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Mar 13

Episode 256: Dopamine, Addiction, Mindset, Appetite Correction, Wim Hof Breathing, Cold Showers, Iron, Collagen, And More!

Intermittent Fasting

Welcome to Episode 256 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, hosted by Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine and Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living An Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle

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

BUTCHERBOX: Grass-Fed Beef, Organic Chicken, Heritage Pork, Wild-Caught Seafood: Nutrient-Rich, Raised Sustainably The Way Nature Intended, And Shipped Straight To Your Door! For A Limited Time Go To Butcherbox.com/ifpodcast And Get Free Ground Beef For LIFE!!

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To submit your own questions, email questions@IFpodcast.com, or submit your questions here!! 

SHOW NOTES

1:10 - BUTCHERBOX: For A Limited Time Go To butcherbox.com/ifpodcast And Get Free Ground Beef For LIFE!!

3:20 - BEAUTYCOUNTER: Keep Your Fast Clean Inside And Out With Safe Skincare! Shop With Us At MelanieAvalon.com/beautycounter, And 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!

13:40 - Listener Q&A: Melissa - history of overeating and IF

18:20 - FEALS: Go To feals.com/ifpodcast To Become A Member And Get 50% Off Your First Order, With Free Shipping!

Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life (Nir Eyal)

35:50 - Listener Q&A: Nancy - Iron

50:55 - BEAUTY AND THE BROTH: Go To melanieavalon.com/broth To Get 15% Off Any Order With The Code MelanieAvalon! Learn All About Bone Broth With My Episode with Melissa Boloña!

The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #60 - Wim Hof

57:20 - Listener Q&A: Kathy - Bone Broth, Collagen And Ketosis Complete

TRANSCRIPT

Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 256 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. If you want to burn fat, gain energy, and enhance your health by changing when you eat not what you eat with no calorie counting, then this show is for you. I'm Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine: Lose Weight and Feel Great with Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, and Wine. And I'm here with my cohost, Gin Stephens, author of Fast. Feast. Repeat.: The Comprehensive Guide to Delay, Don't Deny Intermittent Fasting. For more on us, check out ifpodcast.com, melanieavalon.com, and ginstephens.com. Please remember the thoughts and opinions on this podcast do not constitute medical advice or treatment. So, pour yourself a cup of black coffee, a mug of tea, or even a glass of wine if it's that time, and get ready for The Intermittent Fasting Podcast.

Friends, I'm about to tell you how you can get free grass-fed, grass-finished ground beef for life. Yes, for life. Gin and I are huge fans of a company called ButcherBox. As you guys know, it can be hard to get high-quality humanely raised meat that you can trust. ButcherBox is the solution. They deliver 100% grass-fed, grass-finished beef, free-range organic chicken, heritage-breed pork, nitrate-free, sugar-free bacon, heritage-breed hotdogs, and wild-caught seafood all directly to your door. When you become a member, you're joining a community that is focused on doing what's better for all parties. That means caring about the lives of animals, the livelihoods of farmers, treating our planet with respect, and enjoying better nourishing meals together. They go to great lengths to assure the highest quality, so you can find actual 100% grass-fed, grass-finished beef. If you've seen the Netflix documentary, Seaspiracy, you might be aware of fish fraud and problems in the seafood industry. ButcherBox maintains very, very high standards for that. 

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

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

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

Melanie Avalon: Hi, everybody and welcome. This is Episode number 256 of the Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with Gin Stephens.

Gin Stephens: Hi, everybody.

Melanie Avalon: How are you today, Gin?

Gin Stephens: Well, I'm cold. Yesterday, the weather was perfect, and I went and sat in the Sun, and it was beautiful, and I wore flipflops and today I'm back in UGGs holding a mug of warm water.

Melanie Avalon: It's cold where you are?

Gin Stephens: I'm cold. Yeah, it's all. Yeah, it's rainy.

Melanie Avalon: Well, I was excited when it was cold here, but I feel it's been getting warm, which has been disheartening.

Gin Stephens: Have you been outside today? 

Melanie Avalon: No. 

Gin Stephens: It's 51 degrees and raining.

Melanie Avalon: Wonderful.

Gin Stephens: No, it's not wonderful. I'm freezing. Yesterday, it was 70. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, that was a problem.

Gin Stephens: It was beautiful. You don't like 70? Come on, now. I can't imagine you wouldn't like 70.

Melanie Avalon: No. I get sad when I look at the weather forecast when it says 70. I want it to be in the 40s.

Gin Stephens: Okay, well, then you probably should not live in Georgia. 

Melanie Avalon: I know. 

Gin Stephens: You need to go to, I don’t know, the Arctic, where we never get to the 70s. I don't know. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: Basically, I like the 70s in LA, because it gets cool in the evening still. 

Gin Stephens: Okay.

Melanie Avalon: I have a random question. 

Gin Stephens: Okay. 

Melanie Avalon: Did you ever get night terrors?

Gin Stephens: Night terrors as a kid? 

Melanie Avalon: Yes. 

Gin Stephens: I don't know. I know, I always was like-- I don't think I had really what you would call night terrors. I remember being very anxious as a child. It had to do with us moving, and my parents got divorced, and then we moved to another state, and I remember being very anxious, and high strung at night when it would be time to go to bed, but I don't think I had night terrors. 

Melanie Avalon: Have you ever had the experience where you wake up, but you're still asleep, so, you're interpreting your environment incorrectly? 

Gin Stephens: Like a dream. 

Melanie Avalon: But you're awake. 

Gin Stephens: But you're awake, but you feel you're still in your dream. 

Melanie Avalon: No. 

Gin Stephens: Okay, then. No, I don't know what you're talking about.

Melanie Avalon: I used to get night terrors. I don't anymore, but I had something happen last night that reminds me of night terrors, but it wasn't the same thing. But it's the concept of waking up, and being awake, and knowing your environment. But for some reason, part of your brain is still asleep, so you're interpreting your environment incorrectly. So, with night terrors you see scary things in your environment that aren't there. That's what night terrors are.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, I don't think so. I don't know. It wouldn't surprise me if I did or didn't. I was a high-strung little kid. I don't have memories of having night terrors, but that doesn't mean I didn't because [laughs] I would have to ask my mom. 

Melanie Avalon: I definitely had them and I remember them. 

Gin Stephens: Then, I probably didn't. I do remember being very emotional at bedtime and hysterical about not wanting to go to bed and be left alone. I didn't want to be left alone. But I don't know if I had nightmares or I don't have any memory of them.

Melanie Avalon: You didn't probably remember them? 

Gin Stephens: Probably, so.

Melanie Avalon: I would always see spiders. I'd wake up and see spiders. Then I would have to look for the spider, because every single time I would wake up and see it, and it would take me a while to convince myself that it wasn't real this time. It would happen all the time. So, I'd like turn the lights on-- This happened in high school, too. I turn the lights on and look for the spider.

Gin Stephens: Oh no, I didn't have that. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay. Last night what happened, this was so weird. I'm just fascinated by the brain states. Last night I woke up, and looked at the ceiling, and the lighting from the window was making a perfect arrow pointing to the window. It's hard to describe, but basically, there was an arrow made of light on the wall, on the ceiling pointing to the window. It was real. I wasn't making it up. But my brain, I spent five minutes staring at it, thinking it was-- I was terrified. I was like that's a sign that there's something outside. I could not convince myself that it was just a light. I thought it was a sign. And then every time I woke up, it was still there. It was weird, but literally, five minutes laying there awake staring at it, contemplating it, thinking that the world was ending, 

Gin Stephens: Oh, gosh. No, I have woken up in an anxious state with weird thoughts in my head that suddenly feel really the world is ending, that kind of waking up. I don't know if it was a dream or just being anxious.

Melanie Avalon: Brain is just really interesting. 

Gin Stephens: It is. 

Melanie Avalon: So, that's my random thing. The other random thing is I interviewed Dr. Gundry again.

Gin Stephens: Oh, how'd that go? 

Melanie Avalon: It went very well. 

Gin Stephens: And what's his new book? I forgot.

Melanie Avalon: Unlocking the Keto Code. 

Gin Stephens: Okay.

Melanie Avalon: It was perfect timing, because I had interviewed Dom D'Agostino a few days prior all about ketones, and then I interviewed Dr. Gundry all about ketones and they had different opinions.

Gin Stephens: That's the way so many people are, which is almost why I'm like, "Y'all, Fast. Feast. Repeat. That's it. It doesn't matter all those other little things. We don't have to tell you exactly what is happening behind the scenes, but your body knows, and it's doing it, and you don't have to know,

Melanie Avalon: That's why I'm the complete opposite. That's why I'm like, "I want to hear every perspective."

Gin Stephens: But when they disagree, that's where I am at this point in my life at the age of 52. I like to hear it. It's interesting, but when experts who are very, very smart have wildly different opinions, I'm like, " what? It doesn't even really matter. It doesn't matter." All I know is my body knows what to do. That's literally where I am. I like to understand what's happening and I feel I do, but maybe I don't. [giggles] Maybe we've got it all wrong. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: I want to know everything.

Gin Stephens: I'm at the point where I feel even the things we think we know we might not really know, so it really doesn't matter. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, I see. 

Gin Stephens: That's what I'm saying. I'm like, "We might think this is all what's happening," and then in five years, we'll think it's something completely different. So, really it doesn't matter. I do like to know. Don't get me wrong. I like to know the science behind how things work, but only to a certain point, because then when we start getting deeper, and deeper, and deeper, we realize how many things are unknown. For example, going back to elementary science teaching, we teach even right this minute, if you go into an elementary classroom, teaching about the structure of an atom, they're teaching it wrong. That's not true what they're teaching. It's not even close to what an atom really is like. I just didn't like we're learning all this stuff. I don't know what is true and what [laughs] we just think, anyway.

Melanie Avalon: I literally think I know nothing. That's why I want to hear everything, because I have no idea and I don't know if anybody has any idea. But that's where we can all keep searching and try to get closer.

Gin Stephens: I do love science. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that I don't. I just am like, "I don't need to know all how that's doing it in the background." I know, autophagy is doing something great. I don't need to know the minute that it's doing whatever it's doing. I know ketosis has been official. [laughs] I know that I'm having it. [laughs] Anyway. 

Melanie Avalon: Well, yes, yes. 

Gin Stephens: I'm glad you had a good interview with him. 

Melanie Avalon: It was good. Is anything else new with you? 

Gin Stephens: Well, no. I do have some new interesting things that I'm not ready to share yet, but some really things that are interesting. We're not quite ready like I said to share. So, it's exciting. I can't wait to be able to share, because I like to [giggles] say what I'm doing. Just not quite there yet. I'm just going to tease it. It's personal life, not professional life. 

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. 

Gin Stephens: That's it. 

Melanie Avalon: Shall we jump into everything for today? 

Gin Stephens: Absolutely. 

Melanie Avalon: All right, so, to start things off, we have a question from Melissa. The subject is: "history of overeating and IF." Melissa says, "I've been doing IF for eight months. I'm 5'5" and 138 pounds. When I started this, I lost a few pounds and it was great, but I'm back to where I started with those stubborn 10 pounds. Recently, I've been listening to the Brain Over Binge Podcast." Side note: I booked that author which is very exciting. She has a new book coming out. Wait, wait. Was it her? No, no, no, no. I get them confused. It's the Bright Line Eating woman? 

Gin Stephens: Oh, okay. Her new book's already out.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, well, she's coming on for it. [giggles] Both of them have a similar perspective, I think.

Gin Stephens: No sugar, no flour. Bright Line Eating is no sugar, no flour.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, I thought Bright Line Eating is about like bright lines. No sugar no flour, but basically saying no. I think that's what Brain Over Binge is about too.

Gin Stephens: Maybe it's just saying no, but you can never have sugar and you can never have flour on Bright Line, never and also, I think she hates intermittent fasting.

Melanie Avalon: What is her new book?

Gin Stephens: I can't remember the name of it, but I keep my eye on the-- It popped up in the weight loss arena when it first came out. That's how I know what's coming out, because I do keep my eye, I like to see how Fast. Feast. Repeat. is doing and Clean(ish). Well, just FYI like I said, I don't think she likes intermittent fasting at all and she's like, "No sugar, no flour ever." I know some people really do feel that their brains can't tolerate sugar and flour. It might be something that works for them and they need to avoid those things. Someone, the same parts of the brain that light up with drugs, for example. I don't know. For me, that's not the case. I can have a little bit of sugar, I can have flour, I don't feel I'm just a drug addict for it at all. But I know that some people do describe it that way and I believe them that that's how they feel.

Melanie Avalon: That's the way I feel more so. Maybe not quite to that extent, but--

Gin Stephens: It feels that way to you when you consume it. Is that what I'm asking? 

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm. 

Gin Stephens: See, I don't.

Melanie Avalon: Her new book is Rezoom. It came out in December. Rezoom: The Powerful Reframe to End the Crash-and-Burn Cycle of Food Addiction.

Gin Stephens: Yep. She's very much, "Here's the things. Never, never have these things. Like I said, for the people who need that kind of approach, I know some people in my Delay, Don't Deny community, who follow her work and find that they can't do sugar and flour personally. Interestingly, one of them, she's an intermittent fasting coach. She's lovely. I actually met her. We had dinner together in Myrtle Beach. She happened to be there one time when I was there and we met, and she's been on my podcast. She does intermittent fasting, she also can't have the sugar and the flour, but she was a drug addict. Now, she tells her story on the podcast. I'm telling things about her I shouldn't tell, but she was a drug addict and gave up the drug. So, I think certain brains are more likely to light up from certain stimuli.

Melanie Avalon: That's interesting, because I'm prepping to interview Chris Masterjohn, which is exciting. I'm actually going to talk about him a little bit in our next question assuming we get to it. But I was listening to him on Peter Attia, and they were discussing the COMT gene, the worrier versus warrior.

Gin Stephens: Worrying versus fighting? 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah.

Gin Stephens: Do you worry or fight, right?

Melanie Avalon: How it related to addiction. They were talking about was, okay, see if I get this right. The worrier, so the person, who worries, their gene does not break down dopamine that fast. You have a lot of dopamine that sticks around, you get really fixated, you ruminate, but you can be really laser focused. Both traits have good and bad to them. The warrior, the fighter breaks down dopamine really fast. They're more flexible and don't get as fixated on things, but the addiction aspect was, I think that types are more likely to get addicted, because they go through dopamine so quick. You constantly need more. 

Gin Stephens: Well, that's interesting. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, a dopamine releasing substance. You would need to keep pressing the lever, because the dopamine is going away, basically. 

Gin Stephens: I guess, probably, most of us are somewhere along the continuum. We're not on one end or the other. We're somewhere in the middle. I really do believe that our brain chemistries are different. So, I can have sugar, flour, or whatever, take it or leave it. I like it, but I'm not looking for my next fix kind of a thing, and it doesn't make me binge. But I know that some people do.

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Melanie Avalon: Anyways, so, she's been listening to Brain Over Binge Podcast, which, again, is somebody different, but I think it's a similar concept with the Bright Lines. It's just saying no, I think. She said, "I've realized that I have an issue with overeating. I've tried a few different IF patterns. I shoot for 18 to 20 fast hours a day." This is pretty easy at this point. "I exercise five to six days a week, 30 to 60 minutes at varied intensities, ADF doesn't really interest me, here's my question. After eight months, I don't feel I really had appetite correction and I still have the tendency to overeat in my window. I don't always make the best food choices, but I do strive to make healthier choices. My food choices have been worse with this home isolation and stress is not helping. I feel I can't get the mental game under control to make IF a long-term success. What can I do to get my mind in the right spot for this to work long term?" 

Gin Stephens: All right, that's a great question. It's easy to say just get your mind right. [giggles] But I can't tell you how to get your mind in the right spot. I don't think either of us can. You've got to get your mind in the right spot. You can reread the "Mindset" chapter of Fast. Feast. Repeat. where I talk about the importance of mindset. But I can't tell you how to get there. You've got to flip that switch yourself. For me, it helps me to know why I'm doing intermittent fasting. I want to go back to your weight and height. You're 5'5", 138 pounds. That is a very healthy weight for your height. You're not overweight, you're not even close to overweight. You're right in the middle of that healthy weight range. I do understand that you would like to lose 10 pounds and I get it. If I gained 10 pounds from where I am right now, I would want to lose them too. 10 pounds, you have the right to want to lose 10 pounds, but you are at a very healthy weight. I just wanted to put that out there. 

But when I disconnect, why I'm doing intermittent fasting now, like if I got on the scale, I'm 5'5", if I got on the scale and I weighed 138 pounds right this minute, I would still keep doing intermittent fasting even if I never got below 138 again for the rest of my life. Because now, I do intermittent fasting long-term not so the scale will change. I do intermittent fasting now, because it's a healthy way to live. That mindset shift is really the one that was most powerful for me. I guess, even though, I can't tell you how to get your mind in the right spot, if you shift from, "I have to lose these 10 pounds to I am going to do intermittent fasting for the rest of my life, because it's a healthy way to live," that might be the thing that flips that switch and makes it a long-term success for you. That's certainly what did it for me. So, let's talk about those stubborn 10 pounds that you would like to lose and why you didn't have appetite correction. 

I really feel it has to do with that one sentence that you said, "I don't always make the best food choices, but I do strive to make healthier choices." For me, food quality and appetite correction go hand in hand. I tell the story in Fast. Feast. Repeat. about the day that I had McDonas ld's. I had a Big Mac and fries and a Coke. That was plenty of calories, plenty of fuel. I fueled my body with lots of energy. It wasn't good quality, but it was plenty. I didn't need more fuel, but I was so unsatisfied and I was still "hungry." I absolutely did not have appetite correction from a McDonald's Big Mac and fries and a Coke. But when I eat really, highly nutritious foods that are nutrient dense, lots of vegetables, good protein, beans, eggs, avocado, things like that, I could eat the calorie equivalent, of course, I don't count calories, but I have to get that out there. I could eat the calorie equivalent of that Big Mac fries and Coke meal, and have amazing appetite correction, food quality makes all the difference in the world for me. 

If you feel you're not making the best food choices, start with really highly nutritious foods. There's a term in the nutrition space called "crowding out." You crowd out the things that are not the best with things that are the best and you're not going to have as much room for them. If you start with highly nutritious foods, you tell yourself, "You know what, I've got some ice cream, I want to have that later." But really nourish your body well. Then later, if you want to add in a little bit of that, whatever it was, ice cream for me would be the one, then add it in. That's how I'm Cleanish. But if I start with nutritious foods, I don't really want that much ice cream. A little bit is fine. If I started with ice cream, hello, I could see all the ice cream in the world and still not probably be full and satisfied. I really think that might be what you're missing out on. Also, you are doing a good bit of exercising and that makes you hungry. For me, how they call it working up a good appetite? You said that you have the tendency to overeat. You might not be "overeating" to the point that you think you are. I think we've been trained, especially as women to think we're supposed to have dainty appetites. Especially, if you're in the paradigm of eating five, six small meals a day that sort of thing, then you might really need to eat tiny little amounts. But if you're having a 20-hour fast and a four-hour window and you've exercised for 60 minutes at high intensity, you need to have a lot of fuel and your body is going to tell you that. So, it might feel you're overeating when really, it's exactly the amount of food you're supposed to have. But you're thinking, you're supposed to be eating this little diet amount, but your body's like, "No, we worked out hard today, give us more food." 

By combining high-quality food choices to open your window, our bodies don't count calories, they count nutrients like my Big Mac story illustrates, by having the high-quality foods understanding that you might need to eat more than you think you do, and also realizing you're at a really healthy weight for your height, and really just changing the quality of your food, it might really get that needle going down a little bit. Put all those things together and I definitely don't think you need to do ADF, unless you're really want to. But again, I want to reiterate from what I said before. If you shift that mental game from, "I am doing intermittent fasting to lose 10 pounds to I am doing intermittent fasting because it's the healthiest way I can live my life, and I can do some tweaks to see if I can lose those 10 pounds or not," I think that might flip that switch to make it feel a long-term lifestyle. I've just said a lot of things.

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. You said a lot of things that I was going to touch on. So, that is excellent. I actually just finished a book by Nir Eyal all called Indistractable, bringing him on the show as well. It wasn't about eating or anything like that. It was about not being distracted in our environment. But one of the things that he talks about that this made me think of was when there's something like a trigger or a habit that we're trying to break, there's basically internal and external triggers. He goes through four different things, but two of them, one is an internal trigger, and one is an external trigger that could be prompting that. The internal trigger would be probably stuff that she talks about in the Brain Over Binge Podcast. But I really like this process that he talks about. I've started to do it with my own self. Basically, when there's something you don't want to do or don't want to engage in, you notice the feeling that happened right before that. So, it's an internal feeling and it usually will always be there. 

He talks more about how to actually deal with it, or replace it, or what you do with that. But I do think it's really fascinating, because it can make you realize with your overeating experience, for example, or your cravings, or your lack of appetite correction. Is that coming from a place of needing more nutrients like Gin was talking about or is it coming more from a place of unsatisfied craving for whatever reason? Noticing the feeling right before that might be pretty telling. There's so much you could do on the mindset side of things. We're talking about earlier, more of an addiction type thing rather than a nutrition type thing. Either way, really focusing like Gin said on your nutrition quality is going to be huge. I think a lot of people find that if they make their meals centered around a moderate to higher protein meal, that can really, really help with cravings. I also think it goes back to the sentence that Gin said, and that's what I'm going to bring in the external triggers. The sentence, "I don't always make the best food choices but I do strive to make healthier choices." First of all, I applaud you for striving to make healthier choices. That is amazing and it can be really hard to do with our processed food environment today, and things that we're exposed to. Gin, do you feel we get this sentience from a lot of people struggling with this issue? 

Gin Stephens: They're trying to make healthier choices? 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, we did that a lot. That's such an interesting phrase. I'm striving to make healthier choices, because if went out on the street and asked a hundred people, "What's a healthy way to eat?" We'd get a hundred different answers.

Melanie Avalon: The perspective I was taking from it is, it's often the focus on the-- 

Gin Stephens: Oh, the intermittent fasting? 

Melanie Avalon: No, no. The focus is on like, "I'll try to do that rather than that's what I do." This actually goes into something else, which he talks about these-- and I'm going go back to the external triggers as well. I'm all over the place. But he talks about the different ways that people can make habit change and what is most effective. One of the most effective ways to make habit change is to have an identity change. Not become an entirely new person, but to have an identity change around the issue. They did a study that was on voting. I don't remember the exact numbers. I can look them up, but it was a striking difference between people, who actually voted based on the initial criteria was, there're people who said they were going to vote in the poll. They responded by saying, they were going to vote. Then they did a poll, where they asked people if they were voters. The people who said they were voters were way more likely to vote than people who literally said they were going to vote. It goes into this whole identity thing.

The analogy here is, we can say we're going to vote and try to vote and do all this and that's good, because it's an intention and something you want to do, so that's great. But we're actually much more likely to vote if we just say I'm a voter. The way this all ties into this is, maybe instead of striving to make healthier choices, you could try adopting or trying on an identity of just saying, you make healthy choices rather than trying to or striving to. And then, you can make it even easier for yourself so that the identity barrier is one thing that helps-- or boundaries, I think they're called boundaries. But having actual boundaries can help that, because it's hard to combat what's right in your face. If you're trying to make healthier choices, you could just make healthier choices and those foods that you know are problem foods for you just don't have them in the house. That would be getting rid of external triggers creating an actual boundary to engaging in whatever habit you're trying not to engage with.

Gin Stephens: Can I pop in something there that just came to my mind? It's Yoda. "Do or do not. There is no try." That's one of my favorite Yoda quotes. 

Melanie Avalon: I thought about that so long and I put that in my What When Wine book, because I talk about in What When Wine how I never really understood that phrase until I did intermittent fasting, and then it made perfect sense, because you don't try to do intermittent fasting. You either do or you don't. There is no try. You do or you don't. 

Gin Stephens: Well, exactly, right. 

Melanie Avalon: Same thing here. Again, I don't want to discount or not be encouraging, because it is amazing to strive to make healthier choices. I'm not trying to downplay that. I'm just saying a slight shift, where you just make healthier choices, you get rid of all those things that are causing the problems. Just don't have them in the house. 

Gin Stephens: Or, be cleanish. Don't start with them.

Melanie Avalon: Do you want elaborate on that, because I don't think people might not know what you're saying, exactly?

Gin Stephens: I've said it a minute ago. I said how I start with things that are nutritious, and then I crowd out, and then I might have the ice cream, and I'm cleanish. 

Melanie Avalon: So, yes. I think there's a lot that can be done there. Especially, if you feel you can't get the mental game under control, stack the cards in your favor, do everything you can to stack the cards in your favor. It can sound scary to make things seemingly more intense in your approach, but can actually give you freedom because you're not fighting all of these temptations and things like that. Yes, that was all over the place. That book, Indistractable, it's actually really short. So, it might be something to listen to. Again, it's not really about food specifically, but it's got a lot of really fascinating information in it. Anything else?

Gin Stephens: Nope. I think we've said a lot of things. I hope that it helps Melissa.

Melanie Avalon: I like what you said, too, about focusing on the nutrient fulfilling foods would probably really help.

Gin Stephens: You know how you said she should tell herself, I eat healthy foods. She should also say, I am an intermittent faster. 

Melanie Avalon: Yes, exactly. 

Gin Stephens: Because then, that's who I am. I am an intermittent faster. So, that is my identity. I don't have to get up every day and decide if I'm going to do intermittent fasting. That's just what I do. It's who I am.

Melanie Avalon: And another one is saying, I don't instead of I can't. Instead of saying, "I can't have those foods, I don't have those foods," making it a choice. 

Gin Stephens: Yeah. I don't use artificial sweeteners. If you offer me something that it has artificial sweeteners, I will not eat it. [laughs] Also, I could say, I can't, because that would not upset me, because I just really don't want to and I don't like them. But anyway, same, same kind of thing.

Melanie Avalon: So, shall we go on to our next question?

Gin Stephens: Yes. We have a question from Nancy and the subject is: "Iron." She says, "first, love the podcast, love the books, love you guys." Thank you, Nancy. She says, "I always learn a lot and my own journey is crazy. IF does not work for me for anything other than feeling I don't have to focus on food all day. But I love that in terms of weight loss or anything like that. This is not my jam. Never worked for me and I've been doing this almost since you guys started this podcast. Thanks to my daughter. However, that is not what this email is about." Now, I got to stop there, Melanie. When she says, "IF does not work for me for anything," I have to dig into that a little bit, just because it's not working for weight loss, Nancy, it doesn't mean it's not doing amazing other things. That's the thing. Okay, so, you haven't lost any weight, but I bet it's done a lot of amazing things inside your body that you can't identify. It's like when people ask me, "What has your vibration plate done for you? How has it helped you?" I say, "Well, I don't know because there's no path I've been on where I didn't use it." I have used it. So, I'm not sure how much muscle mass it's helped me maintain. Because I don't have a study where the Gin didn't do it. [laughs] Here's the Gin who did it, here's the Gin who didn't. I only know the one who did it. 

For Nancy saying that intermittent fasting hasn't worked for her, well, who knows what have happened if she hadn't done intermittent fasting? Does that make sense? Am I making myself clear? I think that it might not have given you weight loss, Nancy, but I want you to tell yourself like what you just were talking about with Melissa. What you tell yourself, change what you're saying and say, intermittent fasting is my secret to living a healthy life. Because I really think that it's a healthy way to live even in the absence of weight loss, it is doing something for you. I had to throw that out there. Chad does it, didn't need to lose weight, didn't want to lose weight, doesn't want. He would be upset if he lost weight. Mark Mattson of Johns Hopkins, he's been doing intermittent fasting since I think the 80s. They don't do it for weight loss. They do it for the health benefits. So, never, never, never lose sight of that. So, do you have anything you want to add? 

Melanie Avalon: Just that I agree completely. 

Gin Stephens: Okay. So, anyway, I'm glad you're doing it, Nancy. I'm glad you're a listener. I'm glad that you're still enjoying doing it and that it gives you freedom from that focus on food, because even if that was all that it did really, that's huge. I mean that is huge. All right, so, she says, "Okay, so, I have something a little bit weird for you guys. I've been playing with Wim Hof breathing for around two years and cold showers for about six months. I've tried to give blood for a couple of years and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, because my iron numbers are not high enough, and they can't take your blood unless your iron is at a certain level. I went to give blood a couple of months ago and I wasn't sure if I'd be able to or not. But after they did my finger prick, the tech said, "Your blood numbers are great, perfect. You're doing great." My numbers were usually just over the line in the past when I could give blood. The only thing I did differently was cold showers and sometimes putting my feet in ice and water. Ever since then and it's only been twice. So, this isn't a study. But ever since then I've been able to go in and just give blood, no problem. 

Before that, I tried different iron supplements, liquid iron, which only turned my teeth black, which I stopped immediately and brush crazy till the stains went away. But this cold-water stuff, I have a feeling that cold water really helps with iron. I looked it up just on Google not PubMed or anything and there was something about it. Not anything that was earth shattering, but I thought, "Well, this could be a thing." I know you are both into research to a level that I will never be and have resources that I don't have. So, I thought I would just throw this out after listening to the podcast, where you talked about the woman, who could be low iron. I thought I would share my crazy experience. Sincerely," Nancy.

Melanie Avalon: All right, Nancy. Thank you so much for your question. Really, quick thing. I don't really think I have that many more resources than other people as far as research goes. It's actually very easy in our world today to access research and information. There are books, that's where I get a lot of my information. Google Scholar is my favorite place to be. There're so many studies. You can't always read the full study, but you often can. If you sign up for a ResearchGate account, you can often get the full study through that platform. 

Gin Stephens: Or, if you're married to a college professor. He can get you anything.

Melanie Avalon: Or, if you went to college anywhere, you often as an alumni can have access to their library system. I guess the one resource I have that most people don't is, I can often directly ask questions to some of the authors I've had on the show. But beyond that, it's really all just self-study. Just want to point that out. It's funny, Nancy, about this question. We've had it in the lineup for a long time, because I was waiting because I thought the information was going to organically come to me at some point. I feel it did this week. I was like once it comes to me, I'm going to wait till it comes to me and then I'm going to talk about it and it came to me this week. I've mentioned this earlier, but I am prepping to interview Chris Masterjohn. He doesn't have a book or anything, but he has been in the sphere for a long time and he writes very epic blog posts, and he does have eBook type things you can buy but he really researches nutrients and metabolic health, and what's the word for metabolic systems in the body?

Gin Stephens: Metabolic systems really just sums it up.

Melanie Avalon: It's funny, Gin, because prepping to interview him, because normally I'm focusing on a book. But there's just so much. He's covered everything. 

Gin Stephens: Oh, he's written about everything. Yeah, he's brilliant. I've been reading his stuff for, well, before I wrote my first book.

Melanie Avalon: it's not he just writes about everything. He goes really deep in everything, in all the different topics and he gives a perspective that nobody else usually is talking about. We're talking earlier about not knowing what do we know, what do we not know. He always gives a new perspective and I'm like, "Why have I never heard that before?" That sounds right [laughs] if that makes sense. Prepping to interview him. I'm like, "What do I talk to him about?" I think I'm just going to talk to him about all the things presently I'm very fascinated with and would like to know his thoughts on. But in any case, he has been writing a lot actually, recently about iron status because he's been looking at a lot of the studies about how COVID affects iron status. He talks about the mechanisms of action and what is going on there. I think I got a lot of clarity reading it about what might be going on with you, Nancy. Before I answer that, the first resource I went to--

Gin Stephens: I have a question. Does he say that it's better, because I think I remember reading some stuff about this early, early on in the pandemic. For COVID, is it better to have high iron or low iron?

Melanie Avalon: I didn't read about better to, the stuff I was reading. I'm sure he's probably written on it. That's a good question and I should check it before I interview him. The stuff I was reading was, how does COVID affect iron status? So, that's a good question, though.

Gin Stephens: For some reason, I seem to-- I don't know. We've had so much over the past few years. For some reason in my head, I feel I read something early on, I mean, really early on 2020 early, early, early that was correlating low iron with better outcomes. I don't know. Because I usually have had low iron like Nancy. For some reason, that stuck in my head, because I'm like, "Oh, maybe having low iron is good." I don't know for COVID.

Melanie Avalon: Well, yeah. What he talks about is how people think that the inflammatory state of COVID would deplete iron being an inflammatory state. But actually, and this relates to Nancy's question. Inflammation raises a hormone called hepcidin, which is the insulin for blood sugar, but it's a regulator of iron status.

Gin Stephens: I did find a couple of things. The U-shaped association of serum iron level with disease severity and adult hospitalized patients with COVID-19. A U-shaped curve is interesting. Too high is not good, too low is no-- 

Melanie Avalon: Too low is not good. 

Gin Stephens: Right. That's interesting. Again, so much stuff we still don't even know. So, I'm not giving medical advice about this. 

Melanie Avalon: This answer is not to speak to COVID, specifically. It's to speak to the inflammatory state. In the inflammatory state, hepcidin goes up, hepcidin decreases. I don't know if it's a hormone as well. I guess so called ferroportin. Ferroportin is the transporter responsible for transporting iron both from our food into our bodies, and then also in and out of cells. What happens when we get inflamed, hepcidin goes up, ferroportin goes down, we no longer easily absorb iron from our food. In an inflamed state, it's likely that we'll have low iron. But what's interesting and this is what he talks about. This is the how it gets more nuanced. When you get a full iron panel, you measure basically, your free iron, your iron saturation, your hemoglobin, which is your iron-containing oxygen transport, metalloprotein in red blood cells, and then your ferritin, which is actually your storage form of iron. 

What's interesting is that when your inflammation is up, your hepcidin is up and your ferroportin transporter is down. Not only do you not absorb iron from your food, but you stop moving iron around. It can get locked in your ferritin, which is your storage form, especially if you're in an inflammatory state, The macrophages in the inflammatory state might actually grab the iron and put it into ferritin, because iron is actually very inflammatory. It can create oxidative stress. You don't want a lot of iron. 

Gin Stephens: You don't want to have too much. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. That's why it's such a complicated thing. Your body really has to regulate it and a lot of people for whatever reason things get wonky on either side.

Gin Stephens: Yep. There's that U-shaped curve. By the way, I did find something that sounds like the opposite of what I said before. It just said that severe COVID-19 appears to be characterized by high hepcidin. I don't know how to say that and marked functional iron deficiency. So, you don't want to have iron that's too low.

Melanie Avalon: Right. What you just said is what I was literally just saying. 

Gin Stephens: The reason I'm saying it is because what I said seems to be the opposite of the truth. So, I wanted to correct it. I just remember reading something early. Lord knows what it was. It was two years ago. I remember reading something that made me think, "Oh, maybe low iron isn't bad. Maybe it's protective." 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Again, I don't really want to speak to COVID, but I'm really glad you read that sentence, because that actually describes what I was just saying. Basically, an inflammatory state, COVID would be an inflammatory state. Hepcidin is going up, so you're going to stop absorbing iron. You're more likely to get deficient. But then what's interesting and what he talks about is, like I said, you stop absorbing, but you also trap iron where it is, so people can actually present with having low iron, but high ferritin, because the iron is all trapped in their storage form because their body was like, "Oh, we got to get rid of this. So, let's put it into ferritin." 

Gin Stephens: It's there. It's just stuck. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Then you have to deal with getting it out in a healthy way because too much iron is inflammatory. So, the point of all of that and I think when I talk to him-- Oh, this was really interesting. So, do the way how we get rid of the iron and ferritin?

Gin Stephens: I do not. [laughs] Leeches? Is it leeches? No, I'm kidding.

Melanie Avalon: I know. Well, probably that might do it. [laughs] 

Gin Stephens: Wait, I feel I might, give me a minute. I feel I read something.

Melanie Avalon: It's something we talk about a lot sort of.

Gin Stephens: Go ahead. 

Melanie Avalon: It's called ferritinophagy. 

Gin Stephens: Is it autophagy? Is it part of autophagy? Is it linked to autophagy?

Melanie Avalon: When the cell runs low in iron, it sends ferritin that storage form of iron into the general autophagy system. So, then it breaks down the ferritin in the autophagy system and freeze the iron. Isn't that cool?

Gin Stephens: It is very cool. You know how at the beginning of the podcast, where we were like, "Yeah, that's more than I needed to know about stuff. That's where [laughs] iron." [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: It hits home to me because I have had severe anemia in the past, severe. 

Gin Stephens: But you're good now there, right? 

Melanie Avalon: I am. Actually, I'm posting about it today on my InsideTracker. But it's a struggle. For people who struggle with iron issues on either side, it's a struggle. If you have iron overload, really the only solution is donating blood.

Gin Stephens: That's what it was. Donating blood, I knew there was something when I said leeches. It's donating blood for real. That is what you do. I was like, "I feel I know it. What is it?" Yes, it's donating blood. Dah. I can't [laughs] believe I didn't think of that. That's practically the same thing as leeches.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, yeah. That's why when you said that I was like, "Basically." [giggles] 

Gin Stephens: That's funny. Okay. I knew I knew it. I just couldn't remember that I knew it.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, yeah. Then on the flip side, the anemia side and this is something I really want to talk to him about, because there're just so many reasons and things that could happen. The thing I want to talk to him about for me is the way I tend to present now, because I've been supplementing with grass-fed spleen, which does keep my iron up. But my ferritin, my storage form tends to always be low, but my iron saturation will go up really high. I feel I'm not converting iron to ferritin. I'm going to ask him about that. Oh, to clarify, I do want to clarify, even though, I know Gin mentioned that we're over a lot of heads right now. But this is important to point out, because I did say that ferritinophagy, so, autophagy is what digest ferritin. That is not regulated by autophagy. What I mean by that is, it's not like you if you're in a high autophagy state. They are automatically going to do that process, it's regulated completely by cellular iron status. What that means is, it only does that process when you need to do that process. It's not like, "Oh, I'm in a high autophagy state. Let's break down all the ferritin." It would do that if you needed iron. 

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Melanie Avalon: In any case, how this all relates to Nancy's question? It was interesting because I pulled up Wim Hof's book, because she was talking about doing Wim Hof breathing and the cold showers. I have had Wim Hof on the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. I will put a link to that in the show notes. Honestly, listeners, if you want an inspiring episode, that was my most inspiring episode of all time. 

Gin Stephens: Wim Hoff? 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, followed by Farmer Lee Jones. I looked at his book to see if he talked about iron status and anemia. I know she didn't mention anemia, but she mentioned low iron. Interestingly, he didn't really talk about it. But the weird thing is there is one sentence about it, but I don't know why he didn't expand on it, because the only sentence in the book that mentions anemia is "the connection between tinnitus and the Wim Hof Method has various possible causes," because he talks about how the Wim Hof Method can help tinnitus. He says, "Medical research shows a direct link between pulsatile tinnitus and anemia, which the Wim Hof Method may ameliorate through the elevated oxygen intake." It's really interesting. Basically, he's hinting that the Wim Hof Method may help anemia. I don't know why he doesn't expand on it. But the reason I think that, Nancy, this is possibly what might be going on is all Chris Masterjohn's work. He talks about how to increase iron status when you are in an iron deficient state for whatever reason and the answer is cooling inflammation. He literally uses that phrase. 

Combating inflammation is a key to helping iron status, helping your iron numbers. The Wim Hof Method, the breathing, the cold showers, one of the main things that is doing in your body is combating system wide inflammation. That's the reason I do cold therapy like cryotherapy. The anti-inflammatory benefits are incredible. It could have something to do with the oxygen content, which is in the Wim Hof what he says in his book. In addition to that, I would really think there could be something going on with it helping your inflammatory status and not helping your iron status. Again, I'm not a doctor, but those are my thoughts.

Gin Stephens: In summary, yes. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: Possibly, possibly.

Gin Stephens: Well, she said, "Could it be." She said, "Could it be." The answer is yes, it could be. 

Melanie Avalon: Yes. Very cool. 

Gin Stephens: But yes. We don't want to be too low, we don't want to be too high, we want to be just right like Goldilocks, when it comes to really almost everything.

Melanie Avalon: For supporting your body's, handling of iron and having a healthy iron profile. an anti-inflammatory lifestyle is really key for that. Cold exposure, Wim Hof breathing would be great tools for that. All right, shall we do one more question? 

Gin Stephens: All righty. 

Melanie Avalon: All right. We have one more question. This is from Kathy. The subject is: "Bone broth, collagen, and ketosis complete." Kathy says, "Hi. I've been doing the IF Fast. Feast. Repeat. for several weeks. Before then, I was doing a keto-type program avoiding sugar and other things. I was drinking a shake with collagen, bone broth, and the ketosis complete." I looked this up. I think I found it because I found a product called ketosis complete that did have-- She says, "It has BHB, beta hydroxybutyrate and a healthy fats blend." But what I was looking at just had BHB. It didn't have healthy fats blend. So, I'm not sure if that was the same thing. 

Gin Stephens: Well, maybe just it's her collagen and her bone broth, and added some fats. Maybe, she was putting in healthy fats in addition. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, that's possible. 

Gin Stephens: Adding fat, yeah. 

Melanie Avalon: She says, "I have been fasting clean averaging 16 to 20 hours per day and I would like to know if I can have a shake made with these things after I break my fast or do I have to wait until I have done the full 28 days. Thank you," Kathy.

Gin Stephens: All right. Here's the thing about your eating window. You can have whatever you want in your eating window. There is no need to wait any time to have anything in your eating window. Here's what you can't have in your eating window during the first 28 days and here's what you can have after that. If you have something you would like to enjoy in your eating window, you can do it at any point along the way of your intermittent fasting journey. Now, let's talk about the shake and what you need out of that shake. Interesting about collagen, I'm not convinced that we need to ingest collagen. I was having a conversation with someone on the Delay, Don’t Deny community about this recently. She's a doctor. I am not a doctor, she is a doctor, talking about collagen and she's somebody, who I really respect, but she is not a big fan of most of these "products that are out there with all the health claims." She's not a health claims fan because so many of them are made without any good backing. Collagen is one of those things. 

When we ingest collagen, our body breaks it down into the different building blocks. Like, it does with any protein. It's not ingesting collagen and then it's used as collagen. Your body loses the ability to create collagen as you get older. But ingesting collagen, it is not like take the collagen and then stick it places where collagen would be. Am I explaining that well, Melanie? It breaks it down.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Actually, it has probably more to do with something else Chris Masterjohn talks about, the amino acid profile ratio found in collagen versus muscle meats. 

Gin Stephens: Well, my point being that, I'm not convinced that we need to supplement with collagen. That's all I'm saying. I've looked at it all sorts of ways, because people are talking about collagen all the time, and they want to have collagen, and I am not convinced that there's a role for me. Let me just say, for me. I'm not convinced that supplementing with collagen is going to do anything for me. Really, if you're having trouble with a saggy skin, and you think that having collagen will help with that, really, if your body's not good at using collagen, or building collagen, or whatever the wording really would be, I think I just didn't say it very well but that's the issue. Something like red light therapy, it can help your body better than drinking collagen. There're other ways to get your body to be better at maintaining collagen levels versus intaking it. Does that make sense, Melanie? 

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm. 

Gin Stephens: Anyway, so, if you love the collagen, have the collagen. Bone broth has a lot of healing benefits. I think you would agree with that. Have the bone broth. Definitely, bone broth is a great thing. Ketosis complete, any kind of ketone product, I really can't think of any reason why you would have that in your eating window honestly. I remember reading something Mark Mattson-- I was listening to him on a podcast. It was Mark Mattson, the guy mentioned earlier, he was from Johns Hopkins. He was talking about taking in ketones, that was back when exogenous ketones were all the rage and your body was making all these claims about them. In the interview, he said, he could imagine-- I'm paraphrasing and it's been years since I heard this. I could be getting something wrong. But it was something along the lines of he could see a mechanism of action, where it would actually be detrimental to have ketones-- to take in ketones during in the presence of food. Because that's not how our bodies naturally are. I can't remember the mechanism of action he was talking about because shoot I'm not a scientist like he is, but our bodies never have lots of food coming in and ketosis going on. So, that's not really a natural state. 

Ketosis is absence of food our bodies get into ketosis. I just can't think of any reason why you'd want to have that in your eating window. Collagen, up to you. If you feel it's giving you benefits, you certainly can. Bone broth, I could totally see that. A ketosis product, no. I just wouldn't. You can if you really want to. I can't think of a reason why I would, unless you have Alzheimer's or seizures, and you're having a therapeutic kind of ketone experience. But for the rest of us who are just, no. Anyway, that's how I feel. Let your body make ketones for free during the fast. That's it. 

Melanie Avalon: First of all, just to discuss a little bit more the collagen versus the bone broth thing. The benefits people turn to collagen for, I think it can often be got from a more whole foods synergistic form of bone broth. Actually, today's episode is sponsored in part by Beauty & the Broth, which is one of my favorite bone broth companies. Check out the spot in today's show to get the details about that. We have a code for I think 15% off. But her bone broth is, it comes in concentrated form. It ships straight to your door and then you reconstitute it to whatever strength you like with water, it has no added salt, which is huge. It's organic, delicious. So, that might be something to try to if you want to open your window with something rather than this shake of collagen and exogenous ketones like Gin was talking about. I would just have some bone broth.

Gin Stephens: And some food. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, which bone broth in a way is a food.

Gin Stephens: And some food along with it, but not-- Yeah, bone broth is a food. Yeah.

Melanie Avalon: I think what Kathy is touching on is, I don't know how common this confusion is out there, but what I'm getting from her question and possibly there are other people who think this. I think they think they're doing a keto diet and fasting is creating ketosis. That means, it goes together still. They think they still have to do a keto diet with fasting, which is not the case. So, intermittent fasting does not mandate a keto diet in your eating window. You can do one. You don't have to. 

Gin Stephens: Yep, but you don't have to-- There was a period of time where people were really saying that like, "If you're not doing intermittent fasting with keto, you're wasting your time." I'm like, "Really? Okay. Well, I guess tell that to my 80 pounds that I lost." 

Melanie Avalon: That's funny. [laughs] 

Gin Stephens: Oh, and when this episode comes out, Melanie, it will be almost exactly my seven-year maintenance anniversary. Seven years of maintaining my weight. In that seven years was I keto for any of the days? No.

Melanie Avalon: Wow. Yeah. Point being Kathy is, you don't have to be keto in the eating window and for the BHB exogenous ketones, well like I said, I did interview Dom D'Agostino and we went into the deepest of deepest dives into ketones. Of course, he is more pro-exogenous ketones.

Gin Stephens: Is he?

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm.

Gin Stephens: He thinks you should. 

Melanie Avalon: Well, no, no, sorry. That's a blanket statement. His work in part is clinically studying exogenous ketones, and the signaling effects they have, and their effects in different therapeutic states. You were saying differently for therapeutic diet addressing a specific issue.

Gin Stephens: There are definitely roles for exogenous ketones, but not for most of us, I think. That's what I really think.

Melanie Avalon: I think if you listen to the episode, which again, it's not out yet. We'll put a link to it in the show notes. I think listening to my conversation with him, he is very pro-exogenous ketones, but for specific situations, and I think listening to it, you don't walk away thinking I need exogenous ketones. That's not what you walk away thinking.

Gin Stephens: Good. I actually walked away from that Mark Mattson interview. He's a neurological guy that's his expertise. I walked away thinking, "Yeah, we really don't want to have that with food [laughs] for whatever reason." Again, whatever his mechanism was that he talked about. Nobody please ask me to find that, because I swear, it was 2017 or something, and people were just starting to talk about exogenous ketones, and I heard him talking about on our podcast, and I don't even remember who.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, So, I'm really excited to air that. That was a moment, because I've been following him for so long. So very long. We've talked for two hours.

Gin Stephens: That's when I interviewed Mark Mattson for Intermittent Fasting Stories. It was surreal. I was so excited. That one hasn't come out yet. By the time people are listening to this, it hasn't come out yet, but it was so exciting to talk to him because he knows his stuff.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I already told you this, Gin, but he was like, "Yeah, I'm going in few days to stay with Rhonda Patrick." I was like, "Oh, my goodness." [laughs] So close. But in any case, Kathy, I hope that helped with your question.

Gin Stephens: But just to go back to it again, like I said, you can have whatever you want in your eating window, and if that shake is something you want, and you love it, and you want to keep having it, because you feel it's giving you benefits, have it. Go for it. We're not telling you not to. I just would hesitate on feeling like you needed exogenous ketones, especially in your eating window. That's all. 

Melanie Avalon: Agreed. All right. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. So, a few things for listeners before we go. If you would like to submit your own question for the show, you can directly email questions@ifpodcast.com or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. The show notes for today's episode will be at ifpodcast.com/episode256. Those show notes will have a full transcript. So, definitely check that out. And then, you can follow us on Instagram. I am @melanieavalon, Gin is @ginstephens, and I think that is all things. All righty. I just want to say, I'm so happy we got to the iron question. It's been hanging over me for months. I was like, "It'll come to me."

Gin Stephens: Awesome. I'm glad we talked about it. I'm glad I was able to research and find more answers, because [laughs] it was so long ago that I read that article. I was like, "I got to look this up a little bit more."

Melanie Avalon: All right. Well, anything from you, Gin, before we go? 

Gin Stephens: No. I think that's it. Talk to you soon. 

Melanie Avalon: Talk to you next week. Bye.

Gin Stephens: 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. We're not doctors. If you enjoyed the show, please consider writing your review on iTunes. We couldn't do this without our amazing team, administration by Sharon Merriman, editing by Podcast Doctors, show notes and artwork by Brianna Joyner, transcripts by SpeechDocs, theme music by Leland Cox. See you next week.

STUFF WE LIKE

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

More on Gin: GinStephens.com

Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox: LelandCox.com

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

 

 

Feb 27

Episode 254: EMF Blocking, New IF Study, Alternate Day Fasting (ADF), Protein Sparing Modified Fast (PSMF), Calorie Restriction, Supplement Timing, Collagen Peptides, And More!

Intermittent Fasting

Welcome to Episode 254 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, hosted by Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine and Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living An Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle

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

BUTCHERBOX: Grass-Fed Beef, Organic Chicken, Heritage Pork, Wild-Caught Seafood: Nutrient-Rich, Raised Sustainably The Way Nature Intended, And Shipped Straight To Your Door! For A Limited Time Go To butcherbox.com/ifpodcast And Get Free Ground Beef For LIFE!!

JOOVV: Like intermittent fasting, red light therapy can benefit the body on so many levels! It literally works on the mitochondrial level to help your cells generate more energy! Red light can help you burn fat (including targeted fat burning and stubborn fat!), contour your body, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, produce collagen for epic skin, support muscle recovery, reduce joint pain and inflammation, combat fatigue, help you sleep better, improve mood, and so much more!! These devices are literally LIFE CHANGING!! For A Limited Time Go To Joovv.com/ifpodcast And Use The Code IFPODCAST For An Exclusive Discount!

BEAUTY AND THE BROTH: Support Your Health With Delicious USDA Organic Beauty & The Broth Bone Broth! It's Shelf Stable With No Preservatives, And No Salt Added. Choose Grass Fed, Grass Finished Beef, Or Free Range, Anti-Biotic And Hormone Free Chicken, Shipped Straight To Your Door! The Concentrated Packets Are 8x Stronger Than Any Cup Of Broth: Simply Reconstitute With 8 Ounces Of Hot Water. They’re Convenient To Take Anywhere On The Go, Especially Travel! Go To melanieavalon.com/broth To Get 15% Off Any Order With The Code MelanieAvalon!

To submit your own questions, email questions@IFpodcast.com, or submit your questions here!! 

SHOW NOTES

1:10 - BUTCHERBOX: For A Limited Time Go To butcherbox.com/ifpodcast And Get Free Ground Beef For LIFE!!

3:20 - BEAUTYCOUNTER: Keep Your Fast Clean Inside And Out With Safe Skincare! Shop With Us At MelanieAvalon.com/beautycounter, And Something Magical Might Happen After Your First Order! Find Your Perfect Beautycounter Products With Melanie's Quizmelanieavalon.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!

Differential Effects of One Meal per Day in the Evening on Metabolic Health and Physical Performance in Lean Individuals

20:00 - JOOVV: For A Limited Time Go To Joovv.com/ifpodcast And Use The Code IFPODCAST For An Exclusive Discount!

23:05 - Listener Q&A: Shay - 2.5 yrs of IF

Get 10% off Maria Emmerich’s PSMF packages, supplement plans, ebooks, classes and strength training programs with the code melanieavalon at melanieavalon.com/ketoadapted

46:35 - Listener Q&A: Jen - Bone broth/collagen peptide timing, serrapeptase timing 

51:50 - BEAUTY AND THE BROTH: Go To melanieavalon.com/broth To Get 15% Off Any Order With The Code MelanieAvalon!

AVALONX SERRAPEPTASE: Get Melanie’s Serrapeptase Supplement: A Proteolytic Enzyme Which May Help Clear Sinuses And Brain Fog, Reduce Allergies, Support A Healthy Inflammatory State, Enhance Wound Healing, Break Down Fatty Deposits And Amyloid Plaque, Supercharge Your Fast, And More!

AvalonX Supplements Are Free Of Toxic Fillers And Common Allergens (Including Wheat, Rice, Gluten, Dairy, Shellfish, Nuts, Soy, Eggs, And Yeast), Tested To Be Free Of Heavy Metals And Mold, And Triple Tested For Purity And Potency. Order At AvalonX.us, And Get On The Email List To Stay Up To Date With All The Special Offers And News About Melanie's New Supplements At melanieavalon.com/avalonx

TRANSCRIPT

Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 254 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. If you want to burn fat, gain energy, and enhance your health by changing when you eat, not what you eat with no calorie counting, then this show is for you. I'm Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine: Lose Weight and Feel Great with Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, and Wine. And I'm here with my cohost, Gin Stephens, author of Fast. Feast. Repeat.: The Comprehensive Guide to Delay, Don't Deny Intermittent Fasting. For more on us, check out ifpodcast.com, melanieavalon.com, and ginstephens.com. Please remember, the thoughts and opinions on this podcast do not constitute medical advice or treatment. So, pour yourself a cup of black coffee, a mug of tea, or even a glass of wine, if it's that time, and get ready for The Intermittent Fasting Podcast.

Friends, I'm about to tell you how you can get free grass-fed, grass-finished ground beef for life. Yes, for life. Gin and I are huge fans of a company called ButcherBox. As you guys know, it can be hard to get high-quality humanely raised meat that you can trust. ButcherBox is the solution. They deliver 100% grass-fed, grass-finished beef, free-range organic chicken, heritage-breed pork, nitrate-free, sugar-free bacon, heritage-breed hotdogs, and wild-caught seafood all directly to your door. When you become a member, you're joining a community that is focused on doing what's better for all parties. That means caring about the lives of animals, the livelihoods of farmers, treating our planet with respect, and enjoying better nourishing meals together. They go to great lengths to assure the highest quality, so you can find actual 100% grass-fed, grass-finished beef. If you've seen the Netflix documentary, Seaspiracy, you might be aware of fish fraud and problems in the seafood industry. ButcherBox maintains very, very high standards for that.

The whole process is so easy. They deliver all of this directly to your door. Once you sign up, you choose your box and your delivery frequency. They offer five boxes, four curated box options, as well as the popular custom box. With that one, you can get exactly what you and your family love. They ship your order frozen at the peak freshness and packed in a 100% recyclable box and the shipping is always free. Basically, ButcherBox makes it easy, so that you can focus on cooking amazing meals, not spending hours searching for meat that meets your standards and save money in the process. What's super amazing is ButcherBox makes sure their members are taken care of and today we have a special offer just for our listeners. ButcherBox is giving new members free ground beef for life. Yes, for life. You can sign up at butcherbox.com/ifpodcast and you will get two pounds of ground beef free in every order for the life of your membership. Just log on to butcherbox.com/ifpodcast to claim this deal. I'll put all this information in the show notes. 

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

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

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

Melanie Avalon: Hi, everybody and welcome. This is Episode number 254 of the Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with Gin Stephens.

Gin Stephens: Hi, everybody.

Melanie Avalon: How are you today, Gin?

Gin Stephens: Doing great. Coming to you from the beach cottage looking at the ocean. So, that's always good.

Melanie Avalon: It's so funny to me that you made a last-minute trip there with the amount of time that it gets to get there. By this time, I wouldn't have been able to answer like a last-minute email and you made an entire trip to the beach.

Gin Stephens: Oh, by this time of the day? 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. 

Gin Stephens: Oh, no. [laughs] Yeah, we decided yesterday, we would come down Will and I. Will came with me and we decided, and I'm like, "All right, we have to leave at 9:30." 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, wait, you decided last night. Okay. Never mind, this will be different. I thought you decided today. 

Gin Stephens: Well, we decided last night that we would get up and come. 

Melanie Avalon: That I could do, because I would have planned. 

Gin Stephens: I didn't have to do anything. The thing about coming to the beach, it's so easy. All you have to do is throw clothes in a bag and go, because I have everything I need here, including my toothbrush. I don't need to bring any of that. All I need is clothes. We literally just threw our clothes and bags, hopped in the car, and came down. It takes about four hours to get here with stops, and they're always bathroom, and get more coffee stops for me, but Will is a frequent eater. So, we had to get him food.

Melanie Avalon: Can I ask you a question? 

Gin Stephens: Yeah. 

Melanie Avalon: Both at your house and at the beach house, what is on your nightstand?

Gin Stephens: Okay, well, at my regular house, I have a really good sized, a big nightstand that's like drawers. It's bigger than a normal nightstand. It's almost a small chest of drawers. We have one on each side of the bed. They're the same. I have a lamp, and I have a book, and I just chose it because it's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and I didn't choose that especially, but it's a southern book. But that's just the one I happen to have, because it's just a black, simple, and I like the name of it. On top of that, I have a vase. Well, it's a blue and white like urn kind of a thing with some dried roses in it. I had the blue and white vase, whatever it is, bowl, it's a bowl. But my neighbor, when we moved in gave me these flowers. They're roses that she dehydrates, and they're white, and they're sitting in. Anyway, that's what I have. 

Melanie Avalon: That's all you have? There's nothing else?

Gin Stephens: Well, I have a coaster, in case I want to sit something on. But at the beach, it's a tiny, tiny little bedroom, because this whole house is just under thousand square feet. It's really a tiny little cottage, and it's three bedrooms, two baths, and just under a thousand square feet. That tells you how little it is. The bedside table is literally 12/12, it's tiny. So, nothing sits on that. I have a floor lamp that I turn off and on that's behind it. I have room for a floor lamp, and in that tiny little table and at night I do put my phone on it to charge. Is that what you're going to ask me? 

Melanie Avalon: Yes. 

Gin Stephens: Yes, I do sleep with my phone beside the bed. 

Melanie Avalon: Yes, I've been brainstorming and gathering data. Have I mentioned on this show about how I went to develop the line of EMF-blocking products?

Gin Stephens: I think you did. Yeah, because we talked about how I have all that electrical stuff coming into my house.

Melanie Avalon: Yes, yes. I've been polling in my Facebook group what people have on their nightstand, because I really want to create something that goes on your phone, so that you can use your phone on your nightstand at night, and be protected from those EMFs. Most people are sleeping, phone is on their nightstand very near to their head. So, I really think that can affect a lot of people's sleep and health.

Gin Stephens: It would not surprise me. I actually started plugging it in the bathroom for a few weeks, and that just lasted a few weeks and I brought it back. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: The way that they finagled the studies, it is stuff that happens in the processed food industry and a lot of industries. The way they set up the studies to establish safety for EMFs, especially with things like phones, it's not any way you'd be using it in real life. It just is not. But when I did my poll about 80 people answered, what do you think was the number one thing and it was open ended. I just said, "What's in your nightstand?" and then I made an Excel doc.

Gin Stephens: A lamp or did they say their cell phone? 

Melanie Avalon: Lamp was number two, phone was number three, what do you think number one was? Oh, no, books were number two. Water.

Gin Stephens: Oh, that's interesting. I do not sleep with water beside my bed.

Melanie Avalon: I do. 

Gin Stephens: Do you? 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. 

Gin Stephens: You're waking up drinking water in the bed? 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, just in case. I'm thirsty in the middle of the night.

Gin Stephens: Nope. I've never once been like, "Man, I'm thirsty in the middle of the night." I think I'll [laughs] some water. Unless I'm in the past days of when I was super hungover, I might would get up and go drink water but that's not something that's typical now at this stage of my life.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. So, water was number one, then lamp, then book, and then phone.

Gin Stephens: See, I didn't even say phone because it doesn't sit there all the time. That's not a part of my nightstand, it's just there while I'm sleeping. If you'd said, "What's on your nightstand while you're sleeping?" Phone would have made it. But if I just walked into the bedroom, the phone is not on my nightstand.

Melanie Avalon: Very, very true. Other things were like lotion, that had a lot. Phone charger, glasses.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, I've got my phone charger. This is how I've made it pretty, so, you don't have to see it. I took one of those Command adhesive hooks and Command adhesived it to the back of the dresser, the bedside table, and then I have the phone charger tied in a knot around that hook. So, I just pull it up to charge, and I throw it back there, so you don't see it during the day.

Melanie Avalon: If I made something for you to put on your phone, when your phone is on your nightstand at night, how would you want it? Would you want it really minimal, would you want it to hold something? What features would you want? What do you want it to have a way that you put your charger? 

Gin Stephens: That's super tricky. Could it be also integrated with the charger?

Melanie Avalon: Yes, yes, it could. 

Gin Stephens: See, I'm very into aesthetics and minimal clutter. If it's not pretty and minimal clutter, I'm not going to use it. 

Melanie Avalon: That's why my initial feeling was just a very minimalistic box that maybe was a tray on top, but very minimal, and then you put your phone underneath. The cool thing is the blocking. It does not have to go 360 cover completely. It just has to go vertically between you and the phone. Does that make sense? There just has to be like a vertical wall of protection between you and the phone. So, it could be one sided or it could be on a swivel, so, you can turn it around. This is way harder to brainstorm for than I thought. [laughs] 

Gin Stephens: Yeah, I can imagine. That does sound hard. Plus, everyone has such a different aesthetic.

Melanie Avalon: I know. I was thinking very minimal for the beginning, and then if it goes well make options for different more elaborate things. So, you vote minimal?

Gin Stephens: Well, I do. Just because I'm not going to put something that's bulky or whatever. That's just not my aesthetic. 

Melanie Avalon: Well, listeners, if you have ideas or if there are other EMF blocking products you would like, let me know. 

Gin Stephens: I was imagining just you slipped it into this little sleeve or something.

Melanie Avalon: That was my initial thought. Now, I'm thinking, but people do really like the charging option. What I really wanted to do was a wireless charging option. So, you're putting it in and it is wireless charging. But that actually itself emits EMF.

Gin Stephens: Yeah. See, it would have to be have cords, extra cords. I try to minimize the number of cords that are stretching all around when I can.

Melanie Avalon: Same, same, same. Yeah, maybe it just has a slot for the cord. I wish all phones had a universal charger, because then it can be integrated. 

Gin Stephens: You wouldn't want it to just have a USB port, because I think all of them plug into that.

Melanie Avalon: Well, the thing about the USB port, because it's due to the USB port that makes it more integrated and easier, then there's the clutter of the cord. Because then you put the phone in, and you plug the phone into your cord, and the cord to the USB.

Gin Stephens: Well, then, I think you just want something with a slot that they put their charger cord that they already have through.

Melanie Avalon: Exactly. The life of brainstorming. Did you see, I wanted to talk about intermittent fasting study that came out recently?

Gin Stephens: I might have seen it. I don't remember. I see a lot of things people share them with me obviously as you know. I think I did see something recently. What was it?

Melanie Avalon: It was January 11th. 

Gin Stephens: Oh, yeah, I saw that.

Melanie Avalon: Differential effects of one meal per day in the evening- 

Gin Stephens: Wait, then maybe I didn't. 

Melanie Avalon: -on metabolic health and physical performance in lean individuals.

Gin Stephens: They didn't compare it to other meal timing there right. 

Melanie Avalon: They compared a single meal and a 22:2 split, which is very cool, because normally I feel it's rare that these studies actually look at one meal a day in two hours versus three meals per day. It was only 13 participants.

Gin Stephens: I'm not sure if I saw that. Actually, I can't remember. January 11th is a million years ago. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: Yes, I know. 

Gin Stephens: When I was also-- those were the days when I was hot and heavy recording all the time because Clean(ish) had just come out. 

Melanie Avalon: Yes. They consumed the same amount of calories. 

Gin Stephens: Okay, yeah, I have not seen this one.

Melanie Avalon: I'll put a link to it in the show notes, but the findings were very favorable. The conclusion was that a single meal per day in the evening lowers body weight and adapts metabolic flexibility during exercise via increased fat oxidation, whereas physical performance was not affected. 

Gin Stephens: How long did they do it for?

Melanie Avalon: They did it for 11 days. 

Gin Stephens: If I were designing an intermittent fasting study, it would certainly not be for 11 days. It needs to be longer, so that they really have time to develop their metabolic flexibility. It almost seems to me like that's just way too short. I'm happy they found positive things, but knowing what we know about how long it takes your body to adjust, 11 days is nothing.

Melanie Avalon: It was a randomized crossover. They did one of the options, then two weeks washout, and then the other option. What they were focusing on was athletic performance. Oh, and they were wearing a continuous glucose monitor, which is very cool and they did a lot of testing of different athletic performance tests. Like a cycle test, where they check their fat oxidation, and their maximum oxygen uptake, they did a strength test.

Gin Stephens: And again, I think that it would make so much sense to give them time to really adapt, because I bet and on a 11 day, I know that a lot of people, obviously, the group that they used was athletic lean males, so, they probably adapt more quickly than someone maybe a 45-year-old woman, who's been struggling with her weight for decades. It's a different group of people. But I could imagine for someone like that in the second group, someone who's metabolically not healthy. They could actually have reduced performance during the first 11 days. I would actually predict that instead of improved performance.

Melanie Avalon: These people were healthy, they were trainers-- Well, not trainers, they had training experience. Their BMI was between 20 and 30, their fat was between 12% and 30%. They were likely already a more metabolically healthy population. it was a small study, very small. It's only 13 people.

Gin Stephens: Anybody who's listening, we would love to have some studies where people have time to become really adapted before we see how their body change. Or, maybe you could check them all throughout as they adapt to. That would be fascinating. See how the body changes every day as you're going through the adaptation period and we certainly know anecdotally from people who go through it, it's very common to feel good, and then you feel terrible, and then you feel better, and there's a lot that our bodies have to go through as we're adapting. I would not judge intermittent fasting on what happens in the first month to your body is all I'm saying.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I think it's a little bit better just based on, this wasn't like menopausal women who are sedentary. This was like active, young, healthy people. Well, there was one really interesting finding. They actually found lower blood sugar levels during the second half of the day in the one meal per day group. Isn't that interesting?

Gin Stephens: Well, it echoes what I find in my experience. When I was wearing the CGM, my blood glucose went down and stayed down after my body flipped that metabolic switch every day. That's exactly what my body did. So, I'm not surprised at that at all. 

Melanie Avalon: They ate between 5 PM and 7 PM for the one meal a day. 

Gin Stephens: That's a cool study. 

Melanie Avalon: So, we will put a link to that in the show notes.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, I had not seen that one. I saw something. I can't remember what I saw. Something came out recently and I don't remember a thing about it, except that it was positive. But it definitely wasn't that. Unless someone shared, and all I did was read the abstract, and didn't dig in, it is possible, and it didn't register. I know there was something that came out, but my brain is full. [laughs] Stuffs falling out right now actively. 

Melanie Avalon: It's interesting. It was funded by a diabetes foundation.

Gin Stephens: Well, I definitely think that this is a great protocol for fasting for anyone who has diabetes as we know from The Diabetes Code.

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Melanie Avalon: Shall we jump into some listener questions for today? 

Gin Stephens: Yes. 

Melanie Avalon: All right. To start things off, we have a question from Shay and the subject is: "2.5 years of IF." Shay says, "I started IF in August 2019 at 125 pounds after hearing about the health benefits. I am 39 years old, five feet 4.75 inches tall." 4.75 that is very specific. She says, "I started with 16:8 and worked my way up to 20:4 within a few weeks as that felt good. I do not restrict anything in my window but aim to eat mostly Whole Foods. I am moderately active. I do Pilates two times a week and walk a few miles each day. I also take a few HIIT classes or HIIT classes here and there. I manage to maintain my 125 pounds, but I started mixing in two full down days when the pandemic hit and I started working from home. I enjoyed the way I felt doing the full down days. How long should we spend on a new method of IF if we decide to switch it up? 

Within the past few months, I have gained some weight and now I'm at 133 to 135 pounds depending on the day. My pants are definitely showing the tightness as well. I'm not happy with how I feel or how my clothes are fitting. I played around with a modified ADF with two 500 calorie days a week. I'm not sure if I like the full down days or the modified down days better. I've been able to do both with no issue. I have blood work down with my doctor and everything came back great. I'm feeling very discouraged with IF and the fact that I've gained around 10 pounds. I believe that I am just able to eat a lot more than I should be in my eating window. This is where it would be helpful to have a guideline of how many calories, etc., I should be consuming per day, but I know we want to avoid a diet mindset. Help, I have no idea what IF schedule I should be following, or what type of diet I should be eating, or does IF no longer work for me. But I do know is that I'm 10 pounds up and I do not want to give up the health benefits of IF." frowny emoji.

Gin Stephens: Well, there's a lot in there, Shay, and I know it's super frustrating to be gaining weight, and not understanding why. I can remember this is before I was doing intermittent fasting, I gained 50 pounds in 18 months. I was not doing intermittent fasting at the time, but I gained 50 pounds in 18 months, and I did not change what I was eating or doing during that period of time. Well, okay, I say that. I did stop taking diet pills. [laughs] That was that period of time in my life when I stopped taking the diet pills. Other than that, though, I didn't change what I was eating or doing. But I was no longer taking diet pills and I gained 50 pounds in 18 months. I remember talking to the doctor, I'm like, "I don't know what's happening. I'm not eating more," but I probably was. I was under a lot of stress, I'd probably messed up my body in many, many ways, I had some hormonal changes going on, I had used one form of birth control and switched to a different one. There were so many variables going on at the time. 

But something changed in what I was doing or in my body and the weight just piled on. It certainly didn't seem I was eating so much food that I should be gaining 50 pounds. But I tell that story to say that the body is really, really complicated and there are so many factors. So, let's unpack what's happened. You are between 133 to 135 right now, and you're almost 5'5". You and I are about the same height. You are in a healthy weight range, because the last time I got on the scale-- I'm 5'5". The last time I got on the scale back in 2017, I saw a weight of I think it was 130. We're a very, very similar size. I know that is no comfort if you feel you're fluffier than you want to be. It doesn't matter. Well, I don't care that Gin and I are the same size. I want to be leaner and I get it. But I'm telling you that you are in a healthy weight for your body. Now, if you are slowly gaining and you're going to keep gaining, that's definitely not okay. Now, if your body is just come to a new point where it's settling, that's different. Maybe this is the way your body wants to be right now at this stage of your life. Our bodies do change over time for whatever reason. 

But I would ask you to look back and think, you've been doing intermittent fasting for two and a half years, and it sounds like for two years of it, your weight was stable or even just over two years, because it was only recently that you started to gain weight. Something changed. Something in your body has changed. When I look back to me at that time, when I rapidly gained 50 pounds in 18 months, there were several things that changed. I stopped taking diet pills, I moved, I was under a great deal of stress, my birth control was changing. All those factors, I can't put my finger on-- Well, it was the quitting the diet pills, that probably was a huge factor. Oh, it was the birth control change. Actually, my weight started to go up before I stopped taking the diet pills when I changed my birth control that really felt it was a factor at the time. All that again to say, our bodies are really, really complicated. You asked, does IF no longer work for me? Well, of course, IF still "works for you," because intermittent fasting is a very healthy way to live. Of course, IF is working for you. It's a very healthy way to live. We're talking about the weight gain. 

Intermittent fasting itself does not "cause" weight gain. You haven't been doing this approach for all these years, and maintaining your weight, and all of a sudden, intermittent fasting broke, right? That isn't what happens. But something in your body has changed and I would see if I could figure out what that might be. It could be the stress, it could be a new medication, it could be maybe you were sick. I know, I've talked before. I don't know if on this podcast if I have, I probably have. I have a friend that got food poisoning, and it changed her gut dramatically, and it took her over a year to get back to health from that. So, see if you can go back and see what might have changed at the time. Intermittent fasting doesn't "stop working," but there's something you're going to have to dig into more deeply. I don't know what you said. Your very last sentence was, I do not want to give up the health benefits of IF. I don't know why you would. To me, if you quit intermittent fasting and went to an all-day eating paradigm, I can't imagine that causing more weight loss or health benefits than sticking to intermittent fasting. Does that make sense, Melanie? 

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm.

Gin Stephens: Like quitting intermittent fasting, I feel you might would see really rapid weight gain at that point if your body's already having some weight gain. I don't feel that would be the answer, but I would try to figure out, what could it have been? What could have changed in my body, what happened right before the weight gain started, have I been under a lot of stress? Maybe your body doesn't like the down days, because you talked about how you're very, very active. You do Pilates, you walk every day, you do high intensity interval training here and there, you were maintaining, then you started doing two full down days, and you were working from home. Maybe that feels too much for your body. Maybe you need to go back to a daily eating window approach and see. I don't think that more fasting is always the answer. It could feel too much to your body, but that also might not be it. It could be something else. It could be something that's changed with your gut or something that's changed with your health. Something that's changed hormonally. Maybe you're like, "Oh, that's when I started taking-."

Melanie Avalon: Or, a medication. 

Gin Stephens: -such and such medication. Exactly. "Oh, that's when such and such happened, that's when I had this illness and I'm still inflamed from that." For example, I'm just going to say COVID. We don't talk a lot about COVID on here, because that's not our expertise, and the science is unfolding. But COVID causes a great deal of inflammation in the body. Anecdotally from people that are in the Delay, Don't Deny community, we're seeing a lot of people, who after going through COVID have a lot of inflammation that sticks around for a really, really long time. What comes along with inflammation, weight gain. That's just an anecdotal kind of a thing, but that's a factor. We're still learning, of course, what the long-term effects of COVID might be on the body, but how long does the inflammation go on, long COVID, I don't know. 

You didn't mention whether you had COVID or not, but I'm just throwing that out there. Maybe somebody is listening and they're now they're having the ding, ding, ding going off in their head of, "Oh, my gosh, I did start having increased inflammation after COVID, and my weight went up, and I had been stable before that." Does that mean intermittent fasting has stopped working? I would say in that case, that means your body probably needs it more than ever, because we know intermittent fasting tends to decrease inflammation. Anything you could do to decrease inflammation would be a good thing. I know I talked all around in circles. [laughs] I hope that this is just a temporary little blip weight gain and you're not just going to keep going up and up like I said, because really 133 to 135 is a healthy weight. I know if we've been 125 for two years, we feel really good at that. It doesn't feel good to go up at all, and then stabilize at a new spot. I know that's frustrating. So, hopefully some of what I said will help somebody. Hopefully, you. Hopefully, it'll help you go, "Oh, it's got to be this, and then you can start thinking about what to do next." But as far as the part about us telling you how many calories to eat, that wouldn't make any sense at all just because our bodies are all so different. 

Calories in, you can only adjust calories in so much, but then it's the calories out that makes all the difference what your body does. If your body slows your metabolic rate, you can have the same exact amount of calories you've always had, and now, you're gaining weight, because your body has allowed your metabolic rate for whatever reason. There isn't going to be a calories formula we could give you, because our bodies are too different. I know I went all around, and around, and around on that answer, but there's just a lot going on in there, and it's hard to know. So, what do you think, Melanie?

Melanie Avalon: I thought those were all fantastic thoughts as per usual. I actually had some follow up questions for you. It's such a perfect question she asked, because we were just talking about this with that other study. So, how would you answer her question about how long should we spend on a new method of IF if we decide to switch it up?

Gin Stephens: I think you need to give yourself time to see what happens. I can't give you a number of that as well. If you don't like it, then you can stop. You don't have to give it time. I say that, but with ADF, for example, some people might not like it the first day, but after they've done it for a week, they settle in. Maybe give yourself a week to see if you like it. Then two or three weeks, at least, minimum to see if anything changes or at least even a month. The longer you give it the more you'll know if it's suiting you. If you absolutely hate it, let's say you try a down day with full fast, no calories, zero calorie, clean fast down day for 36-hour fast, and then a 12-hour up day, for example. Let's say, you feel miserable and you hate it. You might be like, "Oh, I felt shaky, I felt terrible, I don't like that." You might want to try it one more time a couple weeks later just to see if that was just a one off or if really, "Okay, I feel the same way again, I don't like it." Then you have permission to never try that again if you hate it.

Melanie Avalon: And then second related question, because I find with ADF, I feel like most people are pretty aware of if they like it, don't like it, and then if they modified or just complete, like a full down day, she says that she doesn't know which one she likes better is one better, if they can do either one.

Gin Stephens: Here's some interesting stuff about the research. People actually lost more weight when they had the 500-calorie down day. There's this mistaken-- Oh, the full fast is "better," but they actually had better weight loss results or I think even fat loss results on the 500-calorie down day. Now, we don't recommend that you like to snack on the 500 calories all day long. Keep it in a really short eating window at whatever time of the day works better for you. For that, you're doing a clean fast, then you have the meal, then you have a second clean fast. Sometimes, people get really confused. They're like, "Doesn't food break a fast? So, why am I eating a meal?" Well, yes, it breaks the fast. It does break the fast. You're not fasting during the part of it where you're eating the 500-calorie meal. Because some people get really confused. They're like, "I did a 42-hour fast and I had the meal." I'm like, "Well, you didn't do it 42-hour fast with a 500-calorie meal in the middle of it. What you did was maybe a 21 hour fast and then the 500-calorie meal, and then you did a second fast that might have been 20 hours and a half or something. So, that's not a 42-hour fast. 

Eating a 500-calorie meal does break the fast? Yes, but it is a well-researched ADF approach, and it was great at giving the participants the metabolic benefits because of the up day, they had great fat loss. So, there is no "better." It's all what feels good to you. You don't have to do it the same way every time. There are some people who just say, "You know what? I'm going to do a full fast if it feels right." If maybe around the time I normally eat dinner, I'm really, really struggling, I'll eat a 500-calorie meal, and then have the second fast, and that's perfectly fine. It doesn't have to be the same way every time, and it isn't always going to be one versus the other.

Melanie Avalon: You have good answers for both of those. Yes, so, going back to everything that Gin originally said about Shay's question, I agree 100% that there are so many factors that could have changed that would lead to this. It's not necessarily the fasting. There could be a big change that happened, so, revisiting all of that. Something I wanted to touch on was, she asked us a guideline of calories and Gin was saying that there's not one answer for people, which I agree with as well. But I wanted to touch on, you're saying that we don't give a guideline of calories because we want to avoid a diet mindset. I believe it is possible to live in a paradigm of what you're eating that does influence what you're eating without being a diet mindset. The calorie counting, that's where I feel it is becoming restrictive, because when you are calorie counting, you're putting an end point to, "I cannot have any more food after this point even if I'm still hungry." It's automatically being restrictive, because it's saying that you cannot have more food after a certain point in time when the eating period should be a time when you're eating to satiety till you're full, not to some imaginary finish line that you can't cross. 

On the flipside, you can make conscious choices I believe about what you're eating and I don't consider that to be a diet mindset or even restrictive. It's just because you're choosing what foods you are choosing to eat. If you're making certain choices in that food realm, it can encourage in a way automatic calorie restriction potentially based on the foods that you're eating. I don't know what you're eating Shay, which actually-- 

Gin Stephens: Well, she said mostly wholefoods. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, wholefoods, okay. Shay is eating mostly wholefoods. But just to expand the question a little bit beyond Shay and then I will come back to Shay specifically, if a person is eating more on the processed food realm just switching to wholefoods, for example, it could make a massive, massive difference, and their satiety, and the level of calories they consume to reach that satiety. I don't consider that a diet mindset. It could become a diet mindset, but I don't think it has to be. For Shay, mostly wholefoods is still vague. You could keep playing around and trying different fasting things or you could look at what you're eating, and maybe play around, and make tweaks there. That might have a pretty measurable effect. I don't know, if you have tried low carb, that might be something to try. I don't know if you've tried lower fat from wholefoods. That could be something to try. But there's a lot that could possibly be done there in regards to what you're eating. Then the mostly part, maybe it is really mostly wholefoods or maybe it's mostly wholefoods, but then enough of non-mostly wholefoods that create a state where you're not losing weight, that's a possibility as well.

Gin Stephens: The part that really strikes me is just that she was weight stable with what she was doing for over two years and then all of a sudden, bam, up 10 pounds.

Melanie Avalon: How did it align with a pandemic? So, she started working from home? 

Gin Stephens: Yep, and then she started switching up to the down days, and I'm not really sure when the weight gain began. Yeah, I just don't know. I don't know when the weight gain started. That's the question that I'm not really sure about. But she's been doing it for two and a half years overall and she said that she's gained the 10 pounds. It sounded pretty quickly and recently. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, in a few months, basically.

Gin Stephens: It sounds like the pandemics been going on for a long time. So, it seems it just all of a sudden has happened even as the pandemic has been going on.

Melanie Avalon: As far as guidelines of how to help this, something else we could try. I recently interviewed Maria Emmerich. I have not aired the show yet. She talks a lot about the protein-sparing modified fast approach. The interesting thing about her approach, so the protein-sparing modified fast approach is, while there are a lot of definitions to it, but I think the clinical definition, like, when they would use it in the studies is, its calorie restricted and its basically just protein. It is very calorie restricted. It actually could fall into a modified ADF approach.

Gin Stephens: Is it down day? It's a down day, a protein down day.

Melanie Avalon: Basically, only protein and then weighing chicken breasts, and egg whites, and stuff like that. Then you can maybe add lettuce and I think broccoli, like, some greens. I do actually think so just stepping aside if one is doing some severe calorie restriction, making it mostly protein in my opinion is the way to go to maximize muscle mass preservation and overall health and wellness. Maria Emmerich's approach, though, is not calorie restricted at all. She advocates for having a couple days a week of PSMF day, and basically on that day you just eat PSMF foods. So, it's not calorie restricted, but the effect of it, and she has all of these recipe books. She gave me a discount code. So, I'll put a link to that in the show notes. She has amazing recipe books. But basically, you can eat these really delicious meals. I'm in shock with all the recipes she's come up with, but they're basically just protein. That for a lot of people can be the thing that can really jumpstart this whole process. That's something you could try, basically, keep doing-- Is she doing one meal a day? 20:4, yes.

Gin Stephens: Well, it's hard to know what she's doing exactly right now, because she said she's doing some down days with ADF. I don't really know exactly what she's doing this minute. She was doing a couple down days. I don't know if she still is.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Okay. That is something you could try where a few days a week you do a one-meal-a-day type approach in your 20:4 window and you eat these PSMF foods. I actually think that that might especially since ADF in the past has- 

Gin Stephens: Been something that she enjoyed? 

Melanie Avalon: -enjoyed. Yes. I think that might really, really work for you. Then I also just reread the sentence, because all I was saying that she eats mostly wholefoods. I didn't read the part before that. I do not restrict anything in my window, but aim to eat mostly wholefoods. There might be things slipping in there that because of whatever they are, are going to make it difficult to lose weight. Those are my two suggestions. Looking at what you're eating anyways, and then possibly trying this PSMF days approach.

Gin Stephens: All right, well, let us know, Shay, and really, really do that deep dive into what changed. What change, what was different? Were you sick, was it a medication, something like that? If you can think of something, then let us know.

Melanie Avalon: Yes. The medication for example, that could be something that you might not notice it until you notice it, and then it's made metabolic changes that have encouraged your body to be at this new setpoint. I don't want to make a sound hopeless, but it's medications can make your body, and your hypothalamus, and everything slowly come to a different weight, and really want to stay there. 

Gin Stephens: That's really my whole journey to when I gained all that weight. It was really I had been taking the doctor prescribed diet pills off and one to maintain my weight for several years and maintaining no problem. I wasn't taking them every single day of my life. There were periods of time when I would take them and then not take them. But as I took them from the doctor, like I said, but then I changed my birth control and then all of a sudden, I gained the first 10 pounds, but I was still doing the diet pills, and not changing what I was eating. Then, shortly after that I was like, "Well, I got to stop taking these diet pills. These are awful for me." I feel terrible. But then the weight gain just escalated. The weight gain began just from when I changed my birth control. There're just so many factors in there, it was hard to know. 

We also moved and so that was another reason why I stopped taking the diet pills, because I didn't have the same doctor anymore. I don't know. I've never really made that connection, but that was a big part of it. I'm sure I could have gotten them, and we had been living in Carrollton, and then I moved to Augusta. I'm sure I could have gotten them somewhere in Augusta, but I was like, "Well, we've moved, and I don't have any more, and I don't like the way I feel. So, I'm going to stop now."

Melanie Avalon: I went on birth control in high school for acne. Relatively, rapidly to my life gained a decent amount of weight pretty fast, but you don't really like, you're not expecting it. Because you're not doing anything different besides the medication. 

Gin Stephens: Well, see, I had been on birth control. I had two children, I didn't want to have any more at that point I didn't think, but I was on birth control regularly, but then I just switched to a new one. That's when my weight started picking up. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. All righty, well, let us know, Shay. 

Gin Stephens: We have a question from Gin and the subject is: "bone broth collagen peptide timing, serrapeptase timing." She says, "Hi, ladies. Love the podcast, and all the great information, and recommendations you both have shared over the years. A bit about me. I've always been normal BMI and have been doing one meal a day IF with clean fasting for about two years now, typically, around 20 to 22 hours of fasting with a three-hour eating window. I'll also usually do a 40 to 44-hour fasts about once a week with a longer eating window the next day." As you want to pop in there, Gin, we recommend make sure you have what we would call an up day. I know you said a longer eating window. The recommendation is at least six to eight hours with at least two meals. Three meals would also be fine. All right, so, she said, "I'm omnivorous and typically eat a more wholefood-based diet, but still enjoy some processed snacky type foods and desserts. 

My first question is about opening my window with collagen peptides or bone broth with my one-meal-a-day lifestyle. How long after collagen peptides or bone broth should I wait before eating my actual meal? Melanie has mentioned multiple times how breaking the fast with collagen peptides or bone broth can be very nourishing, especially since the gut has been rested and is primed and ready to receive these rich nutrients. That makes sense to me especially since I've heard how collagen can possibly help heal leaky gut. Of note, I don't have any digestive issues that I'm aware of and can eat pretty much anything comfortably, though my gut microbiome was rated as bad when I took the ZOE test. I want to maximize the benefits of opening my window with collagen peptides or bone broth and don't want to rush the process, but I also don't want to extend my eating window longer than necessary. Not because I'm trying to restrict my window, but because if I wait too long, I find I'm too full to eat as much of the actual solid food I was looking forward to having and/or I finished eating too late in the day and end up uncomfortable sleeping poorly and feeling sluggish the next day. I find I just naturally want to stop eating for the day after about three hours."

Melanie Avalon: All right, so that is a great first question. I love, love, love having bone broth on an empty stomach as a way to open your fast because like Gin said, bone broth is really, really rich in collagen and amino acids that can directly really help heal your gut lining. Actually, today's episode, we have Beauty & the Broth as one of the sponsors. That company makes wonderful concentrated bone broth, so you reconstitute it with water. We do have a coupon code. If you go to melanieavalon.com/broth and use the coupon code MELANIEAVALON, you can get a discount, and you can listen to the ad about it to learn more about their practices. But it's organic, free of added salt, which is really, really hard to find and it's just delicious. I don't know if it's out yet, but she's launching a mushroom vegan version soon, which is exciting. Again, that one's not going to be as rich in the nutrients for healing the gut lining with bone broth. 

That to say, I don't think there's a scientific answer to this question. I will just say anecdotally for me what I do is, I typically when I am opening it with a broth, you know how if you have a liquid meal, or a soup, or something, I think it's just intuitive how long you might need to wait before eating. You're not going to like chug a whole thing of liquid, and then want to eat right away with that dilution of your digestive juices, and HCl, and things like that. When I was doing it, I usually would just have some and then probably, because I tend to do it while I'm making the dinner, I'd be sipping on it. By the time I actually eat, it's probably about 15 minutes later, 20 minutes later. I like to think about it, like, if you were at a restaurant, you're having a soup course to start your meal. 

Basically, I wouldn't stress about it too much. I would just have it probably minimum 10 minutes, again there's nothing scientific behind that, just intuitively what feels best. Then, that all said, I would not sacrifice because you talked about how if you eat too long or if your window doesn't end up being around three hours that it can interfere with your sleep and feeling sluggish. So, depending on your schedule and that night and what's happening, I would choose the overall eating window timing honoring your sleep rather than stressing about the amount of time after the bone broth. You're going to get the nutrients either way. It's not if you don't have it to open your window and you have it with your window that you're not going to get the benefits, you're still going to get the benefits. Basically, I would have it, maybe wait 10 minutes, maybe a little bit longer, but I would honor the overall eating window and how it aligns with your sleep most importantly. 

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

Friends, even other bone broths that I really love always have salt added. This doesn't. Her bone broths are made from grass-fed, ranch-raised beef and vegetarian-fed free range chicken bones from Certified Humane USDA Organic Farms. All certified organic vegetables are using the broth as well. There's no antibiotics, no hormones, only the good stuff. Here's the super cool thing about Beauty & the Broth. It can be a little bit of a hassle to transport bone broth. It's heavy, you have to keep it frozen. Guess what? Beauty & the Broth comes in shelf stable packets with no preservatives that you keep at room temperature and they are in concentrated form. That means that you add back water to reconstitute and you can make it any strength that you like. They're single servings, so you can take them with you on the go, and even on the plane as yes, they are three ounces and they're delicious. Oh, my goodness, friends, they will just make you light up. They're honestly one of the most amazing things I've ever tasted. If you've been looking to finally jump on the bone broth train, do it now and do it with Beauty & the Broth. 

Melissa has an amazing offer just for our listeners. You can go to thebeautyandthebroth.com or melanieavalon.com/broth and use the coupon code MELANIEAVALON to get 15% off. That's thebeautyandthebroth.com with the coupon code MELANIEAVALON for 15% off. All of the listeners who have tried it ever since I aired my episode with Melissa have talked about how much they love it. It is so delicious. You guys will definitely love it. So, definitely check that out. By the way, bone broth does break your fast. This is something that you want to have in your eating window. In fact, it's an amazing way to open your eating window, because when you're in that fasted state, when you take in bone broth as the first thing, all of those rich nutrients and collagen goes straight to your gut, help heal your gut, help with leaky gut, help digestive issues. And again, you can go to thebeautyandthebroth.com and use the coupon code MELANIEAVALON for 15% off. I'll put all this information in the show notes. All right now back to the show. 

Gin Stephens: All right, so we have the second part of her question, and it says, "somewhat related, I started taking the Avalon X serrapeptase supplement about a month ago." Congrats, Melanie. "I don't have a specific goal in mind, though, I'm hoping it will help with some scar tissue I have. The directions say to take it on an empty stomach. Number one, how far in the fasted state do I need to wait until I can take it? And two, how long after taking it should I wait before opening my eating window? As with the collagen peptides or bone broth, I want to maximize the benefits of serrapeptase. Would it be reasonable to take it at bedtime about five to six hours into my fast, but wouldn't I still be in the fed state? Since serrapeptase somewhat mimics autophagy, I imagine I also want to wait a good while after taking it before I break my fast, so it can work. Its magic. Thank you, ladies. I appreciate the time you both take for your listeners," Gin.

Melanie Avalon: All right, Gin. Wonderful questions. I have answers for you. The serrapeptase for listeners, who are not familiar, it is a supplement created by the Japanese silkworm, but now we culture it in a lab. It is vegan. When you take it in the fasted state, which I will elaborate on for Gin's question, it goes into your bloodstream and it can break down problematic proteins that your body may be reacting to. It can really help with things like allergies, and inflammation, and brain fog. It's amazing for that. Then studies have shown that it can help enhance wound healing, actually reduce cholesterol, break down amyloid plaque, do so many things. As far as when to take it, she mentioned that it somewhat mimics autophagy. Autophagy is a process that happens in our body during the fasted state. It actually happens 24/7, but it's ramped up in the fasted state. When our body starts breaking down old and problematic proteins in our body to recycle, and reuse, and just clean up shop, the thing about autophagy is like a concept that our body is engaging in is it is influenced by-- 

If we're eating, that's going to ramp down autophagy, if we're fasting, it's going to ramp it up, if we exercise, it ramps it up, coffee can ramp it up. There are signals that turn it up and down. The way that's different from serrapeptase, once you get the serrapeptase enzyme into your system, it's not ramping up and down as activity based on other signals. It's just doing what it's doing because it's an actual enzyme doing stuff compared to your body deciding to do autophagy if that makes sense. Now, getting it into the bloodstream is why there are so many things you need to follow to take it to make sure that happens, because it is a proteolytic enzyme breaking down proteins. If you have it, it's absorbed in the small intestine, not the gut. It passes through your stomach into the small intestine, which by the way, this is a reason. The serrapeptase is on the market have to have some enteric coating or some sort of protection of the serrapeptase to make sure that it reaches the intestine. If the capsule opens in your stomach, it'll just get degraded. It's actually pretty sensitive enzyme. If it opens in your stomach, you won't get it in your body because it won't make it into your bloodstream. So, it's got to make it to your small intestine. 

We've done some tests where we have ordered a lot of our competitor brands and put them in capsules of vinegar, because vinegar mimics the condition of your stomach. Many other brands, they open up really fast, which means they're not even getting to your small intestine. Ours does, which is amazing. All of that to say, if you have it when you have lots of food and in the small intestine, the serrapeptase enzyme can open up in the small intestine, and then instead of making it across your gut lining into your bloodstream, the enzymes will break down the food, the protein, and they won't be active to happen in your body. That's why they need to be taken in a very fasted state. The recommendation is to take it in the morning because then your fasted probably at least eight hours. The more fasted you are when you take it likely the better. But the good thing is, there's less of that window on the other side, because you just need it to be before the food, not after. 

It's not like you take it and then you need to fast five more hours to get the effects. You just need to take it on empty stomach, so that it gets into your body. Then once it's in your bloodstream, it's not getting affected by what you're eating. All of that to say, I would recommend taking it in the morning. If you're only taking one and you want to up your dose, I would-- rather than taking it again later, I would try just upping your dose in the morning. But you could try taking it later as well, especially if it is at bedtime, you've been fasted five or six hours, that might be enough time, so that if you wanted to be having a higher dose, you could try that as well, but morning is probably what works best for most people.

Gin Stephens: All right, yep, [laughs] I don't know how to add anything to that. When I took serrapeptase in the past or when I've taken it, I would just take it first thing in the morning after brushing my teeth and then I don't have to think about it. Habit stacking, put things in together, then you won't forget. Brush my teeth, took my serrapeptase, moved on. That was how I did it. Then it was so far away from any eating that I knew it wasn't going to be a problem, perfect.

Melanie Avalon: Of course, to get my serrapeptase, it is at avalonx.us. You can also get on my email list for the whole Avalon X brand, because I will be releasing a magnesium soon. Super exciting. That email list is at melanieavalon.com/avalonx.

Gin Stephens: Well, I'd love to try your magnesium when it comes out.

Melanie Avalon: I know. I will send it to you. 

Gin Stephens: I would love it. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: I want to try it. 

Gin Stephens: Yeah. 

Melanie Avalon: It's very exciting to be in the final steps of formulating and all of that. 

Gin Stephens: Definitely. It seems like now it's going a lot quicker than the first one did, because now you know what you're doing. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, quick point to that and this relates to the serrapeptase question. I was so, so committed to finding a filler lubrication option for my supplements that's not toxic or even potentially toxic, because what I realized, I think people have an idea that magnesium stearates, they're cautious about them, but there's a lot of "fillers" that they make it look like it's something else. They make it look like it's vitamin C, but really, it's vitamin C like a palmitate. It's basically like a stearate, a fatty acid ester of these different things or calcium. They do with calcium. They try to make it look like, "Oh, it's calcium that's added, oh, it's vitamin C, when really it's basically a stearate or palmitate." Some supplements don't require any fillers, which is great, but some do. 

That's why we came up with this MCT production process. It's a very, very, very small amount. There's a lot of studies on helping absorption of certain things, especially if they're in a liposomal format or-- actually some specifically say with MCTs. It's not liposomal, but it is more emulsified. I know I'm using a lot of supplement words. But the point of it is that we had to develop a whole production process to create this. That was a big hurdle for the first one, but now that we have that in place, we can use that for my other supplements if it requires it. It's definitely an easier step, and yeah, we have more of the parameters down, and working with the formulation, [unintelligible [01:02:54]. So, it's all been really, really wonderful.

Gin Stephens: I'm glad. 

Melanie Avalon: I'm learning so much. 

Gin Stephens: Yeah. It's fun to create things. It's all just a very exciting process to accomplish new things that you haven't done before. It's fun to watch you doing something that I have no desire to do. I told Chad, I was like, "I'm never going to have a supplement." He's like, "What?" Because he's a medicinal chemist, drug design is his-- [laughs] Honestly, if I said, "Chad, I'd like to start developing supplements," he would probably get super excited. But I don't have any desire to. So, I'm not going to, but you can be the supplement guru, [laughs] and I'll just take the ones of yours that I want, and that'll be good. I'll know that they're good, because you designed them, but I don't have to do my own.

Melanie Avalon: I'm so excited to just eventually make everything that I take currently, because then I will just feel so good about taking it. Because I know what's in it. I put it there. I wish there was a way to get rid of, I don't know, I feel there's such a stigma surrounding supplements, because the industry is so unregulated and often scammy, and I don't want to be associated with any of that. But I'm trying to change that in any case.

Gin Stephens: Well, I'm glad, because I think it is important to have good stuff going on. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, that's what people are putting into their bodies. 

Gin Stephens: You'll never sell yours on Amazon or will you?

Melanie Avalon: I'm not sure that. It's funny because I have a lot of friends in the supplement world and I get advice different ways based on that. Some have told me, "Oh, it's the best thing ever." Some have told me, "No, don't do it." We haven't talked about it recently with my partner but I'm not sure.

Gin Stephens: Well, I just know here's a story of a well-known supplement brand that we have endorsed before [laughs] and I still do, and I take their magnesium. Let me just put it that way. A friend of mine uses their magnesium, and instead of ordering it directly from them, decided to order it from Amazon, but she got a copycat that was not them that was pretending to be them, but wasn't. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, wow. Really? 

Gin Stephens: Yeah. You know how I feel about buying supplements on Amazon?

Melanie Avalon: I noticed they were on Amazon and then I'm like not, were they ever legitimately on?

Gin Stephens: I don't know. I don't know if they ever were, but she was like, "Oh, I found it on Amazon and it was less expensive, because it was the free shipping with Prime or something." But then, it was not really them. It was a copycat knockoff. She thought she was getting their brand of magnesium, but it wasn't.

Melanie Avalon: A benefit to not being on Amazon is you can say, I'm not on Amazon. So, if you're buying it on Amazon, it's not me. 

Gin Stephens: Well, exactly. That is a good point. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. It's so nice to have one source.

Gin Stephens: You could actually say, "I don't sell it on Amazon, because I'm concerned that you might get a counterfeit, because you could." That's the thing because what I learned about the way the buy box works, and the way that whoever selling it for the cheapest price, if they were wanted to buy Delay, Don't Deny from Bob's booksellers, if Bob was selling it for $5, it would pop it in the buy box, and they would get Bob's booksellers counterfeit version, not the real one. For months-- we know back in what was it 2018, for months when I noticed my sales were way down, and it was crazy, and I couldn't understand why until I realized what was happening, but people were just clicking "Add to Cart," and they were getting the counterfeit, literally, a counterfeit version. With supplements, if that happened, you would be devastated that people are getting a counterfeit version. You'd have to look at it every single day, multiple times of the day, because see who's in the buy box. 

Melanie Avalon: Wow, I hadn't really thought about it to that extent. 

Gin Stephens: I like to put everything through the lens of, what if a counterfeiter stole the buy box? 

Melanie Avalon: That would be really awful. 

Gin Stephens: Exactly. And also, two or three times, one of those crazy Fast. Feast. Repeat. cookbook books that if you go look Fast. Feast. Repeat. on Amazon, there's a Fast. Feast. Repeat. cookbook or something. It's obviously not by me, it might be by Stephen Gin or [laughs] something crazy. You can't copyright a title. They have some crazy book that's just a blank book or something and you're charging $9.99 for it. But more than one time, that book has gotten linked to mine on Amazon. People are thinking they're buying Fast. Feast. Repeat. and it's that crazy one linked to mine. We've had to have it unlinked. It's not exactly the same thing, because it's not a counterfeit, but you know how when you go to a book, and it has the audible version, and the Kindle version, and the paperback version? You can click on the different versions, one of the versions was that crazy one that had gotten linked to mine, because it had the same title. There're just so many things you have to be careful of on Amazon.

Melanie Avalon: I don't know, but I wonder if my supplement being in a glass bottle with slightly deter counterfeit people, because it would be a little bit harder to counterfeit. 

Gin Stephens: Maybe. 

Melanie Avalon: That's another thing that really sets our line apart. It's hard to find supplements in glass bottles, but yes, all very good points. Things I will think about. Thank you.

Gin Stephens: You got to think about that. What if someone counterfeited it, and it got in your buy box, and people were thinking they were getting yours, but they got the other one, then they're going to try to return it to you, then what do you do? You're like, "Well, I don't have a record of selling it to you." But they're like, "Here it is." It would just be so many can of worms. I would like to be able to say that Amazon is a perfectly great place to buy things and you don't have to worry about all that. But I think Amazon could do a better job, frankly. And I love Amazon. I love Amazon. So, anyone from Amazon who's listening, I'm not criticizing you, I'm just saying you could do better and shoot. I'd be on a committee for free to help you do better. I'm a teacher, I could be on a committee. [laughs] I will give you advice on how to make it better. That's all I have to say about that. They could totally make it better.

Melanie Avalon: It's like one of my best friends from college and I, we wanted to have a little committee, it'll be both of us, and we want final approval or we want final checks on all of the Disney films that come out because we can tell you if this Disney film was going to do too well or not. 

Gin Stephens: That's so funny. You're going to be on their advisory committee. 

Melanie Avalon: Yes, like, I promise you, I can help you. 

Gin Stephens: Right. Well, that's me. Amazon, I can help you. I can help you with how to clean up your book section. For example, Fast. Feast. Repeat. is a New York Times bestseller. So, to have a freaky version Fast. Feast. Repeat. blank cookbook published by Stephen Gin makes your site look trashy, Amazon. I'm sorry, but it does. Do you agree with that, Melanie? It's a self-published book. I could right this minute go to Amazon and put up some blank book that I run through their self-publishing arm and sell it in five minutes. You just have to have a cover design, you put it up, you call it a blank cookbook or whatever, bam, it's out there. I could make a book called What When Wine, blank journal, give myself a pseudonym, and sell it. But Amazon should have a quality control. They're like, "Oh, ooh, red flag. There's a real book called What When Wine. That's actually a real book. This is clearly trying to copycat on that." I think that would be a very easy thing to do to fix that problem. 

Melanie Avalon: I agree. 

Gin Stephens: I've actually had people email me and say, "I bought Fast. Feast. Repeat. on Amazon, and it came, and it was blank. Is it supposed to be blank?" I'm like, "No, it's not supposed to be blank. You bought the cookbook, didn't you? The cookbook or whatever." I would not put a book like that out there in the world. Anyway, Amazon could fix it.

Melanie Avalon: Well, Amazon, if you'd like to email questions@ifpodcast.com. 

Gin Stephens: [laughs] You could just email me directly at gin@ifpodcast.com. I would just love to help them, because I have so much love for Amazon in the point that they-- I wouldn't have had a book if it wasn't for their self-publishing. I think their self-publishing is amazing and it changed my life. I love Amazon for that and being able to get Delay, Don't Deny out into the world, no publisher would have let me publish that. It was only because I could self-publish it, and I was able to get it out there, and Amazon allowed me to do that at no charge. But I hate to see Amazon tarnished by the fraud that's going on and I know they could they could spot, especially just if we only talk about within the self-publishing part. If they just had a little more quality control about what gets out there, it would make such a difference. There was one book one time it was some kind of Intermittent Fasting book and it was by Gin Fung. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. 

Gin Stephens: Okay. Gin Fung is not a person. [laughs] That's all I had to say about that.

Melanie Avalon: In any case, the show notes for today's episode will be at ifpodcast.com/episode254. If you would like to submit your own questions for the show or deliver feedback, you can email questions@ifpodcast.com, where you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. You can follow us on Instagram. I am @melanieavalon, Gin is @ginstephens, and yes, I think that is everything. Anything from you, Gin, before we go? 

Gin Stephens: No, I think that's it. 

Melanie Avalon: All righty, well, this has been absolutely wonderful and I will talk to you next week. 

Gin Stephens: All right, talk to you then. Bye.

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. We're not doctors. If you enjoyed the show, please consider writing your review on iTunes. We couldn't do this without our amazing team administration by Sharon Merriman, editing by Podcast Doctors, show notes and artwork by Brianna Joyner, transcripts by SpeechDocs, theme music by Leland Cox. See you next week.

STUFF WE LIKE

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

More on Gin: GinStephens.com

Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox: LelandCox.com

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

 

 

Apr 04

Episode 207: Gin’s New Social App, Whoosh Effect, Water-weight & Inflammation, T1 Diabetes, Energy Toxicity, Collagen, Vitamins, And More!

Intermittent Fasting

Welcome to Episode 207 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, hosted by Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine and Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living An Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle

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

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To submit your own questions, email questions@IFpodcast.com, or submit your questions here!! 

SHOW NOTES

1:10 - BIOPTIMIZERS: Go To p3om.com/ifpodcast And Use The Coupon Code IFPODCAST10 To Save 10% Off Any Order!

3:25 - BEAUTYCOUNTER: Keep Your Fast Clean Inside And Out With Safe Skincare! Shop With Us At MelanieAvalon.com/beautycounter, And Something Magical Might Happen After Your First Order!

Delay Don't Deny Social Network

The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #86 - Harpreet Rai (Oura)

24:10 - PREP DISH: Try Prep Dish's Super Fast Menu And Get a free 2 week trial At Prepdish.com/ifpodcast! You'll get weekly gluten-free and Paleo grocery and recipe lists!!

25:50 - ASPIRATION: Get a $50 bonus when you create an account with today's sponsor Aspiration. Go To joinaspiration.com/ifpodcast!!

27:45 - Listener Q&A: Jamie - Whoosh 

The Case for Keto: Rethinking Weight Control and the Science and Practice of Low-Carb/High-Fat Eating (Gary Taubes)

Big Fat Keto Lies Book (Marty Kendall)

The Case for Keto by Gary Taubes – honest review

47:20 - Listener Q&A: Daniela - Collagen/Vitamins

Aspen Naturals Grass Fed Bovine Collagen Peptides Powder

Aspen Naturals Marine Collagen

52:00 - JOOVV: For A Limited Time Go To joovv.com/ifpodcast And Use The Code IFPODCAST For An Exclusive Discount!

55:00 - Listener Q&A: Elizabeth - Starting IF After HCG

Follow Melanie On Instagram To See The Latest Moments, Products, And #AllTheThings! @MelanieAvalon

TRANSCRIPT

Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 207 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. If you want to burn fat, gain energy, and enhance your health by changing when you eat, not what you eat with no calorie counting, then this show is for you. I’m Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine: Lose Weight and Feel Great with Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, and Wine. And I’m here with my cohost, Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle. For more on us, check out ifpodcast.com, melanieavalon.com, and ginstephens.com. Please remember, the thoughts and opinions on this podcast do not constitute medical advice or treatment. So, pour yourself a cup of black coffee, a mug of tea or even a glass of wine, if it's that time, and get ready for The Intermittent Fasting Podcast.

Hi friends, Gin and I talk about the importance of gut health all the time on this show. You guys know we are obsessed with the gut microbiome. There's also a lot of confusion out there surrounding probiotics. There are so many different probiotics. It can be so hard to know what to take. I personally have actually experimented with a lot of probiotics over the years. A lot. You guys know me. Did you know there's only one probiotic that I have consistently taken almost every single day, since I found it? It's a nonnegotiable. I see, such radical improvements in my gut health, when I take this probiotic, and it's not just me, you guys, and my audience tell me all the time about how you feel this way as well. That is P3-OM. What is P3-OM? It's a patented probiotic that actually eats up excess sugar, eliminates bad bacteria fast, and protects your gut from inflammation and viruses. What initially made me so intrigued by this probiotic is that it is proteolytic meaning it can actually digest protein. I even saw a video on the BiOptimizers website of the probiotic digesting a steak. Yes, a steak.

P3-OM has also been shown to improve digestion, speed up metabolism, and increase energy throughout the day. What also makes it unique is that it can survive the gastrointestinal tract, and it goes through your whole body to support both your gut and your entire immune response. It's a secret weapon for reducing or eliminating bad gas and upgrading your immunity and protection against bad bacteria. It's personally one of my go-to tools in my biohacking arsenal. I have some fantastic news for you guys. You can get 10% off P3-OM right now, when you go to p3om.com/ifpodcast and type in the coupon code, IFPODCAST10. By the way, if you order it and it's not everything you hoped for, the BiOptimizers support team will give you all your money back, no questions asked. To get that discount, just go to p3om.com/ifpodcast to get a 10% discount on one of my favorite probiotics P3-OM with the coupon code, IFPODCAST10. We'll put all this information in the show notes. One more thing before we jump in.

Are you concerned about aging? Well, thankfully, fasting is super incredible for its anti-aging benefits. It activates genes in your body called sirtuins, which repair your body and help extend lifespan. Also, during the fast, your body can clean up a lot of harmful chemicals which may be taxing your detoxification systems. In fact, the reason people go gray is because their detox systems start producing a lot of hydrogen peroxide when dealing with toxins. Do you know where a lot of those chemicals come from? Your skincare and makeup. As it turns out, there are thousands of compounds found in conventional skincare and makeup that Europe has banned due to their toxic nature and the US has banned less than 10. When you put these on your skin every single day through your skincare and makeup, you're adding to your body's burden and likely aging your skin faster.

Thankfully, you can easily clean up your skincare with a company called Beautycounter. They make incredible products that are extensively tested to be safe for your skin. You can feel good about every single ingredient that you put on. They also have an amazing anti-aging line called Countertime. Friends, this is a game-changer. It's full of active ingredients which nourish and support your skin, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and support a beautiful glow. It also has a safe alternative to retinol, so you can get all of the anti-aging benefits of retinol without any of the toxic effects of retinol, because yes, that stuff is toxic. Guys, put it away now.

You can shop with us at melanieavalon.com/beautycounter. If you use that link, something really special and magical might happen after you place your first order. Also definitely get on my clean beauty email list that's at melanieavalon.com/cleanbeauty. I give away so many free things on that list. So definitely check it out.

Lastly, if you anticipate making safe skincare a part of your future, just like Gin and I do, definitely become a Band of Beauty member. It's sort of like the Amazon Prime for safe skincare. You get 10% back on all of your purchases, free shipping on qualifying orders, and a welcome gift, that costs way more than the price of the membership. It's completely worth it. Friends, are you fasting clean inside and out? You can with Beautycounter. Again, that link is melanieavalon.com/beautycounter. And we'll put all this information in the show notes. All right, now back to the show.

Hi, everybody and welcome. This is Episode number 207 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I’m Melanie Avalon, and I’m here with Gin Stephens.

Gin Stephens: Hi, everybody.

Melanie Avalon: How are you today, Gin?

Gin Stephens: I am worn out. I am riding high on a bunch of emotions, good emotions, scary emotions, all sorts of emotions.

Melanie Avalon: That's good.

Gin Stephens: [laughs] Do you want me to elaborate a little bit?

Melanie Avalon: Yes, would you like to elaborate?

Gin Stephens: Well, we're recording this in mid-March. Yesterday, I finally announced to the public in the advanced group on Facebook, the project that I’m working on since the beginning of the year, and that was, I have launched Delay, Don’t Deny social network off of Facebook. It's a membership-based platform. Yes, members do need to pay to join. It's $4.99 a month. If you, what's the word, amortize your membership, it's $59.95 a year, and you join and that works out to $4.99 a month, if you join for the year as a founding member. Yes, it's a membership site. Now, we're all together, I have all the spinoff groups going on. It's hard to explain. I was letting people start spinoff groups. We had one spinoff group over there, and another spin off group over there, and I felt like I was losing touch with the community. Does that make sense?

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm.

Gin Stephens: I didn't have time to manage-- Facebook takes a lot to manage groups. You have membership requests, you have posts to approve, you have people coming in, they don't know who you are, why they're there. It takes a lot of work to manage it. We've got over 100 groups on the new platform. The address is dddsocialnetwork.com. DDD for Delay, Don’t-Deny. dddsocialnetwork.com. Like I said, we have over 100 groups, and they're not all intermittent fasting. We've got groups for different fasting styles, one meal a day, alternate daily fasting, the hybrid approach, but we also have a paleo group, Melanie. We have a vegetarian group. No matter how anybody eats, we've got a group for it. We've got hobbies, we've got different exercise styles. We've got a group for people who are interested in starting podcasts and writers, because a lot of people in my community have started podcasts and written books, which is one of the things, I’m a teacher, nothing makes me prouder than seeing other people create content. Does that make sense? Like inspired, they're like, “Well, Gin did a podcast, I can do a podcast,” or, “Gin wrote a book and self-published it. Melanie wrote a book and self-published it, and I can do that too.”

I feel like in a way the Delay, Don’t Deny community has been an incubator for some of these amazing people that I've connected with in the groups. Graeme Currie, he's got a great podcast called The Fasting Highway, and he started off just in my group. He's written a book. He's from Australia. We'll have a group for people who want to do stuff like that, so they can connect and talk about platforms and the process. We even have a group about dogs and cats if you're a pet lover. [laughs] The tag line is we want to be your favorite social network, because we really do. We were on Facebook, we've been on it for so long, but it's gotten a little harder to navigate, and the artificial intelligence has gotten a little weird lately. Like over Christmas in the Life Lessons group, we had some weird, we got something that Facebook was like, “This post does not-- it goes against community standards. Please review it.” I’m like, “Oh, my God, that sounds so scary.” I went to review it, it was covered up with a mask and how Facebook will cover something. Have you ever seen that?

Melanie Avalon: No.

Gin Stephens: Well, if they think it might be questionable, they're like, “Click on it on your own risk.” I’m like, “What was someone trying to post?” I clicked on it to see what it was that was so questionable and objectionable. It was a Christmas bow tutorial.

Melanie Avalon: That’s strange.

Gin Stephens: The artificial intelligence called it drug paraphernalia, but it was bows made of raffia. The artificial intelligence is also picking up on certain words as hate speech and bullying, like one of the moderators got put in Facebook Jail for clicking on something incorrectly, and then she said, “Oops, I apologize. I must have fat thumbs.” They put on Facebook Jail and said it was hate speech. Clearly, it wasn't, fat thumbs is a saying.

Melanie Avalon: I didn't know there was a Facebook Jail.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, I've been In Facebook Jail before. I liked too many things too quickly?

Melanie Avalon: Okay, yes.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, the artificial intelligence--

Melanie Avalon: I've commented too much before.

Gin Stephens: Yes, the artificial intelligence looks for people who are doing things too rapidly. You have to take things slowly on Facebook. So, ever since then if I'd make a post and 100 people comment, I just want to go like, like, like, like, like, no, you cannot do that. I lost the ability to post for 24 hours, when I was in Facebook Jail that time. [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: It's weird when it happens in your own group, like it's your group, because it's done that to me, I’m like, “Wait, but this is my group. I should be able to post whenever I want.”

Gin Stephens: You can't though. It's just a million little things like that. You hear stories. My friend Sheri that does the Life Lessons podcast with me. She has a friend, who was running a cooking group. It had like 10,000 members, was a cooking group. She woke up one morning, and her cooking group had been removed from Facebook, and she had been blocked from Facebook, like her account was deactivated, based on something that had happened in the cooking group overnight. I realized that we're at the whim of a platform. Now, I’m not knocking Facebook, because we have enjoyed being there for years and it has helped us grow this wonderful community. I will always have love for that platform, and what it allowed us to build. But at the same time, that terrified me that, I have that one group, the 300,000 plus member group that if something went really terribly wrong-

Melanie Avalon: Right, it could just disappear.

Gin Stephens: -it could disappear and I wouldn't be able to contact those 300,000 people at all. I don't have their email addresses, I don't know, would they ever find me again? I don't know. I’m one of those worst-case scenario people, like what could go wrong, always think about that. I’m like. “I don't want to lose this community that I've built.” We started the new platform, launched it yesterday-- Yeah, there's been some positives and some growing pains with it, not everyone was thrilled that I was starting a membership site, because people say-- well, rightly so, intermittent fasting is free and intermittent fasting continues to be free. However, starting a paid platform is very, very expensive, and Facebook is free, but why is it free?

Melanie Avalon: Ads.

Gin Stephens: It's got ads, they're selling you data, you're the product honestly. If you're on Facebook, you're the product and I’ve been okay with that for myself personally for all these years knowing that Facebook was looking at my data, and whatever, showing me ads, I lived with that for the free platform. But for me to have a platform, it is most certainly not free, because I’m not going to be selling your data and showing you ads, and there's a lot of costs involved in it, so it has to be paid. Anyway, I’m sad about any pushback, because I just made this fabulous community and I want everyone to be like, “Oh my God, I love it.” [laughs] So far, positive people are in there. We've got almost 1000 members on day two. It's just so exciting watching people find their community. Also, some of people that I know that had left Facebook for whatever reason, one of my trusted moderators who I love so much, he's a comedian, people may remember him, John McDonald from the Intermittent Fasting Stories Podcast. He left Facebook completely for personal reasons with his family, but he's joined the new platform. It's so good to reconnect with people that I had lost touch with, it feels amazing.

Melanie Avalon: I made a profile. I’m going to come in.

Gin Stephens: Well, people are waiting for you, because we made a Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast group.

Melanie Avalon: Group.

Gin Stephens: Yes. There's a group that you're in.

Melanie Avalon: Are there people in it?

Gin Stephens: Yeah, you want to know how many members are in, I can tell you right now.

Melanie Avalon: How many?

Gin Stephens: How many people have joined it? Hold on, I got to pull up the-- We're also going to have an app. The app is not out yet. Right now, I'm on my iPhone looking at it. Let's see Melanie. but right now, it's pretty easy to use in mobile on the iPhone. Melanie Avalon, you've got 63 members.

Melanie Avalon: Oh. Okay, now I am very much alert. I mean I was already alert, but let me go see.

Gin Stephens: Let’s see how many are on the Intermittent-- we have an Intermittent Fasting podcast group. Let me search for that one. Anyway, what I’m saying is, I’m certain that we probably have listeners, who are not on Facebook for whatever reason. Not everybody's on Facebook. My sister for example never joined Facebook ever, like ever, in her whole entire life never joined Facebook. From day one, she's like, “For some reason, I don't like that,” so she didn't join. People, that just never joined or didn't want to, we have a place for you now. We have 77 members right now in the Intermittent Fasting Podcast group. We can all get together there, and we also have something called the Podcast Enthusiasts Lounge, where you can go and talk about any podcast you want. If you say, “Oops, fat thumbs, I didn't mean to click that,” we don't even care. If you like things really quickly, go for it, like them as fast as you want.

Melanie Avalon: It's very exciting. Congratulations.

Gin Stephens: It is very exciting. Thank you. I didn't sleep last night, I tossed and turned, I thought, “Have I ruined-- Did I mess up? Is this wrong?” Like I said, I’m very much a people pleaser. I want to do things that make people happy. I’m like, “Look what I created for you. Aren't y'all excited?” “No, no, we're not excited. We hate it. Don't create this thing.” Anyway, ah, now I can take a breath, and the people that are there are very happy to be there, and the people who don't want to join, don't have to join. That's the thing,

Melanie Avalon: Listeners, friends, you can all join, we can put links to it in the show notes. That's very exciting.

Gin Stephens: That'd be awesome. dddsocialnetwork.com. It is very exciting.

Melanie Avalon: I can't even imagine, the logistics and everything that you have to go through to do that, so it's very exciting.

Gin Stephens: Well, setting up those groups was a lot. We thought about what would someone want? What could people want? We actually had a little survey and like, “If you were wanting to join a group, what would you want it to be?” I didn't tell anybody what it was. We got the ideas from members, and then we thought of more just on our own. We've got about 55 moderators/facilitators in there, plus a whole lot of members growing by the minute. I’m just very excited, because I love community. That's really it. The whole reason I started this with my first Facebook group back in 2015, before I'd even written a book, I didn't have a master plan, I’m going to write books, I’m going to have podcasts. No. I started a community, and that was the whole point of it. That's what I’m doing here. Everybody, you're welcome to join my community, I'd love to have you or don't join the community. Intermittent Fasting is still free. If you want to be with us on the platform, join us. I’m not closing down the Facebook groups, though I am going to be very busy with the new platform. The Facebook groups are still going. If you're a member, I’m not going to lock you out. [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I was going to ask you that if you're keeping--

Gin Stephens: I might not answer all as much, because I’m going to be on this new place, because these people have joined and I can just take a deep breath, I don't have to approve posts, I don't have to approve members. You just join, there you are, you can do what you want, you can come and go. You can join 100 groups if you want to.

Melanie Avalon: That's exciting.

Gin Stephens: It is very exciting. You don't have to see what you don't want to see. In the advanced group, we've been talking a lot about Zoe, the Zoe app with the personalized nutrition and the gut microbiome testing and the CGM. Some people don't want to see that. They're like, “I’m really frustrated seeing all this talk about Zoe, because I just want to keep it simple.” Well, now you don't have to see it. You don't go to the Zoe group, but we have a Zoe group for people who do.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, that makes sense.

Gin Stephens: It does. I think it's nice. I’m so excited. Scared, yes, and excited. All the feels. I have all the feels. I have cried, I have laughed, I have cheered. I didn't sleep at all last night.

Melanie Avalon: Another reason, you know what happened last night?

Gin Stephens: The time change?

Melanie Avalon: Yes. That's when you realize you really are a night person. When you don't know the time change is going to happen, and then you get really confused, because all of a sudden, I was like, “Wow, that hour went by so fast.”

Gin Stephens: Oh, because you were awake?

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I looked at the clock and it was 3:00, I was like, “What happened?” [laughs] Yeah, not a fan.

Gin Stephens: I really tossed and turn, because I started having doubts. Do you ever do that? Do you have doubts? I’m like lying on the bed, we had 400 and something members join yesterday, and I was having these doubts. I was like, “What have I done? What if everyone hates it? What if no one is there?” Anyway, but I woke up today, got refreshed, and I started reading what people had been posting, and seeing how they were joining the groups, and everyone was excited, and then people were coming in that I hadn't seen in a long time. It felt like a big party, that I’m like, “Okay, now I can relax,” except I had this book deadline. Why did I do this at the same time that I have a book deadline? I don't know, I might be crazy.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I have no comment. That was some [laughs] interesting choice of timing.

Gin Stephens: Well, all of a sudden, I had that thought in my head that something could happen to my group. I was panicked. I was like, “I got to protect these groups,” so that move to the front burner. Honestly, I really was like, “I've got to do this now,” because it's too late. If I don't, and then something happened, something's probably not going to happen. I know that it probably won't, but it could. Did you know they shut down a bunch of essential oil groups?

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm.

Gin Stephens: Like all in one fell swoop. One of my members was telling me about it. When somebody like, “Nobody's shutting down groups, unless they're bad, dangerous groups.” This girl was like, “Well, I was on a bunch of essential oil groups, and they all got shut down because Facebook decided essential oils were dangerous,” and maybe they are, if you use them incorrectly, but isn't fasting, kind of like that, too? Couldn't fasting be dangerous if you use it incorrectly?

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm.

Gin Stephens: The answer is yes. Google restricts what it shows you now when you search, it has chosen which health people they're going to show you in, which health people they're not going to show you based on certain criteria. I felt like we might have a tenuous existence on a platform, that we couldn't 100% count on tomorrow, I’m going to wake up and my groups are going to be there. I’m 99.99% sure tomorrow I’m going to wake up and my groups will be there. But once I had in my mind that maybe they wouldn't be, I’m sure the essential oil people didn't know they were all going to be gone. It's almost like I wish they had told them, “Hey, we're going to remove your groups and one month, you have one month to figure something else out,” that would have been a good thing. I would have-- if only.

Melanie Avalon: Actually, that reminds me of a fun little fact I learned by listening to a podcast.

Gin Stephens: What is that?

Melanie Avalon: Do you know what the difference is between fear and anxiety?

Gin Stephens: Well, no.

Melanie Avalon: As it relates to this conversation?

Gin Stephens: I can't wait to hear though, because I think I have felt fear and anxiety.

Melanie Avalon: Fear is when you are aware of something bad happening, and you have the fear response. Anxiety is not knowing what is going to happen, and having the response, but then it's like, chronic, because--

Gin Stephens: I did have both.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah.

Gin Stephens: I had fear because I saw people who were not happy with me. They were not happy that I would do this, and that really hurt my feelings, because I’m like, “Look, number one, it came from the place of, I don't want to lose our community, how am I going to keep that from happening, just in case,” but nobody's making anybody join it. I didn't click archive group on Facebook nearby, come over here. Didn't close the group. My wording may be when I announced it, gave people some things to worry about, because I said, “We're not sure the future of how these groups are going to work on Facebook,” because clearly, I’m one person. I can't be here and there and everywhere all over the place. [laughs] Sometimes, I have to eat, and sleep, and take a shower. We're not closing the groups down, but, yeah, I had fear from backlash, like I made a huge mistake. But then, I saw the love. There was so much love. This morning, I woke up to so much love and there's so much positivity surrounding the new community that I can just let the rest go. The fear is gone. I still have some anxiety, but no more fear.

Melanie Avalon: That is fabulous.

Gin Stephens: Yes. Anything new with you? I’m sorry. I just rambled for 18 minutes, but-- [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: The only thing is I never travel ever, and I travelled somewhere, and I lost my Oura ring.

Gin Stephens: Oh, no. 

Melanie Avalon: I’m so sad. I'm so sad. I did something that I never do, because I don't-- We talked about this. You like jewelry, right?

Gin Stephens: Yeah, I wear earrings every day, and I have on my wedding ring every day.

Melanie Avalon: Yes, I don't ever really wear jewelry. They have an Oura ring that has diamonds in it. I was like, “If I’m going to get one piece of nice jewelry that I wear every day of my life,” so I upgraded, and I got that.

Gin Stephens: Oh, no, and you lost it.

Melanie Avalon: No, I didn't lose that one. I lost the one I had. I decided to buy a new one, because--

Gin Stephens: I thought you upgraded to the really expensive one and then lost it.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, no, no, no, no, no. Oh, I would be crushed.

Gin Stephens: That's what I thought you did.

Melanie Avalon: They're already pretty expensive normally, but yes. I think listeners think we get all the things for free all the time, but we don't. I have to purchase things. But that's how much I love it. I was like, it's not a question I’m buying a new one right now, and then I realized, I really want the one with the diamonds. I learned don't wear it on your ring finger, because then you look married or it looks like a wedding ring.

Gin Stephens: I probably would agree with that. I mean, unless who cares? Why do you care if people think you're married, right? That could be a plus.

Melanie Avalon: True.

Gin Stephens: Keep in mind. I've been wearing a ring on my wedding ring finger since I was 21. It's been a long time. 30 years I've had this ring on my finger.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness. It's ironic. I lost it, and I actually interviewed the CEO, again for Part Two episode a few days later. I’m airing it very soon, because I wanted it to be timely. If listeners are interested in Oura ring and learning more, I'll put a link in the show notes to that second interview that I just did with him.

Gin Stephens: Hi, everybody. Today, I want to tell you about Prep Dish’s New Super Fast Menus. These are in addition to their three existing meal plans, keto, paleo, and gluten free. Instead of scrambling and spending every single night prepping meals, do all of your prep at once, and under one hour. You'll get delicious healthy meals on the table, even when you have limited time. If you've been a longtime listener, you know we're huge fans of Prep Dish. No more scrambling at each meal. Instead go into mealtime with a plan, like Melanie would say, “You've got this.”

Prep Dish subscribers now get four menus every week. Gluten free, paleo, low carb keto, and the new Superfast menus. Now, you can prep a whole week's meals in just an hour. You don't have to choose between meal prep and spending precious time with your family. With Prep Dish’s new Super Fast Menus, you get fast food, but it's homemade and healthy. If you've thought about trying Prep Dish but worried you wouldn't have time to do the prep, now is a great time to check out the free trial. The founder, Allison, is offering listeners a free two-week trial, and you can get that by going to prepdish.com/ifpodcast for this amazing deal. Again, that's prepdish.com/ifpodcast, and your first two weeks are absolutely free. Try it out, see what you think about the new Super Fast Menus, and then send us an email. Let us know, how you like it.

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Melanie Avalon: Shall we jump into everything fasting related?

Gin Stephens: Yes.

Melanie Avalon: To start things off, we have a question from Jamie. The subject is “Whoosh.” Jamie says, “When on average does someone, women get the whoosh effect, losing a bunch of weight at once, two weeks in and I've only lost one pound, where my husband has lost 17 pounds.”

Gin Stephens: All right. That's a great question. First of all, let's talk about what is the whoosh? We've talked about it before, but I want to talk about it again. The whoosh effect is when-- let's think about in our bodies biologically, we lose fat at a pretty slow rate, even if you're doing a complete fast, or you're eating nothing, your body probably is only going to lose about half a pound of fat a day max really for fat burning. Keep that in mind. That's like we're not usually losing about half a pound of fat a day with doing an intermittent fasting lifestyle. Let's say, you get on the scale and you don't see your weight change, you don't see your weight change, you don't see your weight change, you don't see your weight change, and then you get on one day and it's down five pounds. Did you just lose five pounds of fat overnight? No, you did not. You had a whoosh.

You had lost fat slowly, but something was hiding that fat loss. We were pretty sure that your body does something with water during the fat loss process, but not everybody has the same experience. Some people never whoosh. They just have a slow and steady down, down, down over time. They have this nice little graph, they're pretty linearly down. Most people don't, but some people do. Whereas someone who whooshes might look more like a stair step, where you have it's just the same, the same, the same, the same and then down. Then the same, the same, and same and then down, like that. I mean, you might zigzag up and down. I tended to have the pattern where I would go way down, and then I would go back up a little and stay there for a while, then I would go way down, then I would go up a little. Mine’s like the stock market's going down a little bit. Why does this happen?

As I said, we have the theory that it's something to do with water balance, because people will notice, maybe they have to get up in the middle the night to go to the bathroom a lot, and then the next morning they're lower. The water is coming from somewhere. There's one theory that I don't think is true, and that theory is that the body is actually putting water in your fat cells. I haven't been able to find any scientific basis for that, and I've heard scientists who are smarter about the body than me saying, “No, that's not what's happening.” Could they be wrong? Could that be what's happening? I don't know.

Melanie Avalon: One of the ones that sounded plausible to me was I think the glycerol. One thing I was reading online, his theory was that fat when we break it down, it breaks it down into glycerol. Is it fatty acids and glycerol? I think so. He says it takes a while for the body to process glycerol and glycerol attracts water.

Gin Stephens: Oh, that makes sense.

Melanie Avalon: It's like you burning the fat, you burn the fatty acid part of the fat-- and I might be wrong with a fatty acid is the other component, I think it is. Then the glycerol takes backlogs and as we process, in the meantime, it's stored with water or attracts water.

Gin Stephens: It's not happening in the fat cell, right?

Melanie Avalon: I’m not sure where the glycerol is?

Gin Stephens: Something's happening with water, we know that. [chuckles] It's somewhere. I also have talked about it before here, I have a hunch. It could be in your lymphatic system, which is the body's sewage system, because as you're clearing out a fat cell, fats not the only stuff that's in there, you've also got a lot of toxins and weird stuff that your body shoved in there. You shove junk under your bed, your body shoves junk into your fat cells when it doesn't know what else to do with it. Toxins do come out, and your body has all that going around in your lymphatic system, and then it can flush it out all at once. You may have puffy fingers, we've all experienced this, puffy ankles, your face might be puffy. That's water retention happening in your tissues, and then whoosh, you wake up and that's gone.

Jamie, not everyone gets a whoosh. Don't expect you're going to get one. But let's address the fact that you're two weeks in and you've only lost one pound. If you think back to the 28-Day FAST Start-- if you read Fast. Feast. Repeat, in the 28-Day FAST Start, I’m very, very emphatic about do not expect any weight loss for the first 28 days, because the first 28 days are the time for your body to adjust to the clean fast, and that's it, your body's not great at tapping into fat stores yet. It may lose a great deal of inflammation, like with your husband with 17 pounds in two weeks. He did not lose 17 pounds of fat in two weeks. I know that we would like to, we don't lose fat that quickly. But even if that's a lot of that's inflammation of water weight, 17 pounds is a lot of mass. Imagine how good it would feel to lose 17 pounds, whatever it is, water weight, inflammation, I know he feels better, but we don't lose fat that quickly.

Just understand that your body is doing what it's doing behind the scenes, and the scale doesn't always reflect that. The scale can go up because of water, it can go down because of water. It can go up if you're gaining fat, but it can go down if you're losing fat, but it can also stay the same while you're losing fat because you're also regaining water. The scale can really just confuse you.

Melanie Avalon: Yes, 100%. Did you read Gary Taubes, The Case for Keto?

Gin Stephens: No, I read Marty Kendall’s critique of it. I really like Marty Kendall. By the way, Marty, we talked about him on the podcast. I think that came out maybe last week, we're recording. It's several weeks ago in podcast world land, but in the real world, it was like last week. Marty listened and he was like, “Oh, thank y’all for talking about me.” Anyway.

Melanie Avalon: On our show?

Gin Stephens: Yeah, when we talked about Marty Kendall and his Optimising Nutrition site, but I read Marty Kendall’s blog post about The Case for Keto.

Melanie Avalon: I finished his book about it. So good. So good. I'm like three fourths of the way through, Gary Taubes.

Gin Stephens: He's coming on your podcast, right?

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm. I’m so excited. I want to air them back-to-back, like air Marty's and Gary's. I don't know what order I put them-- I guess it depends how that conversation goes.

Gin Stephens: I’m going to tell you Marty Kendall is brilliant, and you would think by reading-- he has a book called Keto Myths or something. You would think by reading the title of whatever, I can't remember the name of--

Melanie Avalon: Big Fat Keto Lies.

Gin Stephens: Yes, Big Fat Keto Lies, you would think by reading it, he was anti-keto, and he's not. He is busting some keto myths, like if you're having trouble losing fat, eat a lot more fat. He's saying some things that need to be heard in the keto community. I actually think some people are listening. One of the big guys, I can't remember which one of my moderators showed me one of the big keto people, might have been the Diet Doctor guy, the guy who runs Diet Doctor. He was somebody really big, well known. I just can't remember, my brain is full. Made some post, I don’t know if it was a tweet, I don't know where it was, but she showed me a screenshot of it, where he said that, he had lowered his fat intake or something and increased his protein. He was getting leaner than ever, he’d stopped eating so much fat. I’m like, “That's huge.”

Melanie Avalon: I think it's one of the biggest misconceptions. This is something I’m going to ask Gary, this is the question I want to ask him, because it's probably the biggest takeaway I took from Marty. It’s the biggest paradigm shift I had about insulin after reading Marty's book, and now reading Gary's book. He talks about this completely, but he doesn't draw the same conclusion and it's really haunting me, and it's the fact that this has made me completely rethink insulin, its main purpose is not to store fat. Marty talks about this, which I'd never realized before.

Gin Stephens: Well, it's antilipolytic, which means if you have high insulin, you're going to have a hard time burning fat.

Melanie Avalon: Its main purpose is not to store fat. Its main purpose is to stop fat from being released. It's putting on the brakes--

Gin Stephens: To fat release. It's putting the brakes rather than shoving it in. That's a very good point. We read so many times that people are saying insulin is shoving the fat in or shoving sugar in something.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it could because its main purpose-- and this is something that Marty pointed out that I hadn't really thought of. Fat doesn't elicit at all or barely any of an insulin release, and so they reached the conclusion that because it doesn't release insulin that it's not easily stored as fat. What Marty argues is the reason it doesn't release insulin is, because it doesn't need insulin to be stored as fat. It was just the complete opposite idea of what people are drawing the conclusion from. They're saying, “Oh, unlimited fat because it doesn't require insulin.” Right, it doesn't require insulin because it just gets stored without it, which is huge. Basically, insulin’s purpose is to deal with the toxicity of sugar in the bloodstream. If insulin wasn't there, we would just be burning fat and then we'd have an overload of fuel in our bloodstream, and so when we eat carbs, the body needs to burn it immediately, because too much sugar glycates and is toxic. It needs to shut down all other potential sources of fuel going into the bloodstream, which is from our fat cells and from the storage of carbs. Insulin is just closing the doors.

Gin Stephens: The traffic cop saying no.

Melanie Avalon: I've been thinking about it. It's like if you live in an apartment, I've been thinking about this, and the hallway is your bloodstream and then the doors to all the apartments are your fat cells and normally the doors are open and stuff is going in and out of the rooms, but once carbohydrates enter the bloodstream, insulin is like, “Nope, shut all the doors so that nothing else can come out and we can just deal with this these carbs right now.” What I want to ask Gary, and it helps me articulate this, because I've been thinking about this, but I haven't said it out loud and I want to like--

Gin Stephens: Well, it's also very interesting.

Melanie Avalon: The thing that I want to ask him about is, I mean, he gives that length-- It's basically, if anybody's read any of his books--

Gin Stephens: They're long.

Melanie Avalon: [laughs] Like, I said, I went on a trip this week, it was a four-hour drive both ways, I listened to the audiobook as much as I could both ways, and I was like, “I filled my Gary Taubes quota for quite a while.”

Gin Stephens: Does he read it himself?

Melanie Avalon: No, he doesn't. He's an investigative journalist. He's not a scientist. He's rather telling the history of all of these things. He makes a very good point that actual scientists-- and now I’m going on tangents, but scientists and nutritionists and doctors don't normally ever study the history of everything in detail, because they don't have time, they don't think it's relevant, but he's saying that, “You can't really understand a subject until you know the history of how it got there,” so, that's what he's doing. In any case, with the insulin, he [unintelligible [00:38:32] idea that it stops fat cells from releasing their fuel, but he'll also say a lot throughout the book that the misconceptions we have and how we've oversimplified calories in, calories out, and we say it's just about calories and really it's about insulin, it's really complicated, it's really nuanced, but I feel the simplistic statement he still continues to make is that insulin leads to fat storage. I'm not articulating this well. The insulin is required for fat storage, like that idea still comes through.

Gin Stephens: Okay, yeah, insulin is antilipolytic. It's anti-fat burning. If you want to tap into your fat stores, you don't want to have high insulin, but that doesn't mean you're storing, you're just not burning.

Melanie Avalon: I need to relisten or reread one part, because there's one part where he specifically says this, but I don't know if he's saying it or he was quoting somebody else, but it was the theory that you can't store fat in the absence of insulin, which just seems to not be true. The takeaway that I’m having right now is-- I don't even know if this is worth pondering, but, because he's trying to deconstruct the calories in, calories out model, I don't know if you are at a genuine calorie deficit even with high insulin. Do you think you can gain weight? Maybe you can't ever burn weight.

Gin Stephens: If nothing is coming in, what are you storing the fat--? What's it being made of? We don't create fat out of thin air. Our bodies don't just create fat out of thin air, It's something comes in, our bodies do something with it and store that as fat. Maybe it was fat already, and we just shoved it away.

Melanie Avalon: What I’m thinking is it seems like insulin could make it impossible to burn fat, so you could not possibly lose weight at a calorie deficit, because of high insulin. But I don't know if you could gain weight at a calorie deficit and high insulin, because if you are literally taking in less energy than you're burning, I don't know how you can have a net gain, even if-- I don't know.

Gin Stephens: You were talking about based on what the metabolism is doing. You couldn't.

Melanie Avalon: I mean, your metabolism could slow down.

Gin Stephens: Right, but if you're still burning more than that slowed metabolic rate, I don't think it's possible. No, I don't think so, that wouldn't make sense. The one thing to keep in mind though, let’s think thing about type 1 diabetics. Their bodies are not making insulin, they were unable to gain weight at all. Low insulin, because they're not making it, unable to gain weight. See, that's one of the big examples Fung uses, I think I used it, you hear it so much. That's why we know that high insulin is related to storing. It's a storage hormone.

Melanie Avalon: To clarify, it definitely encourages the storage of carbs as glycogen.

Gin Stephens: People who had type 1 diabetes before anybody knew what type 1 diabetes was, they would just waste away and die because they didn't have enough insulin. Because they could not, no matter how much they ate, their bodies couldn't store anything away. So many questions, so many complicated things going on. Here's what we need to know. The takeaway is we want to keep our insulin low. That's good, but also fat is not free.

Melanie Avalon: So far what I've read, that’s his thesis.

Gin Stephens: His takeaway is fat is free?

Melanie Avalon: Well, I haven't gotten to that yet, if he does say that. His takeaway is that-- I really like this idea, that everybody has a personal insulin threshold, and that if you're at that insulin threshold or below it, you'll be able to burn fat, but if you're above it, you won't be able to.

Gin Stephens: Oh, yeah, I 100% can buy into that theory, because I don't even know if that's like a-- I think that's true. I don't think it's under question. I think that is a fact. It explains-- I’m sure that I had really high insulin for so many years when I was overweight and having trouble gaining weight, and then, Chad, my husband always been slim, I’m sure he's always had low insulin. We had our insulin tested last year. Mine is low now, thanks to fasting, but Chad's was slow. His was lower than mine. I’m like, “Well, no wonder he never gained weight.” His body just makes less insulin. He's not like diabetic, but his body makes less insulin than me. We all have a different threshold with what our body's going to do based on the amount of insulin we have in our fasted insulin level.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, he talks about while fasted, if you release insulin, and how one person, they can think about something really delicious and yummy, and they don't get ravenously hungry, it doesn't make them-- they can handle it, they don't feel they have to have it and they're not craving and shaky and another person does have that response. He was saying that it's from this cephalic insulin, basically in our brain, and depending on your basal insulin, that may or may not be enough insulin release to put you over your personal insulin threshold. If you're wavering around your personal insulin threshold or if you're already past it, and then you think of something really delicious, then your brain releases cephalic insulin, which is basically some insulin that's primed and ready just to be released, and that might be an--

Gin Stephens: It's anticipating food’s coming in.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, exactly. Then it releases that, and then that puts your personal insulin threshold high enough that, it just shuts off the fat cells’ ability to release fat, so then you're not giving any fatty acid fuel. It's really interesting. I’m really excited to interview him.

Gin Stephens: One thing that Marty really helped me understand-- also with Zoe, if I put together Marty and Zoe, it really helps me understand a lot about my body. Marty talks about energy toxicity and having too much energy in your blood, whether it's fat or ketones or glucose. You're having a lot of energy in your bloodstream from any source is not good. I never did feel well when I did keto, that summer of 2014. I felt awful the whole time. I also felt very inflamed and puffy, and I just didn't feel good. Zoe taught me, when I did the study with them, that my body doesn't clear fat quickly. They tell you that if your body doesn't clear fat quickly, then too much fat is inflammatory for your body. I’m like, “Well, that makes perfect sense.” It explains why I didn't feel well when I was doing keto, because I was taking in a whole lot of energy, my body didn't clear it very quickly, and so I’m sure I had a ton of fat circulating in my bloodstream that I was taking in, and I wasn't clearing it. Of course, I also didn't release any fat. I didn't lose any weight. All those butter coffees I was chugging, they were keeping my energy levels topped up in my bloodstream, my body had no need to release any fat.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, wait, speaking of, since we recorded last, I did release that episode with Dave Asprey speaking of butter coffee. Listeners, I’ll put a link to it in the show notes. You can check that out. I think my favorite chart-- because Marty has a lot of really great charts in his book, my favorite one is the one that shows “preferred order of burning different fuels.”

Gin Stephens: By the way, I like Marty so very much that even in the new platform, the DDD Social Network, I have a data-driven fasting group over there. For anybody who's following Marty, because a lot of my people have followed Marty, especially since I interviewed somebody on the podcast that talked about him, and then I interviewed Marty. It hasn't come out yet. A lot of people were like, “Hey, I want to learn about that.” Anyway, so data driven-fasting in the DDD Social Network.

Melanie Avalon: This is not the full chart. The full chart is on a different page. The full chart that I saw included alcohol and ketones, I think the order was-- when alcohol and ketones were included, I think it was alcohol and ketones, and then, which is the order of that the body preferentially burns the fuel substrates in our body. I think it was alcohol and ketones, and then glucose in your blood, and then liver and muscle glycogen. I have to ask him about that, because I don't think muscle glycogen would be right there. I think that's incorrect. Then, free fatty acids in your blood and then body fat. So, body fat is basically at the very, very, very last resort.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, our body doesn't want to dig in. I love Jason Fung’s analogy that it's in the freezer in the basement. I’m not going to go down to that basement freezer unless I have to. That's the body to not wanting to-- but it's there, we can get to it if we have to. We just have to give the right environment for the body to tap into your fat.

Melanie Avalon: 100%.

Gin Stephens: Not as easy as it sounds though. [laughs] Ready for the next one?

Melanie Avalon: Sorry for the tangents. Mm-hmm.

Gin Stephens: No, it was good. I think it's all been very interesting. We have a question from Daniella. The subject is “Collagen/Vitamins.” She says, “When breaking a 19- to 20-hour fast, can I start with my collagen supplement which is powder in water, and gummy vitamins? Please don't judge a grown woman taking gummy vitamins, laugh emoji.” [laughs] I will not. No judging.

Melanie Avalon: Great question, Daniella. The very short and simple answer is yes. The longer answer is, it's a good thing to clarify. I think collagen is something, especially people that are new to fasting, think that it might be something that they can take, while fasting especially, because it's often, “prescribed” to take it the way she's taking it like in water. Collagen is definitely something that’s not fast and friendly. It's a protein, and amino acid, it's going to definitely, definitely break your fast.

Gin Stephens: People like to start in coffee. I don't know why.

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm. I think Dave started that.

Gin Stephens: Oh, did he?

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm. I think way back in the day, because I remember reading him writing about it and he was saying for women in particular it was a good thing.

Gin Stephens: Well, I don't know. It's like, “Why’s everybody wanted to put this in their coffee?”

Melanie Avalon: The good thing about collagen though is, it's very nourishing to your gut. It's actually a really wonderful time to take it right when you're breaking your fast, like Daniella is, and then same, it's fine to take the gummy vitamin. I’m not a huge fan of multivitamins in general. I think, it's better to target specific nutrients. There's so much complexities to vitamins that-- it's hard to find a vitamin that you know is actually doing what you want it to be doing, but that aside, it's fine. Yes, Gin, thoughts?

Gin Stephens: Oh, no. I was just thinking, I’m really hungry and I was like, “Why am I so hungry?” Then, I realized it's 3 PM but my body-- Wait, we sprung forward. See, I get so confused with the time change.

Melanie Avalon: Me too.

Gin Stephens: It's only 2 PM to my body. Then why am I so hungry? Okay, sorry. I just got really hungry.

Melanie Avalon: All the emotions, or all of our talk?

Gin Stephens: Maybe, the stress. I also didn't eat a lot yesterday that must be why. My body might need two meals today. I’m just all of a sudden really starving. All that delicious collagen discussion.

Melanie Avalon: Might have been that cephalic insulin response.

Gin Stephens: I don't know, but all of a sudden, I was like, “I need to eat some food right now.” Anyway, I’m going to go eat some eggs on toast, that sounds delicious.

Melanie Avalon: All right. Next question or do you have thoughts about--

Gin Stephens: No, I really think that's it. I don't take collagen. I sometimes wondered if I’m missing out, because so many people take it, but I don't know.

Melanie Avalon: It can do really wonderful things, especially if you are trying to grow your nails and hair, and then heal your gut lining. It can be really great.

Gin Stephens: Well, I’m of the age where collagen production in our skin goes down, and we start to look saggy. I mean, that's just part of the hormonal changes of being in the postmenopausal years. We've all seen those amazing grandmas on the beach rocking their bikinis, but they're all saggy. I’m like, “Okay, I’m going to have to start to get some collagen maybe,” or I'll just embrace the sag, I don't care.

Melanie Avalon: Well, I think the probably the most important thing about collagen is, it's really important the amino acid balance of the meat that we eat. Today, we tend to eat basically muscle meat, so chicken breasts and lean steak, or even fattier steaks, if it's not shank or something like that. Historically, we probably would have been eating more of the whole animal and getting collagen, which is really important for an anti-inflammatory/amino acid ratio, and building your gut like I said.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, it may be time, but I will keep it in my window. I don't know why I just can't think of the idea of powder and water. Can you take it in like a pill? That's what I’m going to look for. I don't know. I don't want to dissolve anything in water.

Melanie Avalon: When I took it, of course, I just would eat it with my food, I thought it tasted really good. It’s really important in my opinion to get grass-fed collagen. We can put the link in the show notes to some brands that I like.

Gin Stephens: I don't know why, I have a mental thing against it, like I feel it's going to be gross. I don't know why.

Melanie Avalon: It's funny. I love the way it tastes, but I’m weird.

Gin Stephens: I did eat bone marrow, when I was in Charleston.

Melanie Avalon: Was it delicious?

Gin Stephens: Oh, my Lord. It was good. It was at this little restaurant on King Street in Charleston. Man, it was good.

Melanie Avalon: It's one of those things where if you haven't tried it, it might sound gross, or it might sound like, why would you want to eat that?

Gin Stephens: Yeah, I was scared of it, but everybody raved about it on all the reviews.

Melanie Avalon: It tastes like heaven.

Gin Stephens: It was so good.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, well, we agree on a food. [laughs] It's hard to describe the taste. It just tastes like-

Gin Stephens: This is some kind of bone marrow pudding. It was like a bread pudding made of bone marrow.

Melanie Avalon: If you go to Whole Foods or something you can get--

Gin Stephens: Can't.

Melanie Avalon: I was going to say, you can get bones or you can get cuts that have the bone in it, like a shank cut and it'll have that marrow and if you cook it like normal, then you could just eat them marrow plain. It just tastes, oh, my goodness, amazing.

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All right, now back to the show. Shall we go on to our next question?

Gin Stephens: Yes.

Melanie Avalon: This comes from Elizabeth, and the subject is “Starting IF After HCG.” Elizabeth says, “I've read both Delay, Don't Deny and Fast. Feast. Repeat. I discovered you while in the midst of a round of HCG. I am sure IF is for me. My HCG ends this week. My question is, do I need to do the follow-up protein diet and reintroduce carbs, before starting IF, or can I go right to IF after my three days after HCG?”

Gin Stephens: Yeah, that's a great question, and I do want to say, I’m really glad, Elizabeth, that you found us even in the middle of HCG, but I do not recommend HCG. I mean, honestly, you didn't know that because you were already doing it before you found us. I’m not saying, you shouldn't have done it, because you can't go back in time. Does that make sense? [laughs] For anyone who has not done HCG, I highly, highly would not recommend that you do it. I certainly tried it back in my diet days. I didn't do the drops, I did the “Go to the doctor, get the prescription, take the injections,” because the theory made so much sense. It was you're going to tap into your fat stores, because you're using this pregnancy hormone, your body thinks you're pregnant, so that it's going to help you tap into your fat stores better and it does something to your hypothalamus. That's the theory. Keep in mind, this was a long time ago that I was doing this. I was desperate to lose the weight. I was obese, so I get it.

Everyone who has tried these things like HCG, I tried them. I've done them. I lost a lot of weight doing it. Then, that was when I really started the diet yo-yo after that. The diet pills really got me, and I got those from my doctor too. The doctor prescribed diet pills, regained the weight, then I did HCG, got that from a doctor, lost a lot of weight, regained the weight, but then I was really like obese and struggling. It's not supposed to damage your metabolism, but I don't agree with that. I don't think that's true. I think that theory, just on my own personal response, I don't think that it's true. I think it tanked my metabolism, because suddenly, I gained way past any setpoint I'd ever had before, and I was over 200 pounds for the first time ever. Before all the crazy diets, I was hanging out around 160s as my upper limit. Then, I did all these crazy diets with the diet pills and the HCG, and then all of a sudden, my setpoint is now 200 or 180, in that range.

It definitely harmed my body long term. Thank goodness, I think intermittent fasting helped me reverse it. If it were me, Elizabeth, if I were finishing HCG right now today, and discovered intermittent fasting in the middle of it, I think I would go straight into the eating window approach, because you've already been eating practically nothing. Gosh, actually see, I don't know, because I’m thinking maybe the alternate-day fasting approach would be a good one for her, because her metabolism is probably slow. So you want to boost it again. I would probably, I don't know, you've already been eating a very tiny amount. Those are down days. I might would do alternate daily fasting. Down day, up day, down day, up day. As far as are you're going to reintroduce carbs, I don't know. The original doctor that created this protocol, Dr. Simeons, did have you restrict carbs, but I don't know that was like the magic. I think that just kept you from “regaining” that water weight because you lose a lot of water when you're doing a really restrictive diet like HCG. Then carbs, you eat carbs, and it causes your body to retain water. It's like rapid weight gain, but really, it's like a lot of water. Restricting the carbs as you ease back into eating would keep that from happening, which is what he wanted you to do.

Then, he wanted you to crash diet if your weight went up, like eat a tomato or something or have a tomato and steak day or some crazy nonsense like that. If your weight went up, you're supposed to have a steak day. Eat tomatoes all day and need a big steak or fast all day and then eat a steak, I can't even remember.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I think it's a one meal a day steak.

Gin Stephens: With just a steak.

Melanie Avalon: It's like carnivore one meal a day.

Gin Stephens: Maybe, that could be it. I think that actually is, but that's the super-duper crash diet. I am not judging anybody who does it, because I did it. I’m just going back and giving my back in the past self, giving her a hug.

Melanie Avalon: The interesting thing about HCGs, the macros of it are very similar to protein-sparing modified fast, which Gary actually talks about in his book about basically being the only “crash diet” that actually pretty much consistently always works because I think HCG is, isn't it like 500 calories of basically protein?

Gin Stephens: A day, yep.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. If it were me, I would probably just jump into IF, but maybe start with a longer eating window and making sure that you're eating a lot.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, maybe so, because I was thinking about that too. I almost went that direction. It's hard to know either way, coming from the perspective of your metabolism slowed after all that crash dieting.

Melanie Avalon: I just feel I need to be saying this more when we're getting questions especially from people who are hungry or trying to boost their metabolism, focusing on protein I think is so, so important. That's another one of the Big Fat Keto Lies that Marty talks about, is people think fat is satiating, protein is the macronutrient that is most satiating. I think focusing on protein can be really, really important for boosting metabolism and for weight loss, because it's the best of both worlds in that regard, and that it fills you up the most of any food, but it's not very likely to be stored as fat like we don't preferentially store protein as fat. Oh, actually, I don't know if it was in Marty's book. I think it was Marty's book. He mentioned a study about whey, and even in a study where they added in excess calories through processed whey protein, excess calories, the participants did not gain weight from it which I actually would have thought maybe they would when it's fat processed.

Gin Stephens: Because it was whey.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, and it's whey, which is very--

Gin Stephens: Dairy droved.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it's growth promoting. Protein is a really good macronutrient to focus on if you're trying to lose weight, trying to be full. It's probably why I’ve been eating such a high-- I eat such a high protein diet for so long. But yeah, I will probably just jump into IF with a longer eating window. Especially if you're worried about gaining back a lot of weight after that, that's another reason I would really focus on protein. So, I would encourage you, Elizabeth, not to go crazy, and if you're eating tons of carbs and tons of fat, it's very likely that you might gain back a large part of-- not just water, you might gain back in fat a large part of what you lost. If you want to maintain whatever you did lose, I would really focus on protein and then looking at your macros.

Gin Stephens: I wouldn't just reintroduce all the things. That's a tricky one.

Melanie Avalon: I know.

Gin Stephens: I’m glad that you found us, Elizabeth, that makes me really-- or Beth. She goes by Beth. I’m glad you found us, Beth, and don't be scared if your weight goes back up a little bit, don't blame the intermittent fasting. Blame the HCG and know that it's going to go back up a little bit, and then it might take a little while longer for you to actually start burning fat well and start really losing more weight, just because your body's got to learn to trust you again. You definitely don't want to do intermittent fasting in a way that's also overly restrictive. That won't be helpful. Can I get something off my chest real quick?

Melanie Avalon: Sure.

Gin Stephens: I’m so frustrated by the whole women shouldn't do intermittent fasting at certain times of the month or we’re too fragile a flower to do intermittent fasting. That is really becoming more and more out there as just common knowledge, but I don't think it's true. I think women should not be overly restrictive with their diet. The fact that all of a sudden, we're like, “Well that means intermittent fasting is out,” intermittent fasting that is overly restrictive is the problem, but that doesn't mean no woman should ever do intermittent fasting during our cycles. I don't know. Maybe they haven't eaten with me. I eat a lot of food. [laughs] Nobody's telling those women not to do a 1200 calorie a day diet. That's overly restrictive, a traditional diet.

Melanie Avalon: I agree as well. I was also just thinking one of the other things people say. People say it's too hard for women especially to eat enough protein. I was just thinking about. It's probably really hard if you're not focusing on protein and so you're eating a lot of fat with it, or a lot of-- carbs might make it easier to a lot protein, but I think people focus so much on fat a lot of the times that that would make it harder to eat a lot of protein.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, just over-restriction is really hard on a woman's body. Over-restriction is hard on our body. But to then say, “Well, then women shouldn't fast certain times of the month,” I don't buy that argument. Even though some really well-known voices that I respect are starting to say that more it's common knowledge, I disagree. Anyway.

Melanie Avalon: I don't feel good when I’m not doing my fasting. This is me personally. I don't feel it helps my hormones. I feel much better hormonally during my fasting window, like hands down. But everybody's individual, that said, I do think there might be some women who do better with--

Gin Stephens: Yep. Particularly if they struggle with eating sufficiently, because they've trained themselves to be a dieter for example, and they're a restrained eater. If someone eats like a bird, tiny little amounts of it, maybe they just naturally can't eat a lot at one time. Okay, then they might need a longer window. It's not the fasting that's the problem, it's the fact that you can't eat enough food within your eating window, like that person shouldn't then try to do one meal a day in a one-hour window. I wouldn't recommend that. If you're eating this tiny little amount of food, that's not good for you, it's over-restriction. We don't want to over-restrict our bodies, women.

Melanie Avalon: Exactly.

Gin Stephens: But that doesn't mean that fasting is over-restriction. That's the part that I keep getting frustrated about. Assuming that fasting means over-restricting, and it does not to me.

Melanie Avalon: They're not synonyms.

Gin Stephens: Right.

Melanie Avalon: They are often posited as such.

Gin Stephens: Well, they are. There's this whole complicated graphic that people are now sharing that came from somewhere, and I know where it came from, not going to say, but it's like, “Here's how you fast every week of your cycle.” I’m like, “No, you might have a hungrier day. Listen to your body, do it.”

Melanie Avalon: That sounds really complicated.

Gin Stephens: It does. I don't know that there's solid science of why you would do that. Other than, yeah, your body might need more nutrients at a certain time of your cycle. My body was always good at telling me that, I can remember-- back earlier and before I got on this side of menopause, I remember, when I was doing intermittent fasting and losing weight, there'd be a day and I'd be like, “Oh my God, I’m so hungry today. What's wrong? I just ate and ate and ate and ate and ate and why am I so hungry and then?” Then, boom, the next day, I would have the reason why I would know. Every time it was a mystery. [laughs] Every month, I was surprised that I was so hungry. My body really communicated that well to me and I listened. I didn't try to diet through it. I didn't punish myself.

Melanie Avalon: You still ate what you wanted.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, I ate more. My body pretty much commanded me to. I've always had a hard time-- Even though I did those crazy restrictive diets, they weren't easy for me. When I’m hungry, I want to eat. My body's like, “Eat.” I’m like, “Okay.”

Melanie Avalon: Me too. [laughs] That's why we're both here.

Gin Stephens: I think so.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah.

Gin Stephens: Gin can eat, y'all.

Melanie Avalon: So can Melanie, so much. I've already said this. It's a dead horse, but the amount of protein I eat every day is, I mean, it's pounds.

Gin Stephens: That's so funny, not me. Nope, not pounds of protein.

Melanie Avalon: It's so good. [laughs] Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. A few things for listeners before we go. If you would like to submit your own questions to the show, you can directly email questions@ifpodcast.com, or you can go to ifpodcast.com, and you can submit questions there. The show notes for today's episode will be at ifpodcast.com/episode207. You can get all the stuff that we like at ifpodcast.com/stuffwelike. You can follow us on Instagram. My Instagram is-- Gin, it's going really well-

Gin Stephens: Oh, good.

Melanie Avalon: -recently. Follow us. How's your Instagram?

Gin Stephens: I've decided I’m just going to live my life on Instagram. I’m just going to be Gin Stephens’ person on Instagram. If you want to come to Instagram and see what Gin Stephens’ person is doing, I don't need to be Gin Stephens. Argh. [laughs] I've just feeling very much like I just want to get back to basics. Maybe that's why I’m doing this new web platform. Just because I’m like-- I don't want to be, “Here's my dinner. Woo.” Maybe, “Here I am, everybody, come sit by me.”

Melanie Avalon: I think I really like Instagram-- well, besides the fact that selfies really stress me out, I like it, because I really like creating-- my background is film and theater, so I love creating visual content. It's combines my love for visual content with words because you-- I never thought about this until right now. You write as well, so I think that's me probably why I really like it. It's like creating little artwork.

Gin Stephens: Not me. I’m like, “Here's my backyard remodel.” Did you see that picture?

Melanie Avalon: I did. No, okay, I saw it really briefly, and I just saw wreckage and I was like, “Oh my gosh, was there is--" no, I was like, “Was there a storm in Augusta, is her house gone?”

Gin Stephens: Can I just tell you how crazy I am right now? I’m going through so many things, the book, and the website launch, and also our backyard remodel that we tried to start in the fall, but we're demoing everything. Well, it's halfway done, but the wood was rotten on the decks that were on the back, plus there was an arbor, all rotten, all needed to go. We knew it needed to be replaced when we bought the house. We got a great deal on this house, it needed some work. The pool though, huge pool from the 80s, it's full of cracks, a tree fell in it in 2014. They had an ice storm. Well, we had ice storm, and it cracked the pool, and so we were going to have to put all this money into fixing it. They're going to dig it all up. All that concrete is cracked, it has to go. The whole surround. So, I have a bobcat, one of those digger things, is in my front yard right now and they have to get it into the backyard. They're going to take down a fence. I think they start doing that tomorrow. They're going to start digging up all that-- it’s a 10-foot-deep pool.

Melanie Avalon: That's intense.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, fixing it was going to cost more than just digging it up. That sounds crazy, but we're starting over, we're going to put in a screened porch, because I really missed having the screen porch. We're putting in a small pool, like a dunk pool.

Melanie Avalon: You have a real bobcat in the picture. Does Ellie not have a tail?

Gin Stephens: That's Ellie. You remember she got hit by the car, and then her tail had to be amputated. She's just my little cutie, but, yeah, in that picture, she's got a face on it, doesn’t she? She's got some attitude. I love that cat.

Melanie Avalon: It's really funny. I’m looking at it right now.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, anyway, that's what I’m going to put on Instagram. I’m not going to try to influence you at all. I am not an influencer. I’m an anti-influencer.

Melanie Avalon: I’m an anti-influencer, who became an influencer. I give away a lot of free stuff.

Gin Stephens: Oh, I’m not anti-influencers. Let me just say that. I am an anti-influencer, but I’m not anti-influencers.

Melanie Avalon: Yes, exactly.

Gin Stephens: I’m just the anti-influencer. I’m not giving you anything. I’m not giving anything away.

Melanie Avalon: I give away a lot of stuff, listeners, so follow me. I usually give away every week something.

Gin Stephens: Well, follow me to see a very interesting backyard remodel.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, my gosh.

Gin Stephens: I can't wait though, because I really want to be able to enjoy the yard, and I like to go outside and sit on a screened porch. The mosquitoes here are tragic.

Melanie Avalon: I feel remodeling for you is therapeutic or something. You're always remodeling something.

Gin Stephens: Well, we bought this house that was built in the 80s, and needed to be-- it’s built in 1979, I said that wrong. It was built in 1979. The people who bought it from moved in 1984. The pool was built in the 80s. It just needed some work. When you have a house, there's always something that has to be done.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah.

Gin Stephens: This one needed some stuff. Bathroom, that's all finally done, thank you. The backyard. But it's very stressful.

Melanie Avalon: I can't wait to finally have a house, sometime.

Gin Stephens: I can't wait for it to be done. I told Chad, because I’m so busy. He likes to spend 100 years looking at stuff. “Look, you just pick two things and say which one, this one or that and I'll tell you.”

Melanie Avalon: Oh, so he picks. Okay. Yeah, that's good plan.

Gin Stephens: Well, in this case, I like to pick stuff. I don't have time right now to go to Lowe's, and then Home Depot, and then the other place, and then all the places, then back to Lowe's, because that's the way Chad shops. Sorry. [laughs] I’m like, “Hmm, that one.”

Melanie Avalon: He can do that, and pick two and then you pick one?

Gin Stephens: Yeah.

Melanie Avalon: That works well.

Gin Stephens: I’m very decisive.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah.

Gin Stephens: The one I'd say that one too is always the one we end up going with. Even if we've been to 100 places, we always get back to the one that I liked immediately. [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: Wait, can I share really quick one last thing that relates?

Gin Stephens: Yes.

Melanie Avalon: It goes with being decisive. Listeners, fun fact, if you're trying to throw away things, like clean out your apartment, throw away clothes, but you want to hold on to it for whatever reason, just do it when you're completely sleep deprived. It's like when I got back from the trip, and I was completely sleep deprived, I was like must throw away everything. I throw away so much stuff. That's the key.

Gin Stephens: It feels so good, doesn't it?

Melanie Avalon: That's the key. Next time, you're sleep deprived, which is not a good thing, turn it into a good thing. Use the decision fatigue and the exhaustion to throw away all these things that you were having trouble letting go of, like old clothes and stuff, shoes.

Gin Stephens: Very nice. I need to do that. I've got clothes that are no longer in style. Isn't that amazing? I've been the same weight for so long, that my clothes have gone out of style, that I bought.

Melanie Avalon: I think, I must not buy many clothes. I hold on to my outfits for a long time.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, because you always wear the same thing.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, pretty much during the day.

Gin Stephens: That's funny. Oh, by the way, I didn't tell you this. Today is the day, the day that we're recording this, today is the day that six years ago today I hit my initial goal weight.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, wow.

Gin Stephens: Today is the day. March 14th, 2015. I was 75 pounds down.

Melanie Avalon: Happy six-year anniversary.

Gin Stephens: Thank you. I've maintained for six years. Oh, also one more funny story. My Shapa was acting super wacky. I was like my age was going up, I was gray, gray, gray, gray, gray. I’m like, “That's not right.” It did that for three weeks. I changed the batteries. [laughs] It needed the batteries to be changed. People, if your Shapa is acting wacky, change the batteries. Got on it. I was 24 again instead of-- [laughs]

Melanie Avalon:  Oh, wow. That's really interesting.

Gin Stephens: It was interesting. No scales, when they lose-- It was also taking it a long time to take a reading. I would stand on it, and it took forever.

Melanie Avalon: I still want to reach out to the founder. Gin, I am so overwhelmed with guests. I have interviews scheduled for episodes airing through November. They're all people I have to read like-- [laughs] people keep coming to me and being like, “Oh, you should have this person on your show.” I’m like, “Nope, [laughs] the door is closed.” Unless you’re a New York Times bestseller, that'll get you in the door.

Gin Stephens: That's nice to be able to have options that people want to come on your show. I know that you're proud of that.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, oh, sorry, yeah, that came off as ungrateful. I’m really grateful for it.

Gin Stephens: It did not come off as ungrateful.

Melanie Avalon: I’m just really overwhelmed when people come to, especially because sometimes, like some well-known people in the biohacking sphere will try to recommend their friends and stuff and, I'm like, “I could circle back in a few months.”

Gin Stephens: That does make it hard. Same with me, I've got so many people that want to come on Intermittent Fasting Stories that I keep pushing them back, and I feel bad because I know they have a good story. I would like to tell it, but there's one a week.

Melanie Avalon: It's hard to know too-- I don't want the content to be too old. It's something I’m trying to figure out right now. At what point is that way too far in advance? Typically, it's books, so the content is pretty relevant.

Gin Stephens: But people want to come on right when it's launched. Yeah.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it's hard to know.

Gin Stephens: All right, we’ll come to dddsocialnetwork.com and visit the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast group.

Melanie Avalon: Another social group.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, you're going to love it though.

Melanie Avalon: I know. I will.

Gin Stephens: Everybody there came there specifically because they like the community. That is what is so exciting. It's not like Facebook where people are just there already, and they're like, “Well, I'll come over here if I want to, but I might not like you, and I’m going to tell you.” [laughs] Everybody who's on the DDD Social Network came there on purpose. It is just so exciting to be there with them. I love them all so much. I love the people on Facebook too. Facebook people, do not feel unloved, but sometimes, somebody will wander in that might not be as good of a fit. Anyway, that's all I’m going to say.

Melanie Avalon: I’m really shocked-- this is the last thing, I know we've said that like a million times. I recently started my Clean Beauty and Safe Skincare Facebook group. I’m really shocked. My IF Biohackers Facebook group, which is my main hub, I don't ever get spammers in that group ever, like ever. I don't get people trying to join who are spammers. I don't get spam posts.

Gin Stephens: We get them in the Life Lessons. We do. They try to join.

Melanie Avalon: My Clean Beauty one, like half of the requests are spam requests. I don't know if it has something to do with the keywords like people are searching-- This group has around almost 900 members. Yeah, everyday, half of the requests are spam.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, and it's really hard. I feel like people coming to the DDD Social Network and paying a membership fee are not going to be spammers.

Melanie Avalon: Right, that's going to filter that out.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, so I’m not going to have to worry about that. People would join the regular group before we changed the way it posts now. People would join it, and then they would get a post approved, through post approval. Then they would edit their post to some crazy spam posts, even post approval didn't fix it. It'll be some crazy spam post. They had this order, they would do it and it'd be called it getting pancaked, but we couldn't talk about it because we didn't want to teach people you could edit your posts. Someone would come in and they'd post something. They started copying and pasting old posts. There was one of our Hashimoto’s that they would use. Then we started to recognize them, we’d just block them straight from there, but they would copy this Hashimoto’s post, and then they would change it to, “Today, I’m five years sober.” Which, do you know why they would do that?

Melanie Avalon: No.

Gin Stephens: Because that drives a lot of engagement quickly, because everybody's like, “Oh, my God, congratulations. Thank you for sharing that. I support you.” Then they would have a million. Then they would change it to, “The admins of this group are about to start dropping inactive members, please comment me if you want to stay.” Then people would go, “Me, me, me.” I mean, you could just see. Then they would change it to, “These are the best pancakes I've ever had.”

Melanie Avalon: Oh, that's why you called it pancake.

Gin Stephens: Pancaking. Yes. It was always this pancake, and I’m like, “I don't know what happens if you click that pancake link,” but something bad is going to happen if you click it, but we called it getting pancaked, and somebody would post on there, like, “I think we're about to get pancaked,” and we'd be like, “Yeah, that looks like one,” and then we would keep our eye on it, and then sure enough, then we would block them. Now, Facebook has changed it. If you have post approval turned on, it sends edits back through the approval process. So, hallelujah. But now, they're just putting the spam in the comments.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I’m really grateful. Hopefully it won't change. My main hub is much smaller than yours. I think it's almost 8000 or 9000, but I don't know, we don't really get spam.

Gin Stephens: We don't get a lot of spam in the advanced group.

Melanie Avalon: Maybe, spammers are not searching out Biohacking groups compared to-- I don't know, it's weird. Well, okay. This has been absolutely wonderful.

Gin Stephens: It's been a lot of fun. I needed it. Lord, I have so much to do. I have so much to do, Melanie. Anyway, send me positive productive thoughts.

Melanie Avalon: Sending you sane, productive, wonderful vibes. Take some Feals CBD.

Gin Stephens: Oh, that's a good idea.

Melanie Avalon: Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. I will talk to you next week.

Gin Stephens: All right, talk to you then. Bye.

Melanie Avalon: Bye.

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

STUFF WE LIKE

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

More on Gin: GinStephens.com

Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox: LelandCox.com

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

 

 

Nov 15

Episode 187: Blood Sugar Variation, Flexibility, Yen Yoga, Collagen, Elastin, Losing Weight A Second Time, Berberine, And More!

Intermittent Fasting

Welcome to Episode 187 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, hosted by Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine and Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living An Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle

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

BUTCHERBOX: Grass-Fed Beef, Organic Chicken, Heritage Pork, Wild-Caught Seafood: Nutrient-Rich, Raised Sustainably The Way Nature Intended, And Shipped Straight To Your Door! For A Limited Time, New Members Get 2 New York Strips And 4 Top Sirloin Steaks When They Place Their First Order At Butcherbox.com/ifpodcast

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To submit your own questions, email questions@IFpodcast.com, or submit your questions here!! 

SHOW NOTES

1:10 - BUTCHERBOX: For A Limited Time, New Members Get 2 New York Strips And 4 Top Sirloin Steaks When They Place Their First Order At Butcherbox.com/ifpodcast

3:25 - BEAUTYCOUNTER: Keep Your Fast Clean Inside And Out With Safe Skincare! Shop With Us At Melanieavalon.com/beautycounter, And Something Magical Might Happen After Your First Order!

The Melanie Avalon Podcast Episode #60 - Wim Hof

INSIDE TRACKER: Go To Melanieavalon.com/Getinsidetracker And Use The Coupon Code MELANIE30 For 30% Off All Tests Sitewide!

16:00 - Listener Feedback: Miranda - Answer to Paige’s Flexibility Question Ep. 173

25:00 - Listener Q&A: Katie - Second Try Has Been BRUTAL

27:45 - BIOPTIMIZERS: Go To bioptimizers.com/ifpodcast And Use Coupon Code IFPODCAST10 To Save An Extra 10% On The Immunity Protection Stack

The Melanie Avalon Podcast Episode #65 - Mira And Jayson Calton

46:10 - Listener Q&A: Amanda - Berberine

Keto Before 6®

51:10 - BLUBLOX: Go To BluBlox.com And Use The Code ifpodcast For 15% Off!

Join Our New Facebook Group: Life Lessons with Gin and Sheri

TRANSCRIPT

Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 187 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. If you want to burn fat, gain energy, and enhance your health by changing when you eat, not what you eat with no calorie counting? Then this show is for you.

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

Friends, Black Friday is coming up and I'm about to tell you how you can get early access to ButcherBox’s free steak sampler. We're talking two free grass-fed New York strips and four grass-fed top sirloins. Do not miss this. We are huge fans around here of ButcherBox. They make it easy to get high-quality humanely raised meat that you can trust shipped straight to your door. I hardcore research their practices, you guys know I do my research, and what they're doing is incredible. Their beef is 100% grass fed and grass finished. Their chicken is free range and organic. Their pork is heritage breed. And super importantly, they are all about caring for the lives of both their animals and the livelihoods of their farmers, treating our planet with respect and allowing us to enjoy better meals together.

By cutting out the middleman at the grocery store and working directly with farmers to ship directly to the consumer, they're making it actually affordable to get this amazing high-quality meat which has helped supporting the future of our planet. They have boxes that can fit every single need. So, if you want more steak or more seafood or more chicken, it's all there. And those meals come frozen for freshness, packed in an eco-friendly, 100% recyclable box. Their cattle are all 100% grass fed, roaming on pasture with room to graze. Their chickens are raised humanely, no cages, crates, or crowding, and using controlled atmosphere stunning practices to minimize stress in the animals. They uphold the strictest of standards in the seafood industry, which as I found out really crazy things go down in the seafood industry. It's shocking. If you want to learn more about that, check out my blog post about it at melanieavalon.com/butcherbox.

To get early access to Butcherbox’s insane Black Friday special, just go to butcherbox.com/ifpodcast or enter the promo code, IFPODCAST, at checkout, that will get you two free grass-fed New York strips and four free grass-fed top sirloins all in your first box. This is an insane offer. Again, that's butcherbox.com/podcast for early access to ButcherBox’s Black Friday steak sampler.

And one more thing before we jump in. Are you looking for the perfect gifts this holiday season for yourself and others? Well, the average male uses 6 skincare products per day, the average female uses 12. And as it turns out, conventional skincare and makeup is full of toxins. We're talking things like endocrine disrupters, obesogens, meaning they literally cause your body to store and gain weight, and even carcinogens linked to cancer. So, while you may be fasting clean, you may be putting compounds directly into your body during the fast that can be affecting both your health and weight loss. Thankfully, there's an easy solution.

There's a company called Beautycounter and they make an array of skincare makeup products that are extensively tested to be safe for your skin. You can feel good about all of the ingredients that you put on. Their products are even tested multiple times for heavy metals. And for the holiday season, Beautycounter has so many amazing gift sets. These are bundled products at a discount, and they make incredible gifts. Think about it. You can get the products for yourself or for your friends and family and help clean up their skincare, all in disguise of gift-giving. Works pretty well!

You can shop with us at melanieavalon.com/beautycounter. And if you use that link, something really special and magical might happen after you place your first order. If you're trying to figure out exactly which products to get, check out my beauty counter quiz, that's at melanieavalon.com/beautycounterquiz. And for the latest discounts and giveaways from me, definitely get on my clean beauty email list. That's at melanieavalon.com/cleanbeauty. All right, now back to the show.

Hi everybody, and welcome. This is episode number 187 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with Gin Stephens.

Gin Stephens: Hi, everybody.

Melanie Avalon: How are you today, Gin?

Gin Stephens: I am good. Can I tell you that my bathroom is almost done?

Melanie Avalon: Oh, like finally?

Gin Stephens: Yeah, we've had the plumbing, the lighting was done yesterday. And so, all we need now is the towel bars-- oh, and the medicine cabinet and the mirror have to be hung, then we will be finished. But you could actually go in there and do everything a bathroom is supposed to do. Just you can't look in the mirror or hang anything up.

Melanie Avalon: That is a plus.

Gin Stephens: I know, it is very exciting.

Melanie Avalon: And then, is it just the yard that you're working on?

Gin Stephens: Yeah, we're going to be working on a backyard remodel. That's going to be huge. Huh!

Melanie Avalon: To your tropical oasis with Paris?

Gin Stephens: Will see. Yeah, I'm excited. I can't wait. I miss my screened porch. I looked at my Facebook memories today, and one year ago today I was sitting on the floor in my old house with workmen. We were getting ready. It was under contract and we were getting ready to close at the end of the month. So, gosh, so many memories from that. But I haven't had a screened porch since we left that house.

Melanie Avalon: I didn't realize you had a screened porch.

Gin Stephens: At my other house? Oh yeah, I loved it. I sat out there all the time.

Melanie Avalon: I would not sit up there all the time. Actually, I would during the winter.

Gin Stephens: Mainly, I'm out there in the summer, in the spring, in the fall. When it's cold, no. But I like it the rest of the time.

Melanie Avalon: Speaking of the cold, guess what showed up at my door yesterday and made my life?

Gin Stephens: Well, I don't know, unless it was a chest freezer.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, that would really make my life. You know I had Wim Hof on the show recently? It was a celebratory Wim Hof giftbox with the official-- Oh, it's so exciting. I had a galley of the book. So, I had a pre-release, not finalized version. So, it was like the hardcover actual version, like a Wim Hof towel that says, “Breathe mother F,” because he always says that, that's his phrase. And then, an ice cube tray and a motivational magnet. Oh, my goodness.

Gin Stephens: That's so fun!

Melanie Avalon: My day was made. So, I have a CGM update.

Gin Stephens: Oh, okay, how's that going?

Melanie Avalon: It's going well. I don't know-- today might be the last day. I'm actually interviewing Levels tomorrow. And then, I'm interviewing Nutrisense in a month, but I had a huge epiphany. So, we were talking just a second ago, you and I. I recently did the-- so InsideTracker, which is a David Sinclair affiliated company. They do a lot of genetic testing and blood testing and things like that. And they have a new InnerAge thing. They test, I don't know, it's like 12 key biomarkers to determine your “biological” or your real age. The good thing was that said I was younger than I am. So, I was like, “Okay, that's a plus.” But what was really interesting was I measured my blood sugar on it, and I guess just because of the timing of it-- and it matched my CGM for the time that I got it, but the timing of it, my blood sugar was 79, or something, which is my good number. Historically, I always feel really good in the high 70s.

But looking at my CGM over the past few weeks-- we talked about this last show, it fluctuates so much, even during the fast. If I hadn't been doing the CGM and I just done that one blood test, I would have been like, “Oh, I'm sure my blood sugar is always in the 70s then.” It made me realize getting a blood test and checking your blood sugar, you have no idea. You've no idea what that even means.

Gin Stephens: You don't know where you are on the curve exactly. It could be on the way up, on the way down. That could be your peak, that could be your valley. It's so interesting.

Melanie Avalon: It is. I'm just looking back at all the blood tests I've done historically and how I would so judge myself almost based on what the blood sugar was. Now, I've realized literally, depending on which minute I went in, it could have been--

Gin Stephens: I mean, 10 points higher. Yeah, it's crazy. That was the most eye-opening thing for me.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. And then, the other thing was, how high would your blood sugar go after meals? After your curvy meals?

Gin Stephens: Gosh, I'm trying to remember. It's been over a month. I don't know, like 130 normally? That’s how it would go.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, because I've been in 120s.

Gin Stephens: 120s, 130. One time, it went up a little higher than that, but I don't think it ever went out of the 130s. I don't know. I don't know where that data. I had it somewhere downloaded, but--

Melanie Avalon: Was it just through the FreeStyle Libre app or was it--?

Gin Stephens: It was, but then I found a website that you could sync it with. Let me see, I might have some notes.

Melanie Avalon: While you're looking, the interesting thing that I realized was eating lower carb meals or even fruit meals, my blood sugar, it would spike, but it would go like 110, highest like 120 and then pretty quickly go down, and then it would go down too far. But last night, I ate way more carbs than normal and, oh my goodness, it went up to like 200 something.

Gin Stephens: Oh my gosh. Okay, see, I found some of my data. This is just some very early data that I-- I went up to 135 one time. But normally, like after dinner, I would go up like 112. After pasta, I went up to 121.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, because the highest I would really ever go when eating my normal foods was 120. But it would normally go to 110-ish, between 110 and 120.

Gin Stephens: Here's some data that I had. I had two pieces of toast and two eggs on top, and my blood glucose went up to 109 after two pieces of toast with eggs.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, so last night, I ate some-- it's like Rice Krispies but there's no additives or anything like that. And it shot up to 200.

Gin Stephens: Wow, yeah, I never saw anything above-- Really, maybe 140 at one time. I never saw anything above, and I was like, “Oh my God, what's happened?”

Melanie Avalon: 217!

Gin Stephens: Yeah. I wish I had all that data. Even after the muffins, it didn't go up all that much.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it never really dropped hypoglycemic, did you, after meals?

Gin Stephens: No, not after meals. In the middle of the night, it got down in the tiny little red. I can't remember what the boundary was. Was it, like 69 was the boundary? It turns red. I can't remember. But I got down there just a couple times. But mostly it was not there.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, mine would always draw pretty well, although I was talking with Levels about it and they said a few things. And I'm excited because I'm interviewing them tomorrow, so I have so many questions for them. But they said that, A, if you sleep on the sensor, that can cut off circulation, like if it's on your arm, so that can lead to false like--

Gin Stephens: The middle of the night readings can be weird.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it could be that. And then, he also said that they never really test like historically people's blood sugar levels all night. So, we don't have a lot of data in general about what's normal for--

Gin Stephens: That's a good point.

Melanie Avalon: --nighttime, so yeah. Oh, and for listeners. A CGM is a continuous glucose monitor. I've just assumed that everybody knows what you're talking about. But it's basically a little thing that you put on your skin and it measures your-- What is it, interstitial fluid? To give you a sense of your blood sugar levels throughout the day constantly.

Gin Stephens: And it really is fascinating data and I really hope that it becomes more mainstream for people to use as a preventative health measure. It's not a trinket, it's not a fun toy. It's not something like, “Oh, look at this!” It's something that is powerful data. Yes, it's fun to see, it's interesting to see, but it's powerful data about how your body responds to these foods. And so, it can really make a difference when you choose. You're probably not going to choose that Rice Krispy thing again, right?

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, no.

Gin Stephens: For me, though, when my blood glucose went up to 135, that was after coconut water, which really surprised me. I mean, I love coconut water.

Melanie Avalon: It's really interesting. It did make me feel better though about the fruit because I was stressing about the fruit. But now it's like, “Oh, well, compared to that.” So, maybe it was a good thing to experience.

Gin Stephens: I made sure to eat the way I normally eat when I was using it. I didn't test things in isolation. When I had the toast with eggs, that's how I would normally have it because I wanted to get a picture of how it looked with my normal day. My normal day really made me happy. My normal day, my blood glucose is within a tight little range and it goes up, but then it goes down. And it's a nice little gentle-- It looked good. It made me feel really good about it.

Melanie Avalon: I'm still a little bit sad because it seems that if I do my keto-ish like approach, it's pretty good, and the Levels app gives me a good metabolic score and it stays within the target range, but I would still in general like it like a little bit lower and then I would also like to be eating more fruit, but goals. The good thing is because it comes in two weeks cycles, the sensors, and I have Levels send me too. So, I have another one I can use. I have to try out Nutrisense and then Levels said they're going to start trialing other brand. So, I think I'll probably trial that as well. So, I think I have like-- what is that? 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, that's like 6 more weeks' worth of sensors that I can potentially play with. And then, I'm going to be like never again, not really.

Gin Stephens: It's just so interesting. I really think that people who are concerned about long-term health, before you start having prediabetes, that's when you would know, you could really dial in what works for you and then prevent. If health insurance companies were smart, they would let everybody have a trial of these to see what foods-- anyone who's interested. Maybe not everybody, not everybody cares. But for anyone who did, it shouldn't be so hard to get them. They should pay you to do them. It should be like, “We'll give you $250 if you wear this for two weeks and learn from your data.” I mean that would be a wellness strategy for these insurance companies and it would prevent them from paying out thousands of dollars later for sickness. Anyway, I'm not in charge of that. Nobody has to be!

Melanie Avalon: So, listeners, stay tuned, though, because I will be having two interviews with both companies, and I'll probably have discounts or some sort of offer. So, exciting! Shall we jump into everything for today?

Gin Stephens: Yes. We have some listener feedback, which is answer to "Paige’s Flexibility Question From 173," and it's from Miranda. She says, “Hello, Gin and Melanie. I've been listening to your podcast for two years now and I love all the great information you have to offer and your willingness to entertain so many questions from your listeners. I'm happy to be part of such a valued community. I'm just getting caught up on some older podcasts and have some answers for a question you had from Paige from Australia in episode 173 - does IF increase your flexibility? You weren't able to fully answer this, and I am happy to fill in some blanks for you.

I have been practicing yin yoga for over 10 years and teaching it for over six years. Yin yoga is a style of yoga that focuses on purposefully stressing our connective tissue to increase elasticity and ease of movement. It is thought to have been discovered by monks thousands of years ago to help them sit more comfortably during hours of meditation. Connective tissues are the plastic-like tissues in the body, the fascia, ligaments, tendons, etc., that wrap around and connect muscles and bones. And now, they're discovering it runs like a web through muscle and bone. With stress, injury, dehydration, and life, the connective tissue gets tangled, sticky, and begins to shrink wrap our bodies restricting movement. In order to "untangle" and rehydrate that connective tissue, it needs to be purposely stressed. This is what we do in yin yoga. Stressing muscle is done through resistance movement, with or without weight. We're all very familiar with this.

Stressing connective tissue requires consistent tension and/or compression. Usually, both are happening concurrently with minimal muscular effort for a period of time, usually four to six minutes. It takes an average of two to three minutes for the muscles in the area to let go so that the stress can be focused on the connective tissue. During this time, the area being stressed sends a message out, “here's where the work needs to be done.” And the fibroblasts know where to go to start untangling those bunched and knotted-up collagen and elastin fibers and start laying them out in nice, neat, stretchy layers.” And then she adds a little note, this is a very simplified explanation. “This works similarly to acupuncture, but on a wider scale and not literally a pinpoint. Think of a big knotted-up ball of yarn. You have both loose ends in hand, but when you pull, they don't go far. If you take the time, you can untangle the ball of yarn and then layer it back and forth into a nice, neat skein. Now, when you pull on the loose ends, you can pull for miles.

The answer to Paige’s question is twofold. First, Melanie, you are on the right track looking for studies about the effects on cartilage. And Gin, you were partway there when talking about being as flexible at 50 as you were when you were a teen dancer. I believe a lot of that can be attributed to IF and increased autophagy. When our bodies have the time, as they do with IF, they get to go around and clean up the broken-down proteins, i.e., collagen and elastin, which tends to get deprioritized as we age. So, you have less tangled messes that can get taken care of without a practice like yin yoga or acupuncture, although either or both would still be very beneficial.

The second part of the answer, and what I think Paige is experiencing as she was pretty recent in her IF journey, is looking at our flexibility and asking, ‘What's stopping us?’ That answer is either tension or compression or a combination. It's different for all of us in different positions or poses. An easy way to experience this is to stand up, bend over, and try to touch your toes. Can you do it? If not, what's stopping you? Is it the tight sensation you feel in your lower back or in your hamstrings or calves? That's tension. That can be worked through over time with consistent practice. Are you able to touch your toes? Yes. Can you fold completely in half with your head between your knees, your knees on your ears? Why not, what's stopping you? Now, you're likely experiencing compression.

Compression comes in three major forms. Soft, medium, and hard. Soft compression is how it sounds, soft tissue meeting soft tissues, big fat. Using the same example as above, envision an obese person doing the same exercise. Let's pretend they don't have too much tension stopping them from doing that forward fold. They will likely be stopped by the compression of their belly pressing against their thighs. They may still be able to touch their toes or the floor because that can somewhat displace and make space for that to happen. With IF, as we lose this thigh and belly fat, we can increase flexibility. This position in particular will feel a little more comfortable, at least from the compression side of things. And we may start to meet our tension threshold in our lower back and our hamstrings now that we have more flexibility/range of motion. This sensation will likely change as our bodies change.”

Melanie Avalon: Can I interject really quick? So, is she saying that literally losing the weight, it's like a physical barrier that's creating?

Gin Stephens: Yes. When I was obese, I couldn't reach down and paint my toenails. My belly got in the way. 100%.

Melanie Avalon: That is so interesting. I mean, it makes complete sense. I just never really thought about it that way.

Gin Stephens: Yep, I've been there. It's true. I had to sit differently. I couldn't sit cross-legged. And there are a lot of ways I couldn't move. I mean shaving your legs, things like that just were so different to do. It's hard to even remember.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah.

Gin Stephens: Putting on shoes, all those things. But, yeah, and now I appreciate being able to just do whatever, use my body however I want to. All right, back to her comments. “Medium compression is interesting and what we often experience in our joints. This is a bone-flesh-bone sandwich. Try sitting on the floor cross-legged style. Do you feel a pinching in your leg creases? This is medium compression. It often feels pinchy. If that position feels completely comfortable to you, great.” It does, by the way, I can sit like that. Can you sit cross-legged comfortably, Melanie?

Melanie Avalon: Pretty sure.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, I do all the time. “But I'm sure you've experienced the same sensation in other positions at some point in time. Medium compression often doesn't change in people unless they have “fat show” or “deposits” around the tissues of the joints, most likely in someone more obese. Again, as those fat stores are being used for energy and decreasing in size, there is more space for movement, which equals more flexibility. IF for the win again.

And finally, hard compression. This is bone-to-bone compression. Think of trying to do side splits. Many people can do front to back splits.” Yep, that's the only kind I could do. “But several of those still cannot do side splits.” Yep, I could not do those ever. “Why? Hard compression. They can spread their feet from side to side, have zero tension in their inner thighs, slide down and down, close to the ground and then stuck. What's stopping them? Their hip sockets. The head and neck of their femur fitting into the cup of their pelvis does not have the optimal sizes and angles to make this happen. In yin, we say this person doesn't have skeletal permission to go any further. There is no amount of yoga or stretching that will make this happen for them. Even IF will not change this. This is where we learn to accept our limitations. So, yes, IF can increase your flexibility and I hope this will help people have a little better understanding of their functional anatomy.

If you notice changes in flexibility and increases in the range of motion in your body, please be aware that it's critical to also strengthen the muscles in these areas to prevent injury. We need to have the strength to support the range of motion. Of course, I recommend yoga for this, more flow styles as they strengthen and lengthen muscles at the same time. If you do resistance training, it's very important that you have a great stretching routine on your rest days or at the end of your workouts. Try to hold your stretches with minimal muscular effort for three to four minutes instead of the likely 20 to 30 seconds you're used to. Thank you for listening to this long answer. But I know how much you both dig into research and I didn't want to sell you short.” That was great. Thank you, Miranda.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I learned so much. Who knew?

Gin Stephens: I did not know.

Melanie Avalon: I liked her part about this-- What did she say about the skeletal--?

Gin Stephens: Limitations. It's true. Yeah. I was never going to be able to do a side split no matter how hard I tries.

Melanie Avalon: It's good to know that that was not in the cards. Yeah, good to know that with IF and the weight loss and everything, that it can definitely affect our flexibility. All right, shall we move on to our questions?

Gin Stephens: Yes.

Melanie Avalon: All right. So, to start things off. We have a question from Katie. The subject is, “Second try has been brutal.” And Katie says, “I sometimes wonder if my metabolism is irreparably damaged. I'm so discouraged and ready to give up and regain, no pun intended, that unfortunate fat girl mindset that Gin has often described as accepting that you're just going to get fatter and fatter.”

Gin Stephens: I want to interject there. I felt that way for a time. So, for people who haven't heard me say that, there was a time in my life I gave up, and it was sometime around 2012 to 2014 when I just got bigger and bigger, no matter what I did, I couldn't stick to anything. And I just said, “You know what? This is just me. I'm going to be in this big body.” I gave up. But not forever. I didn't give up forever. Thank goodness. All right. Back to you, Melanie.

Melanie Avalon: That's so surreal to me. Till 2014, you were still--?

Gin Stephens: Yeah, 2014 is when I was 210 pounds.

Melanie Avalon: I know we talked about this a lot but the reason that's so mind blowing to me is that-- because I so associate us meeting the first time that I moved to Atlanta, and I moved to Atlanta first time in 2014.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, we didn't meet till 2017.

Melanie Avalon: Was it '17?

Gin Stephens: It was '17. It was early in 17 because the podcasts-- and my book had come out already by the time we met. Yeah.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. So, I guess it was like the tail end of when I was in Atlanta the first time but it's just really surreal to me that time in Atlanta the first time around seems so short. So, the fact that all of that transformation happened all during when I was in Atlanta, and we still met when I was in Atlanta--like, that's a really quick turnaround all things considered.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, it really was because I really just was like, “This is it. This is going to happen.” And it did. Yeah, it was. I'm really, really, really proud of that. Looking back, it's hard to remember, I was just talking about how hard it was to paint my toenails and bend around and move. But you just feel hopeless because you've tried so hard. I tried so hard. I talk about this a lot for people who listen to intermittent fasting stories. This theme comes up again and again. And that's my other podcast, Intermittent Fasting Stories, for people who have not listened to that one. But people over and over share how they were successful in so many areas of their life, good at things, smart, well educated, but could not get a handle on the weight. It's really frustrating.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, inspiring, though. Very inspiring.

Gin Stephens: It is, but it's not you, it's biology, it's your body. I wrote this in Fast. Feast. Repeat. It's not that you have failed diets, diets failed you.

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Melanie Avalon: So, back to our question. She says, “I don't want to be back in that place, but I'm starting to feel like I don't have a choice. Not to say bad things about body positivity, but I don't feel positive or healthy in the current permutation of my body, no matter how much I try to regurgitate the mantras of health at all sizes, and it's the size of your heart that matters, not the size of your waist. Tell that to an obese person with an enlarged heart. Originally, I started IF 16:8 in 2017. It worked marvelously. I lost 30 pounds in less than two months without even really thinking about it. I took it very naturally. I figured I'd found the magic formula that would finally work for me after literal decades of failed diets. Naturally, I plateaued but stuck with the process. My doctor even told me how proud she was of me.

Then, my personal life kind of imploded. Last year, my father passed away less than two years after my mother did. Plus, the stress of an estate sale, the holidays, putting the house on the market, and trying to find a place to live. Needless to say, my discipline with food went straight down the toilet. I regained most of the weight I had lost.

Fast forward a year, I'm finally mostly settled. I'm in a new house, I have a decent nest egg. I'm generally in a good place emotionally. For once in my life, I feel fairly secure. I decided it was time to start fasting again. I thought I could slip right back in no problem since the first time it came naturally and worked marvelously. Boy, was I wrong. I've been at it about a month and the only way I can describe it is agonizing. Just as agonizing as all the other diets I did in the past and eventually failed it. It's 100% stagnation and frustration. Before, I ate whatever, and the weight dropped off. Now, no matter what I eat, it stays put. Before, it was easy for me to wait until 2 or 3 PM to eat and stop at 10 or 11. Now, I feel hungry all the time, regardless of how nutritious my meals are. I know, I know. I can already hear you both saying it's only been a month, but what a terrible month it has been, especially contrasted with how easily I fell into it before. What is happening?

I'm 39, so it's a little early for menopause, though it's not totally out of question. I don't have any other symptoms of early menopause though. Does my body need longer to recalibrate the second time or something? I thought once your body learned to be fat-adapted, it remembered. That seems to not be the case with me. Is this a common problem? Help. I love you guys so much. I'm a fan of this podcast and your individual podcast too. Thank you for all your help and advice.” And then, I sent her an email and I asked her what she was eating. She said, “It depends on the day. Sometimes, it's an Impossible Whopper with onion rings. Sometimes it's nutritious Poke Bowl filled with vegetables, beans, and tofu. Sometimes, it's Taco Bell. Sometimes, it's [unintelligible [00:32:42] stir fry with garlic, onions, peppers, snap peas, spinach, mushrooms, and baby corn. Sometimes, it's protein shakes and bars, which I don't necessarily think are the best. But I found that if I have them around, I will have fewer Burger King and Taco Bell days. I also started adding maca root to my protein shakes as suggested by Anna Cabeca on your show, since I also have hormone balance and energy issues. Katie.”

Gin Stephens: That’s a lot. And I see that the shift happened when you had the very stressful time of your life. You were having a lot of trouble in your personal life. Your father passed away, you recently had lost your mother, lot of stress, the holidays. And then, we've had a pandemic. So, I don't want to make light of that. But even people who did not have all the other stresses that you're going through, people have had trouble this year just because of the stress that the pandemic and all of that-- I mean, even if you had been safe at home and you haven't had any thing that is really gone wrong for you, still, the word 'pandemic,' the way that everything is set uncertain, watching the news, it has been a terribly, terribly stressful year. So, I want you to not discount all of that. The fact that it seems like you're wanting to eat, it's very likely to have something to do with the stress response, like you are just in-- you're craving food early in the day. You can't wait till 2 or 3 to eat. You’re also only a month in, which I know you said that we would say, but it is true. So, think about this. A lot of stress. You've been through a lot. You're hungry, hungry, hungry. You're fighting with it, and it's only a month in.

So, I want you to think back to when you first started in 2017. I bet you approached it with a different kind of mindset. I bet you were just trying it, you were excited, you were eased in, you let it unfold. You felt great. But right now, it feels like you're starting in a different mental place. I would encourage you if you don't have Fast. Feast. Repeat., get it. If you do have it or once you get it flip to the Mindset chapter. That is a really, really important chapter that I think could make a difference for you. Start working on changing yourself talk.

You may also want to kind of ease back a little bit. It sounds like you're really trying. Sometimes, when you try, try, try that makes it actually even harder. Maybe you're forgetting that it was a little challenging at the beginning when you first started, and you've forgotten what it was like in 2017. And you're expecting to just all of a sudden be able to wait till 2 or 3, when really, maybe it took you a while. I also want you to really examine your fast and make sure you're fasting completely clean. You didn't mention that at all. You also said you started intermittent fasting in 2017. That was a long time ago. That was before-- my guidelines for the clean fast have certainly evolved, the more I've learned and the more people I have worked with over the years since 2017. So, I really want you to examine what you're drinking. Are you putting lemon in your water? Are you putting a little splash of something in your coffee or sweeteners? That sort of thing. Is it having a little apple cider vinegar? Really, really think to anything that you're having. Stick to plain water, no flavors, nothing added. Sparkling water, no flavors, nothing added. Black coffee, plain tea, avoid all those fancy herbal teas with the fancy names. Just stick to tea, actual tea, and see if that helps.

Instead of forcing yourself to wait till 2 or 3, maybe say, “Alright, I'm going to open at noon. And I'm going to have a high-quality lunch. And then later, I'm going to have a high-quality dinner.” And you could probably fit in a six-hour window with a lunch and a dinner that are not giant lunch, giant dinner, but a satisfying lunch, satisfying dinner, within six hours. If you're white knuckling it, I want you to switch things up and try them, do different things, and see until it feels good again.

Also, work to de-stress. Anything that makes you feel good and helps you relax, add those things in, whether it's a hot bath, a sauna, working out, reading a book, anything. Listening to music, anything that helps you de-stress and feel better. What would you say, Melanie?

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I think you said a lot of great things. I recently interviewed the Caltons, they wrote a book called Rebuild Your Bones. It's about osteoporosis and bone health. But it's really about the role of micronutrients in our health and how our modern diets, it's hard to supply enough nutrients and how things like stress, really, really deplete a lot of our nutrients and our bodies aren't getting all the nutrients they need. It's very likely that we won't ever feel satisfied or full. And you went through such, such an intense stressful period that I feel probably when you first started IF, it was working for you, there wasn't this whole stress aspect. And then, this is what Gin was talking about, going through that really, really stressful time, it can really, really deplete a lot of nutrients in our body can be really taxing on our body and have a lasting effect. And I think when a lot of us go through that, it can make everything harder, including fasting, including adhering to a diet and everything.

And I say that to encourage you because I think focusing on nutrition could be really, really huge. Originally, she didn't say what she was eating, and if we just had that question without knowing what she was eating-- because you were saying that when you first did IF, you ate whatever you wanted, and the weight just dropped off. And now, it doesn't seem to matter how nutritious your meals are. What I'm wondering is because just hearing your meals, it sounds like you do alternate between meals that are potentially more on the nutritious side, like whole foods based meals, and then a lot of fast food. While a lot of people can do IF and eat fast food and see weight loss and experience the benefits, I still think food choices are really, really huge. So, I think it can be hard to know if you're doing well regardless of what you're eating, if you're not eating a certain way for a long enough period of time. So, what I mean by that is, say one day you eat more on the nutritious side. But then, the next day, it's more fast food and then it's back and forth.

Unless you're eating really nutritious meals for a longer period of time, it might be hard to know if you really are feeling this way regardless of what you eat. If you're open to not eating the fast food and focusing more on like whole foods-- and when I say whole foods, I don't mean store, I mean whole foods, especially that the foods that really appeal to you and that are really high in nutrition. I would give that a try. I would almost say in the situation that it might even be better if you're open to it. If you're really struggling with hunger, I would almost say try a spiel of-- because what windows she's doing?

Gin Stephens: She didn't say. She said she's having a hard time getting to 2 or 3, which is why I suggest, don't force it, if you're not feeling good yet. Even though before you eat-- but right now is different.

Melanie Avalon: It was easy for me to wait until 2 or 3 and stop at 10 or 11. So, she was eating like an eight-hour window from 2 to 10. So, I would almost suggest-- I don't know why I say almost. I would actually suggest that you maybe consider trying a not a fasting approach right now and actually just a food approach and eat when you're hungry, but eat whole foods and see if you can get more in touch with your satiety signals and how you're reacting to food without the fast food and things like that that might be hacking your cravings and making you want more. And then, after cleaning that up for a little bit, then move into the eating window and you might find that it's a lot easier to have a fasting window. I just really think the food choices are really huge. I think a lot of people think that when they do IF that it means they can eat whatever they want during the window. And that doesn't always work, especially if it's meals that are not that nutritionally supportive.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, I have a section in Fast. Feast. Repeat. about the phrase, “Eat whatever you want” and that people misunderstand it. When we say eat whatever you want, we mean eat whatever you want. We're not going to say this is the style you must eat to do intermittent fasting. But it doesn't mean eat whatever you want! Like, often use the analogy, you're a college freshman with your first meal plan and mom's not there. That happens for a lot of people. They've been careful eaters and then they start intermittent fasting, that is portrayed as eat whatever you want and then they throw all the other out the window. I was already eating like a college freshman before I started intermittent fasting. I did not have good nutritional habits. Over time, my tastes did change. I've talked about that a lot. But most of us are going to find, we feel better when we eat nutritious foods. That's just a fact and that's what our bodies need. So, really keep in mind that, yes, you can eat whatever you want, but that's not permission to eat whatever you want.

Melanie Avalon: Few other things, she says that she has protein shakes and bars, which she doesn't think are the best. But if she has them, she's less likely to eat Burger King or Taco Bell. What other foods could you keep on hand, whole foods that would also if you eat them, make you less likely to eat Burger King or Taco Bell? You're the one in control, you're the one in charge here, you're the one choosing what you want to buy what you keep in your house what you have access to. So, I'm sure there are foods you can find that you do think are the best and that you can keep on hand and that you could eat and have fewer of the fast-food days. Also, if you're drinking protein shakes, that's something actually, for example, that I would suggest switching that to whole foods protein. Instead of a protein shake, have chicken breast or steak or something because it's going to be much more satiating. I don't see really any reason to, especially if you're struggling to lose weight, to make all of these calories so easily assimilated.

Gin Stephens: Can I tell you what I found recently that has been just amazing for opening my window? I don't have an official affiliate relationship with them, although I'd love to. Hello, Daily Harvest, send me an email. Daily Harvest, I've been using them after I saw several people recommend them. And, yes, gin@intermittentfastingstories.com, Daily Harvest, I would love to hear from you. But I can't figure out how to contact them because I would love to have them sponsor my podcast.

Melanie Avalon: Wait, what did they do?

Gin Stephens: They have food, it is-- I mean, I know it's not all-- it's a lot of grain in there, some grain, not all grains, but it's some things you probably wouldn't eat, but it's whole foods and it comes frozen. And they have bowls, and they have flat-breads, and they have smoothies, but the ingredients list is so clean and good.

Melanie Avalon: Are they plant based?

Gin Stephens: Yes.

Melanie Avalon: I think they might have emailed us before.

Gin Stephens: Well, see if you could find that email because I just found them as a person. Gin Stephens, the person. And I have been opening my window every single day with one of their soups or one of their bowls. My husband and I will split one of their smoothies after dinner as a dessert. They don't work well for me on an empty stomach, but they work great as a dessert. We'll just share one. They are so good. If you go to ginstephens.com on the Favorite Things tab, I do have a link there that you can use to save money. It's not official, like sponsorship or anything. It's just like any person could share their link. That's what I'm doing. But it's on the Favorite Things tab at ginstephens.com. But it's also really, really tasty, and I'm not plant based. So, I might have one of their bowls and it might have lentils in there plus a ton of veggies, maybe kale. But it's so quick, you can just pop it in the microwave.

I'm going to cook a big dinner later and I cook it and prepare it, but I don't want to also fuss around with something to open my window. So, their lentil bowl with all the veggies that I can pop in the microwave, maybe I'll throw a little sour cream on there. Yes, that flavor profile that would do well with some sour cream. And I am just so satisfied. Instead of grabbing the cheese and crackers again, I'm having this really nutritious food. So, I'm just a fan. I'm really excited and recommend it. The food is so good. And my husband loves it, I love it. And it's quick. See, that's the thing. I'm busy, I'm working during the day and then I'm going to cook a full meal later for dinner, I don't also really have the time to-- and I was finding myself always grabbing broccoli and hummus or cheese and crackers. And I was in a rut just because I could grab that.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I think that's a great suggestion. I would really focus on the food choices if it was me.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, I think that's good advice. All right. We have a question from Amanda. Amanda says, “I started listening to the podcast last week on episode 41 now. I remember you mentioned berberine and I want to know if I can still take it without a meal because I've tried to do one or two 40-hour fast a week. Bottle says once daily with meal or as directed by a healthcare professional. I typically have a window later in the day for regular days, just not sure about taking it on 40-hour fast days. I just bought it today. So, I want to know the best way to take it before I start. I've been intermittent fasting since February of 2020.”

Melanie Avalon: All right, berberine. So, this would actually be a really good situation to have a CGM to see how you react to berberine during the fast. So, for listeners berberine is-- Well, okay. So, there's a drug called metformin that a lot of listeners are probably familiar with. It's often prescribed for diabetes, but it can have really remarkable effects on lowering blood glucose levels, lowering HbA1c, discouraging the liver from producing glucose, things like that. Oh, and activating ANPK, which is one of the main genes that we activate during fasting that has a lot of the beneficial effects of fasting.

So, the reason I say all that is berberine is a natural plant compound that has been found in studies to have very comparable effects to metformin without a lot of the potential side effects of the pharmaceutical. Studies have found that by taking berberine, that it can decrease insulin resistance, just in general can make the insulin in your body be more effective. It can help your cells break down sugars, so use sugar more effectively.

Like I said, it does decrease sugar production in the liver, and I mentioned this before, but one of the most mind-blowing things to me is that in diabetes, the majority of the elevated blood sugar is actually not coming from the diet, it's coming from the liver producing sugar. Do, berberine can interfere with that process, and it might actually even support beneficial gut bacteria, which is really interesting. So, point being, I actually ordered some berberine after doing all this research. It's usually suggested that you take it right before meals, like three times a day. I assume you could take it during that long fast but my only concern would be, depending on how you're reacting to it-- Did she say she started taking it already?

Gin Stephens: No, she wanted to wait.

Melanie Avalon: And she's going to do a 40-hour fast. You might find-- if your blood sugar is already low, on that long fast, the only thing I would be worried about would be if it dropped you too low and then you got symptoms of hypoglycemia. So, that would be something that you'd have to experiment with.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, I probably would just follow the directions of the bottle and not try to take it in a long fast. I just wouldn't. I would just take it once a day with the meal, like it says, or if you're not having a meal, don't take it.

Melanie Avalon: If you are measuring your blood sugar-- although we just talked to the beginning about how that might be all over the place. But that might be a situation where if you're long into your fast and you measure your blood sugar, and it's good, I probably wouldn't take berberine at that moment because probably just going to drop it lower. On the flip side, if you're long into your fast and your blood sugar's high, then you might want to take it and see what happens. I'm really excited now because I just ordered some and I want to see how it affects my CGM.

Gin Stephens: Well, definitely share that after you've tried it for a while and let us know what happens.

Melanie Avalon: I will. I do take oftentimes Keto Before 6, which is my Quicksilver Scientific, and it has a lot of ANPK activators. So, I just mentioned that ANPK is genetic pathways that are activated while we're fasting and is responsible for a lot of the benefits of fasting. And so Keto Before 6 contains-- it's different compounds that all activate ANPK. So, it contains berberine. It also has quercetin and I think resveratrol and milk thistle and a few other things. I've been taking a little bit of berberine via that, but I haven't taken like just berberine. So, I have to report back. But I'm a fan of the concept of berberine. I'm not a fan of most pharmaceuticals, but I don't really know how I feel about metformin. I'm very intrigued by metformin. I think if I ever were to experiment with a pharmaceutical, I would experiment with metformin out of curiosity.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, because a lot of people just take it for health benefits.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I know David Sinclair talks about it a lot. Peter Attia, I think, talks about it. It's one pharmaceutical that often comes up in discussion on a lot of the podcasts that I listened to about the potential benefits. Some people will pretty much take it for life, kind of like aspirin. It doesn't do the same thing as aspirin but as far as “pharmaceuticals” that potentially might have more health benefits than not.

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That's also why he made BLUblox light blocking glasses in a lot of different versions. They have clear computer glasses you can wear all day while looking at the computer. They have their SummerGlo lens that block the draining form of blue light while still allowing in some of the energizing wavelengths. They're also tinted with a special yellow color, scientifically shown to boost mood. And, of course, they have their Sleep+ lens, you can put those on a bed and it's just like, bam, tired. At least that's the way it works for me because actually blue light can block melatonin production, which helps us naturally fall asleep. Also, get their Sleep REMedy Mask. Oh, my goodness, I use it every single night. It gives you complete blackout while still putting no pressure on your eyes. Like you wear it, and you can open your eyes completely, and it's completely black. It's mind blowing.

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We have a question from Heather. Subject is "Transition Period." And Heather says, “Hi, guys. I just started IF five days ago. I'm currently doing a six-hour eating window. My husband and I decided to start a healthier lifestyle and we each chose our own method. He is counting calories and I am attempting IF. I've absolutely loved IF so far. I'm the type of person that has in the past claimed to need food every 10 minutes. I truly didn't know that I would be able to maintain this lifestyle for more than one hour. I know, I'm crazy. Anyway, this week has been wonderful. I feel more energy throughout the day. I've not felt deprived at all, and I am enjoying my food so much more than I did when I was eating all day. I'm currently going through your podcast from the beginning and I'm on episode 11.” I hear you meant 11, that’s so long time ago.

Gin Stephens: I'm sorry if we gave bad advice on episode 11.

Melanie Avalon: Sometime, I'm going to have to go back and listen to just like a random episode from that time period. I might do that. She says, “I hear you mentioned the transition phase or period, and I'm curious how long that usually lasts. I've had moments in my fasting period where I'm tempted to reach for food out of sheer habit or quick moments where I feel hungry because my body is used to eating very often. Does this go away? I thought I would add that I've only lost about one pound so far. I would have been discouraged by this if it were not for your podcast. I'm trusting the method and I'm waiting for more results. Thanks so much.” All right.

Gin Stephens: All right, Heather is on day five. So, Heather, I hope that you fast forward to this new episode and hear it now. I really don't want you to expect any weight loss in the first 28 days. That's what I've got in my 28-Day FAST Start of Fast. Feast. Repeat. So, a pound and five days is actually really good. Remember, also, I don't want you to weigh every day and think of the fluctuations. I mean I do want you to weigh every day, but I don't want you to get caught up on the daily fluctuations. I want you to weigh daily and then once a week, calculate your weekly average. So, if you're on day five, you don't even have a week yet to have a weekly average. And, of course, I don't want you to do that till after your first 28 days.

So, on day 29, I'd like you to weigh again, and then weigh daily and once a week, calculate your weekly average because really, it's only the overall trend that matters. So, as far as the adjustment period, that really varies for everybody. Bert Herring talks in his book about three weeks. Three weeks to adjust. And I think that is actually overly optimistic. And maybe now with how everyone seems to have metabolic syndrome, prediabetes, people are just not in great shape starting out. I sure wasn't. When I started out, I wasn't in great shape, physically, I was obese. And so, three weeks is a little bit optimistic. So really, some people find it takes as long as 8 weeks, 12 weeks even, depending on you and your body, to really feel like you're starting to adjust to intermittent fasting.

And if someone's been obese or overweight for a long time, it can take even longer. A lot of that has to do with what your fasting insulin level is, and you're not going to know what that is unless you've had a test, and most people haven't. Melanie, someone was talking recently in the Facebook groups about trying to get a fasting insulin test, and her doctor's like, “That's not what you mean. You want to get a blood glucose test.” And she's like, “No, I want fasting insulin,” he's like, “No,” [gasps] And the doctor could not understand why someone would want a fasting insulin test, or couldn't figure out how to write it on the forum, didn't know what she was talking about. I'm not saying that to say bad things about doctors, because there's a lot of doctors who are using them and understand them and all of that. So, you probably don't have your fasting insulin levels. But if your fasting insulin levels are high, it's going to take time for that to come down and that's part of your body's adjustment before you'll see the benefits of fasting.

Long story short, we really could say three to eight weeks for the adjustment period, but it really can vary wildly. If you were someone who was eating keto prior to starting intermittent fasting, your body may already be fat adapted, and so your adjustment period might be very brief. I mentioned before on the podcast, in 2014, when I finally was able to start intermittent fasting and finally stick to it for the first time ever, I had been trying keto that whole summer, failing at keto. I mean I was doing it, I didn't lose any weight. I did it 100%, didn't lose a single pound. Now, I know that's not how my body feels best. But I probably became fat adapted, and I was definitely in ketosis. Wasn't losing body fat, probably because I was eating a lot. Eating a lot of fat, not having any need to tap into my body fat. But as soon as I switched to intermittent fasting and added that carbs, I felt immediately better, and I started losing weight right away. I didn't have to have an adjustment period. So, all that to be said, it really, really varies.

Melanie Avalon: I think that's great. I think you covered it.

Gin Stephens: Yeah. It's going to be months before Heather gets to this episode if she's listening from episode 11.

Melanie Avalon: Good times. Okie-dokie. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. If you'd like to submit your own questions for the podcast, you can directly email questions@ifpodcast.com or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. The show notes for today's episode will be at ifpodcast.com/episode187. Those show notes we'll have a full transcript, so definitely check that out. You can join our Facebook groups. I have IF Biohackers: Intermittent Fasting + Real Foods + Life. Are we plugging your new Facebook group, Gin?

Gin Stephens: Well, I do have a new Facebook group if anyone is interested in things outside of intermittent fasting because I talked about that I've started a third podcast. We've actually recorded episode 0, which is our trailer episode and also episode 1. The Facebook group is Life Lessons with Gin and Sheri. The podcast will come out-- we're hoping for Episode 1, December 2nd is our target release date. And our first episode is all about sleep.

Melanie Avalon: I just recorded two back-to-back part one and part two episodes again with Dr. Kirk Parsley, listener Q&A on sleep and both of them are almost three hours.

Gin Stephens: We talk about Dr. Kirk Parsley and his Sleep Remedy on the podcast, but we also talk about the sleep chronotypes. You and I've talked about that before, right? I'm a lion, you're a--

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. What was it, a wolf or something?

Gin Stephens: Yeah, I think you're a wolf. Sheri is also a wolf, my friend Sheri. Late at night, yeah, Sheri’s a wolf. My cohost on the other podcast is a wolf, just like you. That'll be coming out December 2nd. The reason we decided to start with sleep is because we asked people what they were interested and hearing and that came up over and over. People are struggling with sleep.

Melanie Avalon: I know. I emailed the first heart one episode to my assistant and it was three hours. She was like, “I didn't realize there was so much to know about sleep.” And I was like, “This is just part one. There's a part two coming.” There's so many questions. There's so much. That was one of the good takeaways. Because so many people will say that we all are naturally early birds, and I asked him about that, and he was like, it's not really debated in the scientific literature about there being different circadian rhythms for people.

Gin Stephens: It's known that it's true, right? Yeah.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. He was like, it's not really controversial. And I was like, "Oh, okay. Then, why is everybody saying that we're all early birds."

Gin Stephens: I know. The early birds started that. People who are one way, really, really assume that everyone else should be like that.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Kind of like with food and diet and everything.

Gin Stephens: I mean, I really think they're like, “Well, I wake up really early, and I feel great and I get a lot done. So, you should do that, too. And if you can't, you must be super lazy.” And that's how these things get started. And, no, it's not that you're super lazy or even lazy at all. You just have a different rhythm. You're more productive later in the day, and you could feel like a loser and a failure because you're fighting against your body.

Melanie Avalon: Yep. 100%. All right. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. And I will talk to you next week.

Gin Stephens: All right. I look forward to it.

Melanie Avalon: Bye.

Gin Stephens: Bye.

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

STUFF WE LIKE

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

More on Gin: GinStephens.com

Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox: LelandCox.com

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

 

 

Aug 21

Episode 18: How Much Food?, Favorite Recipes, How Many Calories Break A Fast, IF Weekend Struggles, Collagen Peptides, Window Changes And Timing, And More!

Collagen Peptides , Intermittent Fasting , Mindsets , paleo , Struggles , Supplements , Vegetarianism , What To Eat , Windows

GET THE EPISODE ON ITUNES!

 Subscribe For Updates HERE!

Welcome to Episode 18 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, hosted by Melanie Avalon, author of The What When Wine Diet: Effortless Weight Loss - Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine and Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living An Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle

Hi friends! In this episode, we talk about how much food we eat in our window, and our favorite recipes! We also tackle how many calories break a fast, and tips for sticking to IF when you're bored/not working/it's the weekend/ etc. We also clarify some things about the eating windows, like how strict they are and if you can change them up. And much more!

To submit your own questions, email questions@IFpodcast.com, or submit your questions here!! 

SHOW NOTES

2:05 - Gin's vacation experience

5:10 - Listener Feedback: Camilla - Veganism As An Ethical Rather Than Dietary Choice  

7:35 - Listener Feedback: Kelley - Micro Algae Omega-3 Supplementation

10:00 - Listener Q&A: Jessica - How Much Food Do You Literally Eat In Your Window?

14:35 - Listener Q&A: Annie - What Are Gin's And Melanie's Favorite Go-To Recipes?

21:55 - Listener Q&A: Phillip - How Many Calories Break A Fast?

28:2o - Listener Q&A: Stephanie - How To Do IF On The Weekends, Or When Not Working?

Gin's Post: The Importance Of Mindset 

36:5o - Listener Q&A: Sandy - Can You Have Collagen Peptides During The Fast?

Gin's Post: Does A "Clean" Fast Really Matter?

40:55 - Listener Q&A: Mimi - What If You Have Bladder Pain During A Fast? Is It From Oxalates? 

Melanie's FREE Food Sensitivity Guide

40:55 - Listener Q&A: Mimi - Can You Benefit From IF If You Don't Fast For More Than 16 Hours?

47:50 - Listener Q&A: Susanne- Can You Alternate IF Methods And Windows?

47:50 - Listener Q&A: Susanne- How Strict Is The Timing For The IF Windows?

STUFF WE LIKE

50 Awesome Delicious Gluten-Free Paleo Recipes In Melanie's New Book: The What When Wine Diet!

Collagen Peptides (Bulletproof - What Melanie Currently Uses)

Collagen Peptides (Vital Proteins - Melanie has used this in the past, and many people love it!)

Collagen Peptides (Marine-based: Melanie's recent research indicates that marine based peptides may be ideal, and better than bovine-based)

REFERENCES

LINKS

BUY Melanie's What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine, Gin's Delay, Don't Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle, and/or Gin's Feast Without Fear: Food and the Delay, Don't Deny Lifestyle

More on Melanie: MelanieAvalon.com  

More on Gin: GinStephens.com

Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox: LelandCox.com

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

 

 

Feb 05

Episode 303: AMA Part 4, Recycling, Extended Fasting, Insulin Resistance, Electrolytes, Coffee, Tea, Glucose, CGM, Fasting Fluctuation, And More!

Intermittent Fasting

Welcome to Episode 303 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, hosted by Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine and Cynthia Thurlow, author of Intermittent Fasting Transformation: The 45-Day Program for Women to Lose Stubborn Weight, Improve Hormonal Health, and Slow Aging.

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

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To submit your own questions, email questions@IFpodcast.com, or submit your questions here!! 

SHOW NOTES

1:10 - BUTCHERBOX: For A Limited Time Go To butcherbox.com/ifpodcast And Get Chuck Roast And A Whole Chicken Plus $10 Off!

3:30 - BEAUTYCOUNTER: Keep Your Fast Clean Inside And Out With Safe Skincare! Shop With Us At melanieavalon.com/beautycounter or beautycounter.com/cynthiathurlow 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!

MANUKORA: Go To manukora.com/ifpodcast For A FREE Pack Of Honey Sticks With Your Order!

15:30 - NUTRISENSEGet $30 and get 1 month of free dietitian support At nutrisense.io/ifpodcast With The Code IFPODCAST

19:10 - Listener Q&A: Neva - I’ve been dying to ask, any suggestions on balancing the Fung community perspective of “longer fasts needed to get insulin resistance reversed and for the autophagy needed to reduce excess skin” vs Cynthia’s concerns about longer fasts and especially getting enough protein? This conundrum has been a problem for me.

28:05 - Listener Q&A: Nicole - Is it ok to cycle your fasting times. Anywhere from 14-18
If you consume 10 calories via electrolytes (LMNT) are you still fasting?
Is coffee ok to have while fasting?

For A Limited Time Go To drinklmnt.com/ifpodcast To Get A FREE Sample Pack With Any Purchase! 

43:45 - Listener Q&A: Sarah - Help! My fasting glucose is going up! I have been intermittent fasting for over 2 years. I usually eat lunch and dinner and I am low carb. I have been doing my best to eat 100 grams or more of protein daily. I’m 40, haven’t made any huge changes lately. My fasting glucose has been staying over 100 even after 18 hours. In March I had my insulin checked and it was 2, 3 and 5 within two weeks on 3 separate occasions. I would love any advice!

53:20 - JOOVV: For A Limited Time Go To joovv.com/ifpodcast And Use The Code IFPODCAST For An Exclusive Discount!

56:40 - Listener Q&A: Natalie - How come some times it’s easy to fast and other times I can barely make it 16 hours. Does age? Cycle? Does/ should Perimenopause change anything about the way we fast. How can we get comfortable fluctuating between 3-5 lbs knowing we didn’t eat that much, yes water weight and bloating, but how can we not let it ruin our vibe. Lol! Random thoughts by a 40-something.

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

TRANSCRIPT

Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 303 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. If you want to burn fat, gain energy, and enhance your health by changing when you eat, not what you eat with no calorie counting, then this show is for you. I'm Melanie Avalon, biohacker and author of What When Wine: Lose Weight and Feel Great with Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, and Wine. And I'm here with my cohost, Cynthia Thurlow, Nurse Practitioner and author of Intermittent Fasting Transformation: A 45-Day Program for Women to Lose Stubborn Weight, Improve Hormonal Health, and Slow Aging. For more on us, check out ifpodcast.com, melanieavalon.com, and cynthiathurlow.com. Please remember, the thoughts and opinions on this show do not constitute medical advice or treatment and no doctor-patient relationship is formed. So, pour yourself a mug of black coffee, a cup of tea, or even a glass of wine if it's that time and get ready for The Intermittent Fasting Podcast.

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

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

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

Hi everybody and welcome, this is episode number 303 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with Cynthia Thurlow.

Cynthia Thurlow: Hi, Melanie, how are you?

Melanie Avalon: I'm doing very well. I actually have a question for you. It relates to, so I have an announcement and I have something that I wanted to share and it relates to a question for you as well. I interviewed a guy named Matt Simon for his book A Poison Like No Other, which was all about microplastics corrupting our planet. And it was mind-blowing and shocking. But in any case, it just made me more and more aware of the importance of sustainability and not creating waste and all of this stuff. I have an announcement about how we're going to change and adjust how we offer subscriptions for AvalonX products. But I was wondering-- do you have subscriptions for your products?

Cynthia Thurlow: The subscription will start on February 10th and we're really excited since there's been such a tremendous response to the creatine. I don't know if we told you that Mark Hyman featured my creatine in his newsletter last week.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, wow. Did you send it to him?

Cynthia Thurlow: No. I had my second podcast with Drew [unintelligible [00:08:20] last month, and when I was out, I brought some with me just to kind of have in case I was going to give it to someone that I thought would enjoy it. And when we were having an off-camera discussion, he mentioned he had just started-- he had been working diligently on strength training and fat loss. I said to him, have you looked at the research on creatine? He's like, I absolutely have. And so, I said, I brought a product of mine, there's absolutely no obligation. He loved it. He gave it to his sister, bought some, and then they featured it in Mark Hyman's newsletter. I was really surprised and very grateful for that opportunity because it led to quite a bit of people purchasing the creatine. So, yes, our subscriptions are going to start on February 10th and it's really going to be a great way to save on a product that I think nearly every person, irrespective of life, age, and stage can benefit from.

Melanie Avalon: Wow. That's amazing. Have you had Mark on your show?

Cynthia Thurlow: I have not. He is kind of one of those elusive characters that doesn't do a lot of guest podcasting. I guess you get to a point in your business I know JJ Virgin and I talk about this that people will get to a point in their business where they just don't do a lot of guest podcasting anymore. And I think that's where he is. And so, to answer your question, no, but it doesn't mean that it won't happen, I'm going to cross my fingers and put that intention out there into the universe.

Melanie Avalon: Wow. I will as well. That's amazing. That's super cool. The subscriptions are great because they make it easy for people, but then as far as it's less shipping, it's more sustainable. The change that we're making, which we're still locking down the details, but it should be hopefully around February 20th, I think. We're hoping to switch to right now, people get multiple bottles, so we're hoping to switch to a one-large bottle option. Hopefully, that will be live so people can get the updates at avalonx.us/emaillist. And how can people get updates for your products? 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, so the easy thing to do is to go to www.cynthiathurlow.com/supplements and you'll be able to get information on creatine as well as a little teaser about what the next supplement will be. I'm technically not allowed to talk about it yet, but we're super excited because it's going to be helpful for brain health, metabolic health, and there's a lot of solid research on sleep support as well.

Melanie Avalon: Awesome, awesome, awesome. Just as a cap to all of that, I read that book A Poison Like No Other, which I actually really recommend reading the book or checking out my interview when it comes out because it really is upsetting. I didn't really realize the extent that I knew plastics were bad, but he just has all the stats about really what they're doing, but then what's really crazy and this kind of blew my mind. He danced around this but I was listening to an interview last night that made it even more firm. He talks in his book about how recycling is misleading. It's not really doing what we think it's doing and the majority of recycled products just end up in landfills anyway. Last night I was listening to an interview on Rich Roll with Seth Godin and he just outright said that recycling was created by like that it's just a lie. It was created by industry to make us feel better about plastic. He literally says recycling things into blue plastic bins does nothing. Like it's literally created. Again, I got to research this, but he says it was created by the industry so people would feel better about purchasing plastic because they could recycle it.

Cynthia Thurlow: That would make sense, although very disturbing because I think so many of us have been led to believe that if we can recycle it, then it's not so bad. To your point, I was listening to a podcast of Shawn Stevenson's recently and he was connected with Metabolic Mike, who is the podcast host of High-Intensity Health, which is one of my favorite podcasts to listen to because he really provides research and makes it short and relevant so that people can have some takeaways. They were talking about the contamination theory of obesity as a means for why so many people are struggling with weight loss resistance and why we're seeing such a net impact on fertility rates and miscarriages and changes in endogenous testosterone levels. I think for a long time I was always like, "Oh, it's related to insulin resistance, we're such an unhealthy population." It's really the exposure to these endocrine-mimicking chemicals that is so profound. I really look forward to checking that book out and of course, listening to your interview.

Melanie Avalon: Yes, I find it all just so fascinating and things that people just don't really think about, but I'm happy that people are taking it more seriously now. It's funny though, I read that book. I'm so happy, my supplements are in glass bottles, but they have plastic caps. I was reading it and I was like texting or calling Scott, our partner at MD Logic. I was like, we have to get rid of plastic caps. I don't know what the alternative is, but yeah, so we'll work on that.

Cynthia Thurlow: I love how thoughtful you've been. I mean, thus far, I think my second product will also be in a pouch. We're trying to navigate healthier options as opposed to a lot of the plastics that most supplements are contained in. There's a lot of nuances and I think that we just try to do the best that we can, but obviously understanding that we don't know at all and that we have to continue to do the work and to learn from experts that know more than we do. Because I certainly feel like it's not a race, it's a journey to make better choices in things we're exposed to in our environment, personal care products and food, and plastics are everywhere. I mean, if you really just sit back and think about it is everywhere. We just think about it as being normal.

Melanie Avalon: So, fun fact, it's literally everywhere. They're on the top of Mount Everest. According to that book, they're at the top of Mount Everest and they're also at the bottoms of the ocean. So, they're literally everywhere. So, yeah, fun times, fun times. I did get really excited because one of our new sponsors, Manukora Honey, which is delicious, it's manuka honey from New Zealand. When I did the call with them because they have individual packets that they send, I was little bit concerned because I was like that doesn't sound very sustainable. But when I did the call with them, they said they actually had completely 100% compostable packaging for those. So, that was super exciting. People can actually get those free if they go to manukora.com/ifpodcast. So, get some manuka honey sticks to try in completely compostable packaging.

Cynthia Thurlow: That's awesome.

Melanie Avalon: Hi, friends, we talk all the time on this show about the beneficial effects of intermittent fasting and especially how it can affect your blood sugar levels. How much do we talk about this? How diet affects them? How exercise affects them? How fasting affects them? But how do you actually know what your blood sugar levels are? Besides when you go to the doctor and get a snapshot of that one moment in time, or give yourself a finger prick, which again is a snapshot of that one moment in time. What if you could know what your blood sugar was all the time? That would be a revolutionary insight that could really help you meet your health and wellness goals. Guess what? You can do that now. I'm going to tell you how to save $30 off while doing it. We are obsessed with a company called NutriSense. They provide access to and interpretations of the data from the biosensors known as Continuous Glucose Monitors aka CGMs. Your blood sugar level can significantly impact how your body feels and functions. NutriSense lets you analyze in real time how your glucose levels respond to food, exercise, sleep, and stress. How does that work? Well, a CGM is a small device that tracks your glucose levels in real time. The application is easy and painless. I promise, promise, promise. Check out my Instagram. I have so many videos of putting them on so you can see what that process is like. It's actually really fun.

You can use the NutriSense app to scan your CGM, visualize data, log your meals, run experiments, and so much more. And you get expert dietitian guidance. Each subscription plan includes one month free of dietitian support. One of my friends recently got a CGM, and she was going on and on about how cool it was to talk one on one with a dietitian who could help her interpret her results. Your dietitian will help you interpret the data and provide suggestions based on your goals. Of course, if you're already super knowledgeable in this space, they will still be able to provide you more advanced tips and recommendations. Friends, seeing this data in real time is what makes it easy to identify what you're doing well and where there's room for improvement. Some benefits and outcomes that you can experience weight loss, stable energy throughout the day, better sleep, understanding which foods are good for you, controlling your cravings, seeing how you're responding to fasting and so much more.

Each device lasts for 14 days and of course lasting sustainable change takes time and that can be achieved with a longer-term subscription. We definitely encourage you to choose a six or 12-month subscription which are cheaper per month and allow you to not only achieve your goals but also ensure that you stick to your healthy lifestyle for the long term. You can go to nutrisense.io/ifpodcast and use the code, IFPODCAST to save $30 and get one month of free dietitian support. That's nutrisense.io/ifpodcast and use the code IFPODCAST to save $30 and get one month of free dietitian support. Friends, do you want to be in the world of CGMs? It is such a cool experience and you will learn so much. So, definitely check it out and we'll put all this information in the show notes.

So, today's episode, Cynthia and I have been doing our episode 300 became multiple episodes because we got so many amazing AMA questions and we want to keep doing them because they're so fun and awesome and so many topics. We also realized that I think in the past two or three episodes, we haven't done that many fasting-specific questions. What we're going to do today is we're still doing AMA, but these are the fasting AMA questions we got because when we asked for the questions, we asked for I mean were hoping for non-fasting related questions, but we still got a lot of fasting-related questions, so this actually works out very well. To start things off, we have a question from Neva, and she says, I've been dying to ask any suggestions on balancing the Fung community perspective of, "Longer fast needed to get insulin resistance reversed, and for the autophagy needed to reduce excess skin versus Cynthia's concerns about longer fast and especially getting enough protein. This conundrum has been a problem for me."

Cynthia Thurlow: This is a great question, Neva. I think a lot of this really depends on you as an individual. If you are already metabolically healthy and at a healthy weight, then I don't think really long fasts need to be something that you need to focus on over time. However, if you're someone that is not metabolically healthy, that is insulin resistant, I think that doing longer fasts can be helpful for breaking through plateaus. I think that longer fasts can beneficial for helping with cravings. I think it can be helpful for reducing inflammation and upregulating autophagy. I think there're many, many things that we have to consider when we're trying to balance longer fasts and being able to hit our protein macros. I think that when you look at the science of poor metabolic health and you're looking at sarcopenia and you're understanding that insulin resistance actually starts in your muscles, it's important to then also understand that one of the ways that you are going to help with reversing insulin resistance is reallocating those macros, becoming more physically active, and this is a really good example of the need to experiment depending on where you are in your fasting journey. I've started to speak more openly about this that a lot of times people think fasting has to be the answer for everything. Fasting is but one strategy of many that we can utilize to ensure that we have our health and longevity kind of railed in. When people ask me questions like this, it's always in the context of, I need to know more. Are you at a healthy weight? Are you sleeping well? Do you eat an anti-inflammatory diet? Are you menopausal? Are you perimenopausal? Are you still in your peak fertile years? I really would say that the average woman under the age of 35 shouldn't be doing these really long fasts. Our bodies are just so exquisitely attuned to this kind of methodology or really understanding that our bodies are so sensitive to cues that we take from our environment when we talk about stress.

Unfortunately, I think fasting for many people has now become a strategy that they're really leaning into and doing the extremes. They want to do really long fasts, they want to over-restrict macros in some capacity or another, they don't want to sleep, they want to overexercise, and so the way to answer that question is to say, I would need to know more about your personal circumstances to make suggestions. In terms of wide overreaching comments, I would say it's really dependent on, are you metabolically flexible, what life stage are you in, and what are your goals? So, Dr. Fung and I overlap quite a bit on what we lean into. But obviously, for me, I am all about protein and maintaining muscle mass because that will help in insulin sensitivity and I don't per se see that talked about a great deal. Although most of the insulin researchers, including Ben Bikman will talk about this loss of muscle signaling, loss of insulin sensitivity as being the first site in the body of where we become insulin resistant. Melanie, what are your thoughts?

Melanie Avalon: First of all, I thought that was an incredibly comprehensive answer. I'm so happy that you pointed out the bit about the insulin resistance starting at the state of the muscle, because that's, like, one of my favorites. I have, like, a list of fun facts about metabolic health. That's one of my favorites because I think a lot of people don't realize that they probably think it starts, I don't know where, they probably don't think about where it starts, but it's really interesting that it does start at the muscle. So, yeah, I just echo everything that you said, which I think is just a slight paradigm shift, and I like how you use the word strategy. Basically, I don't want to put words in your mouth, but I think we don't see longer fasts as the day-to-day habit lifestyle pathway. Like, longer fasting is not your daily life.

It's a strategy to use with specific goals in mind and keeping in mind the context of everything. Your diet, your current weight, what you're looking for, how much other stress you have. Right now, I'm reading Ben Azadi's book because he's coming on my show in a few weeks. He quoted, I think, some research by Thomas Seyfried, who said, for example, that he thinks if you do, like one long, I think he said seven days fast once per year, that it would reduce your cancer risk by 95%. Again, I don't know. I think that was just his thoughts on it. Basically, it's the idea that you could use longer fasts very specifically with specific goals in mind. I think it can have a lot of benefits. But I also think people can go way overboard and in day-to-day practice, yes, getting enough protein is so, so important. While I'm able to get all the protein in a very short amount of time, a lot of people just aren't able to do that. So, I don't think they're in conflict. I think they're actually just separate goals and intentions and uses.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. I think it's important for people to really understand at a very basic level. We're not asking anyone to have to go out and feel like you've got to research all of these different points. I can tell you, as Melanie can after talking to the experts, it's very apparent that if we really understand where insulin resistance starts from, it just starts to make sense about why it's important to as an example, like, "If you're insulin resistant, walk after a meal that really doesn't require you to do anything special. It's just understanding that with each muscle contraction, your body is using up extra glucose. When people say, I'm insulin resistant, I'm really struggling with this. What's going on? It's like, okay, we have to get back to basics. Let's not make it complicated. I think, unfortunately, what happens is that, well-meaning people sometimes make things so complicated. People don't even know where to start. Ben does a great job making things, making more complicated subjects or concepts, making them very accessible for people, so they can then take action. That's really what it comes down to. We want to be able to provide information so that people can make informed decisions and they can make those changes that are going to have a huge impact on their health.

Melanie Avalon: It's interesting because there's so much information and then there's so much information and context, and yet we still make these blanket binary statements. I don't know if Jason Fung actually said this, but in her quote that, "Longer fasts are needed to get insulin resistance reversed." I'm saying I'm pretty sure you can reverse insulin resistance without ever doing a "Longer fast." That would help, but it's not the only way.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, and it's interesting because someone on Twitter today posted, what's the longest fast you've ever done? My joking response is always 13 days, but not because I wanted to. I think it also speaks to the fact that finding that happy medium like a lot of people in the health and wellness space are starting to discourage these really long fasts because putting in the wrong individual can really put additional stress and strain on your HPA access and cortisol and other things. Understanding that you can get a lot of benefits from shorter fasts and shorter meaning, like less than 20 hours or less than 18 hours. Actually, the longer I fast, the longer I've been fasting, the less I do really long fasts because I just don't feel like I need to do it. 

If you look at, I always think of Ted Naiman as a good example. He's, I think, roughly my age, very lean, and he talks about this diminishing law of returns after 24 hours. I don't disagree with him because you start to think about what are the net benefits and am I losing muscle. Especially if you're north of like 40, 45, it becomes more challenging to maintain muscle mass as you get older if you're not actively working against that. Why would you do all these long fasts if you're putting yourself at risk for losing exactly the organ that is going to help you maintain one of many, help you maintain insulin sensitivity. Ss you can see, I could talk about this for hours.

Melanie Avalon: No, I love it. I'm all about it. Okay, so some more AMAs. We got some three quick ones from Nicole. One, "Is it okay to cycle your fasting times anywhere from 14 to 18 hours?"

Cynthia Thurlow: Yes, and I encourage women in particular to adjust their fasting based on where they are in their menstrual cycle and I do like variety. Just like we don't eat the same foods every day, we don't do the same types of exercise every day, I do genuinely believe that there is a benefit from keeping your body guessing, not torturing yourself. I'm not asking anyone to white-knuckle it through fasting. That is not what we are trying to suggest, but I do like moderation. How about you?

Melanie Avalon: I agree 100%. Some people do really well with I mean, like me, I tend to do really well with more consistent-- I know I do well with a consistent schedule. Although I was thinking about it, actually, I do naturally fluctuate my window. It's always an evening eating window. Like, last night, for example, I went to a comedy show, actually. Do you know Taylor Tomlinson?

Cynthia Thurlow: I don't.

Melanie Avalon: She's a Netflix special and I actually wasn't familiar with her, but my friend had tickets and then couldn't go, so she just gave them to me. It's like okay, sure, I'll go. Do you like comedy shows?

Cynthia Thurlow: I do.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I think I should probably go to them more. There's definitely a lot of health benefits to laughing, but in any case, it started early. I open my window with wine way earlier than I normally do, and that kind of bumped everything up earlier. But then I realized I still went to bed late. I was just thinking about last night that my window was open almost double of what it normally is. I'm not super rigid. Like, it has to be these hours between these times. I just go with the flow if things are changing. In general, beyond that, I agree with what you were saying about a lot of people, especially women can benefit a lot from really changing things up and listening to themselves and the effects of their cycle and hormones. So, yes, definitely. The only caveat I would have is, I think some people and I think we talked about this on a recent episode. I do think for some people who are just starting fasting and they've never fasted before, if they're not adapted to fat burning, depending on what personality type they are, they might do better.

And actually, maybe regardless of personality type, there is a benefit to, I think for a lot of people committing to a window in the beginning because you're making those adaptations. If instead just like go with the flow, it's going to be hard to be intuitive. If you're not a fat burner yet and you're not adjusted to fasting. I think having that regulation in the beginning to become metabolically flexible and understand how you should feel when you're in the fat-burning state and while fasting, I think that's when it can be helpful to be more rigid.

Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely. Just like, when I'm teaching women, like, I have IF:45 that I run four times a year. We have a group that they're just in their second week of fasting. I always tell them, until you've got the basics down, I don't mind if you are fairly consistent with what you were doing, but when you get to a point where your body is able to utilize either glucose or fats as a fuel substrate, then you're in a position where you can start varying things. People will know that they're at that point when they don't feel like they're white knuckling through the process like they feel comfortable, they are not having headaches, they have plenty of energy. They're not feeling like they have a slump after a meal. Most people will notice that if they're kind of struggling with weight loss resistance or they've been struggling with cravings, all of the sudden things start to kind of even out for them. So, I 100% agree with you, Melanie. You definitely want to make sure you're fat-adapted.

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. She has two other quick questions. One is "If you consume 10 calories via electrolytes LMNT, are you still fasting? I'll just comment on that because I just looked up LMNTs, like their line. The flavored ones are the ones that have calories. For example, their watermelon has five calories in a stick, their chocolate has five calories, but their lemon habanero, for example, has 10 calories, it's really interesting, and I'm assuming that is coming from whatever flavoring they're using. Like with lemon habanero, they're using natural habanero flavor, but then their raw unflavored has no calories. So, I do have thoughts on this. Do you have thoughts on this, Cynthia? 

Cynthia Thurlow: This is one of those nuances that if you are someone who's metabolically flexible, you're at a healthy weight. Taking in calories during a fast technically is breaking a clean fast. But if you are otherwise metabolically healthy and flexible, I don't think this is something people should stress and worry about. I do find for a lot of women as an example, because I work almost exquisitely with women that this is the type of stuff that can add up. When someone says to me, I'm weight loss resistant, I'm doing all the right things, and we start looking at a daily recall and they don't realize that they've got I mean, five calories-- 10 calories is not going to be the impetus for being weight loss resistant, but not understanding that cumulatively over time, these can be some of the things that add up that could be contributing to weight loss resistance.

It's the 50 grams or 50 calories of grapes that they eat while they're fasted or they're having like a fatty coffee or just these things can add up over time. A clean fast definition of a clean fast, if you're ingesting electrolytes that are flavored with sugars or flavored with nonnutritive sweeteners, technically that breaks a clean fast. Again, it goes back to are you metabolically flexible? If it is, I'm not stressing about that nor should you. If you are weight loss resistant, it's something to consider.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I agree with that. I actually think with the flavors, the issue more for people would be having those flavors during the fast, even if it was zero calories because that signals to the body food type stuff, so I think it can mess with appetite regulation. That's why we've always said on this show, historically, as long as we've been working with LMNT, that the raw unflavored, so the one that I said was zero calories and that's one that has no flavors, that's the one that is clean fast friendly. The other ones we would advocate for within your eating window. And so, this is really interesting. I don't know if this is true. I think I mentioned on this show before, I interviewed Steve Hendricks for his book called The Oldest Cure in the World, and it was the history of fasting, and I talked about it.

We're actually probably going to air that episode on this show because it was just mind blowing. I just want to air it first on my Biohacking Podcast. He talks a lot about the work of Satchin Panda in his book. Satchin Panda does a lot of work on time-restricted eating and in particular circadian rhythms of it and things like that. I'm just going to read what he says because I find this really interesting. Satchin Panda, one of the things he did was he had an app where he had people logging their food intake all throughout the day, and he found out what people were actually eating. One of the takeaways was that people think they're eating way less than they are, not amount wise like time wise. People don't realize, most people are literally having some food enough that they're pretty much in the fed state the majority of the time.

He says most people eating and drinking their last calories at 10:00 or 11:00 PM, this is what Satchin Panda found. "Weren't entering fat-burning mode and repair mode until 04:00 or 05:00 AM and never reached anything like exponential burn or repair before they took their morning coffee with cream at 07:00 AM. Panda has found that just five calories, one and a half grapes are enough to keep us in a fat-making mode for six more hours. Which, I find that I don't know that's a big statement.

Cynthia Thurlow: Big statement. It's interesting because there are, I have to believe, well-meaning individuals who tell people on social media that's okay if they consume a bunch of grapes, it's okay if they have copious amounts of fat, it's okay to do all these things. I just remind people that if the average person out there is not going more than 8 to 10 hours without eating during the day, to Melanie's point, you're losing out on opportunities to use up some of the stored fuel. Just to kind of keep that in mind that cephalic phase insulin response is a real physiologic response to things that are sweet on our tongue or if our body anticipates we're going to be eating food. Really thinking thoughtfully about what position are you in? If you're really trying to get a hold of insulin resistance or you're really trying to become more metabolically healthy that you want to lean into unflavored element or save those electrolytes that are sweetened, save them for your feeding window, that's going to be a much better option.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, and I think it goes both ways. One, what you just said, where people put this magical calorie like ceiling and say that if you're below that, it doesn't break your fast, which I don't know where that came from. But then on the flipside, I guess I would need the context of what this research was. It's hard for me to think that if somebody is fasted in the fat-burning state and maybe he's talking about they're not yet in the fat-burning state, but if they're deep in the fat-burning state and then they have five calories, I don't know how that would keep them out of fat burning for six more hours. I just want to know what that research was like what was he measuring?

I think it's safe to say that flavors and such are not going to help you with your fasting experience most likely and there's not some magical like if it's below these calories, it doesn't matter. If listeners would like to get LMNT and get that raw unflavored, they can actually get all the flavors free with their order. Just go to drinklmnt.com/ifpodcast so, remember the flavored ones in your eating window, the raw unflavored in your fasting. Okay, Nicole has one more super quick rapid-fire question. "Is coffee okay to have while fasting?" I'm guessing Nicole's probably new to our community.

Cynthia Thurlow: Here are my thoughts. If you have healthy adrenals and you're sleeping and you're not super stressed out, I think coffee is incredibly beneficial. We know there are polyphenols in coffee that can upregulate lipolysis and fat burning and fat oxidation. Someone who is not completely stressed out is sleeping well and is not in. Now, I'm going to put this out there. I interviewed Dr. Kyle Gillett for my podcast and he talked about andropause, so andropause is when men go through what's equivalent to menopause. But there's also adrenal pause. Our adrenals are not as stress resilient as we are getting older and so coffee in the right person is a wonderful thing to consume in a fasted state. If you're someone who's super stressed out and drinking that coffee overtaxes your adrenals and it pushes your cortisol up, which sends your blood glucose up, that's not a good thing.

I think it's really always in the context of you as an individual. As an overall recommendation, we do recommend bitter teas and coffee as a great option. Now, again, not coffee with cream in it. We're going to recommend black coffee, bitter teas because those are the things that are going to be beneficial. If you don't love plain coffee, you can add cinnamon which will help with insulin sensitivity. You can also add, like, high-quality salt, like Redmond, that can help with the bitterness. Those are two tips, even though I'm not a coffee drinker that I've learned along the way. What are your thoughts, Melanie?

Melanie Avalon: I'm glad you answered it from that perspective. In my head, I was thinking about it literally just from the breaking or not breaking the fast. I'm really glad that you went there. I agree exactly with what you said. I'll just expand a little bit on the coffee and the clean fast or not. Plain black coffee would be, "Clean fast friendly." Coffee with cream? No. Coffee with added sugar? No. Even coffee with sweeteners. It goes back to what were just talking about giving your body mixed messages during the fast. Yes, I think that context is really important with what Cynthia said about your adrenals and where your stress levels are. Do you drink coffee, Cynthia? I know we've talked about this.

Cynthia Thurlow: I do not. Neither does my husband. The only person in my house that drinks coffee is my 15-year-old who loves espresso.

Melanie Avalon: Do you have caffeine at all?

Cynthia Thurlow: Not a lot. It's something that for me, like, I can drink green tea a couple of days a week, and I do make an effort to do that, but I ice it. I actually brew it and then I ice it and then I drink it with a straw. I've just never been someone that loves caffeinated beverages. I think it can be very overstimulating for me although it's interesting, when I did a biogenomics test over the summer, they're like, "Oh, you're very caffeine tolerant. I was like, really? Because I don't feel super caffeine tolerant. Yeah no, I'm one of those strange adults that does not love coffee. How about you?

Melanie Avalon: Well, I'm very as alcohol tolerant, literally, but literally in the genes. Caffeine, not so much. I actually was reflecting on this yesterday with gratitude. Like, I was having so much gratitude for this because historically in college I don't even know how much coffee I drank. I shudder thinking about it. I think listeners know this because I say it a lot, but I just have a spoonful of coffee every morning, literally a spoonful of liquid coffee. I was reflecting with gratitude that I'm not addicted right now to coffee or caffeine. I was like, "Oh, I was thinking about it." I was like, I just wake up and I don't really have caffeine. All my energy is pretty much not from a stimulant, which is a nice thought.

Cynthia Thurlow: I think it's become normal for people to be really dependent on stimulants to get their day going. I think for me, years ago, everyone knows this, I was an ER nurse, and I had to work nights, and I would drink Diet Pepsi, which all it did was upset my stomach. I've just learned that for me, I do better just with water, a lot of water, and I stay really well hydrated. There's a lot of other things I do to kind of get me going in the morning, as opposed to being dependent on a stimulant, which there's no judgment. It's just not the way I like to feel in the morning. It's not my happy place. But you will see me drinking green tea at least four days a week because there're a lot of health benefits from it.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, and there are a lot of health benefits to moderate coffee drinkers. I think if I was the type that could do that and didn't struggle with my sleep, I probably would but like I said, I don't process caffeine that fast, and so it's just not ideal for me. I do like it kind of relates to what we were talking about earlier with longer fasts. It's nice to have it in your back pocket. Like the night when I got up really early for Taylor Swift tickets and was sleep deprived, and I had coffee that day and I was good. It's nice to have it to pull out when you desperately need it, so, yup.

Okay. Another AMA fasting question. This is from Sarah. She says, "Help, my fasting glucose is going up." Oh, and by the way, we really need to answer Sarah's question because I think she posted this in the AMA. I think she posted it on her own in the group. She DMed me about this. She was like, "Please help." So, Sarah, we're going to try to help you. She said, "My fasting glucose is going up. I have been intermittent fasting for over two years. I usually eat lunch and dinner and I am low carb. I've been doing my best to eat 100 grams or more of protein daily. I'm 40.I haven't made any huge changes lately. My fasting glucose has been staying over 100, even after 18 hours. In March, I had my insulin checked and it was 2, 3, and 5 within two weeks on three separate occasions. I would love any advice.

Cynthia Thurlow: Well, Sarah, this is a great question. I would say without having more information, you're perimenopausal because you're 40. This is when we start becoming less insulin sensitive. That doesn't mean that you are insulin resistant per se, but you are becoming less insulin sensitive. I start thinking about, are you sleeping enough? Is it high-quality sleep? Are you lifting weights? Are you consuming an anti-inflammatory diet? I can't necessarily tell from what you're sharing here. Gut health is really important. I see a lot of interrelationships with really looking at the gut microbiome as something that can impact blood sugar levels. I also think about you know Melanie, I started off the podcast talking about toxins in your personal care products, Food and Environment is another one that podcast that I mentioned was Shawn Stevenson, the Model Health Show, and it was him and Mike Mutzel talking about metabolic health and also changes in fertility and the contamination theory of obesity.

I just think about other things like are you exposed to mold? Are you exposed to mycotoxins? Are you leptin resistant? I mean, there's a lot of different things that can impact what's going on. Just looking at overall labs, like what's your progesterone doing, what's your estrogen doing. There're a lot of different things that can look at this. When you say that you've been checking your blood sugar, it could be as granular as, has your glucometer been titrated? Do you need to have it looked at to see? Do you need to change your strips? There're so many things that can impact why your blood sugar is not optimal. I would say those are good things to look at and just understanding in the context of other questions we've answered on this podcast today, muscle mass is really important. Understanding that insulin resistance actually starts in the muscle.

So, are you doing resistance training? Because I still think a lot of women heading to their 40s are still doing, like, "I've got to go run 5 miles every day." I'm like, you would be better served by getting in the gym and lifting weights three days a week than doing these really long runs. The other thing to think about is we're coming off the tail end of this pandemic, and I see a lot of women who are stressed, and the stress is bumping their cortisol up, and accordingly, your glucose will go up. Really getting granular and honest with yourself about what your stress management style is like, and it's not five minutes of meditation. It really needs to be practice. Things that you do every day, as an example, I get out in nature every single day, walk my dogs, no sunglasses. When I'm done exercising, I get on my PMF mat and that is part of time that I a lot every morning to do those two things in the context of everything else that I do because it brings me so much joy. It's such something I really look forward to because it helps quiet that sympathetic nervous system. So, those are my thoughts. Just based on what you've shared, Melanie, what are your insights?

Melanie Avalon: So, where I would start, and really this is for anybody who's having this issue. What Cynthia was saying about the glucometer, it can be really hard if you're just looking at a single snapshot of a blood test at the doctor, or even if you have a glucometer where you can prick your finger. That's just one moment in time. Like Cynthia said, so many things can affect it. If anybody's struggling to figure out their blood sugar levels, I would 100% recommend doing at least a two-week round of a CGM. It's the most eye-opening thing. I honestly think everybody should feel like mandatory, like life required, that everybody does two weeks of CGM at some point because what it does is it's a device that you wear on your arm, it's painless to put on, and it measures your blood sugar via your interstitial fluid, and it gives you a picture of your blood sugar. Is it every five minutes? Regardless, it shows you how your blood sugar is changing.

With that, you can actually find patterns and you can see is your fasting blood sugar actually high. It staying high or is it dropping and dipping and then going up? What's actually happening? It gives so much clarity to what might be the cause. We love a company called NutriSense and they're actually a sponsor on today's episode. You can listen to that ad for more information, but you can get $30 off and one month of free support from a dietitian because something that's really cool is you can actually, through the app, talk to somebody who will talk to you about your findings. So that can be actually pretty helpful. Just go to nutrisense.io/ifpodcast and use the code, IFPODCAST and that will get you $30 off and one month of free dietitian support.

If it is something where a lot of people do benefit from getting a subscription with that because it can be really helpful to go longer than two weeks to really get a good picture. That's where I would start, just to see what the actual data is and then see what might be the factors that are causing it to be high. Because her insulin, how do you feel about her insulin being 2 is low and 3 is low?

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, my general recommendation is between 2 to 5. It could be impacted by where she was in her menstrual cycle or a lot of different factors. I love that you brought up the CGM because that can give a much more complete picture. For me, it's like glucometers, just like blood pressure cuffs are super helpful, but it's like at that one specific time, that's when you're getting that metric. I do agree fervently that having a continuous glucose monitor is an even better option because you can then see the real net impact of sleep, stress, exercise, etc., on your blood sugar in real-time, as opposed to having to prick yourself 10 times a day. And some people prefer that. I personally don't like that at all. I'll be totally transparent.

Melanie Avalon: And this is like a really good case study example. I don't know how often Sarah was checking, but for example, she's saying my fasting glucose has been over 100 after 18 hours. Some people will find when they're using a CGM, that when they're fasting, like 12 hours and 13 hours and 14 hours and 15 hours that it's low, and then when they get even longer into the fast because of their stress hormones from the fast, that it actually starts going up again. So that might be a pattern. I'm not saying that's what's happening with Sarah, but I know that's a pattern that people often experience, and that's something where that would be something to address and fine tune and try to make that not be the case. It might be something where you think if you just checked it at 18 hours that it's been high that whole time when actually it hasn't. That's why CGM can just be a game changer. Are you wearing one right now, Cynthia?

Cynthia Thurlow: I am not. I'm taking a break. I used one gosh 18 months straight. I just got to a point where I'm very aware of the things that will raise my blood sugar. There're things I do conscientiously throughout my day to make sure that I can manage and mitigate a blood sugar response. The foods that did for me cause blood sugar rises that were beyond my norm, like plantains, which is so sad because I love plantains or whether it's gluten-free flowers and a cookie or cake. I just don't eat those things very often. For me, it just has created an awareness of the net impact of taking a walk after exercise. I don't necessarily feel like I need to wear them all the time. How about you?

Melanie Avalon: I'm glad you said that because that made me think of another benefit or something that people can troubleshoot with a CGM as somebody DMed me about this the other day on Instagram. Some people will be fasting and randomly get cravings, like sugar cravings or hungry, and they don't know why. That can be really beneficial to be wearing a CGM because you can see if when you get those cravings, are you having a blood sugar drop or are you not. That can help you kind of figure out what might be going on there. I haven't worn one in a while, actually, I have it in my calendar. I want to put one on pretty soon. It's on my to-do list. I have to put one on when. I actually am dressed up and going out so I can make a reel from it. That's what's been keeping me from doing it. Do you switch arms when you do it that long?

Cynthia Thurlow: I do. Left is my preference because I'm right-hand dominant, but I do switch off. And it's funny. I have one more and I've been trying to decide when I want to put my last one on, so I've been debating. I'm like I don't want it to be when I'm away on vacation or if I'm traveling. I want it to be when I'm home so I can kind of get a really good sense of all the things that I do during the day to stay as metabolically healthy as possible.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, that's the timing of it. Got to figure that out.

Cynthia Thurlow: Mm-hmm.

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Okay, I think we have time for one more question. Lastly, we have a question from Natalie. She says, "How come sometimes it's easy to fast and other times I can barely make it 16 hours?" Does age, cycle, or perimenopause changes have anything to do with the way we fast? How can we get comfortable fluctuating between 3 to 5 pounds knowing we didn't eat that much? But we have water weight and bloating, so how can we not let it ruin our vibe? Random thoughts by a 40-something.

Cynthia Thurlow: Well, Natalie, this is a great question, and yes, this is the blessing/curse of perimenopause the 10 to 15 years preceding menopause. So, from my perspective, there are reasons why it is harder to fast in the luteal phase when progesterone predominates versus the follicular phase, which is right after you've had your menstrual cycle, and the time preceding when you ovulate. It's much easier to fast in the follicular phase when the estrogen predominates, you're more insulin sensitive. You can go away with harder workouts, you can likely last longer. I spend a lot of time talking about this in my book and on a lot of podcasts, including this one that I'm really a fan of women being very cognizant of where they are in their menstrual cycle in order to ensure that they have a lot of success with fasting or taking a break from fasting.

I'm not a fan of fasting five to seven days preceding your menstrual cycle. You can definitely do 12 hours or 13 hours of digestive rest without any issues. And, yeah, this is why I don't recommend people weigh themselves every day. You can have fluctuations of 3 to 5 pounds due to water, due to macro changes. Did you have more carbs? Did you have less carbs? Have you been exercising? What's your sleep like? What's your stress management like? The last little tidbit that I'll add is that perimenopause is when sleep becomes more important, stress management becomes more important. Lifting weights becomes more important. It also becomes more important that we're leaning into anti-inflammatory nutrition. If you're not already doing some of those things and you're looking to kind of change things up, I would encourage you to lean into those. Melanie, what are your thoughts? 

Melanie Avalon: This is so interesting. I almost have the opposite advice, which works well because I think different things work for different people. Because you were saying don't weigh yourself every day.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yes. I think it's like a once-a-week thing. And this is what I can tell you after working with thousands and thousands of men and women over the past 20 years, there are people who have a personality type that they can weigh themselves once a week as a check in. I always encourage people to be very mindful of how do your clothes fit, how do you feel? But there are certain types of personalities. It's not specific to a gender, that it's a control mechanism. Their whole day is they're either having a good day or a bad day based on what that number is when they step on their scale. There're so many things that can impact that number that I always say if you're that type of person and your entire day is a win or a loss based on what that number is, and you're not going to have a good day if you've gained 1 pound, that's not a healthy mindset. So that's where my concern stems from, is do you have a healthy relationship with the scale? Because affectionately, I always say the scale is a liar. It is not a reflection of a lot of other metrics. This is where I will tell people to get their body fat measured, like doing a Bod Pod, which if anyone's not familiar with that, it's a little egg-shaped device, but it'll actually measure how much muscle mass to body fat you have. And that's a much more accurate metric. Actually, my trainer, that's what she uses and that's what I use, I probably do it twice a year. That actually gives me better information than just simply stepping on a scale. Unless you have a scale that is giving you a metric about body fat percentages.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. So, my answer it actually is similar. It just has a slightly different manifestation because I agree 100% with everything that you just said that the weight fluctuates. There're so many factors that go into it. People can get caught up in this granular number, kind of like the CGM. They see this one number at this one time and they attach all of this meaning to it when it might not be an accurate picture of what's actually happening. I think for some people there actually is a benefit to weighing every single day. The interesting thing is you have to do it for a little bit to start seeing the trend. For some people, if they weigh every single day, tracking it in an app, there's an app called Happy Scale that's really awesome. If you weigh it every single day, it'll show your actual weekly average. You can see your trends over time and you can see what's actually happening. And so, it kind of shows you what your "True weight likely is?" And it requires a bit of data. That's why I'm saying it takes little bit to actually get the benefit from this and kind of change your mindset surrounding it, because when you actually commit and I'm not saying everybody should wear every day, but I'm saying this might help some people, if you do something like use Happy Scale, weigh every single day, after a few weeks, you'll actually be able to see that those numbers that look like you gained weight actually don't mean anything. It'll make like graphs so you can see over time what's actually happening. I think for some people that can really help. Other people might not be able to get beyond what Cynthia was saying, where regardless of knowing the overall trend, they just get caught up in that number. In that case, I don't think they should be weighing every day. I think you just really need to know yourself where you are. I know Gin was obsessed with the Shapa scale. Shapa, have you used that?

Cynthia Thurlow: I have not.

Melanie Avalon: It's the one that gives you a color rather than a number. It's grays to greens. The color indicates if you've, like, stayed the same, if you've lost weight or if you've gained weight. It also uses a similar to Happy Scale, it's going based on your average, not on that weight right at the moment. A lot of people really like that. But yeah, I think just knowing that there're a lot of factors going in can be really, really helpful. She says she's low carb and eating lunch and dinner, but not what she's eating. What you're eating can have a huge effect as well. Even things like sodium content in food and processed foods versus not. If some foods are inflammatory for you that might have an effect. There're just a lot of factors that go into it. I just think having kindness for yourself and this is where working with a therapist can be really helpful as well. I don't know what I would do without seeing my therapist every week.

Cynthia Thurlow: I love that you brought up the mental health piece because I think women as and we're all guilty of this, I'm by no means am I perfect at all. I do think that there is a certain amount of grace that we need to give ourselves. I think for women, in particular, women that are in perimenopause and menopause, when all the things that we used to do no longer work well, it can be a huge mindset shift. Like, I'm in a good place now, but 10 years ago or even eight years ago, I definitely was and I was like, what's going on? Understanding that with these changes in our bodies, we just have to make some adjustments in order to optimize our health and wellness. I wasn't even aware of that type of scale that you mentioned Gin liked so much that whether it's red light, green light, or yellow light, I think that's a better alternative to just one metric as a number.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, 100%. So, okay, well, we did not get through all of our fasting AMA questions, so we will pick that up next week, and then if we get through them, then we can do some fun AMAs as well after that. Not that these aren't fun, but some other topics. So, this has been absolutely wonderful. If listeners would like to submit their own questions for the show, they can directly email questions@ifpodcast.com or they can go to ifpodcast.com they can submit questions there. The show notes for today's episode will be at ifpodcast.com/episode303. Those show notes will have a full transcript as well as links to everything that we talked about. So definitely check that out and then you can follow us on Instagram, we are @ifpodcast, I am @melanieavalon, and Cynthia is @cynthia_thurlow_ and I think that is all things.

Cynthia Thurlow: It sounds good. For the listeners who've been sending me DMs, we will definitely be answering some hormone questions. We got such a wonderful array of topics to go over. We've been just trying to keep them really well organized, but we will definitely be answering some of those hormone questions too.

Melanie Avalon: Awesome, awesome. All right, well, this has been absolutely wonderful and I will talk to you next week.

Cynthia Thurlow: Sounds good.

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 your review on iTunes. We couldn't do this without our amazing team, administration by Sharon Merriman, editing by Podcast Doctors, show notes and artwork by Brianna Joyner, transcripts by SpeechDocs, and original theme composed by Leland Cox and re-composed by Steve Saunders. See you next week.

[Transcript provided by SpeechDocs Podcast Transcription]

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

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Jan 29

Episode 302: AMA Part 3, Life Hacks, Zone 2 Exercise, Easy Healthy Food Swaps, Travel, Space, Claustrophobia, Bees, And More!

Intermittent Fasting

Welcome to Episode 302 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, hosted by Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine and Cynthia Thurlow, author of Intermittent Fasting Transformation: The 45-Day Program for Women to Lose Stubborn Weight, Improve Hormonal Health, and Slow Aging.

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

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SHOW NOTES

1:10 - LOMI: Get $50 Off Lomi At Lomi.Com/ifpodcast With The Code IFPODCAST!

4:10 - BEAUTYCOUNTER: Keep Your Fast Clean Inside And Out With Safe Skincare! Shop With Us At melanieavalon.com/beautycounter or beautycounter.com/cynthiathurlow 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!

AVALONX SUPPLEMENTS: Get 10% Off Serrapeptase 125, Magnesium 8 And Berberine 500 At avalonx.us And mdlogichealth.com With The Code MelanieAvalon!

Text AVALONX To 877-861-8318 For A One Time 20% Off Code for avalonx.us!

Check out Cynthia Thurlow's line of supplements and latest releases at cynthiathurlow.com/supplements!

21:00 - MANUKORA: Go To Manukora.Com/Ifpodcast For A FREE Pack Of Honey Sticks With Your Order!

25:00 - Listener Q&A: EIleen - What would consider your best life hack?

The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #175 - Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

29:00 - Listener Q&A: Mary Jane - What are some of the other habits or things do you do you’ve maybe never talked about on the pod? Like infrared saunas, ankle/wrist weights, etc. but new ones.

42:30 - Listener Q&A: Mary Jane - Like switching to Redmonds or more natural salts or single source olive oil, what are some other relatively inexpensive and accessible changes people can make for the better?

DRY FARM WINES: Low Sugar, Low Alcohol, Toxin-Free, Mold-Free, Pesticide-Free, Hang-Over Free Natural Wine! Use The Link dryfarmwines.com/melanieavalon To Get A Bottle For A Penny!

51:30 - ATHLETIC GREENS: Get A FREE 1 Year Supply Of Immune-Supporting Vitamin D AND 5 FREE Travel Packs With Your First Purchase At athleticgreens.com/ifpodcast.

53:15 - Listener Q&A: Laura - What is your favorite vacation and or what’s your bucket list trip?

1:00:25 - Listener Q&A: Danielle - Given the opportunity to go to space, would you go? What would you want to study there?

1:05:15 - Listener Q&A: Danielle - Do you listen to any non health related podcasts?

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

TRANSCRIPT

Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 302 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. If you want to burn fat, gain energy, and enhance your health by changing when you eat, not what you eat with no calorie counting, then this show is for you. I'm Melanie Avalon, biohacker and author of What When Wine: Lose Weight and Feel Great with Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, and Wine. And I'm here with my cohost, Cynthia Thurlow, Nurse Practitioner and author of Intermittent Fasting Transformation: A 45-Day Program for Women to Lose Stubborn Weight, Improve Hormonal Health, and Slow Aging. For more on us, check out ifpodcast.com, melanieavalon.com, and cynthiathurlow.com. Please remember, the thoughts and opinions on this show do not constitute medical advice or treatment and no doctor-patient relationship is formed. So, pour yourself a mug of black coffee, a cup of tea, or even a glass of wine if it's that time and get ready for The Intermittent Fasting Podcast.

Friends, I am so excited to tell you about one of my new favoritest things ever. Okay, so you guys know I eat a lot of cucumbers. I don't think that this is any secret and I find myself throwing away pounds, yes, pounds of cucumber peels every single night. I felt so awful just throwing it in the trash. It seemed like such a waste. I'd always wanted to try composting, aka a sustainable approach to turning food waste into healthy dirt, but it seemed really intimidating and not very practical. So, it was on the to-do list for quite a while so you can imagine how thrilled I was, when a company called Lomi by Pela, reached out to me wanting to sponsor the show. Normally, I have to think a little bit about all the brands that reach out to me. I was an immediate yes. I was so excited. I got my Lomi device. It is incredible. Lomi allows me to turn my food scraps into dirt with the push of a button. Lomi is a countertop electric composter that turns scraps to dirt in under 4 hours. By comparison, if you were to compost naturally, it would probably take at the shortest around 6-8 weeks and maybe even up to a year. But nope, with Lomi, I can literally do it in 4 hours. There is no smell when it runs and it is super quiet. I've been using Lomi for a few months now. It is substantially reducing my waste. I was taking out garbage bags all the time. It's probably cut that down by about 30% to 50%. In fact, I love it so much that I bought another Lomi for my parents for Christmas. Now with my Lomi, I throw out weightless garbage. That means that waste is not going to landfills and producing methane. Instead, I turn my waste into nutrient-rich dirt that you can actually use to feed your plants.

Lomi is super cool. It has three different settings. It has the Eco-Express setting, which is low energy consumption, provides the fastest results, and is good for your food waste. It has the Lomi Approved setting that's 5 to 8 hours and you can actually put in Lomi Approved bioplastics and other compostable commercial goods, and packaging that are Lomi Approved. There's the Grow mode that's 24 hours. It's low heat with a longer duration and that actually preserves the microorganisms the most to help the soil and promote carbon storage in the soil. I am all about regenerative agriculture, so the fact that we can help put carbon back into the soil is so, so incredible. Lomi is something I have instantly fallen in love with and if you guys are anything like me, I know you will as well, turn your food waste into dirt with the press of a button with Lomi. Use the code IFPODCAST to save $50 at lomi.com/ifpodcast. That's L-O-M-I dotcom slash ifpodcast with the promo code IFPODCAST to save $50. We'll put all this information in the show notes.

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

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

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

Hi, everybody and welcome. This is episode number 302 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with Cynthia Thurlow.

Cynthia Thurlow: Hi, Melanie. How are you?

Melanie Avalon: I'm good. I feel like it's been so long since we've talked.

Cynthia Thurlow: I know. [laughs] I was about to say during the holidays, appropriately so we all take a break from things we do within our business. I was texting with Melanie before I got on, and I was like, we're doing this episode, and this is the format. It's amazing how just a couple of weeks, you kind of feel like you're getting out of practice.

Melanie Avalon: Well, this episode airs end of January, but for us recording, we just started January. How was your New Year's Eve?

Cynthia Thurlow: Very low key. I'll be completely transparent with you and with listeners that last year we were in Costa Rica, which was wonderful. But my boys were pretty adamant that they did not want to travel for Christmas. Because of poor weather, my mom was not able to come as early as she had wanted to and had to leave a little bit early as well. She lives in a rural part of the East Coast, and so they always get more snow and ice. We, the four of us, I mean, I have teenagers, we all stayed in, we had an amazing dinner and then we watched movies and I was asleep before the ball dropped. With the exception of my teenagers, of course, they go to bed. They're like nocturnal animals, they're up really late and they sleep in every day. My husband and I were in bed before the ball dropped, and we've had so many years of really late New Year's Eve parties and it was really nice to just go to bed and have a really nice meal and just have it be low key. Like we didn't have a lot on the calendar and after the book launch and how busy 2022 was and all the travel that I did, even in December, it was just nice to slow down. How about you?

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, mine was really good. My sister and I went to a really fun party at the Waldorf Astoria. I love any chance to dress up really fancy, so if there's ever a situation where I can maybe find something to do that, I'm all about it. So, I don't like being out crazy and I don't like loud and I don't like crowds, and I actually don't like-- Even though I'm a crazy late night owl, I don't like being out at midnight. Like, I don't want to be not at my home. It's not normally something I would gravitate towards, but we had a blast. It was good.

Cynthia Thurlow: I'm good. I think that's what we all want is if we're going to start celebrating the last day of the year into the first day of the new year, celebrating it, however, makes us happy. I think that's really important. Like, when we lived in Northern Virginia, there was another family, probably our closest friends from our old neighborhood, and for years we would just have New Year's Eve at each other's houses and we would make these incredible dinners. Our boys were all about the same age and we had years where all of us were up till 02:00 or 03:00 AM in the morning just having fun amongst ourselves and so, I agree with you. In my 20s and probably into my early 30s and my teens, I did a lot of late-night parties. I agree with you, as an introvert, I'm completely happy with less people and less noise, and just kind of eating a really good meal and just being around people that I really like.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Very excited for this year and all the things. I feel like there are great things in store.

Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely, absolutely. By the time this episode comes out, I think we're going to have the announcements for my next supplement, which is exciting. I know for you, you just had a new supplement that came out. How are things going with berberine?

Melanie Avalon: So, well. I'm just so grateful and so excited that it's really resonating with listeners and I think it's doing a lot of good and oh yeah, that was something that was really exciting. There were a few different articles that came out over the holidays and one was in Yahoo News. It was like a countdown of wellness products for 2023. It's really exciting to see things like that. I mean, it makes me feel like a real entrepreneur. I don't really feel like a real business woman, but then when things like that happen, I'm like, "Okay, maybe." [chuckles] In a line up next to other, "real things." So, I'm excited. I don't think I know your next supplement.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. It's myo-inositol. So, for listeners, if they're familiar with that. It is a supplement that is very well researched and one that typically we see associated with metabolic inflexibility, insulin issues, insulin resistance, polycystic ovarian syndrome. There's a lot of really good research about sleep and brain health and in keeping with my theme, which is related to metabolic flexibility and brain health, that is the next supplement. I've been taking myo-inositol, it's a bit of a tongue twister to say it, so we're trying to come up with ways to make it a little more approachable inositol. It's one form of inositol. We're coming up with ways to make it easier for people to say, but I've been taking it every single night to help with sleep and I've been recommending it to most if not all of my patients and clients. There's been some pretty incredible breakthroughs not only with reduction in insulin resistance, but also sleep latency, so able to fall asleep faster. If they're waking up in the middle of the night, it's able to help with that as well. That will be the next product that's coming out. It's probably going to be another powder. I'm kind of a sleep stacker. There's usually a couple of products that I will take together and I put this in my water at the tail end of my feeding window and sip on that along with some magnesium L-threonate along with my other sleep stack. This is the first of several products. There will be another one coming out fairly soon after that's going to tie into that sleep thing that I'm really excited about.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, wow. Okay, that's really cool. I was familiar with inositol., but if you had asked me, I would not have been able to tell you the benefits at all. So, I learned a lot just now and then I wasn't familiar at all with that version of it, myo-inositol.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. It's interesting because most of what people think about when they consider that particular supplement is, "Oh, it's great for PCOS" And it is indeed, but it's inflammation reduction and I think for the bulk of our population, which we know only 7% to 8% of our population, and I'm so speaking way outside the context of just this podcast, is not metabolically healthy. This is one of many aspects and strategies that can be utilized and it's really well tolerated. I think that's really important because there are certainly some big gun supplements that are out there where people, they may move the needle a bit faster, but they may also have the issue related to side effects. This is gentle and to me it's cumulative use that will help with sleep. So many middle-aged women really struggle with sleep and it's not just about replacing hormones. There're other ways to kind of layer in support so I'm really excited.

For listeners, you probably don't get the opportunity to read all of the behind-the-scenes stuff that goes on with supplement creation, but Melanie has been a huge supporter and has given lots of objective, which is what real friends do. Objective input with regard to product launches and messaging. So, thank you again for convincing me this is the right direction to go in, as opposed to white labelling, which for listeners means for a long time I was white labelling supplements created by Designs for Health as my own. Which you can do legally, but this allows me to completely tailor everything to my specifications. I would imagine that your specifications and mine are superior to a lot of other products that are on the market in terms of what we want or don't want in our supplement line or powders.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, no. Like 100%. It's so funny because I honestly can say the versions of the supplements that I've made, there's not anything else on the market that I would trust. I wouldn't even take like with serrapeptase in particular, I wouldn't take any of the alternatives on the market. There's some magnesiums and some berberine that I would but it's so nice just with the craziness of the supplement industry to finally be able to make exactly what we want to make, and also to educate listeners about these things. So, I'm just really, really grateful. It's amazing.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. It's interesting to me. I have always been a proponent of talking to patients about quality of supplements and why it's important to do your due diligence. Even if you go into Whole Foods, which is not a knock-on Whole Foods, you can find good quality things. You can also find a lot of junk. As an example, there was a product that I had sent my husband to Whole Foods to pick up and he's very diligent about checking food labels, but got home and we realized the product had soybean oil in it, back to the store it went. The point I'm making is that you have to be really diligent. What's added to the supplements? What types of oils are they using, if at all, getting really granular and clear. For me, and I know we're in alignment in this, I would rather stack one supplement at a time than have combinations of supplements. There're a lot of good products that are out there that are different types of adaptogens and different types of products, but then you don't know what actually works. Whereas if you're stacking one product at a time, you can determine how do you react to that product, how do you feel with that product before you layer in something else and I think that's very insightful.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I could not agree more. That's actually one of my main things as well. It's so cool that we're both aligned with that, the single ingredient thing. Not to say that I wouldn't make blends and like, the magnesium is a blend, for example, but it's all magnesiums. There's so many longevity blends and it's like all these different things or digestive blends and it's all different things. Like you said, "How do what's doing what? And then you can't tailor accordingly. Some of the ingredients might be working for you and some might not and yeah, I'm just like control freak.

Cynthia Thurlow: [laughs] Well. I think it's also my clinician background because I learned that certain drugs were really efficacious and very effective. Sometimes when there're a lot of medications on the market, as an example, sometimes you can get a blood pressure medication with a cholesterol medicine at the same time, they put them together. Yes, that means someone's taking one less pill, but then if they have a side effect, we didn't always know what was driving it. We had indicators based on what the side effects were, but it sometimes got it harder to tease out. I would drive my drug reps crazy because I was the person that would use single drug agents instead of using the "newest and latest."

I would tell them, well, show me the data that this is more efficacious because this drug cost my patient $5 and what you're recommending is a drug that's going to cost them $50 out of pocket every month and they're on a fixed income. They're retired. For the same purposes, I try to be mindful and thoughtful about what the next needle mover is going to be. What are things people can use throughout the day? Like, as an example, for people that have polycystic ovarian syndrome, the indications for inositol, as an example, are twice daily dosing versus someone that is just using it for sleep properties. So, we're giving people parameters with which to move within, but also giving them, for the most part, single supplement options at a time just so that it makes it easier to add things together. That's just I think ease of use is huge for me.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I think that's so important. I'm glad you mentioned the threonate because that will probably be my next release, which a lot of listeners, actually, who bought Magnesium 8 when it launched. The launch special included a special code for the magnesium threonate. That's a situation where I wanted to separate it out by itself because of its specific benefits for that type of magnesium. Which is, as you're familiar with it, crosses the blood-brain barrier and can really help with sleep and relaxation. That's a situation where it's like, we really want to have that as a standalone so, yeah. For listeners to get updates for both of us, if they want updates for AvalonX supplements, which are mine. They can go to avalonx.us/emaillist or they can text AVALONX to 877-861-8318. And when you text that number AVALONX, you will get a 20% off one-time use code, which is awesome. How can people get updates for yours, Cynthia?

Cynthia Thurlow: We decided to make it easy because no one knows how to pronounce or even spell myo-inositol, we're doing www.cynthiathurlow/supplement so that people can get on those lists. We're just trying to make it as easy as possible because for this creatine launch that came out, which has been great. Well, by the time this comes out, we'll be talking about where people can buy into monthly subscriptions or every-couple-of-month subscriptions trying to keep it as simple as possible. So that no one's navigating, trying to find it on a website, which we live and learn. We are learning more with each launch. What not to do and what works and what doesn't work.

Melanie Avalon: Hi, friends. I'm about to tell you how to get free manuka honey. If you know what that means, then you know what that means. If you don't know what that means, I'm about to tell you what that means. So, back in the darkest days of my digestive issues and chronic fatigue and all the things, I was researching anything and everything to try and get my health back. That's when I first came across the concept of manuka honey. I knew honey was supposed to have health benefits, but there was something special about manuka honey in particular. It is a special type of honey only found in the remote and magical forests of New Zealand. The bees actually feed on the highly active nectar of the manuka tea tree, and they make super honey that is honestly unlike anything you have ever seen or tasted before. Manuka honey is a super honey because of its unique antioxidant and prebiotic properties.

Honey in general has those properties. Honey also has hydrogen peroxide activity which can have a beneficial effect on your gut and health, but manuka honey in particular has a different natural antibacterial compound called MGO that only comes from the nectar of this manuka tea tree. They actually measure it. I think it's really funny. They call it non-peroxide activity. The nutrients in manuka honey can help support optimal immune and digestive health. I personally found that when I was using manuka honey, it had an incredible effect on my gut. I became really obsessed with finding the best of the best because there is a lot of controversy out there about manuka honey, and it can be difficult to make sure that you're getting a certified verified source that is actually the stuff that you want.

That's why I was so, so thrilled when Manukora reached out to me. They make manuka honey and what I'm really excited about is they have all of the transparency that I'm looking for. When I did the onboarding call with the brand, I was so impressed with their story, their authenticity, their knowledge, and their mission with manuka honey. Their honey can be traced back to a single origin through a unique QR authenticity platform, I love that. The honey is free from environmental toxins, free of glyphosate residue, non-GMO, gluten free. It's raw and like I said, 100% traceable. They're also a Certified B Corp and something super important to me, they really take care of their bees. The beekeepers actually manage the hive numbers to ensure that the bees have access to diverse pollen sources and plenty of nectar to feed on to avoid any risk of overstocking the bees. They're never fed refined sugar. There's no excessive hive transportation.

The hives don't need to be shifted around for pollination practices. They also help support local communities. Like, I said, I've been a fan of manuka honey for so long, so it's really exciting to partner with this company. Plus, the honey tastes delicious. You can incorporate Manukora into your food choices, into your diet, or you can use it as a supplement taking some of it daily to help support your immunity, your GI health and so much more. Manukora's super honey is available in a range of easy-to-use formats including jars, squeeze bottles, and 100% completely compostable packets. Friends, that is so hard to find so you can eat it straight or add it to your favorite food or beverage. If you head to manukora.com/ifpodcast you'll automatically get a free pack of honey sticks with your order that is of $15 value. That's M-A-N-U-K-O-R-A dotcom slash ifpodcast to get a free pack of honey sticks with your order. Friends. It's called honey with superpowers for good reason. Get on it and try this delicious creamy caramel honey and you won't look back with Manukora. That's manukora.com/ifpodcast for free manuka honey sticks and we'll put all this information in the show notes.

Okie Dokie. Shall we jump into everything for today?

Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely.

Melanie Avalon: So, for listeners we got so many amazing questions when we asked for AMA. So, we're just continuing in this vein. Probably going to do this one and maybe one more episode just for a grab bag of goodies of topics, health and personal and all the things. So, to start things off. Okay, this is from Eileen. "What would you consider your best lifehack?"

Cynthia Thurlow: Okay. I'm going to not say fasting [laughs] because that would be expected, "High quality sleep." It's not a sexy answer, but I fervently believe if you are getting high quality sleep, everything else falls into place. Your blood sugar, better hormonal regulation, better food choices, ability to exercise and have great mentation. I would say high quality sleep is probably the one thing that is foundational to our health and really important. I think that I didn't fully appreciate until I really got into the research, why sleep is so critically important? Actually, as a healthcare provider, it's disturbing that so many healthcare providers are expected to skimp on sleep in order to take care of patients. I say this lovingly, we do it without question when we need to, but when we're telling our patients to get high quality sleep and to go to bed earlier and not be on screens until 02:00 in the morning and we're doing exactly the opposite. We're not mimicking good behavior for our patients, but that's probably my number one foundational element to anything that I do. How about you?

Melanie Avalon: That's a really great answer and it's really interesting that I think we frame the question differently. I didn't even think about diet or fitness or physical. I was thinking more in like mental side of things, so that's really interesting. Although intermittent fasting would be a really good answer, I think. Because of just, I mean it really is the ultimate lifehack in a way, because not only does it address the dietary issues that we face today with metabolic syndrome and the obesity epidemic and all these things, but on top of that you also get back time, you lose your anxiety surrounding eating. However, that is not what I chose. [chuckles] I picked gratitude, actually, because I think we have so much fear and anxiety today and stress. I love the concept that you can't be in a state of gratitude and a state of fear at the same time. I really just think it's the ultimate hack for immediately changing your mindset. Like literally, if you're stressed, think of something you're grateful for and at that moment you will not, at least at that literal moment, be stressed and then on top of that just the benefits surrounding it health wise are incredible. Even things like loving, kindness, meditations. I was reading about that in a book that I'm reading right now about the brain actually, and studies they've done on that and its effect on health biomarkers and mental health and wellness and brain health. So, yeah, I pick gratitude as a lifehack.

Cynthia Thurlow: I think that's really important. Ben Azadi is a good friend and he talks about vitamin G as a way to be thinking about gratitude every day. I agree with you that it is an underappreciated lifehack. It is certainly something that has been played out in my life over the past four years. Anytime I think things are getting tough, I have to remind myself that I have so much to be grateful for and it always allows me to kind of pass-through whatever discomfort I'm experiencing emotionally or otherwise. Definitely something, if you're not practicing that regularly, definitely give that a consideration.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I think also linked to it the focus on the present moment that it causes. I was reading about I might have mentioned this on the show before when I interviewed Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, who wrote the book Don't Trust Your Gut, all about data and not him, but there was a study where they had people do an app and it checked in randomly all throughout the day and asked them what were they doing and were they happy. They found that people-- this is really interesting, you're happier thinking about something neutral in the present moment. It might have even been bad. I have to double check. It was definitely neutral then you are thinking about something happy in the future. Basically, focusing on the present moment can just have an incredible effect. I like tying that in as well.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yes. It's all good.

Melanie Avalon: It is. Actually, since sort of related, since we're talking about hacks, Mary Jane said, "What are some of the other habits or things you do that you've maybe never talked about on the podcast? Like infrared saunas, ankle and wrist weights, etc., but new ones.

Cynthia Thurlow: I think Zone 2 training is something that I've been very focused on probably the past year in conjunction with regular strength training and then doing Pilates or Solidcore. Zone 2 training, I have to fully admit that my functional medicine doc and my trainer both are really into Zone 2 training. Keeping your heart rate, for me being 51, that means my heart rate is under 129 while I'm exercising. Enough that you can comfortably have a conversation, but you're still exercising. For me, a lot of what I do is walking. I know exactly what cadence, if the weather is bad outside or raining, I can walk on my treadmill inside, and I know exactly where my heart rate is. If I'm walking too fast, I can slow my pace down. Same thing with walking hills in my neighborhood. I'm in a very hilly part of Virginia that, for me, I think has really been very impactful. I probably haven't talked about it because it doesn't sound like a particularly sexy topic. But one that I think most people, if they've been conditioned to believe that doing a lot of HIIT, which HIIT should be brief, like 10 minutes long or if they're doing chronic cardio and they're wondering why it's not working for them physiologically or in terms of body composition whatever it is they're trying to improve. Zone 2 training for both my physician and my trainer is very important, especially for where I am life stage wise. Actually, Peter Attia talks about it quite a bit as well.

Melanie Avalon: It's funny you're talking about that. I was just getting hit with all of these things I've heard Peter Attia talk about who I'm still trying to book for the show because he has a new book coming out.

Cynthia Thurlow: I tried pitching him. They responded to me. I was really excited. I tried very hard because I was like, “I am a Hopkins alumn, I was there when he was training. Although he was in the bowels of the hospital and I was in the ER, but you know what? I just wanted to interject. If you haven't already listened to the latest podcast with him, with the neurocognitive, it's like a 2 hour and 40 minutes podcast, which is super long. I've listened to it twice. I've recommended it to nearly every person I know, non-clinician and otherwise. Really superlative podcast, it completely blew my mind about different types of proteins and how we approach neurocognitive disorders. Really smart female physician whose name evades me because I'm terrible with names.

Melanie Avalon: I did listen. I didn't realize until the very end that she's in his practice. I don't think he mentioned that in the beginning. He might have, I'm so annoyed at myself. I had pitched them early December. And so, when I'm writing an email that I want to be the perfect email, I put in my email address so that I don't accidentally send it soon to somebody else. I realized when I sent it to them, I didn't actually send it to them because I was going back to follow up. I was like, I haven't heard back. I went to follow up and I was like, "Oh, so that explains a lot." So, I just resent it. Did they book you?

Cynthia Thurlow: Well. What they said was a very nice gentleman actually apologized for not answering for nine days, which I was like, that's a good sign. I explained the podcast reach and who I am and my background, and how we both shared time at Hopkins and how I was a huge proponent. I said, if there's any way I can support his book launch, that's kind of how I left it. [laughs] They said, "This all looks really good. We'll be back in touch." This is my thinking process, I would imagine when you're at that level, like Peter Attia level, I'm assuming he's not going to be doing tons and tons of press. I think he's going to be selective. Even if I don't get him as a guest, I will still be super, super supportive of the launch. I'm just kind of leaving it out there in the universe that I'm completely open to the possibility. But I will not be disappointed if I am not one of the people that interviews him. I'll just be super excited to listen to him on other people's podcasts. I know he was not wanting to do the audiobook. [laughs] He wanted to have someone else narrate it. I was cracking up listening to him explain that he actually did narrate the book. I was like, "I'm really glad that you did that." But it is, as you as a trained thespian, I'm sure you probably can't appreciate this, but I had no idea how much work goes into an audiobook in terms of just the degree of proper alliteration of words and diction. I actually said to the producer, because my producer was particularly picky, which is her job. I was like, "What do people do that don't articulate or don't have good diction?" And she just laughed. She was like, "They do a lot more recording than you will be doing." And I was like, oh my gosh. So, yeah, very humbly. I just say I'm not a thespian anyway. I'm down a rabbit hole, but I hope that you get to interview him. I will certainly be super supportive if that happens, but I'm kind of, like, cautiously optimistic.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I have no idea if this is going to manifest. It's like my dream, we shall see.

Cynthia Thurlow: I'll try not to fan geek too much if I get to talk to him.

Melanie Avalon: I'm always prepping shows all the time. I have this one evergreen document called Peter Attia, because I'm listening to him all the time. Anytime he says something where I can tell it's a subject that's really random, that he's really interested in and I'm also interested in. And he has, like, an interesting thought, I write it down. [laughs] I have, like, two years' worth of random insight from him that I can tie into the interview.

Cynthia Thurlow: I think that's awesome. No, I think he's intense and brilliant, and just very intense. Like, my husband now listens to Peter Attia. My husband's an engineer, it gives you an idea of how his brain works. Sometimes he walks around and he's like, "Whoa, that guy's intense." I'm like, "Yup." [laughs] That's who you want as your physician. You want someone who's intense and methodical, it's all good.

Melanie Avalon: I know. So someday, someday. So, my answer is for the hacks. It's interesting, a lot of them I have talked about in the show. I guess I shouldn't say, though, I mean, my exercise related one, or it's not hacks, it habits and things that you do. My exercise one is Emsculpt, but I've talked about that all the time, the muscle building. I can comment on it, that I have started doing different body areas with it and I've seen really incredible effects. I started doing inner and outer thigh and it's kind of profound how it-- I think it does things to you and your legs that you would have to do, I think very specific exercises for a long time to see benefits. I'm loving that.

Cynthia Thurlow: Does it hurt?

Melanie Avalon: It doesn't hurt. You pick the intensity so you can work your way up and you get used to it. It's unpleasant and depending on which area it is, some are worse than others. Like the glutes, those are the easiest. I've been doing those most recently and those are pretty easy. Inner and outer thigh actually are not that bad. The outer thigh a little bit, it's more unpleasant, but they can adjust the intensity and you work your way up.

Cynthia Thurlow: It's all very interesting. I know very little about that.

Melanie Avalon: It's incredible. [chuckles] It literally builds muscle, like literally and burns fat and I really see the difference. Actually, that reminds me of something I hadn't written down for this, but I started doing of peptides, which I had not done before, so injections of peptides. I think that's something that's pretty cool because I was having some knee pain. Okay, and then another one. This is so funny. I had this on the list and I couldn't even remember if we had booked them for this show, but I just realized they are actually sponsoring this episode. I did not plan this. I couldn't even remember if they were sponsoring this show or not in comparison to my other Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. I am obsessed with my Lomi. Do you have one, Cynthia? Did they send you one?

Cynthia Thurlow: They did not send me one.

Melanie Avalon: Okay. I'll have to email them. Friends listen to the ad that we're running for them. I'm obsessed. I bought one all by myself for my parents for Christmas. That's how much I love it. It's a composter and I've been wanting to compost for a long time, but it seemed very intimidating and complicated and I didn't want to get into that. When they reached out, I was really excited. This is revolutionizing my experience of my food and of my trash waste habit because I eat so many cucumbers as listeners know. I would fill up these trash bags all the time with all these scraps and everything. Now I just put them in my Lomi every night. You run it overnight, it's dirt in the morning, it's mind blowing. You can use that dirt outside. You can grow with it. They come with these little pellet things that you can put in to make it more microbial rich. Yeah, I'm like all about the composting and it's so quiet, you don't even hear it and it's easy to clean up. You don't even have to clean it that much. I don't clean it in between cycles I clean it, like, once a week, so composting, Lomi.

Cynthia Thurlow: Well. It's interesting. So, the neighborhood we lived in in Northern Virginia, was very strict. They wouldn't allow us, my husband likes to garden, so Todd is like this renaissance man. He kind of does a lot of different things, and he really wanted a composting area in the backyard, and they wouldn't allow us to do that. Now we're in a different neighborhood. They're strict about some things and not about others. I think having a compost, he would be so happy.

Melanie Avalon: It goes inside in your kitchen, and it's like the size of maybe two Instapots together. If you could take the Instapots and make it little bigger or Crockpot and make it twice the size. It's sleek looking, so you can compost without doing everything outside.

Cynthia Thurlow: That's so cool.

Melanie Avalon: Our offer is you can go to lomi.com/ifpodcast and use the promo code IFPODCAST that will get you $50 off. Cannot recommend this thing enough. I'm obsessed. So, yes. That's something new. I think I had one that I talked about before in the show, but I just want to emphasize it because I upgraded my version of it a little bit. One last one, it's funny because you were saying that your answer, Cynthia, was not a sexy answer. I have a sexy answer for this question. I don't know if I've shared this on the show or if I should.

Cynthia Thurlow: I was going to share my V Fit, but I'm still in the beginning stages.

Melanie Avalon: Your what?

Cynthia Thurlow: It's called a V-Fit.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, what is that?

Cynthia Thurlow: It is essentially a device with red light therapy that's supposed to help build up collagen and elastin in your vagina.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, nice.

Cynthia Thurlow: I just got it. I've used it twice, but Mindy Pelz has been suggesting I do this for a year, and I bought it, and my husband was like, "Oh, my God, you've got to be kidding me."[laughs]

Melanie Avalon: Do you stick it in like a tampon?

Cynthia Thurlow: It looks like a dildo.

Melanie Avalon: Oh.

Cynthia Thurlow: I'll take a picture of it for you.

Melanie Avalon: Large.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yes.

Melanie Avalon: And it has red light.

Cynthia Thurlow: But, like it's only probably, like, four inches that's inserted inside. It's just designed to be comfortable to hold.

Melanie Avalon: Wow. [laughs] That's cool. I support that.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yes. I was going to say, if we're going to talk about that's, probably the most interesting thing that I have recently started trying. But I haven't been using it long enough to be able to give a full report, but I have friends that swear by it.

Melanie Avalon: Wow. We should try to get them as a sponsor. [chuckles]

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. That would be nice. Right?

Melanie Avalon: I'll reach out to them. My related answer, if kids are listening, maybe pause for a second [laughs] for the moms because I know they're listening with families sometimes with their kids in the car. Mine would be ever since, I interviewed Dr. Stephanie Estima, she had her seven-day orgasm challenge that she said would have a profound effect on your health. And I started that, I mean, that was a while ago. That was probably a year ago. I just kept it up as an everyday orgasm challenge. It's literally because how much I'm a planner and a scheduler, it's literally, like, scheduled in to my life, my daily life.

Cynthia Thurlow: I think that's important, but nothing else. One of the things that I think we've talked about tangentially on the podcast is my PMF mat. It's like I crave it in the morning and now I crave it in the evening. My husband walks in and just laughs at me because I'm lying on this mat and I'm usually got, like, a blanket on top of me and I'm just so relaxing and he just laughs at me. I'm like, "I need 30 minutes of this in the morning." He was like, "Whatever makes you happy."[laughs] I try to do it at night because it's a time that I'm not doing anything else. I'm kind of gearing down, it's so relaxing, and good for your mitochondrial health.

Melanie Avalon: I love it, all the things. Okay, so I had another one, but I think I'll use it in part to answer this next question. This is the lifehack episode. Mary Jane said, like, "Switching to Redmond's or more natural salts or single source olive oil, what are some other relatively inexpensive and accessible changes people can make for the better"? I will say really quickly, "Thank you, Cynthia, so much." Cynthia sent me some wonderful olive oil for Christmas, so thank you. [chuckles]

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. No, I think for me, I'd like to keep it really simple. Like Melanie, mentioned, I sent her olive oil. Let me be clear, it is hard to send Melanie gifts because she has so many cool gadgets, and I couldn't send her scallops. It was literally impossible to do. That was high on the list, and that just wasn't feasible and cucumbers.

Melanie Avalon: So adorable that you were going to do-- just that you thought about that?

Cynthia Thurlow: Yes. So, high quality olive oil I think is really helpful. I do like Redmond's, and for full transparency that's the only salt we use in our home. I also think about using like I'm a fan of make some things from scratch and if you find a brand of product, whether it's a dressing or ketchup that you like, there's this company called Primal Keto. I have no affiliation with them. It's a women-owned business, and they have this spicy barbecue sauce that I use instead of ketchup. For me, that bottle will last months because no one in my house wants it. It's just I like it and so I use that in lieu of making my own barbecue sauce or Chosen brand avocado oil. They do have dressings, which I occasionally will use when I'm lazy. I know you don't like olives. I love really high-quality olives. I am a little bit of an olive snob. Sometimes I'll buy hearts of palm that are already done, same thing with roasted red peppers. Again, like a high-quality brand that doesn't have any chunk in it. Those are the kinds of things I'll lean into like salted macadamia nuts, just things that are easy, single ingredient or little-to-no ingredients that make my life a whole lot easier that are fairly inexpensive. Like nuts are not inexpensive, but if you portion them out and you go to Costco, they have salted macadamia nuts with no junk oils and they are amazing. How about you?

Melanie Avalon: I love that. To stay in the food realm, this is a hack I've done for a while, which is especially if you can't afford or if it's hard on your budget to have higher quality meats, I like getting the leaner cuts of meats and then making the fat come from olive oil or coconut oil or MCT oil. You can kind of get the best of both worlds because at least for me, I feel like the majority of the issues with conventional agriculture for livestock, a lot of those toxins are in the fat of the animal. So, if you get just really lean meat, then you can add organic olive oil or organic coconut oil and things like that where that will last longer. I kind of like that little hack. Also, for organic produce, the Environmental Working Group and looking at their Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen. So, if you can only afford organic for some fruits and vegetables, then you can choose the nonorganic for the ones that are on their Clean Fifteen and then get organic for their Dirty Dozen. So, I think that's helpful. Also, food still, because she's asking what are some easy, inexpensive accessible things you can do to feel better? I don't think people realize, especially going out when they eat at restaurants, how once you learn how to order, to make it healthier, it's really not that hard. I think people think it's picky and difficult, and you're not going to be able to find something at restaurants. Once you get the system down because it's a very easy system, you can make most restaurants provide a dish for you that will be healthier for you and make you feel better the next day.

The first step is just like for all the meat dishes and entrees. If you're getting steak, salmon, fish, asking that it's not cooked either not in oil at all, or if it is that they use olive oil. Because a lot of them, a lot of the restaurants use vegetable oils and seed oils. That's like a really easy swap that you can make. I always just ask for plain and then you can add salt and pepper, but I tend to go really extreme with that. Also at restaurants, I always just ask for the vegetables that I want and they usually have it even if it's not on the menu. Like spinach, for example. I'll ask for like steamed spinach and even if it's not one of the side dishes they have, usually they can modify. Like restaurants are pretty good at that, so I think that's a hack.

Also, when you're getting wine, when you're out at restaurants, look up all of the wines. I know we're a big fan of Dry Farm Wines around here and really Dry Farm Wines I feel so different drinking it because it's low sugar, low alcohol, tested to be organic, free of pesticides, molds, toxins, all the things. It's the only thing I drink at home. If listeners want a bottle for a penny, they can go to dryfarmwines.com/ifpodcast and that will give them a bottle for a penny. However, when you are out at restaurants and bars, look up the wines, just type in the winery and then type in organic and Google and you'll find immediately which ones are organic or not. And you'd be surprised, there're a lot of wineries that are practicing organic practices. They just don't have organic certification because of all the hassles and everything with that. That would be like USDA Organic, so backtracking with the wines. If you want to get as close to Dry Farm Wines as possible when you're ordering out, pick European. I usually favor like French and Italian and then look up the winery, type in organic, see if it says that they're practicing organic. If you want to go one step further beyond that to really try to mimic Dry Farm Wines, look up a picture of the label. We'll type in the actual wine and type in ABV, and it might come up with the alcohol by volume.

Dry Farm Wines are all 12.5% or less, so look for ones that are 12.5% or 13% wine. If you can't find it that way, look up the label, you can usually see the alcohol on the label. If you want to go the final step, you can get the Vivino App and look up the wine and see if people are ranking it as dry or not, just taste wise, the you can find ones with low sugar. I've been so impressed with myself. I've gone on quite a few dinners recently where we bought a really nice bottle of wine. It was really up to me to just research and try to figure out which one I thought would be very Dry Farm Wines-esque. Every time it tasted like Dry Farm Wines and I felt good the next day. So, that was a long education about how to order wine at restaurants.

Cynthia Thurlow: No, that's so helpful. The one thing that I would encourage everyone to not feel any sense of guilt. I think we as women more often than not feel guilty when we're advocating for ourselves in restaurants. I actually tell people, I have a seed oil allergy, so they take it really seriously. And it's surprising like you can get your steak or your chicken, or your fish or whatever you're having. I have colleagues in the health and wellness space that do the same. Generally, if I tell people that, they take it pretty seriously. I think seed oils are one of the easiest things to try to avoid or just ask like what is the dressing made with, what are they cooking your meat in or your fish in? It's not surprising that more often than not, they're happy to cook it in butter or they're happy to find an alternative and as Melanie suggested, more often than not they have more vegetables than what's on the menu. So those are great suggestions.

Melanie Avalon: Thank you for saying that. About the-- not that it's like standing up for yourself, but it can be intimidating. The main pushback I usually get from servers is they just don't believe me that I'm going to like the way it tastes if I order it that way. I'm like, "Listen, this is what I like. Trust me, I will love it." Oh, here's a hack you can do if you are low carb. We talked about this on the show already. I think you can order an appetizer as a savory dessert. Get like another round of salmon or something. Just let the kitchen know early on. and then just two more quick things

One, Castile Soap. I use Cove Unscented Castile Soap from Amazon. You can use it for so many things. I use it to clean my face, for the dishes. You can make laundry detergent out of it. You can make washing machine stuff with it. But yeah, Castile Soap is incredible. And then very last thing. I've talked about this on the show as well, but I am doing it more and making more and more adjustments. If you replace all of your plates and bowls and stuff with very heavy alternatives, you get a nice little workout every night when you are moving your stuff around. So, I use like, cast iron bowls. I got this cast iron Le Creuset, Harry Potter Casserole dish that I keep my cilantro in because I eat a lot of cilantro. It is the heaviest thing. It is so heavy. It is overwhelmingly heavy. I get cilantro out back and forth multiple times throughout the evening. It integrates some physical movement into your daily life. So, I'm all about the heavy things.

Cynthia Thurlow: I take AG1 several times a week after working out and when I'm ready to break my fast and it really makes me feel unstoppable. I love to add it to a protein smoothie, or actually we'll drink it with filtered water and I love both variations. My 17-year-old also enjoys AG1 after a workout to ensure he stays really well hydrated. A great deal of what I focus on in my personal life is ongoing gut health improvement. I do feel fundamentally that AG1 has contributed significantly to improvements in my gut health over the last three years. I feel as if the key health benefits from multivitamins, minerals, pre and postbiotics all work together synergistically to improve my gut microbiome. AG1 is way more than just greens. It's important to note that it's made with 75 super high-quality vitamins, minerals, and whole food source ingredients that deliver incredible benefits to the gut microbiome as well as sleep support, assistance with energy, and so much more.

So, if you want to take full ownership of your health, today is a good time to start. Athletic Greens is giving you a free one-year supply of vitamin D and five free travel packs with your first purchase. I find that these five free travel packs are so convenient when you're traveling. In fact, I was in Los Angeles last week and I used one each day that I was away. Go to athleticgreens.com/ifpodcast that's athleticgreens.com/ifpodcast and check it out.

Melanie Avalon: Now we have a question from Laura. This is of a different topic and she says, "What is your favorite vacation and/or what's your bucket list trip?"

Cynthia Thurlow: Okay, this is probably one of my favorite questions and anyone that knows me knows that I live to travel. It is one of my favorite, favorite things to do in the world, and I hope my children develop a love and appreciation for travel. I've been fortunate to have been a lot of places. I would say my favorite vacation I've taken with my husband was Rwanda. We've been to Africa several times and I was surprised at how much, I mean, I knew I was going to love it, but Rwanda was so clean, the people were so gracious. Seeing the apes up close was life changing. It was just like one of my favorite vacations.

And then I would say with my kids and my husband, Eastern Europe this past summer. I know Melanie and I have talked a lot about this. Vanessa lives in Prague. I was humbly stunned at how much we loved Prague. We loved Eastern Europe. We were just awed by how wonderful the people were. It was beautiful. The food was great. In terms of what's on my bucket list, I've got a lot of things, and there are going to be trips that we're going to take, my husband and I will take when the kids are in college. We've just decided that some of these trips are just too far and I need to know my kids are in a safe place before I leave. Because it would be too much to ask a family member to be at our home for a couple of weeks. I would say probably top of the list is New Zealand and Australia. My husband did a lot of Asia travel when we were first married, and I wasn't able to go because I was working as an NP back then. We started having a family very soon into our marriage.

I would say, for me, really seeing the highlights of Asia, I'd like to go to Southeast Asia. I'd love to see Singapore and Hong Kong and then go to Cambodia and Vietnam. Those are probably towards the very top of the list. Beyond that, like, Argentina and Chile are definitely up there as well. Those are the ones that the Asia, New Zealand, Australia trips are going to be longer trips so they're also in there. As well as Botswana and Namibia, which are parts of Africa that I've not yet seen but we really want to go to. How about you? I know you're not as much of an avid traveler [chuckles] as I am, but that was one of my favorite questions.

Melanie Avalon: Well, it's funny. Growing up I travelled a ton and my family still travels because we have family in Germany, and so we would go to Germany and then we would go to another country. Yeah, now I get it's like my Achilles heel, honestly, I get anxiety surrounding travel, and I'm a lot better now. I'm making baby steps, but it's not my favorite thing. If I could just pop up somewhere and then pop up back in my apartment and go to sleep at night, of course I would. It's the whole everything. Like how it affects your sleep and your digestion and all of that. It's something I'm working on all the time, especially with my therapist. My favorite place, this is even with all of the places we've been internationally, I am obsessed with EPCOT and Disney World. I'm really, really obsessed.

Cynthia Thurlow: It's a happy place.

Melanie Avalon: It's so happy. Disney World in general, I'm just obsessed. I would actually just love to go back there. Interestingly, New Zealand actually would be that's the first thing I thought of. I would love to go back to Paris. This is such a weird reason. Well, A, I loved it when went, and I loved seeing the Catacombs, and I loved just St. Paris. I want to go back now when I'm not as intimidated by the world. When I went, I was in high school and I was very much intimidated by like social clicks and things like that. Paris is just the cool place. I would like to go now where like that stuff doesn't matter to me. I just feel that would not be a thing in my head, if that makes sense, I felt intimidated by the city.

Cynthia Thurlow: It's funny how for me, I didn't grow up with parents that were able to take us on big vacations outside the United States. The first time I left the United States was when I was 25, so certainly old enough to be able to do that. I feel like every decade of my life, I get different things out of travel, whether it's in the United States or outside the United States. Now, I'm at a point in my life where I just notice a lot more things. I'm much more sensitive and attuned to what's going on than I probably was when I was younger, when it was just like, "Oh, I want to go here, and I want to go there, and I want to do this." I definitely savor more when I travel irrespective of where I'm going. I may really sit and pay attention to the flowers and the trees and be less focused on the big things. It's like, suddenly the little things have become the big things.

I hope that you go back to Paris. It's such an amazing city. I always say, I'm such a Francophile. I love the architecture, and I've never experienced Parisians being rude to me, but there's just something very cool about the culture. And to me, I just kind of savor how differently different cultures or different countries live their lives. The Parisians are just much like New Yorkers. There's just a certain je ne sais quoi. There's just such a unique way that they appreciate the way that they live their lives, and the way that they focus in on certain metrics over other things. The other thing that I think I really appreciate when I travel is a lot of the way Americans live is a byproduct of, they have to live in a big house, they have to have a big yard, they have to have a big car. When I travel internationally, I'm like, "I could be happy with a lot less and just do more with my life." So, obviously, that's a very personal decision, and there's no judgment on what I'm saying. When I travel to other countries, I realize most people don't live amongst a lot of stuff. They're just very grateful for the things that they have and that can be very transformative.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I love that. You would love my sister. She's a minimalist and she goes everywhere, like everywhere. She's always traveling. She travels everywhere with a tiny suitcase for weeks. How do you do that?

Cynthia Thurlow: You do laundry in your hotel room. We've started doing that, actually. I'm going to London with my cousin, who's one of my favorite people in the world in early February. She's a big fashionista and I told her I was like, "I'm bringing a carry on." That's all I'm bringing. I'm like, whatever I wear, I'm wearing. I'm not stressing about it because checking bags when you travel can be a little dicey. And sometimes it's easier to travel with less and just get your laundry done at the hotel, or wash it in your hotel room so you don't have to worry about bringing too much stuff. That's why I always believe, like, the capsule wardrobe is a thing when you travel. So super helpful. So, yeah, your sister is definitely ahead of the game.

Melanie Avalon: I literally will. If I have to go stay at a hotel downtown overnight, I bring a massive suitcase, so I have work to do there. Actually, speaking of my sister, this is not my sister, but it's the same name. Danielle said, "Given the opportunity to go to space, would you go? What would you want to study there?"

Cynthia Thurlow: Oh, God. I would not want to go to space. I'm admittedly one of those people, I grew up in New Jersey and Great Adventure was very close to where I grew up. If anyone's familiar with Central New Jersey, I grew up at the shore. I did the rollercoasters. I did every probably unsafe, so imagine in the 1980s and 90s, probably not the safest amusement park to go to. I've done it all, but I've learned I actually don't like being that out of control. For me, I would not enjoy not being in control of what was going on. I will leave that to the astronauts and the people that are interested in space travel. I am terribly claustrophobic, although I deal with it. I would not want to study anything. I don't mind studying things here on Earth, but I would not want to go study other people, or planets or things. Because the claustrophobia would be a big issue for me, which probably I haven't talked about on this. I get into elevators and I have to really do a lot of mindset work to not get uncomfortable and sweat because I just don't like having a lot of people in my space. Have I ever talked about that before.

Melanie Avalon: About the claustrophobia.

Cynthia Thurlow: My weird quirkiness about, yeah claustrophobia.

Melanie Avalon: I'm claustrophobic. I don't think we've talked about it.

Cynthia Thurlow: I would not be a good space person. I will leave that to the experts.

Melanie Avalon: Have you taken the test? It's like the phobia test. There're two types of claustrophobia. Did you know that? It'll tell you which one you have.

Cynthia Thurlow: I did not.

Melanie Avalon: Oh. So, would you like to know the two types? Because okay, this made me so excited because I was taking the test, and there were these things that would list that freak me out, and I was so happy because I was like, oh, my goodness, this is like a thing. It's not just me panicking about this. In the claustrophobia one, it's things like in an elevator, which actually doesn't bother me. Are you bothered by an elevator.

Cynthia Thurlow: If there're too many people in the elevator? Yes.

Melanie Avalon: Okay, see, so that actually doesn't bother me. We probably have the two different types. Then there're things like in a straitjacket, would that bother you?

Cynthia Thurlow: No.

Melanie Avalon: Oh. Okay, so we have the two different types. This one that was on there was made me so happy. Something that will make me panic, like panic is if I am trying on clothes in the dressing room and I can't get the shirt off. Do you have that experience?

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. I don't think that would bother me. It's definitely, I think to me it's a personal space thing too. I'm definitely very cognizant of personal space again, because I was in patients spaces all the time. So, I was always very cognizant of being in people's spaces. Yeah, when people are too close to me, I'm like strangers. I should specify friends and family different, but strangers in my personal space on an elevator, I don't love that.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, you probably have the conventional form of claustrophobia. What people think of with claustrophobia, which is being in small spaces. Mine, which I thought was claustrophobia, they still said it is, but then they have like a subtype. It's actually fear of suffocation.

Cynthia Thurlow: Oh. I don't have that problem, thankfully.

Melanie Avalon: So, all the things that I thought were claustrophobia, like getting stuck in an outfit or being in a straitjacket, things like that or actually it goes back to the suffocation fear. Isn't that so interesting?

Cynthia Thurlow: That is very interesting. I did not know there was a distinction.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, me neither. So, to answer the space question for me. In theory, I would love to go getting there that moment going up, I feel like I don't think I'd be down for that so much. I'm really stressed out by two things. One, the bathroom situation. I just don't think I can do it. I realized I'd have to be carnivore. I'd have to just get rid of bowel movements mostly, and I would not want the effects on my muscles, the lack of weight bearing exercise. I got to wait until we got like a gravity thing going on up there. I would want to study the aliens for sure.

Cynthia Thurlow: [laughs] Of course, you would.

Melanie Avalon: One last thing. This is actually very interesting health fact that I just learnt. Did you know when astronauts go to space, they often get sick? Like viruses and things like that, which doesn't make sense because they're not exposed to other people and viruses. They think it's probably because when people go to space, their immune system goes down for a lot of reasons. Likely a major part of it might be the social isolation and that makes these dormant viruses that we all naturally have in us that our immune system normally suppresses, flare up. Astronauts often get sick from viruses already inside of them when they go to space. Isn't that interesting?

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, they get a reactivation of the virus. Interesting.

Melanie Avalon: So, yeah, fun times. I guess neither of us will be going to space then.

Cynthia Thurlow: No, never.

Melanie Avalon: Here's one last fun one to end on. Do you listen to any nonhealth-related podcasts?

Cynthia Thurlow: I do. Although, admittedly not a lot. Actually, when I saw this question, I immediately went to my library to see what are the nonhealth-related podcasts I listen to and so I listen to-- so I guess it depends. Like, there's a continuum. Jenna Kutcher's Podcast, which is The Gold Digger and then Amy Porterfield's Podcast, the name of which evades me, and Mel Robbins, which is more mindset, but I just find for me at the stage of life I'm in, I want to learn so much that I would be lying if I said I listen to those podcasts on the regular.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah.

Cynthia Thurlow: That's kind of where I am. I have four or five that I never miss. There are others that I'll kind of bounce around, like, listening to them. I would be lying if I were to say and it's not that I don't work on mindset. I do, but I'm usually listening to a book, like the mindset books I listen to, and I lean more into those than listening to a podcast around, like, mindset or nonhealthcare-related stuff. How about you?

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, most of mine are health and wellness. Although, interestingly, I've been listening to podcasts since middle school, and I got hooked on podcasts when I started listening. I don't listen to it anymore, but it was called WDW Today. It was all about Walt Disney World. I lived for that podcast. I would listen to it every single day. I was obsessed with Disney World like obsessed. Now, really the only one is I listen to Joe Rogan and half the time I listen to guests, where it is health and wellness, but sometimes it's not. Like, I listened to one the other night with the beekeeper woman, Erika Thompson. I think it was 3 hours about bees. It was so fascinating. I learned so much.

Cynthia Thurlow: I mean, I think for both of us, we're very cerebral and we love to learn. I always jokingly tell my husband that if I took out the household responsibilities, the kids, the dogs, and I could just learn, I would just nerd out all day long. He sometimes will say to me, "Can't you just unplug your brain?" [laughs] Just read for pleasure and I'm like, I have one book I've read in the last year for pleasure, really just like a nonfiction book, but I really enjoy learning that actually brings me joy.

Melanie Avalon: I do, too, and that's why I love podcasts. I love learning just random stuff. Did you know, you've probably never seen a male bee?

Cynthia Thurlow: I did not know that. Aren't they the workers.

Melanie Avalon: The workers are females.

Cynthia Thurlow: Really? Where are the male bees? See, I don't know anything about this obviously.

Melanie Avalon: They're just there for basically reproduction and when they're doing their thing they have this reproduction swarm hub thing and it's way up in the sky [laughs] and the queen goes up there, it's crazy. I learned so much about bees. Yeah, so all the worker bees and the ones out with the flowers and doing their stuff, those are females.

Cynthia Thurlow: Wow.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. The book I'm reading right now is so interesting. It's called The Status Games. I just thought about it because it's about how we really judge wanting to have status or wanting to be in a social hierarchy, and we think it's bad. But basically, she makes the case that it's all evolutionary and the reason we have serotonin has to do with hierarchies and social dominance. Oh, that's why I thought about it because she talks about the hierarchies of different species and matriarchies versus patriarchies and it is fascinating.

Cynthia Thurlow: It is. Melanie and I are well suited for one another. We're at different life stages, but I jokingly told my husband the other day, to his horror, I was like, maybe when the kids are done with college, I'll just go back and when I'm retired and get a PhD and he was like, why? I was like, because I would just love to continue to learn. Now I'm saying that and I may decide I don't want to do that, but just like, from the perspective of continuing to learn. I always love learning, but now people have so many options. They don't necessarily have to go back to school. You could just do continuing education. Like, I thought a bunch of classes. There's a yearlong class with [unintelligible [01:09:27] that I signed up for because they were having a big sale. This is one of the big functional medicine schools and I signed up for it and I was like, okay, this is going to make sure I'm getting my continuing medical education. It means I'm learning new things. I'll be able to share with our listeners, all the extraneous things that are floating around.

Melanie Avalon: No. I love it. I love that we have that in common. Well, so much for getting through half of what we had left.

Cynthia Thurlow: [laughs] Just know there are so many good questions. I have to tell you that there is one person in particular, is it Danielle.

Melanie Avalon: Who asked like a million questions?

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, but they're good questions. I was like, wow.

Melanie Avalon: We had a lot of really good questions. I posted again because I wanted to get a few more and I was like and were getting a lot of fasting-specific questions, which I actually kept and saved for another episode. Maybe next week we'll do those and then we'll come back to this. In any case, so I asked for some more nonfasting-related questions and this girl Danielle and the group shoutout, she gave us 20. They were amazing.

Cynthia Thurlow: Really good questions. I think she said she was a teacher, so bravo. They were some obviously all great questions. When I read through these, I was like, oh, I've never talked about this on the podcast or a podcast. This is a fun question to be asked.

Melanie Avalon: It's funny because I'm looking at our line-up and most of them are not Danielle, but the last two we did were Danielle. Okie Dokie. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. Oh, I should mention this was not on purpose. I was talking about the bees. I just realized that another sponsor on today's show besides Lomi, the composter, is Manukora honey, which makes manuka honey. So, listen to that ad as well. So, manuka honey, I first found it when I was having a lot of digestive issues. Honey by itself has a lot of health benefits, has good effects on the gut due to its hydrogen peroxide potential, which is very cool. Manuka honey actually has other compounds that are different from normal honey. Actually, when they measure it, they call it non-hydrogen peroxide activity or something like that. It can have profound effects on GI health, on the immune system.

I've been researching manuka honey for a long time. A company, Manukora, reached out to us about partnering, and I was really excited because I love manuka honey. I had a call with them last week. It was interesting because there's a lot of controversy surrounding manuka honey because people think that some of its fake and there's all these different rating systems, and how do you're getting what you're getting? So, when we met the brand, I was just thinking, please let them be legit and real. I met the founder and talked with their company, and they're so amazing. They're doing incredible things. They're sustainable. They're really passionate about the bees and the honey, and the health benefits. They're just now expanding to the US market. They actually got an Erewhon, which is cool. So, if you live in LA, you can check them out there. Definitely, listen to our ad for them because you can get free honey sticks. You just go to manukora.com/ifpodcast. That's M-A-N-U-K-O-R-A dotcom slash ifpodcast, definitely don't eat the conventional honey. There are some good honeys in the grocery store, but like, the cheap stuff, just don't eat that. I learned a lot in the episode with Joe Rogan about how adulterated conventional honey can be in the grocery store and how it's basically just like sugar, water, and additives and not what you want. So manuka honey, Manukora [unintelligible [01:12:58].

Cynthia Thurlow: As soon as it arrived, my 15-year-old took it out and tried it immediately and gave it a thumbs up.

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. It's like a honey that you've never experienced. It's so good. Okay, well, this was absolutely wonderful.

If you would like to submit your own questions for the show, just directly email questions@ifpodcast.com or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. These show notes will be at ifpodcast.com/episode302. They'll have a full transcript so definitely check that out and also links to everything we talked about. Because I know we talked about a lot of products and things like that, so that will be helpful. And then You can follow us on Instagram. We are @ifpodcast, I'm @melanieavalon. Cynthia is @cynthia_thurlow_. I think that is all the things.

Cynthia Thurlow: I love this format. I look forward to doing this a couple of times a year.

Melanie Avalon: I know. Super fun. Yeah. we'll have to decide if we're going to try to speed through the rest of them next time or alternate or we'll decide. This has been great and I will talk to you next week.

Cynthia Thurlow: Sounds good.

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 your review on iTunes. We couldn't do this without our amazing team, administration by Sharon Merriman, editing by Podcast Doctors, show notes and artwork by Brianna Joyner, transcripts by SpeechDocs, and original theme composed by Leland Cox and re-composed by Steve Saunders. See you next week.

[Transcript provided by SpeechDocs Podcast Transcription]

STUFF WE LIKE

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

More on Cynthia: cynthiathurlow.com

Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox: LelandCox.com

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

 

 

Jan 15

Episode 300: AMA! Sleep, Whole Foods, Musical Theater, Bloating, Parasites, Botox, Anti-Aging Skincare, Laser Hair Removal, Favorite Books, And More!

Intermittent Fasting

Welcome to Episode 300 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, hosted by Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine and Cynthia Thurlow, author of Intermittent Fasting Transformation: The 45-Day Program for Women to Lose Stubborn Weight, Improve Hormonal Health, and Slow Aging.

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

BUTCHERBOX: Grass-Fed Beef, Organic Chicken, Heritage Pork, Wild-Caught Seafood: Nutrient-Rich, Raised Sustainably The Way Nature Intended, And Shipped Straight To Your Door! For A Limited Time Go To butcherbox.com/ifpodcast And Get The New Year Bundle For Free Plus $10 Off When You Sign Up Today. That’s A 14 Oz Pork Tenderloin, 2 Lbs Of Ground Turkey, And 4 Top Sirloin Steaks Free In Your First Box!

BLISSYGet Cooling, Comfortable, Sustainable Silk Pillowcases To Revolutionize Your -Sleep, Skin, And Hair! Once You Get Silk Pillowcases, You Will Never Look Back! Get Blissy In Tons Of Colors, And Risk-Free For 60 Nights, At Blissy.Com/ifpodcast, With The Code ifpodcast For 30% Off!

Athletic Greens: 75 high-quality vitamins, minerals, whole-food sourced ingredients, probiotics, and adaptogens in one delicious scoop! Get A FREE 1 year supply of immune-supporting Vitamin D AND 5 FREE travel packs with your first purchase at athleticgreens.com/IFPODCAST.

To submit your own questions, email questions@IFpodcast.com, or submit your questions here!! 

SHOW NOTES

1:10 - BUTCHERBOX: For A Limited Time Go To butcherbox.com/ifpodcast And Get The New Year Bundle For Free Plus $10 Off When You Sign Up Today. That’s A 14 Oz Pork Tenderloin, 2 Lbs Of Ground Turkey, And 4 Top Sirloin Steaks Free In Your First Box!

4:05 - BEAUTYCOUNTER: Keep Your Fast Clean Inside And Out With Safe Skincare! Shop With Us At melanieavalon.com/beautycounter or beautycounter.com/cynthiathurlow 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!

IF Biohackers: Intermittent Fasting + Real Foods + Life

13:30 - Listener Q&A: Nicole - What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone looking to get healthier? 

16:50 - Listener Q&A: Samantha - I know you are a musical theater fan, what is your favorite musical?

20:00 - BLISSY: Get Blissy In Tons Of Colors, And Risk-Free For 60 Nights, At blissy.com/ifpodcast, With The Code IFPODCAST For 30% Off!

13:30 - Listener Q&A: Alani - What are your tricks for keeping your stomach from puffing out?

16:50 - Listener Q&A: David - Have either of you taken a DNA stool analysis for parasites?

Episode 296: Berberine, Insulin Sensitivity, Glucose Control, Gut Health, Liver Health, Body Recomposition, AMPK Activation, Cholesterol Control, And More!

36:40 - Listener Q&A: Amy - Loved last episode where you both admitted you color your hair without shame in not using cleaner options. I would be curious what other things are you willing to “bend” the rules for?

50:40 - ATHLETIC GREENS: Get A FREE 1 Year Supply Of Immune-Supporting Vitamin D AND 5 FREE Travel Packs With Your First Purchase At athleticgreens.com/ifpodcast.

52:20 - Listener Q&A: Damon - Laser hair removal, is it worth it?

55:00 - Listener Q&A: Kimberly - What are your top 3 book recommendations besides your own?

1:00:35 - Listener Q&A: Danielle - What is your favorite holiday tradition?

1:04:40 - Listener Q&A: Lesley - I work at HOTWORX 24 hour infrared fitness studio. What do you think about a 3d workout? Heat, exercise, infrared sauna?

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

TRANSCRIPT

Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 300 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. If you want to burn fat, gain energy, and enhance your health by changing when you eat, not what you eat with no calorie counting, then this show is for you. I’m Melanie Avalon, biohacker and author of What When Wine: Lose Weight and Feel Great with Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting and Wine. I’m here with my cohost, Cynthia Thurlow, Nurse Practitioner and author of Intermittent Fasting Transformation: A 45-Day Program for Women to Lose Stubborn Weight, Improve Hormonal Health, and Slow Aging. For more on us, check out ifpodcast.com, melanieavalon.com, and cynthiathurlow.com. Please remember, the thoughts and opinions on this show do not constitute medical advice or treatment and no doctor-patient relationship is formed. So, pour yourself a mug of black coffee, a cup of tea, or even a glass of wine, if it’s that time and get ready for The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. 

Hi friends, I’m about to tell you how you can get a 14-ounce heritage-breed pork tenderloin, 2 pounds of sustainably raised ground turkey, and four grass-fed top sirloin steaks, all for free, plus $10 off. Yes, all of that incredible meat, plus $10 off, all for free. We are a bit obsessed with a company called ButcherBox, which is always in season. Some of my favorite meals that I had throughout the holiday season were fantastic meat and seafood from ButcherBox. Now with the new year, it is time to celebrate with only the very best of the best when it comes to meat and seafood that you put in your body, as well as meat and seafood that helps support our planet and the environment.

They make it so, so easy to get high-quality humanely raised meat that you can trust. They deliver 100% grass-fed, grass-finished beef, free-range organic chicken, heritage-breed pork, that’s really hard to find, by the way, and wild-caught sustainable and responsible seafood shipped directly to your door. When you become a member, you’re joining a community focused on doing what’s better for everyone. That includes caring about the lives of animals, the livelihoods of farmers, treating our planet with respect, and enjoying deliciously better meals together. I did so much research on ButcherBox, you can actually check out my blog post all about it at melanieavalon.com/butcherbox.

All of their beef is 100% grass-fed and grass-finished and they work personally with all the farmers to truly support the regenerative agriculture system. I also did an interview with Robb Wolf on my show, The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast, all about the massive importance of supporting regenerative agriculture for the sustainability of not only ourselves but the planet. This is so important to me. I’ll put a link to that in the show notes. The value is incredible. The average cost is actually less than $6 per meal and it’s so easy. Everything ships directly to your door and it is so delicious. I love carpaccio for example. The ButcherBox steaks are incredible for that. That’s how you know it’s good steak when you can eat it rare like that and ButcherBox has an incredible offer for our audience.

You can get the New Year bundle for free, plus $10 off when you sign up today. That’s a 14-ounce heritage-breed pork tenderloin, 2 pounds of sustainably raised ground turkey, and four grass-fed top sirloin steaks, all for free, in your first box. Sign up @butcherbox.com/ifpodcast and use code IFPODCAST to claim this offer. Again, to get a 14-ounce heritage-breed pork tenderloin, 2 pounds of sustainably raised ground turkey, and four grass-fed top sirloin steaks, all for free, plus $10 off, sign up @butcherbox.com/ifpodcast and use code IFPODCAST to claim this offer. We’ll put all this information in the show notes.

One more thing before we jump in, are you fasting clean inside and out. So, when it comes to weight loss, we focus a lot on what and when we eat. It makes sense because these foods affect our hormones and how our bodies store and burn fat. But do you what is possibly one of the most influential factors in weight gain. It’s not your food and it’s not fasting. It’s actually our skincare and makeup. So, as it turns out, Europe has banned over a thousand compounds found in conventional skincare and makeup in the US due to their toxicity. These include endocrine disruptors, which mess with your hormones, carcinogens linked to cancer, and obesogens, which literally can cause your body to store and gain weight. Basically, when we’re using conventional skincare and makeup, we are giving these obesogenic compounds direct access to our bloodstream.

And then in our bodies, studies have shown they do things like reduce our satiety hormones, increase our hunger hormones, make fat cells more likely to store fat, and more resistant to burning fat, and so much more. If you have stubborn fat, friends, your skincare and makeup may be playing a role in that. Beyond weight gain and weight loss, these compounds have very detrimental effects on our health and they affect the health of our future generations. That’s because ladies, when we have babies, a huge percent of those toxic compounds go through the placenta into the newborn. It is so, so shocking. And the effects last for years. 

Conventional lipstick, for example, often tests high in lead and the half-life of lead is up to 30 years. That means when you put on some conventional lipstick, 30 years later maybe half of that lead has left your bones. On top of that, there is essentially no regulation of these products on the shelves. That’s why it’s up to us to choose brands that are changing this. The brand that is working the hardest to do this is Beautycounter. They were founded on a mission to change this. Every single ingredient is extensively tested to be safe for your skin, so you can truly feel good about what you put on. And friends, these products really, really work. They are incredible. They have counter time for anti-aging, counter match for normal skin, counter control for acne and oily prone, and counter start for sensitive. I use their Overnight Resurfacing Peel and vitamin C serum every single night of my life. And their makeup is amazing. Check out my Instagram to see what it looks like. Tina Fey, even wore all Beautycounter makeup when she hosted The Golden Globes. So, yes, it is high-definition camera ready. They have so many other products, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner that I love, products for babies and so much more.

You can shop with us at beautycounter.com/melanieavalon or beautycounter.com/cynthiathurlow and use the coupon code CLEANFORALL20 to get 20% off your first order. Also, make sure to get on my Clean Beauty email list. That’s at melanieavalon.com/cleanbeauty. I give away a lot of free things on that list, so definitely check it out. You can join me in my Facebook group Clean Beauty and Safe Skincare with Melanie Avalon. People share their experiences, ask questions, give product reviews, and I do a giveaway every single week in that group as well.

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

Hi, everybody, and welcome. This is Episode number 300 of the Intermittent Fasting Podcast. Very exciting milestone episode here. I'm Melanie Avalon, and I'm here with Cynthia Thurlow. How are you, Cynthia? 

Cynthia Thurlow: I'm doing well despite navigating travel back to small airports. I was laughing/texting with you last night sharing all the insights I was gleaming being stuck in an airport for 7 hours with a long delay. 

Melanie Avalon: Yes, were talking about the food options, healthy or not, fasting or not in airport layovers, so I'm glad you survived. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, I know it's funny. I'm such an observer as an introvert, like, I just love to people watch. The behaviors that I was watching yesterday intermittently between reading a book, listening to a podcast, reading another book, binging on something on Netflix was just the behavioral patterns. I think people feel a lot of pressure to eat constantly when they're in airports, and I just find that all super fascinating. I think I was chronicling how it doesn't matter what airport I go to. I can generally get a naked burger and a salad and that's typically what I do. 

Actually, the waiter yesterday, it was funny. I got off my flight from LA and Chicago and I was like, okay, plenty of time. I have two and a half hours, I'll be great. I went to a restaurant, got my burger, read a book. I was totally by myself. I was totally in my zone. And then get to my gate and then we realized we've got, like, mechanical problems. I guess pilots and stewards, stewardesses are only allowed to fly for a certain amount of time every day because of the mechanical delay it turned into. We had a different flight crew. It was like a seven hour instead of a two and a half hour time in between flights. I was texting with Melanie and I said, and then, it's not a good sign when United rolls out the cart of snacks. And the cart of snacks was gone in about two minutes. It was amazing. People were clearly, “starving.” But it was hilarious to kind of watch all this unfold. So, I'm just grateful to be home and the fact that I got a decent amount of night's sleep, and it's my last business trip of the year, so no more traveling for a while. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I feel like it definitely speaks to just how much well, A, we're inundated with food and food advertising and accessibility and also how food is really just a pastime. Like, if we're bored, I'm sure people were hungry as well. It's a comfort. It fills the gap of boredom. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely. I get that, there's no judgment on my part, the psychology behind the way people eat. That's why I always say, like, if you eat enough protein, you're just too full. Even if I had endeavored to eat the bag of Cheez-Its or Goldfish or whatever myriad of stuff they had, I was like, I just grabbed a bottle of water because I was so dehydrated from traveling that I was like, I'll just grab the water, and I'll just try to stay hydrated, and we'll just go from there. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I always fast when traveling. If it was, like, that situation where it was a really long layover, honestly, I would probably still fast. I would probably turn it into a longer fast moment. Just because I don't feel comfortable with lots of food in me and trap. It makes me sluggish and--

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, definitely. I wore-- so people will probably be humored. Like, I've got a whole wardrobe of things I wear when I travel so that I can wear layers. So, I'm never cold, because traveling through Chicago, it was actually the airport was quite cold, which actually wasn't a problem. I was like, okay, I got a sweater. I'll just put that on. I had Spanx, like, leggings on all day because they're super comfortable. They weren't comfortable at, like, hour 18. They were definitely [laughs] when my husband picked me up, I was like, there's too much compression on my stomach and I've been doing a lot of sitting. He was like, “What are you trying to tell me?” I said, “You know how I talk about like there are specific things I wear when I travel. This is not the outfit. If I'm doing more than like 14 hours of travel, there's just too much compression on my stomach.” My stomach was like not happy with me at all. 

Melanie Avalon: I can't wear Spanx at all. That's how you don't have GI issues. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, they're definitely different. They're super comfortable actually. It's just that amount-- it would be like trying to wear like, Lululemon tights all day long and traveling. It's a lot of compression on your gut. 

Melanie Avalon: Well, speaking of--

Cynthia Thurlow: Probably TMI. This is a good segue into our Q&A because it's like there may be a little TMI today. 

Melanie Avalon: So, for listeners, we really wanted to celebrate Episode 300, quite a milestone. There're a lot of episodes, I think actually for every, well, there's only been two other 100 miles markers. So, Episode 100 and Episode 200. I think for both of those we did an AMA episode. So, continuing the tradition going to do and ask me anything. We got so many amazing questions that we're anticipating. This will probably be a part one, part two, maybe a part three. We'll see how it goes. We got so many really great questions in the Facebook Group which people should join, which is IF Biohackers: Intermittent Fasting + Real foods + Life. That's my personal Facebook group. I asked in that group for ask me anything questions and we got so many. What I did was I divided them into categories. I think we'll just alternate between more personal ones, more health and wellness-related ones. We'll just see where it goes. I have a lot of questions. I'm very excited about this. So, Cynthia, should we jump in?

Cynthia Thurlow: Yes, we should. 

Melanie Avalon: I'm thinking we might because I have, like I said, it's by categories, so I might alternate with the lifehack ones and the likes and things like that with the more health related. Here's a good lifehack that's kind of both. And this comes from Nicole. "What's one piece of advice you'd give someone looking to get healthier?"

Cynthia Thurlow: Oh, gosh. I think and it's funny, I was out in LA and I did four podcasts and pretty consistently the one for me is sleep as a foundational element to health for anyone at any stage of life. I would say really investing in high quality sleep and really starting with the foundations. Not necessarily rushing to a supplement, but doing the things that we know improve sleep quality, daily exercise, light exposure in the morning, getting off electronics, wearing blue blockers, making sure you don't eat two to three hours before bed unless you're a unicorn. I think those are the things that I really think about. I think we like to make things very complicated. I always say before you even think about adding a supplement, make sure you're doing the sleep hygiene pieces. Sleeping in a cold, dark room. I sleep with a sleep mask. I keep the thermostat at 65 degrees. In fact, it was funny when I came home last night, it was 69 degrees on our second floor. The first thing I said to my family was, “Oh, we're going to drop the thermostat because I need it at 65.” Everyone was like, “We've been sleeping at a much warmer temperature.” And I'm like, “I can't do that.” So, I would probably say focusing in on sleep first and then adding supplements if you still need additional support. How about you, Melanie?

Melanie Avalon: That's a good one. I'm actually surprised I didn't think of sleep as the first thing. Whenever people ask me what's the most important thing for me to focus on, I think I normally do say sleep. So, I'm really glad you tackled it. I was thinking on the diet side of things and I was really torn between eating whole foods not the store, but like, foods in their whole form, because that's macro-agnostic, but I just think if we just return to eating real food, that can have a profound effect on people's health. I was torn between that and fasting [laughs] surprise, but I actually think I would go the whole foods route.

Cynthia Thurlow: And I think that's really important. I am a huge advocate of saying that it all starts with food, and I see so many people that are quick to embrace the latest fad irrespective of what it's leaning into. I just remind people, if we just keep things simple, focusing in on sleep, eating as nutrient dense foods as you can, I think that's really, really helpful.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I obviously think so as well. I think between those two, honestly, if somebody's not addressing those two things and then they address those two things, I think the profound effect it would have on so many people's health would be crazy. You don't even have to be really specific or do like a certain type of diet, but that combined with the sleep, very powerful. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, absolutely. Keep it simple. I mean if there's one tried-and-true message that I think both of us discuss consistently is keep things simple because if we try to make too many changes all at once, it's overwhelming. It's hard to stay, I hate to use the word compliant, but that's the easiest way to put it. It's hard to be consistent when you're trying to change five things at once. That's what I think most people do. I mean, I certainly have been guilty of it myself, but pick one thing at a time and really lean into it and master it and then move on to something else. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay, here's the fun one and she addressed it to me, but we can both answer it. It's from Samantha. She said, “Melanie, I know you are a musical theater fan. What is your favorite musical?” 

So, I'll go ahead and answer that. I think I might have answered this on another AMA. This question, I always feel mischaracterizes me because my answer is musicals that, it sounds like a cop out, like, “Oh, she doesn't watch musicals because she's listing,” the one that everybody says, but I promise you I listen to so many musicals. But there's a reason that these two musicals are what they are, which is Phantom and Wicked. They're just so amazing. But then my runner ups are next to normal Jekyll & Hyde and Hamilton. I know she said your favorite, but there're so many, and then I have, like 50 million more. How about you, Cynthia? 

Cynthia Thurlow: A few of those I've seen. I grew up in New Jersey, and so my mom really prioritized taking me to Broadway, and so I did that throughout my childhood. For me, I would say Rent I loved. I mean, I still can listen to the music Wicked, I saw that on Broadway with the original cast just by complete happenstance.

Melanie Avalon: Whoa. Okay, I have a question. Oh, I have a question. Did you see it because when it first came out, it was a bomb like it didn't-- Did you see it before it got famous? 

Cynthia Thurlow: No, I saw it afterwards, it was with Kristin Chenoweth and--

Melanie Avalon: So, there was fanfare surrounding it when you saw it, because when it first came out, it did not take off. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, because it was 2005/2006 somewhere around there, because I was up there for a medical conference, and my girlfriend was like, “We should go see this play.” And I was kind of like, “Okay.” I had no idea what it was really even about. I just saw Hamilton, and I've been wanting to see Hamilton on Broadway for, I don't know, five years and with the pandemic that kind of nixed our ability to do that and that was amazing. To me, I have so much respect and reverence for people that work in the creative arts. I am not the least bit like, don't ask me to sing, don't ask me to act or dance in front of other people. I would be so embarrassed. I'd want to crawl in a hole, but I love to watch really talented people perform. I just have so much respect and admiration because it's so very different than where my zones of genius are.

As I was sitting there watching Hamilton with my husband and my boys, and I was like, “God, I feel so lucky to be in this zone of greatness.” Like, watching these really talented actors and actresses do what they do best.

Melanie Avalon: That is the exact way I feel. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. I'm the kind of person, I actually get emotional when I'm watching people when they're really, really good at what they do whether it's dancing or singing or a play. I get a little like teary. It's almost like out of total admiration that I'm witnessing their greatness. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, no, I feel the same and actually, I had a similar experience. I saw the original cast of Next to Normal. It was one of those things where I went in like you to Wicked like I didn't really know what I was going into and then I was just blown away. Ah, love musicals. 

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Here's another one and this kind of relates to what we were talking about earlier, “What are your tricks for keeping your stomach from puffing out? Do you use Spanx for that?”

Cynthia Thurlow: I mean, I don't generally have issues related to bloating. I'm probably blessed genetically with some of this on my own. Obviously, I no longer get a menstrual cycle, but when I did, when I was sometimes right before my period, and I would feel bloated. Spanx is great for that. There're different layers of levels of Spanx, so it's not all so constrictive you feel like you're going to die. For me, quite honestly, it's finding a balance between protein and vegetables. This is going to sound odd, but I'll kind of layer this in. When I'm eating a very protein dense diet and I'm eating cooked vegetables, I have little to no bloating, but if I go on a salad binge, like, I mean, a lot of raw vegetables, that can sometimes give me a little bit of bloat. I have to kind of moderate that. 

I got most of my bloating quite honestly from gluten and dairy. And now that I don't have those in my diet, it's not as much of an issue. But I can tell you, and I know we have a parasite question in this Google Doc that we're looking at when we talk about parasites. I will tell you about my bloating issues, but generally speaking, not a lot. I think a great deal of that has to do with dietary choices and not overeating. Like, I feel so miserable if I've overeaten or if I've eaten too much food that I just-- I know where my sweet spot is and if I'm kind of leaning into the protein and cook vegetables, I do really well. How about you? 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, well, first thing I wrote was just suck it in. [both laughs]

Cynthia Thurlow: Well, I mean, here's the other thing before you say the next thing. A lot of people when they talk about bloating, it's really not bloating. It's because their core is not very strong. So, again, I think some of this is just probably innately how I was made. I've always had a pretty strong core and I've always done Pilates. I've always done a lot of core focused work. If you think about your rectus abdominis and your obliques and all these muscles that work together to kind of hold you in and hold you up, if they're not strong, that can contribute to people perceiving that they're having bloating, when it's really just they have muscles that need a little bit of work, if that helps. 

Melanie Avalon: So that's interesting. That writes me of two things. One, I have this childhood memory, I don't know how old I was, I was probably like nine or ten and some aunt commented on my stomach sticking out.

Cynthia Thurlow: Oh, well, sometimes kids have like lordosis and it's not even that their stomach sticking out, it's they have like a swayed lower back. It has nothing to do with the belly sticking out.

Melanie Avalon: That's what the aunt said. She was like, “Oh, this runs in the family or something.” But do you know how traumatic that is to be told that.

Cynthia Thurlow: People sometimes are thoughtless. I just don't realize they're filters off. It's like you could have said that or just not said that and we would have all been okay.

Melanie Avalon: Not to like a nine or ten-year-old, but what's interesting is, I think this is a fun little also lifehack, I feel like a good way to get a good core workout. So, I saw Trans-Siberian Orchestra recently. I realized I have my crazy concert outfit, which is like this really massive spark-- It looks like a dress, but not really because it's a two-piece, so it's like midriff bearing and then it's this massive sparkly dress. You can see it on my Instagram. It's incredible. In any case, I feel like it's a good hack to get a stomach workout if you wear something like that out, because then you're consciously holding in your stomach, like the entire time, unless you forget. But my first tip was just suck it in.

My second tip [laughs] was based on the digestion and finding the diet that works for you. For me, digestive enzymes are game changers for that. Finding a digestive enzyme supplement that works might help. Also, like Cynthia was saying finding the dietary combination a lot of people-- for me low FODMAP works really well and that keeps me not bloated. Also, oh, here's one. If you go carnivore for a lot of people your stomach will probably get very flat. I experienced that. Whenever I do experiment with a time of just meat, there's zero bloating. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Well, when and if we get to the parasite question in this episode, we can talk about this because that's how I knew something was very wrong and very, very wrong. I always say going back to an anti-inflammatory, like a real anti-inflammatory diet can sometimes be partial carnivore or carnivore for a couple of weeks can really be hugely impactful. But I always say just perceiving you have bloating is very different than looking six months pregnant bloating. There's that continuum that I think is important to identify. 

Melanie Avalon: I'm starting to think this might be like a four-part episode. It'll be like the AMA month. It'll be like January, the AMA month. [laughs] Okay, so, David, "Have either of you taken a DNA stool analysis for parasites?"

Cynthia Thurlow: Yes, multiple times. I have had parasites, more benign parasites, like Blastocystis, which is very common. Let me just back up and say, it is very common to see parasites even in first world countries. Don't think that, oh, you haven't traveled, there's no way you've been exposed. It's really more about exposure and susceptibility. I think that the really exciting story to share is my Morocco tales, because that's where I got the worst food poisoning of my life. I had probably an acute parasite issue that morphed into a fairly significant parasite issue and we believe is a reason why I ended up developing a ruptured appendix and being so sick and necessitated. So, let me back up further and say that you can have an acute reaction to a parasite infestation and then you can have chronic parasitic infections. I have had both and the second one was harder to tease out. 

But I'm grateful that I have amazing colleagues who, as soon as I told them my symptoms, they were like, you definitely have X. I kept saying, “No, no I've done a GI map and it didn't show it.” And I ended up going through a parasite expert who puts your stool, your poop in a slide and looks at it under a microscope. Microscopy, which is pretty important, and I indeed had two parasites, and I had Candida and I had E. coli. Within one dose of antibiotics, I felt like a different person. There was no question there was something wrong with my gut because I had tremendous bloating. By the end of the day, I looked six months' pregnant, which is a problem because there's no way I'm pregnant. I had horrible, horrible gas, like, distinctively bad foul-smelling gas, and I just didn't feel good.

It didn't matter how much I slept, what I ate. It was like as soon as I ate it started this whole bloating, gas, loose stools situation that went on for probably a month until I had gotten the stool results back. It was actually an expensive test that's done out of a lab in New Mexico, But for me, life changing. I didn't want to go on it. I literally had to take one day of one antibiotic to kill this thing. I was so grateful that I had something that could treat it. 

Melanie Avalon: Do you know what antibiotic it was? 

Cynthia Thurlow: As I am saying this. So, this is Giardia. Giardia is generally transmitted in water. If you have like, as an example, doesn't mean everyone has a well. If you are exposed to contaminated water or people that have Giardia and they don't wash their hands after they go to the bathroom, you can get exposed to it. So, I took tinidazole. It's T-I-N-I-D-A-Z-O-L-E. 

Melanie Avalon: Wow. It only took one and it knocks it out? 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, it's like a large bolus of antibiotic. My husband had to be treated, too, even though we didn't test him. Parasites can be transmitted in saliva and sexually. I've done a lot of interesting international travel and this female physician friend of mine was adamant, as soon as I talked to her, she was like, I don't even need to test you, you have Giardia, but I didn't just have Giardia. I had another friend too, [laughs] so it was pretty disgusting. It was like literally one dose of medication and the next day I felt 1000% better. 

Melanie Avalon: Wow. That's crazy. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. Aren't you glad you asked it? I saw that question and I was like I will be happy to answer that question because conventional testing for ova and parasites does not always pick this up. Even the GI Map, which I clinically believe is a really really good test, never picked this up. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, that's one of the things. Because I've done parasite stool testing, I mean, probably multiple times. Honestly, I know some of them have been negative. I don't even remember if some of them pick something up. I just remember at one point I was working with a practitioner and it came back negative. But then he was like, “All your symptoms match parasites.” And he said most people have parasites. He had me do a course of Alinia, are you familiar with that one? 

Cynthia Thurlow: I am not personally, but only because I myself have not written a script for it.

Melanie Avalon: Okay. Yeah. He said that it was like a game-changing anti-parasite drug that revolutionized so many of his patients and it probably helped. It was during the time when I was at a really not feeling well place health wise, so I don't really know what was doing what, but I did do that. I also have done, I've talked about on the show before, have you taken Mimosa pudica? 

Cynthia Thurlow: I have not. I've taken a lot of stuff, but I've not taken that. 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness, Cynthia, and listeners, I know they've heard me talk about it before. Okay, this stuff, I should probably do another round of it. So, it doesn't kill anything. So, you don't get detox effects because it's not making anything angry. It's a very sticky gelatinous, something from some tree or something. The thing that's confusing about it and the reason I'm being so hesitant, like you can look it up, people have pictures. If you put it in water, you'll see that it forms a really long mucusy string. So, you end up passing that regardless. It's going to look like you're passing parasites regardless because it just looks like that after it comes out of you. But it will grab things and I swear to you, [laughs] the things that have come out by taking that were shocking to the point where I was like, I can't keep taking this is too scary. 

And that's the response. There are like groups dedicated to this basically, but it's super cheap. You can get on Amazon, Mimosa pudica and maybe I should make this someday. It's crazy, that's all I can say. It's crazy. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. I think what's interesting as a traditionally trained provider, it's always amazing to me that there are a lot of herbs and antimicrobials including berberine as an example. It's a potent antimicrobial that can be very effective at getting rid of pathogens and they don't have the same detrimental impact on the gut microbiome that traditional antibiotics do. Let me be clear, there was no other option for me. There was no antimicrobial that was going to kill what I had because it was so substantial and significant. I'm like, I will be forever grateful that I got some validation. But having said that, it's just nice to know that there's a lot out there that we're still learning about herbs and other potent combinations of different ingredients that can be very beneficial at killing off what does not belong. If you need antibiotics to kill off what does not belong, there is no shame in that either. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, and I think the thing I really want to emphasize about Mimosa is it's not killing anything. It's literally just physically grabbing stuff out of you. That's why people don't get the detox effects like I mentioned. That's why you can actually see an entire thing. It's crazy. [laughs] It's for parasites specifically. Yes, I agree 100% with what you're saying about. There are so many options and alternatives out there and it's nice that there's more and more awareness about it. Especially like with the berberine, people think about that primarily for blood sugar control. We talk about this in Episode 296 with Scott Emmens, I'll put a link to it. It was actually first used in 3000 BC, which is so long ago, and not for blood sugar control. They didn't even know that was a thing back then, but for gut inflammation and yeah, GI health, so crazy.

That actually reminds me of another question on here because I'm not saying antibiotics are bad, but they're definitely something where, there's a cost benefit and we don't want to be inundating ourselves with antibiotics 24/7, but we take them when necessary and they can be life changing like you said. Sort of in that vein, but not really because we don't really have anti-antibiotic rule. But this question is from Amy. She says, “I love the last episode where you both admitted you color your hair without shame [laughs] and not using cleaner options. I would be curious, what other things are you willing to "Bend the rules for?"”

Cynthia Thurlow: I'd probably say, like, if I go to a nice spa, there's an organic one in my area and I know what they use because we have conversations. But if someone takes me for a nice massage or I'm being treated to spa treatments, I do not micromanage what they're using on me because I will then not relax and enjoy myself. I'd probably say things that are leaning into pampering that are like gifts or they're just an experience. It's like I have to kind of readjust my expectations because if I start asking, then I'm going to be hyper focused on everything that's being used and that's actually not a lot of fun. I would probably say that is the other thing that I'm probably-- in that context, I'm probably very laid back versus what I purchase to use on my body at home. Very different. How about you? 

Melanie Avalon: That's so funny. When I go to massage or I get my nails done, I always bring my own stuff, [laughs] actually, and that's good for a question later. I used to think it would be cumbersome, but I mean, I have to be always doing my nails because of my Instagram and stuff like that. There's this one oil, I can put a link to it on Amazon. It's an MCT oil, basically, but it's a massage MCT oil, but it's just organic MCT. You can use it for everything. So, when I get a massage, I bring it with me and they don't care. When I get a manicure, it actually makes it cheaper because then I bring that and I don't have to get all the fancy upgrades and I give them that and I just let them use that for all of the lotion and everything and anything else massage oil wise. And then I got so excited because up until recently, I was having to have them use the scrubs that they have there, but over the holidays, Beautycounter came out with a limited edition scrub and a body polish.

Cynthia Thurlow: I have that. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it's so good. So, for instance, if they still have that, because they tend to have it past the holidays stock up on it. I stocked up on it. So now I actually bring that-- It's one of the gift sets. Now I actually bring that with me to the nail salon as well. My other things that I bend the rules on, well, with wine at home I only drink, Dry Farm Wines. If I'm going out, I look up people know I do this, I look up every single wine and I find the organic ones and that's how I decide. I really want to make an app for this, by the way, so stay tuned. I should make that a goal for 2023 to get this app out there. If I am at a place and there's no organic wine, I will drink nonorganic wine. [laughs] 

I don't enjoy that, but I will. People know I do Emsculpt religiously. I love it. I am very concerned about the amount of radiation that it gives your body, but I think the benefits that I get from it as far as building muscle are amazing. I don't do it on my abs. People ask me that a lot, but I'm a little bit concerned about doing it right over my organs like that. So, I just do basically my extremities, my thighs, my bottom, my butt, my arms. And then this is a big one. This is a big confession. I'm probably going to be writing about this. I haven't done it yet, but I am contemplating doing Botox preventatively in my forehead. I wasn't going to, but I had a consultation and I don't know, I started really thinking about it, like, the preventative action of it and not having wrinkles down the line. So, I think what I'm going to do is because basically it's a trade-off of putting that because it is a neurotoxin. So, putting that into your body and the cost benefit, you just have to weigh the cost benefit, I think, of what matters to you or not. If I do do it, well, A, I'm going to do a ton of research. B, I really want to write a really epic blog post about this if I do it, because I think people will think if you do Botox that means that the rest of your skin care doesn't matter or that you don't value skincare. I think I want to kind of educate people on again. I need to do the research first, but if I proceed with this route, I want to maybe spread the word or awareness about the cost benefits of Botox and also why it's still super important to have really non-toxic clean skin care and why you might have both. So, we shall see.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, and I think that's okay. I've always been very honest. In fact, when I was on Drew's podcast for the second time, we were talking in the context about Liver King. So, I'm sure most listeners know about Liver King and how he predominantly was focusing on this kind of paleolithic lifestyle and eating organ meats. God bless him, he eats organ meats, like, with reckless abandon. Like, it's fascinating. But as soon as I saw him, I remember saying to my son, who was like putting him up on a pedestal, I said you realize that guy is on a lot of steroids. 

Melanie Avalon: That's what everybody says. He denies it. Right? 

Cynthia Thurlow: Well, what came out recently was his steroids, like his anabolic steroid schedule and his stack of growth hormone and a bunch of other things. So, in that context-

Melanie Avalon: I missed that. 

Cynthia Thurlow: -yeah, I was saying it to Drew, I think it's important for people that are in the public eye that are influencers to be very, it's not like you have to disclose everything, but you should be honest. I think it's important for me as a middle-aged woman, in the context of our conversation, to say every year I do ProFractional, which is laser, stimulates collagen and elastin. I think that has a lot to do with why my skin looks really really good. I think some of its genetics and I think some of it's my lifestyle. And then I do Botox, I've done Botox since I was 38. I started doing Botox because I have always had a super mobile forehead and that's where it started. And I still do Botox a couple of times a year. I have done filler a few times. I've had it reversed as well.

I think a lot of if-- you chose to go that route and there's no judgment if you do. You want to work with someone that's incredibly talented. You should never look like you've had work. You should never look like your face is immobile. You should never look like your lips look, like this is just my personal opinion. You shouldn't look like you have massive lips and like crazy high cheekbones and just understanding. I think those products are designed to be used subtly, but I think if you see some people that are in Hollywood that are like the extremes, too much of any one thing is not a good thing. In the context of this conversation, I feel like I should be transparent and say that obviously a laser is pretty benign in terms of stimulating collagen and elastin. I don't per se have a problem with using Botox or fillers very discriminately because so much of the rest of my life is so incredibly healthy and balanced.

And to the person in my DMs recently who was giving me a hard time about the fact that I shared those things. Yeah, this is why people that are in, whether they're influencers, they're in the public eye, this is why people honestly don't want to share because they don't want to be criticized. But I don't care if anyone agrees or disagrees with that decision because to me it's my decision. With that being said, I think I would be doing the listeners a disservice if I didn't share that as well. 

Melanie Avalon: Well, thank you for sharing that and I am so enjoying this conversation. I have some quick thoughts and questions. One, mentioning the laser, is that the same thing as BBL? 

Cynthia Thurlow: So, I'm going to say BroadBand Light is different than the Brazilian butt lift because I very innocently last year said, “Oh, I got BBL.” And people were like, “You did?” 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, you said that to me. I remember you were like, you said you were getting BBL. So, something about the next day and I was like, “Oh goodness, that's like an intense surgery,” because I think we still recorded a podcast maybe the next day. I was like, “How is she doing this right now.” 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, this tells you how long I've been doing BBL. It was preceded the Brazilian butt lift, which I'm told is going out of favor according to my plastic surgeon friends, which is a whole separate tangential rabbit hole that we won't jump down. In conjunction with ProFractional, I do BBL and what it's doing is any brown pigmentation. I don't have a lot of hyperpigmentation in my skin. We do that preceding the ProFractional. I hate it. I hate both of them honestly. It's like a love-hate. I'm doing it in January, which is usually the month I do it. I hide for four days and then I feel fine. With that being said, the laser in and of itself is looking for the pigmentation helps dissolve it. If you have some brown pigmentation, the laser will identify it, it will help dissipate it, but it will actually get darker for a couple of days or maybe a week and then it goes away. 

For me, I think the two of those together have been super powerful. But, for anyone that's just doing BBL - BroadBand Light, it is not painless. Make sure whoever you're working with is like getting you prepared for that because it's almost like having a rubber band snapped against your skin. As you can well imagine, doing it once is not a big deal. If they're doing your whole face that can be painful. Just make sure that they're giving you either topical lidocaine or giving you something to make you feel comfortable. 

Melanie Avalon: Although caveat, also check and make sure your practitioner lets you use that because it was during the podcast last time when we were talking about I was going to go do it and then I put on numbing cream during the podcast, which apparently is some people let you. But, where I went to Ideal Image, which I'll say their name because I think they're the biggest. They're like the go-to place. They do not let you use numbing cream. So, do not use numbing cream if you're going to them.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, and my practitioner, they put it on for you. Like when you arrive, you arrive an hour before your treatment and they put it on for you. With very few exceptions, I'm very comfortable with BBL. There are spots when they do ProFractional that are tender, like along your forehead line. It freaks me out when they do underneath my eyes and my nose is a little sensitive, but beyond that, not bad. Not bad at all. 

Melanie Avalon: I've heard that old therapy is the most painful thing.

Cynthia Thurlow: Morpheus is supposed to be very, very painful. I'm not ready, if someone were to give and actually the person I go to who trains providers all over the United States doesn't use those technologies yet, because she still feels like ProFractional has just as much benefits. But every time I see her, I'm like, “So what's the latest?” And then she'll kind of get me caught up.

Melanie Avalon: What's really interesting though, because you mentioned the laser, so I was talking with a friend about whether or not I should do Botox or not. It's funny because he mentioned people doing lasers and Botox and whether or not you talk about it on social media, it's interesting that for some reason, Botox, I think, has more of a stigma. I have literally no issue talking about BBL or lasers or that seems almost like biohacking in a way, but for some reason, Botox feels more fake. I don't know why because I was thinking about it more, it's not even affecting your skin, it's just paralyzing the muscle underneath so you're not wrinkling your forehead all the time and not forming those lines that last. So, I find that really interesting. I mean, I think you could make the argument that well, maybe not it's because you can make the argument that Botox is biohacking [laughs] but--

Cynthia Thurlow: I think you could and here's the thing, like, I just interviewed Dr. Amy Killen, who's a female biohacker physician, and she's so knowledgeable and offline we were having discussion about some of the things that she does. She's very transparent and that's why I hope to be just as much for listeners so they can kind of get a true sense, like some of this is genetic, some of its lifestyle, and then I get help from other things. That's what we're sharing in the context of this conversation. Amy was talking about, she does all the things, PRP, stem cell stuff. It's very interesting. There's a continuum. It's all very relative. To some people, Botox may be like taboo and then others are like, "I'll do everything up to surgery." Some people are like, "I want to do everything up to surgery and surgery," and there's no judgment provided that you can afford it and you're not body dysmorphic. I think that everyone has to decide what they're comfortable with and what makes sense. From my perspective, I just wanted to add that caveat that I think I want to be fully transparent as a 51-year-old female that I try to do as many things as I can to feel as good as I look internally and reflect that externally as well.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I could not agree more. And then when I was talking to that friend, I said, I was like, “Well, it's a neurotoxin.” He was like, “Well, wine is a neurotoxin.” I was like good point [laughs] or alcohol. Yeah, no, I agree with the perspective and what's important to you and no judgment and just do you.

Cynthia Thurlow: I think it's just a healthier space to exist, and I don't have the emotional bandwidth to sit around and be judgy of other people's choices. It's like as long as you're not hurting anyone, there's very few absolutes where I'm okay, that's not a good decision. If you're harming yourself, a child, an animal, other humans, that's not good. Beyond that, it's like, I just don't have the bandwidth to worry about what everyone else is doing. It's like, if it works for you, that's great. If it doesn't, then course correct. 

Melanie Avalon: Also, one last thing to that point and I mentioned this earlier, but it's like, oh, if you're getting Botox, people might think you're lying about the importance of safe skin care or antiaging skin care. But, if you think about it, they're all really important. Like doing a process where you're paralyzing the muscle and keeping wrinkles from forming from just the mechanics of your skin doesn't negate the super overwhelming importance of taking care of your skin. Like, you would still need to do both.

Cynthia Thurlow: I take AG1 several times a week after working out and when I’m ready to break my fast and it really makes me feel unstoppable. I love to add it to a protein smoothie or actually will drink it with filtered water and I love both variations. My 17-year-old also enjoys AG1 after a workout to ensure he stays really well hydrated. A great deal of what I focus on in my personal life is ongoing gut health improvement. I do feel fundamentally that AG1 has contributed significantly to improvements in my gut health over the last three years. I feel as if the key health benefits from multivitamins, minerals, pre and postbiotics all work together synergistically to improve my gut microbiome. AG1 is way more than just greens. It’s important to note that it’s made with 75 super high-quality vitamins, minerals, and whole food source ingredients that deliver incredible benefits to the gut microbiome, as well as sleep support, assistance with energy, and so much more.

So, if you want to take full ownership of your health, today is a good time to start. Athletic Greens is giving you a free one-year supply of vitamin D and five free travel packs with your first purchase. I find that these five free travel packs are so convenient when you’re traveling. In fact, I was in Los Angeles last week and I used one each day that I was away. Go to athleticgreens.com/ifpodcast that’s athleticgreens.com/ifpodcast and check it out.

Melanie Avalon: Damon wanted to know, laser hair removal, is it worth it?

Cynthia Thurlow: Oh my God, yes. Oh my God, yes. It's funny. You do laser therapy and then you realize in your 40s into your early 50s, you don't have as much body hair. So, I'm like, what was I thinking. I went gangbusters in my 30s. Yes, yes, yes.

Melanie Avalon: I agree. I don't think I commented on barely any of the comments in the thread. But when I saw this one, all I did was I wrote yes, all caps.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, well, think about it. People spend years doing bikini waxes and electrolysis.

Melanie Avalon: And think about forgetting to shave your underarms or your legs. You don't have to anymore.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, although it's funny, I did my legs and my bikini area and I guess I took too well to it because I bought a package. They were like, literally “You've done so well. What else can we do? What else can we do for you?” For me, it was like life changing because I had done like, bikini waxes every month forever and eternity, and then all of a sudden I was like, this is great. 

Melanie Avalon: It's funny because when they try to sell you stuff and they're like, “This will be the best thing ever,” and you're like, “But really?” No, it really is. [laughs] 

Cynthia Thurlow: No, it's resounding. It is worth every penny, every single penny. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I've done the Brazilian, the arms, the legs. Now I'm doing the upper lip. I think that's everything. [laughs] There's nothing left.

Cynthia Thurlow: I had blonde hair on my face. I've been just doing dermaplaning because to me and it's like, here's a fun topic for conversation. During the pandemic, when I could not get to get threaded or dermaplaning or anything, my anesthetician had recommended something called Tinkle, T-I-N-K-L-E. You can find it on Amazon. It's like really inexpensive and it's a little like razor for women, so you can get rid of fuzz on your face. Oh my God life changing. I literally was like, what was I spending all this money on threading for, for years [laughs] and then waxing before that. I was like, “Oh my God.” 

Melanie Avalon: Is it special or is it just a little razor? 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, so it's for your face and it's not as strong as what a man would use. To me, it's like I can use it in between facials. And it's amazing, just amazing. For all those little weird hairs, if you like mind just tweeze them. I'm like, “Oh my God, this is amazing.” So highly recommend.

Melanie Avalon: They always have these at Marshalls and TJ Maxx. Maybe not that brand, but I use those or I used to. Oh no, I still do because I'm still doing the upper lip. Okay, here's back to non-skincare health, beauty-related things. What are your top three book recommendations besides your own?

Cynthia Thurlow: Okay, I've given this a lot of thought, I would say the books that are really in terms of health and wellness, I'm going to just leave it there because there're so many books. I would say the books that really shifted my perspective on a lot of different things, XX Brain by Dr. Lisa Mosconi, who I've been trying to interview for a year. She's like knee deep in research. She works at Cornell. That book helped me solidify why women-- and this is my opinion why women can benefit from hormone replacement therapy.

I would say the other book that I found really helpful, like in that space is Why Estrogen Matters by Dr. Avrum Bluming and Carol Tavris. I have had him on the podcast. We will link that in the show notes. The Women's Health Initiative is probably the most detrimental study that's ever been conducted on women in terms of the net impact on practitioners prescribing hormones and women taking hormones. You have a whole generation of clinicians and women who are fearful to take and/or prescribe medications. 

I would say, most recently, a book that really has had what I would say is this book, is the book I can read now because I've done the work. The Myth of Normal by Dr. Gabor Mate and that podcast will be out with him on December 24th. So, talking about the role of trauma in your life, I mean, he's changing the narrative for the way that we view trauma and doing it in a way that is through the lens of compassion and as someone that's a survivor of childhood trauma, both physical and emotional. For me, that book just allowed me to view my parents from a very compassionate lens. I would say those books right now in terms of health and wellness are the books that I probably recommend the most. For full disclosure, they're not easy-breezy reads. Lisa Mosconi's book, I think, is one that I recommend quite a bit to patients and clients that is more accessible. Myth of Normal is excellent, it's long and I would say that Why Estrogen Matters is a good read as well. How about you? 

Melanie Avalon: That's really awesome recommendations. So, I think my favorite is Lifespan. Oh, wait. No, I'm torn. Well, okay. So, Lifespan, David Sinclair's book, Why We Age and Why We Don't Have To. It's basically just everything I'm obsessed with. And what I love, when I interviewed him on the show, I might have told you this. Did you know he drew all of the characters in the back? 

Cynthia Thurlow: Really? So talented. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. He said that because in the very back there's hand drawn pictures of the people and everything. He drew all of those. He said he drew them because he wanted to put the actual pictures or whatever, but they couldn't get the rights to everything. So, he's like, “I'll just draw it.” [laughs] Isn't that crazy? 

Cynthia Thurlow: Well, that's along the lines of, like, when I'm in awe of people that are doing something artistic on a stage in the performing arts, okay, there's another level to my respect for him. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, no, it's insane. And if so you listen to my, that was the first interview I had with him. If you listen to it, he tells me this in real time, and I'm just, like, in shock, in shock. I'll probably say, this is so hard. You know what I haven't read The Paleo Solution since I read it in, like, 2012. But that's what changed my life. Like, that's the reason I'm doing what I'm doing today. Robb Wolf's book, I think I will have to include that I'm torn between James Nestor's Breath and I think I might have to do Kelly McGonigal's The Upside of Stress just because that book-- I need to try to get her on the show. That book was so valuable for me because I started stressing so much about stress, which, yes, stress has a lot of negative health effects. That's no surprise. It's not really negotiable. There's this whole aspect to it where perception affects how stress affects you. And so, reading that book took the biggest weight off of my shoulders about stress and how you can reframe your experience of stress and use it to your benefit rather than as a detriment. 

Cynthia Thurlow: I love that. It's someone said to me years ago, trying to pick your favorite book is like trying to pick your favorite child, it's impossible. Where I sit, where my desk is in my study, I literally have the ability to see hundreds of books. It's so hard because there're so many great books that I've read, but it's impossible to have a favorite. Just for listeners to understand, those are the three that have had the most impact on me. They've just completely blown my mind. Obviously, the ones that Melanie is identifying, two out of three I've already read. But I'm always reading. Just like, Melanie, I've actually got Sally Norton's new book on my floor to read, I'm like after I get done with podcast prep for this week. 

Melanie Avalon: I feel so bad because I always get her confused with Susan Owens because they both talk about oxalates a lot. I've had her on the show.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, this will be my first time. I've had one other oxalate expert who I think is trained with her, but her book is coming out. So, I was like, it's probably time to revisit the oxalate issue. 

Melanie Avalon: That's awesome. I didn't realize she had a new book coming out. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, it's called Toxic Superfoods. [laughs] I'm sure there will be lots of overlap with Gundry's kind of methodologies about plant-based toxins.

Melanie Avalon: That's awesome. Awesome. Here's a quick one. This is from Danielle, "What is your favorite holiday tradition?"

Cynthia Thurlow: I think a lot of the traditions that are important for us is just a lot of togetherness, a lot of disconnection from work and social media and things like that. I would say there're a lot of things that we have done as a family including like decorating the tree, decorating the house, making cookies. When my kids were younger, they were more interested, invested in those things. But I think it's the quietness around, like Christmas Eve when we go to Mass and then we read particular Christmas books and then there's a nice meal and just savoring that time. There was a recent study that came out and it talked about how much time you spend with different people throughout your lifetime. As someone with a 17-year-old and 15-year-old, I read this study and my heart hurt. The great thing that I'm going to bring to this conversation is that it just reaffirms why it's so important to connect with one another. 

So, when I think about holidays, I just see it as connection, like spending time together, making meals together, making memories together, not per se, like one specific thing, like do we drive around and look at Christmas lights? Yes. Do we make specific kinds of meals? Yes. But what I value the most, especially now that my kids are older, is just being together, being silly, watching movies, trying to deal with all of the challenges of navigating in laws and parents and expectations for kids and everything else. How about you? Does your family have special traditions around Christmas or the holidays? 

Melanie Avalon: Well, first of all, I'm obsessed with everything Christmas, and mine was basically the same on Christmas Eve, we'd always had a tradition growing up of opening like, one present the night before and trying to make it a present that is something we could do together. Normally it's like if somebody gave somebody a game or something, and then we would do the gift and yeah, that's always been my favorite thing hands down. We are a big wine loving family. Having the Christmas wine and opening the presents and the Christmas Eve and playing the music, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, I am all about it. I love it. Actually, what we've started doing, I feel like it's been ever since everybody's been adults, it's been changing around. Now sometimes I think last year, maybe even the year before, we opened all of our presents just on Christmas Eve, the night before, because people are more, I don't know, spirited and lively in the evening than coming all over during the day.

Cynthia Thurlow: We've tried that. My kids always beg. My husband's kind of a traditionalist about the gift stuff. I think because I grew up with divorced parents, we just opened gifts. When we opened gifts, it wasn't regimented. My kids every year are like, can't we just open gifts on Christmas Eve. And my husband gets very rigid. I just always say, my husband's 90% of the time he's really easy going, and if he gets fixated one thing, I just tell the kids, back off. So, yeah, they're allowed to open one gift on Christmas Eve and then the rest on Christmas. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. We didn't start doing this until very recently, and we're all very much adults now, but growing up like your kids' age, we never did more than one the night before. I don't think we even wanted to. My dad is that way with Monopoly, because Monopoly is always the game we would always play, and we'd always want to do things like play how there's, like, 50 million spin offs of Monopoly, like, all the different themes? No, he, like, only wants to play the original. We would always have debates about, like, the rules and because there's a lot of, I think, like, little fun things you can add or change the rules little bit, nope. [laughs] It had to be the traditional way in the rule book. 

Cynthia Thurlow: I'm married to an engineer, so I'll just leave that there. Anyone that's married to engineers, know engineers, you understand they can be a little rigid sometimes, but I give him a lot of credit because he's usually pretty laid back about a lot of other things. 

Melanie Avalon: So funny. Two last quick ones. So, one is sort of health related. Leslie says, “I work at HOTWORX, 24 hours Infrared Fitness Studio. What do you think about a 3D workout heat exercise infrared sauna?” 

Cynthia Thurlow: Okay, I know exactly what HOTWORX is and I love the idea. I'm going to come at this from two lenses. So, number one, I hate being hot, really hot when I'm exercising. Hate it. Like warm yoga, good. Ashtanga yoga, that's at 105 degrees. No, don't enjoy it at all. For me personally that would be a no, because I just don't enjoy being really hot unless it's hot because I'm exercising at a level that I'm increasing my basal metabolic rate and my internal thermostat.

Number two, I think the concept of a 3D workout sounds great. I think it's probably highly bio individual. If you are a 25-year-old woman who is really lean and you're pushing yourself all the time, and you're not getting a menstrual cycle and you're overdoing it, I kind of call it the triad of over fasting, over exercising, over restricting. 

But I think for probably the average person, it's probably, like, a fun way to exercise. We have to think about what heat and exercise are. They're forms of hormesis. It's the right amount of stress at the right time. I think that it's important to recognize where are you in your cycle, how is your sleep, what's your stress like. Like, it's just adding additional stressors to your body. I think in the context of someone who's sleeping well, who's in the follicular phase of their menstrual cycle, who doesn't have too much stress, that's not overdoing it and is staying hydrated, it's probably fun. That would be my guess. 

Melanie Avalon: That was basically my answer, was that I think it could be really great like, it can be a great way of hacking and getting more bang for your buck as far as benefits go. But you also need to know yourself. I'm literally just spitting out what you just said. You have to know yourself and some people it's going to be too much and it's going to be overdoing it and it's not going to have the beneficial effects in the long term because it's not allowing the adequate recovery in between. And if it's fitting into an overly stressful lifestyle anyway, it might not be the way to go. I think you really just have to know yourself. I haven't done HOTWORKX. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. no offense to anyone who loves working out in a super hot environment. I hate it. I've been that way my whole life. Hate it with a capital H. For me, like if I went to the gym and it was cold in the gym, good. If I walk outside and it's kind of hot and humid, not as interested in walking as long. But it's not that I don't see the utility I just personally hate being that hot. I hate it, just despise it. The only thing I can compare it to is like, being in Morocco, which was like an oven. [laughs] We're telling my husband I don't think we'll ever come back because it was just so hot. 

Melanie Avalon: I'm the same besides my sauna sessions where the purpose is being hot and it's relaxing, especially with infrared, not getting that hot. But I'm not about the heat. I'm all about the cold. are you guys getting a crazy cold front because it's getting down next week to 10 degrees. It doesn't get 10 degrees here. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. Atlanta is going to be in a kerfuffle. Yeah. For me, it's like when I walked my dogs this morning, it was 30 degrees and it's like perfect for them. I put a hat on, I've got a light jacket on and I'm totally happy. 

Melanie Avalon: I'm so pumped. Especially because the last few years has been warm on Christmas, it's going to be like 15 degrees. I am all about it. This is going to be great. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. I just feel like Christmas should be cold. We had, gosh it was probably ten years ago, we got snow in Virginia on Christmas Eve and it was like a dusting, but that's still like in Northern Virginia that's a shutdown mode. Everyone's freaking out. I was like, this is completely appropriate.

Melanie Avalon: I'm just worried about ever since that Texas, was it Austin or wherever when it got really cold and didn't it mess up all of the water, like the pipes and everything. I'm like, please, that cannot happen. [laughs] I need my toilet.

Cynthia Thurlow: Well, you know what they always say. I lived in a neighborhood in Northern Virginia and most of the homes were new construction when people bought them and the builder knucklehead that they were a lot of exterior pipes were freezing during really cold spells. If you're ever concerned about your water freezing in a pipe. You can always keep your water like a little drip just to kind of keep things moving. Yeah, lots of experience with friends who went through that. Not fun. Not fun at all. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, they always post-- when it starts getting cold they post signs everywhere saying, “Freeze warning and let your faucets drip.” Okay, well, this was fun. This is definitely going to be a two-parter. I'm thinking it's probably going to be a three-parter, maybe a four-parter. 

In any case, for listeners, if they would like to submit their own questions for the show and if this is your first episode listening, which since we get so many listeners, it probably is somebody's first episode listening, welcome to that person. Normally we talk about Intermittent Fasting a little bit more. You can submit your own questions to questions@ifpodcast.com or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. These show notes will be @ifpodcast.com/episode300. Those show notes will have a full transcript as well as links to everything that we talked about. So, definitely check that out and you can follow us on Instagram. We are @ifpodcast. I am @melanieavalon. Cynthia is @cynthia_thurlow_. I think that is all the things. Well, this is been really, really fun, Cynthia. Anything from you, before we go?

Cynthia Thurlow: No, I'm looking forward to round number two.

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

Cynthia Thurlow: Sounds good. 

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 re-composed by Steve Saunders. See you next week. 

[Transcript provided by SpeechDocs Podcast Transcription]

STUFF WE LIKE

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

More on Cynthia: cynthiathurlow.com

Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox: LelandCox.com

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

 

 

Jan 01

Episode 298: Clean Hair Products, Skipping Meals & Mortality, Dietary Recall Studies, Defining OMAD, Breaking Fast Easily, Satiety, And More!

Intermittent Fasting

Welcome to Episode 298 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, hosted by Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine and Cynthia Thurlow, author of Intermittent Fasting Transformation: The 45-Day Program for Women to Lose Stubborn Weight, Improve Hormonal Health, and Slow Aging.

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

BUTCHERBOX: Grass-Fed Beef, Organic Chicken, Heritage Pork, Wild-Caught Seafood: Nutrient-Rich, Raised Sustainably The Way Nature Intended, And Shipped Straight To Your Door! For A Limited Time Go To butcherbox.com/ifpodcast And Get The New Year Bundle For Free Plus $10 Off When You Sign Up Today. That’s A 14 Oz Pork Tenderloin, 2 Lbs Of Ground Turkey, And 4 Top Sirloin Steaks Free In Your First Box!

ATHLETIC GREENS: 75 High-Quality Vitamins, Minerals, Whole-Food Sourced Ingredients, Probiotics, And Adaptogens In One Delicious Scoop! Get A FREE 1 Year Supply Of Immune-Supporting Vitamin D AND 5 FREE Travel Packs With Your First Purchase At athleticgreens.com/ifpodcast.

 JOOVV: Like intermittent fasting, red light therapy can benefit the body on so many levels! It literally works on the mitochondrial level to help your cells generate more energy! Red light can help you burn fat (including targeted fat burning and stubborn fat!), contour your body, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, produce collagen for epic skin, support muscle recovery, reduce joint pain and inflammation, combat fatigue, help you sleep better, improve mood, and so much more!! These devices are literally LIFE CHANGING!! For A Limited Time Go To Joovv.com/ifpodcast And Use The Code IFPODCAST For An Exclusive Discount!

To submit your own questions, email questions@IFpodcast.com, or submit your questions here!! 

SHOW NOTES

1:10 - BUTCHERBOX: For A Limited Time Go To butcherbox.com/ifpodcast And Get The New Year Bundle For Free Plus $10 Off When You Sign Up Today. That’s A 14 Oz Pork Tenderloin, 2 Lbs Of Ground Turkey, And 4 Top Sirloin Steaks Free In Your First Box!

4:10 - BEAUTYCOUNTER: Keep Your Fast Clean Inside And Out With Safe Skincare! Shop With Us At melanieavalon.com/beautycounter or beautycounter.com/cynthiathurlow 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!

The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #110 - Jon Levy

Ep. 160 – The Power Of Behavior-Centric Health & Wellness: Trade-Offs for a Long and Happy Life with Jon Levy

19:45 - ATHLETIC GREENS: Get A FREE 1 Year Supply Of Immune-Supporting Vitamin D AND 5 FREE Travel Packs With Your First Purchase At athleticgreens.com/ifpodcast.

21:25 - Listener Feedback: Diane - Better hair products

KNOW YOUR ENVIRONMENT. PROTECT YOUR HEALTH. EWG.

Episode 294: Creatine, Excess Skin, Toning Up, Clean Hair Dye, Hormones, Caffeine, Cortisol, Hormetic Stress, Jet Lag, Hydration, Melatonin, And More!

25:00 - Listener Q&A: Cara - New study found increase risk of early mortality with fasting?

Meal Skipping and Shorter Meal Intervals Are Associated with Increased Risk of All-Cause and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality among US Adults

38:35 - JOOVV: For A Limited Time Go To joovv.com/ifpodcast And Use The Code IFPODCAST For An Exclusive Discount!

41:50 - Listener Q&A: Kemla - Does it matter?

Episode 116: The Great OMAD Debate

44:00 - Listener Q&A: Nancy - one meal a day?

57:25 - Listener Q&A: Spencer - Breaking fast

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

TRANSCRIPT

Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 298 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. If you want to burn fat, gain energy, and enhance your health by changing when you eat, not what you eat with no calorie counting, then this show is for you. I'm Melanie Avalon, biohacker and author of What When Wine: Lose Weight and Feel Great with Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting and Wine. I'm here with my cohost, Cynthia Thurlow, Nurse Practitioner and author of Intermittent Fasting Transformation: A 45-Day Program for Women to Lose Stubborn Weight, Improve Hormonal Health, and Slow Aging. For more on us, check out ifpodcast.com, melanieavalon.com, and cynthiathurlow.com. Please remember, the thoughts and opinions on this show do not constitute medical advice or treatment and no doctor-patient relationship is formed. So, pour yourself a mug of black coffee, a cup of tea, or even a glass of wine, if it's that time and get ready for The Intermittent Fasting Podcast.

Hi friends, I'm about to tell you how you can get a 14-ounce heritage-breed pork tenderloin, 2 pounds of sustainably raised ground turkey, and four grass-fed top sirloin steaks, all for free, plus $10 off. Yes, all of that incredible meat, plus $10 off, all for free. We are a bit obsessed with a company called ButcherBox, which is always in season. Some of my favorite meals that I had throughout the holiday season were fantastic meat and seafood from ButcherBox. Now with the new year, it is time to celebrate with only the very best of the best when it comes to meat and seafood that you put in your body, as well as meat and seafood that helps support our planet and the environment.

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All of their beef is 100% grass-fed and grass-finished and they work personally with all the farmers to truly support the regenerative agriculture system. I also did an interview with Robb Wolf on my show, The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast, all about the massive importance of supporting regenerative agriculture for the sustainability of not only ourselves but the planet. This is so important to me. I’ll put a link to that in the show notes. The value is incredible. The average cost is actually less than $6 per meal and it's so easy. Everything ships directly to your door and it is so delicious. I love carpaccio for example. The ButcherBox steaks are incredible for that. That's how you know it's good steak when you can eat it rare like that and ButcherBox has an incredible offer for our audience.

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One more thing before we jump in, are you fasting clean inside and out? So, when it comes to weight loss, we focus a lot on what and when we eat. It makes sense because these foods affect our hormones and how our bodies store and burn fat. But do you what is possibly one of the most influential factors in weight gain? It's not your food and it's not fasting. It's actually our skincare and makeup. So, as it turns out, Europe has banned over a thousand compounds found in conventional skincare and makeup in the US due to their toxicity. These include endocrine disruptors, which mess with your hormones, carcinogens linked to cancer, and obesogens, which literally can cause your body to store and gain weight. Basically, when we're using conventional skincare and makeup, we are giving these obesogenic compounds direct access to our bloodstream. 

And then in our bodies, studies have shown they do things like reduce our satiety hormones, increase our hunger hormones, make fat cells more likely to store fat, and more resistant to burning fat, and so much more. If you have stubborn fat, friends, your skincare and makeup may be playing a role in that. Beyond weight gain and weight loss, these compounds have very detrimental effects on our health and they affect the health of our future generations. That's because ladies, when we have babies, a huge percent of those toxic compounds go through the placenta into the newborn. It is so, so shocking. And the effects last for years. 

Conventional lipstick, for example, often tests high in lead and the half-life of lead is up to 30 years. That means when you put on some conventional lipstick, 30 years later maybe half of that lead has left your bones. On top of that, there is essentially no regulation of these products on the shelves. That's why it's up to us to choose brands that are changing this. The brand that is working the hardest to do this is Beautycounter. They were founded on a mission to change this. Every single ingredient is extensively tested to be safe for your skin, so you can truly feel good about what you put on. And friends, these products really, really work. They are incredible. They have counter time for anti-aging, counter match for normal skin, counter control for acne and oily prone, and counter start for sensitive. I use their Overnight Resurfacing Peel and vitamin C serum every single night of my life. And their makeup is amazing. Check out my Instagram to see what it looks like. Tina Fey, even wore all Beautycounter makeup when she hosted The Golden Globes. So, yes, it is high-definition camera ready. They have so many other products, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner that I love, products for babies and so much more. 

You can shop with us at beautycounter.com/melanieavalon or beautycounter.com/cynthiathurlow and use the coupon code CLEANFORALL20 to get 20% off your first order. Also, make sure to get on my Clean Beauty email list. That’s at melanieavalon.com/cleanbeauty. I give away a lot of free things on that list, so definitely check it out. You can join me in my Facebook group Clean Beauty and Safe Skincare with Melanie Avalon. People share their experiences, ask questions, give product reviews, and I do a giveaway every single week in that group as well.

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

Hi everybody and welcome. This is Episode number 298 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I’m Melanie Avalon and I’m here with Cynthia Thurlow.

Cynthia Thurlow: Hi, Melanie.

Melanie Avalon: Hi, Cynthia. Can I tell you a story and also ask you a question? They're unrelated.

Cynthia Thurlow: Of course.

Melanie Avalon: Okay, great. [chuckles] This week I had a really crazy moment. I had two interviews for press-related stuff, and I was prepping for one of the interviews. You might have seen this on my story, so I'm sorry if I'm telling the story again. I was prepping for one of the interviews and I knew one of the questions was going to be about being a female entrepreneur. So, I googled, well in DuckDuckGo but it happened in Google too. I checked. In DuckDuckGo, I googled “tips female entrepreneur” the first hit, literally the first hit was an article from Forbes, and it was the one I was in. And not only was it the first hit, but the preview text was my part of the article. So, I literally googled something to prep for the next day and I was the first hit. Isn't that crazy. I keep thinking about that. That's very surreal. Like, out of all the people in the world. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, that's amazing. 

Melanie Avalon: So, I thought it was funny that I was trying to find the answer and I clearly already had the answer. Yeah, that was my fun story. And then I have a question, but do you have any fun stories you would like to share? I know you saw Hamilton.

Cynthia Thurlow: I did. We were in New York City this past weekend, so my family and I, it's the first time we've all been together in New York in five years, which is hard to believe and it's very different with preteens versus teenagers. We had a lot of fun and Hamilton was worth every effort at seeing it on Broadway. I'm just phenomenal. The irony is I flew back to New York two days later for the Influencers Dinner. 

Melanie Avalon: All right, with John. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. Which I did last night, which was amazing. I met such amazing human beings and people that were in different fields. The irony is the only person who guessed.

Melanie Avalon: Who all were there? 

Cynthia Thurlow: There were artists, there were chief marketing officers for major brands, like recognizable brands. There was a cardiologist who was in the midst of the pandemic, like, hitting New York City, who was absolutely brilliant. People just in different fields, but all really interesting like, there was a guy who had been a record producer for, like, Biggie and Pink, just such a diverse group of people, but no egos. Everyone was lovely and you were not allowed to give your last name or what you did. So, we were all interacting and then went about putting a meal together and then sat and had a meal. We went around the table trying to guess what everyone did. 

The person who guessed correctly, what I did turned out to be the cardiologist, even though we had not even talked about any of these things. He was just such a cool person. I would never have guessed he was a cardiologist because of his personality. He was just kind of more free spirited and relaxed and not nearly as intense as most of the other people. I had an amazing evening, but I was up really late for me and then was up at 04:00 in the morning and I'm working on a solid, like, 4 hours of sleep. So, I'm sure tonight I will crash. But right now, I'm running on adrenal and it was an incredible experience. I told John that you said, “Hello.” 

Melanie Avalon: That makes me so happy. I love hearing about those events. I really want to go to one as well. John keeps sending me all the dates. I'm like, “I'm going to come to one, I promise.” 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yes, it was a lot of fun. I guess the thing that was really interesting was one of the we thought was participants turned out to be his mom, who was so lovely. I got to meet her and she was visiting from Israel. It's interesting when you see people in their natural habitat because this was actually a dinner at John's house. He was totally gracious and very supportive. I went home with a signed copy of his most recent book. His dad was this incredible artist and went home with a book of his father. So, it was like, all in all, just a really incredible, like less than 24-hour experience. Yeah, no more New York travel for a while. 

Melanie Avalon: That is amazing. John and I have been bouncing off ideas. I don't know if we're going to do this. We've been thinking we should start a podcast or something just because we talk about all of these crazy, random topics. He's so well connected. I just feel like there's a lot that we could do. [chuckles] So that's so exciting. Wow. Yay.

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. It was a really great experience. 

Melanie Avalon: Well, for listeners, we'll put links in the show notes. Cynthia and I both had John on our shows, so we will put links to the episodes that we had with him. His book you're invited is super cool. It's all about how well, I think the subtitle is something about the art of cultivating influence. But it's about how people cultivate influence. It's about how people become, like, respected leaders with communities and basically leaders of groups and things like that. It's really interesting. It's human psychology. So why people do what they do. So, yeah. 

Cynthia Thurlow: What was really interesting was that only a few people in the room knew who he was, but they still came to this dinner, which I thought was so cool because someone said to me, like, “How do John?” I said, “Oh, well, through my friend Melanie, but I've also had him on my podcast.” He made sure that he was like, if you ever need any support in your business or you have questions, I'm here for you. I think it's a really phenomenal way to network with people because you're so disarmed, because you're not allowed to lean into what's easy, meaning, like talking about your work or leading with your title, whatever it is that however people lead. That's not the way that I am. When you're making a meal with people, you really just get very relaxed, invested in the process. And so, we even helped clean up. We even did dishes. Everyone was part of making the meal, cleaning up for the meal. It was a really delightful evening. 

Melanie Avalon: That's so fun. It's nice for him, too, not to have to do dishes at the end [chuckles] of all these dinners because he has a lot of them and he does them in LA, San Francisco, and New York. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Well and I think it's just nice to feel like this is really the first time I've been in New York. Maybe in September when I was there, when I spoke, but this is the first time I've been back in New York where it's felt like the New York I remember. There's still a lot of mask-wearing, that's a whole tangential conversation and there's no judgment. I'm just saying observationally. There was a lot of mask-wearing and people just being conscientious, but people just seemed, like, happy to be back interacting in person in real life with other humans. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, that's awesome. I should probably say his last name is John Levy. I don't think I said that. 

Cynthia Thurlow: He's so smart. He was even talking about his siblings, all of whom are incredibly accomplished, too. When we found out his mom was at the table, I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is so amazing.” 

Melanie Avalon: That's so cool. Yeah, I love that. My question for you, because this episode airs January 2nd, so this will be the day after New Year's Eve or the day after New Year's Day. Cynthia, do you make New Year's resolutions and do you recommend that people do?

Cynthia Thurlow: I think that I personally don't per se change a lot from year to year. I'm of course open to the possibility, but I try to have a word of the year. That's what I lean into. In some years balance or dedication or whatever I'm leaning into and so, I'm mulling over the idea of what is going to be my focus for 2023. On a lot of different levels, I think it's probably going to be clarity about where I am in my business and where I am in my personal life. So, I do think it's a good idea to evaluate behaviors, what works, what doesn't work. But to me, I don't like to think of it as like a New Year's resolution because that to me, really means a temporary thing, whereas if I have a focus for the year, that's how I choose to frame it so that it's something I'm going to be consistently working on month to month, day to day. And so, clarity is my 2023 word, I'm fairly certain. How about you?

Melanie Avalon: That is super cool. I like that. That's a very practical, implementable thing that people could do. Maybe I should do that. I don't really and I think it's because I kind of feel like every day is like a New Year's resolution day. Like constantly, I’ve so many dreams and goals, and I always feel very inspired and motivated to be doing them. So, it doesn't feel like, “Oh, this is the chance to start anew.” I'm constantly in that vibe. Not to say that people who make.

Cynthia Thurlow: Growth headspace.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, but I don't mean by that people who make New Year's resolutions aren't that way. It's just it doesn't feel like a milestone in my personal life right now. It might change. I'd be really curious though, if people want to tell us their New Year's resolutions. I wonder if the most common New Year's resolutions like what they are. Like the top 10. I would bet one of them is weight loss, but I bet one's probably career related.

Cynthia Thurlow: So, I am fully adulting now and between our financial advisor, our financial planner, my CPA in my business, it's like we've gotten very granular. I think part of the clarity piece for me, just for full transparency, is that we've gotten really, really, really specific in my business about where my energies go, where they do not. I'll give you an example as I'm sure it happens to you. You get asked a lot to do press, you get asked a lot to do guest podcasts. I was finding that I was spending so much time supporting other people's podcasts that I wasn't creating the space for me to be able to be in my business and not be stressed going from one thing to another. One of the rules that I created with my team was that I only do two guest podcasts a month and I could easily do 20.

It's one of those things where we've gotten very specific about what metrics, what's their audience like, is it a good fit. That's made me very happy because coming off of the book launch, this year has been wonderful but exhausting and it's not a pace I want to keep up. This is not to suggest my podcast is going anywhere or this podcast is going anywhere. I'm just talking about guest podcasting and is it in my best interest to be overcommitting myself. So, as an example, we've already filled the two spots in December, we filled the two in January, now we're working on February. That has allowed me to feel like I have a little bit more breathing space and so we're doing things like that because that serves my higher purpose. Then I can devote more time to my business and not feel super stressed, which has been my baseline this whole year for sure. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, no. I think that's amazing and that's something I've been really working on as well, is you want to just say yes to everything, but you can't. You need to know [chuckles] when to say no and that's okay. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, well, and it's interesting, when you really start getting granular about metrics and who is their audience, is it really serving my best interest and their own to have me on. We've had to politely say no to a lot of opportunities because I either don't want to be traveling all the time, that's another thing. Getting very clear about what speaking events I'm going to do and what are the things that are going to lead to more opportunities and understanding that, you and I both know this that our time is valuable as is everyone's. but does it serve me to be on planes and flying all over if it's really not laser focused on what I'm working towards. That's the one thing I would say, “Clarity.”

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I think that's great. 

Cynthia Thurlow: I take AG1 several times a week after working out and when I'm ready to break my fast and it really makes me feel unstoppable. I love to add it to a protein smoothie, or actually we'll drink it with filtered water and I love both variations. My 17-year-old also enjoys AG1 after a workout to ensure he stays really well hydrated. A great deal of what I focus on in my personal life is ongoing gut health improvement. I do feel fundamentally that AG1 has contributed significantly to improvements in my gut health over the last three years. I feel as if the key health benefits from multivitamins, minerals, pre and postbiotics all work together synergistically to improve my gut microbiome. AG1 is way more than just greens. It's important to note that it's made with 75 super high-quality vitamins, minerals, and whole food source ingredients that deliver incredible benefits to the gut microbiome, as well as sleep support, assistance with energy, and so much more.

So, if you want to take full ownership of your health, today is a good time to start. Athletic Greens is giving you a free one-year supply of vitamin D and five free travel packs with your first purchase. I find that these five free travel packs are so convenient when you're traveling. In fact, I was in Los Angeles last week and I used one each day that I was away. Go to athleticgreens.com/ifpodcast that's athleticgreens.com/ifpodcast and check it out. 

Melanie Avalon: All ready. Shall we jump into everything for today? 

Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely. 

Melanie Avalon: So, to start things off, this is actually some feedback from a listener. We recently were discussing toxic hair products and whether or not there were options for coloring your hair and we provided some brands. We just got some quick feedback from Diane, and the subject is “Better Hair Products.” And she says, “Hi there, just wanted to remind folks about the EWG website. Listening to your last podcast, someone asked about less toxic hair color/care. I've been looking for a while, and I found a few cheaper brands of hair shampoos and conditioners as I like to switch them often. Herbal Essence has some that rated low. Obviously, the scented ones rate a bit higher. Unscented castile soap is a one." I'm just going to insert something. This is Melanie talking. I am obsessed with unscented castile soap. I use it for everything. Do you use it, Cynthia? 

Cynthia Thurlow: I do. 

Melanie Avalon: I use it in the shower to take my makeup off and the sink to wash my hands. I mean, that stuff is just amazing. 

Cynthia Thurlow: And it lasts a while. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it does. Yeah, it's incredible. I think you can also use it for the dishwasher and clothes if you make certain concoctions, but I haven't done that. She says, “I'm sure there are more, but I can't get into my personal list on the EWG website, I also found a pump hairspray that smells edible. It's raspberry and reminds me of one from the 80s that I used to use, but this is much friendlier and far less toxic. It's made by All-Nutrient, which is local to me, but I see they sell it on Amazon. I also tried a brand called I think it's Qet and the sample they sent, but it was the size of a paperclip and despite my toddler-sized hands, I couldn't even spray the thing. As far as color and lighting, I'm with you. I asked my three hairdresser friends to research this and find the least toxic/gentlest kinds, but no luck yet. Love listening to and learning from you and Cynthia XOXOX.”

I'll just comment if listeners check out that other episode. We did list quite a few dye brands that were options and I would actually love if people do have experience with nontoxic hair dye. I would love to hear if people have found brands that they like, because it's definitely one of the areas where there doesn't seem to be a lot of options. I'm surprised we didn't mention the EWG. Definitely, the EWG is amazing. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah, their Skin Deep app is certainly very helpful. Diane, thank you so much for sharing those. It gives us more options to consider. Listeners, if there are other brands that you like using that are cleaner, certainly pass them along. I think to me it is a work in progress. Hair is my pain point. I'm very transparent about that, but that does not mean that there aren't wonderful options that are out there. I'm just happy I'm using Argan oil, which is super helpful for the frizz that I experience about eight months out of the year, here in very humid hot Virginia. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I'm having flashbacks to growing up in Memphis and the hair situation. 

Cynthia Thurlow: I didn't realize you grew up in Memphis. I thought you grew up in Atlanta. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, well, I was here until 10. I was in Memphis my formative years of 10 until 17. So, middle school and high school, elementary school part of it. What's interesting is out of the entire timeline of my life, I've lived in Memphis the least. Compared to Atlanta and Los Angeles, Memphis feels like where I've lived the longest because it was when I was growing up. 

Cynthia Thurlow: So cool. Little known facts. 

Melanie Avalon: I know. Shall we go on to our next question? 

Cynthia Thurlow: Sure. This is a question from Kara and it says, “New study found to increase risk of early mortality with fasting. Please interpret.” "Hi, I saw this post on Instagram from @fastingmd. The study is referenced in the show notes. She mentions, “I love this way of life. I typically fast while I'm seeing patients because I know my brain is more clear and I am more focused. It's usually about 18 hours. I've recently tried a snack at 2:30 to take probiotics for leaky gut, but I just don't like the way I feel less on if I do have a snack. After months of trying to figure out my gut issues, I went to a functional medicine practitioner based on your advice. It was the best thing I've ever done. I had no idea how not normal my bathroom experiences were, but also the amount of mental exhaustion from worrying and trying to figure out what it was that I ate that caused the issues. I tried eliminating every food category with very little improvement. To the listeners out there who this is ringing true for, go get a specialist to guide you. I am a healthcare practitioner and I couldn't solve it on my own. I'd love to hear your opinions about the study, Kara. 

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. Well, Kara, thank you so much for your question and your experience. I will just comment with the probiotic snack thing. I don't know which probiotic you're taking, but a lot of probiotics you could take it with your meal or possibly even on an empty stomach. I would just look at your probiotic again and see if it indicates that it needs to be taken with food. But I feel like most probiotics you could take on an empty stomach, so that might be an option. Also, thank you for sharing your experience and your openness about being a healthcare practitioner and realizing that you can still benefit from a third-party perspective guiding you. That's super amazing. The study that she referenced is called Meal Skipping and Shorter Meal Intervals Are Associated with Increased Risk of All-Cause and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality among US Adults. It was published August 10, 2022 in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 

It was a prospective study. It looked, in retrospect, at a lot of people, a total of 24,011 adults who had participated in surveys about food intake and eating behavior using 24-hour recall from 1999 to 2014. What it did was it looked at a lot of things, but one of the main things that looked at and why everybody is talking about this is it looked at the role of meal frequency and how it related to cardiovascular disease and mortality and they separated it into different options. There were people that skipped breakfast, people that skipped lunch and people that skipped dinner. They found that people who skipped breakfast had a higher cause for CBD mortality compared to those who didn't. People who skipped lunch and people who skipped dinner had a higher cause for all-cause mortality.

So, of course, it has a really scary headline, which is annoying and we can break this down. I mean, the headline makes it look like it is literally the meal skipping and the shorter meal intervals, because they also looked at how often people were eating, and they looked at that association. In the title, of course, they say that is leading to an increased risk of these diseases and death. But what did it actually find. So, what's interesting is it was looking at a lot of characteristics of people. So, it wasn't just the meal intake. The people who did not eat three meals per day, because the majority of the people so over half of the people were eating three meals per day. The people who weren't, so their general characteristics, they were more likely-- so it's a list. They're more likely to be younger men, non-Hispanic black, less education, lower family income, smokers, heavy alcohol drinkers, higher physical activity, lower total energy intake, lower diet quality, food insecure, and they snacked more. So, what's really interesting about this is [laughs] basically there was a lot of confounding factors happening in these people who were skipping meals. It's really really hard to say that it was the meal skipping that was the cause of this, when there were so many other things going on, unhealthy related habits that seemed to associate with it. 

Also, of interest of note, and I would actually be really curious, I would be super curious if this got redone now, if it would be different, because this occurred, like I said, from 1999 to 2014. Intermittent fasting has, I feel like, really become more popular probably in the last decade. Kind of near the end of the study is when intermittent fasting started becoming more popular. During the time of the study was definitely the time when we were all told that breakfast is the most healthy meal of the day. A lot of people who are skipping breakfast, especially during this time, might have had other unhealthy habits or on the flipside, people who are eating breakfast might more likely have had healthy habits. It's hard to associate causation from correlation is my point.

So, yes, the takeaway is that this was not cause and effect. This did not look at people's blood sugar levels. It did not look at an individual fasting and see what was happening in their body. It literally just looked at thousands of people what are they doing, how are they eating, and then what was their cardiovascular risk and their mortality risk. 

One last note about it, dietary recall studies can be a little bit problematic. I even heard Peter Attia say on an episode that he doesn't even ever consider dietary recall studies because we're just so bad with recalling. So, for example, in this study, from the original group of people, they removed 3136 participants due to implausible total energy intake. Meaning what those people reported didn't make sense realistically. There was really probably no way they were actually eating that. If there were 3136 people that were clearly overwhelmingly wrong in what they were saying, it makes you curious about the people that were included. So, yes, takeaways, dietary recall study issues, the timing of when this occurred during a time when fasting was not seen as a healthy practice, and then the confounding factors, I think, is huge and then lack of actual cause, and effect causation versus correlation. 

Not to say that there's not valuable information here, but those are my thoughts on this study. Cynthia, what are your thoughts? 

Cynthia Thurlow: I agree with everything that you've said. I think this is the challenge with nutritional research on a lot of levels. Patients oftentimes do not want to fully disclose what they're eating. It's not to suggest that's per se not kind of human nature, but more often than not, I know when I ask for diet recalls, sometimes I fervently believe that people tell me what they think I want to see or want to hear. Nutritional research in and of itself is challenging.

Number two, I do think that there are many issues with looking at research over a long period of time. As you very appropriately mentioned, we didn't know the insulin sensitivity of these individuals. It's my understanding from the study that it was a fairly unhealthy population that they were looking at and so, does it mean that there's more research that can be done? Absolutely.

As you appropriately stated, correlation does not mean causation and so that's why it's important. Really this is one of the challenges I have with the media is that they don't know how to properly interpret research and what they do is they like sensationalization and so, they'll throw out these articles. There's one in the New York Post that I got tagged in all over social media and people were saying, “Oh well, this is going to hasten your morbidity and mortality.” And I was like, "Hey, time out. Let's look at who sponsored the study, let's look at the data, let's look at the high quality of research.” 

We know that randomized controlled trials are the gold standard and obviously that's not what we're looking at here in this instance. I think it just really speaks to the fact we need more information, we need more research to look at this, but epidemiologic research in general looking at different types of research, nutritional research can be particularly challenging on a lot of different levels. I think it just remains to be seen. If we're looking at an already unhealthy population, it's very hard to extrapolate and then say this is applicable to everyone. Hopefully that's clear.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. For example, what I would love for them to have done, which they could have done, I don't know, it's a little bit annoying. They could have separated it out because I mentioned all of those factors about people who were not eating three meals per day what they were more likely to be. I would be super curious if they separated out the people who were skipping a meal by any one of those confounding factors to see if there's a difference. Maybe since its food related, they could have done it by the food stuff. They could have split it by lower diet quality and food insecurity and seen if you separate it that way, do you still see that pattern. You could filter the data a lot of different ways and I bet you would have seen a lot of different things. So, it is what it is. 

Cynthia Thurlow: It's just the beginning point to really look at things. The other piece is that probably our listeners and ourselves, we don't eat a Standard American Diet and we recognize now how inflammatory and problematic the Standard American Diet is because it's highly processed, hyper palatable, too many carbohydrates, too many wrong types of fats, too little protein, and that doesn't help metabolic health at all. There're so many different things that usually when I'm looking at these kinds of articles, I always want to know like, what were they eating because I think that has a large impact on the results that they are reporting. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it was interesting. I was actually thinking about that when I was reading the article because for diet quality, they actually broke down how they determined that, but they didn't give specifics. It was basically like-- It was like a dozen categories of components of food like fruits, vegetables, fatty acids. It was like a dozen of them, salt, sodium. Even within that, there's so much debate about diet. So, I find it interesting that even ranking things by diet quality, I mean, there would be nuance and debate within that. One other little note I did want to point out, I looked at the original post that she referenced on Instagram. I thought this was interesting. Do you know the @fastingmd, she follows you? 

Cynthia Thurlow: I do. I do. I think she's a fan of circadian fasting. That's kind of her cornerstone. 

Melanie Avalon: Okay, okay, got you. So, I don't know if she did this on purpose. I'll just assume she did not. It was a good moment that I thought was a good thing to draw attention to because this goes back to like really encouraging listeners to look at the source material, especially with things like this, where it gets into social media and the news. This is a very small thing, but I still think it's telling of what is happening all the time. So, for example, she mentioned what I mentioned about how the participants who are skipping meals were more likely to be all of these other factors which are mostly unfavorable in that they are associated with lesser health outcomes.

She listed the entire list, but she left out one which was the positive one. She left out higher physical activity and so it could have been an accident. I'm not saying it was on purpose, but I think it's a really good example, because I read it and I was like, wait, but higher physical activity was also one of the things on there. I think it's a good example of even when somebody says, even me right now saying, “What's in the study,” go read the original study. Because I think every time you hear not from the actual source material, you're getting a filtered biased version of it from me, from everybody, even from you. When you read it, you're going to give it your own filter and bias. The most unbiased version you can get is probably reading the original one. 

Cynthia Thurlow: I think that's important. I mean, we're realistic, I may not be able to read every single piece of research that's out there, but certainly the ones that are intriguing and really relevant. Looking at the sample size, I mean, just looking at basic tenets of the research that was done, I think can be very helpful. I have to believe if @fastingmd is anything like my team, sometimes they're so quick to get content up but sometimes things get missed. So maybe that was unintentional. But I know that Amy's, it's Amy Shah. I know that her content tends to be surrounded around honoring circadian biology as it relates to fasting. 

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. Yeah. Again, it probably was unintentional, but it was completely separate from her. It was a moment where I realized again how important it is to go look at the original stuff if you have the time and energy and it's something that you are interested in. 

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Shall we go on to our next question? 

Cynthia Thurlow: Sure. 

Melanie Avalon: We have two questions that are sort of related, so I thought we could answer both of them. So, the first one comes from Kimla. The subject is “One meal a day: Does it matter.” And Kimla says, "I hear a lot of disagreement about what really defines one meal a day." Cynthia, I'm just laughing because I think I mentioned before you know we've had, like, the great one meal a day debate on this show, like Gin and I have debated the definition of one meal a day at length, it became a whole thing. What really defines one meal a day? [chuckles] I wonder why so many people debate this. Is it just a label that people want to place on their fasting pattern?

According to Gin, I adhere to one meal a day, but if I use Melanie's definition, then it would only be sometimes. What I do know is that I typically fast for 21 hours. My eating window varies daily based on how hungry I am. Sometimes I have a five-hour window and sometimes two hours. I do use an app called LIFE on Android to track my fasting time since I've only been doing IF since June, and I always forget what time I quit eating the night before. I think I've gotten offtrack of what my question was now, basically, does it really matter if you truly eat one meal a day or is the fasting window the focus? When I start reading a lot about one meal a day or listening to all the debates over one meal a day and by the way, she's calling it OMAD. 

She says, “I start to get a little obsessed about how much I should or should not be eating during my window, and if I can have a snack or need to cluster all my food. I have noticed this tendency. So, instead I really just tried to pay attention only to how I'm feeling. This has been working great so far. I eat ice cream most nights after dinner which makes me so happy. IF is a keeper in my book. Thank you for all the information. The podcasts and resources have been great tools and I love this way of life. I have never lost weight so effortlessly, no special foods, no containers. I don't have to pack and drag food all over with me, I never feel hungry, and my crazy sugar cravings have disappeared. Thank you for clarifying this concept.”

We have another question from Nancy. The subject is “One meal a day?” and Nancy says, “I'm a new IFer and I've been doing a 16:8 fast. I read here a lot about having one meal a day during that eight-hour feeding window, which seems to contradict other things. I read or hear about eating all of one's calories within that eight-hour feeding window. I basically don't understand what it means to eat one meal within that eight-hour window. Does it mean that you can eat one meal, say at 12:30 PM, a big lunch or 07:30 PM, a big dinner and snack for the rest of your feeding window? If you do only one meal, what is the benefit of that versus spreading out your eating window within your eight-hour window? I like to have a lunch at 12:30 and a dinner at about 7:30. Is there a reason I shouldn't do that? Thanks.”

Before you jump in, Cynthia. I'll give you some recap of Gin and I's thoughts on this and what the great debate was, which in the show notes. The show notes will be at ifppodcast.com/episode298. We will put a link to the great debate, the great one meal a day debate episode that I have with Gin. It's ironic or it's interesting because Gin and I typically eat over the same amount of hours-ish, so it's typically like probably an average of a five-hour eating window, probably four to six hours. The difference is that Gin has a pattern where she has a snack and then she doesn't eat and then she eats her meal later, whereas I eat the entire time straight through [laughs] like the entire four or five hours. It's a very long drawn out pattern. Listeners probably already have it memorized. Like I eat my cucumbers and I drink my wine and then I'm cooking my food and then I eat my food, which is like my scallops, my protein, and then I eat a lot of fruit for quite a while.

Our big debate was I was saying for Gin, I was like, “Yours is like one meal a day and a snack because you're having a snack and then you're not eating and then you're eating.” I was like saying for mine that, “It's one meal because it's like being at a really long dinner where I'm constantly eating.”

Kimla's question about why does it matter, I really don't think it does. [laughs] It's more just the semantics of it. Although, that said for Nancy, I don't really know anybody who would consider like an eight-hour eating window at one meal a day. That's pretty long. So, I can share more thoughts. But Cynthia, what are your thoughts on the semantics of one meal a day? Does it matter? What do you call it? All the things. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Oh, goodness, I feel like I'm stepping into a landmine. So, Kimla and Nancy, thank you for your questions. First and foremost, I think it's important to, if you're metabolically healthy, to intuitively eat. So, when Kimla asks about some days when she has one meal versus other days she eats more than one meal, I think there's nothing wrong with that. In my estimation, one meal a day is exactly that one meal a day. When I think about Melanie's methodology and how she chooses to have like a wider feeding window, a wider eating window, I guess that's maybe the way to call it. I kind of differentiate that. I mean that to me is different. I think we can get caught up in semantics. I would say the same thing about when people ask, does this break my fast. We get nuanced and granular and everyone's stressing. I'm like, really what we should be focused on is determining how many meals do we need in our feeding window to get our protein in that's the first thing. I think that's very important for some people. If you're a unicorn and you can eat a huge meal and have 100 g of protein, more power to you. I'm not that person. I divide my food, my meals into at least two, if not three meals to get my protein in. 

Number two is I think it's important to vary what we do. I think most of us need to do that now. Do we have unicorns? Absolutely. That's a loving word when I say unicorn each one of us are individuals, each one of us needs something a little bit different based on our own needs or personal professional needs. And that's totally okay. Women that are still getting a menstrual cycle really should fast for their cycle. Women that are in perimenopause and menopause need to be careful about over fasting. I'm starting to see a lot of this women that are irrespective of life stage, but they are having very rigid rules about when they eat, how much they eat, a rigid fixation. 

I do think just one meal a day is a problem. I think it's fine every once in a while. Let me be clear what Melanie is defining as what works for her, she's getting plenty of protein in that feeding window. If you're just having one meal that has 30 g of protein, you are chronically undereating and that is something I get concerned about. There's zero judgment. Each one of us has to decide what works for our bodies. But if you're chronically undereating and you're chronically undereating protein in particular, and you are a woman north of 35 or 40, you are putting yourself at risk for metabolic inflexibility. That's what I want to just state. I recognize not everyone may like that opinion, but I do feel that it's important to at least interject. Can you get your protein in in your feeding window? Do I have one meal a day when I'm been traveling or maybe I went on vacation and I ate too much? Sure. But do I do that every day? No, but do we need to split hairs about OMAD? OMAD to me is one meal in a feeding window. It is not like a wider feeding window, like what Melanie does. To me, I don't think of that as OMAD. I just think Melanie has a gradual feeding window. How’s that? Is that a good way of describing it? 

Melanie Avalon: It's so funny. So, I guess, well first of all, super glad that you drew attention to, I think, the crux of the issue with the one meal day of getting in the protein intake. So, yes, that's definitely the major focus there. I guess the reason I feel, I feel like I'm having flashbacks to me and Gin talking, the reason I feel like mine is still one meal a day is, it's like being at a restaurant. It's literally a one meal situation. I start my eating. I'm like having the meal, it just happens to take, because I eat so much volume wise, this is all like whole foods, so it's all pounds of meat, pounds of cucumbers, pounds of blueberries, so it takes a long time to eat all of that. I like to eat slowly, so it's like eating one long slow meal. If you went to a restaurant and it was like a four-hour dinner type thing. 

That's why I feel like it's one meal because it's not like I'm having a snack and then not eating and then having a snack and then not eating, and then eating. It's like mealtime. If listeners are curious what I'm doing, I know people say that you should eat and just eat and focus on just eating, but I'm always reading two books at any one time, so I'm listening to one on Audible during the day to prep for the Melania Avalon Biohacking Podcast. I'm always listening to one during the day and then at night is when I read. I'm reading during those four hours and taking notes. That's why I feel like it's a meal situation. It really doesn't matter. It's semantics.

Cynthia Thurlow: No, I love that you have this whole process of creating digestive fire. You're starting kind of slowly and then building up to this crescendo and then it comes back down. For me, it's two boluses of food. I do know there are a lot of people out there that have differing interpretations of OMAD. It's not that one is right and one is wrong. I think that to me it makes sense to say OMAD is one meal, one food bolus. If you have two meals in your feeding window, great, but I don't think it should be a source of stress. Like ultimately eating less often should not be causing you more stress like really and truly. We have enough stress in our lives. We don't need to add more stress stressing about definitions of things. 

Melanie Avalon: I agree. I would comment that like an eight-hour eating window, like what Nancy is doing. I don't see how that would really be one meal. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Right, right. It really should be two. I mean, I'll give you a prime example. I traveled yesterday, I traveled this morning to come back from New York, and today is a much wider, fasting window because I literally have not been able to stop and eat. So, when I'm done with this podcast, I will go eat and I'll probably divide my protein into two portions because I'll probably eat a little bit and then a little bit more before I would close my feeding window just to make sure I get enough protein in.

Melanie Avalon: Got you. Yeah. That also goes back to knowing yourself and the unicorn comment and things like that. I do so well with just a massive, massive bolus of protein all at once. For a lot of people, I understand they can't handle that like they would need to separate it. So really, it's about knowing yourself. You commented on this. That's what I really love about Kimla's observation. She seems to be very intuitive with how she feels. So, yes. I think not getting lost in the semantics and like Cynthia said, stressing about the definitions and all of that. There's really no need to just focus on what you need to get out of your eating window.

Cynthia Thurlow: I think that's important because one of the things that I get the sense of is that there's anxiety around rules and there's anxiety around lifestyle changes. And that's definitely not what we want. We don't want to create more anxiety. We actually want fasting or digestive rest, like you do 12 hours of digestive rest. Like, it really should not be an added stress to your life. For those of you that are newbies, certainly lean in. There're so many great podcasts, like, over the last several years that Gin and Melanie did, and Melanie and I have been doing since May. And there's so much great information. Our books are great sources of information as well. Don't let it be a stressor. Just the concept of intuitive eating, intuitive fasting may not be accessible for everyone right now, but that's what we hope you get to a point where you can really lean into what makes your body feel good. 

You're an N of 1. This experimentation that goes on in terms of lifestyle changes. I know that the most I can eat in terms of a protein bolus is about 60 g. That's a good amount of protein for me in one meal. If I do 75, I'm probably going to be uncomfortable. So, 60 g is what I've been able to work up to but that didn't start right away. That was something I worked up to. We know most women are eating probably 40, maybe 50 g of protein a day. Most of us are not eating enough. Just be consistently working towards goals and that's the best that we should be able to do, right? 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I could not agree more. I find it so interesting, too. If I just ate, like, 40 g like you were saying, I would be starving, starving. Every time I go out to dinner, I get an entree, now it's my dessert, another round of meat. So good. So, so good. 

Cynthia Thurlow: I love that. It's funny Ben Azadi, who I know that you have recently recorded with, Ben, gets two dinners. And so, my husband the first time--

Melanie Avalon: Well, he does two. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Yes. Ben is, like, very tall and very lean. We were in Utah together, my husband and I, and his fiancée and Ben, and we're having dinner. And his fiancée, Natassia was like, “Watch.” And Ben's like, “I'll have two dinners.” And they were like, “What?” He was like, “Oh, yeah, we'll have two dinners.” And my husband and I were like, “What's wrong with that?" [unintelligible [00:55:49] one good-sized meal. 

Melanie Avalon: Does he have them at the same time or does he get them back to back? 

Cynthia Thurlow: Oh, at the same time. 

Melanie Avalon: Like I did on my birthday dinner. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Hmm-mm. And he ate it all. We were like, he's like a teenage boy, he has that capacity. I was like that's amazing. 

Melanie Avalon: I will get two entrees, or I will get an entree and then for dessert when everybody gets their dessert, I get another entrée. And I will say, so a little tip for listeners if anybody else wants to do this, I don't know if anybody else wants to do this. But especially if you're like keto or low carb, which I'm actually not, ironically enough, but it can be really fun to get an appetizer, like another round of sashimi or another steak for dessert. Let the kitchen know. If you're there late, they'll often shut down the entree part of the kitchen early. If you do want that for dessert, you need to let them know earlier on that you're going to be ordering that. Just a little tip for the one other person that wants to do this already.

Cynthia Thurlow: That's a good tip.

Melanie Avalon: They've cut it close sometimes because I've waited too long to tell them.

Cynthia Thurlow: [laughs] You also eat late at night, so they're probably like, “We're done.” Melanie's like, “No, I need more food.”

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. If you get an appetizer for dessert like the tartar, the carpaccio that comes from one part of the kitchen that might have shut down, and if you get an entree for dessert that comes from another part of the kitchen that might have shut down, the appetizer part of the kitchen is actually more likely to have shut down, I think. Now, I was thinking back to my serving days. That might not actually be true because oftentimes the dessert station is the same person as the appetizer station. In any case, the point is, ask your waiter or let them know. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely. 

Melanie Avalon: Should we answer one more question? 

Cynthia Thurlow: Sure. Our next question is from Spencer. Subject is “Breaking fast.” “Is there a proper way to break a fast? I feel like I want some items that are still a little unhealthy and seem to not really be losing weight on the scale. Maybe I need to also throw mine away but it got me thinking.” I'm assuming he's talking about the scale. “I keep hearing about there being a proper way to break a fast. Any thoughts on what I should be eating when I break my fast to provide me with the best results? I'm currently listening to the podcast and maybe haven't seen this question yet. Thank you.”

Melanie Avalon: All right, Spencer, thank you so much for your question. It's interesting because we have talked about this question on the show, seeing as how many episodes we've had, probably multiple times. But I think there's a unique spin we can give on answering at this time because normally when we have answered this question, I think it's been more in the context of how to ease your digestion, how to help heal leaky gut. Opening with things like bone broth and with gentle things you can digest. I don't know that I've given the perspective before of how to break your fast with specifically weight loss being the goal. And so, something that occurred to me is that and this is very individual, I think knowing how your body responds with insulin, you don't have to actually know the insulin number, but your perception of responding with blood sugar swings or not to different foods can be very helpful in the ordering of your food.

Because, for example, I mentioned before my order, my crazy order, oh, I'm so happy that we're answering this in here because this works so well together. The reason I do that order is very specific. It's what provides me well, hey, I can digest it well, but it provides me the most-- I always wonder, is it satiety or sha-city? I say satiety, right? But can it be both? 

Cynthia Thurlow: I say satiety, and I can assure you that after doing the audiobook for my book, the producer made sure that every word was enunciated and properly, I mean, everything. Yes, you say it correctly.

Melanie Avalon: Great. I have the most satiety with my personal pancreas and my personal insulin and my personal blood sugar regulation. When I open with the wine and cucumbers, like, that doesn't make me ravenous, it doesn't make me have blood sugar drops. Then I eat the massive amount of protein, which I find very satiating. The reason I actually eat a ton of fruit at the end is because I have found that mitigates what I either perceived as reactive hypoglycemia when I was doing low carb or might not have actually been reactive hypoglycemia. It might have been, we talked about it before, there's a name for it. I think it's like, idio--. It's basically feeling like reactive hyperglycemia, but it's actually not. You actually have normal blood sugar levels, but you feel like your blood sugar is dropping. When I was doing low carb and eating a mass amount of protein, I would be really satiated, and then I would go to bed, and then I would wake up starving. 

I think it was from my blood sugar probably dropping from the high protein intake. I do that pattern because it allows me to feel full, feel nourished and I don't get swings later. So, I think knowing yourself and experimenting to find what can you open your window with that will for you keep you full and satisfied, can be very helpful. For a lot of people, if they were to open with a simple carb-type situation, they might get a massive blood sugar swing that might make them ravenously hungry and make them overeat, even things like alcohol. Some people, the timing of the alcohol, depending on where it is, depending on their own alcohol metabolism, might make them eat more or less. Depending on that, the timing of if you're eating fat or not could make a difference. Basically, I would focus Spencer on finding the way that opens up the fasts that provides you with the most satiety.

Cynthia, what are your thoughts? 

Cynthia Thurlow: I am a fan of leading with protein into opening up your feeding window. Sorry, that would be my dog groaning underneath my feet, in case anyone's wondering. I think leaning into protein is important both for blood sugar support and also for satiety. For me, it's either protein and non-starchy carbohydrates, or it's protein and healthy fats, and that's typically how I break my fast. I just think protein is a really important macronutrient and one that I spend a lot of time talking about. I spend a lot of time discussing examples of protein and non-starchy vegetables. It could be chicken, it could be bison, it could beef. You could have arugula or spinach, or you could have broccoli or cauliflower versus sometimes when I sit down to have a protein and fat meal, it might be a piece of salmon, fattier cut of meat.

Those are the things I kind of lean into because it fulfills my needs in terms of getting my macronutrients in, but it also leaves me satiated. I can always tell if I haven't gotten those macronutrients right, because I will then be looking for more food when I'm done. But I think some degree of experimentation to find out what works well for you. I have some patients that want to break their fast with bone broth, others that want to take a light salad, like what Melanie does, where she has her cucumbers and her wine, and then she leans into the protein piece. I would do some degree of experimentation to find out what works best for you, but the protein is one that I always try to emphasize for most people.

Melanie Avalon: Okay, 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 questions@ifpodcast.com or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. You can get all the stuff that we like @ifpodcast.com/stuffwelike. And you can follow us on Instagram. We are @ifpodcast. I am @melanieavalon. Cynthia is @cynthia_thurlow_. That is all the things. Anything from you, Cynthia, before we go?

Cynthia Thurlow: No. Super excited for our upcoming recordings together and I look forward to getting feedback from listeners.

Melanie Avalon: Likewise, and because of when this comes out Happy New Year to you. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Happy 2023, hard to believe.

Melanie Avalon: I know. It's crazy. I'm excited for it, though. 

Cynthia Thurlow: Me too. 

Melanie Avalon: All right, I'll talk to you later.

Cynthia Thurlow: Sounds good.

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 re-composed by Steve Saunders. See you next week.

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Dec 18

Episode 296: Berberine, Insulin Sensitivity, Glucose Control, Gut Health, Liver Health, Body Recomposition, AMPK Activation, Cholesterol Control, And More!

Intermittent Fasting

Welcome to Episode 296 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, hosted by Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine and Cynthia Thurlow, author of Intermittent Fasting Transformation: The 45-Day Program for Women to Lose Stubborn Weight, Improve Hormonal Health, and Slow Aging.

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

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AVALONX MAGNESIUM 8Get Melanie’s Broad Spectrum Complex Featuring 8 Forms Of Magnesium, To Support Stress, Muscle Recovery, Cardiovascular Health, GI Motility, Blood Sugar Control, Mood, Sleep, And More! Tested For Purity & Potency. No Toxic Fillers. Glass Bottle. Avalonx Supplements Are Free Of Toxic Fillers, Common Allergens, Heavy Metals,  Mold, And Triple Tested For Purity And Potency. Get On The Email List To Stay Up To Date With All The Special Offers And News About Melanie's New Supplements At avalonx.us/emaillist, And Use The Code Melanieavalon For 10% On Any Order At Avalonx.Us And MDlogichealth.Com!

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 drinklmnt.com/ifpodcast To Get A FREE Sample Pack With Any Purchase!

To submit your own questions, email questions@IFpodcast.com, or submit your questions here!! 

SHOW NOTES

1:10 - JOOVV: For A Limited Time Go To joovv.com/ifpodcast And Use The Code IFPODCAST For An Exclusive Discount!

3:55 - BEAUTYCOUNTER: Keep Your Fast Clean Inside And Out With Safe Skincare! Shop With Us At melanieavalon.com/beautycounter or beautycounter.com/cynthiathurlow 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!

9:40 - scotts backstory

11:50 - GMP certified

Episode 265: All About Supplements With Scott Emmens, The Supplement Industry, Purity, Potency, Testing, Toxins, Authenticity, Organics, Common Additives, And More!

15:00 - Continuous glucose monitos

Go To melanieavalon.com/nutrisensecgm And Use Coupon Code MelanieAvalon For $30 Off!

16:00 - metformin

17:30 - combining berberine with metformin

20:00 - the types of anti-diabetic medications

21:40 - the benefits of berberine

27:00 - what is berberine?

28:30 - AVALON MAGNESIUM 8: Use The Code Melanieavalon For 10% On Any Order At Avalonx.Us And MDlogichealth.Com!

31:20 - the history of berberine

32:00 - the effect on the GI tract

35:30 - dosing

The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #93 - Shawn Wells

The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #166 - Megan Ramos

41:20 - the contraindications

43:00 - meal timing

46:00 - body Composition

53:10 - AMPK activation

54:30 - positive effects on the liver

1:01:25 - dihydroberberine

1:09:30 - LMNT: For A Limited Time Go To drinklmnt.com/ifpodcast To Get A FREE Sample Pack With Any Purchase! Learn All About Electrolytes In Episode 237 - Our Interview With Robb Wolf!

1:13:10 - the journey of creating the supplement

1:16:20 - purity testing

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

TRANSCRIPT

Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 296 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. If you want to burn fat, gain energy, and enhance your health by changing when you eat, not what you eat with no calorie counting, then this show is for you. I'm Melanie Avalon, biohacker and author of What When Wine: Lose Weight and Feel Great with Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, and Wine. And I'm here with my cohost, Cynthia Thurlow, Nurse Practitioner and author of Intermittent Fasting Transformation: A 45-Day Program for Women to Lose Stubborn Weight, Improve Hormonal Health, and Slow Aging. For more on us, check out ifpodcast.com, melanieavalon.com, and cynthiathurlow.com. Please remember, the thoughts and opinions on this show do not constitute medical advice or treatment and no doctor-patient relationship is formed. So, pour yourself a mug of black coffee, a cup of tea, or even a glass of wine, if it's that time and get ready for The Intermittent Fasting Podcast.

Hi friends, you guys know how seriously I take my health routine. That is probably the understatement of the year. One of my literal non-negotiables that I talk about all the time that I use every single day of my life is getting my daily dose of red-light therapy. For years now, yes years, I've been using Joovv and I love it because it is so relaxing and so easy to use. You've probably heard me talk about Joovv before that's J-O-O-V-V. I use my devices daily to support healthy cellular function, which is the literal foundation of our health. If you've heard any of my episodes on mitochondrial health you know this is true. Having healthy cellular function helps give me peace of mind that my body is working efficiently and has the energy that it needs to get through the day. There are so many clinically proven benefits from red light therapy and I have personally so experienced many of them. I use the red light to naturally regulate my circadian rhythm. I wind down with it at night and wake up in the morning with it. Whenever I have any muscle pain or soreness. I shine my Joovv red light on it and the pain instantly goes away. It's actually shocking. I love it for skin health, it makes my skin glow. And you can also use it for things that I originally got into red light therapy for which was supporting my thyroid. Yes, I struggle with hypothyroidism and supporting hair growth. Aside from the benefits, I've been recommending Joovv for years because the quality of their devices is simply the best. Their modular design allows for a variety of setup options that gives you flexibility plus the treatments are easy and can be done in as little as 10 minutes. Although I tend to run mine all day as ambient light. All you have to do is relax and let your body take in the light. Joovv offers several different size options including a wireless handheld device called the Joovv Go. That is amazing for targeting specific areas around your body like hurting joints or sore muscles.

When I traveled recently and had torn something in my knee, I brought my Joovv Go with me, game changer, I don't know how I would have survived the trip without it. Health doesn't have to be complicated and Joovv makes it simple by helping what matters most, our cells. So, go check out the Joovv today and while you're there, Joovv is offering all our listeners an exclusive discount on their first order. Just go to joovv.com/ifpodcast and apply the coupon code, IFPODCAST to your qualifying order. Again, that's joovv.com/ifpodcast with the coupon code IFPODCAST. Pick up a Joovv today, some exclusions do apply and we will put all of this information in the show notes.

And one more thing before we jump in, are you fasting clean inside and out? When it comes to weight loss, we focus a lot on what and when we eat. It makes sense because these foods affect our hormones and how our bodies store and burn fat. But do you know what is possibly one of the most influential factors in weight gain? It's not your food and it's not fasting, it's actually our skincare and makeup. As it turns out, Europe has banned over a thousand compounds found in conventional skincare and makeup in the US due to their toxicity. These include endocrine disrupters, which mess with your hormones, carcinogens linked to cancer, and obesogens which literally can cause your body to store and gain weight. Basically, when we're using conventional skincare and makeup, we are giving these obesogenic compounds direct access to our bloodstream.

And then in our bodies, studies have shown they do things like reduce our satiety hormones, increase our hunger hormones, make fat cells more likely to store fat, and more resistant to burning fat, and so much more. If you have stubborn fat, friends, your skincare and makeup may be playing a role in that. Beyond weight gain and weight loss, these compounds have very detrimental effects on our health and they affect the health of future generations. That's because ladies when we have babies, a huge percentage of those toxic compounds go through the placenta into the newborn. It is so, so shocking and the effects last for years.

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

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

Hi everybody, and welcome. This is episode number 296 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I am here with a very special guest today, quickly becoming a crowd favorite. I am here with Scott Emmens. He is the chief operating officer and cofounder of MD Logic Health, which is an incredible supplement company that you guys are quickly becoming very familiar with because they are actually my partner in bringing you AvalonX. So, serrapeptase and magnesium that we've had and Scott is back here today. Well, first of all, because he's basically one of my favorite people in the entire world and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. But secondly, I am thrilled that we are about to launch-- actually when this comes out, we will have just launched my third AvalonX supplement. And it is something that I already personally had been taking every day in my life. Not only that, but it's something I've talked about on this show so, so much. Since this show is The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, it is something that really relates to metabolic health, blood sugar levels, how well you can do your fast, and then on top of that so many other health benefits that I actually didn't even really realize until sitting down to make my own version of this supplement. And that is berberine. I've been looking forward to this episode for a long. Scott, thank you so much for being here.

Scott Emmens: Hi, Melanie, thank you for having me on the show. I'm thrilled to be on and even more excited that we're you're finally launching berberine.

Melanie Avalon: I know, I feel like this has been such a long time coming. Okay, a lot of our audience is probably familiar with you because you've actually been on the show twice before you came on. We did a whole episode on magnesium with Cynthia. And then more recently, you did an episode with Cynthia for her creatine supplement because Scott also partners with Cynthia for her supplement line. Basically, we just really love Scott. But for those who are not familiar, Scott, super briefly, could you tell your backstory?

Scott Emmens: Sure, for those folks who may not have heard the first podcast when we went through that. I was in the biotech and pharmaceutical space for 25 years in a variety of positions, in marketing, sales, and sales leadership. I eventually got out to manage market side as well as operations and operational side. I really basically worked at some of the biggest pharma companies that people have heard of Takeda Pharmaceuticals, AstraZeneca pharmaceuticals, which was at the time part of Merck, Shire, and then became a startup expert, and worked my way into the C-suite of multiple pharmaceutical companies. And I really kind of around 2018 decided I was going to start my own biotech company and did that, very successful and literally right around 2020, when the pandemic first started, I'd decided that I really wanted to get into the wellness space. And we had sold our biotech company and I had three partners. And we decided, my partner and I, at the time thought, "Let's do a wellness line, make a wellness company." We had a connection with one of the largest US manufacturers. He is a partner in MD Logic as well. And we really just both believed in making people and keeping people well and letting them optimize their life through supplemental nutrition.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, that's something that I really, really love working with you is you have seen the industry side of things. You know what you're doing. I have learned much and creating the supplement line, just what goes on in the supplement creation world, and how creating our own supplement line that is not a pharmaceutical, how it compares to that. And also, all of the crazy practices that go on in this industry it's a little bit shocking.

Scott Emmens: Yeah, it can be and I think that's where my pharmaceutical background really helps is making sure that we're going to do everything by the book. And by the book meaning people often see GMP on their label, it'll say GMP or GMP certified. And what that stands for is "Good Manufacturing Process." That's a compiled document from the FDA of very specific things you need to do, both in terms of the manufacturing of the product, the storage of the product, the cleanliness of the machines, the raw ingredients, the testing of the raw ingredients, as well as a number of other things including how you label even down to the font size of the label. And then including, of course, what you say about the product and how you make claims and that's where people tend to get in trouble.

We try to make the absolute best product we can. We have a great process for GMP. We have been audited by the FDA as most GMP companies are about every other year or so, and have a pristine track record and I am here to make sure that your supplements and MD Logic health supplements maintain that pristine record of both incredible quality, testing, and maintain the highest standards of GMP or above.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I am do grateful for this because honestly my goal in making supplements was, I knew I wanted to make the very best on the market. And it has been so refreshing to have a partner like you who is in line with that. And even every time I send my emails or I'm creating my content to promote the different supplements, I've come up with my list of basically the qualities about the AvalonX supplements. I say at the beginning that these are the only supplements on the market that are all of these things. And to my best of my knowledge, that's true. They're the only ones that are tested multiple times for purity and potency, free of all allergens. Scott and I have gone to great lengths to get rid of problematic fillers from the supplements, which has been a whole journey on its own, especially revisit, I'll put a link to it in the show notes the episode that we did on--. No, wait, "We haven't done the episode and serrapeptase yet, did we?" I think we talked about it though.

Scott Emmens: I think we did talk about it? But I've to go back into my memory log. But I believe we did talk about the serrapeptase, yeah.

Melanie Avalon: Did you come on this show for serrapeptase?

Scott Emmens: I think this might be my third appearance. I think I did do the serrapeptase first, then the magnesium, and then creatine. Yeah, I think serrapeptase was the very first one.

Melanie Avalon: My bad. So, this is your fourth time back?

Scott Emmens: Oh my goodness, how time flies. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, and you're having fun. [laughs] Okay, wait. In any case, listen to the serrapeptase episode if you want to hear the craziness with the fillers and the lubrication agents and also something that's incredible that really I think makes us stand apart is they are in glass bottles, which is very rare and unique in the supplement world. It's just been an amazing journey. "Shall we talk about our berberine journey?"

Scott Emmens: Let's talk a little bit about the berberine journey, I think the audience would love to hear what transpired? Why did it take us so long? And yeah, why don't you kick it off now?

Melanie Avalon: Okay, I started taking berberine when I started wearing something that our listeners are probably pretty familiar with which is the continuous glucose monitor. Just briefly a continuous glucose monitor is you put it on your arm, and it gives you a basically 24/7 look at your blood sugar levels. It is so eye-opening, so fascinating. Because when you're getting just doing a finger prick or yeah, a finger prick or blood draw for your blood glucose that's really just a snapshot in time. And it's not very telling of what is happening consistently. If listeners who like to get a continuous glucose monitor, you can go to nutrisense.io/ifpodcast and the promo code IFPODCAST will get you $30 off any subscription program to a NutriSense CGM, so definitely check that out. But in any case, doing a CGM really made me look more at my blood sugar levels and that's when I wanted to see what I could do to help lower it.

Berberine is considered to be the go-to "Natural Supplement" to address blood sugar levels. The go-to pharmaceutical to address blood sugar levels is metformin. There have been multiple studies comparing metformin to berberine and finding similar effects, which is incredible. So basically, berberine can be comparable to metformin in lowering blood sugar, lowering HbA1c, which is a longer term picture of your blood sugar levels and also lowering insulin without any of the potential side effects of metformin or the other negative side effects that can come with other metabolic health blood sugar controlling agents.

Scott Emmens: Certainly, I think that's absolutely correct. One thing we want to caution and make certain that we're not giving medical advice nor are we suggesting that anyone replace their metformin with berberine, not at all. What we are saying is that berberine has some remarkable properties and there's a lot of data, in fact, it's one of the most studied herbs or alkaloids out there. And we really feel passionate about all the benefits. In fact, I was stunned to see how many benefits there are with berberine as we really dug into the research, but again, we just want to caution, never add anything or take anything away, especially metformin for diabetic patients. So, just want to make sure that that's perfectly clear.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, yeah, I'm so glad you said that. And that's actually really appropriate because we got a lot of questions about that, Karina said, "How is it different than metformin?" Marie said, "Can you take it while taking metformin?" and Lea said, "Can it be taken if one is already on metformin, can it be taken instead of metformin?" So, just to dive deeper into all of that and to what Scott just said? Metformin as well as some other drugs that are used for similar purposes can have side effects. Metformin notoriously has gastrointestinal discomfort. Metformin cannot be used by diabetics or liver disease, renal impairment or cardiopulmonary insufficiency, and then some other related drugs like I don't even know how you say it. Is it pio?

Scott Emmens: Pioglitazone. I know that one because I sold it.

Melanie Avalon: I was like "Scott probably knows it."

Scott Emmens: Pioglitazone or pioglitazone.

Melanie Avalon: So, that one can increase the risks of distal bone fractures, bladder cancer, and edema. Here's another one Scott, sulfonylur--

Scott Emmens: Sulfonylureas?

Melanie Avalon: Yes, yeah, that was linked to hypoglycemia, weight gain, and cardiovascular damage. When we compare this to berberine, very little if any side effects, some people do have some GI issues potentially in the beginning, which we can talk about. But we can definitely dive into that. Because ironically, even with GI issues, berberine has a ton of potential benefits for GI Health. But besides that, you basically get all of the benefits of blood sugar control with a myriad of other benefits that we're going to talk about without the potential negative side effects of these pharmaceuticals. And there have been like Scott said, "We are not saying to stop your medications. We're not saying to even add this to your medications, that's something you would want to talk with your doctor about." Anything that you're doing, playing with your medications, definitely work with your doctor. That said, there's actually been quite a few studies looking at berberine in combination with metformin and finding beneficial effects, potentially that it might be a better approach, not saying to do this, work with your doctor. But potentially that combination therapy might be better than metformin alone because you can get more of the benefits with less of side effects.

Scott Emmens: Just going to add to that to just make sure that people make certain that if you add berberine to an antidiabetic, it can cause hypoglycemia. That's something you want to be cautious. Whatever the side effects of your prescription medication are, you want to let your physician know that you're going to take berberine and get their permission, make sure that the drugs you're on are not going to interfere with it because some drugs can have hypoglycemia on their own, when you add something like berberine, it can increase that potential. That's something people have to be very cautious of. Hypoglycemia can be a life-threatening condition as those folks who've had it know. It's interesting Melanie, the three drugs you mentioned, metformin which is sort of the gold standard, about 80% of diabetics are taking metformin or what used to be called Glucophage, the brand name, pioglitazone or TZD as they're known, which is an insulin resistance molecule, works on PPARalpha and PPARgamma. And then you mentioned was sulfonylurea which actually works on the pancreas to secrete more insulin. So, each one of those works differently. Metformin primarily works on the liver preventing gluconeogenesis and a little bit of insulin resistance. Then there's a TZD class pioglitazone, that works primarily on insulin resistance. And then there is some sulfonylurea class which increases your pancreas' output of insulin. They all work in different ways and they can all have different interactions with berberine, so again always talk to your physician. I think the real benefit Melanie is that berberine doesn't-- you don't have to have high blood sugar or you don't have to have diabetes to benefit, in fact, the real benefit we want to talk about today is what is the benefit for just people in general that want to optimize their health and optimize their cellular function and their energy. And that is where berberine shines.

Melanie Avalon: First of all, that was highly impressive, that you knew all of that. [chuckles] "I'm so impressed." Okay. Yeah, I'm so glad you said that because that is the exact same page that I'm on. And like I said, I came to it originally for blood sugar control and I think that's why most people think about it and it's a great reason to take it, but there are so many other benefits like whole body benefits. So, the questions we had, very simple, Kersey said, "Why do I need it?" Jennifer said, "What are all the benefits that come from taking it?" Amy said, "Will it help with insulin resistance?" And then what we will also get into Paul said, "Wondering what other health benefits it offers besides blood sugar regulation?" Andrea said, "Does it have any other benefits besides preventing lessening glucose spikes." So, we can dive deep into all of that. But to start off, I would like to give an overview of how it does work for blood sugar control because I think that really speaks to why it can be really beneficial to take when you understand that it's not like a pharmaceutical where-- With the pharmaceuticals they typically have a more singular approach to why they're working, compared to berberine that has all of these effects that can create this metabolic health.

For the blood glucose control, like Scott had mentioned it can be used for addressing insulin sensitivity and reducing blood sugar. It's so interesting because there are many studies. I had much fun preparing for this because there are many different hypotheses for how it's doing that. One of the main mechanisms and Scott mentioned this is that directly in the liver, it actually can reduce the liver's ability to actually create glucose or like create glucose and release it into the bloodstream. Because a mind-blowing fact-- I remember when I first learned this and it blew my mind because I think most people don't realize this, is that when people have high blood sugar levels most people think it is from what they're eating, which it is, but the actual, like 24/7 higher blood sugar levels, that's mostly being controlled by your liver. So, it's your liver creating glucose and releasing glucose.

Berberine actually inhibits that, it reduces enzymes directly in the liver that do that process, so then it can't happen. And interestingly, they have found that even though it helps insulin sensitivity, it doesn't seem to actually affect insulin production in the liver, so it's working independently of that which is really interesting. It can actually be directly in the gut reduce intestinal glucose absorption. So, just starting at the very beginning, it can stop the glucose from actually entering the body in the first place and that's by inhibiting a specific enzyme called a glucosidase activity. And that's an intestinal enzyme that actually digests carbs and converts them into more simpler sugars. Stopping that keeps you from actually absorbing some of those carbs in the first place. And then, beyond all of those enzymes and such it also can actually affect the transport of glucose throughout the body. And then on top of that, we can talk about the gut health potential of it. But a lot of researchers have hypothesized that its beneficial effects on the gut microbiome actually have a secondary effect of blood sugar control by the metabolic health state that is created from that so the anti-inflammatory state, the encouraging of short-chain fatty acid butyrate-producing bacteria when butyrate is created and gets into the bloodstream, it actually can help with glycemic control and the reduction of inflammation in the gut from endotoxin and LPS and the recruitment of macrophages and I realized I say all these words really fast and I know what they mean, but people might not know what they mean, so that's basically like the toxic byproducts that are created from "bad bacteria," because I realized saying good and bad bacteria can be a little bit simplistic. It reduces the inflammatory potential of the gut and inflammation is a key driver in metabolic issues. I can stop there a little bit. So, you want to jump in at all, Scott?

Scott Emmens: Well, first of all, great, I think it's a fantastic overview. And you can see how many different complex mechanisms berberine appears to have and why it has a broad base of positive impact across a number of organs and organ systems and then in particular blood sugar. I think we're going to learn a lot more as this molecule is again becoming, I shouldn't say molecule, this plant alkaloid is becoming hot on people's radar again. And I think at the end of the day, insulin is such a powerful hormone that when you can maintain blood glucose, which your audience is all about, the intermittent fasting audience really understands what blood glucose is about. But I don't know that we talk about the power of insulin and how powerful it is. I don't know if berberine lowers your fasting insulin and/or postprandial insulin meaning after a meal. My guess would be yes because it's lowering blood glucose with people that are already in normal ranges, well, then it's going to probably lower your insulin.

And we know in the presence of insulin, it's more difficult to burn fat, so it's all these different ways in which it slows the breakdown of glucose, it slows the liver's export or gluconeogenesis creating new sugar to push out into the bloodstream. All of the different mechanisms I think are fascinating and the more we learn about it, I think the more we're going to realize that this compound is going to have some very significant overall benefits for your wellbeing on a number of different organ systems.

Melanie Avalon: I'm glad you said that. Two things to comment on, the insulin piece. I did find studies showing a reduction in insulin. It was once where they were comparing it to metformin and they were looking at the long-term effects of that. And then there are so many studies talking about how it increases insulin sensitivity, that is definitely happening. But I'm so glad you said that because we probably should start with a really important question or we should get to a really important question. Jennifer said, "What is it? Is it a plant, a fruit, etc.?" April said, "I know serrapeptase comes from silkworms, but where does berberine come from? When did people start using it?" I realized we were saying like we haven't really defined what it is. So, it is a plant alkaloid and Scott, would you like to talk about the plant that it comes from? And why we chose the one that we chose?

Scott Emmens: There are different forms of berberine based on the plant source that it comes from. The one that's being used in our Vedic Medicine in India and is usually the form that is used in most of the studies you're going to see and I hope I pronounce this right, but it's Berberis Aristata I believe and that's spelled B-E-R-B-E-R-I-S A-R-I-S-T-A-T-A and that is the form that we've used and that comes from the Indian barberry tree or shrub and it is a shrub that belongs to the genus Berberis and it is found specifically in India. And there are many different species of this shrub. And it's typically found in the Himalaya area of India and Nepal as well as other places in Sri Lanka and that is the form that we’ve utilized.

Melanie Avalon: Hi, friends. I'm about to tell you how to get 10% off my new magnesium supplement. Yes, exciting news. My Magnesium 8 Broad Spectrum blend is here. Magnesium is such a crucial mineral in the body. It's involved in over 600 enzymatic processes. Basically, everything that you do requires magnesium including creating energy from your food, turning it into ATP in the mitochondria, boosting your antioxidant system. Magnesium has been shown to help with the creation of glutathione regulating your blood sugar levels, affecting nerve health, muscle recovery, muscle contractions, supporting cardiovascular health and blood pressure, aiding sleep and relaxation, and so much more. It's estimated that up to two-thirds of Americans do not get the daily recommended levels of magnesium and on top of that magnesium deficiencies can often be silent because only 1% of magnesium is actually in our bloodstream. So that might not be reflective of a true magnesium deficiency. Our modern soils are depleted of magnesium, we're not getting it in our diet. That's why it can be crucial to supplement with magnesium daily. I wanted to make the best magnesium on the market and that is what Magnesium 8 is. It contains 8 forms of magnesium in their most absorbable forms, so you can truly boost your magnesium levels. It comes with the cofactor methylated B6 to help with absorption as well as chelating manganese because magnesium can actually displace manganese in the body. My AvalonX supplements are free of all problematic fillers including rice, which is very very common in a lot of supplements including some popular magnesium supplements on the market. It's tested multiple times for purity and potency and to be free of all common allergens as well as free of heavy metals and mold and it comes in a glass bottle to help prevent leaching of toxins into our bodies and the environment.

Friends, I wanted to make the best magnesium on the market and that is what this magnesium is. You can get Magnesium 8 at avalonx.us and use the coupon code MELANIEAVALON to get 10% off your order. That code will also work on all my supplements including my first supplement that I made, serrapeptase, you guys love serrapeptase, a proteolytic enzyme created by the Japanese silkworm that breaks down problematic proteins in your body and can help allergies, inflammation, wound healing, clear up your skin, clear brain fog, even reduce cholesterol and amyloid plaque. All of this is at avalonx.us, that coupon code MELANIEAVALON will also get you 10% off sitewide from my amazing partner MD Logic Health. For that just go to melanieavalon.com/mdlogic. You can also get on my email list for all of the updates. That's at avalonx.us/emaillist. I'll put all this information in the show notes. All right now back to the show.

Do you know when they started using berberine?

Scott Emmens: I'm going to take an educated guess-- Because our Vedic Medicine goes back a while, I'm going to take an educated guess and say 1500 years ago.

Melanie Avalon: 3000 BC.

Scott Emmens: Wow.

Melanie Avalon: To treat diarrhea and dysentery. That's like when I very first started, isn't that crazy? That has a long safety record, I will say [chuckles] which we can circle back to.

Scott Emmens: So, I was only off by 4000 years, not bad. [chuckles]

Melanie Avalon: It probably got upregulated more little bit later when it first appeared. And like I said, that was to treat diarrhea and dysentery. And just to circle back a little bit to the GI Health aspect to really fill that out. There's been many studies on berberine and its effect on gut bacteria. And actually, we have a question about this, so I'll just tie that in right now. For example, Nikki said, "I've heard people say not to take it daily because it changes your gut bacteria, what are your thoughts on that?" Morris said, "This would be my question. I always cycle on and off of it, but I know Melanie does not?" And then Karen said, "Berberine is used as an herbal antibacterial/antimicrobial, which I was going to get to, so I'm glad she said that." She said, "In addition to the blood sugar lowering properties that you are focusing on, I'm concerned about negative effects on beneficial gut bacteria with regular use of this product, can you speak to that?" I'm super happy that people were asking me about that. There have been a lot of studies looking at its effect on gut bacteria populations, and across the board it tends to increase the "Positive good bacteria, specifically Bacteroides and decrease the more inflammatory bacteria specifically Firmicutes." Because those are the two that if you know about gut microbiome, you might have heard of them before, but there's been a lot of other studies, for example, it's directly antibacterial against E. coli and clostridium difficile. It can increase, I mentioned this earlier, the short-chain fatty acid-producing bacteria, specifically and I don't know if I'm going to say these right. Phascolarctobacterium, Anaerotruncus, and Acidobacteria, those are all short-chain fatty acid-producing bacteria that can help with intestinal integrity. And it also may inhibit a certain type of bacteria that has been connected to obesity, which is super cool. And we can actually get into the obesity, body fat bit in a little bit. Basically, it seems to have a very beneficial effect on gut bacteria. I would not be personally and again you can make your own decisions and choices, but I personally am not concerned about the effect because it seems to have a very beneficial effect. I actually wonder, Scott, I'd be curious about your thoughts on this, I hypothesize that people who might sometimes be experiencing negative side effects in the beginning, it might be because they are playing with the populations of their bacteria and are experiencing a die-off effect because whenever you go after the bad guys, you can get negative side effects from that. It's a good thing because you are moving the needle towards more beneficial population. There might be some side effects in the interim. And, for example, I found there was one study looking at berberine compared to metformin and it found that all of the side effects only happened in the very beginning of the trial, and there's a longer-term trial. if you are experiencing gut issues in the beginning, I would suggest maybe lowering your dose so we can talk about this later and maybe sticking it out a little bit. But Scott, what are your thoughts?

Scott Emmens: I think your hypothesis is a pretty good one. Meaning anytime you're detoxing the body even if detoxing is a "Good Thing, " you know that you're killing off a lot of bad bacteria, and maybe you're not using a binding agent or you've got a lot of bad bacteria in your gut that could cause inflammation, the destruction of those can release toxins. Yeah, that could very well be, I think, that's a little speculative, but it's a reasonable theory. But what is pretty consistent is that the metformin side effects and the berberine side effects both seem to happen upfront. And the solution to that in the Glucophage world, is what doctors will say and many patients have probably heard this wording "Start low and go slow." if you are sensitive, you've never taken berberine before or you take two pills on day one and you feel a little bit of GI upset then back down to one capsule 500 mg once a day, kind of stabilize yourself and then you can work your way up. And that's really, I think, always goes for any medication or supplement, you always want the lowest effective dose. Now, we came out with the 500 mg, had a lot of discussion about what to recommend in terms of dosing, one to three capsules a day is where it landed because the majority of the data suggests that on the low end, 500 mg is right. On the higher end, 15 mg is correct. Many of the studies have been done with 500 mg three times a day, I don't think you want to take 1500 in one shot, really, you want to break that up over three doses. But that's where we found the sweet spot was. So, if people are experiencing side effects, I would say start with 500 and just slowly work your way up.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I'm so glad you said that because we had had obviously a lot of questions about dosaging, like Jennifer said, "How much can or should I take?" Claudia said, "How much to take? What's the dosage?" Anna Maria, "When is the best time to take it to optimize results?" Amy, "Is it best to cycle it or take it every day? Should one take it at the same time every day or time it more specifically to be ingested before you eat a potentially glucose-spiking meal?" Cheryl wanted to know "Do you take it with food or on an empty stomach?" And Nydia wanted to know "Does it break the fast?" Teresa also wanted to know "Is it something that you can take daily? I know Shawn Wells listed as one of his most recommended supplements. But I've heard Cynthia Thurlow say that she has people cycle it. I will put a link in the show notes, by the way to an episode I had with Shawn Wells on the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. I adore Shawn and he is one of the go-to people in the supplement world, he's just a phenom when it comes to that, but yeah, to answer all of those questions, Scott just gave a really nice overview of the dosage and we thought long and hard about what dosage to do for it more. Again, going back to what we talked about in the beginning about the craziness with regulations. It's crazy how you have to like figure out what you can actually say on the label to get the dosage that you want. It's hard to describe. But basically, I had a very clear idea of what I wanted to say. And it had to go through Scott and like the legal team to get it on the label the way I wanted it.

Scott Emmens: That is correct. And I think, that's why we take those precautions because it's important for the public to make sure that what we're saying is in line with what is appropriate, but also to make sure that we're following all of the guidelines, guidance, and making sure that we are in compliance to that. That comes from 25 years of pharmaceutical lawyers pounding into me what I can't say. I want to make sure we do that, but on the other side, it's also what is it that we can say that will really make sure we're giving a clear specific guidance that is in the best alignment with what the data and the research suggest. And I think we got there and I think to your frustration, Melanie, I think a lot of people assume that the supplement world is a free cowboy world. But there are very stringent guidelines on labeling, claim that you make on that label, what you can say, what you can name it. And even down to like, the font size and how you list the ingredients and what size, certain ingredients have to be in the font size. I mean it gets very particular. So, again, going back to this, "What is GMP?" If you're following CFR 21, which is the regulations on how you label a supplement properly along with what this GMP mean, it's extensive and I think that's been one of the learning lessons that you have come across as well. How many things you have to do to make sure you've done it? But then again, how many other companies want to escape that edge that goes 75 and a 65 and make sure they don't get a ticket. And we'd rather go 65 and 65, then do the 75. And I think that is an interesting learning from a lot of people that we work with in this space, physicians [unintelligible [00:39:42] and so forth.

Melanie Avalon: Again, just another reason I've been grateful to work with you because you get all of this and I have learned so much, and it's just really been a really amazing incredible experience. So yeah, the dosage we landed on that we mentioned is based on the majority of the study. Probably the majority of the studies are 0.5 g or 500 mg, those are comfortable three times a day. But it ranges from, actually in the studies it's not normally on the lower end, but it can be, so I wanted it to have it, a minimum of like 500 mg up to 2 g, which seems to be the upper limit. That's the way we had it working on the bottle so that it could cover that range. I will say-- because we got a question because I had Megan Ramos on the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast, she's amazing, definitely listen to that interview with her. She shared a negative experience she had with berberine experimenting with it during pregnancy, I think.

Scott Emmens: Yeah, that's a no, no.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, and she was taking 2 g which again is the upper limit of that. For example, Lucy said, "Megan Ramos mentioned a few times that she was very sick with a negative reaction to berberine when she was on the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. I would like to know the main contraindications for berberine and how to avoid similar situations." Again, in that situation, revisiting that episode, Megan was taking the upper limit and while she was pregnant, I would start not at the upper limit, not take it during pregnancy or work with your doctor. So, definitely, you just want to be aware of all factors involved.

Scott Emmens: So, here are the contraindications, there're a few but they're fairly rare except for pregnancies. The first one is, if you're on Cyclosporin-A, you do not want to take berberine because it can have an interaction with the CYP43A for enzyme in the liver. Then you also do not want to take berberine with warfarin or thiopental, I think I'm saying that right, thiopental or tolbutamide because it can displace them from increasing the blood and increase the blood toxicity of those particular drugs. Warfarin has what's called the very narrow therapeutic index. Some of these other drugs do as well. If you increase just their bioavailability a tad or decrease it a tad it either will become toxic or can become ineffective. Those are contraindications. And then macrolide antibiotics such as azithromycin and clarithromycin may also interact, they're not contraindicated, but they are certainly something that you do not want to take berberine with unless you absolutely had to, based on a physician recommendation. And lastly, we do not want to take berberine if you are pregnant, that's contraindicated as well.

Melanie Avalon: Yes, I'm glad we could speak to that as far as does it break a fast? No, it will support your fast if anything. I actually don't take it the way most people take it. Well, first of all, I'm not eating three times a day. I'm not taking it three times a day before meals, I actually take it in the morning in the fasted state. And then I actually don't take it later before my meal. Although I probably should experiment with doing that come to think of it that would probably be beneficial. The reason I was doing that was I was just seeing the biggest spike in my blood sugar in the early part of the day, but you can really experiment and find what works for you. But typically, people are taking it before meals. Yeah, do you have any thoughts about that, Scott?

Scott Emmens: If you have a CGM, you want to experiment with that or if you take your blood sugar through another means, I think you want to experiment with that. For me, personally, I'm going to take one probably on an empty stomach starting when I start my new regime in January. Typically, when I take berberine, it's going to be about an hour to an hour and a half before my meal because I want to get the berberine inside my intestines, I want it to be metabolized and we're talking a little bit about the metabolites and the active metabolites of berberine. I think about an hour to an hour and a half prior to my meal to ensure that the maximum blood plasma level is there and that the metabolites are beginning to get into my system. That to me seems reasonable. Now, if you have GI upset, it's probably going to be the best to take it closer to your meal. I think you want to experiment with that both from a what's most comfortable for you? And then if you have the ability to measure your blood glucose, what's working best for you? For example, there's someone who owns a CGM company, he has a podcast. I've just listened to his podcast in preparation for the show and he had some limited success with berberine pre-meals. 

Now keep in mind, this is someone who is on a very restricted diet, he understands insulin, he's probably already in a low-insulin, low-glycemic state to begin with. He didn't see a lot of change with berberine before meals, but when he took it for the fasting insulin in the evening, he noticed dramatic decrease in his fasting insulin in the mornings. And that speaks to the liver part of gluconeogenesis because your liver's job with gluconeogenesis is to keep you from going into hypoglycemia while you sleep. And when you are diabetic or you have blood sugar issues that are beginning, your liver might be getting the wrong signal thinking, "Hey, we don't have enough glucose." So, it's pushing glucose out even though your glucose is already very high. So, based on the various ways that seems berberine works, I think each person's body type and where they're at, it's going to have a different impact, my personal recommendation for me is going to be to try to start taking it on an empty stomach, hour and a half before meals is what I currently do. And then I might experiment with a pre-evening dose.

Melanie Avalon: I'm so glad that you mentioned body fat. I know you're talking about it in a little bit different context. But I do want to talk briefly about the super cool effect that berberine can potentially have on body composition especially because I know a lot of people-- one of their main goals, possibly why they're listening to this podcast is for body composition effects. And there's been a lot of studies looking at berberine's effect on body re-composition with or without weight loss. So, it seems that in particular berberine can actually reduce the levels of inflammatory fat specifically, so visceral fat is a type of fat that is found surrounding the organs. And it's actually the type of fat linked to metabolic health issues compared to like subcutaneous fat, which is found underneath the skin and which is considered to actually be more benign when it comes to health issues. So, berberine has been found in some studies, it leads to weight loss specifically reducing visceral fat and in some studies, there's actually not weight loss, but there is a shift in the type of body fat, which is super cool. Basically, it's making your body more healthy when it comes to fat. Mice treated with berberine have actually been found to have shrunken adipocytes. Basically, their fat cells are smaller which is super cool. Other studies basically propose that the anti-obesity activity of berberine can involve in part not only decreased size of lipid droplets but actually also the number of lipid droplets. There's a study suggesting that berberine actually increases thermogenesis in brown and white tissue.

Scott Emmens: Yeah, that was very interesting to me.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, basically increasing burning calories in your fat tissue, which is very cool, because you really want to stack especially with our modern diet environment, you want to do everything you can to stack the cards in your favor, to have a healthy metabolic profile when it comes to body fat. And it can be hard to do that, especially when there are cellular mechanisms involved. And anything that can really affect that, like berberine, can definitely be something to try. It can also discourage the creation of new fat cells "super cool." And that's actually by affecting transcripts and factors that are involved in creating fat cells in the first place. And then, for example, a review of five studies that encompassed 1078 women and you know I love when we got studies in women, found that it did indeed induce a redistribution of fat tissue, specifically reducing that inflammatory visceral fat that I spoke of. And speaking of the inflammatory potential, not only is it reducing the amount of inflammatory fat, it actually may make fat in general less inflammatory by reducing the recruitment of macrophages to fatty tissue. So, macrophages are basically-- for these things that go in-- and you can think of them like Pac-Man, they go and gobble up things. They're good, we want them in our bodies. They deal with getting rid of waste and fighting pathogens and things like that. But when you have an overabundance of them, it can be a very inflammatory state. And a lot of people's resistant fat, when people really just struggle to burn fat. It can be because the fat itself has become inflammatory, and it becomes resistant to fat burning.

Scott Emmens: Are you referring to brown fat versus white fat in adipose tissue?

Melanie Avalon: It found that it activated thermogenesis in both of them which is super cool. Did you find one showing that it increased brown?

Scott Emmens: Yes, I found a few studies that say that berberine promotes the recruitment and activation of brown adipose tissue in mice and in humans, which was pretty interesting. There was another study about berberine-activated thermogenesis in both white and brown adipose tissue, but one of the things I thought was so interesting was that it does seem it can help your body promote brown fat, thus thermogenesis and brown fat is packed with mitochondria. It keeps you from shivering, that's why babies have a lot of brown fat versus white fat, white fat that being the inflammatory version, brown fat being more of what they call an activated fat which has its own mitochondria in it and really actually is more of a positive energy-burning fat than white fat is. So, that I found really interesting. And even so to get to your point, if you don't lose weight, if you're just shifting that fat from the more inflammatory to the less inflammatory, more highly energetic fat, I think you're going to reap a lot of benefits.

Melanie Avalon: I'm so glad you said that, you really revealed that you haven't a grasp of what's going on because brown fat and white fat like Scott mentioned, brown fat is really high in mitochondria, it's activated by cold is something that activates it, it actually helps you lose weight which is ironic because it is fat, but it creates heat. And it basically wastes energy. But the thing that you said, Scott that I mean, I already knew this, but maybe made it aware that you actually really know what you're talking about. I think a lot of people think brown fat and because they associate it with cold, they think "Oh, that's like shivering," but it's not, it actually keeps you from shivering because the alternative to brown fat is to shiver, basically.

Scott Emmens: Exactly, and do you know how I know that, Melanie?

Melanie Avalon:  No.

Scott Emmens: Ice baths have taught me that. [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: I was going to say cryotherapy.

Scott Emmens: Yes, I am an ice bath guy. And I'm about to embark on a January 1 through February Polar Plunge for mental health benefits. I am currently back in training filling my tub up with giant hunks of ice and getting in there for 10 minutes or so to adapt. And I discovered the benefit of brown fat as I was really-- This goes back to 2016 when I first began doing ice bath, which by the way changed my life in so many ways. But that's when I discovered what brown fat was, why it was important and how I adapted to the cold over time by creating more of this brown fat. I mean, the first time I got in an ice bath, it was 60 seconds of pure shivering and agony. Three months later, I could sit in there for 8, 10 minutes at 40 degrees temperature of Fahrenheit and not shiver at all. In fact, one time I stayed in long because I hadn't shivered. I did get a little hypothermic, so that's how I learned about brown fat and white fat was through ice bath.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, that's super cool. I remember Scott and I met. When did we meet? Spring of 2021?

Scott Emmens: I think you're right. I think it was April of 2021.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, because we launched serrapeptase in 2021.

Scott Emmens: November. Yeah.

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

Scott Emmens: First conversation was ice bath and then followed by a lot of discussion on infrared, near-infrared and therapy and saunas, which I'm also a huge fan of, by the way.

Melanie Avalon: Yes, so many things. One last health benefit-related thing I think we should talk about, especially with this show one of the reasons people often do fasting, well, it's not the reason, but something we've talk about a lot with the benefits of fasting is how fasting stimulates something called an AMPK, which is basically a fuel sensing enzyme. It plays a key role in how our bodies use energy and it's activated by stressors like calorie restriction, fasting, and exercise. It is associated with so many health benefits like you want AMPK activation, it helps with longevity, metabolic health, inflammation, so many things. Berberine has found to be a very potent stimulator of AMPK, which is awesome. And then another fasting-related thing we talk all the time on here about autophagy which is activated by fasting as well. And it's where the body actually goes down and breaks down problematic proteins and recycles them. It's like a cleanse on the cellular level. It's very, very important for metabolic health and longevity. And berberine has also been found to be a stimulator of autophagy, so that is awesome.

Scott Emmens: People underestimate the importance of healthy autophagy getting rid of cells or what they might call zombie cells or mitochondria that need to go because they'll contaminate the other healthy mitochondria around it. I think autophagy is a tremendous benefit. And obviously, the AMPK there's a plethora of data on all the various things that impacts across your longevity and health span. One of the things that I don't think we touched on but, I know came up in literature quite a bit, is the positive benefits of berberine on the liver. And I'm a big guy on liver. I think if your liver is not functioning right, if it's not making bile, if it's not digesting your toxins properly, you're going to end up in trouble. And so, to me, I think that the liver benefits of berberine have probably underestimated at this point. There's not as much data and studies as I'd like to see. But there is definitely data to suggest that it works to support liver enzyme health, liver function in the presence of toxins, and I think that is really important. When you look at the overall effect of what berberine is doing to your point earlier, it's working on AMPK, it's working on glucose, it's working on your gut microbiome, it's working on your liver and your liver's function. And I think all of these things combined lead to, in my mind, one conclusion which is, there's something about this particular product that allows your body to function in an optimal level while keeping the blood glucose down, supporting mitochondria, supporting liver health and I think it all ties back to, if blood glucose and insulin are lower, then you're going to have a cascade of positive effects across your body. And I think that is why CGMs have become so popular as people realize that if they can keep their blood glucose at a reasonably modest normal level without having huge spikes throughout the day, that overall is going to lead to a longer and healthier lifespan. The data on that is pretty convincing. That's where I think berberine shines as this molecule plant alkaloid that just has so many benefits. So back to the liver, there is a couple of studies on liver enzymes and also on liver function. I would encourage people to take a look at that research. Again, of course, always speak to your doctor if you're taking anything for liver disease.

Melanie Avalon: I'm so glad you mentioned that as well because that actually goes really well with one other health benefit I want to touch on and it also involves the liver, so glad we're talking about it. And that is the role of berberine on cholesterol levels and lipid panels. Margaret said for example, "Is it okay to take it long term to help lower cholesterol" and we can speak to the long-term aspect in a bit but just as far as the cholesterol side of things. Not only does it directly reduces the absorption of lipids into circulation from your gut, because the whole caveat there is dietary cholesterol is not necessarily the primary driver of problematic cholesterol levels. It's more at least in my opinion, the creation of endogenous cholesterol and what's happening with that. And the effects in the liver on cholesterol and lipids is-- I mean, there's so many so.

It can promote the liver's LDL receptor mRNA expression to beneficially modulate LDL levels, it can directly inhibit the creation of cholesterol and triglycerides in liver cells. In rodent trials it's been found to inhibit NAFLD, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in mice fed a high-fat diet, which is huge and in human trials have actually found that berberine supplementation can reduce liver enzymes in patients with type 2 diabetes and so going back to what Scott was saying about liver health and it can also reduce fatty acid synthesis directly in the liver and a lot of transcripts and factors related to fatty liver. And for example, there was one study in humans and not only did they find decreased body weight and BMI in those on berberine, but what was super cool about the study is it had people do berberine and then have a washout period where they were not taking the berberine and then go back on the berberine. And they found that their triglycerides, their cholesterol, their LDL, and their HDL all improved based on when they were like taking the berberine. When they were on the berberine, it improved. When they went off, it went away. And then when they went on again, it approved again. Lots of potential benefits there with cholesterol and lipids.

Scott Emmens: Yeah, I totally agree. And the one part I'd like to focus on that is with triglycerides. Having been in the diabetes universe for 15 years or so, one of the things that I spoke with when I worked with endocrinologists, those are the specialists that treat diabetes, the thing that the cutting-edge endocrinologist would tell you is if you see someone that has a relatively high fasting glucose, but they are not diabetic, but their triglycerides are above normal. He's like that person is going to have diabetes if they don't change their lifestyle in a few years. Triglycerides are the leading indicator like "Hey, you're on your way to diabetes if you don't change this." Your body is basically taking this sugar and trying to figure out what it's going to do with it because it can't do something. This isn't the scientific way to say this, but basically, your triglycerides are this canary in the coal mine, that if they're high, but your blood glucose hasn't quite broken, technically the diabetic limit, you're probably on your way there. That's something you really want to look out for [the fact that it does have these studies that show that it can have a positive impact and support the body's ability to reduce triglycerides really says something to me about the way that it's working for blood glucose.

Melanie Avalon: And I think that actually ties in nicely to something that I want to talk about, which is this specific form that we chose because we got a lot of questions about dihydroberberine. for example, Teresa said, "She wants to know the difference between berberine versus dihydroberberine." Erin said, the same thing, "What's the difference between those two?" Suzie said, "What is the difference between them and what is the best?" Paul said that "He actually did better taking dihydroberberine that he didn't have the bloatation and the gassy issues?" And then Amanda said that --Oh, this is something that we can speak to the absorption levels. Amanda said, "Mike Mutzel talks about not using the highly absorbable kind," which presumably, I'm assuming is the dihydroberberine, as that's how berberine is effective in the gut by not being highly absorbable. Just speaking to what you were just talking about Scott with all of these over-encompassing effects and many things that are going on, shall we talk about? Because we debated for a long time about? Well, more so in the beginning, I think once we got to an understanding about it, we felt pretty good. But we were looking at? Should we do a berberine or should we do a dihydroberberine? Dihydroberberine is a newer form of berberine, at least from being like sold and marketed, which is said to be more absorbable and said to have a more potent effect on lowering blood sugar? We chose not to do that. Scott, would you like to explain a little bit why?

Scott Emmens: At first, it was two things. I think this goes back to my experience with prodrugs and metabolites prodrugs and then also looking at the data. Of the 30 years' worth of research that we have a good grasp on and there's a ton in the last 15 years, all of it is on berberine or the vast, vast majority I should say. There is very little data on dihydroberberine beyond just either its increase of "plasma level," but plasma level is not really what separates Berberine from the pack. I'll give you an analogy and tell me if it's apt Melanie. But with CBD, for example, "If you get a pure 100% isolated CBD, you may have no effect from it because it's not just the CBD, it's the CBD, CBG, it's the other cannabinoids inside that product that give it an entourage effect along with terpenes and other things that create that. Then if you add the other factor into metabolites from a prodrug is a drug that goes in as an inactive substance. And then your liver converts it into an active substance. Well, berberine happens to have no less than four active metabolites and as many, in some reports as 17 metabolites. And we don't know what those metabolites do, but it's pretty clear, and here's a direct quote from an article. Let me just make sure I get the title. "This is the metabolism of berberine and its contribution to the pharmacological effects." 

And then let me read this quote because this wasn't something we had focused on a ton in the beginning, but we discussed it, but the more we did the research, the more evident it became that there's something unique about it. "Even though berberine possesses a low oral bioavailability, it has exhibited marked biological activities in vivo which is in people and concentrations of its major metabolites such as berberrubine, thalifendine, I'm going to say these wrong, I'll butcher these names, demethyleneberberine, and jatrorrhizine, that is butcher of those names, but they are relatively high. And then it says, "These reports indicate that the metabolites of berberine may be active constituents which are representative of the biological activities of berberine in vivo and I mean that sums it up that there is something unique about berberine despite this, "Low bioavailability." Study after study shows that it works and then now we're getting more and more studies that are coming in. And our ability to measure these metabolites that are coming in active tablets, meaning your livers convert it into a new active form of berberine. They are actually also stored in your various organs, like your liver, in your kidneys, in your brain and other places that allow for these other properties of berberine or that we suspect based on the data allow for these other properties of berberine. By isolating one particular compound, yes, you may get less side effects, but you may not get all of the benefits of berberine. And I think between that and the fact that the data is very consistent on berberine, says berberine is the way to go. Now, we might decide to do a dihydroberberine in the future for some other specific reason, but if we're looking to get the maximum benefit across the spectrum of berberine, then we wanted to use the whole berberine plant.

Melanie Avalon: I think it's so interesting, Scott found, I don't know if it's the one that you were just speaking about, or if it was a different one. But you found this really great article, which basically speaks to this issue that people will say about berberine, which I find really ironic because people will say it's not very absorbable, like an issue basically, and that we need to fix it. But it's just really ironic, because all of the studies for so long and then it's been used for thousands of years, have been working with it in this form, so clearly, it's working in this form.

Scott Emmens: And then all of the data is in this form. When they saw the studies we read to you today, all of the data we've read to you today is from berberine. And so, you could take a chance that yes because it's more "Absorbable" and less impactful in your gut. Well, okay, maybe that works, maybe that doesn't just because it's higher in your plasma doesn't mean that it's high or concentrated in your organs, which may be the very benefit we're getting. I think you're right, it is ironic that we think we have to fix a product.

Melanie Avalon: It's pretentious.

Scott Emmens: Yeah, we have to fix a product or a natural alkaloid that has decades, in fact, let's go back to your earlier number of 4500 years of use. So yeah, I'm pretty confident berberine is the way to go. And for those folks that do have jabs and again, I would say, take it closer with your meal at first, start low and go slow. So, try one, just take one a day for a while, get your body used to it. You had mentioned maybe it's a detoxification process, go low and start slow. But yeah, I think you're exactly right. To say that this other form is better with no real data, I don't think is the right way to go. Is dihydroberberine, does it have some advantages? It very well could. But when we're talking about all of the data, and all of the studies, and these active metabolites, this is the product that I feel most comfortable taking.

Melanie Avalon: I think that's the key thing to focus on, which I'm not saying at all, that creating an isolated form of anything might have more of a benefit for maybe a certain goal in mind, like you might be able to finesse it to, have a specific intended effect. And maybe with dihydroberberine, maybe people, but again I would just need to see more literature and experience with people. But maybe it does work better for some people, which is great. But what's interesting is often rather than saying-- when people pause at dihydroberberine, for example, often rather than saying, this is another form of berberine that may be more beneficial for certain people for certain goals. It's positive, like berberine isn't very absorbable, they are like discard. They discard the entirety of the berberine literature, which makes no sense. And we do this with other things. We do this with turmeric and curcumin. People will say that we need to take our curcumin supplement because it's not very bioavailable in turmeric, when people have been using turmeric for the benefits for so long, people do it with resveratrol and wine. It's a very common thing that people do.

Scott Emmens: Or like a polyphenol versus an individual phenol. And that's why I love this one specific sentence, which is even though berberine possesses a relatively low oral bioavailability, it has exhibited marked biological activity in vivo. And the concentrations of its metabolites such as I butchered those, indicate the metabolites have an active constituent that represents significant biological activities of berberine. And in fact, berberine studies have revealed metabolites have shown similar bioactivity and it goes on and on. And there is something unique about it, the way that it is absorbed is not directly correlated to plasma. And in fact, it might be within this article or the other one that I had sent you, it says that, "Part of the reason that the plasma levels in berberine aren't high is because it's getting pushed into the organs where it needs to be and that was mind-blowing to me.

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Also related to our whole creation process. We had that question at the beginning about dihydroberberine versus berberine. And then when we decided on berberine, it was time to actually create it and Scott. Shall we tell listeners a little bit about our journey? [chuckles] 

Scott Emmens: Journey is a good way to put it, [chuckles] would you like me to start?

Melanie Avalon: Sure.

Scott Emmens: So, breaking the fourth wall a little bit, Melanie had some very specific criteria, as usual, all legitimate. And we began this pursuit for the perfect berberine. And one of the berberines that we looked at that had this really great story in this great, it's organic from the Himalayan Mountains. And then there was another one from the western part of the country, yada-yada, handpicked, etc. However, when we tested those berberines, they came back with both impurities and their potency level was remarkably low. And then I did a little more research and found that these companies also had some FDA warnings. There's a thing in the FDA when you have a GMP-certified facility, it's not just about the source of where you get the product. The most important thing is, have you done the four critical components of testing, which is strength, identity, purity, and compliance composition? And what we do at MD Logic Health and this is why I think we are so selective about who we partner with in terms of suppliers and also co-branding partners such as Melanie is, we want to be the best of the best, just like Melanie. What we discovered was that these other berberines not only failed to meet the specifications that were required but that also did not meet GMP, meaning the facilities themselves had multiple 43 notices or 402 requirements, which basically means that they were citation with significant issues in terms of their facilities GMP. Some folks, well where's it sourced from?

Well, that's important except the most important thing is have you done the correct analysis to protect yourself against heavy metals, purity, identity, strength, toxins, etc. And when we get a product, in this case, berberine, we quarantine everything that comes into our facility. It has been tested before it is allowed to come in for those four things back to what is the identity? What is the strength? Or the amount of active ingredients? What is purity? Meaning, are there toxic metals? Does it meet all of the standards that we're referring to? And is it meeting all of the compliant FDA requirements for purity, potency, etc. Those four things are done before that product even comes into our doors. Unfortunately, two of those products failed to meet our standards, which obviously disappointed us, but we were not going to allow faulty product or subpar product into the process. And when I went to look back at the companies that were utilizing these products, what I discovered is they had multiple 43s including but not limited to various toxins, lack of doing the standard studies, and in shocking fashion rat feces in a number of their herbs.

Melanie Avalon: Was it in the herbs or in the facility?

Scott Emmens: It was in the facility. I don't know whether it was in the herb or whether it was contaminated in the facility, or how but it was tested and found in the facility, meaning that multiple of their herbs had rat feces in them. And this is a pretty well-known brand, which we're not going to mention. But the fact of the matter is that they had obviously either not quarantined it and brought it in with the feces or the feces was in the facility and they hadn't done their due diligence on making sure that the facility was properly protected against those types of things. When a company says they're GMP certified that's one thing. But they need to be following all of those GMP tests. The reason that we quarantine the product before we bring it in, is if that product is contaminated you run the risk of contaminating your entire line. That's why it is quarantined and tested prior to its entry into our facility. 

Once it's tested and it passes all of those tests, we then bring it into the facility and then we do again, what's called batch testing. And we retest that same product after it's been manufactured to make sure it still meets all those specifications and has the amount of milligrams we'd say it has, it has the proper ingredients, and it still meets all of the same parameters to make sure that it didn't get infected or contaminated along the way. it's not just important to do it after you've created it, it's important to do it before it enters the facility. It's important to make sure you follow all of the criteria that GMP lays out in terms of where you store your product, how high you store it, what temperature you store it at, all of these things add up to what's called good manufacturing process. It's more than just testing for purity, strength, identity, and compliance. It's also, "Did you do the proper testing on how long it's going to last on the shelf, for example? What temperature did you expose it to? Did you have a CoA from the supplier of the ingredient and then did you also subsequently test it?" Some people will take the CoA from the supplier as the gold standard and then not do their own testing. That's not the way to go, because they may have gotten one sample to pass that test. But they can give you a different version or a different sample or a different supplier. And sometimes companies will change suppliers without then doing a retest of the ingredient. And then of course is not kosher either. You've got to make sure that you're doing GMP, the way GMP is written. And that is why there's a difference between us and folks that aren't following those same procedures.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, so I actually just pulled up the warning letter that you had found about that company because I wanted to see exactly what it had said. And this wasn't for their actual berberine, it was for the company in general but their manufacturing plant basically. And for example, this is direct from the FDA warning letter. It says, "Tree nut shells, peanut shell, corn, rodent feces, and seed foreign material were detected in their ashwagandha." "Tree nut shells, glass, hard plastic, and rodent feces were detected in their bilberry fruit." And there are a lot of other things as well. Scott, this is so shocking, so like ashwagandha that they're talking about, they had rodent feces in it as well as all of these allergens. If you go to their Amazon page, there ashwagandha has 506 ratings, 4.5 stars, it says that it's organic, it says it's free from gluten, dairy, and soy. The other pieces in this warning letter say that they found wheat in some of their other-- "Wait, wait, wait, sorry, I missed that." Wheat and rock were also found in their ashwagandha. So, "Ah", listeners, literally, so like you can go to Amazon and get this ashwagandha 506 ratings, 4.5 stars, it says "It's organic," it says "It's gluten, dairy and soy free." And when they tested this, when the FDA tested this, they found gluten, rat feces, and a myriad of other things. This is just so problematic. This is so problematic.

Scott Emmens: It is. I want to make the statement that I think this is the more rare companies, but it does happen, it does exist that you can have a GMP facility with great ratings and a decent brand name and still have-- I mean, I think those are pretty significant issues.

Melanie Avalon: And this isn't like some small-- like they have a lot of reviews on Amazon and a lot of products.

Scott Emmens: Correct? So, bigger doesn't mean better. What means better is, "Did you follow GMP and what is your track record with the FDA?" And we have an immaculate track record. And I think that speaks volumes. But the reason we have it is we just believe in following the procedure to make sure that like our families take our products, I take AvalonX products, I take MD Logic products, I give my family MD Logic products, I would never want to have skipped a process or a step. Because those processes are put in place for very good reasons. And most people aren't aware of those because they're not readily public-- it's not readily public information. But I think I remember I got a five shock emoji face from you when I sent you that link.

Melanie Avalon: Listeners, friends, do your due diligence when you choose the supplements that you choose to put in your body. We found a source that we felt really good about with the testing and we tested it for purity and potency. But then we wanted to go one step further because this was my first supplement that was an herb. My previous supplements have been serrapeptase and magnesium. We had the certification from the source that it was free of pesticides. But it was really, really important to me that we do third-party testing on that, just like we did the third-party testing for the purity and the potency because again it's an herb, it's being grown. That took a while because it took a while to find, what was the word like a company that would do the test?

Scott Emmens: It was a third-party laboratory that would do pesticide testing as well as other testing. But we chose at that point, we had all the other testing, we had done internal heavy metal testing twice, internal purity, internal identification and compliance, so at that point we really just wanted to make sure is this was pesticide-free by all the definitions that are set by the US Government and then some. And we set that out for a third-party pesticide test.

Melanie Avalon: Yes, and I'm so happy we found a company that we really like to do that and it came back all clean, all good. And I should tell them the nuance of it. Another reason it took so long to find a company is most of the companies would just give you a blanket, like a yes/no about whether or not it was below a certain level. But I wanted it to be quantified. [chuckles] I wanted to know if it was there, like how much was it there? It took a while to find a company that could work with us to do that, but we did. And we got the green light, it's all good, no pesticides.

Scott Emmens: It really is. And I'll tell you, I would not take any other berberine than this one based on the fact that we know the source is good. We've triple-tested it in-house for the four cores, which is purity, heavy metals, etc., identity, purity, strength, and potency. So, at this point, we feel like we've got a great berberine that's pesticide free, heavy metal free, toxin free, mold free at the right dosage, and in a glass bottle and on top of that with no stearates, palmitates, or other heavy chemical anticaking or filling agents. It's the purest best berberine I think that you're going to find in terms of literal testing and its final ingredients.

Melanie Avalon: I always have to ask you Scott, its filler and lubrication agent?

Scott Emmens: Yes. there are two things that people should be familiar with it. There's what they call lubrication or anticaking. Because when you put these products through these machines to put them in little tiny capsules, it requires some lubrication agent. And that's typically a magnesium stearate, silicon dioxide, or they'll call it silicon, which is silicon dioxide because that FDA allows you to say silicon versus silicon dioxide, little euphemism or a calcium palmitate. I'm okay, I take products with magnesium stearate. I don't think it's the end of the world. But if you're taking 15 capsules a day, you want to get it as pure as possible. And I think in this day and age, we're already exposed to so many things, we want to make sure that it's as clean as it can be. So yes, this product is free of magnesium stearates, that is an anti-caking agent which means it prevents it from blocking up the machines, which is also why we have to do small batches and why it's a little pricier because in order to shut down an entire line or have a dedicated line that has no lubricant or non-magnesium stearate/palmitate lubricant, you've got to have these smaller batches or a dedicated machine. And that's anti-caking. They're called lubricants and then there're fillers which are typically rice or cellulose or something else that you may or may not want. So typically, when we do a filler and we only do that when we have to whether that's an AvalonX product or MD Logic product, we use most benign possible filler there is which is methylcellulose, organic grown, human use, basically methylcellulose, which is like tree bark or fiber. And the only reason you do it is that the capsule doesn't shake loose. In other words, if the capsule size is-- you've got to get the capsule full, otherwise it's going to shake loose and the capsule doesn't feel right or fit right.

The anti-caking agents prevent the product from blocking up the machine, clogging up the machine, and keeping the product flowing into the capsules properly. But a lot of folks don't want magnesium stearate, hence why we go the extra mile to do two things which is A, use either no anti-caking or a natural anti-caking agent that is either beneficial for you or neutral or none. And then on the filler, we use either no filler or we use a filler that is methylcellulose or something super benign or beneficial rather than things like rice flour or other things that people can be allergic to.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, so the berberine containing a very small amount of monolaurin, which is exciting because people will actually take monolaurin for its health benefits. But I don't like to emphasize it because it's not like-- it's barely in there. But yeah, so it's nice to have something that could be potentially beneficial in there as well.

Scott Emmens: And the monolaurin, in this case, would be the anti-caking agent. But to your point, some people take monolaurin as an actual supplement for health, for digestive health. And I think it pairs really well with berberine as I take it for digestive health in terms of its benefits.

Melanie Avalon: Yes. But I really want to emphasize, it's not like monolaurin is in there as a supplement like you're barely getting it. It's more just to point out that it's benign, like it's nontoxic.

Scott Emmens: Exactly, you're talking about a minuscule amount of monolaurin, so it's [unintelligible [01:28:27] supplementation of it. It's really just because this is either beneficial or neutral versus some people who feel that the stearates can be negative.

Melanie Avalon: Exactly, so yeah, I'm so excited because it's almost here. No, no, no, no when this releases it will have just launched. So friends, if you want to get this berberine we are having an amazing launch special that is through the holidays, through December 31 right like through the--

Scott Emmens: Correct, it starts on December 16 and goes all the way through the holidays through December 31. Perfect time for your January 1st New Year's resolutions and there's a tremendous discount that Melanie will have on her website. So, Melanie, I'll let you take it from there.

Melanie Avalon: During this launch special, you can get 15% off of one bottle or 25% which is amazing, off of two or more bottles. And that is just during the special and/or while supplies last. Stock up now. That we'll be at avalonx.us. Again, avalonx.us, 15% off of one bottle, 25% off of two or more bottles through the end of 2022. Beyond that, some other resources, if you want to stock up or get my other supplements, serrapeptase and magnesium, you can use the coupon code MELANIEAVALON that will get you 10% off or if you would like 20% off code, you can text AVALONX, just the word AVALONX, you will not believe how many people text, not AVALONX. They text like, they're like, "Hi, give me the 20% off code?" Like no, no, no that's not how this works, the computer can only read AVALONX.

Scott Emmens: It's a computer. Yes.

Melanie Avalon: It's a computer. So, text AVALONX To 877-861-8318 that will sign you up for text updates and will give you a 20% off code. You can also get email updates at avalonx.us/emaillist. And then both that 20% off code and the 10% off code MELANIEAVALON are also good at MD Logic Health, Scott's main company, they have an array of-- how many products do you have, Scott?

Scott Emmens: Right now, we have about 40-something skews and products. And we are probably going to have somewhere closer to 65 mid 2023, we got a very aggressive pipeline of either cutting-edge and/or newly formed versions of products that we feel like it would be beneficial.

Melanie Avalon: Yes, so that's super, super exciting. So, definitely check them out. I know one of the supplements we've talked about a lot on this show is your melatonin. I know people are really liking that one.

Scott Emmens: Fanfare for sure.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, as well as Scott's collagen.

Scott Emmens: Thanks for mentioning both. The melatonin we reformulated by the way which is the exact same melatonin formulation, but we took out the rice and we took out-- I think it had a little mag stearate, so we removed that. So now that is an even more pure, more clean version of our Melatonin Max. And yes, our Marine Collagen is doing really well. People love it because you are getting 13 g of collagen plus you are getting what they call co-factors to create collagen or collagen synthesis in your body. People underestimate that part because you can take as much collagen as you want without vitamin C, manganese, zinc, vitamin A, and vitamin C. You cannot convert those amino acids into collagens. So, you can drink collagen all day, sort of making a cake with a ton of powder, but if you don’t use a little bit of sugar and butter, you are just going to have a giant flour cake.

Melanie Avalon: Yes, so I can guarantee you this collagen was Scott's baby, kind of like the way I am with my supplements. If you are looking for collagen supplement. This is the one that you want for sure. If you want to go through my site to get that, the link is melanieavalon.com/mdlogic and again the coupon code MELANIEAVALON will get you 10% off sitewide. As well as that 20% off coupon code that you by texting AVALONX To 877-861-8318. And again, stock up on berberine before the special ends.

Scott Emmens: Well Melanie, I've never been so excited for one of your launches as I am for berberine. I feel like your audience is going to love this. I feel like this is going to be a tremendous product for your fan base but most importantly, I think now having done three products with you and having had multiple discussions on your future products I feel like I need to assure your fans that you do not let a single thing go. Every single thing that goes into this product and does not go into this product. You have your eyes on, the research on, and I think together we are making a fantastic team and even more importantly great products that are really healthy and great for people and I couldn’t be more thrilled to launch berberine with you, so this is fantastic.

Melanie Avalon: I am just so thrilled and honored and excited and grateful as well. Listeners, working with Scott has been the dream partnership and I am just so grateful that I can finally do exactly what I wanted to do with the supplements and make them for myself and for everybody else, so I am so happy. Actually, this is a good way to end literally just right now Scott, you know how you were mentioning earlier the person at the CGM company who was sharing his experience on the podcast. He actually literally just emailed me because I had emailed him to tell him I was making a berberine. Would you like to hear what he said about berberine?

Scott Emmens: I would love to hear what he said. This is like serendipity.

Melanie Avalon: I know this is like in real life like real-time. [chuckles]

Scott Emmens: It's real-time and it's happening at the moment.

Melanie Avalon: Complete third party. All I did was I told him I was making a berberine supplement. So, he said, "Berberine is a great idea of all the supplements I've tested for glucose regulation, berberine has had the most significant impact and our internal staff experiments confirmed my anecdotal observations." One cool thing to test with berberine would be proper dosing. Most use berberine as a pre-prandial taking 500 to 1000 mg 20 minutes before meals. I tried that and it didn’t work for me." That's what he was saying, Scott. "A smaller camp including myself takes 500 mg twice daily morning and evening. While it did take a few weeks to see results, I saw an overall decrease in my own fasting glucose on that regimen." So that's a nice little testimonial and I think it really speaks to when you guys get your berberine you are going to need to find the way it works for you specifically.

Scott Emmens: That is a great way to end. I think that's serendipity.

Melanie Avalon: I think so. Well, this has been absolutely amazing and Scott you are going to have to come back for all of our future product launches. I hope you are down with that.

Scott Emmens: I can't wait. I look forward to any questions, comments from the fans. I'm starting to feel like a fan and a welcome member of the family of the IF Podcast. So, thank you so much for having me again, Melanie, I look forward to us speaking again.

Melanie Avalon: You too and this will have already happened, but have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Scott Emmens: That's right, you too.

Melanie Avalon: Bye.

Scott Emmens: Bye, bye.

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

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