritizing sleep, our bodies will do a lot of those processes and sort of that cellular cleanup will occur. But you really want to make sure that you're not going to be frail in your older years, because those are the things that actually can do a lot of people in. Like I have relatives that it just took one sort of fall at the end and you break a hip or something and that's it. 

You really want to have strong bones. Like I said, bones are mineralized protein and adding a little bit of time at the end. If you're not strong, if you're not energetic, what's the point really? What is it going to do for you? So, I do think that the point is valid. If you restrict protein,-- not just branch chain amino acids, if you restrict protein from time to time, you will get some autophagy and you probably will be a little bit healthier, like metabolically, but doing it on a consistent basis, like over restricting protein, not getting your protein target as much as possible, not doing resistance training. I think that's really not going to set you up in the best way for those later years. Well, I had so much fun answering all of these questions with you today, Scott. We had so many brilliant questions, and I loved how going through each of them, I knew that these were questions that a lot of people have. And I hope that we're able to maybe clear know some of the mythology out there about the negative aspects of protein or protein supplementation.

And I really just want to underline the importance of protein intake for women. Throughout our lives we're often encouraged to restrict to eat salads, to avoid working out, avoid weights. When it turns out that these are all the things that make us stronger, physically stronger and also healthier and making sure to prioritize protein. Get enough protein in not only at every meal, but in every day to do resistance training, if possible, at least once or twice a week. If not three to four times a week. These are going to be the things that really help us as women to be strong and also look great and look toned, and look great in our jeans as well. And I think that these are concerns that a lot of women have. And I just think that we've had sort of some of the wrong messaging for a long time and I think that that's being corrected now with actual facts and I'm just seeing so many women out there who are embracing resistance training, an optimal protein intake, understanding the importance of protein. And this audience certainly [chuckles] seems to understand that message that protein is important. Prioritizing it is important. And of course, we're practicing time restricted eating, we're doing Intermittent fasting, we're doing different bio hacks and different approaches that will help us to also make sure that we have a long lifespan. But it's very important to have a long health span as well.

Scott Emmens: Yep. And that's know, I am so proud that MD Logic Health is partnering with Tone Protein to create this product because I think it is sorely needed on the market. And I feel really impassioned to create this with you. And I know you're incredibly passionate about this, in fact, that's what your whole podcast is about. And so, what makes me so excited is I know that-- just to give a I'd be remiss if I didn't say so. MD Logic goes through with their partners extensive pre ingredient testing. So, before the ingredients even get into our shop, we test every ingredient for impurities, mold, toxins, strength, identity, etc., and composition so it doesn't even come into our warehouse, it's quarantined. And we test those individual ingredients and I mean all of them before they get into the formula. 

Then we create the formula based on the science and then we retest that same formula for strength, impurity, toxins and composition again, which is called batch testing. And that product, when it leaves our facility and gets into your hands, we know we've tested every ingredient. And then after the processing has happened and all the ingredients are combined, we retest it to make sure that nothing has changed with those ingredients. And everything that is in there is supposed to be and there's nothing that's not and that is a GMP USA certified facility. And so, we're really thrilled that we're going to be able to create both a clean, pure product, but also one based in science. It's going to help all the members and people that are affiliated with IF podcast and the Optimal Protein podcast. 

Vanessa Spina: And it also tastes delicious. [laughs] So, you can enjoy your protein ice cream, your protein shakes, and also enjoy building muscle, improving your metabolic health. I'm so happy to be partnering with you as well, and I'm so excited to bring this product to my community, to my listeners, and now the listeners of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast as well. But thank you so much for taking the time to be here with us today, Scott, on the episode, it's always a treat whenever I get to listen to episodes that you do with Melanie. And when we get to talk about some of the sort of formulation aspects of supplementation and just sharing. I think today we really got to share a lot of interesting facts and knowledge about protein itself as a supplement. So, I really enjoyed having you on so much. 

Scott Emmens: Thank you so much. Thank you to the audience. These were great questions. I was happy to be here. 

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

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Jul 30

Episode 328: Spermidine, Niacin, OEA, PEA, Biomimetics, Awkward Guest Moments, RE-HIIT, Berberine, Electrolytes, CGMs, Health Tracking, And More!

Intermittent Fasting

Welcome to Episode 328 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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Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 328 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,, and 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 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 328 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with Vanessa Spina. 

Vanessa Spina: Hello. 

Melanie Avalon: And for context, Vanessa is still in Colorado. So, we're excited to be recording during the day. 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, it just feels so like-- I feel so sunny and full of energy. I love podcasting with you in the evening. It's just it's a different vibe. It's like, I've got my tea and I've got like a cozy sweater on. [laughs] It's a different vibe, whereas now it's full sun outside, bright skies, and I feel more awake and energized for sure. 

Melanie Avalon: I love it. I love it, love it. I have a super random question for you. 

Vanessa Spina: I love random questions. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay. So, last time, I talked about how I went to the Biohacking conference, which friends, just as a brief plug again, I highly recommend everybody go to next year. The next one is in Dallas. It's like in May-ish of 2024 and I will have a coupon code for listeners. But for now, the link is And you get to see all the guests in the health and wellness sphere. Try all the cool biohacking products. Meet so many cool people. You can meet me. I got to meet listeners last time. It's just such a fun time. And this is coming from the girl who gets super stressed with traveling, and I just had the time of my life. It made me think of a question though, because like I said, it was the first time getting to meet all these people that I've either interviewed or know virtually or have been following and maybe don't know personally, I got to meet them in real life. 

Most people were kind of exactly what I thought they would be in a good way. I know this isn't just me because I was talking with some of my friends that went as well. I do think there are some egos in the sphere. Sometimes, people aren't quite what you expect them to be. So, I was just reflecting on because you and I, we interview so many guests, so many people. This is just like girl chat with our audience. What's the craziest experience you've had with a guest, or have you had a crazy experience with a guest on your show?

Vanessa Spina: I feel like I've had so many. And like you said, it's funny because maybe you follow someone or you talk to someone online over the years on Instagram, or you connect on different platforms, whether it's like Twitter or whatever or you follow their work and you have an idea of what they'll be like in person. You want that idea to match up with reality, when you meet them and not be disappointed. I've definitely had both experiences. But often you and I get to meet people that we look up to because we're podcasting with them. And you go from reading, say, an author's books to suddenly spending an hour to intimately chatting with them. I mean, intimately by being in just like a closed setting, it's just you and them and no one else. 

I had one really funny experience. It was really funny to me, but maybe someone listening will also find it funny. So, I had been wanting to interview this guest for a really long time. I was really excited about it. I just thought they would be generally like a normal, nice person. [giggles] We had scheduled this podcast, and this person had also asked me to come on their podcast. So, sometimes people will contact you and say, "Do you want to do a swap?" I'm like, "Oh, great." I wanted to interview this person anyway on my podcast, so let's do it back-to-back. I always like to do them back-to-back. 

My podcasts are generally around an hour. And with Luca and scheduling, it just works better for me if I just knock out their interview and my interview on their podcast the same block of time. So, this one happened to be late in the day, because when I podcast with people who are on the Pacific Coast, it's a nine-hour time difference for me. With Prague, yes, I usually cut things off around 09:00 or 10:00 Pacific, because that's our dinner time. But sometimes, I'll make an exception if someone like, "I understand it's hard to get up at 07:00 and do a podcast at 08:00 in the morning." You don't always feel like you're warmed up yet. So, sometimes I'll make an exception. So, I did make an exception this time and it was in the winter time. It was getting dark. It was like dinnertime, and Pete was going to take Luca out for a couple of hours, and he takes him actually down to the mall near us because it has a play area for kids, and Luca loves going on the slide, and with his dad, and everything. So, I was like, "Okay, you guys get dinner and then you guys can go play at the mall for two hours" and we'll knock up both interviews. 

We actually just had a time change the week before this happened, so I reconfirmed multiple times to make sure that our times would be correct. Because when the time changes in North America, it doesn't change in check for two weeks. There was like a period of time where you and I were like an hour closer in our scheduling. It was just so nice. But it lasts for two weeks. So, I get ready. I'm doing a video podcast and I'm all set to go. Pete just took Luca, they left. I'm sitting there waiting for the guest to join. It's like, "Okay." 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes when I start emailing being like, "Hey, are you still joining?" I get this email back and they're like, "According to my schedule, we're podcasting an hour from now." And I was like, "No, it's actually this time. You selected the time. It's this time and I'm here whenever you're ready, jump on." It's like another 15 minutes go by. I'm emailing their assistant and stuff.

Then the person gets on the podcast, and they're shirtless, and I can only see them from the waist up because you're sitting at a table usually, and they're like, "What's going on?" And I'm like, "Oh, we have a podcast scheduled for now." And the person's like, "Well, I had the podcast to start an hour from now." And I was like, "Well, you asked for it to be at 09:00 PST, 09:00 Pacific Standard Time, and it's now 09:00 Pacific Standard Time." That person happened to not actually be on the West Coast. They were in another country, and that other country did not change their clocks, and that person did not check what time it was PST. So, that person thought that it was an hour earlier than it actually was PST. So, I'm like, "Yeah, it's 09:00 AM." It's 09:00 AM. And then they realize, "Oh, shoot, it is 09:00 AM." So, the guest is like, "Well, I just finished working out for an hour, and then I played sports for an hour, and I was planning on coming home and having a nice breakfast, and then starting the podcast." And I was like, "Okay, well, why don't we reschedule one of our podcasts, so you can go eat, and then in 45 minutes or half an hour, we'll just do one interview instead of two back-to-back." And the guest is grumbling and making all these frustrated sounds. 

Melanie Avalon: I'm feeling so awkward right from this conver-- Oh, man, okay. I'm feeling the awkwardness.

Vanessa Spina: I was feeling so awkward. I'm dressed professionally. The person's half naked and then the person goes, "Wait, okay, just wait right here." And I kept saying, "Look, it's totally fine. Let's just reschedule. Let's do the other interview next week, like, go have your breakfast." And his person's like, "No, just wait there. Just wait right here." And goes in the other room, which I'm assuming is the kitchen, and just starts banging all these cupboards open and closing them and is making themselves like a meal or something. I'm just sitting there like, "What do I do? Do I go or do I stay on?" So, I'm just staying on. I can tell the person is really annoyed, but annoyed at me, even though I'm at the right time and they got the time wrong. I reconfirmed three or four times with their assistant before this happened, because I knew that the time zones can be an issue. 

So, I'm just sitting there and I'm texting Pete, I'm like, "I don't know what's going to know. I'm hoping we can just get these done," because I can't have him take Luca out for another hour. Like two hours is already the most that he could take him out to a play area. It's nighttime. It's going to be 8 o'clock by the time. We're done. So, I can't have him keep Luca out until like 09:00 or 10: 00 at night. So, I'm like, "Let's just reschedule." So, they're making themselves some breakfast. It sounds like they're having a bowl of cereal or something, [laughs] I'm just sitting there. And then the person comes back, I think still shirtless and is like, "Okay, I ate. So, let's just bang this out in 45 minutes or something, do a shorter episode, and then I'll interview you on my podcast and we'll do a shorter episode." And I'm just like, "Okay. [laughs] Why don't we just reschedule? It would be so much easier." So, we start the podcast off and I'm interviewing them on my podcast. And so, I'm like, "Let's talk about intermittent fasting because it's so great to be fat adapted, because when you are fat adapted and you are not able to eat right away, you don't get hangry. I can tell you are right now." [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: You didn't say that, right?

Vanessa Spina: I did. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: You did? 

Vanessa Spina: I did. You could hear it on the episode. I did, but I was laughing. I was laughing. And thankfully, I don't know, he took it well and was like, "Yeah, I am hangry right now because I just did two hours of exercise, and I was planning on eating, and not just going right into the podcast." I think because I made a joke, we were able to get past it. But it was the most awkward, unprofessional thing I've ever experienced. I really expected this person to be-- The person was very nice, but I expected them to be professional, and kind, and just courteous and like, "Okay, let's just reschedule to next week or something" like that because you have a young son who's out right now trying to stay outside in the winter at night, so that we can podcast. So, sometimes, when you meet your heroes or people you look up to, they disappoint you. It's crushing. I think it reminds me of my favorite story of yours, which was the one the person said like they only had half an hour. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. My version was also somebody very high caliber. I always ask the guest in the beginning-- I always say, how much time do you have? Because I want to be respectful of their time. And he said, no time limits. He had as much time as needed. And then literally 20 minutes into the episode, he made some sort of passive aggressive comment about the time. I wasn't quite sure. I was like, "Wait, is he trying to say something?" So, I just ignored it and kept going. And then just abruptly 30 minutes into the episode, he was like, "I really have to go now." I was like, [laughs] "Okay." It was so awkward. I'm shuddering thinking back about it. 

Vanessa Spina: Were you able to salvage the episode and still publish it? 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, but I just shuddering thinking about it, and then after that, it's like, how do you recover. And then I felt really bad because then I felt like I was impeding on his time, which was not my intention at all. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, I felt bad too. 

Melanie Avalon: We just want people to be happy. [laughs] Wait, this is crazy timing. I got an email today. Actually, this has never happened to me before. This is like the drama episode. I got an email today asking for a podcast swap. Just energetically, I'm so far booked out on my biohacking show, and I also get pitched daily by people, so I'm having to say no all the time to really amazing people. I stress about it. I shouldn't, but I do. It's funny. This was a funny story. So, there's a guest that I had been declining and then at the Biohacking conference, I always bring it back to that. But I was at a party, and his publicist recognized me and came up to me and was like, "Are you Melanie Avalon?" And she was like, "I have been pitching you" this person, she's like, "You've got to have him on." She was so nice, but she was like, "He's perfect for your audience." So, it was like an in person IRL pitch from a publicist for their client. So, then I was like, "Oh, yeah, resend the information." So, I did end up booking him. 

Vanessa Spina: Wow. Good for their publicist for coming up to you. 

Melanie Avalon: I know. I was like, "I need to hire her." But she was so nice and I'm actually really excited about that guest. But like I said, I just get so many pitches that it's just hard. But in any case, I did get an email today asking for a podcast swap. So, not only do we get a lot of pitches and we have to say no, but me going on shows isn't really energetically draining for me. I just don't really like going on other shows. So, it's just a lot for me. I just needed to decline the request. So, I asked my assistant to decline it, and the person emailed me back and said something like, "Oh, wow, this is crazy. I guess, Melanie is too good or too big now for me" or something. I was like, "Oh," which made me really sad because that's what I don't want people to think when I'm declining. It's not about that at all. At all. Yeah, sorry. This is like the drama of podcasting. 

Vanessa Spina: One of the things I love is that we both do the same thing for work, and we get to share these kinds of stories because there are really interesting things that come with being a podcaster that no one else can relate to unless they also do this. So, I love that you and I always get to talk about that kind of stuff and just like the funny stuff, the exciting stuff. And then also sometimes, the awkward stuff that happens to makes me feel less alone and more just understood. 

Melanie Avalon: I love it. And then I did tell you yesterday, I did a four-hour podcast, and it was so funny. Friends, listen to my episode with Charlotte Fox Weber. I got so personal in things I shared. So, if you want to learn a lot about me-- But it's funny. At one point, I was saying something and then Charlotte was like, "None of this is going to be in the episode, right?" And I was like, "Oh, yeah, it is." [laughs] 

Vanessa Spina: She's like, "Wow."

Melanie Avalon: I was like, "Oh, yeah." [laughs] I'm an open book. 

Vanessa Spina: Is it actually four hours, the episode? 

Melanie Avalon: I'm taking out about half an hour of it, which is where we did go off record and started talking about lot of stuff personally that I will take out. So, it's probably going to be three and a half hours. 

Vanessa Spina: Wow, that's epic. Is that like your longest episode ever? 

Melanie Avalon: It might be actually. I think with the four hours it is. What's your longest episodes? 

Vanessa Spina: Well, the longest single episode is like an hour and a half. But if I go to two hours, I just do a Part 1 and Part 2 because I have two episodes that come out each week. So, instead of my Thursday episode where I break down a study, I just make that the Part 2, because then it's like maybe I find it could be a little bit more digestible. But if I only did one episode a week, then I would just leave them. 

Melanie Avalon: That's crazy that you do two a week. 

Vanessa Spina: [laughs] Yeah, I've often reconsidered if I should be doing.

Melanie Avalon: It would be an interesting trial run to switch to one and see if you see, just see. 

Vanessa Spina: I know. And I was actually thinking about this morning polling my group and being like, "What would you guys think if I just did one a week?" But for me, I love podcasting so much and the Thursday episodes are my solo episodes where I just catch up with the audience, and catch up with listeners, and I just basically talk about different biohacks that I'm trying or doing. And then I'll usually break down a study or two. I just find them so fun that there are weeks, even when I'm on holiday, that I'm like, "Maybe I should just not do a Thursday episode this week." And then I'm like, "But no, I want to." [laughs] So, I really, genuinely enjoy it. It brings me a lot of joy. But if it ever gets to a point where it doesn't, then I'll have to reconsider it. 

Melanie Avalon: Have you thought about doing Peter Attia and doing a subscriber feed for that one? 

Vanessa Spina: I have, I have but I just like providing-- [crosstalk] 

Melanie Avalon: Like, open access. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, it's just kind of my model. I know you do too. Yeah?

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I'm the same way. 

Vanessa Spina: I've never done like a paywall or anything. 

Melanie Avalon: Same. Yeah, we're on the same page there. 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, my gosh, I have to tell you real quick about this new supplement that I've been trying, if you don't mind. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, please do. Yes. 

Vanessa Spina: So, this company contacted me called Mimio Health. Have you heard of them? 

Melanie Avalon: I don't think so. What do they make? 

Vanessa Spina: It's absolutely amazing. So, their lead scientist, who's also the CEO. Usually, when companies-- I also get pitched every day with products, potential guests, some of them, I'm like, "Why would you think that this guest would be on this podcast?" You get on lists, right? So, there's a lot of automated ones. But once in a while, something will stand out to me and I'll be like, "Oh, I want to learn more about this," like same for you. So, this company contacted me. I was like, "This product actually sounds insanely amazing." This scientist, Dr. Chris Rhodes, he created the world's first biomimetic that replicates four of the molecules that the body makes when you're in a deep state of fasting after 36 hours. Also, I'm usually also skeptical in general about certain supplements and especially things that the body can make on its own. I've never been a proponent of exogenous ketones. I'm like, "Your body makes ketones. Why would you take them unless it's for a therapeutic or medical application?" But I was like, "This sounds really interesting." So, they actually did research studies on the molecules that the body makes during prolonged fasting after 36 hours, and then making these molecules, and then giving these molecules to the subjects in the study, and getting similar life extension benefits. Of course, they're not doing them on humans yet. They're working their way up to that. But it's really amazing, because just like with berberine-- 

When I first heard about berberine, I was like, "Oh, this is interesting, but who could this potentially help?" There are a lot of people out there who struggle to do fasting, or who struggle to do low carb, or who struggle to not eat processed foods or maybe do paleo or whatever it is. So, sometimes people need a life raft. They need support. They need some kind of supplements. It's like this actually sounds really interesting to me in the sense that it could help people who are not really naturally adept at fasting. I just think it is super amazing. It's the world's first biomimetic and it's called Mimio. And yeah, it's absolutely fascinating. There're basically four molecules that the body produces after that long period of fasting that have specific effects on life extension, and those are the ones that are in Mimio. So, it's really exciting. 

Melanie Avalon: I'm looking at it now. It's interesting. So, one of them is spermidine. When I went to the Biohacking conference, I became friends with, I think, probably the number one spermidine company out there. 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, wow. I've definitely been hearing more and more about it. 

Melanie Avalon: I have too. I've been hearing about it for so long. I met some of the people at spermidineLIFE. I came back. It's funny. Or, I probably was texting Scott from the conference. I was like, "Scott, I want to make a spermidine." So, it has spermidine, niacin, and then I don't even know how you pronounce the other two. 

Vanessa Spina: They're really hard to pronounce. Yeah, nicotinamide is one that probably a lot of people have heard of with boosting NAD levels. And then this one I had heard about strangely for years. Let me see if I can pronounce it. Oleoylethanolamide and palmitoylethanolamide. [laughs] Really hard to pronounce, but abbreviated to OEA and PEA. And PEA is an endogenous cannabinoid and OEA is a cellular-- I guess, it's produced from the fats in your body. But I've heard of it being taken before on its own. I've heard of actually all of these been taken on their own, but not combined together. They found that there are synergistic effects as well to combining the four of them. These levels go up by several times when people are doing prolonged fasting. So, yeah, I thought I wanted to mention it because I'm trying it out myself right now. It also helps people to fast if they are doing fasting, but it also helps people get the benefits of prolonged fasting even if they are not doing fasting. 

Melanie Avalon: Wow. Now I'm looking at it, I'm like, "I want to connect them to Scott, because it has the steroids and the silicon dioxide and stuff." I see these things and I'm like, "I want the version with the no fillers and everything." This is so cool. I'm going to definitely look more into these compounds. Let me know what you experience with it. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, I want to come back and update everyone when I've had a couple of months or two, three months of trying it out. 

Melanie Avalon: Very cool. Did they give you a link? 

Vanessa Spina: Yes. I actually do have a code. It's KETOGIRL10. If you go to and use the code KETOGIRL10, you can get 10% off a subscription for three months if you try it out. Yeah. I don't really get excited about products often, and I don't really get excited about supplements that often. I love the ones that you make. I really don't get excited that often about them, but I really love what they're doing. I'm going to have the lead scientist, Dr. Chris Rhodes. Dr. Chris Rhodes is coming on my podcast in next week. I'm interviewing him. So, we're going to be talking all about the studies that they've done so far and the ones that they have that are in the works to be published as well. So, I love whenever a company is doing something. They're also putting capital and investment into doing the research as well. They're really standing behind their product, and they're also releasing a product after doing the research on it. You don't always see that. A lot of companies just come out with products willy-nilly. They really are standing behind the research on it, and they have the scientific evidence behind it. 

Melanie Avalon: That's so cool. Do you know what the starter kit is that you get with the--?

Vanessa Spina: I have it. Yeah, it's really beautiful. They have really beautiful packaging, but it's basically just like the capsulated form of the supplement.

Melanie Avalon: Okay, very cool. Awesome. Well, we'll put links to it in the show notes. Definitely let us know what you experience. I'm definitely going to research this more. Like I said, that the spermidine one has definitely been on my radar for a while. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, I bet you connected with so many cool companies and things while you were there. There must have been so many companies doing things that inspired you or made you want to look into doing different things. I always come away from those conferences just feeling really pumped about all these different things and ideas I want to do. 

Melanie Avalon: All the people behind all these products, at least in my experience, are so passionate about it. They're really, like you said, they're believing in the science, they're doing the research, and it's just so cool to collaborate and meet these people, and then experience the benefits ourselves, and then share it with the audience. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, totally. Like your CAROL bike. There's just so many-

Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness. don't get me started. I'm so upset. Wait, let me just really quickly. Friends, get a CAROL bike now everybody. It's my favorite thing. I seriously thought, I was like, "I'm not going to really use that," because I'm not an exercise equipment person. I've had a mirror for so long with the exercise and I don't use it, which makes me sound, I'm very ungrateful. My point is, I didn't think I would actually use it. It is so incredible. So, long story short, it uses REHIT, which I did some more research on. So, basically with HIIT, high intensity interval training, which I feel like most people are familiar with now, but that's basically where you do really intense short bursts of exercise followed by these rest periods. It gives you the maximum benefit as far as cardiovascular health, metabolic health, it helps deplete your glycogen levels, and it helps you have this afterburn effect where you burn fat. So, not that you burn a ton of fat during the actual session because they're really short, but you have this afterburn effect that can last for hours, where you're burning more fat. 

REHIT, they did some research and they realized that the magic is basically in the intense burst and you don't need this elongated rest period. So, they've been able to scrunch it up. It was already like a 20-minute workout with HIIT. Now with REHIT, it's like an 8-minute workout, because they basically realize you don't even need that extra time you thought you needed. So, to get all the benefits, you only do it two or three times a week. It's an 8-minute session. And all you do is work your way up to an all-out burst. It's a bike. So, on the bike for 20 seconds, twice. That's it. It is so easy. In between, it has you breathing and pretending that you're a hunter gatherer. It's amazing. [laughs] 

Vanessa Spina: I can't wait to try it. 

Melanie Avalon: You wear a heart rate monitor. It's just so cool. So, if you go to, the coupon code MELANIEAVALON should get you $100 off, I believe. I just think it's like the best investment especially for people crunched on time getting their metabolic fitness as best as it can be and it's so fun and easy. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, that's awesome. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay. Shall we jump into some questions for today? 

Vanessa Spina: Yes, that sounds great. 

Melanie Avalon: So, we have a question from Jen and she has some berberine feedback, and she has a question about flavored electrolyte timing. So, Jen says, "Hi, Melanie and Vanessa, longtime listener of the podcast and loving the new dynamic with Vanessa on board. I still miss Gin, but I'm so glad the fun, energetic, friendly, but still informative vibe is back. I find myself laughing along with you two and it's like hanging out with two friends while having in depth conversations about IF, win-win." And I will say Jen, we feel the same way." So, it's exciting to know that listeners are down with our craziness. First, she has some feedback on Melanie's AvalonX berberine supplement. "Wow, game changer. This is hands down the most effective berberine I've ever used by far. I've been taking berberine from various reputable brands for probably two years ever since I did the ZOE test and found out I have poor glucose control and heard Melanie talk about it. I've also been wearing a CGM intermittently during that time to track how berberine affects my glucose levels. I found with previous brands that I've had inconsistent, sometimes minimal effects, and often would have a rebound massive peak after the berberine would wear off. This was with highly regarded brands as well as dihydroberberine, which is reportedly a more potent, longer acting form. I admittedly didn't use your berberine for a while after I ordered it, because it wasn't the dihydroberberine form which gave me better results. I wear a CGM, maybe two to three times a year for about a month and I recently decided to wear one again. I kept using my dihydroberberine and I got the results. Then I decided to use the AvalonX berberine to see how it compared. I admittedly was nervous because I had such inconsistency and minimal effects before."

She says, "I cannot believe how effective your AvalonX berberine is. Easily 40 to 50 plus point reduction in spikes compared with other brands including dihydroberberine While eating my usual higher carb foods and meals. My eyes popped out of my head when I saw how well it controlled my glucose on my CGM. If I have a lower carb meal, my CGM basically stays flat as expected and it lasts some slight rebound spikes later on, especially if I haven't slept well, but minimal and often doesn't even happen. This product is phenomenal and I can't wait for your subscriptions to start. Thank you so much for being so committed to creating the best products you can and not releasing anything until you know you got it just right for your exact standards from development to delivery. Love your Magnesium 8 and Magnesium NightCap too."

Okay, I'm just going to comment on that before her question. Thank you so much, Jen, for sharing this. And Jen, same story. Well, sort of. I was using Thorne berberine before creating mine. I thought I would see the same results on my CGM, as well I was shocked. For me, it was about a 20-point difference using mine, which is incredible. I think it just speaks to the importance of really the effort and energy, and shoutout to Scott at MD Logic. But sourcing the best of the best ingredients, doing multiple testing for potency and purity and taking out these fillers, which I think can be an issue for absorption and effectiveness. So, it's really, really thrilling and I'm just so grateful and honored to be able to create the most pristine version of these supplements that I personally want to be taking. For listeners who aren't familiar with berberine, it's a compound that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine and ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years, and there's a lot of studies on it and it rivals metformin in blood sugar control, which is the number one medication prescribed for blood sugar, without the potential side effects, it's not a pharmaceutical, it's a natural plant compound, and also has a lot of other benefits like, it affects cholesterol beneficially, gut health beneficially. 

Interestingly, for all of you fasting lovers, it actually has been shown to activate AMPK, which is a cellular pathway that we activate with things like calorie restriction, exercise and fasting. Activating the AMPK pathway is one of the reasons that we likely see a lot of the benefits of fasting and the longevity promoting benefits. So, berberine can do that as well. By the way, Jen, so went back and forth for a long time about whether or not to do dihydroberberine or berberine. And so, dihydroberberine is basically an isolated form of a more active compound in berberine. After extensively researching it, we decided that we don't know-- So, dihydroberberine is a metabolite of berberine. I just don't feel confident knowing-- 

Berberine has been used in its whole form for thousands of years, and it has so many metabolites. There's probably a lot of things doing a lot of things in berberine. And so, I felt more comfortable providing the whole form rather than this one part of it that may be doing more with the blood sugar. It just made more sense to me from a holistic perspective to do the full form. I feel really good about that. I'm contemplating doing a dihydroberberine in the future and having both options, but it's really nice to hear that experience from you. So, thank you. Oh, and subscriptions are available now. Although when you're listening to this, you will have missed the epic launch special that we did. So, hopefully, you were on my email list for that, which is But berberine subscriptions are available. I think the normal discount will be 15%, but that will all be at 

Okay, Jen's question. She says, "My actual question, I love LMNT electrolytes, but can only drink the flavored versions. The raw unflavored tastes like punishment to me. So, I don't drink electrolytes during my clean fast." I'll just comment on that really quickly. So, with LMNT, they make a lot of different flavors and the raw unflavored one is the one that has no flavors, obviously, and it is clean fast friendly. So, Jen, I'm sorry that you don't like the raw unflavored. A lot of people, it does work well for them during the fast, but of course, it's not for everybody. So, she says, "My question is, when is the ideal time to drink flavored LMNT during my eating window, when I break my fast to catch up or towards the end to get me through my next fast? I do one meal a day, mix macros and clean fast typically 20 hours to 22 hours a day, a minimum of 18 hours, and will occasionally do over 24 hours if I have a long day at work. I'll also do a 40-hour to 42-hour fast once every one or two weeks. I've been eating this way for the past three years, and I'm in my early 40s. Also, do I even need electrolyte supplementation with my usual 20-ish hour fast? I eat carbs, so I assume my insulin and aldosterone levels are within normal limits, and I'm not losing excessive amounts of sodium. 

Once I open my eating window, I'm taking in carbs, as well as sodium and possibly potassium and magnesium. I do feel the need to drink LMNT after my 40-plus hour fast though, and I usually open those windows with some bone broth and LMNT. Thanks ladies and keep up the good work." 

Vanessa Spina: I am drinking my watermelon-flavored LMNT right now [giggles] to keep me hydrated while we do this episode. 

Melanie Avalon: Wait, have we talked about this? Is watermelon your favorite fruit? 

Vanessa Spina: No, raspberry is. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, okay. 

Vanessa Spina: Raspberry-flavored things are my favorite. When it comes to the actual fruit, what I mostly have is strawberries and blueberries. But I'll do frozen mixed, like, blackberries, blueberries, all the berries when I make a protein shake. 

Melanie Avalon: If you were to make a Tone flavor berry, what would you want to make? Raspberry?

Vanessa Spina: Probably. I have so many flavors I want to make. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: Wild berry, like the Pop-Tart?

Vanessa Spina: Oh, yeah, that would be amazing because we're starting off with vanilla, chocolate, and cookies and cream, because cookies and cream is my favorite flavor with a protein powder, especially because you can just add some almond milk and ice to it, and then you have protein ice cream in the summertime. But vanilla, obviously, is so versatile. But yeah, I haven't thought about the fruit flavors yet. That's a good idea. I need to think about wild berry.

Melanie Avalon: Do you use that machine that everybody has now to make the ice cream? Do you know what I'm talking about? Everybody talks about it. 

Vanessa Spina: I don't know. I have a Ninja ice cream maker. Is that the one? 

Melanie Avalon: I think it's Creami, Creaminmi. Wait.

Vanessa Spina: I have the Ninja, which I got last summer and it is amazing. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, yeah, it's the Ninja CREAMi.

Vanessa Spina: Yes, the CREAMi. I started using it last summer and what's so amazing about it is you can make a super high protein frozen yogurt. So, that's the main reason that I got it is I'll make Pete a chocolate ice cream with tons of egg yolks and really chocolatey. He loves that. But for myself, I get nonfat high protein yogurt and I'll mix in some frozen berries, a little bit of stevia, a little bit of salt, sometimes some vanilla, and it makes frozen yogurt. And when I was a kid, one of my favorite things was getting raspberry or frozen berry-- frozen yogurt, but you can never really find it without artificial sweeteners in it and that kind of thing. You pre make it, freeze it overnight, but then it takes five minutes to make. So, in the summertime, it's absolutely amazing and it tastes delicious. I give Luca. He loves it too. I will give Luca on a really hot day after dinner, we'll sit on the deck and have our ice cream together. Pete will have his chocolate and I'll have my high protein frozen yogurt. It's amazing. It really works well.

Melanie Avalon: What is the process exactly? Like, what do you freeze? 

Vanessa Spina: So, you make the blend of whatever it is that you want. It comes with a recipe book, so there're lots of different things you can do, or you can just come up with your own creations, which I often do. You make the blend and then you get these two different ice cream cups and you fill them, and you put those in the freezer. They have to be in, I think, at least 12 hours if not 24 hours. I can't remember exactly because I haven't made it since last summer, but I will be when we get back home. So, then once it's frozen, you take it out and you just put it in the machine, and it takes about four minutes to five minutes, and it stirs it with these really powerful blades and turns it into ice cream.

Melanie Avalon: Okay. So, it's similar to a normal ice cream maker.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, I've had ice cream makers in the past, but I found them-- I had a Cuisinart. Sometimes it would work, sometimes it wouldn't. Sometimes it wouldn't freeze or it wouldn't actually turn into ice cream. So, maybe because I was doing so many keto kinds of ice creams and things, but I just found it was hit or miss, whereas with this it's just like no matter what I put in there, it just turns it into a frozen treat. 

Melanie Avalon: I kept seeing and I keep seeing people talk about it. And so, I was thinking maybe it was so cool because it took away that freezing period that's required. But it sounds like nobody has invented anything yet. I've actually found it really shocking that there's not in our modern day and age.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, you'd think there'd be like something--

Melanie Avalon: You just plug in and go.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. It is instant, right away when you want it, as long as you pre make it. But yeah, I really like it a lot. I also am obsessed with my Ninja blender for making protein shakes. I think I've tried just about every single different kind of smoothie maker and blender on the market. It's so powerful and it works so well. So, I love making protein shakes in there. So, I'm a big fan of their products. 

Melanie Avalon: Do you ever make soup in it? 

Vanessa Spina: No, I haven't. 

Melanie Avalon: I used to do that. 

Vanessa Spina: It sounds yummy. I feel like we really digress. Sorry.

Melanie Avalon: Wait. I just have one last quick question. Really quick question, because I got hit by memories of different things I would do with my mom when I was little and we had this-- When I was like three or four, this McDonald's thing, and you made, like, French fries out of bread and little burgers that were like cookies with icing. And now I'm thinking about, I'm just wondering if you had any of these kits. Did you have the McDonald's kit or did you have Creepy Crawlers or did you have an Easy-Bake Oven? 

Vanessa Spina: Easy-Bake Oven, I think some variation of that. 

Melanie Avalon: So good, childhood. Okay, so back to her question. That's what happens when you bring up watermelon. Okay.

Vanessa Spina: We totally digress there, but I'm drinking my LMNT right now. And the reason I mentioned that is because it's been really hot here in Colorado. I've been exercising a lot outside doing. I do a morning hike for about an hour every day. And because I'm outside in the heat, I am taking more LMNT than usual. It's something that I always make sure that Pete and his dad and friends have with them when they hike the Grand Canyon. They do a lot of hiking in Utah. Whenever we do aggressive hikes or hikes, I always take it with me. So, I say all that because it really comes down to your lifestyle and goals and what it is that you are wanting to optimize for. So, if your main goal is optimizing for feeling good and energized and feeling that you are performing well when you're doing fasting. You're not specifically looking for getting the additional benefits of autophagy and life extension. 

I think having any kind of the LMNT any time of day is probably fine because it's flavored, it's sweet. You might get a bit of a cephalic phase insulin response. But I know it's technically not clean fasting, but I think it just depends on what exactly you're optimizing for. If you are optimizing more for getting the specific benefits purely from fasting, you probably want to stick just to the raw outside of your eating window, have the LMNT in your eating window, and then you'll be only clean fasting, maximizing your benefits from getting the clean fasting. But if you're an athlete or you're anyone who does a lot of activity, especially in the summer, it can be really helpful. I tend to take mine. I'll have a little bit before I do my hike or workout outside and then I have the rest when I get back. I'm doing two times to three times as much as I usually take right now, because I am sweating outside. I'm losing a lot of electrolytes. 

So, there're a lot of different factors when it comes to when to use it. I acknowledge that it's not clean fasting to be having some sweeteners. But right now, I'm not personally really optimizing for getting the maximum benefits of fasting from intermittent fasting. I tend to focus on that. When I do my seasonal extended fast for five days, I don't have any LMNT during that time. I would have the raw one. I wouldn't have the flavored one, because I'm really trying to get my body into that really deep cellular repair and all that. That's just my approach. And so, yeah, I know it doesn't technically fit the definition of clean fasting, but I'm just wanting to share a little bit of anecdote on how I'm using it. It just depends on how strict you are with your fasting and not fasting and how many carbs you're eating, because if you are super low carb like keto, then you probably need electrolytes, you probably need to supplement. But if you're eating high carb and you eat a lot of salt, then you may not need to as much. What about you, Melanie?

Melanie Avalon: Do you have thoughts on, if she is having it in her eating window, like, she was saying before eating or after eating? 

Vanessa Spina: With regards to before after eating in the eating window, I don't think it would necessarily make a difference. But you did say in your question, should I just enjoy it at the beginning or should I use it to help me power through? I think it just comes down to personal preference. I can't really speak to that because it just depends on what you would like, but maybe you have better information to share on that. 

Melanie Avalon: No, I feel very much really similar. We actually are planning to have Robb Wolf back on the show. I'm supposed to circle back with him to book for the fall. So, we'll definitely have a listener Q&A with him. And so, if listeners want to go ahead and start submitting questions about electrolytes or anything with Robb, paleo, continuous glucose monitors-- well, it's not really continuous glucose monitors, but his second book, Wired to Eat, is about how different diets work for different people. Sacred Cow, so, the role of regenerative agriculture and having animal products to support the health of both ourselves and the environment. And of course, electrolytes, send questions our way. So, my thoughts are very similar to Vanessa. And with Jen, she's asking-- 

Well, first of all, the window question, like, when to have it, before or after eating? Same as what Vanessa said. I really think it's more of an intuition thing. If it is a matter of just getting your electrolyte balance, I don't really see how it would make a difference if it's before or after. Because in the end, it's all within the eating window. I'm similar to you, Jen, in that I have carbs in my eating window and I don't perceive that I'm losing large amounts of sodium. I do do a daily sauna session for sweating, but I actually don't ever feel dehydrated, and I just feel like I'm getting a lot of electrolytes through food. I forgot about this. I actually asked Robb this last time I had him on my show, because I was asking if I could get enough electrolytes from my food, because I eat a lot of scallops. If you look at the back panel of how many I eat, it actually fulfills the sodium requirement according to the back panel.

So, it's different though when I'm low carb, I do feel the need more for electrolytes. But when I'm doing the carbs, I don't feel the need as much. So, I do think it's very individual, and being in tune with your own biology, and how you feel. Although, interestingly, sometimes I will have a saltier meal or something, and the next day I will feel like some sort of battery turned on in me. And so, then like, "Hmm, maybe I should be doing more electrolytes concentratedly." But in any case, basically, Jen, I would encourage you to not overstress about it. What you're doing, sounds like it's working. Be intuitive and it sounds like you figured it out with the longer fast as well. So, I agree with Vanessa, goals and I think intuition.

Vanessa Spina: I would think it would be fun, and I think I'm going to actually try this is, I'm about know do another CGM session or I don't know what you call it. 

Melanie Avalon: Me too. I'm going to too. I was going to put one on tomorrow maybe. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. I want to see if there's a difference when I do the raw unflavored versus when I do the flavored. That might be something for listeners to try, something for Jen if you're curious on the best times to take it. You could see, if you take it at the start of your eating window or at the end does it affect your morning blood glucose or does it affect your postprandial much? Because I could see it having really different effects on different people. I could see for some people it having no effect at all and then I could see for other people it having some effect.

Melanie Avalon: Same. Ooh, I'll be so excited to hear if you try that. That'll be fun for you to share with us.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, I think there're just so many cool things that you can learn from using a continuous glucose monitor. There's just so much power in that knowledge that you can get from biofeedback. We just have so many amazing tools now that we can use that you don't just have to be guessing, how is this affecting me, like, poking around in the dark because now you can actually get biofeedback from all these different tools and see, this is what it's actually doing to my blood glucose or my ketones or my rate of fat burning or whatever it is that you're measuring, and actually make decisions based on that biofeedback. 

Melanie Avalon: I'm really excited, because I'm finally about to retest with InsideTracker and I want to see-- I mentioned earlier how I had made a dietary change that I think affected my HbA1c. So, I'm really excited to see how that might have changed. And appropriately enough, I did not plan this, but NutriSense, InsideTracker, and LMNT are all sponsors on today's episode. That was not planned. So, you can listen to those ads to get the offers, but I will just tell you them now as well. So, if you go to, that will get you a free sample pack for LMNT with any order. So, definitely snag that. You'll get free electrolytes.

For NutriSense, they offer a continuous glucose monitor and an app that helps you interpret the data and dietitian support. I love them. They're amazing. That's the CGM that I'm going to be putting on tomorrow. So, for that, you can get a discount when you go to and use the coupon code, IFPODCAST. So, that's with the coupon code IFPODCAST.

For InsideTracker, you can get 20% off their ultimate plan, which is a ton of biomarkers that help give you a true gauge of your health as well as your "inner age," which is based on this data, which basically shows what your true "age" is compared to your chronological age. They also measure the results by their ideal ranges rather than conventional ranges. It's a game changer for keeping track of your results over time. I'm just so grateful to InsideTracker. I use their tests and then I upload my own blood work. You can see over time where you are, where you're going. It uses AI to make predictions about where you might be going. And then it also gives you action-based things that you can act on. So, dietary things you can do, exercise things you can do. It's really a valuable service. So, you can get 20% off their ultimate plan when you go to Okay. 

Vanessa Spina: I'm actually trying them out tomorrow. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, you are? I'm so excited for you. 

Vanessa Spina: I'm so excited. My last day here, I am going to Quest to get the blood draw done. I can't wait. I'm so excited, especially for the biological age. That is something that has really interested me for a long time. And I know that Dr. Rhonda Patrick has a certain process that she does, and there're lots of different people have-- different scientists have different approaches, but I'm really curious. Have you done the biological age, the inner age? 

Melanie Avalon: Yes, I've done it every time. Thankfully, it's always younger than mine. But it's really exciting to see how when your biomarkers change how it changes. And like you said, there're a lot of different formulas out there, a lot of different people doing it. I had Dr. Morgan Levine on my show. She was amazing. She has her own formula for it. But David Sinclair is actually involved in InsideTracker and he's one of the go-to longevity people. 

Vanessa Spina: What about the DNA test? Have you ever done that? 

Melanie Avalon: Which one? 

Vanessa Spina: When you check out with InsideTracker, there's an option to add the inside--

Melanie Avalon: I forget about that. Thank you for bringing that up. So, if you do the DNA test once, then once you do it, it's so cool. It'll tell you in your app your genetic potential for the things. So, when you get back your result, it'll say, cholesterol, for example. It might say you have a tendency for high cholesterol, but yours is actually lower. Or, it'll tell if you're doing better or worse or what your genetic tendency predicts. So, it's really cool. Yeah. 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, that's amazing. Well, I'm so excited. 

Melanie Avalon: Are you doing the DNA test with them? 

Vanessa Spina: I'm just doing the ultimate package and the inner age, the biological age to start with. But I think I'll probably do the DNA testing at some point. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay, awesome. Yeah, I think when I started with them, I was just doing the blood work, and then got the DNA when I started working with them more. Yeah, it's really, really cool. I'm excited for you. 

Vanessa Spina: Thank you. And thank you for introducing me to them. 

Melanie Avalon: No, of course. Does the one that you're getting tomorrow have insulin? 

Vanessa Spina: Yes, they just added insulin, and they added TSH, progesterone, and estradiol for women, specifically.

Melanie Avalon: The most recent one. So, before that they added ApoB, which made me so excited. And then they added the women's biomarkers, which is amazing. And then the most recent one is insulin, which is very, very exciting. 

Vanessa Spina: I love having my-- Last time I had it was 2.4, so I'm really excited to see what it is now. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, wow, that's really low. That's amazing. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, the doctor circled it, of course, because anytime you're out of the reference range, they're like, "This is bad." And I'm like, "Well, no, actually it's really good, but thanks." [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: That's amazing. That's amazing. Let me know how it goes. It's so easy. Basically, just they send you a lab slip, you just go to any Quest. There're tons of Quest locations everywhere in and out. 

Vanessa Spina: I love it. 

Melanie Avalon: Did you make an appointment at Quest by the way? 

Vanessa Spina: Yes, I'm going tomorrow morning. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay. Because they've changed their system. You could just walk in?

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, I did it online. I love getting data back anytime I have blood work, it really excites me. Anytime I get a body scan done or anything, I just get super excited to see the results. So, yeah, I love the information. 

Melanie Avalon: It's like Christmas.

Vanessa Spina: [laughs] Literally. I'm so excited. I'm like, "Five days to six days, what do you mean?" [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: It's so exciting. Oh, and here's a really powerful reframe. I was actually talking with Dave Asprey about this, and I was talking about some of my blood work that I wasn't happy with. He had the most beautiful perspective, because I made a joke about how I failed at this one biomarker, and he was like--

Vanessa Spina: The A1c?

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, probably. So, I made a joke. I said I had failed the test. He said, "It is not possible to fail at health tests. It's just information." I think that's really, really important to keep in mind because like you said, it's so exciting to get back your results. But also, I think people can get into the trap of feeling like it's deterministic or it's a really bad thing, but it's just information and it's empowering and you can make choices accordingly, and even more so now with all of these tools and things that we have access to. So, yes, I just want to empower listeners. 

Vanessa Spina: I love that. I love a reframe like that. That's amazing. 

Melanie Avalon: Got to love a good reframe. So, this has been absolutely wonderful. A few things for listeners before we go. You can submit your own questions to the show by directly emailing or you can go to and you can submit questions there. And you can join my Facebook group, IF Biohackers and submit questions in that group as well. And I will ask for questions in that group too. So, definitely let us know your questions when I do that. And the show notes will be at They will have a full transcript as well as links to everything that we talked about. I know we talked about a lot of stuff. So, definitely check that out. And then lastly, you can follow us on Instagram. We are @ifpodcast. I am @melanieavalon, and Vanessa is @ketogenicgirl. Oh, I saw that you got a verified blue check. Was that new on your account? 

Vanessa Spina: Yes, it's part of the Meta verified because I'm in the US and normally in Europe, they don't have it. 

Melanie Avalon: Wait, I'm confused. So, you were able to apply while you were here? 

Vanessa Spina: Yes, I just applied the day before yesterday. And for some reason, it just wasn't working for me in Europe, but it worked while we were here.

Melanie Avalon: That's so interesting. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. So, we'll see when I go home if it stays, but hopefully, it will. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: Very cool. That's funny. Well, in any case, this has been absolutely wonderful. Anything from you, Vanessa, before we go? 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, I had the best time. Oh, I did want to mention because I mentioned Mimio Health, again, the code was KETOGIRL10, if you wanted to get 10% off and check them out at Mimio Health that's And yeah, can't wait for the next episode. 

Melanie Avalon: Perfect, perfect. I will definitely check out that interview. When are you airing the interview with him? 

Vanessa Spina: It should be out by the end of this month. Yeah, I can't wait to hear what you think of it. 

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. I can't wait to listen. Okie-Dokie. Well, enjoy the rest of your day, not night. I will talk to you very soon. 

Vanessa Spina: Sounds great. 

Melanie Avalon: Bye.

Vanessa Spina: Bye. 

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

[Transcript provided by SpeechDocs Podcast Transcription]


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Jul 23

Episode 327: Binge Eating, Protein & Satiety, Slow Eaters, Disordered Eating, Mental Health, Biohacking Conference, Denver, Brisket, Birthday Cake, OMAD, And More!

Intermittent Fasting

Welcome to Episode 327 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, hosted by Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine and Vanessa Spina, author of Keto Essentials: 150 Ketogenic Recipes to Revitalize, Heal, and Shed Weight.

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

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


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

BUTCHERBOX: For A Limited Time Go To And Get 2 Packs of Bacon Free for a Year plus $20 off your first order!

AG1: Get A FREE 1 Year Supply Of Immune-Supporting Vitamin D AND 5 FREE Travel Packs With Your First Purchase At!

DANGER COFFEE: Get 10% Off At With The Code Melanieavalon!

Luca’s Keto Birthday Cake

Episode 324: Air Purification, Biking, Protein Intake & Exercise, Bolus Intake Of Protein, Allulose, Monk Fruit, Erythritol, Stevia, Hormones, Blood Sugar, And More!

Go To Toneprotein.Com To Get The Vanessa's New Protein Supplement With An Exclusive Pre-Launch Discount!

join me next year at the 10th annual biohacking conference! go to for more information.

Stay Up To Date With All The News On The New EMF Collaboration With R Blank And Get The Launch Specials Exclusively At!

Listener Q&A: Kimberly - What Is The Difference Between Omad And Binge Eating? My Doctor Seems To Think These Are Synonyms And I Can’t Disagree More.

Characteristics of binge eating disorder in relation to diagnostic criteria

The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #166 - Megan Ramos

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 327 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,, and 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 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 327 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with Vanessa Spina. 

Vanessa Spina: Hello everyone. 

Melanie Avalon: And Vanessa, how is life in Colorado? 

Vanessa Spina: It's just so amazing and awesome to be podcasting with you during the day [laughs] feels so good. For both of us, it's much better times. It's early afternoon for me, midafternoon for you. So, it just feels really good that I'm looking out the window. There're blue skies, it's bright and sunny, [giggles] it's not dark outside. It just feels really good. So, yeah, coming to you from the Mile High city. 

Melanie Avalon: Which city are you in? 

Vanessa Spina: So, we're just in Denver, a little bit outside Denver. So, I'm looking at the beautiful Rocky Mountains from the view of the office here. It's beautiful. It's just amazing here. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I was looking at pictures on your Instagram. First of all, the house looks really beautiful. And you could see out through the window, it seems like elevated. The room that you were in with the birthday party dinner?

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, we're a little bit elevated up here. Yeah, it's really nice views all around. Colorado is so open. It's so different from Prague, I guess, because we're more in the city, but everywhere you look, everything's just like wide open. Like, big spaces, everything's big, everyone has huge homes. We call them like little castles, because in Czech, everyone lives in smaller spaces, because there's way less space. Everything's just like on steroids here. It's just the contrast. You don't really realize it until you leave, and then you haven't been back in a couple of years, and then you're like, "Wow, [giggles] everything is so different here." It's another world. 

Melanie Avalon: I love it. And I was listening to one of your episodes, and I heard your story about craving brisket. 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, my gosh, [laughs] yes. It's number one on my list when we're back in the US. 

Melanie Avalon: It's so good. And Luca was not so much a fan?

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, he loves brisket, like smoked meat and especially beef. It's pretty easy to chew for him as well, like, much easier than steak because it's broken down. But my number one thing, whenever we were at KetoCon would be to go to Terry Black's, which is across from the place where they host the conference. They have the most amazing brisket there. We have barbecue, American style barbecue places in Prague. But there's nothing like the real thing. So, I was really excited to get to have some while we were here. Yeah, it was a huge treat. 

Melanie Avalon: Another question for you, because I think this will relate to a lot of listeners. So, you had an adorable birthday party for Luca.

Vanessa Spina: Just this weekend. Yeah, a couple of days ago. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay. Well, first of all, what did he think about the cake? 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, it was so much fun. So, he's turning two and we did a blend for themes. We had Choo Choo Train because he's obsessed with Choo Choo's and that was his main gift, was a train set. And also, Cocomelon. He loves Cocomelon, which is this character on YouTube that plays songs like the Wheels on the Bus. And so, he's obsessed with school buses because of Cocomelon. So, we had a hybrid, like Cocomelon school bus, Choo Choo Train theme, and it was awesome. Everyone had so much fun. I made him this cake, which I was sending you pictures of. I don't bake a lot. Like, I literally only bake once a year, usually, for a special occasion. So, last year was his birthday. And this year, because I want him to be able to enjoy a birthday cake and have it not have all kinds of weird stuff in it. So, I made him Luca's birthday cake. The recipe is on my website, if you want to check it out. But it's basically a layer of vanilla, a layer of chocolate, and a layer of strawberry. This year, I just did vanilla and chocolate with a vanilla frosting. Everything sugar free and gluten free. 

This year, I ordered keto sugar free sprinkles that I found on Amazon. So, I covered the whole cake around the sides in the sprinkles, and then I had these cake toppers of a little Choo Choo Train, and a big 2 that was dipped in gold. It was so cute. We brought the cake out. He was just mesmerized by it. [laughs] Last year, when he had a bite of it, he clapped. It was the first time he ever clapped. So, he was so excited. It was really cute, because we were all singing him Happy Birthday, and he was just like, "What is happening right now?" [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness. How did you respond to eating it? 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, he liked it a lot. The cool thing is, the people who are here, half of them are into actually keto and low carb. They're the only people in my family that do like low carb. Not full keto, but low-carb paleo, really big into paleo, low carb. And so, they totally appreciate having a gluten free, sugar free cake. The other half are not at all, but they all enjoyed it. Everyone thought the cake was delicious. I know they weren't just saying it like they all really enjoyed it. So, it's fun when you can make stuff that's healthy. This cool thing about the sprinkles, they were sugar free. And instead of having all these dyes in it, they colored the sprinkles with turmeric, with, I think, a couple of other-- [crosstalk] 

Melanie Avalon: I've seen those sprinkles. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, it was like turmeric, paprika, and something else. And so, they were really colorful, but they weren't neon like bright neon because of using artificial dyes. So, even if you're not doing keto or sugar free, if you're serving something to your kids, you want it to have all natural ingredients. So, it's fun that we could all enjoy something like a healthy-ish treat. Yeah, it was really fun to make, and everyone really enjoyed it. 

Melanie Avalon: I think you can actually-- because I have gone down the sprinkle rabbit hole. 

Vanessa Spina: That's why I was sending you pictures. I was like, "I know she loves sprinkles too."

Melanie Avalon: I've actually ordered, I think, the same ones that you have. I recognize them. I was like, "Oh, I have those sprinkles." I've seen recipes though to make your own. I haven't done it. I know you can order dragon fruit powder, which is neon pink. You can order there's a blueberry powder that's like neon blue, like, think if you actually wanted to make it like neon. 

Vanessa Spina: That'd be fun. Yeah, and I know, I think is it [unintelligible [00:07:28] powder, is like bright pink, and it's vitamin C. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Oh, it's pink?

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, it's bright pink. Pink, pink. Super pink. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness. 

Vanessa Spina: That's what I thought they were going to use. So, when I saw turmeric and paprika, I was like, "Oh, wow, that's really interesting that they use that."

Melanie Avalon: Then chlorophyll is neon green. We should make a sprinkle line. 

Vanessa Spina: Totally. I actually have a friend from growing up who started a sprinkles company, and she sold it. Yeah, it was really cute. She had a really fun Instagram. Because of course, if you're doing an Instagram account for that, it would just be really fun of confetti and sparkles and all our favorite things. 

Melanie Avalon: That's amazing. What flour did you use in the cake? We can put a link to the recipe in the show notes. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. So, I just used two flours, which is mostly almond flour, and then one part coconut flour, because coconut absorbs so well. It's really mainly just those two for the flours. And then there's butter and vanilla. It's very simple, but really delicious.

Melanie Avalon: Which sweetener did you use? 

Vanessa Spina: So, I wanted to try allulose. 

Melanie Avalon: I thought you might. Okay.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, we've been talking about it. So, I actually did a combination, because I wanted to test allulose for my protein powder, and just see how I liked it. I hadn't really tested it anything, I'm like, "This is a perfect test." So, for the cakes, I used mostly allulose and a little bit of monk fruit. And then for the icing, I used powdered erythritol, because I already had it in the powdered form, like the confectioner's form. Otherwise, if I was home, I would just put the granulated form of the allulose in the blender for 30 seconds, and it would make it into the super fine powder one for the icing, because you need the powdered one, I use that. The allulose was good. I think that everyone was surprised by how much it tasted like actual sugar, especially the people who don't eat keto or don't really like those kinds of sweeteners. At one point, even one of our guests was like, "You know, it's probably better to just use sugar or a little bit less sugar than artificial sweeteners." And I was like, "Wait till you try this one." So, I think it tasted very similar to sugar. 

Melanie Avalon: That's awesome. I really feel like allulose is the big thing now and we'll continue to-- I don't think I've used it before, but just from everything that I read, people seem to say that it doesn't have weird funky aftertaste and tastes very similar to sugar. And then when we talked about it-- We can put a link in the show notes of the episode where we talked about it extensively, but the studies are really interesting on it. So, potential health benefits. 

Vanessa Spina: I think that's really interesting, the fact that it has potential health benefits as well. And also, I think the thing with Europe was that-- At first, I was like, "Oh, I think it's not allowed yet in Europe." When I was looking into it more, it seems that it's just because there hasn't been enough research done on it yet. But some German scientists recently submitted some research studies that they did about allulose. So, it's possible now that they'll have enough research done on it that they will approve it there. So, just side note for anyone who's in Europe listening. 

Melanie Avalon: Awesome, awesome. Are you actively formulating your protein powder right now? 

Vanessa Spina: Yes, I actually just got the first sample today, like, an hour ago from Scott. 

Melanie Avalon: It's so exciting. 

Vanessa Spina: I know. He sent me the sample to test, and just make sure that we're on the right track with the first flavor, which is going to be vanilla. Pretty much after we're done podcasting, I'm going to make a protein shake and try it out. I smelled it and it smelled really good. So, it's got stevia in it, because that's what we've decided to use for now. It's vanilla flavored and it has this special formulation which is unlike anything else, anything else that exists on the market in terms of protein to really optimize it for building lean mass in the most efficient way possible. So, I'm really excited. It's really exciting to be making something that just doesn't exist really on the market yet. 

Melanie Avalon: I am so excited for you. That's so cool, because there are so many protein powders on the market. It's so true though that I haven't seen any-- because basically, you're tailoring which amino acids are in it, right? 

Vanessa Spina: Yes, exactly. I'll be sharing more and more on the exact formulation in the coming weeks. But yeah, there is a lot of competition in the space, and I think that's why I've always been drawn more to biotech, because making something like the Tone, like the breath ketone analyzer, it's something super unique, whereas a market like protein powder is a lot more saturated until it became the right time, because I really figured out and zoned in on what kind of formulation would make it unique to anything else. That part's super exciting. 

Melanie Avalon: Not just unique for the sake of being unique, but unique because it's what needs to be done in a way. Nobody has done this and it's what you would want, presumably, to be using or will be using. I'm so excited for you. Okay, so how can people get on your email list for updates for it? 

Vanessa Spina: Yes, thank you. So, I wanted to offer an amazing launch discount for anyone who is a part of this community or who listens over to the Optimal Protein podcast, and to offer the biggest discount that'll ever be offered on Tone Protein, and that is by signing up at, you'll be added to the list. And if you sign up with your name and email address, you'll receive an email where you can double opt in, and you'll basically be the first to know when it's available to order, and you will also get that exclusive launch discount if you are interested in checking it out. So, yeah, hopefully, in the next couple of months, it'll be out and available to order. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness. So exciting. 

Vanessa Spina: Scott and I were talking this morning about shipping products to Europe, because I'm setting up a warehouse there, and so that would potentially open it up to shipping other products at MD Logic to Europe too. So, yeah, [laughs] it could be exciting. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, that would be so exciting.

Vanessa Spina: We're also talking about Australia, because Australia is a huge wellness market-- I have a warehouse set up there, so we could potentially start shipping out to new markets also for your supplements. 

Melanie Avalon: That would be exciting. Especially, with Australia, they are really hard to ship to. If I want to independently ship something to them, it's really hard with their customs and everything-

Vanessa Spina: Yes. 

Melanie Avalon: -to get stuff in there, because I have tried. 

Vanessa Spina: Yes. 

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. Well, we will put links to all of that in the show notes. And again, the show notes will be at So, we haven't talked since I went to the biohacking conference. 

Vanessa Spina: I know. Tell me everything. You've given me some updates, but obviously, we all want to know how it all went. 

Melanie Avalon: Yes. Oh, my goodness-- This was my first conference. It was my first conference in this sphere. As listeners know, unlike Vanessa, traveling is not my forte. So, I was a little bit stressed about the whole concept. But it was so amazing. I really, really highly recommend going to it next year. Next year, it's in Dallas, but it's basically-- So, next year will be the 10th annual biohacking conference. It's Dave Asprey's conference, whose side note will be coming on this show soon, hopefully. We're trying to lock him down. But it was really exciting, because it was the first time meeting all of these people I know through the podcast and including guests who have been on this show in real life. It was so weird. I got to meet Matt and Wade from BiOptimizers. They've been on the shows. I just feel like I know them. They've been on the shows, I think, five times total. So, I met them. 

I met Catharine Arnston with ENERGYbits. I met, oh, Dr. Patel. I did an episode on glutathione with him. Of course, I met Dave Asprey, which was a very surreal, mind-blowing experience because I've been following him. Basically, him and Robb Wolf are the two people that really informed my-- I'm going to start crying with gratitude. [laughs] My journey in this world. It's like when I interviewed Robb and I almost started crying. It's just really surreal to be so affected, so influenced by people for the better in health and wellness and everything that I'm doing today. And then to get to meet them in person is, I'm really grateful for that. Why am I crying? Okay, so, I really highly recommend people attend. And also, I actually sprained my ankle the first day. 

Vanessa Spina: Okay. I need to know what happened. This is the thing I wanted to ask you about, because you mentioned it and I was like, "What happened?"

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Okay. So, I went two days before it started. So, the night before, I was just walking back to my hotel, and I just stepped off of a curb, and I twisted it. Have you twisted ankle before or sprained an ankle? 

Vanessa Spina: I haven't, no.

Melanie Avalon: I haven't either. It's really bad. [laughs] It's funny, because it didn't hurt when it happened. I was fine, and I went to Whole Foods, and I was carrying gallons of water, and everything was fine. I was in high heels. And then I went to bed, and then I woke up in the middle of the night, and it was the worst pain I have ever felt. I had to crawl on hands and knees to the bathroom. And then I was really stressed, because it was, like I said, the night before the conference started, I was like, "What do I do? I can't go to the biohacking conference like this." I went back to bed. I went to urgent care the next day. It wasn't broken, it was just sprained. But this was interesting and this could be a whole tangent. 

I don’t ever-- Well, I don't want to say ever. I very rarely take pain medications. I try to stay away from pharmaceuticals as much as possible. And no judgment to pharmaceuticals, but they have a lot of side effects. So, I don't take pain medications is the point. I was in so much pain, and I was assuming they would prescribe me pain medications and they would not. They were like, "Not legally allowed to." I was just reflecting. And then I started crying in the urgent care. I was like, "But I'm in so much pain." So, opioids, because of everything that's happened historically in this country now, there's a lot of laws in place about prescribing them because of the opioid epidemic crisis that we've had. 

Vanessa Spina: So, some people could be faking an injury to get them. 

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm. I was just reflecting on the sad state of affairs with the pharmaceutical industry, and that A, the pain medication is being over prescribed in the first place, and all the problems with addiction, that's just such a problem and such an issue. But then when you actually are, like, you do need it, I couldn't get it. I was like, "Who can I call?" I called my dentist, [giggles] but he didn't answer. I called my psychologist friend, but he wasn't able to prescribe. But interestingly, I don't even normally take Advil. So, I took Advil and I had no pain. So, yeah, and I got crutches, and I learned a new skill of using crutches. 

Vanessa Spina: That's so crazy. This happened the night before the conference started? 

Melanie Avalon: I know. And then this was a huge step for me, personally. So, that whole day was basically gone. I was at urgent care, but I had to go get my media pass for the conference, and it closed at 05:00. So, I was like, "I'll just sneak in." I had no makeup on, I was in crutches, and I have a lot of insecurities surrounding my physical presentation. So, I was like, "I'll just sneak in, grab my media pass and leave." But of course, I was running into everybody. So, by that point, I was just like, "Okay, I'll just be here like this," which was a big step for me. My therapist is proud. [laughs] It's funny. Actually, the first listener that walked up to me recognized me like that and I was shocked. I was like, "You recognize me?" I don't look like my Instagram right now. 

Then just as a side note, I barely was at-- the whole first day was mostly lost, and I didn't go to everything that I could have. But even then, so many listeners came up to me, and it was so exciting, and it was so nice to connect with people, like listeners from this show in real life, and see how the content is resonating and how they're into this stuff now from listening to the show. So, friends, go next year. I will definitely be there in Dallas. And please come up to me. Oh, because multiple people told me they were nervous about coming up. Please come up to me and say hi, and we can be friends. I will have a discount code for the conference. I don't have it yet, but the link is So, you can go ahead and go there and see all the details about next year. Then once I have the code, I will share it. 

Yeah, and then just lastly though, I didn't even get to go to the-- I haven't talked to you about the content of it. So, there're so many speakers, including so many guests I've had on the show. So, speakers for my show like, Mercola was there, Max Lugavere, the BiOptimizers guys, of course, Dave Asprey, tons of people. And then there's this expo with all of these brands, like, hundred brands. They have their supplements, and their things, and there's stuff you can try. It's so cool. It's like going to a Disney World mall, but biohacking. Highly recommend. Well, next year, any chance we'll be in Dallas? 

Vanessa Spina: Who knows? Yeah, maybe at that point, it would be so much fun. Just hearing you talk about it, it reminds me so much of the fun that I would have at KetoCon, when I went there-- It was just so amazing, like you said, to get to meet so many people in person or when I went on my book tour, just people showing up for you and wanting to meet you in person is just really it's just so humbling. Like, you really want to come meet me. It's just such an amazing feeling, and just getting to hug people and take photos together and talk about what it is, like you said, that resonated with them. That's what makes all of this so meaningful and special and worthwhile that we get to do what we love. We get to podcast and also share information in different platforms. But it's also that it's so meaningful because people will come up to you and be like, "You inspired me to start a podcast or to start this or to change my approach to protein or change my fasting or whatever, and it did this for me and I feel so good." And you're like, "Oh, my gosh." I just wanted to share what made me happy and feel good, but then you get so excited when you genuinely hear from people that it impacted them in some way too. It just makes it all so worthwhile. 

Melanie Avalon: It is so true. Yeah, I think next year, maybe I'll try to organize a meet up or something for-- 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, that would be so fun. 

Melanie Avalon: For the listeners, that would be really, really fun. 

Vanessa Spina: That's such a great idea. Didn't Gin do some cruise or something? 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, they did like a Delay, Don't Deny cruise. I don't know how many times they did it. They did it at least once. So, it's awesome. And then just one really quick. I know, it's a long intro, but one really quick announcement. I am getting closer and closer to releasing my EMF blocking product line today. Hopefully, I think I got the final packaging. I love designing packaging. Do you like designing packaging?

Vanessa Spina: The absolute favorite part of the process for me. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: It is so fun. I have to send you what I'm designing right now because it's so beautiful. So, the IARC, which is the International Agency for Research on Cancer, they classify EMFs as group 2B, which means possibly carcinogenic to humans. So, basically, there's ample evidence to suggest that EMFs are quite likely carcinogenic to humans. And we see this in a lot of studies, they basically affect the calcium channels in our cells. I just think it's a major issue with all of our Bluetooth and our wi-fi and friends, I shudder when I see people putting their phones up to their ears. Don't do that. There's a lot of interesting studies on men having phones in their pockets and how it affects sperm quality. And also, the potential for women keeping phones in their bras, for example, and how it might affect breast cancer. 

So, in any case, I am creating a line of EMF-free/EMF-blocking products. I am partnering with R Blank, who has been on the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. So, the brand is going to be AvalonX, powered by SYB. His brand is Shield Your Body. So, there's a lot of things I want to make, but we are launching with air tubes, headphones. So, again, when it comes to your phone, friends, please, please don't use Bluetooth AirPods. Please, I'm begging you. Speakerphone is great and corded earphones like you might get from Apple. But even those, release some EMF. So, that's why we're launching with EMF-free air tubes, and they're going to come in pink and black. I'm really excited about it. So, you can get on my email list to get all of the launch specials, all the details, the announcements, for right now, I have it at I do have a website for it, but I haven't set it up yet. So, I think that's all the things. Should we jump into some questions for today? 

Vanessa Spina: Yes, I would absolutely love to. Oh, and we have new artwork. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, yes. [laughs] Happy new artwork day. 

Vanessa Spina: Yay. I've been waiting and so excited for this. 

Melanie Avalon: We have been working on this for months, listeners. The attention to detail is a little bit intense. We kept getting drafts back and I'd be like, "I think the heel needs to be adjusted to properly represent our heights.' Our artist, Barbara, was amazing in all the adjustments because we asked for a lot of them. I think it looks really amazing. What do you think? 

Vanessa Spina: I absolutely love it, and I love that you hired an actual artist to do it, because I always found the artwork on the podcast to be really interesting and unique. I can see why now, because you were working with an actual print artist, and she was painting this. I think it's important for people to know she wasn't just creating a caricature or something in paint. This is legit. She was painting this. And then when she had to do revisions, she would put these overlays on top. That's why it took so long. It wasn't just because we were being specific, but also because it's like real art. It's just incredible. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it's like actual art. [giggles] Actual. Yeah, and I told you about how I know her, right? Did I tell you? 

Vanessa Spina: No. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, okay. So, when I published my book in stores, the original concept, they hired her for the original concept art. So, my Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast, that logo, that was the original book cover for my book. I loved it. I was obsessed with it. And then we were actually going to go with it, and then when Barnes & Noble signed on the book for one of their features, Barnes & Noble was like, "You have to change the cover." Isn't that interesting? So, we changed the cover, which I love the cover. Now I do. But I was so sad. I asked them, I was like, "Can I just buy the artwork from her because I want it for myself?" And then that's when I started working with her. So, she did the artwork. Actually, originally for my biohacking podcast, I used to get art done for each episode for the guest. So, she did that. She did Cynthia and I's artwork, and then she did you and me. 

Vanessa Spina: It's really amazing. Yeah, I'm really happy with how it turned out. That funny story for listeners, Melanie knows this, but I was just looking over the artwork one night. I think it was a month ago or something like that. And my husband, Pete, walked in, and he didn't know what I was doing or anything, and he glanced over at my phone, and he was like, "Oh, look, it's you." And I was like, "Do you really think it's me?" And he's like, "Yeah, it's you." And I'm like, "That's amazing." He had no idea what it was, or I could have just been looking at like a cartoon or a different podcast or anything, but he right away recognized it. So, this artist, last thing I'll say on it is, she took multiple photos of both of us, and then created the art based on our likeness from these actual photographs. So, I just thought it was so cool that he walked in and said that. My husband's very direct. He never says anything he doesn't mean. So, I was like, "Wow, that's so neat that you really think so." 

Melanie Avalon: I love that story. That makes me so happy. So, awesome. 

Vanessa Spina: All right, enough, enough.

Melanie Avalon: [laughs] Okay. So, would you like to read the first question? 

Vanessa Spina: Yes. So, our first question is from Kimberly and the question comes to us on Facebook. And the question is, "What is the difference between OMAD or one meal a day and binge eating? My doctor seems to think that these are synonymous and I can't disagree more." 

Melanie Avalon: Okay. I am very excited about this question. And before that, like Vanessa said, this was from Facebook. So, you can submit questions to the show to or on I also am going to start asking for questions more in Facebook, because when I did that, we got so many questions. Vanessa and I were talking about it, it feels very fresh getting them right away. So, definitely join my Facebook group, IF Biohackers. I'm going to start asking more for questions in there, so that if you want to get your question put to the front of the line, that might be a good way to make that possibly happen. So, okay, I'm really excited to talk about this because I think there is and I'll be curious your thoughts on this, Vanessa. I just feel like there's so much with intermittent fasting. There's a lot of skepticism and confusion as far as the mindset behind it and people thinking that it is disordered eating. So, I actually really wanted to go look at the DSM criteria for binge eating. We can just go through it and we can see, is it binge eating? And then I went down the rabbit hole after doing that because it's very interesting to me. So, shall we go through the criteria together? 

Vanessa Spina: Yes, that sounds perfect. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay. So, in order to qualify as binge eating disorder-- Oh, and a little bit of a backstory. So, binge eating was actually recognized as a clinical condition as early as 1959, but it did not appear in the DSM until May 2013. So, that's when they came up with this criteria. There are five criterion, I learned a new word, that must be met. So, the first one is there has to be recurrent episodes of binge eating. In order to qualify as binge eating, it has to be two things. One, it has to be eating in a discrete period of time. For example, within any two-hour period. An amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat in a similar period of time under similar circumstances. Okay, I want to zone in on that. But the number two is the sense of lack of control overeating during the episode. For example, a feeling that one cannot stop eating, or control what or how much one is eating. 

Then I found this really interesting review of this. It was looking at the criteria, what does it mean? What can we learn from it? Should it be updated? That article is a journal article and it's called Characteristics of binge eating disorder in relation to diagnostic criteria. We'll put a link to it in the show notes. It was actually calling out some of the issues with this first statement, which is, it's very subjective. So, it basically says, an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat in a similar period of time under similar circumstances. That is not very definitive, even though it has the word definitely in it. So, when we look at fasting-- And she was asking about one meal a day, right, specifically?

Vanessa Spina: Yes, the difference between one meal a day and binge eating. 

Melanie Avalon: And binge eating. Okay, with one meal a day, what do you think most, like, time wise, most people are eating in? That would actually be a really good poll to do. Do you think it's like two hours, three hours, four hours?

Vanessa Spina: For the intermittent fasting like one meal a day.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah.

Vanessa Spina: From personal experience, when I would do one meal a day, it would usually be like a standard meal within an hour. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, okay. So, you would have an entire-- Yeah, I think some people do it like they do have an entire meal in a short amount of time. For me, this goes back to the great one meal a day debate that Gin and I used to have, because I eat over four hours or five hours. It's a very long one meal a day. But let's say two hours, for example, especially since that's the criteria that they give. So, you could look at this two ways. You could say, people doing one meal a day in two hours that they are eating larger than what most people would eat in a similar period of time under similar circumstances. Okay. I think if you stopped at a similar period of time, that would be true for a lot of people because when you're doing one meal a day, you're getting your entire amount's worth of calories in this small meal, which would be more than most people. But I think the key here is under similar circumstances. So, if we take into account that the circumstances are one meal a day, as practiced for intermittent fasting, where you need to get all of your calories in that one meal, then I think most people doing one meal a day, they're not eating a lot larger than people would eat in a similar period of time under similar circumstances, because the circumstances are one meal a day. How do you feel about that? 

Vanessa Spina: For me, I would say the thing that stands out for me is not so much the period of time, if we can maybe go in a different direction with it a little bit, just in terms of my thoughts. For me, when I looked up the definition, it said that person feels a lack of control when they're having that meal. I think that is a big distinction. There's lots of distinctions between one meal a day, which to me is just a definition, like, eating one meal a day versus binging, which is associated with having an eating disorder or associated with disordered eating and feeling like there's no control. It's like a primal or like and. I know you've done episodes with experts on binge eating. I think I did one on my podcast years ago. But I know you had an author on-- [crosstalk]

Melanie Avalon: With Glen?

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, wait. Okay, so fun fact. So, Glen is one of my best friends in the entire world. He's one of the people I called when I was in the urgent care. He's the psychologist. I called Glen. I was like, "Glen, can you prescribe me pain medications?" [laughs] Yeah, for listeners, he wrote a book-- Well, multiple books. He wrote Never Binge Again, which I highly recommend it, not even just if you identify as binge eating, it's really about just that lack of control and feeling like you don't have control around your eating, and that you're not when you are feeling controlled by your eating. It's really amazing. His whole philosophy uses this thing called the pig and you identify this voice in your head as not you, as this pig, and you talk to your pig and you just basically say no. It sounds really simple to say that you just don't, but you basically are just like, "No, I'm not listening to you right now." Sorry, that was a tangent. Yes. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. So, for me, the period of time seems, I don't know, ambiguous. For me, it was the fact that it is in the definition of what binge eating is. And forgive me, because I don't know a lot about it, but just looking at the definition that it is eating with a sense of not having any control. I think that that's the big difference that stands out for me the most, and also, obviously, the association with having disordered eating. I think to just to classify one meal a day and the definition of that as how people who do intermittent fasting approach it and just say, "Well, there's some overlap, so that means they're the same thing." It doesn't really hold up for me. The overlap being, like you said, the time period depending on how people do that, because it does seem to be part of that definition. 

Whenever I do like OMAD or one meal a day, especially since I changed my macros over the years and really healed my relationship with food, I always feel a sense of control because it's really hard to overeat protein. I have to invoke the protein leverage concept by Drs. Raubenheimer and Simpson, these scientists who studied insects and primates and humans on protein leverage, and they found that we, as humans and animals and insects as well, tend to overeat energy calories when we don't get our protein needs met. I think that when I look back at my younger self, when I maybe did have situations where say, I would do a really restricted diet, and then I would feel like I couldn't wait for the diet to be done. And then when the diet was done, I would over consume, maybe at a meal. Maybe that could be considered a binge feeling. At the time, maybe I didn't fully have control. And again, I don't know that much about it, but I'm just relating it back to my own experience. It was because I wasn't prioritizing protein. It was because I was doing vegetarian/vegan diet at the time, and I was super under muscled and not getting my protein needs met. 

That protein drive is so high that when I corrected my protein intake and started prioritizing it, I found actually the opposite happens where it's very hard to overeat protein because protein is so extremely satiating on multiple levels in terms of the hormones that are released in the gastrointestinal tract, in the brain or and that communicate with the brain, and just in terms of the overall satiety signaling that you get when you consume the right amount of protein. I've always felt totally in control of all my meals, whether it's OMAD or whether I'm eating three times a day or whether I'm on holiday at a buffet, I always feel like as long as I get the protein in that I feel satisfied and full. 

So, I think in terms of being classified as binge eating, it would need to be assessed by a professional if that's something that someone is experiencing, maybe something in this definition resonates, to have it professionally diagnosed or professionally assessed. Because I think disordered eating is very serious and is something that definitely needs to be addressed if it's a problem because it can cause a lot of distress for people. But that's the key part that stands out for me is the fact that there's a lack of control. I think that probably characterizes it the most stories that I've heard from people experiencing that kind of sensation of like they just can't feel satiated. It's like this feeling of being a bottomless pit where just no amount is enough kind of thing. So, that's what stands out for me the most. 

Melanie Avalon: I could not agree more, so that second criteria B for criteria one, which is the sense of lack of control overeating during the episode, feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating. I echo back everything that you were saying. There's such a different feeling between feeling this need to just keep eating. And sometimes, it's satiety. I know people have all different experiences of it, but I think for a lot of people, it's like the dopamine hit that you keep getting. Some people might even feel full, but they just have to keep eating, and they feel like they have no control over compared to when people are in a one meal a day pattern, intermittent fasting, getting the protein they need, getting the nutrients they need, and it's working for them and their body. I think a lot of people feel completely in control. 

I do just love that nuance of the first one about eating larger than most people would in a similar period of time under similar circumstances. That definition is assuming that you're comparing a one-meal-a -day situation to a normal dinner, which would not be the same circumstance. [giggles] You would need to compare like a one meal a day to a one meal a day and are you eating definitely larger than other one meal a dayers? I guess, that's the way that it would be looked at. 

Vanessa Spina: It's a really good point. It's a really good point, the context of it. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, that's criteria one. Criteria two is binge-eating episodes. You have to have three or more of five different things, so it's eating much more rapidly than normal. So, I guess you can look at yourself when you're eating that. Two, eating until feeling uncomfortably full. This will be really interesting polling information to see if most people who do one meal a day if they feel uncomfortably full or not. I don't when I do my one meal a day. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, me neither. 

Melanie Avalon: I feel satisfied. C, eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry. Oh, I'm always hungry for my [laughs] one meal a day. Eating alone because of being embarrassed by how much one is eating. So, interestingly, I do get embarrassed by-- Still all of these years later, I do get embarrassed by the idea or how much I'm eating. I guess, it depends on the context. But even when I go to dinners though, I'll sometimes get double entrees, which is fine. 

Vanessa Spina: I feel like sometimes, I have the issue, which is like, I'm such a slow eater because I like to chew everything a lot. [giggles] It really helps with digestion. I'm a really slow eater, and sometimes I'll feel subconscious, because I feel like everyone around me eats fast. And then I'm especially right now, we're visiting families of lots of experiences, eating with lots of groups of people, and I feel like everyone has done really fast, and I'm just slowly [giggles] making my way through chewing everything. I'm like, "I'm still eating like that." Sometimes, I get subconscious about that. But yeah, if anything, I'm the opposite. [laughs] I'm eating at a slower rate than everyone else. 

Melanie Avalon: I'm the same. We would do so well together at a restaurant. And then I told you I'll get sashimi dessert, like, savory desserts at restaurants. 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, same. 

Melanie Avalon: So, you do do that?

Vanessa Spina: In Europe, they have a lot of cheese for dessert. So, that's always a great option like a nice-- if you still feel like having something. Or sometimes if we're at a restaurant, I'll just be like-- Last night, Pete and I had a date night, and they had all these desserts on the menu. I was like, "I'll just have dessert when I get home." So, I usually make some yogurt dessert for myself when I get home or I'll have like a piece or two of LILY'S dark chocolate or something like that. And that definitely makes it feel like I'm still getting some kind of sweet, finish to the meal, which is always nice. But yeah, if I'm at the restaurant and everyone else is getting dessert, I think it's nice to still participate in that. And so, if there is something savory, that's always what I'll get as well. 

Melanie Avalon: So, I remember my last birthday dinner that I went to with my family. Everybody ordered dessert, and I literally ordered another entree for dessert. I had more fish. It was so exciting because it was the other entree I wanted to try. 

Vanessa Spina: That's really smart. I'm actually going to bookmark that mentally to do sometimes. 

Melanie Avalon: But then as a note, and I think I've said this before, but let the kitchen know ahead of time because they usually can't make a-- It's hard for them to make another entree. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, you would need to do that. 

Melanie Avalon: Give them a heads up. And then the last criteria is feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed or guilty after overeating. I think that goes into what we were talking about earlier about the mindset, and the control, and how you're feeling surrounding the food. So, you have to meet both the first two criteria of the first thing we talked about, and you have to meet three of those.

Vanessa Spina: So, that's the time eating it. 

Melanie Avalon: So, for criteria one, you have to have both these things. One, the discrete period of time, eating more than most people would eat in the same circumstances in the same amount of time. And you have to have a lack of control overeating while doing so. So, you have to have both of those. Then you have to have three of these five things, eating more rapidly than normal, eating until feeling uncomfortably full, eating large amounts of food when not hungry, eating alone because of being embarrassed by how much you're eating, and feeling disgusted with oneself depressed or very guilty. You have to have three of those. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, if you, at first glance, maybe are someone who's just hearing about the concept of one meal a day, maybe for the first time or something like that, I could see how maybe you might go like, "Oh, how does that compare to this," which is like you were saying, "How does this compare with this other concept of binge eating?" I think especially when people hear like, "Oh, well, you're only eating once a day," someone might jump to conclusions that it could be similar, whereas when you really look at everything in terms of the definitions. When I see the comparison, my mind goes like, "What?" [giggles] Because I know that intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating, and we're really well informed on what that means. But then you could see how someone might jump to conclusions if they don't have all the information. So, I love that you really looked at all the different aspects of what characterizes that kind of style of binge eating. Especially for Kimberly to be able to do the research herself and maybe talk to her doctor about it if she wants to and just say, "Well, this is actually what OMAD is, this is actually what binge eating is, and this is how they're different." Like, this is how they're not the same. 

Melanie Avalon: Exactly. And there's actually going to be a twist ending to this because we're not even done yet. 

Vanessa Spina: Ooh, I love a twist. 

Melanie Avalon: I know. Okay, so, criteria number three. So, we're not even done yet. You have to have those two. Criteria number three, you have to have marked distress regarding binge eating. So, you have to be distressed about the whole concept. Number four, it has to occur, on average, at least two days a week for six months, or one day a week for three months, which if people are doing one meal a day. That's probably the one criteria out of all of this that people are meeting. 

Vanessa Spina: See, now, I actually think it's a bit irresponsible of a care provider to just casually throw it out there. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Sorry. I'm getting so excited. I know.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. Based on everything that you presented, it's saying like, "Oh, maybe that person's bipolar because they cut you off in traffic." It's such a leap and it could cause a patient, like, Kimberly distress in terms of something that makes no sense at all to what she's actually doing and that it should actually-- I was saying earlier, it should actually be diagnosed and assessed by an expert who knows the DSM-5, who knows these categorizations who would sit down with you and say, "Well, look, obviously that's not what this is." So, don't stress yourself out about it. 

Melanie Avalon: I'm so glad you said that. I think that's why I got so into this, because I started reading it and I was like, "Oh, there needs to be education surrounding this." I think we just so casually throw around labels today, like, labeling people with disorders, and it doesn't speak to the whole person, and I think it can be very damaging. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, it almost feels sometimes like a lot of terms from therapy have made their way into our language in a new way, where people use terms that typically would have just been reserved for people who are experts or clinicians or psychiatrists. Now people are just using these terms very casually, and I think it does have a harmful effect when someone throws up. I hear all the time, people say, "Well, that's gaslighting, that's narcissism." These terms have actual definitions to them. They need to be diagnosed by a professional and to just casually throw them around. I think, yeah, it can cause damage. 

Melanie Avalon: I could not agree more. I'm actually prepping right now to interview-- Have you interviewed Dr. Caroline Leaf?

Vanessa Spina: No, but I feel like I heard of her book maybe. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, she has so many books. She's incredible. She's a cognitive neuroscientist, and her new book coming out is called How to Help Your Child Clean Up Their Mental Mess. It's really wonderful. But she actually has a chapter on the over diagnosis of ADHD. The stats on it are shocking. I wish I had them in front of me, but basically, there's only really small percentage that we think probably actually do have ADHD, but the percentages that are diagnosed are so high. She also talks about how the DSM criteria is determined, especially for something like ADHD. There's not really a lot of science behind it. It's very subjective. So, yeah, that's a tangent. Are you ready for the twist ending? 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. 

Melanie Avalon: So, criteria number five, the binge eating is not associated, not associated with the regular use of inappropriate compensatory behavior, such as purging, fasting, excessive exercise, and does not occur exclusively during the course of anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. The caveat is that they're calling it inappropriate, so maybe it doesn't exactly relate. But basically, if you're fasting, it's not binge eating. If you're considering the fasting inappropriate, which we could argue that fasting is part of your daily lifestyle, so maybe this criteria would fit. But my takeaway, so, if you're making the case that one meal a day is disordered eating in its approach and it's binging, then you would be assuming probably that the fasting is an appropriate compensatory behavior as well. I think you would make that association if you're making that assumption about the binge eating, which means it's not binge eating, it's actually bulimia, which is a whole another set of criteria. Isn't that interesting? 

Vanessa Spina: Wow. Yeah, I didn't think about that aspect at all. 

Melanie Avalon: The only way it would still be binge eating would be, if you think the binging is inappropriate, but the fasting is appropriate. So, if you saw it that way, you're like, "Oh, the fasting is fine, but they're binging," then you could say it's binging. But if you're saying, they're binging and the fasting is compensating for that, it's not binging. It would be bulimia. Probably bulimia, because bulimia actually requires additional criteria. Isn't that crazy? 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, there's just so much to learn. I don't know a lot about disordered eating, and I'm learning a lot from this episode. I think it's interesting that, yeah, they definitely have different definitions and classifications. I just think that going back again to people throwing terms around too loosely or easily casually, I see that all the time with any kind of approach that I consider to be healthy lifestyle approach or intervention. With keto, it's like ketoacidosis, which has absolutely nothing to do with ketogenesis, but because ketosis is a shortened term for ketogenesis and sounds like ketoacidosis, which is a condition that only type 1 diabetics experience for the most part when they're having massive dehydration issues, and extremely high uncontrolled ketones, and extremely high blood glucose. 

Several years ago, although thankfully, it's changed now through education, which you were talking about the importance of education. Thankfully, people now recognize, especially physicians that those are two separate things. I love physicians. Some of my best friends are physicians. So many of my friends are doctors, and I respect and admire them so much. But there was a time maybe like six years, seven years ago where a lot of physicians would just say, "Oh, keto, don't do that. That's ketoacidosis. That's the lack of education and understanding that there was." So, that's what it reminds me of a little bit is just like, "Oh, fasting or intermittent fasting, that's an eating disorder." These kinds of things are thrown around really casually without actually looking at what the definitions of each are. Again, it's really important that we educate everyone on what these things actually mean and the distinctions between them. 

Melanie Avalon: I think that's a brilliant analogy, and so true. That's bothered me as well so much. It's so frustrating, especially when you see it happen and you're just like, "Oh my goodness." And it's less now. Like you said, it used to be a little bit worse. It still happens. So, people are curious. For bulimia, it's pretty similar. You have to have recurrent episodes of binge eating just by the first two criteria that we talked about, so the discrete period of time and the lack of control. And then you have to have compensatory behavior that's inappropriate. So, that's where the fasting comes in, but vomiting, laxatives, diuretics, exercise. And then has to occur on average at least once a week for three months. And then here's the big criteria that's different for bulimia versus binge eating, or one of them is you have to be unduly influenced by body shape and weight. It also cannot occur while--

So, the binging and purging cannot happen if you have anorexia. So, it's really, like you said, and I sound like a broken record, but I really do think it's irresponsible for people, especially doctors, to throw around these labels without looking at what the actual criteria is. And then I'll just throw on just some very last quick other things that go beyond the DSM for binge eating. So, interestingly, so there's actually studies that indicate that binge eating is probably heritable. So, it clusters in families independent of obesity, and families with a history of binge eating are at a greater risk of obesity. I don't think we would say that one meal a day is heritable. [laughs] I think people make the decision to do it independent of their genetics or their family history. 

Then binge eating is highly associated with psychiatric and medical comorbidities, functional disability, and impaired quality of life. So, when people engage in this behavior, it really negatively can affect their life. They've even done studies where it affected all criteria for negative quality of life. Compared to fasting, I feel like people do one meal a day and it changes their life for the better. That's a big difference there. 

Vanessa Spina: Megan Ramos and I just had a really interesting discussion on my most recent interview with her on the Optimal Protein podcast, because she just came out with her new book all about intermittent fasting for women. That was one of the topics that we really talked about was like, what is the messaging that you want to get out there with your work and your book? It's basically that women get such bad messaging about how we're all doomed to basically just get uglier and fatter as we get older. And she's like, "No, you can be empowered. You can control your metabolic health and your waistline. There are tools out there that you can use." These tools are not the same thing as having problematic or disordered eating patterns. They're not the same thing. It's weird that they're often lumped together, because there's some maybe association with the word, fasting. But she really helps clarify in her book. I highly recommend her book as a resource for anyone who's interested in that. 

But I also highly recommend that anyone who listening to the definitions and the criteria that you presented so eloquently, if any of those really resonated for you know, I would definitely recommend speaking to a clinician, someone who can assess you, especially if you're feeling distressed, because that was one of the criteria. If any of this resonates with you, if it feels familiar to you, if you think you may be experiencing some of it, and you are feeling distressed, definitely seek professional help because eating disorders are very serious things. I think that it's very important to reach out either to a friend or to someone who can give you a professional assessment if it's something that is causing you any kind of distress. I think that's definitely something that we both want to underline. 

Melanie Avalon: I am so, so glad you ended with that. Yes, the purpose with this was twofold. One, to dismantle some of the myths about labeling people who are doing fasting in a healthy way for themselves mentally and physically, putting some clarity that that is not binge eating for them. But then on the flipside, people who are experiencing these issues with eating disorders or binge eating, and might be hiding that with fasting or fasting might be exacerbating that, hopefully, this is helpful for them to find a mental health practitioner to work with for that. So, awesome. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. 

A few things for listeners before we go. If you would like to submit your own questions for the show, you can directly email or you can go to and submit questions there, or join our Facebook group or my Facebook group which is IF Biohackers. I'm going to start asking more for questions in that group. So, look for the posts about that. You can just post questions in that group as well if you like. The show notes for today's episode will be at We talked about a lot of things, so there will be lots of links, and there will be a full transcript, which I know is very helpful. And then you can follow us on Instagram. We are @ifpodcast. I am @melanieavalon and Vanessa is @ketogenicgirl. I think that is all the things. Anything from you, Vanessa, before we go? 

Vanessa Spina: Oh, I really enjoyed the question from Kimberly, and the whole episode, and getting to catch up with you, and I'm excited to record the next one with you. 

Melanie Avalon: Me too. I will talk to you next week. 

Vanessa Spina: Okay, talk to you soon. 

Melanie Avalon: Bye.

Vanessa Spina: Bye. 

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

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Jul 16

Episode 326: Weddings, Castles, Ice Baths, Running, Hypoglycemic Response, Electrolytes, Sugar Free Gum, Strong Cravings, Autophagy, And More!

Intermittent Fasting

Welcome to Episode 326 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, hosted by Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine and Vanessa Spina, author of Keto Essentials: 150 Ketogenic Recipes to Revitalize, Heal, and Shed Weight.

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

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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 326 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,, and 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 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 326 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon, I'm here with Vanessa Spina.

Vanessa Spina: Hi, everyone.

Melanie Avalon: How are you today, Vanessa?

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

Melanie Avalon: I'm good. We were saying last week or actually two weeks ago, because I think last week we had our fabulous episode with Paul, hopefully since we haven't recorded [laughs] it yet, but manifesting putting that out there. I was going to tell you about my experience at my brother's wedding. 

Vanessa Spina: Yes. I can't wait to hear everything.

Melanie Avalon: I decided-- I love weddings. Do you like weddings? 

Vanessa Spina: I do, yeah. They're so much fun. 

Melanie Avalon: It's so exciting because it's seeing people and hanging out and like, drinks and food and fun. But then it's also family and then the blend, did I tell you the blend of families at this wedding? 

Vanessa Spina: Um-mm.

Melanie Avalon: So [chuckles] on my mom's side of the family, her side of the family is Southern, but very Christian, very religious, like conservative. Then my dad's side of the family is like, Southern, more like to have a good time, just a different vibe. [chuckles] And then on her side of the family, the bride's side, her father is Jewish, so there was a whole Jewish culture. It was actually a Jewish wedding. And then her mom is Puerto Rican, so everybody flew in from Puerto Rico. So, it was like this blend of families. [chuckles] 

Vanessa Spina: That's amazing. 

Melanie Avalon: It's just crazy to feel all the dynamics. So even like at the dance party, at the end, half the songs they're playing were all these Latin America songs that none of us knew, but they all knew, like, every word too. And it was my first Jewish wedding. I'd never been to it. Have you been to a Jewish wedding? 

Vanessa Spina: I actually have never been to one.

Melanie Avalon: It was nice to see the traditions. 

Vanessa Spina: I've seen it, it's so beautiful. 

Melanie Avalon: Like in general Jewish weddings.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. I've just seen some of the traditions in movies or shows and they just look so neat. 

Melanie Avalon: It was exciting. I feel like it was educational and it was at a winery, which was fun. And I did successfully sneak in my Dry Farm Wines because if I'm going to be drinking more than normal, I have to have my organic low alcohol wines. So, I did that successfully. So that was helpful [laughs] for having a lot to imbibe in. But some takeaway highlights were my parents got down on the dance floor, which was-- I was not anticipating that. So that made my life beyond belief. My life is complete. And then I did give a bit of a speech. Have you given a speech before at a wedding? 

Vanessa Spina: I was my best friend's maid of honor and it was huge, they had so many guests. I did a speech in front of all of them and it was really special but nerve wracking.

Melanie Avalon: Had you written it out and read it or how did you do it? 

Vanessa Spina: I think I had notes. I think I had notes for it. What about you? 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I kind of had like an outline as a joke. I got ChatGPT to write some of it because my brother and I always talk about ChatGPT. And then I just brought in some personal stuff as well. It was really fun. But then the funny moment for me [laughs] "Oh, I'm trying to decide if I should share this." So, my brother is he's younger, he's like 20-- I should know this. I think he's like 28. His wife, crazy, she's like 25, 26. Everybody was mostly younger as far as like the bridal party and everything. And so there [chuckles] was the party at the wedding and then the winery and it was amazing. And then we went to like, the "after party." I literally felt like I was back in college because it was like, at the groom's-- like the house where the groomsmen and the bridesmaids were staying. It was like old school, college vibes. [laughs] I was like, [laughs] "This is so fun." I saw somebody across the room who looked older. I was feeling like a little bit out of place. I literally just walked up to him and I was like, "Hi, you look old. Can we be friends?" [chuckles] Literally, that was my opening line. I was like, "How old are you?" And he was like, "I'm 38." And I was like, "Oh, great." [laughs] I was like me and you, we're talking. But then what's really funny is it was my brother's boss [laughs] who flew in for the wedding. So, I became like friends with his boss, which was just like precious.

Vanessa Spina: Became besties. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. It was a really fun time, though, all around and it was really beautiful. The North Georgia mountains are very, very beautiful. There's like wineries. It's like very unexpected. 

Vanessa Spina: That sounds gorgeous. 

Melanie Avalon: So now, I want to go to another wedding. People need to get married [chuckles] so I can go hang out. That's my life. What's new with you? 

Vanessa Spina: That sounds amazing. That sounds like so much fun. We had a really fun weekend too. We had a lot of fun, a lot of family fun. And we had a little birthday party for one of Luca's little friends, Maya. His little girlfriend was turning two, so we had--

Melanie Avalon: Wait, wait. Pause, his girlfriend? 

Vanessa Spina: No, not really his girlfriend, but him and Maya, they're just like two peas in a pod. They're almost the exact same age. So out of all their little friends here, him and her, they kind of get each other. They're always going through similar stages, and they're really cute. Like, Luca will feed her blueberries or I don't know. They're just so cute together. So, it was her birthday party, and we had, like, a barbecue in the park, this beautiful park in Prague. And we all brought, like, whatever we wanted to grill. Their extended family was all visiting from Arizona, so it was really fun to have all them there. And we just had a great time celebrating with them. And it was just a really fun weekend. They've had this thing called Children's Day here. And so, on Saturday, went to the Castle Royal Gardens, and they had this sort of recreation of what like a medieval carousel would look like. And I was actually asking them if it was the original, because Pete and I were debating if it was the actual original carousel from back then, and she said it's not, but they rebuilt it to look like the one in her grandfather's pictures. So, it was like, it was a good recreation of an original medieval style carousel with just all this so beautifully hand painted and gorgeous. There's just been all these events like that around the city, so Luca's gotten to go on all these carousel rides and stuff and he loves it. So, it's really fun just to have activities like that to go and do. And the weather has just been so sunny and amazing. Just glorious, sunny summer days. 

Melanie Avalon: A carousel? Like a moving carousel? Like a ride. They had those in the medieval times.

Vanessa Spina: Apparently, they did? [chuckles] Yeah. 

Melanie Avalon: What motorized them? 

Vanessa Spina: There's one. So, the guy, like, cranks it.

Melanie Avalon: A guy's pumping it? 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. He's like crank. And so, this one had like it was all wooden, and it was beautifully painted. And then they had these little boxes, so Pete and Luca sat in one. But there's another one near our house in the park that's from, I think, about 100 years ago or 150 years ago. And it's from Italy, and it's original, and it's the one with, like, the horses that go up and down.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Oh, that's what I'm picturing. 

Vanessa Spina: So beautiful, it's so beautiful. And it's actually, like, authentically from that time. And that one's really fun, too. We can sit on the horse and stuff. I have a reel on my Instagram where Luca and I are on it together. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, okay. I'm going to go find that ASAP.

Vanessa Spina: [laughs] It's from last summer. 

Melanie Avalon: That's so cool. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. Just fun little things like that from another time. But as I was telling you last week, we're so excited to go visit more castles, and a lot of the castles here are actually were inspiration for the Disney Castles. I have to send you pictures of that. There's this one, it's about 2 hours south of here and it looks like the actual Disney, like, the main Disney Castle. Like, I'm pretty sure it's the one that inspired their creation of it. And it's so amazing because they have all the original furniture in it. All the original chandeliers like I was telling you. And you can walk through. It takes a couple hours to do a tour and it's so stunning. But I have to send you a picture of it because you'll be like, "Oh, my gosh, that's the Disney castle." 

Melanie Avalon: That's amazing. I want to live in a castle. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, same. [laughs] I always walk through, and I'm pretending that this was my house. 

Melanie Avalon: You live there? [laughs]  

Vanessa Spina: [laughs] This is my house. And this is, like, my little window sill where I would read books or write poems [laughs] or I don't know, whatever they were doing, like, stitching, needle points or whatever at the window. It just sounds tranquil.

Melanie Avalon: It does. Although we probably really idolize it. Can you imagine, like, the bathroom situation back then? 

Vanessa Spina: That's not the medieval thing. You don't want a medieval bathroom, like no. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, man. And just, like, family dynamics, people. [chuckles] 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. I think life was very good for just a few people. For most people, it was not very good. [chuckles] 

Melanie Avalon: [chuckles] I shouldn't laugh, but yeah, it's a gratitude moment, and I realize even now there are people privileged, but I'm just very grateful to not be, like, a peasant. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. The average person like today's peasant lives and I'm talking about the average person ourselves compared to those kings and queens back in the day, even an average person with a decent income has better bathroom situation than a king 100 years ago. You know what I mean? Our comforts, we talk a lot about the plagues of prosperity, like, the different issues we have from our convenient lifestyles, but we're so comfortable compared to-- we have things that emperors and kings and queens in the past would have only dreamed of. So, I think we have it pretty good. I agree. Thankfulness moment. 

Melanie Avalon: I feel like it really becomes present when you lose it. Like, when the power goes out or the water is not working, and you're like, "Wow, I really need to not take this for granted." It's kind of mind blowing. Even the shower, I can just go in this little room and turn on this thing. And water comes from the ceiling any temperature I want and immediately gets taken care of. It's not messy. [laughs] Everything I don't know, modern life, I appreciate it. 

Vanessa Spina: It's about that every day. I'm thankful every day for my kitchen, for our bed, for the dishwasher. Everyday I'm like, "Pete, dishwashers are amazing." You put it on and it cleans everything for you. We have it so good. 

Melanie Avalon: We really do. 

Vanessa Spina: Technologies, amazing technologies. We're talking to each other right now from across the world. Like, we would have had to take a steamboat or something for, like, two months to have a conversation at a different time.

Melanie Avalon: Or, like, texting now. It's like the modern-day equivalent of writing letters. Think about how much you stress writing a text to your lover. And now think about if you could only do it via letters. And it was like months and months in between.

Vanessa Spina: caring.

Melanie Avalon: You wouldn't know if you've been ghosted because the turnaround time [laughs] is already like ghosting time.

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. It feels like you have to be so patient. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, man. Yeah. 

Vanessa Spina: But it also sounds kind of romantic.

Melanie Avalon: It does. Did you ever send actual letters with people? 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. When Pete and I first met, I sent him a letter with a CD I made for him. I think it was like a CD with mp3s on it of songs that made me think of him. And he loved it. [laughs] He was so excited and thrilled. And because we did long distance for a long time when we first met, I was in Canada, in Vancouver and he was in Denver. We really got to build such a beautiful friendship because we were just getting to know each other a lot. Just, like, talking to each other on, like, what was the messenger? We were on some chat on the computer. We would message each other on there. We would text, we would email, we would call each other, and then we would get to see each other. And it was so romantic. He'd come pick me up at the airport and take me on amazing dates, and then he asked me to go to Hawaii with him. After we had-- I think we'd been on two or three dates of seeing each other in Vancouver and Colorado.

He's like, "Do you want to go to Maui?" I was like, "Yeah." [laughs] So went to Maui together and we took, I think it was like a week holiday or something. And it was amazing because we're dating long distance. Like, normally a long-distance relationship, you're like, together and then you have to live apart. But dating long distance is totally different. So, we kind of had to figure out, is this going to work out? Is this worth dating long distance? We had to get to know each other a little bit faster, and that was, like, the best way. We had the most incredible romantic time there together. I just remember being in my pajamas, like, brushing my teeth with him, and I was like, this is so weird. I don't really know him that well. [laughs] And we're like brushing our teeth with our pajamas on, but it was so amazing. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay. We're so similar because when I had a long-distance relationship, I was all about it for all of the reasons you just said. Like, you get to know the person through talking, so it's like all conversations and you don't get to know them one level physically. I don't know. You were talking about, like, cultivating the friendship. I feel like you get a lot of that aspect and then it's just, like, so magical when you actually are together because it's very limited treasure time. So, it's like magical romance and I need my space. So, I was like, "This is great." I was like, "I was made for long distance relationships." 

Vanessa Spina: They're so great. 

Melanie Avalon: We should write a book about it. I remember I was, like, looking up all the stats when I was in it because apparently the stats are not favorable. I was like, "I don't know. I'm down. This works for me." And I've said this before-- I don't know, if I'll ever be married, but I don't know if I could live with somebody. And if I did, I think I would still need my own bedroom. I need my space.

Vanessa Spina: I used to always say I would need a separate wing. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, yes. Yes. 

Vanessa Spina: No matter the size of the house, I would need my own area. 

Melanie Avalon: In our castle. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. In the castle, exactly, exactly. I think it keeps a little bit of the romance alive longer when you have your own bathrooms that’s definitely--

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I wonder if that would-- not that would solve relationship problems. But it's kind of a cool hack. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. It really, really helps if you can do it just to have your own space. My husband uses  

Melanie Avalon: Do you guys have separate bathrooms? 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah, he uses our hallway/guest bathroom and I use our bedroom one. And it actually works out great for him because he has one of those standing showers in the what's it called? The door. [chuckles] It's got a door to it. I don't know what they're called. Just a shower with a door. Whereas mine is like a bathtub with a shower. So, we each have our preferences and it works really well.

Melanie Avalon: Do you take baths? 

Vanessa Spina: I take ice baths. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: I need to get on that.

Vanessa Spina: The only kind of bath I take lately. But I did like in the last six months, I think a couple of months ago I was having some muscle soreness, which I never have. And so, I did an Epsom salt bath and it was amazing. It really helped. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, yeah. I've actually never done one, actually. I might have a long time ago. But people swear by those. Think about what people-- just to bring this awful circle, think about people back in the old times and how often they could take baths and showers. Their hair was probably really greasy. 

Vanessa Spina: Yeah. And I think maybe in some ways it was better because you'd have more natural oils in your hair whereas I think we tend to now like over bathe.

Melanie Avalon: That's true. They might not have had as much of the rebound effect from responding to all these stripping products. Yeah. Well, [chuckles] on that note, I will just make a really quick announcement, because the day this airs, tomorrow is the last day to get grandfathered in for life for my berberine subscription. So, friends, if you've been wanting to take control of your blood sugar levels with berberine, which is an herb that's been used in ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for thousands of years, can have a profound effect on your blood sugar, your cholesterol levels, even your gut microbiome, and can activate longevity pathways like AMPK. You definitely want my AvalonX Berberine. I sound like a commercial right now, [chuckles] but I'm not reading anything. I'm just saying this. Tomorrow is the last day to get a subscription for life and you can pick either two bottles every two months or two bottles every three months. And doing so is going to help us figure out what you guys most want when it comes to launching a large bottle option, which in the end is the most sustainable option for everybody. So definitely get that. That's at And then would you like to give your landing page for your Tone Protein, Vanessa? 

Vanessa Spina: Yes. If you would like to get the launch discount, make sure to go and sign up with your name and email so that you can get the launch discount. It'll be the biggest discount that will ever be had on it. So definitely sign up if you're interested in checking out the protein that I am making. And it is going to be scientifically optimized for muscle protein synthesis in a way that no other protein powder does. So, I am super excited about it and that's at

Melanie Avalon: Okay. Shall we jump into everything for today?

Vanessa Spina: Yes, I would love to. 

Melanie Avalon: So, to start things off, we have a question from Evie, and the subject is actually questions for Vanessa. So, she has two questions, but of course we can both answer these. So, question one for Vanessa. She says, "I have been low-carb for years, mixing it up with being in ketosis. I am hardly ever hungry and feel good and healthy at the age of 48. What does it mean/what happens when I have a sweet cake and an hour later, I feel cold, sweaty and no energy?" So, I think we can answer that. 

Vanessa Spina: So, my first-- Hi, Evie thank you for your question. And it's great that you've been doing low carb and sort of mixing it up with being in ketosis and sounds like you don't have out of control hunger and you feel good and healthy. But what I would say, my initial thought is that it's a hypoglycemic response and sometimes people who do a keto or low carb, they get a kind of hypoglycemic response, which is just temporary or transient. And it's because your body is not used to receiving these higher carb loads at one time because you're more optimized for fat burning. So, if you do eat something that's like really sugary or processed like a sweet cake, then it probably will send your blood glucose a lot higher than if you were eating carbs all the time. And it's just sort of a temporary response. So that's probably why you're having that, is that your blood sugar is going a lot higher. And then because it's going so high, it's then dropping quite low afterwards. And that's usually what that means if you feel like a cold sweat and no energy. But I'm not a doctor by any stretch, so I would definitely ask a properly trained doctor about that.

If you have concerns about it, just note that it's very common for people who do keto and low carb and then they eat something that they don't normally eat because you're just not trained to. If you were to go back and eat carbs for a week and then have a sweet cake, then you probably wouldn't have that effect, I'm guessing. But because you're so optimized for fat burning, your body doesn't-- it gets kind of overwhelmed by all of that sugar hitting all at once when it's not used to having much in there. And the body's always optimizing for whatever you're giving it on a regular basis. It's always preparing. And so, if you're eating carbs on a regular basis, it's ready to go. It goes, "Oh, I know what this is, it's carb coming in, I have the insulin ready to go to get the blood sugar under control so it doesn't go too high." But then when you're eating keto and low carb, you're not all ready for that. Your body not as primed for that, so it can send blood sugar higher than normal, and then you may have a low. But again, I'm not a doctor, so you'd need a professional interpretation of it. But I'm just thinking that's what it could potentially be. What do you think, Melanie? 

Melanie Avalon: Yes, and I think I read it wrong. I think I said cold, sweaty, and it's cold sweat, like you were saying. That was my exact thoughts. Because basically when you get that swing up and then that drop, the body will often respond with like cortisol and adrenaline to raise back up your blood sugar, and that can create those cold sweat feelings. So, it's probably what's going on. This would be a great example of somebody who could benefit probably from wearing a CGM if you haven't. And actually, on today's episode, I did not plan this, but NutriSense is a sponsor of today's episode and I love using their CGMs. And if you wear a CGM, it's basically a continuous glucose monitor and it gives you a real time picture 24/7 of your blood sugar levels and how you are responding to food. It's technically testing your interstitial fluid, but it is a reflection of your blood sugar. 

If you were wearing that during this experience, Vanessa, you could see if that is what's happening and what that would look like. It would go up and then drop down. So, yes, our code for NutriSense, you can go to and use the code IFPODCAST, and that will save you $30 and it will also get you one month of free dietitian support. And the cool thing about the dietitian support is they will actually help you interpret what you're seeing on the CGM and give you guidance and advice. So, it's a very, very cool thing.

Okay. Her second question, she says, "What is important to eat in real food form as a lifelong runner?" I ran my first marathon last year. I don't take any supplements ever. I feel healthy now, but I don't want my joints to suffer. I want to be able to run as long as I can. I don't take collagen or protein or energy bars as I don't feel the need, but I worry it may catch up with me. If you recommend any products, please bear in mind, she lives in Prague. [chuckles] She says, "I live in Prague. I like you live in Prague and may not be able to get things." Thank you. I do have a quick question before we answer this. Vanessa being in Prague, is there an Amazon Prague? 

Vanessa Spina: There's an Amazon Germany, so I do order from them a lot. But I usually-- if there's anything that I specifically can't get here, I usually just stock up on it when we're home, and there're a few things that I can get here, but they're just like two, three times the price. So, like, my magnesium calm, I always get that. I think Natural Vitality, I always get some of those when we're home. I bring back lots of LMNT, LMNT packs and there are certain things that now, over time, I've been able to find local replacements for most of them, but at the beginning, they didn't have as many things, so I was, like, bringing over more or my friends or family would bring stuff over also when they came. So, with availability, I would say it's gotten a lot better in even just the last five years. There're all these companies now that have supplements and all kinds of things and it's really popped up in the last few years. It's way more accessible. 

Melanie Avalon: Got you. Yeah. I think I was sharing with you when I was trying to mail you some Beautycounter stuff. I learned [chuckles] all about shipping. I literally went everywhere. 

Vanessa Spina: It's so funny because I ship myself stuff all the time from my warehouse. I wonder what-- it's funny, but I'm so glad that you figured out in the end, even though you had to jump through so many hoops to send it to me. 

Melanie Avalon: So that experience and then I mentioned him before recently, Mark Schatzker, who wrote The Dorito Effect, I was getting a signed copy of it. He lives in Canada and I was trying to get a signed copy of his book for a friend. I was trying to just send him money to reimburse him to Canada and that was a hassle. I literally went everywhere. I was like, "Why is this so hard?" This should not be this hard. But yeah, with the post office, they didn't even have Prague in the computer. 

Vanessa Spina: That's so crazy. 

Melanie Avalon: Just wasn't there. 

Vanessa Spina: So funny, though. 

Melanie Avalon: It's like okay, [chuckles] that's how we handle things. 

Vanessa Spina: [unintelligible [00:27:20] this country, like what? 

Melanie Avalon: It's like an ostrich putting its head in the sand. So, DHL was what ended up being the best option in case people are wondering, at least for me for international shipping.

Vanessa Spina: Yes. DHL, FedEx usually is great. UPS, it all comes here, [laughs] really, but it's gotten better and better. But I totally understand where you're coming from, Evie, because Evie, I know sometimes it's harder to find some of the products that you'll see online or you'll hear people using. And it's frustrating sometimes because sometimes you do find them. But for some reason, imported products are, like, two to three times as much as they normally would be. So that can be frustrating too but it's a really great question. Now, I think the traditional thinking with running is always like carb loading, etc. But I think there are certain sports where a low carb can really actually give you an advantage. And especially if you're doing like a marathon, anytime you're operating between 60% to 70% of your VO2 max, or you're doing that kind of aerobic activity where you're burning lots of fat, it's going to be advantageous to be a fat burner. So, you may have even felt that while you're running.

The biggest thing, I think, that trips people up can be the electrolytes. So, if you can find a good electrolyte supplement, Melanie and I love LMNT, and they have amazing flavors with the electrolyte packets as well. And that's something that I always take with us when we're doing any kind of like hiking or especially if it's going to be dry. And sometimes if I don't have access to that, I'll just sort of make my own electrolyte drink. And I'll do that with some salt and magnesium powder. And it's really the salt I think that's important, especially when it comes to doing endurance. If you're not eating as many carbs, it's going to be a little bit more of a challenge for you to retain electrolytes because your kidneys won't reabsorb as many electrolytes and so you'll sort of release more water and it can become harder to hold on to them. So, supplementing with electrolytes, I think, can be a big thing.

In terms of the foods, like I said, you could either go the carb route and eat lots of carbs and carb load before your races which some people do, but they tend to hit that wall once they run out of the glycogen stores in the liver and muscles. Whereas if you're a fat burner, it's possible to not hit that wall in the same way because you're not running out of glycogen like you're already primed to be fat fueled. I've actually never run a marathon and I don't know what the experience would be like, but I know that if you're doing intense activity, you definitely have to keep the electrolytes up in terms of what foods to eat or supplements. There's more and more protein bars and protein supplements and protein-type foods available here. I've seen them more and more. There's nothing really super special that I would recommend other than finding some local electrolytes. And I use LMNT, so I don't know what they would have potentially available in Europe. Maybe there's something similar. I don't think LMNT ships to Europe yet.

Melanie Avalon: I don't think so. 

Vanessa Spina: There might be an electrolyte drink that does ship here or you can look up online different ways to make your own. It's pretty relatively easy to do and other than that, I can't think of any specific foods that would, like, whole foods or supplements that you would take to enhance running. I think just being adept at fat burning, being fat fueled can potentially give you an advantage if you are sort of in that heart rate zone. What do you think, Melanie? 

Melanie Avalon: Sorry, I got distracted. I was looking up where LMNT ships. It says they actually do ship to most countries. They have a list where they don't ship. Prague is not on that list, so it is possible that they ship there.

Vanessa Spina: I'm going to try to check out while you answer and see if it will ship to me here. I've never tried. I just usually get it when we're home. What are your thoughts on her second question?

Melanie Avalon: I'm so glad that you brought attention to the electrolytes. I definitely agree. I as well do not have marathon running experience, so my apologies there. I agree with everything Vanessa was saying about how low-carb diet can work really well for a lot of distance running for the reasons she said about not hitting that wall. So, I understand about the want and the need to consume foods in real food form, which I totally love. So just to speak specifically, because you're talking about like joint health and stuff like that, so collagen, a lot of people do benefit from supplementing collagen. MD Logic Health has a great collagen that people can check out. If you don't want to take supplemental collagen, you could focus on whole food meat with a high glycine ratio. So gelatinous meats, if you're having chicken, like eating all of the whole chicken, so you get the meats around the tendons and all of that. Making bone broths or meat broths can be a good way to up that glycine ratio and get the collagen benefits without necessarily taking a collagen supplement.

And then as far as protein, yes, I'm totally down with whole foods form protein. If protein powders are not a way that you want to go, same with energy bars. But it does go back to just making sure that you're able to absorb and getting all the protein that you need. And some people struggle with that more than others and especially athletes probably have higher protein intake. So just making sure that you are getting what you need and if not, possibly supplementing accordingly. I'll make a brief plug because you're talking about your joints again. So, anything anti-inflammatory will be pretty beneficial for that. So, I really love my serrapeptase supplement, which was the supplement that I launched AvalonX with, just because it can be so anti-inflammatory and really help people with their joints.

It's a proteolytic enzyme, so when you take it in a fasted state, it goes into your body and it breaks down problematic protein buildups and can really help resolve inflammation and sort of be protective on that front. So that might be something to proactively take and then continually take. And then just like anti-inflammatory diet in general with the joints. So going back to that whole food protein, eating a lot of fish with a high omega-3 ratio can be something really great to focus on, low mercury omega-3 fish. So, I love The Better-- it used to be called Australias, now it's called The Better Fish Barramundi. You can get it at Whole Foods and Costco. I am obsessed with this fish. It's a lean whitefish, but it actually has the highest omega-3 ratio of any whitefish and it's tested to be free of mercury. I love that fish. It's a great protein to have. And then salmon, sardines, scallop, shrimp, things like that can be great on the protein front. Yeah, I think focusing on the anti-inflammatory diet sounds like the low carb will probably work well for you or is working well for you with the marathon and focusing on the electrolytes. Did it work, by the way, Vanessa, to ship?

Vanessa Spina: Yes, it does ship here to Prague. So, if you want to order it and I know we both have links for LMNT as well.

Melanie Avalon: Yes, so the link for this show is and that will get you whatever the current offer is. So, when you go to, you'll get a free gift with purchase, so you'll actually get a free element sample pack with any order. So that's really awesome. It includes all of their flavors to try. So again, that is And then one last little piece about it. A podcast I was listening to recently, Vanessa, they were actually saying that BCAAs also could help with hydration, similar to the way electrolytes do. Have you heard that before? 

Vanessa Spina: I haven't. I wonder what the mechanism of action would be.

Melanie Avalon: They were talking about it. It's the same-- [laughs] it's the same episode that I talked about recently with other-- I'm going to send you this episode and I'm dying to hear your thoughts and then maybe we can circle back on some of the points because it was interesting. It was an interview with Kion for their BCAA supplements. So, shall we answer another question? 

Vanessa Spina: Yes. So, the next question is from Ben and the subject is, "Does chewing sugar free gum, like, extra ruin most of the benefits of intermittent fasting?" "Hey ladies, I love, love, love all three of your podcasts." I listen every day during my fasting to keep me motivated. I'm a 36-year-old man who has been intermittent fasting for three months. I've lost weight. I feel absolutely great overall. Still five pounds to lose, but not as worried about that since I feel great. I am curious though does chewing sugar free gum, like, extra completely ruin the benefits of intermittent fasting when eaten during the fasted state? I also count my calories and macros, so that may be the reason for my weight loss. I know intermittent fasting has helped me get rid of my hunger cravings and the eating window helps me to not snack all day and be able to stay within my daily/macros. But am I getting any other benefits, like autophagy, many other benefits that you'll talk about? I chew the gum to curb my appetite or cravings and I may have during the fasted state, which is from 7:00 PM to 1:00 PM the next day and it works great for that. I chew it both in the beginning of the fast as well as at the end. This is working for me, so I probably won't change it, but I'm just curious as to your thoughts on it. Thanks so much. Keep up your amazing work that is helping this farmer from Kentucky," Ben Winters.

Melanie Avalon: Awesome, Ben. Well, just a few comments first about you, Ben personally, one I love when listeners give us a little snapshot of who they are. Like a farmer from Kentucky, I can like, you know, I get like this whole picture of Ben now. 

Vanessa Spina: Me too. 

Melanie Avalon: I love that also, Winters, best last name ever. That should be my last name. [chuckles] 

Vanessa Spina: Yes, I love the last name. 

Melanie Avalon: I really love this question and it's something I've thought about a lot, especially being on this show, talking about intermittent fasting for so long, I know in my own personal journey and I'll be curious to hear about you as well, Vanessa. When I started fasting, I did chew all the gums. It was like training wheels. It was like a nice way for me to get used to the fasted state and sort of like Ben, I felt like it was really working for me, although it was bad. We had a conversation recently on the show about different artificial sweeteners and I would like== do you remember the dessert gums? Did you ever have those, the Dessert Delights or something? Vanessa, it was like Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Did you watch that movie growing up? 

Vanessa Spina: [laughs] Of course, yes.

Melanie Avalon: They had this like Extra Dessert Delights. They had a cinnamon roll and they had an apple pie and a strawberry shortcake and it literally tasted like you were eating that dessert. I mean, it was magical. It was like Wonka level and it was bad. I would go through like he said I think he used the word eat in this question. I felt like I was eating a whole pack and I would often get GI distress as well, which was a fun time. So, my thoughts on all of it are I'm like pausing in the ideal world. I don't think it's ideal. And I know for me, on the flipside of not chewing these gums and having these flavors during the fast, it is so much better for me, so much better. I also used the training wheels with coffee and tea, really making it really sweet and flavored. And it was kind of like extending the eating window into the fast and just making the fast a non-caloric version of the eating window in a way.

It did work for me. It did help me transition to fasting. So, I can't tell people don't do it because it worked for me. And I know it works for people. Long term, though, I feel much better again not being that way and actually experiencing the fast naturally. And I do have, so it sounds like for Ben it doesn't create more cravings and appetites. Or maybe it is maybe if you cut it out, you'll realize that you don't have any appetite or cravings while fasting. And maybe this is the thing that's actually keeping that present and as long as you're doing it's going to stay there. I might bet money [chuckles] on that. So as far as the actual, is it ruining the benefits of intermittent fasting? 

Well, one, these foods or these gums, they actually do have calories oftentimes like they feel like they're zero calories. But when you're having like a whole pack, I think legally they can have a certain amount of calories and still label it as zero. So, it'll stay zero, but it might have a few. And then if you're having a whole pack that can actually add up. You are sending your body signals of eating something. So, it's kind of like mixed messages to your body, I do think, because people will say, that if you take in artificially sweetened things that it does just stop all the benefits of fasting. And I don't agree with that because if you're not taking in any-- I just said that maybe you are taking in some calories with it. But if you're not, I still think you will get benefits of the fast. It just might be harder. 

I think for a lot of people, it will make their body more reluctant to sort of really tap into that fat burning state because it's constantly sort of waiting for what it perceives as the need for something sweet or sugar. I think it can still create a blood sugar roller coaster for a lot of people even if they've been fasted for a while. This would actually be a good chance to try something like a CGM. You could see, Ben, when you're having these cravings and when you chew the gum, what's actually happening with your blood sugar levels, that would be really cool to see. We love NutriSense, if you go to and use the code IFPODCAST you can get $30 off. As far as, autophagy, which he asked about and the other benefits-- well, first of all, autophagy, it's not this black and white on/off thing. And we also don't have a ton of information about the extent to which it ramps up on a timeline basis.

I think people make a lot of assumptions. They're like, "Oh, you're fasting. You have a lot of autophagy. You're not fasting. You don't have autophagy." And that's just not the case. You literally have autophagy going on 24/7. And it can get ramped up by certain things like fasting and exercise and calorie restriction so it's hard to know. I don't know, it's hard to know if there's an effect on autophagy from chewing gum or something like that. I would think it's still going on, but it's hard to know. My long takeaway for all of that rambling is that I think you're still getting benefits. I think for a lot of people, it's going to make it substantially harder, and they'll feel probably a lot better on the flipside. And you might find for you, Ben, you said that you still want to lose a few pounds. It might be that you could cut out this gum and keep everything the same and you might actually find that you lose the weight. That's very possible. It would be a fun thing to experiment with. What are your thoughts, Vanessa? 

Vanessa Spina: I agree with most of what you'd say. Yes, autophagy is occurring, like, every night as long as you are closing your eating window further enough away from bedtime to actually get a lot of that repair and restoration. But autophagy gets deeper at night and it can get really deep if you do an actual, like, just water only fast. And the research done on that in humans is measuring the autophagy genes and it seems to ramp up to significantly greater levels between 36 to 72 hours of pure water fasting. So that's like a whole different kind of fasting, in my opinion, than the daily intermittent fasting where you're getting-- I think I agree with you in the sense that you're getting greater cell turnover in that time, that you're not consuming food in that time that you are fasted.

A lot of the benefits that are talked about on this podcast and in the literature on just fasting and what happens, I think it occurs more so in the state of not stimulating insulin that much, but you probably can still get a small fraction of the benefits. But if your main goal, Ben, is weight loss and you're getting there, you're counting your macros as well, and your calories, and you're also finding intermittent fasting helps you to just stick to your calories and macros for the day, which a lot of people find it really supportive of, then I think you're doing great, and I really wouldn't worry about it too much. If you're in a situation where you're like, "Wow, I really want to spend some time ramping up autophagy, maybe doing a deeper cellular cleanse, mitophagy, getting all that stuff really going on. I would maybe do a longer, like an extended fast once a year or something like that for the purposes just of like autophagy, mitophagy, cellular renewal, anti-aging, etc.

But I wouldn't worry too much about it just in the day to day of intermittent fasting. Because like you said, Melanie, we just don't have enough information yet on what's really happening. But we know, okay, you're chewing gum, you're not eating protein, so you're not stimulating mTOR. You're probably still in that AMPK pathway of being in the fastest state of being in that catabolic state of breaking things down, tearing certain things down, repairing them, recycling some proteins, etc. But it's just hard to know exactly how much, like you were saying.

Melanie Avalon: I agree so much. It's interesting because he [chuckles] clearly really feels good with what he's doing. So, I think that's amazing and I love that he's fasting and getting benefits that he does perceive. He won't ever know, though, unless he cuts out the gum if there're even more benefits beyond that, you just won't know unless you try. I don't think you're ruining most of the benefits, but I think you'll get more benefits if you cut it out. 

Vanessa Spina: Yes, perfect answer. 

Melanie Avalon: Perfect answer, okay. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. So, a few things for listeners before we go. If you would like to submit your own questions for the show, directly email or you can go to and you can submit questions there. And when you submit the questions, feel free to insert your favorite emojis so we can see your personality. 

Vanessa Spina: Please do.

Melanie Avalon: Please start putting your favorite emoji at the end so we can know. The show notes for this episode will be at and that will have a transcript as well as links to everything that we talked about. And then you can follow us on Instagram. We are @ifpodcast, I am @melanieavalon, and Vanessa is @ketogenicgirl. Okay, I think that is all the things. Anything from you, Vanessa, before we go?

Vanessa Spina: That was everything. It was so much fun. I absolutely love the questions and I'm excited to answer more in the next one. 

Melanie Avalon: Me too. Well, have a fabulous night and I will talk to you next week. 

Vanessa Spina: Thank you so much, Melanie. Talk to you next week. 

Melanie Avalon: Bye.

Vanessa Spina: 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.

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