Lisa Blakeney, Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach

Author: Lisa Blakeney

I’m back to blogging!!

Hello, I’ve missed you.  I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, blogged or communicated, so sorry.  I’ve had a very busy year, and unfortunately, blogging just wasn’t something I could fit into my hectic schedule without completely stressing out.  I’ve missed it, and you all though, and I’m so glad to be back in your inbox today.

I’m using this email as a quick hello, a brief update, and a test of my new email system – MailChimp.  I’m hoping this will make everything run a bit more smoothly, enabling me to get more posts out into the world.  I’m getting back to posting twice per month, so I hope you’ll tune in and see what I have in store.

To give you a quick rundown on me, I bought a house in May, right in the middle of the Pierce County housing shortage.  We looked and looked and looked, sometimes with 10 or more other people at open houses and showings; I bid against others on one house, twice, and then finally made the only offer on a small house on a one-quarter acre lot in Lakewood and it was accepted before anyone else could make an offer on it.  WHEW!!  Of course, I have been crazy busy with everything that first goes with buying a house, then of course, moving, and getting settled in.  We have since been busy unpacking, fixing things, trying to find space for all of our stuff, and making it our home. It is a small house, with no storage, which has made it difficult to fit all our stuff, but we are managing and downsizing to make it work. We love our large lot and our outdoor space and we are making plans for a huge garden this year.  Our two dogs and four chickens are very happy at our new place, too.  There will always be more to do, but for now we are pretty happy with everything and pretty well settled in.

In addition to my crazy personal life last year, I have also made a commitment in my business to be more laser-focused, and therefore accomplish more.  I absolutely love working with my clients and watching them transform their lives, and I continue doing so, but I have also been laser-focused on writing my book.  You see, I have been wanting to write a book for a long time, and while I’m not sure there is ever a right time, I decided that now was the time for me.  I committed to finishing it, and I have now completed the task of writing the book.  I still have a LOT of editing to do before it will be ready to share with the world.  But I am making a lot of progress on it.

I am so excited to have reached my goal and I am planning on self-publishing this book sometime in the near future.  Stay tuned for more details.  I hope this book will enable me to help even more people.

Since I have been writing so much, I also really want to get back to blogging.  I’ll be back on Thursday, February 8 with the beginning of my Sugar Series posts.  One of my goals for 2018 is to overcome my sugar addiction, so I have been researching all about sugar detoxing, sugar addiction, and am ready to share this valuable information in a series of 3 or 4 posts. 

I’m so looking forward to being back in touch, and hope you’ll join in and comment below.  Just a quick Hi to let me know you got this email, please.  Thanks!!  See ya next time!!

How to Know What Food Labels Really Mean?

The buzz words the food industry and the health movement uses to proclaim, claim, describe, market, or fool us can be maddening.  Have you ever wondered which of those buzz words to believe and which ones to ignore?  I’m going to run through a list here and give you a bit of factual information from the USDA to back it up.  Some of these terms are simply fluff or marketing, but some of the terms are actually helpful and regulated.

First, the claims you can believe, those that are helpful and regulated:

Antibiotic-free – this can be claimed if an animal has not been given antibiotics during its lifetime.  Similarly, the terms “no antibiotics administered” or “raised without antibiotics” are also terms meaning just what they say.

No added hormones – is a term used to indicate an animal has not been administered added growth hormones.  Hogs and poultry cannot be given any hormones by law, and the USDA prohibits the term “hormone-free.”  If it’s not labeled do your research or ask your farmer.

RBGH-Free or RBST-Free – Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), or recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST) are genetically engineered growth hormones.  These are used by dairy farmers to artificially increase milk production.  This hormone has not been properly tested for safety, is banned in Europe, Canada, and elsewhere, yet most conventional milk in the U.S. contains these genetically modified hormones.  Choose organic milk as it is rBGH and rBST free.

GMO-Free, Non-GMO, or No GMOs – Genetically modified organisms are plants and animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses, or other plants and animals.  Look for GMO-Free, Non-GMO or No GMOs to ensure your are not consuming foreign substances your body cannot recognize.

Grass Fed – Just like it says, these animals were fed their natural diet of grass, rather than grains and by-products and GMOs.  Best options are grass fed and grass finished, so you know the animal was not fed GMO grains in the slaughterhouse in the last hours of its life.  Grass fed meat is leaner, lower in fat and calories than grain fed meat and it is simply healthier.

Healthy – Food labeled as “healthy” is surprisingly regulated and must be limited in cholesterol, low in saturated fats, and limited in sodium.  Some foods in this “healthy” category must also contain 10% of Vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, protein, or fiber.  Of course, a lot of these synthetic versions of these nutrients are not very absorbable to the human body, but they are there.

Fair Trade – The Fair Trade label means that farmers and workers have received a fair wage and work in acceptable conditions while growing and packaging these products.  Many of these farmers and workers are in developing countries.

Pasture Raised – This is another simple term indicating that these animals were raised naturally on a pasture where there were nutritious grasses and other plants available for grazing.  The animals are allowed to roam and move around freely and carry out their natural behaviors.  Pasturing livestock and poultry are traditional farming techniques that we know have worked for hundreds of years.

Organic – Organic fruits and vegetables unfortunately have to be labeled as such, because the food industry has ruined “regular food”.  The USDA regulates organic farmers, sometimes to the extreme, but the criteria is as follows:

  • Abstain from the use of prohibited materials (synthetic fertilizer, pesticides, and sewage sludge) for 3 years prior to certification and continually throughout their organic license.
  • Prohibit the use of genetically modified organisms and irradiation.
  • Employ positive soil building, conservation, manure management, and crop rotation practices.
  • Provide outdoor access and pasture for livestock.
  • Refrain from antibiotic and hormone use in livestock.
  • Sustain animals on 100% organic feed.
  • Avoid contamination during the processing of organic products.
  • Keep records of all operation.

Organic food also prohibits the use of hydrogenation and trans fats.  The “USDA Organic” seal means that 95% of the ingredients are organic. “Organic ingredients” can be used with an item has 70-95% organic ingredients in it.

Non-Irradiated – This means the food has not been exposed to radiation.  Sadly some of our food is exposed to radiation energy to kill disease-causing bacteria and reduce the incidence of food borne illness, even though thorough research has not been done to know if this food is safe for human consumption.

Okay so that is a pretty good list of some of the buzz words you will see that actually mean something, are helpful and you can reasonably rely on.  Now, let’s talk about a few that are mostly meaningless.

Natural – This word has no official standard or definition, except when used specifically with reference to meat and poultry, where it can be used to indicate minimal processing, does not contain artificial colors, artificial flavors, preservatives or other artificial ingredients.   Natural foods are not necessarily sustainable, organic, humanely raised, free of hormones and antibiotics – this word gets used a lot when something is really not very natural.  This is a word I disregard entirely in the healthy food world – meaningless.

Cage-Free – This may seems like a pretty good label or claim, but what this claim does not say is more important.  It does not say that these animals had access to the outdoors, so they may just be overcrowded warehouses of animals.  Look for “pasture raised” or “pastured” meat and poultry.

Free-Range – This label as defined by the USDA only pertains to poultry and egg production, and can be used even if the birds are only given a brief opportunity to be outdoors.  Theses could still be indoor animals that are not treat humanely, and likely have been given antibiotics.  Also, these claims are defined by the USDA, but are not verified by anyone, so we all know what happens when no one watches the hen house.

Gluten-Free – Even if you are not sensitive to gluten or a celiac, you’ve probably noticed all of the Gluten-free products in the grocery store.  Some of these products are gluten-free all right, but instead contain a mix of other highly allergen ingredients, or other unhealthy substitutes to make the item taste or perform as it would with gluten.  Be careful with these products and carefully read the ingredient labels.

The bottom line is that you can’t believe everything you see on a food label.  I see some pretty outrageous claims on food labels in the regular part of my local grocery store.  Be cautious, educate yourself and do your own research, rather than just believe a statement on food packaging.

To your good health!!

April Fool Yourself Into a New Healthy Habit

Spring is finally here, YAY!!!  With Spring Comes April Fool’s Day, too.
Spring is a time for renewal, a fresh start, new leaves, and flowers, and warmer weather.  In the interest of a fresh start, I want to talk about switching out a bad habit for a good one, and in just a short time you can make a new habit.
Let’s start by picking a bad habit, or perhaps just something that you do, but you don’t really enjoy it anymore, you just do it out of habit.  Change this up with a new, healthy, productive habit.  PRACTICE, Practice, Practice!!  And make it happen!!

Our brains like repetition and we easily get into certain habits, like brushing our teeth or taking a shower everyday.  We do a lot of things on auto-pilot, and not all of those things are good habits to be doing without even thinking.  Sometimes we have to just decide to do something different.  Make the decision and then start implementing. 

The implementation can be the challenge.  Instead of trying to add a new habit ON TOP OF all of our other habits, let’s try swapping out a bad one for a good one, and committing ourselves to it. 

Each time the habit that we want to let go comes up we immediately substitute that thought, activity, etc. with the new, healthy habit – rinse, repeat.  Don’t send yourself into overwhelm on this, just try to remember to immediately make the switch anytime that old habit comes up and replace it with the new, better option.  After just a week or two of making this your new habit you will no longer have to think about it, it will become your new habit.

No foolin’!!!   Now go try this and let me know how it works for you.  Comment at the top of this page.  I’d love to hear from you.

“The secret of change
is to focus all of your energy,
not on fighting the old,
but on building the new.”  
                             ~ Socrates

To your vibrant health,


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