Liz Talks Podcast, Episode 23: Exercising with your menstrual cycle, dragon’s blood skincare, & stem cell marketing (+ a diaper cream overshare)

Liz talks exercise response during the menstrual cycle and whether it’s worth tracking; new finds in skincare, including placental stem cell cream (PS: does your “stem cell cream” REALLY contain stem cells?) and the essential oil “dragon’s blood.” Finally, she traces the turn of events that helped her realize that lavender oil is evil and Calmoseptine is not. (<<–hyperbole)


This is episode 23, topic: Exercising with your menstrual cycle; Dragon’s blood skincare and stem cell marketing. Plus, a diaper cream overshare. 

In case you missed it, last weeks’ episode; number 22, was an interview with Cassy Joy Garcia of the bestselling books Cook Once, Eat All Week and Cook Once Dinner Fix. And of course, the website If you haven’t listened to that one, definitely do so. It was a quick one, and Cassy is just the best. 

Before I begin, I want to quickly thank Arrowhead Mills for their generous sponsorship of this podcast. Next time you go to the store, I’d love to have you support a company that supports my work, and look for Arrowhead Mills products. You can also find them on 

Arrowhead Mills pancake mixes are all we use for our Saturday morning pancake tradition, because I’ve tried all the options, including homemade pancake mix. And none of them were as consistently good or as easy as Arrowhead Mills. Let me know if you try it by tagging me @RealFoodLiz on Instagram. 

Ok, time for some updates. I want to talk about my Athletic Mom program, because I have gotten a few questions as to whether it’s still open, whether people can still enroll. And yes, it’s still going strong. And even though the initial launch is over, it is still available, and you can buy in for lifetime access. I really can’t recommend this program enough. It’s my program, and I sell it. But it was the program that I wished for; that I wanted; that I needed; that I would have bought myself. So instead I just decided to spend a bunch of money to actually put it together. {laughs} 

It’s intelligent training. That’s what it’s all about. For moms, or anybody, who wants to feel good and confident for the long haul. Folks; do not wait until it’s too late to build a baseline of functional fitness. I get that talking about it now when we still have all these options around us. I mean, my demographic people that listen to this podcast are between 28 and 50. And we still have all these options. We do group fitness. We do online classes. We’ve got Peloton. And this, and that. But let me tell you; those options are great. They make you sweat, they make you sore. They definitely improve aspects of fitness and quality of life. But they are not built, first and foremost, around linear progression. From A to Z. They’re not built around preventing injury. And progressing you through key metrics of functional fitness. 

And I don’t mean like CrossFit functional fitness. Because while being able to throw a barbell around, or do box jumps is great and it’s fun and it’s empowering; until like me or my husband you get injured. What we really need for a long health life for our family, for our kids, for ourselves, is more than that. It’s mobility. It’s flexibility. It’s agility. It’s strength across ranges of motion and structural strength. All of that at once. And to accomplish all of that, you have to plan in a purposeful way, so no movement is wasted. 

And the fastest way from point A to point B is a program that trains all of this in an intentional and intelligent way. And this is how you’ll be ready for anything. For example, I just had to pick up, move, transport, reassemble, and build the cement patio for an extremely heavy and awkward duck coop. Yeah. Yes. Duck coop.

So we donated our old duck coop from our farm, and also donated the labor to set it up to my daughter’s school; they just got ducks. And I was doing things that for sure would have knocked me out of commission before. So much ass to grass squatting, farmer carrying these patio pavers ever which way. Loading, unloading, lifting. And I 100% credit Athletic Mom for the fact that my knees and lower back came out completely unscathed.

And these are the things that I want to be able to do forever. That’s what it’s about. It’s not; I mean, it is sexy. But it’s not that I want you do this thing because you’re going to blast your body, or you’re going to burn calories or whatever it is. It’s because it’s completely life changing. Zero time wasted. And really important for the long haul. And this is how I train. I have a trainer, and now my trainer is your trainer. And that’s a huge part of the purpose of Athletic Mom. 

  • Working out and the Female Cycle [4:40]

Ok, moving on. Today’s podcast is a Q&A. And I’m thinking I’ll probably start doing more of these moving forward. I really love the single topic podcast where we can really dig deep, and I’ll do those too. But I get such a diversity of questions, that I think tackling a few topics per podcast might be a good thing to sprinkle in. So you can ask me anything, always, by going to and filling out the form. No question is too small or complex. Some are too personal, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. 

So here’s the first question I’ll tackle today. This is from May. And I actually have gotten a few versions of this, so it seemed like it was time to discuss it. So May said; “I’ve been hearing a lot about working out with my menstrual cycle. Would love to hear your thoughts.” 

So, this is something I’ve been hearing a lot about lately. And it’s not actually something I do. There is definitely some literature that supports the idea, but there’s also some literature that doesn’t. Not that the literature says it’s a bad thing to do. But basically the literature had no compelling conclusion. 

But there is also some literature that supports the idea. And it does stand to reason that the presence of different hormones in the body at different points in a woman’s cycle would affect things. Like, protein synthesis. And therefore muscle and strength response. And also hormones that might affect ligament laxity. 

There’s an interesting study, and it’s called Effects of Follicular Versus Luteal Phase Based Strength Training in Young Women; which shed some light on all of this. It discusses strength training being optimal for the follicular phase. So yeah, there is something to this for sure. 

But, then again. If we go back to an ancestral perspective; which I always like to do. I think it’s worth doing. Nobody in paleo times got to choose when in their cycles they got to do something physical. The tiger was attacking when the tiger was attacking. So perhaps this is more of a biohacking sort of issue on one side. Or, maybe it’s sort of like a modern privilege sort of thing where we can choose to “listen” to our bodies in that way. 

Also, of course, we could just call it another way to attune ourselves to what our bodies are asking for and what they’re best suited for at any moment in time. I think that’s wonderful. Just like cycle charting, and just like really getting to know the phases of your cycle. How you feel. How they affect you. I think it’s a great thing to be this in tune to your body. It would be very interesting to me to chart and note my own rhythms of energy across my cycle to see if it lines up A) with what people say it should line up with. And B) with this sort of exercise rhythm type of idea. 

So I don’t know. Because there are a lot of other things, as well, like sleep that I do out of rhythm just as a function of modern life. And of course, things like sleep would probably cause everything, if I got sleep really in line; everything else would probably just be amplified that much more. I’d probably get that much more out of my strength training, and that much more out of my endurance training, and that much more out of my conditioning. And all of that. 

And probably I would get more if I had to choose one thing, tracking my cycles and exercise aligned with them or trying to get my sleep together, I would imagine that my energy would probably be best spent on trying to get sleep aligned. Just as a priority. And I’m not as tuned in as I’d like to be.

If I were like a menstrual goddess queen mother diva celestial being, then maybe I would do all of this. And I think it’s cool. So yes. There’s something to this. And if it feels good for you, and it doesn’t disrupt your life, and you’re not skipping opportunities to move because it’s like the wrong day in your cycle; I say go for it. 

However; I think it’s probably worth noting that most of us likely aren’t training hard enough. Not that you should be training harder. But most of us are not doing the type of training that would require us to be detailed enough to really need to do this. Or to even see it really have an impact. 

So I would say; and this is just maybe what I would do. This isn’t actual direct advice. Pay attention to whether this becomes another obsession you have limiting your life, because I really don’t see it as you’re working against your body if you don’t train with your cycle. I think movement and motion is always important no matter what. But also, if you’re training and you’re just not feeling it, and you’re giving yourself a moment to sort of bust through any mental or physical walls or ruts, then I say listen to your body. Change it up. absolutely. 

But in so far as this could become something else to get dogmatic about, I would say just be careful. Maybe just be more curious about your body and where you are in your cycle, but don’t feel like this is the only way to train or that you’re actually working against yourself if you’re not doing it. 

  • New or Interesting Skincare [10:00]

Ok. The next question is from Janna. “What are some new or interesting skincare ingredients you are loving? I learned about oil cleansing from you back in the day. And ordered your vitamin C serum. And always wonder at the next ingredient or method you’re discovering.” 

So, Janna is talking about a skincare product partnership I did years ago for a serum. A concentrated serum around vitamin C rich oils. So I love this question. And I’m really excited to be getting back to playing with some fun skincare recently. I’ve said in the past that I really don’t do anything consistently right now. And that’s mostly true, but there are a few products that are making their way into my routine repeatedly, and it’s so fun. 

One I’ve talked about before is a placenta stem cell cream. Now, I know how that sounds. And I’m sort of ashamed to admit that when I first started experimenting with it, I did not fully contemplate the karmic implications of using placental derivatives for skincare. So in particular, I now am in the process of really verifying whether the original growers of said placentas are properly compensated, and these stem cells aren’t being harvested from hospitals that just grab these beautiful organs and sell them for their own profits to greedy stem cell manufacturers. {laughs} And I truly hope that I find out good things, because this cream is just magic. 

The company that sells it is actually very meticulous, so I think things should shake out just fine there. But I do have this whole rabbit hole that I want to go down some day around what happens to “medical waste” that is not actually medical waste. I mean, a placenta; like I talked about with Cassy Joy in the last episode; placentas are a freaking miracle. They are our body’s only temporary organ. Our body grows this thing that can sustain a life. Are you kidding me? It’s extraordinary. 

And like I said last episode, I wasn’t able to see my placenta after my first birth, because it really didn’t go as planned. I was able to encapsulate it, which I’ll talk about another time in the future. I’m not 100% sold on placental encapsulation anymore. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, but I do think there are things to think about when you’re contemplating encapsulating and when you’re taking your encapsulated placenta and all of that. But I do support the practice, of course. And also, of course, the practice of creating a tincture or whatever you want to do with it. But this idea that women are not encouraged to at least see their placenta and at least marvel at what it was able to do. I just think it’s kind of a bummer.

And I especially think it’s a bummer that it’s just kind of swooped away as medical waste. And I imagine many of these placentas are being taken and sold, maybe at the profit of the hospital. I don’t know? If anybody out there has any information on this or knows. I could just Google it; but guess what? I’m recording a podcast right now. So I’m not going to do it right away. But if anyone has any information on this, I would love to hear it. So please reach out to me @RealFoodLiz on Instagram, or you can shoot me an email. Something like that. Because I would love to hear more, and I would love to talk more about this on a future podcast. 

Ok. What I wanted to bring up here with regards to some stem cells is also the difference between stem cells and stem cell extracts. Most “stem cell” products, where they use stem cell in the description. Like apple stem cells. Or sequoia stem cells. They’re actually not actual stem cells in the product. What they’re using extractives of stem cells, which are also very good for the skin. But true actual stem cells are much more cost prohibitive and generally are not used except in very specific products. Like the ones I’m talking about right now. 

So this is a conversation I’ve actually had with Amanda Torres, who does research on my behalf, who I’ll talk about more in a minute. But the truth is, many people think they’re using an actual stem cell cream, but are actually using a derivative of stem cells. It’s still nutrient rich, but can be more easily produced. Which is part of the reason apple stem cells are so often used. That’s just a little fun fact that I hope to expand on more in the future. 

And that, again, doesn’t mean these extractives are bad or don’t do anything good. But many people believe they’re using actual stem cells when in fact they are not. So the cream I’ve been using is from Chara Omni. It’s very expensive. I use a very small amount. In particular around my eyes and on my forehead. And it’s amazing. 

I would love to find more options other than this one, but this one seems to be the one that is most meticulously formulated. I like all of the other ingredients. They’re very science forward but actually still very safe. Very mindful of what’s going onto your skin. So that’s one of the reasons I choose that particular product. 

Ok. Another favorite right now is a skincare oil that I’m using that contains some dragon’s blood oil. And so far, I’m loving that. Dragon’s blood is a new type of essential oil to me, and it has some really cool anti-inflammatory and healing properties. And I think it will actually really help protect my skin, especially as we get into sun season. And I’ll, of course, have an episode coming up where I talk all about that. Sun, vitamin D, sunscreen, all of that good stuff.

I’ve actually got my amazing research partner, who I mentioned before, Amanda, doing some digging through the science to see if I need to add anything to my general sun care recommendations. So that will happen soon.

And I just have to brag a little bit, and brag on all of us in sort of the holistic community who have been up on all this skin stuff for a very long time. I’ve been talking about using physical sunscreen, and how to care for your skin in the sun for a really long time. And it does seem like the industry, even the high end beauty industry, is catching up to the fact that certain chemicals used in sunscreens are not only bad for the environment; that has finally hit pretty hard. And I think most brands are hopefully ceasing to use things like oxybenzone and avobenzone and using more of the physical blocks; in particular zinc and titanium dioxide. And that’s really encouraging. It means that crunchy people move the market eventually. It might take some time, but it does happen.

And there are some really great sunscreen options now that are more sheer, less sticky, less icky, that are really great for daily use. Now, I’m not saying I’m perfect about sunscreen. I’m not saying that at all. And if anybody wants to know my thoughts on the sun, and vitamin D, and all of that good stuff, I highly recommend the vitamin D section in my book, Eat the Yolks. That was published a few years ago, but a lot of that information; most of it. 98% of it. Still stands. It’s really the best information available around the nutrients we need; which include vitamin D from the sun. The macronutrients, the micronutrients, and sort of that eating philosophy that embraces real food. But I really love my vitamin D section, so I highly encourage you to grab that book. And if you prefer listening to my podcast voice, remember that I actually read the audiobook as well. So the book is Eat the Yolks, and you can find it on Amazon, audible, and Barnes and Noble bookstores all over the place. 

Ok, back to Amanda. Having Amanda available to me to tackle all manner of these random questions I have is just a total dream. And she’s such a genius. She’s a neuroscientist, and so adept at pulling the important tidbits out of the ocean of research that’s out there. Topics I’ve sent her way lately range from magnesium post workout; whether it’s actually necessary or not. Sunscreen, again; all the way to cosmetic filler. And that is an episode I’m really looking forward to doing. 

The safety of cosmetic filler is no where near as straightforward as Botox, which I tackled in episode 9. And some of what we’re told about it might not be the full story; namely that the body just absorbs it. So you’ll want to have a listen there. And some of the people I really respect in the cosmetic surgery industry inspired me to start asking questions. So be looking for that in the next few months. And no; I’ve never had filler. But it’s something I’m very curious about, because it seems to sort of go hand in hand with the practitioners who do Botox will often also do filler. And I think people sort of treat it as similar to Botox, because it’s a similar instrument of application. But in reality, the two things are very, very different. There are many more considerations, in my opinion, around the use of filler. So I’m excited for that episode. I imagine hopefully in the next couple of months we will get that down. But I definitely have to get my thoughts together on that. 

And another thing I’m looking forward to is in June; late June I will be having a personal consult with the Beauty Broker. So it’s Beauty Broker Official on Instagram. She’s super cool, has a really awesome business where she actually consults with individuals around linking them up with really good well vetted plastic surgeons who really service their clients beautifully all over the country. So I was just really interested in what she knows and what she has to say. She also consults on procedures that are noninvasive; like Botox, peels, lasers, things like that.

So, whenever I find out about an amazing expert, I always want to try and find a way to talk to them or work with them. And this is why I have changed my Instagram description to professional question asker, because I really feel like that’s my role in the world right now. So I’ll let everybody know how that goes, and maybe the filler episode will come out after I get the chance to talk to her. 

  • Weekly Overshare: The Diaper Rash Saga [20:41]

Ok, I’m going to start on my overshare now. And this is going to be a little bit of a saga, but I wanted to share it because I had somebody reach out to me on Instagram recently asking me recommendations for a cream for a really, really stubborn diaper rash. And I was like; I have a whole story around this, my friend. Which I probably shared at some point on the Balanced Bites podcast, and maybe even on Liz Talks at some point. I can’t exactly remember, but I think it’s worth sharing. So I have been through this, and I learned a lot of lessons around it. So I’m looking forward to sharing that now. 

So, I will begin with what I believe was sort of the cause or the lead-in to one of the worst diaper rashes I have seen since. We cloth diapered my first at the very beginning; and I don’t know if it was our water or how well the diapers were being washed. Perhaps even; I got very immersed in the cloth diaper community, and I learned about a lot of different ways that you could sort of hack cloth diapers. And we got a lot of stuff from, I believe it was Which is a great company. A lot of wool stuff. A lot of cotton lined all in ones. Some prefolds. All kinds of stuff. So I know the lingo; or at least I remember it to a degree. 

But for some reason, we just continued to have this really horrendous diaper rash. And I just couldn’t figure it out. Looking back, I think maybe one of the contributors; the early contributors to this diaper rash was the fact that we had ordered some inserts that go into cloth diapers that are basically wicking. So baby goes pee, and these little inserts that you put on top of the cotton wick the moisture away from their bodies. And I can’t remember if we were using them consistently or not, but I did note around that time that my daughter was really sensitive to polyester; microfiber. That sort of thing. It would always make her break out in a rash. 

We figured that out because I used to do a lot of naked time; not naked time. But I used to not always dress her for the day until we actually had to go somewhere. And she would wiggle around on our carpet, which was supposed to be some kind of organic, nontoxic carpet, but actually had a coating and some polyester fiber. And she got this rash all over her body. We were thinking; what is this? We thought it was eczema. We thought it was ringworm. And then I finally realized when she fell asleep with her face in the carpet and woke up with half of her face covered in a rash; I realized. Oh; it’s the carpet! 

So we covered everything in cotton blankets, and within a couple of weeks, the rash was gone and didn’t come back. If she wears clothes with polyester in them, she will still get a little bit of a rash. So we know that’s an issue for her. But looking back; maybe some of those inserts in the cloth diapers sort of started the ball rolling. 

But over time it just got so bad, and it wasn’t improving. I couldn’t figure it out. And I had started using all of these crunchy “natural” options on her diaper rash. So zinc creams with essential oil of lavender and calendula. And zinc creams with different oils like emu oil, and coconut oil, and all of these different things. 

And then I was using hydrosols to try and soothe the area, giving her a ton of naked time to try and help. Nothing was helping. And I was getting so desperate. And at the time, I was very stuck on this idea that natural is best. I didn’t want to use Desitin. I didn’t want to use; whatever you could buy at CVS. Because I wanted to do it naturally. 

I had looked up different essential oil blends that I could use. And yes, I know now that most essential oils need to be very, very well diluted. Which I believed they were. I was buying these premade baby diaper creams that had these herbals in them just assuming that it was fine. 

And then, at a certain point, I got so desperate that I was starting to try and make my own concoctions. And one day, I was doing the whole diaper change. Trying to put something on her rash to make it feel better. And I was holding a dropper of super pure therapeutic grade lavender essential oil. Not to put on neat. Not to put on undiluted; but to dilute and add to whatever it was that I was putting on her body to try and soothe her skin. It was just so red and angry. And somehow a drop escaped and landed in her bellybutton, of all places. And I got up to get a towel or a wipe or something like that. And when I came back, I noticed that her entire belly button; either that I got up to get a wipe and I came back, or it was like the next diaper change. I realized that her bellybutton had this red ring around it. And I was like; oh my god! It’s the lavender! 

And it was. She reacts to lavender to this day! The other month; a couple of months ago, I believe. Or some time over the winter, she had a rash. Maybe it was last year. You guys; my memory. I have no idea where I’m at in the space-time continuum right now. But I think it was a point where I thought maybe she had gotten bitten by oak mites, or something. She had this rash, and I could not figure it out. It wasn’t going away. She was wearing all cotton. And I was just perplexed. And then I noticed; who was I talking to? My friend, Sarah. Somehow, we figured out between the two of us that my detergent. I don’t know who picked it up, who bought it, what order it was placed in, and how it ended up in my house. But our detergent contained lavender. It was like Seventh Generation with lavender or something like that. 

And I was like; ding, ding, ding! This is still a problem. And I washed all the clothes; stripped the clothes, and we’re fine now. We got rid of the lavender detergent. But that was the moment in our diaper rash saga that I realized that natural is not always best. And all of the stuff that I had been using on her skin; whatever initiated the diaper rash. Whether cloth diapers or cloth diaper insert or whatever it was; was certainly made worse by how I was trying to treat it naturally. 

So, from that point on, we swapped out the cloth diapers for Seventh Generation disposables. And again, I hate the word disposable the same way I feel about the placenta is the body’s only disposable organ. The word disposable just means you can throw it away. You can throw anything away. Anything is disposable. Throw away diapers. 

So I started using the Seventh Generation diapers. And desperately searching the internet for a solution of some kind of rash that would help. I bought everything. I bought Desitin. Boudreaux’s Butt Paste. Is there something called triple paste? I don’t’ even know. But I tried everything. And it was just not doing the trick.

And finally I stumbled across a product called Calmoseptine. Horrible name. Amazing product. It has menthol in it, which concerned me for a minute or two. But all of these reviews I was seeing on Amazon for Calmoseptine specifically centered around diaper rash. Calmoseptine itself is, I think, for bedsores. I’m not sure. But there are all these reviews on Amazon about how much of a miracle cream it is for diaper rash. And it absolutely was. This diaper rash that had plagued us and our physician for the longest time resolved within two weeks of using Calmoseptine. 

Now, that’s how bad it was. Now, when we get something that looks a little bit; eeh, a little bit more severe than the normal just redness that we can take care of with some basic zinc cream, Calmoseptine will take care of it in a couple of days. So I’m not surprised that it took longer with the rash that we were dealing with at the time, because it had been there for so long and was really just set in. It was really, really bad. But Calmoseptine took care of that, and her skin was back to just beautiful baby skin within a couple of weeks. So it was just a total miracle. 

So anytime anybody asks me now what kind of diaper rash cream I recommend for really severe diaper rash, I don’t even touch the natural stuff. I love a lot of that stuff. But it was such a lesson that I needed to learn. And there were so many of those with my first daughter from her birth on. I needed to learn that natural is not always best. And sometimes severe problems that are probably caused by some kind of modern world situation need to be solved by modern world products. And that is 100% what Calmoseptine did for us. 

So if you’re stuck in that place, I recommend that every new mom, every family have Calmoseptine on hand just in case you get something that’s just not being taken care of by the normal options. So I hope that helps someone. 

Alright. That will be it for episode 23. A big thank you to Arrowhead Mills for making this episode possible. I hope you enjoyed it! Don’t forget to follow me @RealFoodLiz on Instagram. Or if you’ve made the very wise decision to not be on social media, catch me on my email list. You can go to to get on board; it’s just right there on the home page. You can pop your email in there and you’ll get all the goods. 

I appreciate you! I’ll see you next week. 

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