Balanced Bites Podcast with Diane Sanfilippo & Liz Wolfe | The Body Awareness Project with Emily Schromm

Podcast Episode #343: The Body Awareness Project with Emily Schromm

Diane Sanfilippo Featured, Paleo and Primal, Podcast Episodes 1 Comment

Balanced Bites Podcast with Diane Sanfilippo & Liz Wolfe | The Body Awareness Project with Emily SchrommTopics

  1. News and updates from Diane [1:57]
    1. 21-Day Sugar Detox Coaches Program
    2. Balanced Bites Master Class opening soon
    3. Balanced Bites Spices
  2. Our guest, Emily Schromm, and something new she's into [5:25]
  3. The Body Awareness Project [10:37]
  4. Quick remedy to get rid of blemishes [18:22]
  5. Blood sugar regulation and skin breakouts [23:26]
  6. Acne scarring and hormonal acne [29:35]
  7. Eczema [35:28]
  8. Tips for regulating hormones [43:52]

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Emily Schromm's Body Awareness Project

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Balanced Bites Podcast with Diane Sanfilippo & Liz Wolfe | The Body Awareness Project with Emily Schromm Balanced Bites Podcast with Diane Sanfilippo & Liz Wolfe | The Body Awareness Project with Emily Schromm Balanced Bites Podcast with Diane Sanfilippo & Liz Wolfe | The Body Awareness Project with Emily Schromm Balanced Bites Podcast with Diane Sanfilippo & Liz Wolfe | The Body Awareness Project with Emily Schromm

You’re listening to the Balanced Bites podcast episode 343.

Diane Sanfilippo: Welcome to the Balanced Bites podcast. I’m Diane; a certified nutrition consultant, and the New York Times bestselling author of Practical Paleo and the 21-Day Sugar Detox Daily Guide. I live in San Francisco with my husband and fur kids. I’m the co-creator of the Balanced Bites Master Class with my podcast partner in crime, Liz, and we’ve been bringing you this award-winning podcast for more than 6 years.

We’re here to share our take on modern paleo living, answer your questions, and chat with leading health and wellness experts. Enjoy this week’s episode, and submit your questions at or watch the Balanced Bites podcast Instagram account for our weekly calls for questions. You can ask us anything in the comments.

Remember our disclaimer: The materials and content within this podcast are intended as general information only, and are not to be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Before we get started, let’s hear from one of our sponsors.

Liz Wolfe: The Balanced Bites podcast is sponsored in part by the Nutritional Therapy Association. The NTA trains and certifies nutritional therapy practitioners and consultants (including me; Liz, I’m an NTP), emphasizing bio-individuality and the range of dietary strategies that support wellness. The NTA emphasizes local, whole, properly prepared nutrient dense foods as the key to restoring balance and enhancing the body’s ability to heal.

The NTA’s nutritional therapy practitioner program and new fully online nutritional therapy consultant program empower graduates with the education and skills needed to launch a successful, fulfilling career in holistic nutrition. To learn lots more about the NTA’s nutritional therapy programs, go to Registration is open for their May NTP and NTC courses, so grab your seat today.

1. News and updates from Diane [1:57]

Diane Sanfilippo: Alright you guys. A couple of quick updates for you. The 21-Day Sugar Detox coaches program enrollment is now closed. So we have had a super strong response; you guys have been really excited about this program; such high demand for it. Though we had to close it out for this year, we typically only have enrollment once a year. But we’re strongly considering reopening it at some point later this year. We don’t have an exact date when at this point, or if it’s certain.

But head over to You can also just surf over to and you’ll find it under coaches. And become a coach. And you’ll see you're able to join the wait list there. We also have the Facebook interest group. We have tons of folks who are asking questions, getting information, and kind of getting ready, just knowing what to be prepared for to come into the program.

So if that sounds like you; if this time just wasn’t for you but you want to definitely get in the next time, make sure you're on that list. You're in the groups. And you know when it’s coming.

Another heads up; the Balanced Bites Master Class is reopening again in June. Class will run during July and August. So if you missed that last year, don’t miss it this year. As you may know, we have both a student and a practitioner track, which will probably be revamping a bit. The practitioner track. So stay tuned for that. But we’ve got a student track.

So if you're somebody who listens to this podcast, and you love getting nerdy, wanting to know more. And if you’ve been considering becoming a nutrition professional, but the idea of investing multiple thousands of dollars, you're just not sure because you don’t know how far you want to go with this stuff. You maybe just want to get your knowledge a little bit more in depth and have a proving ground for the fact that you think you want to do this as a career. The student track is perfect for you. It’s $500, or $497.

So it’s a pretty low investment in terms of what you may do with it in your career. But it’s a very in-depth education. The program is extremely detailed. You will absolutely love it, especially if you love listening to this podcast. You’ll get video, interactive audio information, all kinds of content. It’s just a fantastic program, if I do say so myself. But it’s what Liz and I used to teach in a full day seminar, but expanded and brought to life online. So I think you're absolutely going to love it. Stay tuned for that. But you can always go to to get on the wait list and find out when that opens, as well.

And last but not least, Balanced Bites spices will be coming out very soon; any day now. I just love to keep you guys updated on what’s going on with all of that, and behind the scenes. So when I have them released, I’ll give you guys a little more; I don’t know, peek behind the scenes if you have questions. Happy to answer any of those as best I can. But that’s it for now.

Liz Wolfe: Today’s podcast is sponsored by Vital Choice wild seafood and organics. The leading source of high quality, sustainably sourced wild seafood and a certified B corporation. Spring has sprung, and it’s time for light but powerful paleo-friendly fare. Like omega-3 rich wild seafood and delicious grass-fed meats. For something easy on the go, grab one of their tins of sardines, or some salmon or bison jerky. They’ve got our favorite wild salmon, fish, and shellfish; plus salmon burgers, dogs, bacon, and even organic bone broths. Check it all out at

2. Our guest, Emily Schromm, and something new she’s into [5:25]

Diane Sanfilippo: Alright, you guys. I’m super excited, as we have Emily Schromm back on the show. And before I begin my interview with Emily, let me give you a quick background on her, just in case you're not familiar with her yet.

Emily Schromm is a personal trainer, nutritional therapy practitioner, and entrepreneur helping others empower themselves by way of food and movement. Running online programs at, her other ventures include her backpack turned weight training invention, the EmPack, which she just launched a Kickstarter for a new version of the Nomad EmPack. Her podcast called Meathead Hippie, and her holistic tea line, Herbal Element.

Her most recent focus has been the Body Awareness Project, an educational course and curated box to help heal your skin from the inside out. We’re going to mostly talk about that today. I think you guys are going to absolutely love this episode.

Emily has been on the show twice before, so if you want to hear more from her, and hear about her story. If you missed those episodes, check them out. Episode 322 was the most recent one. We talked about movement, mindset, and a bit about intermittent fasting. And then episode 187, CrossFit, weight lifting, and motivation. That was quite some time ago. But I’m so excited to have Emily back on the show. I just love chatting with friends. Let’s get into my conversation with Emily.

What’s up, Emily! I’m so excited to have you back on the show. I think this is your third time on. At least?

Emily Schromm: I think it is. I feel so VIP. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} I think you are VIP.

Emily Schromm: How are you?

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m great. I’m really excited to chat with you today. We’re going to do a little ice breaker that we like to do before we jump into the meat of the program. But let’s do a little new thing I’m into. What’s a new thing you're into. It can be food related, fitness related, skin care related. Anything; something new that; you could have talked about it before.

Emily Schromm: I think; what did I say last time? I think I said something about bench press.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Emily Schromm: So {laughs} I swear to god, you caught me so off-guard. And right now, I am; what am I into right now? Well I just got all my herbs for the season. Because I have this beautiful house with all these windows. So it’s too soon to put them outside. But it’s the first time I live in a place where they can live inside. Because they have enough sun. So I got 8 different herbs. And it was so funny because I actually did this little Denver 9 News segment with it. And I made them eat the rosemary. And I swear they just looked at me like I was so crazy. But, I’ve been eating rosemary every day. Every time I pass it I just pull a little.

Diane Sanfilippo: Just raw?

Emily Schromm: And just chew on it. Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: Like pine needle action.

Emily Schromm: I know, but it’s like; you kind of wake up. I always think of how smart it’s making me. Or at least I just pretend it’s making me smarter. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: I love that! I’m not sure I would do it, but our 21-Day Sugar Detox people are always looking for breath fresheners that aren’t sweetened. And while we often recommend a mint tea, you know, you can’t always chug down a bunch of mint tea right before you need to talk to somebody. And I feel like chewing on some rosemary. It would be something.

Emily Schromm: {laughs} Yeah! I have some mint too. So maybe mint is a little bit more of a medium. You don’t have to jump right into chewing some rosemary stalk. But I’m a fan. That’s my herbs that I’m into right now.

Diane Sanfilippo: I love it.

Emily Schromm: Do you have herbs?

Diane Sanfilippo: Listen. The level of growing living things or keeping living things alive that I operate at is very, very low.

Emily Schromm: This tree is behind you! This tree is alive.

Diane Sanfilippo: Let me tell you about this tree. It’s a yucca plant. And it’s basically impossible to kill. And I knew that I could take care of it when the tag said something about the range of temperatures and range of potential or water or not that it could handle. It’s pretty much impossible to kill. So it’s awesome. That’s Bart and Lisa, those two.

Emily Schromm: Bart and Lisa! They look so great! {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: So them, and I have some other pothos plants. Everybody listening is like; yes. We’ve heard about Diane’s plants. But these are really hard to kill plants, so I highly recommend them. Although the pothos, I think, if the cat were to chew it, it’s not good for the cat. But he pretty much just stays away from them and just tears up our furniture.

But I’m only good at feeding and watering things that either require very little attention, or basically come cry at me when it’s meal time. Which is what the cat does. So.

Emily Schromm: Aww.

Diane Sanfilippo: So there’s that.

Emily Schromm: And you have Harper. Harper’s a survivor I guess. You’ve got to be a better mother than you're giving yourself credit for.

Diane Sanfilippo: Scott. It’s Scott’s dog.

Emily Schromm: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: So if he’s gone; I actually think I forgot to feed her once. {laughs} She doesn’t do anything if she’s hungry. She literally does nothing, either way. She’s just sleeping and quiet and the best dog ever.

Emily Schromm: She gives you those puppy dog eyes. She’s so cute. I’m so glad I met her in person at the NTA conference!

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. Everyone wrote to us. She was the star of the conference for the 10 minutes that she was in there. That’s awesome.

Emily Schromm: I love it.

3. The Body Awareness Project [10:37]

Diane Sanfilippo: Alright, so we got a ton of questions for you. Which is super fun. And I want you to actually just talk a little bit. The reason that I wanted to bring you back on the show now is because you have this brand new project that you launched recently that I’m a part of as well, as is Liz, my amazing cohost on the podcast. It’s called the Body Awareness Project.

So, why don’t you give folks a little bit of background about what inspired you to create this project. And then we’ll get into some questions that kind of relate to it. Whether loosely or directly, either way. But kind of keeping that focus.

Emily Schromm: Yeah. And it’s so fun, because our recent podcast that we did I was able to talk to you a lot about what body awareness means. And I think it means so much to both of us. It’s what is going wrong in your body, and how can you just acknowledge it, and then pivot and change for your body type. Or for your personality. Or for your goals.

And so, for me when I think about; I’ve done these online programs on Emily Schromm forever. The website that I run. I always give little tidbits of information and it’s fantastic. I give workouts to people. Meal plans to people. But it was never enough. It was kind of just the tip of the iceberg on so many topics. Which I like, because it’s good to mix it up.

But for me, when I think of even why I’m here today. Why I have a career in nutrition and fitness. And why I’m so passionate about changing my body from the inside out, and understanding my organs, and understanding my workouts. I just; the first thing that ever clicked, for me personally, was my skin. I had horrible acne. I hated myself for it. And I think it had so much to do with my own insecurities that took years and years to overcome. I never put them back to my skin, but when you're ashamed of your skin, and it’s the first thing people see, you want to hide. You want to cover yourself up. You want to not exist in so many different ways.

And it was bad. I remember the first time I went to a doctor. I think was 13; 12 or 13. And the pediatrician; I was there for my stomach issues. Which, again, all are connected with the skin. And he said, out of the blue. He looked at my mom and said, “You should put her on birth control for her skin.” And it just crushed me. I remember being like, ugh!

Diane Sanfilippo: Whoa.

Emily Schromm: I’m not even here for skin! You know. I’m here for stomach issues that I can’t figure out. They thought I had ulcers, or they thought I had IBS and put me on Metamucil. That was all they could give me. They didn’t even mention foods, and food intolerances. And then to say something about my skin. So it was always at a very young age something I was so aware of.

I was on Proactiv for so long. I remember bleaching my towels and all the things I owned with Proactiv. I remember just picking and poking and putting on all these prescription creams that dermatologists had recommended. My skin was just thin, and falling off, and irritated. And then covering it up with makeup. And I never knew how to put on makeup, because I was such a tomboy. I just hated it. I hated who I was.

So for me to finally realize that the things that I’m doing on my skin, the things I’m eating, and the way that my gut is is directly impacting my acne; it was like, wow. This is my body awareness moment. This is where I just connected the dots, and this is where my life will forever be changed.

Diane Sanfilippo: Amen, sister! We were just talking before we started recording for this show about how I have many photos of my skin that; you know, I didn’t have throughout my adolescent years. I definitely had acne. It was definitely always; “How many things am I covering up on my face today.” It was never cystic or just so red.

We had a bunch of kids in my class that; you know. They were the ones that really had it bad. And that was; it was like, it would never go away. At least, that’s how it looked. It was just, that was the lot they drew somehow. Which hopefully that’s not the case today for them. But I remember not feeling that out of the ordinary with the level of acne that I had. And then the older I got, I felt like; am I really still dealing with this?

And even now. I still do get some now and then that pop up that; basically if I eat food that’s from a restaurant that has seed oils. But that awareness, like you're saying. At least I know exactly what causes it. Because for the most part at home now, after changing my food, working on my gut, and changing the products that I’ve been using, my skin is totally different. And if you're listening and you’ve never had problem skin, you don’t know how it feels to walk out of your house and feel like everyone is staring at the red things on your face all the time.

Emily Schromm: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: And truthfully, for those of you dealing with it. Most other people aren’t really staring at it.

Emily Schromm: I know! They’re not! They’re not at all.

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s kind of an overall thing. They might notice that it’s there. But nobody else really cares. But it is something that, until it clears up and you get that moment of reprieve, you're like; oh my gosh, I never thought this day would come. And for me to leave the house without makeup, or just like a tinted moisturizer with SPF, just because I want the SPF. That is so liberating. And it’s just unbelievable.

You can’t really explain it to someone, and I know that you and I agree that if we can get a handful of women and men, if they would like, but mostly women. To have the experience where they figure out what works for them as a result of something that we share, and get to feel that moment and have that clarity on their skin. It’s, honestly, life changing. And it seems grand to say that. But it’s true. It really is.

Emily Schromm: No, it is life changing. And there’s two points. The first one, it’s exactly what you said. You know that the restaurant that you're going to might cause a flareup. And for me, just understanding; “Oh, my skin broke out. I accidentally had dairy. That’s why,” And I’m instantly ok. I’m ok that my skin broke out, because I understand the reason why.

But if you don’t know why, and you’re just in this downward spiral of doubting everything. It’s like you have no control. And just to understand the triggers, and accept that; ok, my skin will never be flawless. But I know how to make it the best it possibly can be. And when I do have a breakout, I can understand why. And that was all that I needed. I needed some answers of why my skin was breaking out. And then I had control of what I did and didn’t eat and what I did and didn’t consume. And supplements that I took that I knew would help or hurt.

I’m telling you; I need to send you all of them so far. But the best one that; we just launched like 30 days ago. So it’s kind of the first round of 30 days of the project and seeing the results. And it was so cool to see a post that this lady just made. She was dreading this wedding that she was in because she didn’t want someone to put makeup on her face. And she didn’t want someone to touch it. And she was so self-conscious about it.

She said she’s so thrilled about the results of how clear it’s gotten, and she feels so confident being able to get her makeup on. Because she used to hide people touching her skin. And I so relate to that. All these shoots on; gah, my reality TV shows, when they’d put makeup on. I wanted to hide. I didn’t want anyone to look or touch my skin. So, it’s just really cool, some of the products that have been in the box. And I just can’t wait to see more and more.

4. Quick remedy to get rid of blemishes [18:22]

Diane Sanfilippo: I love it. So we have a lot of questions about acne, and blemishes, and our experience as well as our expertise that we may have about some of these. So let’s go through some of them. And I’m going to actually keep them anonymous. Most of them are Instagram handles anyway, but I’m just going to read out the question.

So, one of them says, “I know what causes my breakouts for the most part. But I would love to hear if Emily has any effective/nontoxic remedies for getting rid of blemishes quickly when they do come up.”

Emily Schromm: Yeah, so my favorites have been. And it’s so cool because actually a product in the box is called Clearity. And I created it because, along with one of my ambassadors, Lorraine, she has an oil company. And I was like; there’s no blemish treatment. I’m always with my essential oils, and with my witch hazel. I’m experimenting if I have something that comes up. How do I get rid of this tomorrow? Because what I used to do was that Proactiv sulfur mask, because it worked so well. But the ingredients are horrible. So I couldn’t ever figure out a replacement.

So what I did is I found a combination of witch hazel, tea tree oil, frankincense. And those three do really, really well. And I actually do sometimes play around with any sort of sulfur. You can actually do sulfur if it’s coming from a good source. And you can make your own bentonite clay masks out of it. And it’s really easy to kind of spot treatment. But I find the most effective treatment is usually witch hazel and tea tree oil.

Diane Sanfilippo: I love that. I’m going throw in what works for my skin lately. If I have something that’s popping up, and I want to just calm the inflammation. I wouldn’t say the next day there’s no sign of a pimple. It’s just, instead of it getting worse it kind of retreats and it feels less inflamed and less painful.

So, the Beautycounter charcoal mask. It’s really attractive to wear overnight. This grey-black dot. One time I left the house still with a little bit on a spot. And my friend I was with, I was like; why didn’t you tell me? She was like, well we weren’t going to see anyone and I didn’t think you’d care! {laughs} I was like, I’d like to wash that off before I leave the house.

Emily Schromm: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: But a little bit on my pinky, and I’ll just dab it on. And I’ll do that even over anything else I might use. I’ve used the coffee bean serum, as well, from Primal Life Organics. And I think it’s worth trying all of these things. You were saying there’s this one product that’s in the Body Awareness Project box that’s specific for it. And try that. And then if, for your pimples that doesn’t seem to work, keep trying things. I know it’s so frustrating, but it’s just like food intolerance. Everyone’s skin does respond to things differently. And when you find what works for you and your skin, keep it in your cabinet. Because when you need it.

So sometimes I will use a coffee bean serum because I think the caffeine helps a little bit. Mine are always just very inflammatory. They’re red, and they’re painful. And I’m like; you need to go away now. {laughs} So I put that stuff on.

Emily Schromm: Yes! Especially when I have dairy. That’s where it really hits the typical hormonal spots. Like that jawline. Those are the worst. And they’re so painful and deep. So I’ve just; I love, like the other day, I had a photoshoot. And I was like; oh my god! It was on the side of my nose, and painful, and you can feel it. And you're like, what? Why? Because stress. And skin. And of course.

I did two or three times, just squeezing a little tiny bit in an out with tea tree oil. Not squeezing hard, but just a little dab. And it was gone. I was like; thank you, earth, for giving me this tea tree oil. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: I definitely; I used to use tea tree oil a lot, as well, and I haven’t in a while. I should definitely try it again. I think it’s a little bit more like an antiseptic, right?

Emily Schromm: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: So if there’s any kind of infected.

Emily Schromm: Infection or, yeah. Any sort of wound or any sort of bacterial infection it’s fantastic. And it’s good to have a carrier oil, because it is so potent. So all essential oils, one drop is so many plants. {laughs} So just remember that. That’s why it’s good to mix with other things. And figuring out the oil to mix it with; that’s what we talk about a lot in the course. Some people’s skin; this is what’s so cool. When you put an oil on your skin, whether it’s a moisturizer or not. Sometimes it just feels like it stays oily.

But what you want, and this was the herbalist that was in the course. It should suck in. In 5 minutes, it shouldn’t feel oily. Your skin should draw it in. So if you're putting certain oils on your face that tend to just stay oily, it’s usually a sign that it’s not a good oil for you. Or it’s not a good carrier oil for you. So it’s so fun to figure out.

Some people, coconut oil might work and some people it stays there. Like coconut oil. For me, I do really well with tamanu oil, which is a really great way to mix with tea tree oil. And you just put a little on and it’s great.

5. Blood sugar regulation and skin breakouts [23:26]

Diane Sanfilippo: I love that. OK, so we have one question that says, “I’ve heard acne is diabetes of the skin. Tips on how to structure meals, and snacks to keep blood sugar in balance. I notice breakouts when I consume higher glycemic foods or super starchy carbs. But I’m breastfeeding, so maybe I should go for higher fat. It’s all so confusing. Is that what an NTP or NTC does; help come up with meal plans?” I love that.

Emily Schromm: Yeah, so I think with. So the question is, is blood sugar related to skin. Yes, absolutely. I think any time you're creating insulin in your body, it’s directly related to basically sebum production in your skin. So, when you have these up and down rollercoasters of blood sugar.

And I think, honestly, controlling blood sugar is the root of everything.

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s primary to so many things, for sure.

Emily Schromm: Yes. So let’s help with insulin, let’s help with stress. And those two components are intertwined. Because when we’re more stressed, we’re more likely to crave sugar and get on that roller coaster ride.

So I think regardless of skin or not, when you're looking at weight loss. When you're looking at inflammation; which again, is skin related. How can we control blood sugar and how can we just keep our body healthy in so many ways? So I think period is the mission statement below; high fat diets control insulin. You don’t need insulin when you eat more fat.

So I think it’s just; how can we stop these spikes of blood sugar and drops of blood sugar. And yes, we want carbs. Especially if you're breastfeeding. Especially if you're a mom and you're active. It’s not saying don’t eat any carbs. But when you do have those carbs, make sure they’re paired with other macronutrients so it’s not such a spike in blood sugar and a drop in blood sugar.

So, if you have sweet potato. We’re eating it with ghee on top and this salmon next to it. Or if you're going to have gluten free bread even, which I think can be really great. Or gluten free oatmeal. You're going to pair it with something like adding almond nut butter, or peanut butter in it. Even a scoop of collagen protein to make it a little bit more stable and less drastic of an insulin spike.

So, my favorite way to control blood sugar is eating more fat. It’s also making sure you're digesting those fats. And that’s so appropriate for; anybody that’s an NTP or NTC knows that. Fat digestion is so integral into keeping your gut happy, and your skin happy.

But also I think it’s really about; I think a lot of women. It’s just a B-complex deficiency. So getting a good multivitamin. Whether that has a little chromium in it, and some B-complex vitamins. We’re always running through those quickly. So, that’s kind of my third step. Finding a B-complex that’s full of the nutrients you need to help keep blood sugar under control.

Diane Sanfilippo: I definitely have seen people who go through a 21-Day Sugar Detox, and they’re maybe in the beginning changes. Because their hormones are actually rebalancing as a result of getting rid of the sugar, their skin can freak out a little bit. And then it tends to normalize as they get through the program and then beyond that.

I will say this, too. If she’s eating starchier foods, this is something that Robb Wolf talked about in Wired to Eat. It’s worth testing if you do better with more fruit instead of more potatoes. Because you may actually find that your body feels better with fruit than potatoes. Or vice versa. Or maybe rice works for you. And fruit doesn’t. So different types of carbohydrates really feel different for different people.

If I do bananas, I feel so tired. I cannot do bananas. I think we had; I don’t know if we had a smoothie or something. Or a frozen banana on vacation. And I was like; I feel exhausted. But some rice or gluten free bread, I didn’t feel that way. So everyone’s a little bit different.

Emily Schromm: It’s crazy.

Diane Sanfilippo: I know, isn’t that nuts? I think it’s important to just remember, partially. Of course, balancing that stuff out so that you're not just eating a whack of carbohydrate at once without the fat and protein to balance it. But also what type is it, and how does that feel for you. I think that can be really helpful. And not being afraid of the carbs, but kind of keeping that stuff in check. Because she’s for sure eating too much sugar.

Usually when you get more to a paleo diet, it doesn’t happen as much with “sugar” or carbs from a paleo type of diet. Or even if you're eating some gluten free stuff that’s just; you're not having it every day all the time. Because when we get more over to real food, our blood sugar tends to regulate. When we were eating tons of the carbs before, and it was with sugar, and with poor quality oils, and no nutrients. So B vitamins and minerals, to your point. Which we need to metabolize carbohydrate, are so depleted when we’re not eating them with our carbs. So all of that plays together. And just testing them I think would help her out, too.

Emily Schromm: Yeah. I think it’s interesting, because a lot of people live on smoothies. Or they go long periods of time without meals. And just being conscious of eating real food; they tend to naturally stabilize blood sugar because they’re not just chugging a smoothie, or eating to eat. They understand the importance of sitting down and eating a meal with all the macros that we kind of want.

So yes, I’m always envious of your big ass salads, because it’s so good for people to see. By the way. How substantial meals should be when you eat a salad. I think people think, still in my audience. A salad equals a boring salad that’s not going to fill you.

Diane Sanfilippo: Light.

Emily Schromm: Yes, light. It’s like a very filling salad, so.

Diane Sanfilippo: Well, come on. You know I do not mess around.

Emily Schromm: {laughing} I love it.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m like; what else. We’re opening the fridge; what else can we put on here. {laughs}

Emily Schromm: Yes. So fun. It’s like a little experiment.

6. Acne scarring and hormonal acne [29:35]

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, I’m into it. Ok, here’s a cool question. “What’s the deal with chin acne? Any reason in particular for acne around the mouth and chin? Also, any tips for acne scarring?”

Emily Schromm: Yeah. So with scarring, I’ll start with that. I think, I’m excited for a couple more additions to the box that are happening, actually, by the time this releases. Really great humans that have had such horrible scarring, and basically revitalizing the skin from the inside out. Whether that’s vitamin C, whether that’s vitamin E, and tons of collagen. Whether that’s through Vital Proteins, shakes, or whether that’s through bone broth. There’s so many ways to get and increase collagen in your body if you do have a lot of scarring. Those are some very baseline nutrients that can help with, if you have some cystic acne scars.

But I do think with the first part, with chin, with mouth. It usually is a hormonal imbalance. Obviously that can mean so many things. Which is why the course is so important for me. Because there’s no one answer. And I think that’s annoying for people. But someone’s acne on my right side might just be food allergy related. Or food intolerance related. Somebody on the left side, it could be 100% that they have estrogen dominance. And then the next person would be they have too much testosterone.

So I think it’s trying to figure out where that hormone imbalance is. For me, I think when I have dairy, I think it’s actually hormones in dairy that cause that hormonal response. So that jawline that we talked about. But for most people that I see, it’s usually an increase in testosterone, or androgens. So how do we, as women, try to balance that out naturally? And just give your liver support to clear it, period. So lots of ways to figure out which one is you, and where you can go from that point.

Diane Sanfilippo: That was definitely what happened to me, eating cow dairy. Not so much just my chin. But I know you were signaling to this area. Kind of the lower cheek area. Not really high cheek bone, not really near the eyes. But really from where I would have a contour line if I had that. {laughs} And down to the chin. And for me, I get what I call vampire bites, because it’s right under my ear. Which is fine, because I just do a little pull my hair in, nobody can see it. But, that happens.

Emily Schromm: I get mine right here, like on my throat. It’s like, right under. You can’t really see them, but you can feel them. And you feel like everyone can see them.

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s very painful, the skin there is thinner. So to your point about it being hormonal, even though it’s in response to food. Absolutely. If it’s dairy it can definitely be a hormonal response. And, this can happen also with nuts and seeds and seed oils. It’s not a food allergy the way we think of a response to the protein. It can be a response to the inflammatory fats in the seeds and oils.

So I don’t know if you have looked into or done seed cycling ever. I’ve never done it. I’m familiar with it a little bit. And I know people are really into it, so maybe I’ll get someone to come on the show and talk about it I guess. Neither of us are experts on seed cycling.

Emily Schromm: Yeah, tell me!

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m sure we’ll have listeners who are like; yup, I’ve done it. It’s a way throughout the course of your cycle. And actually Dr. Jolene Brighten, who I was telling you about. She’s been on the show before. We didn’t talk about seed cycling, but I noticed she was doing it in her Instagram stories recently. It’s where throughout the course of your menstrual cycle you will, for that week, focus on getting in different seeds, depending on what their fatty acid profile is like.

So whether it’s flax or chia or sunflower or whatever it’s going to be.

Emily Schromm: Pumpkin, maybe?

Diane Sanfilippo: Because we know that at different times, actually getting more omega-6 from something like borage oil or evening primrose can be helpful. And we wouldn’t normally think to increase that pro-inflammatory fat. But in specific cases, it’s helpful in rebalancing what’s going on with our body.

So, it’s interesting, because for me I definitely notice when I eat foods from restaurants that are probably using seed oils, because they’re pretty much all using them. Unless it’s Hu Kitchen or this place, Little Gem that we eat at here, doesn’t use seed oils. It’s like; they’re all using them. So I will get those vampire bites right under my ear. It’s like these two little pimples that come back. And it’s a hormonal response. But it is to the food that I’ve eaten. So it’s very interesting.

And if you're experiencing something that sounds like that, and you're eating tons of almond butter; put down the almond butter. Let’s see what happens. Because I think people will notice that that does help a lot.

Emily Schromm: That’s a good point. I’m going to dig into seed cycling. Because I wonder if there’s a specific time. Because I’ve been nerding out about pumpkin seed helping with DHT conversion. Which is the ultimate if you have higher androgens, that conversion rate, why is it creating problems for females. Or even men. Premature balding and all that. So pumpkin seed oil. I’m going to dig into that. Because I want to know what time of cycle that would be best for.

Diane Sanfilippo: And I bet the fatty acid profile plus pumpkin seed is rich in zinc, so that might be some more support. Having that mineral support. Because I know we all could probably use a lot more minerals all around.

Ok, so there’s different categories of skin questions here. So let me see what else I can jump into.

Emily Schromm: These are great questions everybody. You have some great listeners.

7. Eczema [35:28]

Diane Sanfilippo: They are great. Ok, so one says, “I’d love to hear you guys talk about eczema. Is it allergies, gut health, fabrics, toxins, treatments? Where is it coming from? Do we know?”

Emily Schromm: You know, I think all of it is gut related. I think there are so many things that you can help with our body when it comes to detergents and fabrics. Even, obviously cosmetics. But even shampoos and conditioners and fumes that we’re smelling. Obviously all that can help. But I think healing the gut; I’ve just seen so many great results from starting there.

So what does that even look like, with eczema. I think for so many people it just means figuring out what those food intolerances are. Do they have any pathogens? And how can they heal the gut without just sometimes taking bone broth? Bone broth sometimes isn’t enough, and shots of apple cider vinegar sometimes aren’t enough. So working with a practitioner to see; ok, where is my gut. Do I bloat? Do I burp? Do I have weird stools? Have I had weird stools forever? And if so, maybe a stool test is where I could go from that point.

And if it’s not gut related, then really going through. I love using Think Dirty app. I love looking at different products and seeing; ok, how much does this disrupt my skin? Even if it says natural, is it actually natural? Are there ways it could be interrupting my hormone imbalance. Or could my skin be reacting to it? So I always think internal. And with internal, is also potentially some liver. So maybe just some detox support would be helpful, too. But it never hurts to just look at the products that are around you.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, it’s definitely. People ask me a lot about eczema when they ask for Beautycounter recommendations, for example. And it’s a tricky one, because the root cause can be so delicate. And to your point, for most people there will be a gut related issue. But it’s like; what’s causing that that’s very hard to pin down sometimes.

So, figuring out first of all. I love to tell people to actually eliminate a lot of products that they’re using from the beginning just to start peeling that stuff back. And this is something I’ve talked to Liz about a bunch when I have people ask me about eczema or redness on their skin. She has always recommended to me to have them use as few products as possible, and then go really slowly. Just to make sure none of them are exacerbating the problem. And using things that are very gentle, or slightly more inert.

So something like the cleansing balm from Beautycounter. It does have vitamin C in it, but it’s something that’s very; it doesn’t have a ton of intense actives that are irritating. But it somehow works magically for almost every skin type. We all are like; this is amazing. Because it’s just calming to the skin.

So those things can be helpful. And you know, what’s going on in detergents and everything around you can exacerbate the problem. I don’t know that it usually causes it, because it is an internal issue.

So to your point, also about liver detox. To this listener, if you have a copy of Practical Paleo, second edition. Which if you don’t, all of you listening, if you don’t have it, you're going to want to get it now. Even though I told you to get a year and a half ago. {laughing}

Emily Schromm: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Because I knew this was going to come up more and more. There are two meal plans in the book that address a lot of this. One is for healthy hormones, and one is for liver detox. So reading about different foods you can eat that contain different nutrients that are supportive. Or just different lifestyle tips that can be helpful. You really never know when there’s one tip.

For me, cow dairy. Realizing it was as specific as cow dairy for the most part. And then escalating to things like seed oils, or whatever. That nuance of something so specific when going paleo I would eliminate all dairy. And then it was like; ok, I didn’t really need to go that far. Actually I can do ghee as long as it’s super clarified and there’s no dairy proteins. And I can do goat and sheep dairy without any issues.

So for all of us, it’s so tricky. Because there isn’t ever a one-size fits all answer. And to your point, Emily. Sometimes, we eat the cheese anyway, you know? Because we know what’s going to happen. But I think when it comes to eczema, just knowing that it is still so different for everyone. But I would take a very delicate scale back the products as much as possible approach. And then start slowly introducing some things. And then using some apps is good. I also like the Skin Deep app from the Environmental Working Group. That one is great. That can be really helpful as well, to see.

I’ve had a lot of people come to me, and they say they have done the work. And they’ve looked at ingredients. They’re using products that will list the ingredients, which is critical. If you have issues with eczema or any skin issues, I wouldn’t use any products that you can’t find what the ingredients are. Whether it’s right on the package or on the website. Sometimes the packages are tiny so it’s hard to fit it all.

And that doesn’t mean that ingredients that might be synthetic are harmful. It just means you need to know what’s in it, so that you can find the common thread if you're finding this one ingredient keeps appearing over and over in every product you try with that ingredient just doesn’t work for you. I think that’s a great amount of detective work, but it is helpful for so many people because they’ll write to me, and they’ll be like, “I know I can’t use products with XYZ ingredient, so what else can I use.” I’m like, great. At least we have an elimination starting point, you know?

Emily Schromm: Yeah. And it’s just crazy to me. And it’s just so simple. And your listeners know this. But Liz and I talked about this in the course for the Body Awareness Project. Fragrance. It’s so common. It’s in everything. And it’s just so unidentified. They can just say fragrance, and it seems so innocent. But it can be one of the most harmful things that we put on our skin. So just even starting with that is a great place to start.

Like, what is the fragrance coming from? Is it coming from the word fragrance, or is it coming from an essential oil? And that’s a very big difference. That’s such an easy change that could be really helpful if you're trying to find your trigger, and your irritants.

Diane Sanfilippo: I kind of make the analogy that fragrance is to personal care as natural flavors are to food. And sometimes natural flavors is not hiding something bad. Sometimes it’s just proprietary. And the same may be true currently of the word fragrance. But I think more and more companies know that that’s a negative buzzword, so they want to disclose what’s actually adding any kind of scent to their product.

Most of the really great products, like what Beautycounter does. It’s always some kind of naturally occurring citrus or flower smell or whatever it is. It’s actually used in the product for a purpose, and then it has a scent as well.

Emily Schromm: And that’s what’s so cool about it, right? It’s like, this is from nature. It’s real. And when you put it on your face. And I get this all the time with some of the products in the box. It smells good. It feels good. It responds to your skin and to your system in a different way than just an off-the-shelf product. And I think that’s huge. What is your experience when you're washing your face? Yes, you're thinking I hope this works. But if you're just breathing it in and feeling kind of good, that’s a good thing. That’s a really good sign that that’s a good product, or it’s a really natural product.

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8. Tips for regulating hormones [43:52]

Diane Sanfilippo: Alright, we have a couple of questions about hormones. So here’s one. It says; “I would love to hear your favorite tips for regulating your hormones naturally; either through diet and/or supplements. I’m currently on BHRT progesterone, and responded super poorly to even miniscule amounts of estrogen and testosterone. But my body still shows signs of needing both. Lots of body aches, join pain, zero sex drive, dry skin, insomnia. Any help is much appreciated.”

Emily Schromm: Man, that’s a heavy question. Because I think all of us have some sort of hormone disruption. It’s just so common. So for me, I think, especially with progesterone levels, that’s probably the most common I see. Too much estrogen. I don’t even like saying estrogen dominance, just progesterone deficiency. So regulating progesterone can actually be really easy, as far as what herbs are actually available. Vitex berry, chaste tree, which is the same thing. And also peony root can be really helpful as far as just getting progesterone to be regulated. You just have to be very consistent with it.

So the hormone balance tea that I have for Herbal Element was basically for increasing progesterone and helping decrease the conversion of testosterone to DHT. So the other piece is; is it that you have no testosterone at all? Are we really depleted? That’s usually a bigger issue. If it’s just the conversion rate of it going the wrong way, then licorice can be fantastic. I love licorice.

I love saw palmetto. Everyone knows; if you say to guys, “saw palmetto” they think instantly prostate. It’s like connected to prostate. But for the same reason as why women need it if we have too much testosterone going the wrong way, converting the wrong way, we get all the symptoms of aggression and premature balding and excess facial hair. Hair growth that’s really just not pleasant to have. So those are two things that I love, because there’s natural herbs to help with it.

And then for estrogen, if there’s just no estrogen at all, there’s of course dong quai and all these really beautiful Chinese herbs. But I almost think this is a bigger issue of adrenal and pituitary. So if you're really depleted in hormones, there’s so much research about that pituitary and adrenal pathway and how you can support the stress in your life, and how you can support the pituitary. Herbs are not, unless you can get to the root of that issue.

So sometimes that’s seeing; do you need something like a pituitary glandular? Which is intense, and you need to be with a practitioner to see if that’s for you. But if hormones are really depleted, or you check your DHEA levels and your DHEA levels are really low, that’s a sign of chronic stress. And that’s something that you're going to have to really work with a practitioner on to make sure you can regulate and get those hormones to where they’re supposed to be.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yes. Amen. I’m flipping through Practical Paleo, second edition. Because again, I’m going to point you guys to the healthy hormones meal plan. Because a lot of what Emily is talking about is touched on in here. I don’t get into a lot of slightly more controversial supplements. Where I would be nervous for someone to even dabble. So I usually don’t recommend things that; like melatonin will be no where in my book. Even if, for some people, a little bit here and there might be helpful with sleep. I just wouldn’t make a broad sweeping statement about it.

But, one thing I note in the healthy hormones plan is; to follow this if you’ve already done the adrenal health plan. Because really getting your hormones in check, especially today. I can speak from experience, too. As soon as my stress level rises, my hormones take a hit. Especially as we get older. I’m almost 40. And that’s so weird to me, because I’m like; we’re peers, aren’t we? Nope.

Emily Schromm: We are. We are. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: #notamillennial. That’s going to be my new hashtag, once I’m 40. In case anyone was wondering. Literally surrounded by millennials. But I love you guys.

So the adrenal health plan in Practical Paleo also really addresses the foundations of diet and lifestyle, and looking at what are we doing in our every day life that is pushing our stress response in a way that we’re not happy with?

And frankly, this is going to be really interesting to you, Emily. I have to, at this stage, be careful with how quickly I introduce higher intensity exercise. Because I notice that, although this isn’t great for my overall health. But my stress level was so high last year, just writing a new book. It gives me so much anxiety. You know; I do it. I’m bold. I’ll put myself out there. But the process is hard. It’s really challenging. It’s very nerve wracking. And I think we all have that with different things in our lives that we care about. And I think pretty much any parent is probably dealing with this all the time. So if you have kids, this is pretty much you. Ok? I’m talking to you.

But I felt like I was dealing with an adrenal system; stress system, adrenal gland injury, in a sense. My adrenals weren’t injured. But I felt like my HPA axis was so off that any little bit of stress I would try and introduce with a workout, I was so tired. I could not do it. I would try and go into the gym, and I was just like; I have zero energy for this. And it was actually making my skin breakout more. And my skin cleared up more when I actually wasn’t working out for months. I was just dealing with the stress of the book writing. And that was enough. Any stress on top of that would have broken me out.

So, I talk about things like alcohol, caffeine, high intensity exercise, exposure to too much blue light and bright light throughout the day. I have a little light on in this room, but mostly I have daylight coming in. Toxic relationships and toxic people I think are so important to get out of your life. Because the amount of stress that that causes you internally, that you may or may not be fully aware of, is high.

And I think as women, I don’t know how physiologically this will be connected, but emotionally, it happens. If we’re surrounded by people, especially if it’s supposed to be our partner, who is not supportive or might be abusive in some way or just somehow not right for us, then that cause so many physical symptoms that we will never get to the root of until we remove that person from our lives. And that is hard to hear. Because it’s true. And I’m sure there’s somebody listening who is like; oh, shoot. I did not want to hear that this hormonal acne will go away when this toxic person is out of my life, and I dump this person that has been horrible to me. Or we just don’t work together. Whatever.

And I do talk about cleaning products and other products that you're using, as well. But you guys can check out those plans in the book. And I think that; often, especially as women, we’re looking for this expert opinion. And this is kind of coming back to your point about the Body Awareness Project. We’re looking for this expert opinion from the outside. And I think a lot of times, we’re looking for the supplement, or the food, or the whatever product. It’s really hard to take that macrolevel view.

If someone were to come to me, and they kind of were telling me their story, and their problem is the acne but in their story, I’m hearing all of the stress in their life. It’s like, I could give you this mask, but really needs to happen is the entire situation in your life needs to change so that then the system can relax and the cortisol can drop and the hormones can regulate and your skin can clear up.

And that’s also true of the gut. High stress is going to push leaky gut, too. So it’s like all this stuff is connected. Which is hard! It’s hard to hear.

Emily Schromm: I know. It is hard. Especially because from my background, I didn’t understand why working out more might make my stress higher. But when I was drinking more caffeine to actually get into the gym, and have the energy to do the workout. And then I was working out, increasing my testosterone even more.

So I was pushing myself in this paradigm of; I already have low progesterone. Because I was on birth control for 13 years. I already have tendencies to go higher androgens. And then I’m just exacerbating it with the things that go along with high intensity exercise, and working out more. And then having no energy, exactly what you said, with the adrenal complex.

It’s like; ok, if you're walking out of a gym. And this is a great; because we talked about this extensively with our last podcast. If in 8 minutes you're moving and you feel like it’s getting worse, there’s no wake up and; oh yeah, I’m glad I got to the gym. This feels good! If that doesn’t happen after 8 minutes, then you need to just go stretch and walk away. Or go sit in the sauna. Because I think there’s always this ability of; there’s getting there. Of course it’s wonderful to get people to get into the gym. And sometimes just starting is what they need. But there’s a point where that backfires. And it’s like; just pushing yourself through this is actually exacerbating the problem. Whether it’s hormonal, adrenals, weight loss, or even, what’s crazy, is with your acne. So yeah, I think all the points you said were wonderful.

Diane Sanfilippo: You guys, that is going to be it for this show. Emily, what else do you want to tell people about the Body Awareness Project before we wrap it up? Just tell them where to find it. Where they can see more. And learn more about it.

Emily Schromm: Yeah. I’m so lucky because with this project, it’s like I can never be an expert in all things skin. So I was so lucky to have the 9 experts, and hopefully some bonus experts coming on soon, just always increasing the content and making sure it’s the best skincare course that exists.

So it’s an educational skin course with over 10 hours of content from guests like Liz and Diane. And other NTPs, NTCs, and doctors, and estheticians, and herbalists. And then also, for me I get frustrated with anything that I sign up for when I feel like; ok, I’m learning, but where do I even start? So I wanted to put all of the things that really were pivotal for me and for the people that I interviewed, for them to feel the effects of their skin changing. So I put it all in a box. So it’s a course plus a box. As soon as it comes to your house, you can start on your skin healing journey and body awareness journey.

All of it is on And then also the Instagram is Body Awareness Project. So instead of the “the”. Which is a very long name! {laughs} But I just love it. Because I want it to be; how can I get you guys to understand your body and be aware of your body. And this project; for me, we are works in process. We’re always going to be our own project. We’re never going to get this end goal of perfection. It’s just every day learning something new and becoming the best version of yourself. So I really love the word project for this new thing that we’re doing together.

Diane Sanfilippo: I love it. Alright you guys, that’s is all for today. You can find me, Diane, at You can find Emily at And the Body Awareness Project at or on Instagram, as she said at Body Awareness Project. Don’t forget to join our email lists for free goodies and updates you don’t find anywhere else on our websites or even on the podcast. While you’re on the internet, leave us an iTunes review. We’ll see you next week.

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