Liz Talks Podcast, Episode 31: Stem cells, workouts, home school, ALF device for kids

Stem cell update, AMP workouts/keeping up, homeschool experience, ALF

Liz Talks Episode 31

  • Skincare update [1:32]
  • Workout routine – timing, toddlers, and schedules [10:04]
  • Homeschooling experience [21:26]
  • ALF device experience [35:53]


Welcome to Liz Talks. I’m Liz, and I’m a nutritional therapy practitioner and best-selling author; but here, I’m 0% professional and 100% mom, spouse, friend, and over-analyzer. We’re going to talk food, beauty, family, fitness, mental health, friendship, marriage, and everything in between in this season of Liz Talks, and I’m so glad you’re along for the ride.

Remember; this is a podcast about thoughts, feelings, and opinions. And I definitely do not give individual, personal, or medical advice. 

This is episode 31, topic: Q&A. Stem cells, workouts, homeschool, ALF or ALF-device for kids. 

In case you missed it, last weeks’ episode, number 30, was a catchup with Diana Rodgers of Sustainable Dish, the Sacred Cow book and the Sacred Cow documentary. And of course, my podcast with her, like 8 years ago, Modern Farmgirls.  

Before I begin, I want to quickly thank Arrowhead Mills for their generous sponsorship of this podcast. Next time you go to the store, support the company that supports my work and the company that I use every Saturday morning for our pancake tradition. You can also find Arrowhead Mills on I’ve said this before, but I’ve tried all the options for Saturday morning pancake, including homemade, and none of the options were as good as Arrowhead Mills. So I was using them for months and months before we ever spoke about sponsorship. So I love them, and I know you will too. 

  • Skincare update [1:32]

Ok. Time to jump right in with a skincare update. And this is an update on the stem cell cream I’ve been talking about. And I’ve gotten so many questions about this. And I just started feeling like I needed to really make sure I knew enough about the product, and products in it’s category, to recommend it for the reasons I wanted to recommend it. And the cream I’m talking about is the stem cell cream. And it’s not technically stem cells, and I’ll talk about that in a second. But from CharaOmni. You can reach out to me on Instagram for a link if you’d like. I have an affiliate link that I can send your way. And I can get a little bit of a kickback for that. So if you feel like ordering, let me know. Reach out on Instagram and I’ll send a link your way. 

I want to say, before I talk about this. This cream has done wonders for my skin. I use a couple of different brands pretty consistently. Beautycounter being one of them. And this particular moisturizer/“stem cell” cream being one of them, along with a couple of other brands. But this in particular has done absolute wonders for my skin. It completely erased some very fine lines that were forming around my eyes. Not that I think smile lines are bad, I don’t. But it’s pretty darn interesting either way when a product can do that without, for example, containing retinol. Which I personally am not using right now. There’s a lot of; I guess you could say controversy or heated opinions about retinol. And I have my own, but I’ll skip over that today. 

But I will admit, while I did do my due diligence around stem cell marketing as I talked about in a previous podcast, where I talked about how most products that advertise stem cells, if you look closely, actually just contain stem cell derived ingredients, and not actual stem cells. Now, I’ll get into this a little bit more.

While I was focused on these marketing details; how these creams are sold. I sort of just trusted that if a product said it contained stem cells; for example, placental stem cells, that it actually contained placental stem cells. And the so-called stem cell product I’ve been using is a placental stem cell product. It’s expensive enough for me to have believed there are actual stem cells in it. But it turns out I just sort of had a fundamental misunderstanding of how that works. 

So, in doing a little more research on these products, on this particular product. Which appeared to have said, or at least sort of marketed itself. And I’ve noticed this across the particular category. Not just the stem cell products that proport to have stem cells, but are actually using substances derived from apple stem cells, or sequoia stem cells.

And it’s the same with these products that are marketing themselves to have substances derived from placental stem cells. So in doing a little more research on this, this product that I’ve been using is sort of marketed around this idea of placental stem cells. And it can be a little bit unclear whether they’re actually talking about substances derived from stem cells, or stem cells themselves. 

Backing up; I had a call with a skin care development company that I’ve been using for many years. And we had a really direct conversation around what was likely actually in that product, and what likely wasn’t. We reviewed the marketing together. We reviewed the ingredients together. And in the course of that conversation, I sort of noticed, in reviewing the website for the first time in a while, that either what used to be on the website had changed or I just didn’t read it clearly enough in the first place. I feel like it’s the former, but it could very well be the latter. Since, in my learning at the time I was more focused on claims from products in a certain price bracket, versus whether it was actually possible to give stem cells any kind of shelf life in a skincare product. Which, it sounds like it actually isn’t. Or at least not in any product on the market right now. Actually available to buy.

So what seems to have changed is that the marketing now states that there are; this sounds so gross. But there are birth tissue derived extracts in the product. So this would, just like any other product touting stem cells, be just derivatives of stem cells. Now this doesn’t mean that the product isn’t doing anything. The derivatives of amniotic stem cells and birth tissue {laughs} which I know sounds gross. Are what’s used in this product, and everything from growth factors to substances that enhance wound healing and skin regeneration are in there. But actual stem cells, it does not have. 

I could be wrong; I’m going to reach out and see if I can get some clarity. But it would be like a complete unicorn if that were the case, and there would be some kind of super secret technology that’s being used to actually preserve the issue of shelf life of actual stem cells.

So I don’t know that this is deceptive marketing. Because as I’ve gone around and looked at all of these different products that are available that use birth tissue derived substances, you kind of have the same thing. Where they’re not really fully explaining the difference between derivatives of stem cells and the stem cells themselves. So this is a problem, not just in the human tissue department but also in products that are made from plant based stem cells. So there’s not a whole lot of highlighting or delineating the difference between a stem cell and a stem cell derivative. And I think that’s kind of a bummer. But also; marketing is marketing. 

So, ok. For the four people who actually care about this, here’s the conclusion for now. Number one; there seems to be a big difference between human and plant stem cells as to what can actually be placed in a skincare product, both from an availability standpoint and a preservation standpoint. And in a product that states it has actual human stem cells; birth tissue derived stem cells, placental stem cells, there is a shelf life issue for stem cells themselves. So you’ll see terms like stem cell proteins; which means proteins derived from stem cells. These are not actual stem cells themselves. 

So, when it comes to skincare products that say they have plant stem cells, from what I can tell, this might be true? And it also might be true that what is in it is derivatives of those stem cells. Either way, I’m not finding any peer reviewed scientific studies as of right now that suggest plant stem cells themselves can do anything to regenerate the skin in any capacity beyond just the normal antioxidant type benefits. Which can be achieved by a lot of different substances. Just because I can’t find them; and even if the studies don’t exist at all, it doesn’t mean plant stem cells don’t have explicit benefits. But I just haven’t seen it articulated yet. 

I do think they probably do; but again, I don’t know if those benefits would be above and beyond any other kind of substance that is tried and true in skincare as it is. So I would love to see it articulated. And I think I’ll probably add this to the list for my researcher, so I can learn more about this and the information that’s actually available. And as always, I will update. 

But, in the meantime. I will absolutely still use my moisturizing cream rich in stem cell derived proteins from birth tissue. Because {laughs} it works amazingly well. But again, I need to go back and do what I usually do; what I used to always do, and do my investigative work around this. And other stem cell products. So I can really understand what’s in them, what they can actually do, and what alternatives there are. So as soon as something becomes really popular, and there’s a buzz word like stem cells; it becomes very marketable. And there is always some obfuscation and some confusion around these types of things. It’s nothing new. So I will keep you posted and report back. 

  • Workout routine – timing, toddlers, and schedules [10:04]

Alright, today we’re going to do a little mixed bag of questions. I love a good Q&A. And this first question is from Jamie. And I’m actually going to combine this one with a question from Amy about keeping up with workouts during PCS; which is permanent change of station, which is a military term. When you’re moving from place to place. Or when you have babies. Or just around child and toddler schedules, and stuff like that.

So the question from Jamie that came in was, “What’s your workout routine? I know Athletic Mom, but how often do you work out? And is it always your program, or do you do anything else; Peloton, etc.?”

So combining that with what Amy wanted to talk about, here’s the information that I’ve got for you. I did exclusively the Athletic Mom program for 8 weeks, not including actually filming the workouts, which was extremely rigorous. Then I did the Athletic Mom strength program for another 8 weeks while we tested that one. And that one is not quite available yet; it will be soon. It’s in edits. We have a small team. And we’ve been working really hard to get it out to you and to get it ready. 

Right now, I’m doing more gym-based stuff with my trainer, Nick. Which includes some barbell and dumbbell work. And I’m sharing some of those workouts for free in my twice-monthly newsletters. So if you don’t subscribe yet, be sure to do that by going to and just signing up for email exclusives. It’s right there on the home page.

We are working on an app for Athletic Mom. I hope it’s ok that I just spilled the beans on that. So you’ll want to get my emails anyway, so you can be clued into that by being on my email list. Now, the workouts that are going out on my email list, we’re putting them together in printable form, so you can either screenshot it and have it on your phone, or you can print it out. However you like to do it. 

And we are also starting to include links to really brief, easy, low-key video demonstrations of what we’re actually doing in the workouts. So it’s a little more information than I can package up and put in sort of a user friendly way on Instagram. So again, sign up for that email list, and you’ll get an email from me twice a month. And they’ll have all of that in it, alongside some other good stuff that I don’t think you want to miss.

So, the Athletic Mom program has 4 workouts per week available. But when we’re not in program development, and by that I mean when I’m not actually putting together one of the 8-week programs for Athletic Mom. And I’m not doing all of that type of stuff. I train for functional strength. And the programs that I have are functional strength centered. But they’re also home centered; minimal equipment centered. So when I’m actually in the gym training for functional strength, mobility, agility, athleticism, with Nick, I’m there using the full range of gym equipment three times a week for an hour. That’s it. Sometimes one of those hours is on the Pilates reformer. 

And other than that, I’ll walk maybe 8-10 miles each week total. I love doing the loop around the lake where I live. It’s a little too hot right now, but that loop is around 4 miles, so I’ll do that twice a week on a good week, and then just kind of the walking that I do following the toddler around. I love that. That’s kind of how I structure my week, if I’m really getting things accomplished like I want to. And I’ll also work in the Daily Fix on days that I’m not doing anything. Or days that I wake up and I’m feeling a little bit yucky. But I really do feel like that walking part is just the best. I love the training that I do with Nick. I think it is imperative. Especially for my goals as far as healthy aging and being there for my kids and just feeling really good. But that walking is just so important. It’s been so great for my pelvic floor. It’s been great for my mind. It’s been great for everything.

And I find that; I do have a NordicTrack bike, because I genuinely love spin class type workouts. But I find that the intensity on the bike is just not where I want to put my time right now. I just really want to walk whenever I can. And walking with friends is just such a great thing. Walking with kids, and stopping to explore. There’s just nothing better. It’s how our bodies are meant to work. And I really believe that in general, moderate intensity exercise with a focus on functional strength and staying mobile, and agile, and capable, is just perfection. From a stress standpoint, the type of stress you’re putting on your body, and from a reward standpoint. What you actually get out of it. That’s what feeling good for the long haul, to me, is about. 

And I think; maybe as you’re listening to this, pause it and give a little bit of thought of what feeling good for the long haul looks like to you. Does that look like a certain type of body composition; spoiler, it doesn’t. That’s entirely meaningless in the full context of feeling good and aging well and being capable and having a good life. And it’s been really transformational to shift my concern towards just feeling good, feeling capable, feeling athletic rather than worrying about what I see in the mirror.

And I think that’s the sweet spot. I personally don’t do a lot of metabolic conditioning, but Nick will have me do some little finishers sometimes, just to get into that sort of unique sense of accomplishment that you get from something like that. But it’s not like the CrossFit days when I just blasted myself every which way just for the heck of it. 

So I train for muscle mass. Not like “gainz”. But muscle mass and maintenance. And also for mobility. After that, flexibility, a reasonable level of endurance. Not like marathon running. But being able to sustain a good sprint or a walk up a flight of stairs holding a rapidly growing toddler. That kind of thing. 

And I love my training. I feel amazing. I never feel; this is something that I actually think is really important. I never feel sore in that, imbalanced, can’t walk up or down the stairs, can’t get out of bed type of way. And I think there’s this kind of unearned merit badge that sometimes comes with that type of just knock you out type of workout. But I really don’t believe; there’s a diminishing rate of returns with something like that. So for me the way my workouts are structured is they are tough, but they are not knocking me out of commission for days at a time. Sometimes I’ll feel a little soreness. A little general muscle fatigue. But it’s always balanced. It’s like; I can tell I did some work across these parts, but it’s symmetrical. And it’s expected. It’s not pain.

I remember, in high school. I went to a boarding school, actually, in St. Louis. And we would have basketball camp. We would have purdy camp, that was what we called it. And it was 3-a-days. And I know that’s a thing that’s done in high school, and it’s probably a matter of mental toughness; developing mental toughness more than it’s even developing physical strength and abilities. But we would have this camp, and I would be so sore by the end of the first couple of days that we couldn’t even walk down the stairs. We’d have to back down the stairs to even; I mean, we couldn’t move. 

And I do not do that anymore. It’s not my style. I don’t think there’s all that much reward to it when compared to something more moderate, with an eye on actually being able to be functional in your world. And that’s part of why I’ve stuck with my trainer, Nick, for so long. And it’s also why we developed Athletic Mom. Because I wanted people to be able to experience that. I wanted my trainer to be your trainer. Because my life has improved drastically in ways I never could have outlined, planned, and accomplished alone. 

But I know that not everyone has the ability to work with a trainer 3 hours a week. Whether that’s time-wise, or just whether that’s not where you want your income to go. So it’s really been a joy for me to put together a program that can be used by anybody that’s like an 8-week program, very conscientiously designed if you’ve got the same goals as I do. So that’s how I do. 

And in answer to the question about PCSing, or keeping consistent during different phases of life; I really do just go with the flow. I really, really do. And I don’t freak out about a little time off. About a little transitional time. 

One thing I will say is there is a real balance that you have to strike. So if you have something like a Peloton and you love it, I still don’t know that doing something like that every single day is actually the best approach to fitness. I think it’s probably best to do the Peloton, maybe three times. One, two, three times a week. And that’s not prescriptive. It’s just a matter of taking that stimulus and using it in a reasonable way so that you’re not actually getting overly fatigued. Or you’re not stressing your body out more than you need to. Even if you love something; I think sometimes it’s important to recognize that what you actually love is the endorphins that are sort of wrapped up into that stress response. 

So, pulling back on something like daily, super intense, threshold style cardio is probably a good idea. Even if you love it, and even if you feel like; this is how you’re staying consistent. So again, Athletic Mom is something that can be done with just bands, and mini bands, and very limited equipment. So it’s something that you could do in a hotel room midway through a PCS or something that you could do half and half while your kids take their first and second naps of the day. Something you could do early in the morning without having to leave your house. All of that. 

But trying to stay consistent; I mean, once again. I’ve been ringing this bell for years. Giving yourself maximum grace at any point in life where you need it is what’s going to end up setting the stage mentally for consistency over the long term. And I really, really believe that. So you’ve got a Peloton; great. A couple of times a week if you’ve got the time. If you can do Athletic Mom; great. A couple of times a week if you’ve got the time. If you’ve got to take a couple of weeks off, and just focus on trying to stand, move, whatever it is to get yourself a little bit of movement throughout the day, I think that’s fine, too. And if you need a week in bed, take that as well. More power to you. 

But I don’t worry all that much about consistency over big life changes. Because I think you’re really just in survival mode. You’re doing whatever it is that you need to do to transition smoothly. And then pick it up when you can. 

  • Homeschooling experience [21:26]

Ok, the next question is from Ashley. “Can you share about your homeschool experience? Would love, love, love to hear you talk about that and school in general. My son is going to kindergarten in the fall, and never imagined not sending him. But there seems to be more cons than pros. However, it also seems daunting, and not sure it will be the right fit. Crowd surfing for anecdotes. I’m so happy you’re podcasting, again, Liz. So appreciative of your balanced perspective. Hugs.” 

That is so sweet. I love this question. And I’m really excited to talk about it. I apologize if I jump around a little bit, but I do have a lot of thoughts. And I’ve had folks asking about our education journey and why we chose the school that we chose and all of that. So I think there’s actually a lot to talk about. But I’ll start sort of at the beginning. 

I just could not decide what we wanted to do with school; with kindergarten, for my oldest for the longest time. And I agonized over it. I mean, I really drove myself crazy about it. Whether we were going to do the local public school, or whether I wanted to pursue an alternative type of education like Waldorf, Montessori, Reggio, something like that. 

And I had actually fallen in love with this Reggio school. Reggio is a phenomenal learning philosophy. And I’m not great about explaining; articulating the difference between Reggio and Montessori. And funny enough, it’s actually kind of hard to find really quality posts online about it. So maybe I should write one. 

But what I sort of understand about the difference between Montessori and Reggio, in particular, is; and this is from a friend of mine, Sarah. She really helped me understand this, because she had sent some of her kids to Montessori, but she also sent one to a Reggio school. And what kind of stuck with me was that Montessori is very focused on independence. Which is a wonderful thing. Self-reliance, independence, self-sufficiency, and being self-driven. And I think that’s great. 

Reggio is very similar to Montessori in that it really respects the autonomy and the full personhood of the child. And it’s a beautiful thing. I find that Reggio is more geared towards collaborative efforts. So where Montessori is focused on independence and self-sufficiency, to a degree, Reggio is more focused on the “we”. On how we can work together on a project, or on a learning expedition. And for me, that felt really right. That Reggio philosophy felt really right. Because at the time, I felt like maybe she was going to be an only child and that it would be really good for her to be in an environment that was a little bit in contrast to the very individualistic life that she led at home with us. 

So there are other amazing, amazing things about Reggio that I absolutely loved. And this was; I had found a Reggio school years before, and had been really interested in it, but it was just never the right time to go. We lived really far away. But it always sort of in the back of my mind. 

Now then, of course as time for kindergarten enrollment rolled around, we have COVID. And all the schools closed. And then they opened, but then they were closing all the time again. And I just did not know what was going on. By then I was pregnant. I was just completely unsure of what we should even do. Or, I can’t remember if I was pregnant by then. I was pregnant during our homeschool journey. But anyway. I was just like; what the heck is going on? 

And my mom, who is an educator, is in my ear kind of telling me over and over again. You know; kindergarten is not required. In the state we live in, kindergarten is not required. And it was really an interesting idea. But it’s not something I ever thought of; just not starting formal school for kindergarten. So what we decided to do was to skip kindergarten. And I was in a unique situation where my mom is a reading specialist. So she worked with my daughter and taught her to read. Which was an extraordinary thing. So what I kind of decided was, we’re going to do what’s right for us. I’ll have her work on reading with my mom a couple of times a week and that will make me feel a little bit more secure in having options the following year. if we decided regular school was the way to go, or any kind of away from non-homeschool was the way to go in the years following kindergarten. We would have some kind of baseline of reading and go from there. 

I’m not saying that it’s necessary to be “on target” or caught up, or on pace with reading. Kindergarten is such a tender time, and from what I can tell what the research actually says is early readers are early readers. And I don’t know that that is really all that important, when you actually really kind of break the literature down on how kids learn, and when is best to teach certain things. 

So I would have been fine with not having that extra element of more traditional reading. But it was just such a special thing that my mom was able to do it. So I’m incredibly grateful for that. 

So what we decided to do was basically homeschool for the kindergarten year. And we did a nature school, which was phenomenal. I cannot recommend it enough. To take that kindergarten year. Do a little bit of reading, but then really emphasize an outdoor program where she was climbing trees. Building forts. Gardening. Playing with farm animals. Just being outside literally all day long all year round. And I felt really fortunate that we had something fairly nearby that had a full-day program of just nature school. And it was an extraordinary, extraordinary year. 

So we did nature school, a little bit of reading. I also bought like 75 homeschool curriculums. I bought Oak Meadow. I bought Blackbird and company. I bought Brave Writer. I think you have to buy Brave Writer; or you buy the book. I can’t remember. Honestly, two years later at this point, I’m just starting to understand how homeschool works {laughs} and we’re not even homeschooling anymore. 

So it really was a wonderful, wonderful year. And I really think that the best thing that we did was to skip kindergarten. And I know that’s not right for all children and all families. There are many children in the world that just flat out need the safety and the consistency of going to kindergarten. But for us, it was wonderful to skip kindergarten. It would have been really hard, without nature school, for me with a newborn. And because my daughter loves being with other kids. 

And we did do preschool. We did a traditional preschool. It was literally a 2-minute drive from my house, with a lot of the local kids. And that was wonderful. And I would have sent my little one to nature school for preschool, through kindergarten, instead of regular preschool if I had known about it. Just because they were so incredible. But sad, the nature school is not doing daily programs like that anymore. They’re actually technically a therapeutic nature center and not a licensed childcare facility. But it was just an incredible year. 

So, ok. Before COVID year, before kindergarten, I was contemplating the Reggio school. We did traditional preschool, and one day of nature school a week during preschool. Still contemplating Reggio. Pandemic hit, and I decided we were going to homeschool kindergarten. Basically, skip kindergarten. Do some reading and do three days a week of nature school. And then once that year came to a close, I felt like I really wanted my daughter to be in an environment with other kids. And it was hard for me, because I know there are homeschoolers out there who do an amazing job. But I struggle to find a consistent homeschool community. 

One thing I do love about homeschool is the flexibility; but the other challenge that I found locally was that families were just kind of doing whatever they were going to do. It was like; {laughs} nobody wanted to make a commune with me, where we had consistent play times and consistent rhythm that we could combine our skills and our desires for our children and come up with something that was consistent. Something where my daughter would know that she was going to see her friends on this day, and she was going to do XYZ on this day. It was just; the homeschool families. They wanted to travel. They wanted to do their own thing. A lot of them had many more kids, and I just had the one that I was trying to find busy time and friends for. 

So after nature school was done, I felt like I really wanted her to be in a program with other kids. A really nurturing program. And we went back, and we went ahead and registered her at the Reggio school. And it was wonderful.

We also visited; like I said, I’m going to be jumping around a bit. We also visited Waldorf; a Waldorf school. The biggest issue; ok. I’m going to tell this story. This Waldorf school comes really highly recommended. And it was great. I feel like Waldorf; Waldorf is wonderful. It’s an entirely different pace of education. I got the feeling that; and we had bought a Waldorf-inspired homeschool curriculum. But what I had felt was that you really have to commit to Waldorf for, like through at least 8th grade, to really get the full realization of the benefits of the approach. I think it’s difficult for kids if they have to switch, for example, after 3rd grade. It can be really difficult. Because the pace of learning in Waldorf is just different.

And it might be better for the child. I think they make compelling arguments in favor of that being better for the child. But at the same time, there were multiple things on top of multiple things that steered me in a different direction. It was the drive; it was like a 40-minute drive. It was the fact that we went there, and my daughter absolutely loved it, and then they invited her to stay for snack, which she was really excited about until she found out the snack was lentil stew. {laughs} She was like; I want to go home now. 

So my kid is conventional in some ways. When she hears snack, she’s not thinking lentil stew. So we might have just kind of missed that opportunity to immerse her from a very early age in the Waldorf way of life. 

But we decided against the Waldorf school, even though I think it’s a really; there are many aspects of it that are really neat. So we decided not to do that. And we decided to go ahead and do the Reggio school. And it was a really wonderful, wonderful experience. 

So, for anybody that is struggling with the idea of kindergarten, I feel really comfortable that saying if kindergarten is not required. And even if it is; to homeschool it. And just see how it feels. Do what you’re comfortable with. The Oak Meadow curriculum is very; they call it gentle. It’s a very slow, gentle curriculum. I felt like, just from what my daughter was doing in preschool, she already had kind of covered the first year or two of the Oak Meadow curriculum. But at the same time, it builds on itself. So you can’t really just skip the kindergarten and skip the first grade and go straight to second grade. 

So, Blackbird and Company, the homeschool curriculum is a little bit more rigorous. A little bit more traditional. I can see why it’s great, but I didn’t love it for us. 

I think Brave Writer is really cool. But again, I’m just starting to understand how this homeschool thing works. It’s hard. And it’s hard for an Obliger. I wanted some kind of curriculum; some kind of thing that I knew I should be doing. But in the end, these are kids. These are little individuals who have unique needs. Unique interests. And we want to make learning a beautiful experience for them. And not a set of rigid requirements. So that’s always a challenge. 

And so, you know, if I could do it again, I would have done it the exact same way. There is an Instagram account called 1000 hours outside that is absolutely wonderful, if you need some guidance around outside experiences for your kids and things like that. There are a lot of really great homeschool coops all over the country that are available; even if it’s just playdates a couple of times a week or something like that. That’s an option, too. But I truly don’t think a child with an engaged and available family is going to suffer for not starting traditional kindergarten. On the “schedule”.

So, if that makes this questioner feel any better, or any more confident. The other things you could put on your list to check out would be any local Reggio, Montessori, Waldorf schools. Local homeschool coops. Outdoor schools. Or even just outdoor playgroups just to test it out. And it takes some stamina to find your people. Like I said; I don’t know that I necessarily did. But I found a lot of people in a lot of different places. And that’s pretty cool, too.

There’s another book I really liked called the Creative Family Manifesto, that I would highly recommend. And you go on Amazon, and you look for one of those books, you’ll get recommended multiple other books that will also really inform your journey. And it’s tough. But you have time. The kindergarten year does not have to be this rush into traditional schooling. It really doesn’t. 

Ok, if anybody has more questions about our homeschool journey; I think I’ve shared about it before. Or anything that we’ve done education wise, I’m happy to answer. Just shoot me a question. You can go to Instagram and shoot me a DM. Or you can go to And just let me know what you want me to talk about. Because I’m happy to share.

  • ALF device experience [35:53]

Ok. This last question is from another Ashley. “You’ve shared a bit, but I’m wondering more information on the retainer you’ve been doing for your daughter’s teeth. Why did you choose it, and do you recommend it?” 

I could not remember if I have answered this question before. So if so, I’m going to go ahead and answer it again. We did a device called the A-L-F, or ALF device. I’m still not sure. It’s the advanced light force dental appliance. And unfortunately, it seems like their website has changed a little bit. It’s like in transition. It’s a little bit hard to find information about it on their website, or to get connected with practitioners who do it. 

I was just Googling around. I Googled ALF device Kansas City. And I found a dentist that was available locally to do it. No, I live in Kansas City. Which is relatively close to Wichita, Kansas. And it’s funny; Wichita, Kansas is actually sort of a very rich bastion of holistic care options. It’s very, very interesting to me. The Riordan Clinic is there. And the Fetzik’s are there, who are like world renowned for their work with children and their mouths. So they do tongue tie releases. They do myofascial work. They do the ALF device. They do all of that. And I thought; they’re right here. So close. Let’s go to them. We have this world-renowned resource so close by. So I reached out and inquired, and I couldn’t even get in for a consultation for like a year. And I was like; I don’t think I want to wait. 

Because I know, one thing I did learn, was that I didn’t want to wait until my daughter was 11 years old to start dealing with her adult teeth. Because whey the came in; and this is a detour that I feel like I need to take. Her baby teeth were very straight and very tight. And when her adult teeth started coming in, they were very, very crooked. Especially on the bottom. And we had been working with her lower jaw for a long time. A different dentist in Wichita that we had gone to that had put some, I don’t know, resin blobs on a couple of her molars to keep her top jaw from closing over her lower jaw. Which was preventing her lower jaw from coming forward. Which was resulting in sort of a more recessed chin and jaw. We started that pretty early, when her first molars were coming in. 

And something that I had to do was stop trying to figure out why her “issues” were occurring. I had to stop judging myself for something that I did wrong, or something that was my responsibility for why my daughter seemed to need all of this extra dental work so early on. There are just little things that I was just ruminating on constantly. Because I felt like I was the one that was supposed to know, what nutrients you take in and how that helps the development of the palate, and I must have done something wrong or I must have some genetic polymorphism that was keeping me from getting her the nutrients in utero and that’s why her lower jaw was so recessed, and blah, blah, blah. I had to stop doing that. It just was not serving me in any way. And I had to stop feeling like I had done something wrong. 

But at the same time, I wanted to be proactive. Because I know that at that age; 4-5-6 years old, the jaw and the palate are so much more malleable than they are at 11, 12 when kids start getting braces and palate expanders and all of that stuff. So, I wanted to be proactive. And I’m sure, eventually she’ll still have braces, because this is the world we live in. There are multiple things that contribute to that. To the airway, to the dentition, all of that stuff. I’ll talk about it eventually. But I just knew that we wanted to start early.

So rather than waiting a year for a consultation, I found someone a little bit closer, we sat down with within a couple of weeks. Got a plan going. And chose to go ahead and do the ALF device. 

So what the ALF device is, and I’m going to butcher this. But it’s a device that’s basically a retainer, but it goes around the inside of the teeth and the outside. I guess kids teeth are so responsive to this type of therapy that you actually have to have something in the front, too, {laughs} to keep the teeth from overcorrecting, or over adjusting. Which was kind of funny. My husband took her to get her appliances in, on the big day. And she came home, and she had this massive wire across the front of her face, and I was like; what happened?! Because one of the things I had really found appealing about this device is that it was behind the teeth.

But they explained it to me, and all ways good. But what it does. It’s a very hardly perceptible appliance that is in your mouth permanently, unless you go get it removed and adjusted. But it stays in there. And it works with the force of your swallow, and your bite. And just the natural movement of your mouth to very gently sort of push and mold the upper and lower jaws into a better position. And it was really dramatic and incredible. Her baby teeth, especially on the bottom, were coming in extremely crooked. And now, maybe a year or two later. I’ll have to remember what the timeline was. We would go in for adjustments every approximately 6 to 8 weeks, and a little bit closer, 4 to 6 weeks towards the end of the process. She just got it off, by the way. Towards the end of the process.

But now, she’s got all of those new adult teeth in in perfect alignment. There’s room for all of them. They’re totally straight. And they look phenomenal. So she’s still got the gap between her teeth. I mean, she looks like a regular 7-year-old kid with the big adult teeth and it’s really cute. But her teeth are really beautifully aligned now. And it is mind-blowing to see that, and to think back to where we were when she was first losing teeth, and how they were coming in.

So I absolutely had a great experience with it. It’s not covered by insurance, which is unfortunate. I would love it if it was at some point. So we had to pay for the device, and every individual visit. And the investment was probably at least $4-5000 over the course of two years. So that, yeah, is a little bit painful. But I really felt like it was better, in general, to start this work in a more gentle manner rather than wait until she was 11 or 12 and just had to do a bunch of really aggressive work. And potentially doing the same things. 

The thing I liked about the ALF device was that it really was so gentle, and worked behind the scenes with the force of her natural oral motions to accomplish what it did. And the other thing was, there are other ways that are maybe a little bit better. I know there’s myobrace. The myomunchee. There’s all kinds of really great protocols that can help kids, like my daughter. However, I had to be realistic about my ability to police these things. And I know with the myobrace and the myomunchee, they are appliances you have to wear at night. You have to do certain things at certain points during the day. I needed something that was set it and forget it. Not only because I had a brand new newborn, and it was COVID; but just because I knew that one of my toxic personality traits is a lack of follow through on certain things. Especially when I meet resistance. So I didn’t want it to be this fight every single day.

So, I know there are probably things that we could have done differently or better to address whatever the underlying issues have been. Or were. But the way we did it was the best possible option for our family. So I’m grateful for that.

And I will try to find more information and maybe do some kind of an interview with someone who is an expert in this. If anybody out there has a dentist that’s an expert in this appliance, let me know. I’d love to talk to somebody about it. Somebody that’s kind of clued into this kind of holistic space that we live in. I love our dentist, but I’m not sure it’s his; he’s the podcast type. Maybe I’ll find out. He also does a lot of things, besides ALF. So I’ll try and look for an expert. But I would love to hear from you all, or anybody that has experience with this type of thing. Feel free to send me a message. 

Alrighty-rooty. We’ve got a bunch more questions, but we’re looking at like 45 minutes here, so I’m going to move the rest of these to the next Q&A episode, and we’ll talk about top parenting and motherhood resources. Things like that. I’ve got an amazing interview that’s coming out next week. So maybe we can talk about that. I’m doing an interview; I believe it’s next week, with the crew Hannah and Kelty from They’re amazing parenting coaches. And the interview; I’m just so excited to release it. So it’s really, really phenomenal. So look for that.

And then at a certain point, I think we’ll probably talk about things like EMF, airplane mode, intermittent fasting, the Wahl’s protocol, things like that. So that’s what should be coming up over the next couple of weeks, if you stay tuned. 

And that is it, y’all, for episode 31. A big thank you to Arrowhead Mills for making this episode possible. Remember, you can ask me anything by sending me a DM @RealFoodLiz on Instagram. But the best way to ask is to go to That way, your messages don’t get lost in my inbox. 

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

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