Friday, July 21, 2017

Woo Hoo, I did it!

I'm very proud to say that I passed my Functional Medicine exam and am now certified as a Functional Medicine Practitioner!

Here's a video about my school filmed last fall.

Last year I completed the coursework to become a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner. This allows me to help you find the root cause of your dis-ease so that you can become your own best advocate. After all, no one knows your body better than you do. To quote Dr. Jeffrey Bland,  the Father of Functional Medicine,
"The origin of the disease is always unique." 
This I know for sure. Ten clients could have the same diagnosis and have ten different root causes. So how do we expect that one pill is going to reverse illness and rebuild health? It doesn't. It will merely mask the symptoms so you feel better and hope that your body heals itself. Hence the title of this blogpost Healing From Within.
"Your body's self healing and self repairing, if you can just get out of your own way." 
Functional Diagnostic testing helps you do that. So does the D.R.E.S.S. for Success Program addressing Diet, Rest, Exercise, Stress reduction and Supplementation customized to you after identifying your HIDDEN stressors. Together, we identify Stressors caused by imbalances in your Hormones, Immune system, Diet, Detoxification capacity, Energy production and Nervous system.  We then use fundamental principles to rebuild health.

So what is Functional Medicine? This is the evolution of medicine. I can't tell you how many of my clients see multiple physicians, and have multiple diagnoses and labels, each given multiple medications, to manage their dis-ease.

In my former clinic, I would see patients with Crohn's disease, or stomach cancer, or iron deficiency anemia (and witness) not one physician (from well known institutions) recommending a change in diet to alleviate symptoms. One of my favorite patients had had 5 bowel resections and had been bleeding for 10 years requiring regular iron infusions and b12 shots. I asked him if anyone had suggested he go on a gluten free diet. He replied
"No, but I've read about that and have considered it myself." 
I gave him my Kick-Start to Wellness Guidebook with recipes and 3 weeks later received an email from him. For the first time in 10 years he stopped bleeding and his hematocrit and hemoglobin (H&H) blood levels rose. H&H measures the amount of oxygen in your blood, when low you may get a diagnosis of iron deficiency anemia. A prime example of how health begins in the gut.

To quote the Institute of Functional Medicine,
"Functional Medicine asks how and why illness occurs and restores health by addressing the root cause of disease for each individual."
How many times have you gone to the doctor, received a diagnosis and a prescription drug and told to just exercise more and lose weight?  What's wrong with this picture? First of all, if it were as simple as this, you would have done it already. A Functional Medicine Practitioner helps you uncover the hidden internal and external stressors that is keeping you stuck.

In fact, most of my clients need to do just the opposite. Most need to exercise less and eat more healthy fat. This is not a typo. Despite the recent hoopla on the news, coconut oil does have benefit and (healthy) fat will not make you fat. Understanding that cholesterol is the essential precursor to your sex and metabolic hormones as well as the lining of your cellular membranes is key to changing these old medical myths.

So in a nutshell, this is what I do. I help you uncover what your unique body needs. We then co-create a plan to replete digestive and nutritional insufficiencies, eliminate hidden internal and external toxins, and help you prioritize you so your unique body will do what it naturally does...heal from within.

Carpe Diem and enjoy this glorious weekend!

With Love & Gratitude,

Lisa Jackson,

About Lisa Jackson RN, CHC, RYT-500, FDN-P, AFMC
Lisa is an author, inspirational speaker and a functional medicine coach with a mission to inspire, educate, and empower, clients towards optimal wellbeing.

She is the former Executive Director of the Integrative Wellness Program for the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.

Lisa's book, Savvy Secrets: Eat, Think and Thrive outlines her seven-step process towards optimal health that is fun and transformational.

Lisa is part of the Functional Forum and Evolution of Medicine, the New Self Health Movement and the founder of the Wellness Inspired Network and Carpe Diem Wellness. When she is not coaching, speaking or writing, you can find her practicing yoga and joyfully sharing Carpe Diem Dance.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Morning rituals, yoga classes and workshops

Someone walked away with my "Gold Plated" blender. Several years ago I invested in a Blendtec blender. I had seen a Costco demonstration making both soup and ice-cream, and I was sold.  I bought one with a friend and we called it "Gold Plated" because it was so darn expensive. It sat in my kitchen, virtually unused, until after my daughter was diagnosed with cancer when food really did become our medicine. Since then, I've literally made thousands of smoothies. The Blendtec actually keeps track and records the number on the blender.

Like most things in life, I didn't realize how much I missed it until it was gone. Fortunately, my dear friend replaced my beloved blender which I joyfully used this morning. 

The beautiful thing about smoothies is it gives me an opportunity to play and explore every morning with different ingredients. My body needs lots of healthy fat and protein to keep me satisfied until lunch time. This morning's smoothie consisted of spinach, hemp milk, avocado, blueberries, raw cacao and maca powder.

My most important morning ritual is my yoga practice. Everything goes more smoothly when I've given myself time to stretch, play and meditate. A stressed out health coach is not only not good for me, but definitely not good for my clients. You deserve more. You deserve the best, and so do I. 

I'm home now, renewed, and so excited to share my beautiful space with you. Last weekend we supported Beloved's teacher training here where I shared anti-aging and cancer prevention strategies.  You can download them on my website. 

Please let me know if you are curious about the tools of yoga and how to integrate them into your life. I'd like to offer a few classes and workshops here during the next 6 weeks.  If you are interested in joining me, please respond with the following:

Are you most interested in experiencing a traditional vinyasa yoga or a movement to music class? What days and times work best for you? Private or group session? 

Would you be interested in a weekend wellness workshop? If so, what topics and activities would you like to be included? 

Carpe Diem and enjoy this beautiful weekend!


About Lisa Jackson, RN, CHC, RYT-500, FDN-P
Lisa is an author, inspirational speaker and a coach with a mission to inspire, educate, and empower, clients towards optimal wellbeing.  

She is the former Executive Director of the Integrative Wellness Program for the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.

Lisa's book, Savvy Secrets: Eat, Think and Thrive outlines her seven-step process towards optimal health that is fun and transformational.

Lisa is part of the New Self Health Movement and the Wellness Inspired Network. When she is not coaching, speaking or writing, you can find her practicing yoga and joyfully sharing Carpe Diem Dance.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

80/20 Rule

I am in Norway, the land of beautiful people and beautiful vistas. I’m struck with how progressive Norway is in terms of technology, social programs, the environment, and food.  Those who know me, know that I love food, especially when it is fresh, local and organically grown. Norway has an abundance of all three.
 Baked Cod, Grand Hotel Cafe
Roasted Cauliflower with Watercress Sprouts

Lofoten, Norway

Our friends whom we are staying with, used to be our neighbors in Virginia. They (along with their friends who came to visit the U.S.) all suffered from digestive dis-ease while living in the United States.

Fortunately for Bjorn, he took my advice to purchase some supplements on his last visit with us, and I’m happy to report that his digestion is now back to normal in Norway.

This reinforces my concern about how we have adulterated our food. We are the only country that allowed Genetically Modified Food (GMO’s, inserting the DNA of bacteria into the DNA of plants) as well as thousands of chemicals and pesticides into our food supply. Our wheat is also hybridized to include 50% gluten versus 4% gluten of previous generations. Plus, our flours are bromated. Bromine is a halide chemical that competes with iodine, essential for a healthy thyroid and regulation of metabolism.

I see very little obesity here and I think it is more than just clean food. Norwegians typically take 4 weeks of vacation in the summers and many have been able to afford homes in the country where families go often to hike or cross country ski. The cities are also surrounded by forests, with strict rules about preserving them for present and future generation recreational use.

Public transportation is robust and bike shares and electric cars are encouraged to keep pollution at a minimum.

There is also zero tolerance for drinking and driving and our Norwegian friends do not drink alcohol during the week.

Our daily choices are so important for both longevity and quality of life. Our bodies are designed to heal, repair and protect us from our abuses. As I pointed out in my book, Savvy Secrets: Eat, Think and Thrive, the body is designed to eliminate even mercury, the most toxic element through the digestive tract, if it is intact. Unfortunately, intestinal permeability is becoming epidemic in the United States leading to everything from food sensitivities, psoriasis, depression, anxiety, autoimmune dis-ease and cancers.

Major causes of intestinal permeability include external stress and internal hidden stressors such as nutritional insufficiency, GMO’s, chemical laden processed foods devoid of nutrients, antibiotics, steroids, over the counter drugs like aspirin, Motrin and other NSAIDs, and even birth control pills.

The good news is that if we make good choices 80-90% of the time, we can afford to indulge 10-20% without sacrificing health. The problem is that just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. Just because we can drink wine every night and have dessert with every meal, doesn’t mean we should. Not if we want to live a long healthy and happy life.

Instead, we develop these rituals, these daily habits that will determine whether we experience ease or dis-ease in the body. We live into our habits. Habits easily become addictive.

What we resist persists. It's taken me a long time to get this. I've noticed the one thing that we most love may be the very thing that keeps us stuck. Remember that diversity in the diet is the number one anti-aging as well as cancer prevention strategy.

Our body is designed to be self-healing and self-repairing. It is designed to protect us and will do so up to a point. You may not notice the subtle changes occurring that warn you, like creeping levels of glucose in the blood or slow steady weight gain. Personally, I remember the shock I felt looking at myself in the mirror of a dressing room several years ago when my scale tipped to 160, 35 pounds above my current weight.

What daily choices do I now make 80% of the time? Here are some essential to my wellbeing:
  1.  I drink a glass of clean water upon wakening, followed by my yoga practice and Dinacharya, my self-care routine that includes a shower with coconut or olive oil.
  2. I’ve replaced daily coffee with green tea and herbal teas; essential to heal adrenal fatigue. 
  3. I’ve added more fish, green leafy, cruciferous, and sea vegetables to my diet and reduced intake of caffeine and alcohol. 
  4. I do my own functional diagnostic testing like measuring micro-nutrient status every 6-12 months and supplement as necessary.
  5. I practice taking frequent breaks between work to be focused and fully present.
  6. I go to sleep by 10pm and end my day reading, writing and take note of all that I am grateful for.
  7. I practice creating self compassion, self-love and forgiveness by deleting the need to beat myself up and the ANTs, automatic negative thoughts that arise.
What kind of daily choices do you make to create wellbeing? What habits no longer serve you?

With Love & Gratitude,

Carpe Diem!


About Lisa Jackson, RN, CHC, RYT-500, FDN-P
Lisa is an author, inspirational speaker and a coach with a mission to inspire, educate, and empower, clients towards optimal wellbeing.  

She is the former Executive Director of the Integrative Wellness Program for the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.

Lisa's book, Savvy Secrets: Eat, Think and Thrive outlines her seven-step process towards optimal health that is fun and transformational.

Lisa is part of the New Self Health Movement and the Wellness Inspired Network. When she is not coaching, speaking or writing, you can find her practicing yoga and joyfully sharing Carpe Diem Dance.

Friday, June 23, 2017

New Normal

This phrase, this concept of accepting "a new normal" is interesting to me. I first heard it after a tragedy. My neighbor's son was paralyzed. I also heard it from patients and families undergoing cancer treatment. I've heard my children refer to it during and after our own tragedies.

Something about this just didn't sit right with me. The angry defiant me wanted to cry, "NO! Don't accept this as your new normal!" This idea of "the new normal" felt disempowering to me. This acceptance felt like giving up.

This morning I heard the phrase in a new light. An inspiring light. I heard it referred to as a way to uplift us into the life we want to lead.

After all, life isn't what happens to us, it's how we respond to it that matters.

How do we take our challenges and turn lemons into lemonade? (This is something I've had ample practice in, and am actually kinda good at.)

We hold on to hope and optimism. We refuse to accept the temporary pain as "forever". We fight for our lives...truly, courageously.   We choose to create a new normal based on where we want to go.

This is the precious gift I learned while working with cancer patients. This is why I am so very inspired by stories of Radical Remissions. Those who have spontaneous remissions from even the worse diagnosis, do so because they refuse to accept the new normal. They choose to do things radically different from what they've done in the past.

They engage in simple solutions. Not that this is always easy to do. You have to bypass social norms. We are hardwired to want to stay in our comfort zones. Fear feeds this paralysis. They refuse to be limited by labels and the status quo. They become the difficult patient; they question everything.

You have to decide to take personal responsibility for your thoughts and your actions. Recognize that we are here today because of past conscious or unconscious actions. We live into our present bodies. Each one of us are unique and different.

If you are in a health crisis, then instead of beating yourself up over "What's wrong with me?" Ask a radically different question.

"What is my loving body trying to tell me? What can I do, that is radically different, to change this course?" This is no time to bargain. You're either in, or you are out for your "New Normal."

The new normal has got to include new ways of feeding yourself, physically, emotionally and mentally. This requires commitment and support. We are social beings and food is emotional.

What if our comfort foods, so tied to our childhood and positive feelings, could be making us ill? How do we change these habits that made us feel so good?

We find a new normal.  But this new normal is NOT about dieting or deprivation. This new normal must be decadent and nourishing. The new normal is not fear based. The new normal seeks food, thoughts and actions that will lift you up. That will give you energy to rise higher. That will allow you to live a radically different, awesome, incredibly, energized life.

Someone dear to me recently said, "I'd like to start living my life as if I only had 100 days to live. Being conscious of every decision I make. Asking myself, does this food make me feel good or is it creating dis-ease in my body?"

I couldn't have said it any better. I'd like to challenge you. For the next 3 days, to write down everything you eat. Document how you feel one to two hours after eating. Do you feel better or worse? Is the food energizing and nourishing or does it pull your energy down? If you cannot last 3-4 hours between meals then you are not eating enough healthy fat and protein for your unique needs. Are you feeding dysbiosis or bad bugs in your gut? Or, are you feeding the new you that you want to become?

Take an honest personal assessment, with love and compassion. This is the first simple step to creating your new normal. This is my wish for you.

If you would like a coach or guidance, let me know. I'm seeking clients who are 100% committed to finding this new normal and willing to make the investment in themselves to do so.  This is how I remain inspired to reach my new normal.

Carpe Diem.

With Love & Gratitude,


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Please Join us Saturday for Befriending Cancer: the Transformative Power of Yoga and Nourishment

Please register ASAP if you are interested in attending one or all of the workshops this Saturday. My session is from 1:00-3:30pm and I would love to see you there. 

"The study of epigenetics has clearly proven that we are not bound by our genes. The fact is that the role of genes in the development of cancer is only 5-10%. Diet and lifestyles are also "inherited" and these environmental roles determine 90-95% of our outcomes. We can change the expression of our genes with our daily choices."

Saturday, June 17th
1137 Walker Road, Great Falls, VA 22066

Each session $45 adv/$55 door.
Full Day $111

Join us for a day long series of talks and practices to get educated, inspired and empowered. Whether you are a yoga teacher, a person going through the sacred journey of cancer, a friend of family of someone who is on the journey or perhaps a medical professional with an interest in Yoga and cancer, this is an ideal place to begin!

In approaching cancer, we believe it requires a multi-modality approach. Our science is based on the poly-vagal theory and the study of the Vagus nerve in the regulation of our systems. The power of Yoga is that now Science is able to explain why YOGA is not only effective, it is also essential to awaken the transformative power of cancer by empowering the individual to have tools of Self-Care!

Loving Compassion and Nourishment Led by Anu Kaur, MS, RDN, RYT-500 
9:00 - 11:30 am

Transforming Fear and Overwhelm into Empowerment Using Small Simple Steps 
Led by Lisa Jackson, RN, 500 hr RYT, FDN, CHC
1:00 pm - 3:30 pm

It's Essential! Fierce Self-Care with Yoga
Led by Maryam Ovissi, 500 hr eRYT
4:00 - 6:30 pm

About Lisa:
Former Executive Director of the Integrative Wellness Program for the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, a retired Registered Nurse, Yoga Teacher and Certified Health Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition and functional medicine practitioner 

Lisa's passion is to inspire educate and empower clients to health from within to achieve optimal health. 

Friday, June 9, 2017

Important clues in your blood work that is often missed.

Are you suffering from fatigue? Have you been told that you have low vitamin B12 or iron in your blood? What does this really mean? What might your hematologist or oncologist NOT know to tell you? Like why this is low, and what you might do to elevate them? Please don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing your doctor. I'm merely pointing out the fact that although he or she spent $200,000 and 10 years in medical school, what is sorely missing in the curriculum is nutrition and functional medicine. Ask them, they will tell you. This is why we need to move away from disease management towards prevention and an integrative functional approach.

I've spent the last few years studying applied functional medicine for coaches. You can see me in the video on the home page.  

So I'd like to share why you may be deficient in B12 and iron. More importantly, I want to empower you with education on what you can do about it.

First, always ask for a copy of your lab work so you can take it to a practitioner that will read it and explain it to you in practical functional terms. When I recently worked for a hematology/oncology clinic, I had on my desk the book, Your Blood Never Lies. Two fellow Nurse Practitioners noted this and said, "Why weren't we trained in this?" 

Unfortunately doctors, nurse practitioners and nurses are not trained in the wealth of functional markers in standard blood work. You will have to seek and find a functional nutritionist to help you; read on.

One good marker to look for in any complete blood count, CBC is the MCV, (mean corpuscle volume) measuring the size of your red blood cells. The red blood cells, RBC, carries oxygen to cells. This is essential for life.  RBC's that are too small don't carry enough oxygen; too big and they don't fit in the small capillaries like in the eyes and the kidneys. 

This is why your vision and kidneys are often the canary in the coal mine. if you've read my book you know that I no longer wear bifocals after decades of use. This is because I've learned how to maximize oxygen. Getting the right size RBCs is one way. Anything over 90 is too big to be optimal, and yet is still within normal limits on the test. This is why it is so often overlooked. 

Normal denotes the "mean average of those tested within a given population" in blood tests. It has nothing to do with optimal. Look around, obesity and chronic disease is epidemic. We need NOT to be normal. We need to create a new healthy normal. We need to assess for optimal levels.

I discovered that my RBCs were too big which suggests either B12 or folate deficiency. I've learned that I also have a genetic snp called MTHFR which affects folate metabolism. To compensate, I take a methylated folate and b vitamin complex every day. This is a simple solution that allows me to avoid brain fog and is essential for energy production and detoxification. This is essential for prevention of all chronic disease, including cancer and heart disease. This is a simple solution. I can tell the difference, so am happy to commit to this. I also notice when my night vision becomes impaired and or my vision begins to get blurry, I now recognize the need for more self care. More deep breathing, more relaxation, more yoga and supplementation, more green juice (again in my book, not the sugar laden ones in stores), and essential fatty acids to nourish cellular membranes.

MTHFR is a simple test to add on to the Spectracell Micronutrient test, one of several, that I recommend to clients.

Please note that folate and the synthetic version, folic acid are NOT the same. This is how you can tell a reputable vitamin company. Does your multi have folate in the form of methyl tetrahydrofolate or the cheaper synthetic folic acid? This is important, you can become toxic on folic acid, if you have an MTHFR snp. Lack of folate leads to miscarriages as well as trouble with energy production and impaired detoxification. Can you begin to see the power in nutritional assessment of your blood work? How missing these critical pieces can contribute to chronic disease and even misdiagnosis? 

There are several forms of vitamin B12. The most common is cyanocobalamin, which is a molecule of cyanide and cobalamin. This is the cheapest, most common form found in supplements. I don't think I need to tell you why you may NOT want to be taking cyanide every day in a supplement. The best supplement companies will have either methylcobalamin, or adeno or hydroxocobalamin, or a combination. Yes, purity and quality definitely matters when it comes to supplementation. A good nutritionist can help you with this too.

Also important to know, is that a serum B12 level does not tell you what is actually being absorbed into the cells. MMA or methylmalonic acid, is a functional marker found in an organic acids urine test, or can also be done as a blood test, or Spectracell Micronutrient test. These will all give you cellular or functional levels for your unique body. 

What food sources are rich in vitamin B12? This needs to come from animal sources. If you are vegan, you can get it from microorganisms in algae. Every body is unique and so are your needs. Some may get plenty from algae, some may need supplementation. A common root cause of low vitamin B12 in the cells is not enough stomach acid. You need HCL to cleave the b12 so it can be absorbed further down in the intestines. 

What is the major cause of low stomach acid? Stress. We live in sympathetic nervous system overdrive. Here's a picture from my book:

Stress decreases stomach acid. This impairs digestion starting in the stomach and inhibits absorption in the small intestines. Nutrition is not what you eat, it's what you absorb. You could be eating all of the right food but not giving your body the signal that it is safe to rest and digest, rest and repair, or mate and ovulate. Everything is interconnected. 

The FDA and AMA laws dictate that I cannot diagnosis, treat or cure any of the 14,000 (and growing) diagnosis codes that describe any human condition. What I AM allowed to do is to teach you how to become your own best clinician through education and coaching. Now I find that inspirational and empowering! I hope that you do too.

Carpe Diem!


June is the halfway point in 2017. Lots of opportunities for self care. This weekend in Northern Virginia is the Love Your Body Day Festival in Reston I wrote about last weeks blogpost and a PEMF demonstration in Alexandria. Also Golden Health Pharmacy in Sterling, VA will be having an Open House Saturday from 11-3pm with discounts, raffles, food and more!

About Lisa Jackson, RN, CHC, RYT-500, FDN
Lisa is an author, inspirational speaker and a coach with a mission to inspire others to feel and look their best at any age.

She is the former Executive Director of the Integrative Wellness Program for the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.

Lisa's book, Savvy Secrets: Eat, Think and Thrive outlines her seven-step process towards optimal health that is fun and transformational.

Lisa is part of the New Self Health Movement and the Wellness Inspired Network. When she is not coaching, speaking or writing, you can find her practicing yoga and joyfully sharing Carpe Diem Dance.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Love Your Body Day & PEMF Demo Events

Consider spending a day learning how to love your body next Sunday at Reston Town Center in Reston, Virginia. I will be sharing a booth with Documenting Hope,  bringing treats and a raffle for my book, and giving a sample Carpe Diem Dance class at 3pm in the Bhakti Tent. There will be yoga classes in the pavilion from different studios all over the area, children's tents, multiple wellness vendor tents, and something for everyone. 

Jessica Claire Haney of is a new member of the Wellness Inspired Network. She wrote a blog post that provides a great overview of Love Your Body. She's got links in the post to her recaps of the past three years of Love Your Body. Share the post on social media and tag Carpe Diem Wellness & Wellness Inspired Network if you like! 


Next Saturday, there will be a demo on Swiss Bionic Solutions PEMF Seminar (Pulsed Electromagnetic Field) 3-5pm Sheraton Suites 801 N. Saint Asaph Street Old Town Alexandria.  

Presented by the President of Swiss Bionic Solutions, USA:
Dr. Greg Musser

Hosted by Janice Johnson, Polarity Therapy Practitioner and LifeStyle Consultant of Swiss Bionic Solutions

Learn how this resonating magnetic field application can assist you with: 
    pain management
    increased circulation
    improved blood viscosity 
    increased vitality by increasing ATP production
    relaxed muscles
    stimulates healthier cell production
    reduces anxiety and depression for increased well being
    assists to regenerate bone health
    improve your sleep

Enter the raffle to win…..The Omnium 1 for a free 60 day trial in your home or office!

For more information contact Janice Johnson @ 302-265-8140 or email her at

Next week I'll be back with a regular blogpost on Important clues in your blood work that your doctor often misses. 

Carpe Diem,