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.

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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 MindfulHealthyLife.com 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 iamgr8ful4u@yahoo.com

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

Carpe Diem,


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Life’s Lessons Learned from my Leonberger

Wednesday morning our beloved 165 pound Leonberger joyfully woke me up wagging his tail and then bounded down the steps, ready for the new day. There is nothing like a pet, or a smiling baby, or child to bring you into the here and now.

We went downstairs for his breakfast, raw duck which he happily gobbled up. Dogs bring us unconditional love and are so grateful when we feed them. I’m grateful for the love I feel when I feed him too. When I got the leash to take him for a walk he jumped up and playfully pounced around like a puppy, so happy to be going on his morning walk.

It was a beautiful day and we walked our usual route around the neighborhood. The three of us felt calm and peaceful. He had his usual normal bowel movement. I always notice his elimination knowing how all health begins in the gut. 18 months ago, he had had bad psoriasis to the point of bleeding which we healed with the help of a holistic vet and a change in his already healthy diet. His first vet told us he would have to be on antibiotics and steroids for the rest of his life.  As a functionally trained health coach, I knew better.  

It took Simba about 6 months to heal, utilizing the 5 R’s of functional medicine, I’ve explained in other posts, that included some high-quality supplements and tweaking his diet. (This was challenging because my husband loved to give him junky treats. There are always temptations when we are trying to change our diets whether dog or human.) It was a hot day so he was panting some when we got home, but not more than usual so I kept him in the cool house with me the rest of the day with plenty of fresh filtered water.

A Leonberger is a dog originating from Leonberg Germany. The mayor wanted a dog mascot that looked like a lion. He was purposely bred from a St. Bernard, Newfoundland and a Pyrenean Mountain Dog. His biggest trait is that he wants to be in the middle of whatever family gathering is happening. He is the consummate family dog, a gentle giant with children and babies.

I always ask my new clients if they like dogs before our first appointment (if they are coming to my home office) to prepare them to meet my beautiful beast at the door.  I had this conversation around 4:15 looking at Simba on the cool tile floor next to me and my daughters small dog on the couch. Simba often comes into my office or my husbands around this time to tell us to wind down and get ready for his walk.  Not long after I hung up, I was writing a follow up email when Simba began to pant heavily. My first thought was he was hot so I turned up the AC and went to get him a few ice cubes. He had been in the house all morning so there really was no reason for this. He also had plenty of clean filtered water in his bowl.  When he refused the ice cubes I started to panic, called my neighbor for help and ran to get some treats. No response, very unusual. I knew I needed to get him immediate medical attention. Twice he tried to lift his head and it fell back hard to the floor. A few minutes later he was gone. I panicked. I was in shock and disbelief. By this time, Kevin had gathered two other neighborhood men and four of us carried him to my car so I could rush him to the hospital. I was hysterical. I didn’t want to believe that he could really be gone. That my perfectly healthy beautiful baby boy could be so happy and well one moment, and gone the next. He did not suffer, he was surrounded by those that loved him dearly, Kevin, Tracy and myself.

Devastated, I’ve spoken to several veterinarians, including the autopsy center. What went wrong? What could I have done differently yesterday? How could we have prevented this? It’s very hard not to have these feelings of guilt and responsibility when our beloved pass. In our grief, it is hard not to want to apply blame. If only….what if…? 

We ruled out almost everything. My vet with 25 years of emergency room experience told me that for a sudden death in an otherwise healthy animal it was most likely a heart attack or a hemangiosarcoma near his heart. He had no fluid in his abdomen, nor history of any sarcomas. Simba was beautiful. He had just been groomed two weeks ago and his coat and skin were as beautiful as always. He was the picture of health, with vibrant sparkle in his puppy eyes. It makes no sense to me. In my grieving, I’ve tried to figure out what went wrong, what could I have done differently and what message does his passing give to us?

So I think it is important today to talk today about the #1 killer in the U.S. Heart disease. I’ve written a lot about cancer as a chronic disease but heart disease is called the silent killer for this reason.  Most don’t know that I’ve suffered from heart disease. I don’t look like someone with a cardiac condition. I look like the picture of health. But so did my beautiful Simba.

What we don’t know can and will kill us. It’s the hidden stressors that create chronic disease. Last week I wrote a paper for an upcoming workshop I’ll be giving in June on Befriending Cancer and Chronic Disease Prevention, and Anti-Aging Strategies. (Yes, they are all the same.)

What I’m passionate about is, how do we prevent these tragedies? How do we assess for hidden stressors? Sometimes we can, and sometimes we can’t.

When I went to my cardiologist two years ago he told me, “Face it Lisa, everyone will need to be on hypertensive meds when they get older.”  I said, “No, I want to know why I have high blood pressure.  Is it mental emotional, is it stress, is it dysbiosis, h-pylori, food sensitivities, intestinal permeability? What are the hidden stressors that I’m not addressing?

I’ve uncovered all of them. Yes, I had h-pylori and intestinal permeability leading to food sensitivities. Yes, I had mental emotional stress. Did I need to change jobs? Do I need to work in an environment where there is more collaboration and cohesiveness? Yes, yes, and yes. All of this makes a major difference.

Pay attention to all the messages your body is giving you.

The day before, when it started to get warm, Simba was panting heavily so we only took ½ our normal walk. Yesterday, he seemed to be tolerating it well. I don’t know if I could have done anything differently or made a difference or not.

I do know that we gave him lots of love and attention and we gave him a very good life. He will remain in our hearts as the big gentle giant. He was the King of the neighborhood. He helped to keep us grounded and disciplined. He forced us to take multiple daily walks. He was warm, kind and generous in his affection. He offered unconditional love. What better role model is that?

He’s prompted me not to take for granted my own health. To call my health insurance to get that sleep study that I’ve been putting off for over a month. To follow up with the cardiologist that I’ve been procrastinating because I don’t want him to put me back on medication. To not take anyone for granted and to live each day to its fullest.

This lifetime is precious. What legacy do you want to leave behind? How can you live each day to its fullest? How can you live each day on purpose?

Thank you Simba for your unconditional love and for these precious reminders. You will forever live on in my heart.

With Love & Gratitude,


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.

Read more
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