Sunday, April 1, 2018

This week a client sent me her recent lab results and was surprised at my interpretation. Her physician had pointed out her slightly elevated cholesterol of 227 as a concern. When I worked in cardiac care as a Registered Nurse I too would have been concerned and recommended a low fat, low cholesterol diet replaced with hydrogenated vegetable oils. Crisco over lard. Margarine over real butter.

That was then. This is now.


Here's a few myths versus facts:

Myth: Those with higher total cholesterol experience more heart attacks.
Truth: Cholesterol is only a minor player in the cascade of inflammation which is a cause of heart disease. Cholesterol is an inflammatory marker. It is sent to inflamed arteries to patch and heal damaged arteries. Lowering cholesterol is like eliminating firemen.  Instead, discover the source of the fire. Excess blood sugar is the most common cause of inflammation and triggers the liver to release cholesterol. Cholesterol is vital to our survival.

Insulin resistance is a huge common precursor to heart disease.  Elevated triglycerides are a better indication of excess glucose (sugar) creating an inflammatory response. Simple processed carbohydrates and sugars predispose you to heart disease.
  • Cortisol, the stress hormone creates elevated glucose in the blood. Lowering both internal and external stressors is essential to lowering cholesterol.
Truth: There is no correlation between cholesterol and heart attacks. Just as many heart attack patients had low cholesterol as high cholesterol.(1)

Myth: The higher the cholesterol the shorter the lifespan.
Truth: "Lower cholesterol is a robust predictor of mortality..." (2) Higher cholesterol protects you from gastrointestinal disease, pulmonary disease and hemorrhagic stroke. It also has a protective influence against dementia. The most protective range for cholesterol appears to be between 200 and 240. (3)

Myth: Saturated fats are dangerous.
Fact: Saturated fats are not dangerous. The killer fats are trans-fats from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.  Please empty your cupboards of them. These are omega 6 oils and inflammatory. Hydrogenated means oxidized. This causes oxidative stress which can lead to DNA damage. DNA damage leads to mutated genes, a precursor to cancer. If you have cardiovascular disease you are more prone to cancer.

Myth: Fat makes you fat and is bad for your health.
Truth: Monounsaturated and saturated fats protect you from metabolic disease (insulin resistance and pre-diabetes).  Sugar is the culprit in cardiovascular disease.

Myth: Common Thinking, "I eat a clean healthy diet so don't need to worry about cardiovascular disease."
Truth: See above. Stress causes the liver to convert glycogen to glucose. Chronic stress can lead to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. My own history is a personal example of this. Diet is only one factor. Uncovering hidden stressors (like food sensitivities and gut issues) and how you react to the daily external stressors are equally powerful and important interventions.

Myth: Cholesterol is the most important marker determining heart disease.
Truth: Other important markers include homocysteine, CRP, HgA1c, Triglycerides, fibrinogen, fasting insulin, glucose, eAG, LDLIII, LDL IV and VLDL levels.  I like Spectracell Laboratories Cardiometabolic profile for a more complete picture. If you are local you can go to Golden Health Pharmacy in Sterling for blood draws on Wednesday mornings.

Fortunately, my client is going to a savvy practitioner who did most of the above tests. All were well within normal limits indicating her dietary changes over the last couple of months were making a big difference!

What was elevated and a bigger concern to me was her SHBG. Sex Hormone Binding Globulin is a stress marker. Stress is most likely the culprit of her elevated cholesterol as well a her hormonal imbalances.

Here's a picture explaining why:

Please note that to make any sex or stress hormones, you must first ingest, digest, and assimilate healthy fats and b vitamins. Second, cholesterol is the precursor to all of your steroid and sex hormones. If you want to feel good you need the basic nutrients to fuel your body.

Your body is interested in your survival. Your body will respond to whatever stress you give it. It will prioritize the stress response over rest and digest, rest and repair or mate and ovulate. You don't need to digest food or repair or make babies if you are running for your life.

Here's a slide from my Holy Hormones lecture.


Stress hormones affect your sex hormones which affects your metabolic hormones. You cannot lose weight or meet your health goals if you are stuck in fight or flight or stress mode.

So Sex Hormone Binding Globulin is a serum blood test that when elevated tells you that your body is prioritizing the stress cascade over sex hormones. This will affect your ability to lose weight and your libido. It also means your body is prone to storing belly fat.

So for quality of life, what do you think is a more important marker? Also know, that you are NOT your lab tests or diagnosis. You are the witness and you have the power to heal from within.

May this weekend be full of family, meaningful and nourishing conversation and food.

Carpe Diem,

Lisa

References:

Harvard University
1.http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/23/6/847 and http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0002870362900637 and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7114080
2. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1532-5415.2005.53106.x/abstract and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15006277 

1,3 www.heartstats.org 

2, 3 http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/majority-of-hospitalized-heart-75668.aspx http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2664115/

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Grow Hope

I continue to be graced with awe and hope. Last night I was at a women's Goddess Gathering hosted by my good friend Rosalie Grazzini where she shared wisdom from her recent trip to the Himalayan Institute. She shared,
The main sources of motivation are  "Power, Pleasure, and Survival" all constitutes of the mind.  
In order to hear the healing motivations from the heart and soul, we have to quiet the mind and find a tranquil state. "The voice of the Divine, comes to us in a whisper." The tools of yoga and meditation, allow us time and space to hear this inner voice of wisdom.

Most of us spend so much time consumed with seeking personal power, pleasure and survival that we are disconnected from this powerful source of healing energy.

This week I sat down with Deanna Won who shared her journey from being a hospice patient with 1 month to live, to being a vibrant healthy and sought after speaker and health coach. When she was in her deepest moment, she prayed and then listened. She heard, "Ask to see the cytology report".  She didn't even know what a cytology report was. This wisdom, ended up giving her an opportunity to save her life.

Dr. Eben Alexander,  a highly trained neurosurgeon explained his own experience of meeting the Divine when he was in a coma. He explained it as feeling like he was stuck deep in the mud and then seeing and following the light.

This is similar to a baby in the womb, or the seed for this beautiful daffodil, and the lotus flower. All need time to incubate. All of us have the seed within us to become the full expression of ourselves.

This can be the gift of disease. This can be a wake up call and an opportunity to slow down. Like a snow day. A totally unexpectant deep wet blanket reminding us of the power of nature. One of my clients said, "Snow days make me feel like I'm in a safe cocoon."

We have a choice every minute of every day on how we not only spend our time, but how we react to the stressors presented.

Deanna also shared with me how, as a scientist, she looked at her diagnosis with curiosity. Why did she contract ovarian cancer? This is so important for two major reasons. First, it turns fear into curiosity. Fear keeps us stuck in "fight or flight" the sympathetic nervous system which is counterproductive to healing.

Second, it allows you to be the witness (and realize that you are not just your physical body) and to take personal responsibility for your healing. This is empowering! 

How do you get to this point? Here's a three part strategy:
  1. Take time everyday for simple movement to music. Breathe and move into any areas of tension felt in the body. Emotions are just energy in motion and easily get stuck in the body. Do you carry the weight of the world on your shoulders? Could this contribute to your headaches or digestive issues? Get in touch with the deep wisdom within your body. Start with your feet and work your way up.
  2. After you've removed physical tension, sit quietly and develop a relationship with self. Start with a simple 5 minute meditation focusing on the breath. You may want to download a 20 minute guided meditation.
  3. For 3 days, spend 20 minutes writing a narrative journal written in the third person. Describe the beginning of the dis-ease, the middle and the end. This is important for you to write, commit and visualize where you want to go. Otherwise, it's too easy to stay stuck in the mud. As an example, I might write about life for Lisa before hypertension and autoimmune disease, what it's like in the middle of the scariest times where Lisa realizes how close to a stroke or heart attack she was and what that would mean, then committing to and prioritizing self, and how Lisa becomes a stronger, healthier version.
To commit to yourself takes practice and it takes courage. 

Most of all, you must have hope. Hope and belief that you have the innate ability to heal from within.  Daffodils and Springtime is a great reminder of the cycle of life. When we forget that we are one with each other and with nature, we suffer.

Also this week, a dear friend and loved one described the passing of her soulmate, best friend and husband. As painful as it was for her, the ability to sit and be with him through his passing was both "beautiful and magical".  We all suffer, we all have pain. Remember and trust that beyond the pain is a light that is also beautiful and magical. The pain allows us to fully appreciate the love and joy that also surrounds us. 

May you find connection to self and others, nourishment, peace, joy, and love this holiday season. 

With Love,

Lisa

About Lisa Jackson, RN, CHC, RYT-500, AFMC

Lisa is an author, functional nutrition and function medicine trained health coach, yoga teacher, and retired Registered Nurse with the mission to "Inspire, Educate and Empower" individuals to heal from within.

Lisa's book, Savvy Secrets: Eat, Think & Thrive is a self health book offering her Seven Steps to Optimal Health.

When she is not coaching, or speaking, you can find Lisa joyfully sharing Carpe Diem Dance or playing with her two grandchildren. She is the mother of four adult children and believes, "Optimal health should not be a secret."

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Oscar Night Musings & Power of Play

I've been invited to a Red Carpet Oscar Night Party and pulled out an old green sequined evening gown to wear tonight. I've only seen one movie this year that's up for award, Victoria and Abdul. Turns out it was for makeup and hairstyling not even for best picture. No wonder I've been accused, "Oh Mom, you are soooo pop culture illiterate!"

 Nevertheless, in preparation for the party, I asked my husband to rent an Oscar nominated movie Friday night to watch. As usual, I found interesting musings.

First, I'm reminded of the power of personal connection, passion and play. The widowed Queen Victoria was "imprisoned" by pomp and circumstance. An Indian servant looks her in the eye (which was forbidden), then kisses her feet, which sparks a connection. His passion for everything from rugs to poetry and religion is contagious. Soon he is quoting Rumi and the Qu'ran and teaching her about India's rich culture. In spite of the cultural and political divide, they become friends. He encourages her to sing, dance and play. She feels happy and to her physician's delight, things begin to move (literally).

Second, "Isolation breeds Ignorance." She was "Empress of India, yet ignorant to the people, customs, rich history or politics." Through personal connection, she begins to cross this divide.

Third, I'm reminded of the power of play in my own life. When I was first studying integrative nutrition and health coaching, my coach asked me, "What do you do for fun?"

This question literally made me cry. The only thing I did for myself was to sweat for 90 minutes in a 110-degree room. This gave me discipline, helped me physically, and maybe increased some endorphins, but it wasn't what I call fun! 

This started my quest to find a workout for myself that was fun and good for my heart, mind, body and soul. The result is what I am now teaching at Rise Wellbeing Center on Wednesday mornings @ 7:30 am called Carpe Diem Dance. It's movement to music that allows you to sing, dance and play. We mix in a taste of yoga, dance, breathwork and meditation. Come join me to see what moves in your life.

May you also find personal connection and a fun, joyful, physical, practice in your life.

Carpe Diem,

Lisa

PS. Let me know what movie(s) you recommend watching?

About Lisa Jackson, RN, CHC, RYT-500, AFMC

Lisa is an author, functional nutrition and function medicine trained health coach, yoga teacher, and retired Registered Nurse with the mission to "Inspire, Educate and Empower" individuals to heal from within.

Lisa's book, Savvy Secrets: Eat, Think & Thrive is a self health book offering her Seven Steps to Optimal Health.

When she is not coaching, or speaking, you can find Lisa joyfully sharing Carpe Diem Dance or playing with her two grandchildren. She is the mother of four adult children and believes, "Optimal health should not be a secret."




Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Ready to Rise?

This Thursday is the ribbon cutting ceremony for a new unique concept, Rise Wellbeing Center in Reston, Virginia. The space is beautiful, relaxing, rejuvenating and welcoming.

I will be teaching Carpe Diem Dance this Saturday morning at 9am and Wednesday mornings @ 7:30am.  Carpe Diem Dance is a movement to music class that is fun, and is good for the heart, the brain and the soul. I will also teach yoga and breathwork this Friday evening and Wednesday mornings too.

You don't want to miss Saturday night's Sound Healing event with Woven Green 

Click Here for the Grand Opening Events.

nature. balance. peace.


Dedicated to cultivating wholeness through nature, mindful movement, and stillness


Come join us!

About Lisa Jackson, RN, CHC, RYT-500, AFMC

Lisa is an author, functional nutrition and function medicine trained health coach, yoga teacher, and retired Registered Nurse with the mission to "Inspire, Educate and Empower" individuals to heal from within.

Lisa's book, Savvy Secrets: Eat, Think & Thrive is a self health book offering her Seven Steps to Optimal Health.

When she is not coaching, speaking or advocating reform, you can find Lisa joyfully sharing Carpe Diem Dance or playing with her two grandchildren. She is the mother of four adult children and believes, "Optimal health should not be a secret."

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Olympic Thoughts.

Fundamentally what do you believe? Watching the 2018 Winter Olympic athlete makes me believe that anything is possible. They are passionate, they believe in themselves, their common message is don't ever give up. The USA silver medalist Chris Mazdzer exclaimed he was in a good place mentally, physically and emotionally. He had been through tough times and felt confident to do his best. He had the love and support of family and friends, no matter the outcome. He believed in his own abilities.


To make great jumps and leaps, one must have confidence in one's abilities.


So, as the author of the Healing From Within Blogpost, I must ask:
"Do you believe in your own innate ability to heal from within? If you cut your finger, will it eventually heal on its own?" 
What are your beliefs? Do you believe the multi-million-dollar advertising campaigns that dis-ease is the absence of a synthetic chemical that your body is lacking? Do you believe the television and radio ads that you will be happier and healthier drinking coca cola and eating artificially manufactured chips, and if you get heartburn, no worries, just take the latest pharmaceutical drug for the latest ICD 10 diagnosis code GERD for gastrointestinal esophageal reflux disorder?! Do you believe in your man-made diagnosis?

OR do you believe the message from the latest Functional Forum/Evolution of Medicine Conference in the UK where the message from the Medical Doctors was,

"The Doctor of the Future, is the Patient."

What do you believe? Do you believe that your symptoms are a sign that you are flawed and that you need a pill for every ill? 

OR are you ready to begin to believe in yourself? Are you ready to take personal responsibility for where you are today? I'm not saying that it's your fault that you've received a cancer or other chronic disease diagnosis. Perhaps you were unaware of the toxins in your food, water, air, or thoughts that may have contributed to the dis-ease. Perhaps you are unaware that most of what you are eating is void of necessary vitamins, minerals, enzymes and cofactors for healthy mitochondria (cellular) function. Perhaps you are unaware of the toll that chronic hidden stressors have, and the role it plays in dis-ease. Maybe you never thought of creating a different medical mantra; focusing on love and self-care rather than the "war on cancer".

What I am saying is that we all have a choice now, and every day, how we react to these challenges. No matter the current course or the defeat, you can choose to feel beaten, trodden, depressed, and discouraged...Or

You can believe in your innate ability to heal from within. 

You can stay paralyzed in fear and believe the naysayers, or you can rise to discover newfound inner strength and wisdom. 

To discover Olympic Thoughts.

Do you have the courage to take an honest personal assessment to explore what might be at the root cause of dis-ease?  Do you have the confidence in yourself to seek a health coach to co-create a personalized plan for yourself? Will you make this commitment to self?

Marketing myths attempt to convince us of the quick fix, of instant gratification.

Instead, these athletes inspire us. They demonstrate the power of consistent, holistic, dedication to their goal; touching all areas of their lives.  Consistency, commitment, perseverance, even when the first US Gold Medalist 17-year-old Gerard admits that he didn't feel like getting out of bed this morning.  Food for Olympic Thoughts...

With Love & Gratitude,

Lisa

About Lisa Jackson, RN, CHC, RYT-500, AFMC

Lisa is an author, functional nutrition and function medicine trained health coach, yoga teacher, and retired Registered Nurse with the mission to "Inspire, Educate and Empower" individuals to heal from within.

Lisa's book, Savvy Secrets: Eat, Think & Thrive is a self health book offering her Seven Steps to Optimal Health.

When she is not coaching, speaking or advocating reform, you can find Lisa joyfully sharing Carpe Diem Dance or playing with her two grandchildren. She is the mother of four adult children and believes, "Optimal health should not be a secret."




Saturday, February 3, 2018

Becoming Conscious in an Unconscious World

Have you ever been called "absent minded"?  Do you lose your keys? Have you ever gotten in the car and started driving and suddenly realized you didn't know where you were? Have you been so lost in thought that you weren't conscious of the road, or the time between getting in the car and where you found yourself?

Women, particularly working mothers, pride ourselves on the illusion of being able to "multitask."  Do you eat on the run? Do you gobble up a meal without really tasting it? Or are you fully present to smell, taste, then thoroughly chew, your meal?

Becoming fully present, conscious of eating slowly, is a way to tell your body it is safe to "rest and digest." This puts your body in the parasympathetic mode that is required to properly digest your food and allows your body to receive the nutrients necessary to heal and repair itself. Personally, I've found this habit the hardest to break. The mantra that has kept my blood pressure so high for years has been, "I don't have enough time" The reality is the body listens; this is a clear message to a shortened lifespan.

Everything that we've labeled as a "disease" is merely a message that our loving body is relaying to us. For me, my dis-ease is a message to slow down, give gratitude for what I have, for who I am, and for daily miracles.

For I am truly one of the fortunate ones. I get to be a witness to this every day. I get to witness beautiful people coming to me with a challenge they thought they could not overcome and witness their transformation. Like "my stomach has hurt all my life" or "I've never been able to sleep" or "I've been in pain, had migraines, been constipated, had allergies, been depressed....(you fill in the blank), all of my life"  Just because these things are common and persistent does not mean they are normal.

Most of us learn to live with these symptoms. We learn to ignore them. We become less sensitive to pain. Soon we become unconscious to our physical bodies.

I've had the honor of witnessing one woman's tumor shrink through meditation at the Mindfulness Center in Bethesda. I've witnessed migraines melt away. I've witnessed panic and anxiety attacks, lessen and relax.

I'm not a meditation guru. I really struggled with this as a young working mother. My early experience and reaction was, "Seriously, you've got to be kidding, I don't have time for this." Patience was NOT my virtue. Peace seemed to elude me.

One of my mentors told me, "Lisa, change takes only as long as you decide." How profound and how true.  How committed are you towards positive change?

This is why the first of my seven steps is to take an honest personal assessment and then to make a commitment and an investment in yourself.

Here's an excerpt from my book:
How to become the leader of your life? Take action. To be the most effective leader, you have to have control of your health! Make the same investment in you that you have made in your family, friends, and career. Give yourself the gift of self-care; find new ways to energize and empower yourself.
First, take an honest personal assessment.  Where are you now and where do you want to go? 
I  begin my discovery calls with new clients with the following questions:
  1. What would it mean to you to be the best you can be? 
  2. What is your biggest obstacle or challenge?
  3. What have you tried--what has been successful and what has failed?
  4. How do you want to feel and see yourself in 3 months, six months, and one year from now as a result of working together?
  5. How committed are you to overcoming this challenge?
We then look at your entire health history, labs and medical records. Many falsely believe that because chronic illness runs in families that it must be genetic; that they are doomed. I used to believe this too. Fortunately, the study of epigenetics, the study of the expression of genes, has proven that genes can be turned on and off through diet and lifestyle changes.  Here's a picture of identical 60 year old twins:


One looks older and has more chronic disease than the other. This is an example of identical genes yielding different outcomes. Diet and lifestyle change the expression of genes. 

If you are not where you want to be, don't beat yourself up. Be inspired to explore new options to rebuild health. The body's natural state is to rest, digest and repair itself (if we can get out of our own way). 

Commit to small obtainable steps, one to three small "digestible bites" every two weeks and then celebrate your success. Consider a health coach to keep you on track. Contact me for a discovery call to see if we are a good fit for each other.

Carpe Diem,

Lisa

About Lisa Jackson, RN, CHC, RYT-500, FDN-P, AFMC
Lisa is an author, inspirational speaker and functional medicine and nutrition trained health coach. Lisa's mission is to inspire, educate and empower others to feel and look their best at any age.

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

Lisa is the founder of Carpe Diem Wellness 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, January 28, 2018

The Foot Bone's Connected to the Ankle Bone....

Last weekend I gave a talk to a group of Biologic Dentists on "A Functional Medicine Approach to Hypertension and Sleep Apnea." I had them all get up and move to the song Dem Bones.



My point was two fold. First, everything is interconnected. Second, 10 people with the same diagnosis may have 10 different root causes. This is true for any given chronic dis-ease. Treating symptoms and separate "body parts" is why conventional medicine is ineffective for chronic disease. I've written some of my own personal story here.

For those of you who are already thinking of training for Spring time marathons, and are feeling fatigued, here's my unsolicited advice to you. In addition to a coach or personal trainer, consider this. Hypothyroidism (low energy), adrenal fatigue (stressed out adrenals), low muscle mass (catabolism) and infertility are rampant. Similarly, the root causes may be different for each of us. A functional medicine approach will uncover the hidden internal and/or external stressors, so the body can heal from within. Here's a few common stressors:

  1. Food Sensitivities and the SAD standard American diet.
  2. Mental/Emotional Stress
  3. Gut dysbiosis (bacterial overgrowth)
  4. Micronutrient insufficiencies 
    1. Zinc and B12 deficiencies are very common especially in vegetarians and vegan diets.
    2. Magnesium deficiency is the most common overall. Common symptoms may include insomnia, constipation, tight muscles and hypertension.
    3. Vitamin D is a hormone important for immune function and positive gene expression
  5. Malabsorption and/ or maldigestion leading to malnutrition. Not having enough stomach acid or pancreatic enzymes due to stress, aging and/or eating on the run is one example.
In my case, I've had all of the above.  Growing up in Washington DC and wearing stress on my shoulder as a badge of honor, makes me prone to this. 

A common myth is that we just need to eat less and exercise more. This can exacerbate stress related conditions. Instead, most of my clients need to eat more healthy fat and nutrient dense food, and exercise less. It takes a commitment to uncover these stressors and to heal from within. Functional and nutritional testing can help you discover what is needed for your unique body. Then it's a matter of committing to small simple changes to create sustainable optimal health. What small simple steps will you gift yourself this year?

With Love,

Carpe Diem,

Lisa

About Lisa Jackson, RN, CHC, RYT-500, FDN-P, AFMC
Lisa is an author, inspirational speaker and functional medicine and nutrition trained health coach. Lisa's mission is to inspire, educate and empower others to feel and look their best at any age.

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

Lisa is the founder of Carpe Diem Wellness 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.