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The Truth About Intermittent Fasting & Wine with Melanie Avalon | Ep. 419

How to Lose Weight and Feel Great with Intermittent Fasting, the Paleo Diet & Wine

Melanie Avalon is an actress, certified holistic nutritionist, and wine specialist. As she became involved in the entertainment industry, she tried all different types of fad diets in an attempt to lose weight before discovering the benefits of intermittent fasting and the Paleo diet.

Listen as Melanie explains what intermittent fasting is and how it can help you jumpstart fat burning again, plus find out about the health benefits of wine and how moderate wine consumption can be a part of a healthy diet and lifestyle plan.

You can lose weight and feel great with intermittent fasting, the Paleo diet, and wine!

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ATHE_Transcript_Ep 419_Melanie Avalon
JJ Virgin: [00:00:00] Hey, it's JJ with a topic that. You are going to be super thrilled to hear about yep. Today we're going to be tackling alcohol. Should you drink? If you drink, what's the best. What's the best thing to drink? What are the benefits? What are the detriments? We're going to be breaking that all down with the author of what.
When wine lose weight and feel great with paleo style meals, intermittent, fasting, and wine. Yep. I've got Melanie Avalon. Who's a sag. After actress with me today, she's gonna share her story of how she got into all of our crazy world. And she also co-hosts the top iTunes podcasts, the intermittent fasting podcast.
She's a certified holistic. By the AFPA and, and this is, this is such a cool combo, a wine specialist by the wine and spirits, education trust. And you can check out our blog as well. I'm going to put all of the show notes [00:01:00] in, plus she's got a super cool quiz. You're going to be, want to get along with some fab recipes.
You can get all of that at jjvirgin.com/winebook with some other great stuff we'll be talking about today, but before we get into more, I'm going to share another one of my favorites with ya.
Alrighty, Melanie Avalon. Welcome to the show. I'm so glad you're here with me.
Melanie Avalon: Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited.
JJ Virgin: Well, we get like the wine question. I don't know, every single day. So for everybody listening, we will be tackling wine, drinking, alcohol and everything else. So I know that everybody's excited about that, but before we go there, let's start with you.
So. What when wine lose weight and feel great with paleo style [00:02:00] meals, intermittent, fasting, and wine. I mean, that's just such a captivating title. How the heck did you get to that from your start as an actress?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, so basically so I am an actress and in college, I was always trying these crazy fad diets, trying to lose weight for the entertainment industry.
So calorie counting. The cookie diet like basically everything fat burners and nothing ever really stuck. It was all very miserable and unsustainable. And that all changed when I actually first tried the low carb approach to diet. And that is when I really started realizing that there was something to weight loss or something to our body composition and our.
Beyond just losing a pound. It was really about changing your metabolism to become a fat burner. And so I went low carb [00:03:00] and then I picked up, I became really obsessed. So then I picked up intermittent fasting. I said I was going to try it for a week. So basically I committed to eating. Only at dinner. I said, I'll do this for a week.
I'll see what happens. And that really threw me into fat burning mode. I had never stopped. That was about six or seven years ago. And then the final piece of the puzzle was I was still eating, like the processed foods and, and all that stuff. I was doing like low carb, but still with all of the things I shouldn't have been having, probably.
So I heard about carb junk food. Yeah. Franken foods. Like all the fake sweeteners and all the stuff. So then I heard about paleo and I was like, what? Like how much of a difference can it make? Because I was like, I'm already low carb. I'm already fasting. I'm good. But again, I was like, I'll try it for a week.
I'll see what happens. And that was really the final piece in the [00:04:00] puzzle. Just cutting out those processed foods, cutting out the, those grain. Well, I was already cutting out the grains, but cutting out the processed foods. Such a huge difference. And so that, yeah, that's my, the long story short, basically.
That's the what and the, when the, what is the paleo? The, when is the intermittent fasting? And then I was still having wine in my eating window kind of saw it as a cheat in a way. But when I started doing the research on the topic, I realized that there are a lot of health benefits to wine, and I feel very confident now about keeping it in my lifestyle and moderation.
And I go into the book. Great. Lots of details about alcohol metabolism and the relationships to, to health benefits and all of, all of the details. Yeah.
JJ Virgin: There's a lot to unpack here. Yeah. And you know, I'm actually going to start first with alcohol, cause that's such a hot topic in the tribe and kind [00:05:00] of well, I'll tell you my thinking on it, but I want to hear your thinking first and let's, and let's kind of talk through it.
Cause I think it'll be super awesome to talk about because literally we get asked about. All the time. Oh my gosh. All the time. So let's let's start with, with wine health benefits of alcohol, and then we can talk next about like some of the issues that could be with it too.
Melanie Avalon: So. Overall, when we look at epidemiological studies.
So looking at large populations over you know, good, expanse of time, it's pretty consistent that moderate alcohol consumption and not even wine. Moderate alcohol consumption, correlates. So this isn't cause and effect, but correlates to longevity, to the, a lot of health benefits like heart health better metabolic factors, better insulin sensitivity.
So there's that. And then when you go look at wine [00:06:00] specifically, it gets, it gets really, it gets really even better as far as the health benefits and. That's likely due to, first of all, the alcohol itself does seem to have some, some benefits in, in small amounts and then the polyphenols that are present in wine.
So those are natural compounds that are generated by the grape to actually, actually to ward off that. Like predators and things like that. But they can have a, like, they can have a really wonderful antioxidant effect in our bodies and correlated to a ton of health benefits. So the ones that people are most familiar with for example, is resveratrol.
And people will often get that as like a supplement. I'm a big advocate of getting it in the drink form. The whole foods form that is naturally found in wine. And then, but resveratrol is not the only one. And I'm also a big proponent of not isolating any one thing, but [00:07:00] rather getting things like I said, in the whole foods form.
So there are so many other compounds in wine besides Resveratrol that contribute to its health benefits. For example, this is one of my favorites. There's one called PC a Tanell have you heard of this one? JJ. So they did this study and I love this. Cause people often think that you can't drink and lose weight.
So that's a whole topic. They actually did a study where they. We're trying to find a way to minimize for astronauts in space to minimize the detrimental effects of a zero gravity environment on muscle mass, because you know, the astronauts, not without the gravity, their muscles can easily atrophy.
And so the, and this is a rodent trial, but they did find that when they put rats into a situation that mimicked the The zero gravity lifestyle that the rats that were given PC a tan, all which is, like I said, one of those poly [00:08:00] polyphenols found in wine. They experienced no loss of muscle, whereas the.
The rats that were not given the, the PC a tan, all their muscles wasted away. So there's a lot of exercise, mimetic benefits and wine. There's just, there's so much like I could, I could talk about it for probably like hours.
JJ Virgin: All right. So there's, so there's the good, the dark.
Melanie Avalon: The dark side. Well alcohol is, the body does see it.
It is, it does have a toxic effect on the body. So there, there is that. So when we have there's that there's that toxic thing. There's that? But if you think about it, anything. I mean, we are exposed to a lot of toxins and it's really important that we minimize our, our toxic exposure for sure. And so I'm really am a proponent of that, but I do believe that in small moderate amounts, from what the studies show that the, from a cost [00:09:00] benefit perspective, that.
The the benefits often outweigh the negatives, of course every single food.
JJ Virgin: Like this is where, you know, this whole, the book that Dr. Gundry wrote on lectins, like everything I know it's like, well, everything has selectins. It's like what people don't understand is there's anti-nutrients and pretty much everything there's going to be toxins in everything.
So. There's there's, there's actually good and bad and everything. You can drown yourself by drinking too much water. So, you know, it's like, I was good.
Melanie Avalon: I was literally going to say that. Yeah. So,
JJ Virgin: I mean, it's like, you can run yourself to death. I mean, you can do all these things with anything. It's the balance.
So how much of something to have? That's good before you go. Everything to me is a bell shaped curve.
Melanie Avalon: Definitely. Definitely. And so I think it's definitely possible that you can get, and it's very likely that you can get a hermetic beneficial stress effect from small amounts of alcohol. [00:10:00] And yeah, I think it's, it's a cost benefit thing, but I think the benefits definitely are definitely are there for sure.
JJ Virgin: So here's a couple things that I've found about alcohol over the years is cause I always was like, you know, red wine to me and tequila are health food. So I'll say these things along with coffee and people like, okay, you know, they're either, either completely polarize them to like I love you or I'm running away.
But like with anything like a cup of coffee or two, if you're, especially if you're drinking my buddy, my bestie buddy, Dave's Bulletproof coffee, that's, mycotoxin free. And you know, not loaded with toxins. It's amazing because you get all these incredible antioxidants. But if you have like five pots today, this is a little bit of problem.
And it also depends on your caffeine sensitivity as to when you can drink it. If you're drinking it later in the day and staying up all night problem. Right. So you've got to look at these things and go where what's my right dose. And it's going to depend on. Your genetics, your health history, your lifestyle with alcohol.
You know, there's a big difference [00:11:00] between wines. There's a bit difference between drinking champagne versus drinking, say a Pino. Right? I remember the year I was dating guy who loves champagne and it was the year I was like going, why am I gaining weight? So you want to watch the residual sugars and things.
So what you're getting and making sure it's sustainable biodynamic. That's why I love the dry farm wine. So much shout out to Todd.
Melanie Avalon: We are on the
JJ Virgin: super good, but one thing I did find from my buddy, Dr. Alan Christianson, who I adore and, you know, I know my friend Daniel, amen, Dr. Daniel, amen. Always talks about, he's like, totally anti-alcohol shrinks your brain, blah, blah, blah. Although I've gone out with his wife Tana and had a glass of wine. So it was like, well, you know, but Is it really, you have to watch how you feel, because what I find with people is it's, you know, everybody is different.
You want to make sure that you still have great energy the next day, that it's not making you wake up in the middle of the night cause of rebound hypoglycemia. And that is also, and this is the one challenge with alcohol that it can do [00:12:00] is it can actually and it's a day or two after you drink that this happens.
So this is when you want to watch for it. It can actually elevate your hunger hormones. And yeah. So I got this one from Alan. I'm not sure which ones they are. I just know that it does, and I started pay attention to it. And I know I can drink a glass and be fine, actually got out of, I used to drink one to two glasses of wine every single night.
Now I don't do that anymore. I just do it. You know, like we just had a bunch of friends over for the weekend, so we had some wine and next weekend we will, but I don't do it every night. I do it, you know, for occasions. And I'm very aware at what point it will interrupt my sleep or make me hungrier. So those are just things to watch out for as well, just to make sure.
But on the other hand, I find for a lot of people, myself included, I will tend to eat less. If I know I can have like little proteins and veggies and a glass of wine, I feel totally happy and satisfied. So, you know, it's one that just, you just kinda know all the things with it [00:13:00] and see how it works for you.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, you've touched on so many things. For example, the, the additives and such that's huge. So even like, like with the coffee, I as well drink the Bulletproof coffee to avoid the molds and the additives and all of that stuff. And then for the wine, I really, really advocate that people. They get organic wines because it's so frustrating that there aren't labels on the wines.
So we don't really know what's in there. People often think it's just wine, but it's often not most commercial wines have additives. They have colors. They have all these. Awful things and then pesticides because the, the pesticide problem is, is very rampant and very problematic. And so it's really important that you are getting clean sources of wine, so organic wines, or like the dry farm wines, definitely a huge fan of, of that company.
And so I think that makes a huge [00:14:00] difference. And then you were speaking about genetics. That's huge as well. So like for me, I know that. A very slow caffeine metabolizer, but I'm good at metabolizing alcohol. So I go kind of, I go low on the coffee, but I do better with wine. So I think that is that's huge.
And yeah, but in, just in general, I think it's really telling that the longest lived populations in the world, they all. Most of them have some sort of alcohol intake in their diet. And so I think it's definitely, there's definitely a place for it. Yeah. So,
JJ Virgin: and that's, it's just all with these things.
It's connecting the dots to know what works for you and figuring out how it does. And it's like, it's funny. I wouldn't want to, like, don't, wouldn't want to have not have wine. You know, it's just, maybe it's because I grew up outside the wine country, but you know, it's just to me a very, it's one of my favorite favorite things.
It doesn't feel like a really great dinner without great wine with it. [00:15:00] I, I know. So in fact, it was funny. I dated a wine maker in Napa for a while when I met him. He was six, five. So you couldn't really tell. I mean, he just looked like a big guy, but after after being with me for a couple months, he then weighed 60 pounds less.
And so I so wanted to write the winemaker diet. Oh, my gosh, I, so, so, so want to write it because it was like he did all that still drinking wine. And I think one of the reasons that the studies show that people who drink wine tend to be leaner and fitters. I actually think those people tend to make healthier food choices.
So, you know, it's like,
Melanie Avalon: oh, like the people that gravitate towards
JJ Virgin: versus someone who say is drinking, like a you know, one of those drinks with an umbrella in it, or if say beer, right.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, well, yeah, that's something I talk about at length in the book because there is this idea that you can't, that you can't drink and lose weight or that if you drink you'll automatically gain weight.[00:16:00]
So I, so I have a huge, very long chapter about the metabolism of alcohol and so like alcohol itself doesn't readily become body fat. Not that. Just drink a ton of alcohol, but when they do studies like metabolic ward studies and they find adding just pure alcohol and I'm not do not do this. They did this one study where they would add 1800 calories of pure alcohol to the patient's diet and they wouldn't gain any weight.
And this was like a very controlled, like metabolic ward study, like I said, so it's not the alcohol itself. That's becoming fat. It's really what you're having with it. Or like you were talking about the fruity drinks and the sugary drinks. So if you're having nice clean, Drinks particularly wine.
I think it can definitely support a healthy way. And then on top of that, the studies often find in general that people who are wine drinkers, especially women. [00:17:00] They tend to have lower weights and they don't know exactly why that is, but there's probably a lot of reasons. Insulin sensitivity, just healthy, how it affects metabolic biomarkers overall in general.
And then I really like what you just said about the people who gravitate towards wine. That that might be a factor as well.
JJ Virgin: Let's switch gears over to cause I love, you know, it's, it's not just what you eat. It's what it's when you eat too in your book, what, when wine, so what you eat paleo style eating.
When you've got Intermittent fasting. You just pour yourself a glass of wine. I just got to know.
Wow. Wow. She really practices what she preaches. And just for listeners, this is not like nine in the morning. So it would have been totally reasonable because it's like, you know, late afternoon, I mean, somewhat reasonable.
Melanie Avalon: So it's
JJ Virgin: very, very funny. Anyway I'm drinking ice cream tea for the record. So let's talk about intermittent fasting, how you do it, [00:18:00] like define it, you know, your journey with it, et cetera.
Melanie Avalon: Right. So intermittent fasting for listeners who are not familiar, it's basically a pattern of eating where you restrict the hours that you eat each day, rather than the amount of food you eat. So it's not about counting calories. It's not even about what you eat specifically, even though like we talked about, I'm a huge fan of them, whole foods and low sugar diets, but it's really about.
Constricting your, or restricting your eating window so that you, it forces your body to go into a fat burning state because when we're conditioned to. W like 24 7, like we are in today's society, which has just really crazy. It really conditions your body to constantly wait for the next snack for the next meal for energy, rather than tap into its own body stores, like body fat stores.
And it's [00:19:00] crazy. So. Even a lean person has enough stored fat to walk about a thousand miles just from their stored fat. And so the question is why are we not tapping into that? And so intermittent fasting, if you go about 12 hours or so that's without eating, that's when your body realizes. Okay.
There's not food coming in. So we're going to have to deal with this. And it starts making metabolic changes to really increase fat burning from your own body fat stores. And that's just the fat-burning side of things. On top of that, there's tons of other health benefits. Like. Autophagy. So that's where you go in and you clean out these old, broken down proteins in your body and actually use them get rid of them, but then also use them to create new proteins.
So it's like a, really a deep cleanse in the body. It supports alertness, it supports insulin sensitivity. It just it's really fasting, I think is so, can be so beneficial for the [00:20:00] body. So that's the win. And you were asking like how to do it. So I personally do, there's a lot different ways to do it. I personally do a one meal a day pattern.
So I eat just at night. I eat a nice big luscious meal. And JJ and I were talking earlier about circadian rhythms and such, and I'm a late night person. So I, I late. But that really works for me, but a lot of people…
JJ Virgin: gone to bed
Melanie Avalon: probably. When a lot of people do, it's really popular to do like a 16, eight approach.
So that's where you fast for about 16 hours and the, and then you eat in an eight hour window. So with an eight hour window, you could still, for example, do say you ate from like 12 to eight, then you could do, you know, you could do lunch and dinner, or if you want to do breakfast and lunch, you could do, I don't know, people get up early at you go from like, 6:00 AM until I guess what would that be?
6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, [00:21:00] 12 1 2. It's like 2:00 PM. So you could get your breakfast and your lunch in there. And then some people do like alternate day fasting where they'll fast, like an entire day. I can't do that. Cause I, I actually have never gone longer than 24 hours, if you can believe it. No,
JJ Virgin: I can't believe it.
Cause I, I I tried, that was a big fail on that part too. I can totally intermittent fast, but I can not fast. In Fact one of my girlfriends right now is off doing a gushing is like a 12 day water fast. Am I going? I mean, you would have to, I don't, I know I don't even want to do it. So, you know,
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I mean, even with my, my fasting history and I've had moments where I'm like, I'm going to do a longer, fast, and I just can't, it's really, it's really interesting, but
JJ Virgin: you know, what's important here is that you can design a program that works around your lifestyle and, you know, there's, there's the big thing with intermittent fasting.
Give yourself a break from [00:22:00] eating this whole idea that we need to eat every couple of hours. Like there was one popular diet guy. It just made me insane. Cause he was like breakfast, lunch, breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, and a snack before. He was also the dude that said died. So does her fine for you?
It's not the diet soda, it's the habits around it. And I'm like, uh-uh, it's the diet soda thing. No, you know, this is why there's problems. You know, this is why when you're struggling with obesity, people like that. But I love the fact that. There's, you know, you can really shape it around your lifestyle. We talked earlier that I'm an early bird and you're a night owl.
I cannot, you know, within a couple of hours waking up, I gotta eat something. Just doesn't work for me to be a breakfast skipper. And so, you know, you can work this around how you are, but I think the easiest way to start. And would you agree is to just start by giving yourself a good 12 hours between your last meal and your next
Melanie Avalon: meal?
Yeah. Cause we, we get that question. I co-host the intermittent fasting podcast and we get that question a lot about the best way to start. [00:23:00] And I think it depends if you are like an extremist or if you're like a, a slower or not slower, but more moderationist. So if you're Extremist you want to go all in?
Totally. You can commit to a window. You can just do it. That that's the way I did it, but you can definitely go slow. So you could start by, like you said, 12 hours go 12 hours and then slowly extend that. Or just skipping a meal here. There are, there's a lot of different ways that you can really make the transition easy and, and people think that.
With intermittent fasting that you'll be miserably hungry during the fast, but it's kind of crazy because once you really tap into that fat burning mode, your hunger just goes away because you're, you, you are filled with fuel is just coming from your body fat stores rather than your next meal. So with adequate fuel coming in, you don't have these signals.
For hunger. So it's really actually [00:24:00] effortless. Once you can really tap into that fat burning mode.
JJ Virgin: So what's cool is you are going to give people, I was just looking at this again. I'm like, oh, this is so good. It's like, perfect. Is that your gift to everybody listening is how to find out your perfect intermittent fasting protocol.
Like this is so good. So tell everyone about that in these recipes that they're going to get.
Melanie Avalon: Yes. So if you go to the link I have a little quiz and you can take it and it, cause there's a huge social and lifestyle component to IF and like you said, JJ, it really is about finding what works for you.
So there's a fun, little quiz that you can take, and it can tell you if you might do best with like a one meal a day approach like I do, or if you might do best with more of an hours based approach. So it's a good way. Start and try to find what might work for you, but of course, feel free to experiment and really make that work.
And then also I have, so my book, what, when wine, [00:25:00] it, the book itself has 50. Amazing. Gluten-free recipes developed by Arianne Resnick. She's a celebrity chef and the recipes are amazing. They're all gluten free. They say if they are low carb, they say, if they're keto, they also say if they're low FODMAP for people who have digestive problems like I do sometimes.
But I have some recipes as well that we're going to give away. At that length. So get the recipes and you can get the quiz to find your perfect, IF
JJ Virgin: protocol. Awesome. So that is going to be at jjvirgin.com/winebook to make it easy for everyone to find, jjvirgin.com/winebook. And. Thank you so much, Melanie, for being on the show with me today.
I super
Melanie Avalon: appreciate it. Thank you so much for having me, JJ. This has been absolutely amazing. And listeners can also go to my blog, MelanieAvalon.com for more information from me, but thank you so much for having me.
JJ Virgin: Alrighty. So after the break, I'll be answering a listener's question. [00:26:00] So stay with me.
Welcome back. This is the time where I answer a listener's question. And as I said, when I was talking to Melanie, I get asked all the time about alcohol, like literally all the time. So this one came off one of my Facebook lives and it is a question from Anne who said, all right. So if I'm going to drink, what are the best choices?
Now? One of the things that I wrote in. The Virgin diet is I wrote one of the best, best recipes, and it's a tequila recipe. It's in the Virgin diet book and it is my favorite tequila recipe because there are two forms of alcohol that I would tell you are the better choices. One is tequila. And the other are specific types of wine, and you want to really look at low, the low residual sugar wine.
So I'm going to do a big shout out to my buddies over dry farm [00:27:00] wines. They even were at my wedding. So this is how strongly I feel about them. They sponsor all of my events. They're the only wine that I serve Well, not the only one, but generally the wine, my wine of choice at all of these events. And hopefully most of the time, the only one I'll ever.
And the reason is because there they go and get organic wines that do not have any sugar added in super low residual sugars. And so if you look at things like they're actually, they actually have a champagne and sparkling wine that you. The one time that I started to struggle with my weight was when I started drinking champagne, which is higher in sugar.
So that's the first thing is you want to make sure you're choosing wines that are not higher in either added sugar, sneaking it in or residual sugars. So I tend to reach for Pinos and Cabernets, but I especially get my red wines from dry farm or tequila. And I'm going to share with you one of my favorite tequila drinks.
In fact, we'll put in the show notes. Fabulous recipe from the Virgin diet, [00:28:00] which is a blend of a little bit of pink, grapefruit juice, a little bit of fresh lime juice, some smashed up, I think it's called mold cucumber, and then some basil, oh my gosh. It is so amazing. And then the other thing that I love to do is take Kavita and there's a Cavita flavor called Mojito lime, and we'll use Mojito lime Cavita with tequila and then little fresh lime.
And it is. Amazing. So that's another one that I like to do too. The biggest thing again is I mentioned in the show is to be really aware of how you feel and what your limit is, and don't make this a daily. Rotated in. And again, you can go to JJvirgin.com/winebook, and you will get that great quiz for your perfect IF protocol, some sample recipes, and also give you a link over to my buddies at dry farm.
All right. So this is my gratitude portion of the show. I'm going to shout some gratitude out. Luminary one and its facts night, [00:29:00] not hype five star review. It's so refreshing to have facts and research backing a weight loss protocol, very informative and useful. And I appreciate that so much. Thank you so much.
And just kind of a big ask. If you have not yet gone and done a review. I would super appreciate if you did, you know, a lot of people, a lot of podcasts out there, a lot of people out there. And it's super helpful when we get reviews because it helps people go, oh, okay. I'll listen to that. You know, social proof is everything.
So if you hadn't had a chance yet, you can just head on over to iTunes while you're there, share it, subscribe to it. And I super appreciate it. And I would love to feature you on my next podcast with a glowing review. Alright, see you next time. .


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