Episode 222: Fasted Marathons, Quitting Smoking, Double Standards, Restrictive Diets, Disordered Eating, Night Shifts, Dizziness, And More!
Welcome to Episode 222 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, hosted by Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine and Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living An Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle.
Today's episode of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast is brought to you by:
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1:10 - BUTCHERBOX: For A Limited Time Go To Butcherbox.com/ifpodcast And Get 2 Grass Fed Ribeye Steaks And 2 Lobster Tails All For Free!
The Science, Nutrition, And Health Implications Of Conventional Vs. Sustainable, Grass-fed, Pastured, And Wild Meat And Seafood, Featuring My Honest Butcher Box Review!
The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #57 - Robb Wolf
3:55 - 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!
To Join The Supplement Study Email Dr. Lustig at: Rlustigmd@gmail.com
The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #99 - Dr. Robert Lustig
17:00 - Listener Feedback: Madeleine - Fasting During Triathlons
20:35 - Listener Q&A: Marcela - I have run marathons fasted
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26:50 - MOLEKULE: Go To Molekule.com And Use The Code ifpodcast120 At Checkout For $120 Off Your Order!
29:20 - Listener Q&A: Jenny - Interesting article
47:30 - FEALS: Go To feals.com/ifpodcast To Become A Member And Get 50% Off Your First Order, With Free Shipping!
50:20 - Listener Q&A: Heather - Night Shift Nurse
56:05 - Listener Q&A: Eric - first week of IF
Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 222 of the Intermittent Fasting Podcast. If you want to burn fat, gain energy and enhance your health by changing when you eat, not what you eat with no calorie counting, then this show is for you. I'm Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine: Lose Weight and Feel Great with Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, and Wine. And I'm here with my cohost, Gin Stephens, author of Fast, Feast, Repeat. The Comprehensive Guide to Delay, Don't Deny: Intermittent Fasting. For more on us, check out ifpodcast.com, melanieavalon.com, and ginstephens.com. Please remember, the thoughts and opinions on this podcast do not constitute medical advice or treatment. So, pour yourself a cup of black coffee, a mug of tea, or even a glass of wine, if it's that time, and get ready for The Intermittent Fasting Podcast.
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Hi, everybody and welcome. This is episode number 222 of the Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with Gin Stephens.
Gin Stephens: Hi everybody.
Melanie Avalon: Gin, you know what 222 is?
Gin Stephens: The number after 221?
Melanie Avalon: It's a palindrome.
Gin Stephens: Oh, well, it is. Yeah, it is. It's also a nice number. I like repeating numbers.
Melanie Avalon: Me too. Well, how are things with you?
Gin Stephens: They are great. I'm still at the beach. We had a whole week with my whole family here--Well, Chad didn't come. He doesn’t like to come to the beach, apparently, [laughs] and neither of my children were here. All the 20 something kids were off living their lives. It was just the younger kids and the adults except for Chad. We're all here, and we were here for a week, and it was great.
Melanie Avalon: Well, that's exciting.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, we had really good family time. We hadn't taken a family beach trip, my brother, Zach, figured out, for 22 years.
Melanie Avalon: Wow. That's a long time.
Gin Stephens: Yep.
Melanie Avalon: You put a picture on Instagram, was that your brother or--?
Gin Stephens: Those are two of my brothers and my sister. There are four of us.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, okay, because I was like, “That's not Chad, who is that?” I’m so confused. [laughs]
Gin Stephens: The one closest to me was my brother, Zach, and my sister, Alison, and then my other brother, Ben. We're all in that photo. It was so much fun. We had a surprise engagement for one of my nieces. At one time, I didn’t really how many people there were on the beach, there were 27 people on the beach for that surprise engagement. Her boyfriend, and his family, and their best friends all surprised her right in front of our beach house. We said we were going to do family photos, and so we all were there, and then, surprise, there's her boyfriend with an engagement ring and all of their family and friends plus us. So, there were a total of 27 of us on the beach and she had no idea.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness, that's so fun. I love that.
Gin Stephens: That was right when we took that picture. It was so much fun. Yeah, it was so much fun. Anyway, this might be the last trip we all take as a family. So, even though Chad wasn't there, and my kids weren't there, and one of my nieces, one of my nephews, because they're old-- not old enough to have time off work [laughs] but too old to be a kid. It's that in between age.
Melanie Avalon: I guess, they'll grow into the time when they can come.
Gin Stephens: Exactly. But it was such a fun trip. Now, I'm here by myself. I'm staying till Thursday. Right before we recorded, I went for a swim in the ocean. I would say all by myself, except the ocean is packed full of people. So, I had to keep making sure I didn't run into people in the ocean. Back at the condo for this this week, our house is rented, and it was so sad to pack up from the house and come to the condo.
Melanie Avalon: I bet.
Gin Stephens: I love the condo, but I love the house. It's so much more isolated, even though, it's not isolated at all, the condo’s like wall to wall.
Melanie Avalon: Well, we can be grateful things opening up this summer.
Gin Stephens: It is. I'm so grateful. Exactly, and that everybody's here having such a good time. Yes, all those things. But I'm tired of eating out, can I just tell you. So now, I'm just eating at the condo, meeting things like avocados, and tomatoes, and raisin toasts, and it's so nice to just be eating plain [laughs] simple foods. I'm going to have a big spinach salad to open my window today.
Melanie Avalon: Very nice.
Gin Stephens: So, what's up with you?
Melanie Avalon: Actually, a few really important things or exciting things. I've been telling you this, but I'm really making forward progress. I think I'm going to produce a serrapeptase supplement.
Gin Stephens: Well, that's really fun.
Melanie Avalon: I'm learning so much about making a supplement., like how the process works and everything. So, I'm really excited. Listeners, stay tuned, because you know, there's so many serrapeptase-- for listeners, who are not familiar, Serrapeptase is a proteolytic enzyme created by the Japanese silkworm. When you take it in the fasted state, which is obviously easy for many of our listeners, it goes into the bloodstream and breaks down residual proteins in your body. So, those are things that can contribute to inflammation or allergies, or-- Gin, you took it originally for fibroids, right?
Gin Stephens: I did.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Brain fog is another thing. A lot of people just really find it to be a game changer. I've taken it pretty much every day for years, and there's all this debate out there about which brand to use, and potency, and strength, and should you get enteric-coated serrapeptase, or should you get enteric-coated capsules. So, I've been doing all of the research, and I'm working with a preexisting company that I really like. I'm probably going to produce it with them. So, stay tuned.
Gin Stephens: Well, that's really fun.
Melanie Avalon: I know. [giggles]
Gin Stephens: I am never going to make a supplement. Can I just say that?
Melanie Avalon: I know, I know.
Gin Stephens: [laughs] If I ever do, that's a sign that I've been kidnapped. Come and look for me.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, that's so funny. I didn’t think I ever would I think something like this would be appropriate, I realized maybe it would be appropriate to make the supplements that I personally take every day, I might as well make my own version?
Gin Stephens: With this one, not only do you take it every day, but you haven't found a company that you really, really trust with it.
Melanie Avalon: Right, exactly.
Gin Stephens: That's the difference.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Then, listeners just ask all the time. People ask my Facebook group like, “Which brand?” I was like, “I just need to have my own.” That's one exciting thing. We're still figuring out all the details but what we're probably going to do, just to tease it now, is have the launch date, but we'll probably, do a special preorder setup where you'll get it at a really discounted price. So, stay tuned. I will have more details about that.
Gin Stephens: Very cool. What else? You said there are lots of things, is it just two?
Melanie Avalon: The second thing is, I released this week on Friday, last Friday, this past Friday, and the episode with Dr. Robert Lustig for that Metabolical book. Oh, my goodness. Gin, have you read it yet?
Gin Stephens: I haven’t. I'm reading some fiction right now. I'm reading this trilogy of fiction that's really long by Ken Follett. If there are any Ken Follett readers out there, they know what I'm talking about.
Melanie Avalon: What genre, fiction? What, like fantasy?
Gin Stephens: Historical fiction. The trilogy I'm reading now is World War I. And now, I'm in World War II. Then, I haven't read the third one, is, I guess, Post World War II.
Melanie Avalon: Nice. [laughs] I've not read any of that stuff.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, I don't read fantasy.
Melanie Avalon: I know I said that, and I was like, “Wait, she's not reading fantasy.”
Gin Stephens: No. I don't like fantasy.
Melanie Avalon: I was like, “This is Gin.” I don't even know what books you like, but I know you're probably not reading fantasy.
Gin Stephens: No, I like realistic fiction a lot. But it's been so long since I read, I'm almost embarrassed to-- It's been a long, long time since I read fiction.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, me too.
Gin Stephens: But I'm really enjoying it.
Melanie Avalon: Me too. Well, when you come back to the nonfiction world, I still think you would love Metabolical. Especially, it just really lines up with your new book so much, but I have an update about it. So, the episode has been so, so popular. I've been sort of blown away, which I anticipated that. I was supposed to release this episode way later like in the fall, but I was so excited about it that I bumped it up to now. But Dr. Lustig in the episode talks about-- I don't know if he owns the company-- Okay, so it's called Biolumen, and he's basically making a supplement, but it's all food compounds. It's technically considered food. The way it works is, in their early studies, they've shown that it inhibits 35% of sugar load-- well, I guess any sugar. The ingredients in it, sequester sugars and starches in the gut, and it makes them so that they're not immediately absorbed higher up and instead released further down in the intestine. It goes with his whole thing of “protecting” the liver and feeding the gut. They're still doing trials on it and studies. They're looking for listeners who use a CGM, who would like to be involved in his studies and his trial, and he mentioned it in the episode, but I didn't have the information then. So, now, I have the information.
If anybody wants to do, this to qualify, you have to routinely use Abbott FreeStyle Libre CGM. If you use a Dexcom, you can also participate, but you'd have to be able to send screenshots of your data. Or, for our listeners who are doing NutriSense and Levels, he didn't talk about this and the information that he gave me, but that-- What do those use? I think those use the FreeStyle. Those would work because you can send screenshots with the data. You also can't have diabetes, but it's okay if you have prediabetes. You can't be taking glucose-lowering medications, including insulin, and you obviously have to be willing to share your CGM. But if you'd like to participate, and if you participate, they'll send you these capsules, I have all the instructions, but basically, you'll be taking them in conjunction with your food, you'll have your readings, and also, you will be compensated a little bit for it as well.
If you'd like to do this, just contact Dr. Lustig directly. His email is RLustigMD@gmail.com. I'll put a link to that in the show notes. This is really exciting. It says that he'll email you back or if you prefer, if you include your name and phone number, he will call you directly. So, [giggles] that's very cool. I was excited when he sent me this, because I was like, “Well, we have a big audience, and a lot of our audience is wearing CGMs.” So, if anybody's interested, this could be a fun little thing to do.
Gin Stephens: I wonder if he's going to be surprised.
Melanie Avalon: I know. [laughs]
Gin Stephens: That has definitely happened [laughs] when I've interviewed people on Intermittent Fasting Stories, and then they're like, “Oh, I wasn't expecting that.” [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: That many people, yeah. He just sent me this email this morning, and then, I just emailed back, and I was like, “Yeah, I'll mention it on our podcast.” We shall see. That's really cool that he'll call you though. I had other things, but I can save it for next week.
Gin Stephens: Well, those are some exciting things.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah.
Gin Stephens: Shall we get started with the feedback?
Melanie Avalon: Yes. Mm-hmm.
Gin Stephens: This is from Madeline, and the subject is, “Fasting during triathlons.” She says, “Hello, ladies. I've been listening to your podcast from the start, and truly believe this is the best healthy way of longevity. Thank you for all you do. You ladies are fun to listen to and full of great knowledge. I don't have a question, but just to share an experience I've had with IF in the course of my life. As per your request from Episode 218, a little about myself. I am a retired RN and a personal trainer from Ontario, Canada. Hello from the North. I too, like Gin, once weighed 216 pounds 25 years ago, 1996, and have kept it off.” Just a little side note for me. 210 is the highest number I saw on the scale, but it was probably 216 when I was on that cruise [laughs] because I wasn't weighing.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, wow. Yeah.
Gin Stephens: She says, “I have kept it off. I basically lost it during the IF style of living. However, it wasn't recognized clearly back then. I did however do dirty fasts, i.e., my coffee. That has changed now especially as I know better, thanks to you gals, had to adjust it for menopause. After my huge weight loss, I had lots of energy that encouraged my performance as a triathlete. Over the course of 10 years, 2000 to 2010, I competed in multiple road races and triathlons placing first for my age group. During that time, I often was accused of taking some drug to give me such energy/speed to perform, LOL. It wasn't any drug, it was just IF. I was in my fasted state which I performed my best run, 5K, 24.3K bike, and 5k swim, and placed first every single time. I have a collection of medals on my wall. I don't race anymore as I train people to optimize their health to be their best. Thank you once again, all the best, Madeline.”
Melanie Avalon: Awesome. Well, this was really, really amazing to hear, because I remember when we discussed this on the earlier episode that we can put a link to and again, Gin and I-- We can research the science and we can share anecdotal stories like Madeline's, but we don't have any. Well, Gin, have you ever run a marathon?
Gin Stephens: Oh, Lord no. Is that a joke? [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: I did not want to presume.
Gin Stephens: That joke that, if you ever see me running, you better start running too. Have you ever seen that, because something's chasing me?
Melanie Avalon: That’s so funny.
Gin Stephens: I'm not a runner. I had so much fun playing in the ocean, today. That's what I like to do. Anything that is just fun and doesn't feel like you're exercising. I jumped up and down a million times, and the waves were knocking me over. I like to exercise like a kid playing.
Melanie Avalon: Yes, me too. Me too. It's nice to hear from people who actually have done this and it's crazy that she's a triathlete as well.
Gin Stephens: I love it.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah.
Gin Stephens: I know people love to do that kind of thing, and I admire them for loving it. I just don't.
Melanie Avalon: This is what we talked about last time, but I do want to iterate that this still likely requires a lot of training in the fasted state to do this in the fasted state. It's not something you want to just jump into willy-nilly, which actually our next question, I think, speaks to a little bit. Doesn't it?
Gin Stephens: It does.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. We’ve got another question or another feedback, and this is from Marcella. Madeline and Marcella. She says, “Hello, ladies. I just finished listening to podcast 218,” so that same episode. She says, “I have to write I have run marathons fasted, I am an ex-smoker.” Oh, we also talked about smoking in that episode. She said regarding, “Running fasted, you definitely need to train your body.” This is Melanie talking. That's what I was just talking about. She says, “I will never forget listening to ‘real runners’ telling me I was crazy doing it. But really, I am 60 years old, and I have been working out since I was 13 years old and back in the 70s, you shouldn't eat or drink when working out.”
Gin Stephens: That's true. I think things were different. This whole idea of the pre-workouts, and fueling up, and eating all the time, this is new.
Melanie Avalon: They're onto something back then. [laughs] She says, “Now, I do drink water if working out more than one hour. Since I’ve turned 50 years old, I’ve run 12 half marathons and two full ones. Always fasted, black coffee only before the race, water during the race.” Before I read her next part-- That's great. That's two people reporting back that they run marathons fasted, but like Marcella pointed out, definitely something to train for. I'm so motivated now. She's done so many marathons.
Gin Stephens: Are you going to do one?
Melanie Avalon: No.
Gin Stephens: [laughs] Well, then, what are you motivated to do? [laughs] Inspired? Is that a better word?
Melanie Avalon: I'm motivated not to run a marathon, but I'm motivated about energetically active activities.
Gin Stephens: Okay, that makes sense.
Melanie Avalon: I was actually rereading, or I reread Dr. Valter Longo's book, The Longevity Diet, because I'm going to interview him. He was talking about this at the beginning about the different ages that people are doing certain things, and he was saying how a lot of the best marathoners are-- I don't remember that age range he gave. Mid or late 30s. I don't know, that was also motivating. Then, Marcella says, “Regarding the ex-smoker question, I am also an ex-smoker over 10 years. When you smoke, you smoke when hungry. That is why smokers are thin. When quitting, it's important not to replace cigarettes with food. Try to replace them with some hobby. Cigarettes keep your metabolism higher, because you have to breathe more times than a regular nonsmoker.” I've never heard that before.
Gin Stephens: Well, think about it, because you need oxygen. So, it does make sense that you would be breathing more times because you're breathing in the smoke and not the oxygen, and you have to breathe to get the oxygen.
Melanie Avalon: It must be that plus I know nicotine as well has an effect. I'm guessing it's a synergistic thing. She says, “An easy fix is increase your activities. Walk, run, do something with your body. Thank you for sharing all what you know, I love listening to all of your podcasts.” When these questions come in, I read them, and then I ask our assistant to put them either in our prep document if we're going to read them, and so our assistant, Sharon, she wanted to add in after reading this question. She said, “I would like to add that I am an ex-smoker. When I quit, I vowed that every time I wanted a cigarette, I would chug two cups of water. It filled my stomach, cracking down on the hunger issue and gave me that hand-to-mouth replacement habit that smokers need. I always had a bottle of water with me everywhere I went. I also added one half hour of exercise every day. Even if it was just a simple walk, I never gained a pound, not one. I've helped several people in my health coaching practice to quit smoking, and the one book I recommend is Allen Carr's The Easy Way to Stop Smoking. It changed my life as it has many others including quite a few celebrities, including Ellen DeGeneres.”
Gin Stephens: I think he wrote one about drinking as well, The Easy Way to Stop Drinking. I feel he did.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, very cool. Again, for listeners, we'll put links to all of that in the show notes. I'm not smoking but I find that motivating, too for any habit. I'm just pondering the meaning of the word ‘motivating’ now. Does motivating have to motivate you to do the thing that it's talking about?
Gin Stephens: I know you said you were motivated before, and so it made me feel like you were motivated to run. You can be motivated to do something else. It doesn't have to be the same exact thing. I was just trying to understand what you were motivated to do, because if you're going to--
Melanie Avalon: Not run a marathon.
Gin Stephens: I'd like to see that. [laughs] No, I'm not going to do it, so I get it. I'm motivated to go play in the ocean some more. How’s that?
Melanie Avalon: That's great. I've started using more and more that X3 System, the resistant bands, the John Jaquish? I'm very impressed. I watched the videos online, but I've been a bit casual in my approach. I'm just pulling the bands, and doing the thing, and I should probably sit down and do the concentrated exercise, but I'm seeing massive improvements just from doing it for a few minutes. I'm very much in shock.
Gin Stephens: Wow, that's great. I need to maybe do something like that. I would do that.
Melanie Avalon: Let me do it for real, actually watch the videos and do it and report back. I want to have done it by the time I release his episode. I'm very, very impressed. For listeners, what I'm talking about, the link is melanieavalon.com/x3. The coupon code, MELANIEAVALON, I think will give you a discount. I'll check on that and put the right code in the show notes if it's not that. But yeah, any other thoughts about the smoking, the weight, the running?
Gin Stephens: Just a disclaimer to say, please don't start smoking to lose weight.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, yes.
Gin Stephens: That's all. [laughs] Because Marcella mentioned that's why smokers are thin. That would not be the thing to do.
Melanie Avalon: I'll put a link in the show notes. Dr. Peter Attia recently released a really good episode on nicotine that was very interesting. I’ll put a link if people want to learn more.
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Gin Stephens: All right, so we have a question from Jenny, and the subject is “Interesting article.” She says, “Hi, Gin and Melanie. I just found an interesting article very much the opposite of what you're preaching.” The article that Jenny shared, we’ll have a link to it in the show notes. It's called The Damaging Double Standard Behind Intermittent Fasting. Yes, it just came out, and then of course, anytime anything like that comes out, a million people send it to me. [laughs] Did they send it to you, too?
Melanie Avalon: Did a lot of other people send it to you?
Gin Stephens: Yes.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, that's so interesting.
Gin Stephens: Oh, yeah. People send me things all the time. They're like, “Have you seen this?” I'm like, “Yes, a hundred times. Thank you.” [laughs] But if no one sent it to me, I would see it zero times. It's better to see it a hundred times than zero times, right? Anyway, she said, “I love to listen to your podcast, and I'm doing IF for over a year, on and off. I work in hotels and restaurants, and my shifts are always changing. It's very hard to keep a daily routine. My sister-in-law is a doctor, and all about fasting and how it's benefiting people with bad health conditions. I think her handle is #TheDoctorAaron on Instagram. She's all about changing healthcare with focusing on the whole body, and not just giving people prescription drugs.
I'm originally from Germany, and live in Alaska for a little over two and a half years. It's such a fun place. Everyone needs to visit. I met my now husband the first day I visited Alaska as a tourist in 2016. He showed me the northern lights and, well, the rest is history. Keep up the good work. It's really fun to listen to you guys, Jenny.”
Melanie Avalon: Again, we'll put a link in the show notes to this article. The article is The Damaging Double Standard Behind Intermittent Fasting. Basically, it talks about Jack Dorsey who practices intermittent fasting, eating. I'm sorry, it kills me, because when I hear his interviews, he eats the same thing that I eat. But he does basically a one meal a day approach with protein, greens, and mixed berries, and then the bulk of the article is about how with different dietary approaches-- and they list a lot of other things as well not just intermittent fasting. Like when Gwyneth Paltrow did a 300 calorie a day detox, Nicole Richie talking about her diet of sunflower seeds, celery juice, and chewing gum. They talk about today's shows, I'm going to backtrack a little.
I really want to encourage listeners to have a very discerning eye when reading articles, and how things are portrayed and subtly put together to create certain implications. For example, in this article, they list these different diets. They list Gwyneth Paltrow doing 300 calories a day in January. Nicole Richie eating sunflower seeds, celery juice, and chewing gum. Then, right after that, they list The Today Show hosts who weighed themselves on live television after spending the week eating only between 10 and 6. The first two are extremely restrictive things, extremely restrictive. Not even slightly restrictive. No questions asked, restrictive, and then the next thing they list is an intermittent fasting example. But because you have in your head, the two prior examples of crazy diets, that's what your brain is set up for, and you're automatically prescribing that to intermittent fasting. Eating from 10 to 6, which is an eight-hour window., so that's a 16:8 approach.
In my opinion, again, this is all my opinion, just as a concept that is nowhere near eating 300 calories a day, [laughs] or eating sunflower seeds, celery juice, and chewing gum. That's an example, I think, of how intermittent fasting can be portrayed in the media. They're equating it to other restrictive things when it is not necessarily that, and the reason I say not necessarily is because those hosts, true, from 10 to 6, they could have been just eating 300 calories, in which case, it would have been the same level of restriction but it's not necessarily. That's not even the main point of the article.
The main point of the article-- because it does talk more about intermittent fasting and it does sort of paint it as a restrictive approach. The main point of the article is that, when women engage with these dietary approaches, be it restrictive diets, or intermittent fasting, even though the articles linking those together, that men can engage in them, and the response is different. Basically, when women do these diets, it's seen as an eating disorder, disordered eating, a problem, an issue. When men do it, it's often seen as a way to be successful or a way to optimize their performance. That's really the thesis of the article, is how culture perceives men versus women engaging in these diets.
I actually think this is something really important to draw attention to, not so much for the takeaway that I take from this article, which-- the takeaway I took from the article, and people can read it for themselves, and see what they feel about it. I felt like it was saying intermittent fasting is disordered eating, and that when women do it, it may be seen as disordered eating, but when men do it, it's usually not seen as disordered eating. I disagree with that. I think that intermittent fasting by itself does not mandate a state of restriction or a state of disordered eating. It can. It very easily can, especially if you struggle with eating disorders, and especially if you're being restrictive in your fasting window.
Then, on top of that, and this is what I really want to draw attention to, and why I actually like things like this article, because I think it gets people thinking is, how men versus women engaging in any dietary approach are treated differently in culture. There's a reason for that. It's because women in general are more prone to eating disorders. But I think that does a disservice to both genders, because women on the one hand might not have disordered eating, but are more likely going to be, especially if they're doing something like fasting, which may raise some eyebrows, more likely to be “accused” of disordered eating, even if they're not. Then, on the flip side, for men, they might have disordered eating, and it won't be seen that way. Because there's this stigma that or this idea that men don't really have eating disorders the way that women do. I think that's equally a problem. Because for men who are struggling with eating disorders, I think that can be really, really hard. Because there's such a social stigma around it, that I think it can be really hard for men to seek out help if they need help in that regard.
If I were to rewrite this article, [laughs] I would talk about how intermittent fasting is not necessarily, I have already said this, but just to say it again, it's not necessarily restriction. It's not a synonym to restrictive eating or disordered eating, but it very easily can be. Men and women both can struggle with eating disorders. Men and women both cannot as well. I think we should do the best that we can to look at the individual and lose the social paradigm, and the preexisting ideologies, and beliefs, and biases that we have surrounding fasting, restriction, eating disorders, and just look at the person, and what is happening, and what are they eating, and is there an eating disorder, and those are my thoughts. That was long.
Gin Stephens: Yeah. I'm always so irritated by articles that hint that intermittent fasting is an eating disorder. I've never felt saner about food since I've been an intermittent faster. It feels everything I did before intermittent fasting felt disordered. Now, finally, I feel undisordered.
Melanie Avalon: I don't really get that feeling. For me, being selective in my food choices makes me feel better. I feel really good existing within the foods I choose to eat. To a lot of people, I think that looks restrictive, and it's concerning to me that that can be seen as an eating disorder or something. One of the quotes in the article, they're quoting Dr. Cynthia Bulik, she's the Director of the Center for Excellence for Eating Disorders at the University of North Carolina, and the Director of the Center for Eating Disorders Innovation at the Karolinska Institute. She says, people who have extreme eating behaviors intermittent fasting, biohacking, like, I don't even know I'm so confused. Biohacking? Biohacking, extreme pickiness can have variants of anorexia nervosa or avoidant restrictive food intake disorder, and go undetected, because they are packaged as healthy or productivity promoting.
This is another example, like lumping in the word biohacking with-- I'm just very confused as to how the word ‘biohacking’ is an extreme eating behavior. They're just a lot of generalizations. But on top of that, I agree. I think a lot of people do have restrictive eating patterns and present it as what she says healthier productivity promoting. Making the generalizations, it just doesn't take in the nuance, and it doesn't take into account all the people who feel so, so free with intermittent fasting, and finally don't feel restricted, and finally our eating all that they want in their eating window, all the nourishing food that they need, all the cellular energy, and are finally free from the cravings. I was thinking about it even more, one of my posts this week on my Instagram, I feel this whole thing is a soapbox.
But one of my posts this week on my Instagram is in reference to the conversation that I have with Dr. Will Cole for his book, Intuitive Fasting, and it was one of the problems with intuitive eating, and I was just quoting what he was saying about how it can be really hard to intuitively eat with our modern diet and our modern health conditions, and our blood sugar, and our inflammation, and sometimes people just can't healthily-- Depending on your type, and your body, and your health, and your mindset, it might not be possible for them to “intuitively” moderately engaged with certain foods, and it might actually be easier and healthier to completely avoid the foods that aren't working for them, and I got a lot of comments.
Gin Stephens: Can I jump in on that?
Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm.
Gin Stephens: I know you've heard me talk about this before, but I don't know if you remember, though. I was doing intuitive eating big time. I read all the books, and this is prior to intermittent fasting. That's what I was most recently trying to do when I got up to 210 pounds. But they tell you in all of the intuitive eating literature, “Don't change what you're eating. Just start listening to your body.” I was like, “All right.” They're like, “Eat what you want, not what you think you should eat.” Okay, so, I continued to eat the standard American diet and all the ultra-processed foods, and I was unable to be intuitive within that eating paradigm, because my body was still craving nutrients that I wasn't sending it. If I asked myself, “Are you hungry?” The answer was always, “Yes.” Because I seriously was starved for nutrients. He's right. The intuitive eating paradigm totally let me down when I did it that. But once I started doing intermittent fasting, started listening to my body, now I feel I am an intuitive eater within my window, whereas I could not be an intuitive eater before. So, the intuitive eating community just railed on him about the fasting as being so unintuitive, but amazingly, that's what unlocked the intuitive part. It's like, “Huh, [laughs] he's right.”
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, no, 100%. I think the intuitive eating so much more easily comes after you've made those changes and especially something like fasting. Can I read the quote from him?
Gin Stephens: Yes.
Melanie Avalon: For listeners, you can check out my Instagram for this. But he says, “I agree that diet culture is messed up and shaming your way into wellness is not going to happen. But the result then is this rebound, opposite other extreme, where they suspend all science and logic, that you can somehow intuitively eat junk food, and somehow that's going to bring about you feeling great in your body. Over 60% of the United States has a massive blood sugar problem. This is most people. This isn't some rare sect of people. So, if intuitive eating works for you, that's great, but you're not the majority of the United States. The majority of the United States has a massive blood sugar problem and are somewhere on that inflammation spectrum, more specifically, the insulin-resistant inflammation spectrum.
The majority of the human race, specifically in the West are struggling with hangriness and insatiable cravings, that drive them towards things that perpetuate their problems. They're going to feel horrible in their own body, and they're actually going to be decreasing their quality of life. If you really love yourself, you have to ask the question. Is that really your intuition? The reality is, it's not going to bring about health. If it works for you keep on doing it, but many people are not served by broad sweeping overgeneralized statements where they're romanticizing junk food and calling itself love. Feeding chronic disease isn't self-love. It's actually metabolic problems. That's part of the conversation that I wanted to have in the book, Intuitive Fasting.”
I just think it's a really, really wonderful, nuanced conversation. I think this article here is tapping into this dialogue where people who feel they need to change their food and be “restrictive” in their food choices. That's leading to freedom and metabolic flexibility ultimately, but not necessarily, I don't know.
Gin Stephens: Well, there's a fine line. Have you ever read anything by Dr. Steven Bratman?
Melanie Avalon: No.
Gin Stephens: He's the guy who invented the terminology orthorexia, and that's the fear of eating certain things. I actually dug into this in Clean(ish). Now, available for pre-order, because I'm talking about eating mostly clean. One of the biggest criticisms of the clean eating movement in general is that it leads people to develop orthorexia, or fear of food. I wanted to confront that right on and explain there's a difference between eating for health versus orthorexia, fear of eating. He does a great job talking about it. He, actually Dr. Bratman, in his book explains his own descent into orthorexia, and how it helped the health food movement that got him there, and how he came out of it. It's just a very interesting story.
There's a fine line sometimes. You want to eat for health, but not be paralyzed with fear about food. We went to a seafood buffet last week. [giggles] It was totally not what I normally eat. Everything was fried. I know those oils aren't good, but I ate them. I wasn't scared of them, but I realized I wouldn't feel my best. I didn't feel my best the next day, and now, I'm really glad to be eating at home or at the condo, but even if I had said no to eating those fried foods, that would have been okay too. To say, “You know what? I don't want to feel that, so, I'm not going to eat that.”
He talks a lot-- there's a self-test you can do to see if you might have some of the characteristics. It's not a recognized eating disorder yet, orthorexia. But it's a proposed eating disorder. So, if you find yourself, this is for listeners, feeling like you're going down that rabbit hole of, I can only have celery juice, and sunflower seeds, and gum, [giggles] then maybe you want to check out that self-test and see.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I reread the conclusion. I get now what they're proposing. They're proposing that, if people saw men as having eating disorders more than fasting-- it sounds like they think that, because men aren't seen as having eating disorders in society that intermittent fasting maintains all of its perceived benefits, because men are doing it and we don't see anything wrong with it. Basically, they're saying that if men were seen as having eating disorders, then fasting in general would probably be seen as an eating disorder regardless.
Gin Stephens: That's why that article irritated me so much, because it seems to be very preachy about it. He shares all these really extreme examples and paint the picture of intermittent fasting as an eating disorder, but we glamorize it because they're men. That's the part that makes me so frustrated, because anyone who has an eating disorder is going to misuse all the tools. Fasting is a tool, colonics are a tool. When I use that, [giggles] but you know what I'm saying? All of the tools taking a laxative, any tool that is actually a living tool can be abused. Eating carrots is a tool for healthy food. But if you only eat carrots, and you only eat three carrots a day, that's an eating disorder. But that doesn't mean carrot is an eating disorder.
Melanie Avalon: That's an amazing way of putting it. Yeah.
Gin Stephens: It's frustrating to see the lack of nuance in all of this.
Melanie Avalon: In a topic that clearly begs nuance.
Gin Stephens: Absolutely.
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Gin Stephens: Let's shift into the question from Heather, and the topic is “Night shift nurse,” and this dovetails in with what Jenny said about her shifts changing and being hard and to keep a daily routine. Heather says, “Hey, Gin, and Melanie. I've been listening to you ladies for a while now off and on. I recently started working 12-hour night shifts on weekends. I'm struggling with figuring out a schedule, because I sleep all day, and work all night on the weekends. The transition is what I'm struggling with trying to figure out. Do you have any advice, tips, or tricks? Thanks so much, Heather.”
Melanie Avalon: All right. This is a great question from Heather. We've had episodes before on night shifts, but I was just thinking through her schedule. I'm assuming she works during the weekdays during the day, and then goes to sleep, and then, it sounds like on the weekends, I'm guessing she probably goes in at 6 PM or something, and works until 6 AM-ish, something like that. One suggestion I had, and I'm really curious, Gin, if you have go-to suggestions people have shared. But if you're doing a one meal a day schedule, could you always have your one meal a day as dinner, for example? On weekdays, you're just having dinner after work, and then going to bed, and then when you switch to the night schedule, you have your dinner before work, and then go to work, and then come back and sleep, and then wake up and eat, and then go into work ff you don't mind working on a full stomach, some people prefer working on an empty stomach. But it might be possible that you literally would not really have to change your eating window, is just that the working and sleeping would change around a little. Another thing you could do is, do your fasting during the weekdays normally, and just for the weekends-- some people don't do intermittent fasting every single day. The weekends, just be more lacs and just eat when you're hungry, and don't stress about it too much emotionally or mentally, and then just get back into the routine of things during the weekdays. Gin, do you have suggestions?
Gin Stephens: Well, gosh, I wish I had my friend, Sheri, who cohost’s Life Lessons with me, because this is exactly what she does. She has 12-hour night shifts on weekends. Yes, she works in healthcare. I'm pretty sure this is what Sheri does. During the week, when she's not working the shifts, she eats-- Probably, she does a loose one meal a day, usually snack and a meal kind of a thing. She’ll open her window, midafternoon, and then eat, and then have a dinner kind of thing closes her window. Snack and a meal, probably for four-hour window, five-hour window something like that. Then, when she goes into work on the weekend, she doesn't eat at her normal time that day, but she delays and she eats overnight, later in the shift. She'll just have a longer fast--
Melanie Avalon: Oh, during the shift.
Gin Stephens: Yeah. She just has a longer fast when she gets off work. She eats during work at some point. She'll take something with her and eat it later into her shift, and then she comes home and goes to bed, and then when she wakes up. She just basically ends up-- Then, she has her work fasting schedule, and she just has that one longer fast as she transitions.
Melanie Avalon: It's actually sort of similar to what I said, but she pushes back the meal a little bit.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, she pushes back that first day that she has the night shift.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, yay. I'm excited. That's similar to what I suggested.
Gin Stephens: But she doesn't eat before she goes to work. She pushes it later. She has just a little bit of a longer fast.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, gotcha.
Gin Stephens: But she makes it work for her. That might not be what works for Heather. So, you've got to figure out what feels right to you and when you choose to eat, there's no right or wrong answer.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, what I would probably do if it was me, because I know myself, I know what I would probably do. I would be doing my dinner every night, and then the first night shift, I would probably do the whole shift fasted, and then, I would eat once I got back, I would sleep, and I would eat after the next shift and sleep, and then I would go back to my dinner routine during the weekdays.
Gin Stephens: I just don't know. I would not be good at working a night shift, because I would not be able to stay awake that long. I don't know how all of y'all do it. Everyone who does the night shift, I admire you. I am no good without-- and I could get so sleepy. That was one thing when I was here with my family, because I stayed up later every night, but I still woke up bright and early. In the beach house, in the summer, that appears to be 6 AM, because that's when the sun comes up, and I can see it through the blinds. So, every day I woke up at 6 AM no matter how late we stayed up the night before talking.
Melanie Avalon: See, this is why-- because me and my night person-- This is why my example I just gave, I could do that. I would get so alert during the night shift. If I were to eat, then I would get really tired. So, I would have to eat after. Actually, now that I think about it, sometimes when I was doing extra work in LA after I graduated, it would be the situation because sometimes we would have night shoots, and on those days, I get back at 4 AM, or 5 AM, or 6 AM. I never would eat. I would just eat when I got back. Then, I would just reset to-- If I got back at 6 AM, I would eat and then I would sleep and then I would still eat my normal dinner that night, and that would get me back into normal routine. It was a longer fast, but then it got compensated for in a way because I would eat much sooner.
Gin Stephens: One night was longer, the next was shorter.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, exactly.
Gin Stephens: I think we have time for one more.
Melanie Avalon: Yes. All right. We have a question from Eric. The subject is, “First week of IF.” Eric says, “Your podcast has been so helpful. Thank you. This may be a routine question. If so, I apologize. I'm 45, 6’2”, and 195 pounds. I started IF this week and I'm shrinking my window to five hours. I notice that by the 15th hour, I’ve start to get lightheaded, tingle sensation, and hangry. Will my tolerance increase over time? I'm worried I won't be as kind at home as I am when I am on my best behavior at the office when feeling hangry.”
Gin Stephens: The answer is yes. Your tolerance will increase over time. Even if we knew that this was not his first, week you can tell just by the 15th hour the way he's starting to feel. Yep. Your body is learning how to do something new, and you're not fat adapted yet. Once, you get to that point, you still might have a little wave of hunger at some point in the morning, but it'll come and go very quickly. This is totally normal for the adjustment period, Eric, and so, by the time you hear this, you're probably going to be already over that. You'll have answered it yourself by the fact that you feel better, but totally normal at first.
Melanie Avalon: I have a question, because I know in the past there have been situations I feel like where people have said that they feel dizzy or something, and you've said to eat, and he mentions lightheaded?
Gin Stephens: Well, okay, if you feel shaky or nauseous, then go ahead and eat. I don't know what he means by a tingle sensation. I've never heard that before. I don't know what that is. If you feel shaky or nauseous, don't push through that. Go ahead and eat. That's your body signaling that your blood sugar is low. It probably, don't push through lightheaded. I was just saying, yes, it gets better.
Melanie Avalon: Okay. I was just trying to clarify.
Gin Stephens: As you adjust. you will not feel shaky, and nauseous or lightheaded once your body adjusts. As long as you're fasting clean, you shouldn't have those feelings. It does get better but you don't want to push through a low blood sugar shakiness kind of thing. But I don't ever get those. Do you ever feel shaky or nauseous or anything?
Melanie Avalon: Nuh-huh. Nauseous, I started getting nauseous, but it was not related to the fasting. It was a lot of other factors, I think. But yes. In any case, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. The show notes for today's episode which will be super important, because we feel we talked about a lot of things, those will be at ifpodcast.com/episode222. You can follow us on Instagram. We are @ifpodcast, Gin is @ginstephens, I am @melanieavalon, and I think that is all the things. Can I tell you one quick thing before we go?
Gin Stephens: No. [giggles] Sorry. I was joking. Yes, please tell me.
Melanie Avalon: Can I give you an update on my cottage cheese adventures?
Gin Stephens: Oh, yeah, how's that going?
Melanie Avalon: I make it every day, and I've been trying all different milks, basically, all the possible fat-free organic milks that you can find.
Gin Stephens: What do you mean?
Melanie Avalon: Like Organic Valley.
Gin Stephens: Oh, you mean the brands. I was wondering if you were talking about dairy milk versus almond milk, and I wouldn't think those others would work.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, they don't. Organic Valley has a grass milk. There's a grass milk, there's a lactose-free milk, there's the normal-- Apparently, fun fact, apparently, did you know, Gin, that the milk that is in the cartons is usually ultra-pasteurized, but the ones in the gallons like the plastic is usually just pasteurized?
Gin Stephens: Well, no, I actually did not know that.
Melanie Avalon: Yes, and so apparently, just pasteurized works better but I can't find the fat-free pasteurized in a gallon. So, this is the conundrum that I'm in. But last night, when I tried, I read that when you make, it separates it into the casing and the whey, and the casing is the curds and whey is the whey, like the liquid. I was reading that you could, A, turn the whey into ricotta, I haven't tried that yet. And or B, turn it into-- have you heard of brown cheese?
Gin Stephens: Brown? Like the color brown?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Okay, wait, it's also called--
Gin Stephens: No, I have not heard of brown cheese.
Gin Stephens: It's also called I have no idea how you say this, G-J-E-T-O-S-T.
Gin Stephens: No. Uh-huh. I don't know how to say that. That sounds German.
Melanie Avalon: It's Norwegian.
Gin Stephens: Okay.
Melanie Avalon: I tried to make it last night. I don't know if it really worked. I'm not sure, it's in the fridge right now. But oh, my goodness, Gin, it tasted like honey. I was shocked. It was shocking. It tastes like caramel. Like caramel honey, the amount of sugar, my heart jumped through the roof, and I was just like, I was like I can't believe there's this much sugar and milk. If you reduce it, it was shocking. It also made me realize that you could bake really intense desserts and not even need a drop of refined sugar, because this-- I don't know. I'm in shock how that whey transformed.
Gin Stephens: Well, that's interesting. Yeah. I had no idea.
Melanie Avalon: Experiments in the dairy and cheese world.
Gin Stephens: [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: That's fun. You make your bread, I make my cottage cheese.
Gin Stephens: Absolutely.
Melanie Avalon: So, anything else from you before we go?
Gin Stephens: Nope, I don't think so.
Melanie Avalon: Right. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful, and I will talk to you next week.
Gin Stephens: All right, talk to you then. Bye-bye.
Melanie Avalon: Bye.
Thank you so much for listening to the Intermittent Fasting Podcast. Please remember that everything discussed on the show is not medical advice. We're not doctors. You can also check out our other podcasts, Intermittent Fasting Stories, and the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. The music was composed by Leland Cox. See you next week.
Check out the Stuff We Like page for links to any of the books/supplements/products etc. mentioned on the podcast that we like!
Melanie's What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine
Gin's Delay, Don't Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle
Feast Without Fear: Food and the Delay, Don't Deny Lifestyle
Fast. Feast. Repeat.: The Clean Fast Protocol for Health, Longevity, and Weight Loss--Including the 21-Day FAST Start Guide
Clean(ish): Eat (Mostly) Clean, Live (Mainly) Clean, and Unlock Your Body's Natural Ability to Self-Clean
More on Melanie: MelanieAvalon.com
More on Gin: GinStephens.com
Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox: LelandCox.com
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