I received an email  from a Good Decisioner curious about the difference between hemp oil and CBD oil. Thanks for your Inquiry Kelvin! This was a fun one to research!
Here is a brief breakdown on the difference between the two.

Plant Anatomy


Hemp Oil

To extract the oil, hemp seeds are pressed and bottled or further processed and refined before bottling. Hemp oil is rich in essential fatty acids like linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3). They are also an excellent source of protein and offer vitamin E and other health-enhancing minerals, such as phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc.

Health Benefits 

Studies have shown that giving hemp oil to those with eczema may improve symptoms of the skin disorder, including dryness and itching. Studies suggest that these effects are due to hemp oil’s balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.
Hemp is a good source of GLA (gamma linoleic acid), which has been shown to decrease the inflammation that can occur with menopause. Hemp oil has also been found to alleviate symptoms of PMS, which can reduce the effect of the hormone prolactin in the body.


CBD or cannabidiol oil is extracted from the flowers, leaves, stems, and stalks of matured hemp plants. CBD oil can be extracted through several methods including carbon dioxide, ethanol, and even olive oil. The extraction method can play a part in the quality of CBD oil.

Health Benefits

CBD is sought for its range of health benefits, which include relief from pain, inflammation and insomnia. For those sensitive to the “high” of THC, CBD offers the power of the cannabis plant without psychoactive effects.
In a study of patients with arthritis, CBD effectively reduced pain, stiffness and inflammation. In another study of those with multiple sclerosis, patients experienced improvement in pain reduction, walking and muscle spasms when taking CBD.
CBD can also help those suffering from depression and anxiety. A report published in Neurotherapeutics found that CBD oil shows promise in the treatment of conditions like generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. And a survey published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research in 2018 showed that 62 percent of cannabidiol users reported that they used CBD to treat a medical condition, with the top three conditions being pain, anxiety and depression.
CBD can also help you sleep better, as determined by several studies. In one study, CBD showed promise for inducing deeper REM sleep, while another study of Parkinson’s disease patients found that taking CBD oil reduced symptoms of insomnia. And with CBD’s potential to relieve anxiety and pain, falling asleep becomes more likely, as these experiences can interfere with getting proper rest.

The Entourage Effect

When you harvest oil from the entire plant, you get every potential beneficial compound the plant has to offer including not just CBD, but dozens of other cannabinoids and scent compounds called terpenes.
Because hemp seeds don’t have the same cannabinoid profile, terpenes or other beneficial compounds, you’re only getting a fraction of the benefits that you would from CBD oil and not tapping into the entourage effect.
As a clinical herbalist we tend to believe that the different compounds of the cannabis plant work better when they’re used together compared to being used individually or as isolated extracts. The terpenes for instance, help the cannabinoids achieve their best effects; the cannabinoids help other cannabinoids – everything works together harmoniously.
With the entourage effect, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
So one is not really better than the other. It is best to consider which benefits you hope to gain, and then choose accordingly.
If you are curious about a food, plant, herb or substance let me know! I'm always looking for fun topics to write about!

Elise Hecker LC, LMT
WHolistic Licensed Esthetician

While most of us may know the great health benefits of drinking tea, little is ever said about the topical use of tea on the skin.
The health giving properties of tea have long been recognized by Chinese medicine and it is only recently that its benefits have been confirmed by modern science. The medicinal effects and antioxidant powers can no longer be denied and are now contributing to increased longevity by stimulating the function of the heart, strengthening the immune system and preventing cell mutation.
So, while I now have you all reaching for that cup of tea to drink up, I need you to switch gears and start thinking about putting that same freshly brewed tea on your skin!
In most generic spa facials, the Esthetician will use plain warm water to remove product from the face. That would never happen in my treatment room! I have traded out the use of plain water for a tea press full of aromatic, vitamin packed freshly brewed organic chamomile, rooibos or green tea. That’s right, you heard me right, tea!
In addition to using organic tea to remove facial cleansers and masks on the face, I often soak muslin cloths in the tea of choice to be used as a compress or I might even run an herbal tea ice cube over the skin. Using tea in my treatment room here at Lake Washington Wellness is just one therapy that makes my wholistic treatments unique. It makes a huge difference in what a custom wholistic facial experience looks, feels, and smells like, vs your run of the mill, cookie cutter generic spa facial.

Top 8 Beauty Benefits of Tea on the Skin

SOOTHE – Green tea is known for many things, from it’s high antioxidant (and therefore anti aging) components, to its ability to help energize and awaken. But did you know that this tea is also soothing as well? Yes, this antioxidant-rich tea has a soothing effect on skin, making it ideal for many of those with sensitive or irritated skin.
ANTI-AGE – Green is not the only antioxidant-rich tea. In fact, many of the most popular teas are naturally equipped with antioxidants galore. These antioxidants help to nourish the skin and fight fine lines and wrinkles associated with aging.
PROTECT – Black tea is packed with tannins, an antioxidant that is wonderful for protecting the skin from environmental damage. You can also find tannins in red wine, which is also known for its skin-boosting abilities.
REGENERATE – In addition to containing tannins, black tea is also rich in polyphenols, which promote cell regeneration. This is an essential step in the anti-aging process, and will ensure that your skin looks (and feels) younger and healthier for longer.
DE-STRESS – If you find your skin is suffering from oxidative stress, reach for white tea. The antioxidants in this light and delicious tea help to reduce oxidative stress that can be caused by the environment, meaning healthier, happier, better-looking skin.
IMMUNE – Many people don’t realize that keeping the skin’s immune system strong is crucial for overall skin health. White and green tea are both wonderful options for boosting the skin’s immune system.
ANTI-ACNE – Though slightly lesser known than it’s black, green, and white cousins, rooibos (red) tea is another option you might want to consider for it’s beautifying benefits. Specifically, this tea contains zinc, which has been shown to help soothe and prevent acne and related skin conditions.
BEAUTY SLEEP – Sleep is an absolute essential for beautiful, healthy skin. While many teas deliver a caffeine boost, others, like chamomile, help to promote calm and sound sleep. Much like ginger, chamomile tea is fantastic for soothing upset stomach, and skin irritations.
My #1 favorite use of chamomile tea for Sunburn RX:

Chamomile Sunburn Treatment

1) Place 5 tea bags of any Organic brand of chamomile tea in a medium glass heatproof bowl.
2) Add boiling water and let the tea steep for 10 minutes or longer
3) Remove tea bags and cover bowl.
4) Place in the refrigerator overnight.
5) Place and soak a small wash cloth in the cold tea and wring out.
6) Place compress onto the area of sun burned or irritated skin until cloth is no longer cool.
Repeat steps 5 and 6 several times
**You can also pour any unused chamomile tea into ice cube trays and pop the trays into the freezer for future use **

You gotta watch this video: If Fructose is bad what about fruit? 
Fascinating! I love how the “Fruit is Bad” myth is finally getting debunked. Thank goodness this myth didn’t last as long as the “Saturated Fats are Unhealthy” myth lasted!

Red Wine Poached Pears Anyone?


  1. Combine all ingredients, except for the pears and pepper in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Simmer until fully incorporated.
  2. Add the pears and reduce heat to a medium-low, simmer. Cook for 20 minutes or until pears are easily pierced with a knife.
  3. Remove pears from the liquid and set the pears aside.
  4. Boil the poaching liquid until it reduces by about 30% (approximately 20 minutes). Serve the pears over a pool of the poaching liquid. Garnish with black pepper.

Health Benefits

Eat your wine. Cooking wine evaporates most of the alcohol, and what is left behind is the heart healthy liquid that is full of antioxidants, including those that help to elevate HDL, or good cholesterol levels, which protects the heart. The reseveratrol in red wine also protects blood vessels in the heart from damage, including reducing the risk for blood clotting and inflammation.

By Jenn Maples, NTP

Going on road trips used to be one of my favorite things as a kid. We’d pack up the car with a few Mad Libs (remember those?), some colored pencils and paper and a cooler filled with snacks that my now-nutritionist-self probably wouldn’t approve of.

But road-tripping doesn’t have to mean eating junk food 24/7. In fact, most gas stations, mini marts and rest stops have HEALTHY(ier) options that will give you energy for the long haul and won’t derail your diet.

I get it though. Eating healthy on the road can be a challenge! A lot of my clients lose steam when it comes eating right on vacation, thinking it’s too hard to stay on track or don’t want to be a nuisance for the other travelers on their trip.

But here’s a news flash for you:


It doesn’t mean you can’t indulge now and then. However, it does mean you’re in control of what you eat, regardless of where you are or how annoying it might be to the people around you.

With that said, I wanted to share with you my nutritionist-approved cheat-sheet for eating on the road.

#1. Beef jerky.
Look for brands that have minimal ingredients. And if you’re sensitive to gluten, look out for ones made with soy sauce.

#2. Nuts.
Usually you can find packets of almonds, cashews or mixed nuts. Sometimes these snacks have added oil that’s not great for you (like peanut or canola oil), so look for ones that are just pure nuts.

#3. Hard boiled eggs.
This is a solid choice for on the road. Check the expiration date to make sure they’re still fresh and grab some salt and pepper on your way out.

#4. Trail mix.
Another good nut-centric idea, look for a trail mix without candy. That means no M&Ms, no chocolate pieces and no yogurt-covered anything.

#5. Protein bars.
This can be a mine field if you don’t know what to look for. Read the ingredients on the back and choose one with minimal ingredients (the fewer the better), less sugar and nothing you can’t pronounce.

#6. Cheese sticks.
If you’re good with dairy, and it is not mucus producing, string cheese is an excellent choice for on the road. Just like the eggs, double check the expiration date and grab a few to go.

#7 Packs of tuna.
This is a clean source of protein you can eat anywhere. If you’re lucky, they’ll have ones with the rip-top pouch. If not, you’ll have to settle for a can (and buying a can opener to go with it).

#8. Sunflower seeds.
I think a lot of road trippers can get behind sunflower seeds. Choose the ones still in the shell and you’ve got a snack and an activity all rolled into one.

#9. Water.
So important. And so easy to forget. Most people don’t drink enough water, especially when they’re away from home. Shoot to drink half your body weight in ounces per day.

Of course, you can always pack your favorite snacks from home, that way you’re sure to have what you need when you need it. But if you’re headed out on the road empty handed, be sure to take this cheat sheet along for the ride.

In a nut shell (no pun intended), choose these snacks for your next road trip!

Stubborn Wrinkles. Dry patches. Sun damage. Brown spots.

Ladies, if you can relate to any of these skin problems then here’s some urgent news.

You see, there’s a dirty little secret lurking inside your skin care products.

Manufacturers tell you these ingredients are “completely harmless."  But the truth is that these “harmless” ingredients actually destroy your skin – and add years to your appearance! 

But that’s not even the worst part.

These ingredients also cause hormone imbalances that can lead to weight gain, fertility issues and even hair loss! Yikes!

On my quest to find all natural skin solutions I hit the mother load. 

In this newsletter, my friend Nayri tells you exactly what these hidden ingredients are and how to avoid themShe also shares natural, effective beauty secrets that rejuvenate your skin and make you look years younger than your true age – instantly!

I bought it to test it out and all ingredients are simple, natural, and can found in your kitchen. LOVE it! 

Read her eye-opening article right here: The “harmless” skin care ingredients that destroy your skin and add years to your appearance

I'm having fun finding Good Decisions to rock your world! 

Much love,

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Most of the links going to products on Good Decisions are affiliate links of which I receive a small commission from sales of certain items, but the price is the same for you (sometimes, I even get to share a unique discount with you).
If I post an affiliate link to a product, it is something that I personally use, support and would recommend. I personally vet each and every product.
Our first priority is providing valuable information and resources to help nourish and optimize your mind, body and spirit. We will only ever link to products or resources (affiliate or otherwise) that fit within this purpose.

I once heard that the highest quality sleep occurs between 10pm-2am. Not one to slack off on curiosity I wondered why. I also wondered if I could maximize my sleep patterns and sleep less to enjoy more of my life. Considering we sleep roughly a third of our lives away this would be a big boon. I set out to determine if I could create more time in my day without compromising my health by sleeping less.

The Pineal Gland: Natures Alarm Clock

My curiosity led me to the pineal gland. I had recently been exploring the pineal glands role in consciousness. Curious I thought. It turns out that the biological clock that regulates our sleep patterns is the pineal gland. Images of an alarm clock shaped like a pinecone deep in my brain came to life.
Here’s how it works: As you go about your day the pineal gland takes in information about the sun through your eyes and sends it to the pineal gland via the optic nerve. When the sun goes down your pineal gland registers the change in light and begins to secrete the hormone melatonin. Melatonin is responsible for getting you ready for sleep. It is also a powerful nighttime antioxidant that removes the effects of free radicals produced by stress throughout the day. If you are awake past 10pm, this process becomes interrupted and your body’s ability to repair and regenerate is significantly impaired.
Right around midnight melatonin levels are the highest and then gradually decrease and are the lowest levels in the morning. It seems to be the general consensus that if you miss the 10pm bedtime, it will take longer to fall asleep and the quality of sleep will be less restorative, leading to a sense of fatigue in the morning.
When you are exposed to bright light it will prevent the secretion of melatonin, which is why we are directed to avoid TV or computer screens 1-2 hours before bed. When we expose ourselves to computer screens and light the pineal gland registers the light and melatonin is not produced. Darkness is what promotes the production of melatonin. So there really is a scientific reason for those blackout curtains.
I made some notes:
• Get blackout curtains
• Avoid light after 9pm
• Be in bed by 10pm

Sleep is Cleansing and Restoring

In order to determine how little sleep is actually needed I set out to know what role sleep plays in optimal health. My research took me immediately to restoration and regeneration of the physical body. Sleep studies have shown that right around 10pm when melatonin levels increase your body goes through what is called a “transformational phase.” This phase is associated with an increase in the repair and restoration of your body. A reduction of your mental and physical activity is necessary for this phase to occur. If you are a night owl and don’t sleep, 10pm could be a productive time for you because instead of using this increase in energy for repair and regeneration, you are using it to watch TV, work on the computer, read, or do other things. Instead of using the energy for regeneration and restoration, you are burning it up. As you can guess, this leads to morning fatigue.
More notes: So that’s why I always feel like I’ve been hit by a Mac truck in the morning.
In addition, a new system called the glyphatic system that flushes waste from the brain, has recently been discovered by neuroscientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center. The findings were published online August 15 in Science Translational Medicine. This system of cleansing and flushing the by products of brain activity is highly active during sleep. This makes sleep very important for the brain to clear out toxins and junk you accumulate in your brain all day.
This is when I started to worry. Is it really wise to limit my sleep? Is sleeping 5 hours each night doable?
• Best time to sleep is between 10pm and 2am.
• Sleep past 2am to maximize time in deep sleep.

Memory Consolidation

I also discovered that sleep is essential for memory consolidation. This is the process that maintains and strengthens your long-term memories. Insufficient or fragmented sleep can hamper your ability to process what happened during the day and form both concrete memories (facts and figures) and emotional memories.
Safety Note: Sleep enough so as not to lose memory capacity like aunt Gloria. Sleep 6 hours per night just to be safe.

Studies Show More Sleep is Not Always Better

I found study after study that showed negative impacts of less sleep, and really had to dig to find studies that showed less sleep had a positive effect on physical and cognitive performance. After I got rolling a found a few good ones:


Catching up on Sleep

Then I discovered that you can actually catch up on sleep. If you burn the candle at both ends and play catch up on the weekend, some of your baselines can return to normal.

My Personal Conclusions

From this information I determined that maximizing sleep quality and sleeping during the most important hours of the evening for optimal regeneration may enable me to sleep less and gain a few more hours to enjoy life. For me this was a big deal considering my normal sleep pattern was from 11pm to 9am for a grand total of 10 hours! Yikes! That’s almost 50% of my life!
I decided that sleeping from 10pm to 5 am for a total of 7 hours could be optimal for me. This way I can maximize my morning hours with meditation, exercise and really get a jump on my day. I could also recover from any lost sleep on the weekends. I came to this conclusion mostly because the idea of getting up any earlier than 5am is appalling.


As always, everyone is different. I even found a study where certain family members had genetic mutations and thrived sleeping from 11pm to 4am. So before you go restricting your sleep like I intend to, keep in mind that everyone is biochemically unique. We all have different stress levels, different mental states, different toxicity loads… and the list goes on and on. So the following recommendations are general recommendations to help everyone sleep better.

1. Don’t Drink Before Bed

It takes about an hour and a half for fluids to make their way out of your body. Don’t drink any liquids after 7pm so you can sleep through the magical 10pm to 2am regenerative period without having to get up and urinate.

2. Remove Electronics

After 9pm If you watch TV, work on the computer or read on your electronic device, shut it down by 9pm and use your last hour to wind down, take a bath, listen to some music, kiss your partner, and prepare for bed.

3. Be in Bed By 10pm

If you are a night owl consider winding down your day so you can be in bed by 10pm when your body and mind can reap the rewards of this magical restorative period. If you go to bed at 2am currently, slowly go to bed earlier and earlier each day so it is not such a dramatic shift for you.

4. Watch Sunsets and Sunrises

Melatonin secretion is enhanced when you watch the sunset. This contributes to better quality sleep. Your brain is able to differentiate between the setting and rising light of the sun and starts a chain of biochemical reactions to support you.

5. Stop Drinking Caffeine

I may lose some readers here, but here goes; caffeine interrupts your natural sleep cycle. There. I said it. Drinking caffeine in the morning is exciting. That’s why we do it, but this excitation can impact our sleep patterns negatively, especially if you drink caffeine later in the day. Begin to decrease the caffeine you drink gradually and watch how your sleep improves.

6. Eat a Small Dinner

When you eat a large meal your body has to focus on digesting. This interferes with regeneration and restoration. Going to bed after a light dinner aids the body and mind in its detoxification and healing processes.

7. Manage Stress

Stress puts you in a state of fight or flight, which increases the release of hormones adrenaline. Adrenaline is not conducive to sleep. Do what you can to be a duck and let any stress in your life roll off your back like water. Take deep breaths, go for nature walks, and meditate. Do what you can to reduce and eliminate stress.

Sleep Aids

If you still have trouble sleeping here are a couple of night cap recipes given to me by my herbalist instructor. They are really good ones. Go easy on the nutmeg and poppy and increase gradually to find the dose that works well for you.
To help you get to sleep
Ground poppy seeds: 1⁄4 teaspoon steeped in warm organic milk or coconut milk before bed. Slowly increase to the dose that gives you the best sleep without morning grogginess.
To help you stay asleep
Ground Nutmeg: 1⁄4 teaspoon steeped in warm milk or coconut milk before bed. Slowly increase to the dose that gives you the best sleep without morning grogginess.
*It is okay to use both nutmeg and poppy at the same time. Start with a 1/8 teaspoon of each and titrate the dose up until sleep is achieved with a little grogginess in the morning, and then cut back to last previous dose.
[1] http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/4/147/147ra111
[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3768102/
[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28401667
[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC
[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28455107
[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23941878

Do you feel that you have no control over your appetite? Is having to say no to ice cream is like pulling out your own tooth?
Do you feel out of control around food? Are you driven compulsively to eat when you aren’t even hungry?
I know I have…
Learn how to separate physical hunger from emotional hunger and get a few tips on how to resolve inner conflict and make peace with food in this interview with The Brazilian Health Nut, Bruno da Gama.
Who would you be without your emotional eating baggage?
Check out my interview, Emotional Eating: The Root Cause of Weight Gain for some key strategies!

Herb and Salt Crusted Prime Rib

Every year my brother in law cooks his famous Herb and Salt Crusted Prime Rib and every year everyone moans with delight. He has perfected this recipe over many years and experimented repeatedly with the cooking time and temperatures to achieve a perfect medium rare. This was my first time trying his recipe and while it wasn't as good as his, everyone else thought I was a rockstar and didn't know the difference.

To this master of meat I offer up this Ode to my brother in law Brad King:

May your BBQ always have gas, and your wife always pinch your *#!!.
May your oven be steady and ready to roast, and your home filled with friends ready to toast.
May the salt on your tongue, and the wine on your lips become muscle on your hips.
And may your love of beef, and your joy of wine, continue in this Ode for all time.

Dairy products are produced from milk and are a source of simple carbohydrates. There are healthy dairy choices and unhealthy dairy choices. Let’s learn the difference between the two. Most milk products, organic and conventional, have the potential to create mucus and inflammation.

Lactase and Casein

Some people have a low tolerance for milk because they lack intestinal lactase, an enzyme that digests lactose (milk sugar). In addition, some people are allergic to a milk protein called casein, which is one of the more difficult proteins for the body to digest. If you are one of these people, dairy is an unhealthy decision for you because it may cause inflammation, diarrhea, headaches, and a whole host of other symptoms, which can lead to disease.

If you are uncertain how your body does with dairy, pay attention to your body when you consume it and ask yourself the following questions: Does your heart rate go up when you consume it? Does it make you feel gassy or bloated? Do you get pain or cramps in your lower belly? Does it cause diarrhea? Do you break out in a rash? Do you feel anxious after you have consumed it? How to Tell if You are Sensitive to Dairy

Paying close attention to your body when you eat certain foods will give you much insight into how your body does with that food. If you do well with dairy, you may use these healthful foods in small amounts, and they can be very Good Decisions.

Butter and cream contain very little lactose and casein, and may be tolerated by those who are lactose intolerant. Fat also slows the passage of lactose through your digestive system, giving you more time to digest it. Those who are extremely intolerant of milk protein may consume ghee, a clarified butter in which the milk solids have been removed.

Dairy Consumption Controversy

Among nutritional therapists, there’s some controversy over dairy consumption. Some say dairy is good, and some say to avoid it. The decision to include dairy in your diet is not black or white because there are many factors to consider. A primary consideration, of course, is whether you are sensitive or allergic to it.
Everyone is different—what may work for one person may not work for you. The appropriateness of dairy consumption depends on each individual. Some dairy products can be consumed in moderation if your body does well with them.

Different Types of Dairy

Much depends on the type of milk, where it came from, how it was processed, and what has been added to it, in determining whether or not it will be problematic or mucus producing. A visit to a naturopathic physician or other health care professional may help you rule out whether or not dairy may be appropriate for you.
The reason I say small amounts is because dairy can be a source of “hidden sugars.” For instance, one small six-ounce container of yogurt can have up to 30 or more grams of simple carbohydrates. That’s equivalent to 7.5 cubes of sugar!

Many brands of yogurt contain artificial flavoring, coloring, and other synthetic ingredients. Read your food labels and, instead of looking at the nutrition facts, look at the ingredient list. Often you will find ingredients such as modified cornstarch, high fructose corn syrup, carrageenan, artificial colors, and so-called “natural flavors” that are anything but natural. If you see an unfamiliar ingredient on the list, or anything you can’t identify, avoid the product altogether until you can do your research.

Recommended Dairy Products

Nancy’s or Stonyfield’s plain yogurt brands are healthful yogurts. No sugar is added, and these yogurts contain six different strains of probiotic bacteria instead of just one. Some kefir and clabber brands offer ten or more strands of probiotic bacteria that live and grow in your intestinal system, which are very beneficial for your health. Probiotics are often used to prevent or treat intestinal disorders, stimulate your immune system, and produce antimicrobial substances.

Whole Fat

Don’t fall for the “low fat” dairy items touted over the last thirty or more years. They may be low in fat, but they are usually higher in sugar or contain artificial sugar, flavoring, and other ingredients to compensate for the flavorful fat that has been removed. You will learn in my book that not all fats are the monsters they have been portrayed to be.

Organic whole milk and plain yogurt can be used to create delicious, healthy dishes, and are full of protein, quality fat, and minerals that are good for bones and vibrant healthy skin. Plain, whole-milk yogurt can be sweetened with fresh berries and other fruit. This yogurt is much better for you than already-sweetened, artificially-flavored, or non-fat varieties. While low-fat products tend to be higher in sugar, whole milk products tend to be higher in protein and quality fat, which provide more nutrients.

An additional benefit of whole milk products is they are more satiating and taste much better. When you milk a cow, a thick layer of cream will form on the top of the milk. In this cream are fat-soluble vitamins,   proteins, and fatty acids that are good for the immune system. When this layer of cream is removed to make a non-fat product, what you have left is basically sugar water. Another factor to consider with dairy is how the cow is treated.

Conventional Dairy Products

Conventional dairy cows are fed an unnatural diet of genetically modified corn, antibiotics, growth hormones, and chicken and pig slaughter byproducts. These substances make their way into the milk and dairy products that end up on your table and in your body when you eat them.

Unfortunately, the majority of conventional dairy products come from cows on feedlots that are fed a number of unnatural things that do end up in the milk, so this is one product where I really encourage you to choose organic; this ensures that your milk is free of traces of these substances.

People who have penicillin allergies will sometimes react to meat or dairy products because of the amount of antibiotics in them. If you choose to consume dairy, choose local raw milk or grass-fed organic products made from the milk of cows that have not been fed genetically-modified corn, antibiotics, or growth hormones, but rather good old-fashioned grass. These milk products tend to be richer in Omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which boost your immune system and the taste is far superior.

Raw Milk

Historically, many societies depended on the raw milk of cattle, sheep, goats, and camels for protein and fat. The practice of fermenting (souring milk) is used in all traditional groups that keep herds. The fermenting process utilizes enzymes for partially breaking down lactose and pre-digest casein. The end products, such as yogurt, kefir, and clabber, can often be tolerated by adults who cannot drink fresh milk.

I am a proponent of raw milk products because they contain life-giving enzymes, probiotics, proteins, and fats that our ancestors enjoyed as nature intended, untampered with by man. I know what you’re thinking. “Really? Raw, you say?” Yes! It’s very good for you, and it’s delicious. In many states, you can buy raw milk on the farm and in stores. In some cases, you may have to purchase a small share in a cow to receive regular deliveries. Thanks to the Internet, we have access to many healthy foods. Do an Internet search by typing “raw milk” and the name of the area you live in to find many options and locations for you to obtain raw milk.
I have enjoyed raw milk products since 2002 and have never been sick or had any health issues as a result of doing so. My health has only improved. I highly recommend that you try raw milk, and do your own research into this healthy food.

Of course, as with every food, there is a risk. You can get E. coli from spinach, listeria from cantaloupe, and salmonella from chicken or eggs. If we live in fear, we don’t live at all. You must make your own choice and follow what feels right to you. How the farm handles raw milk appears to be what determines your risk, so visiting a farm and finding out how it handles its raw milk may put your mind more at ease. If you are hesitant to try raw milk, Organic Valley offers GrassMilk, a non-homogenized artisanal milk that has not been homogenized and is minimally pasteurized. It still has the cream on top just like the old days, and all you have to do is shake and pour. This is one of the tastiest pasteurized milk products I have tried.

Nutrient Dense

Butter and Cream Contrary to what most people believe, butter and cream are not unhealthy. Organic, grass-fed cream contains nutrients such as fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as protein and healthy fats that boost the immune system. The fat-soluble vitamins A and D in butter and cream are vital to health because they act as catalysts for mineral absorption and protein utilization. Adding a bit of butter, yogurt, or cream to your grains or vegetables enhances mineral absorption and delivers some phenomenal nutrients. Additionally, whole fat products are satiating and won’t leave you feeling hungry.
Dairy products are marketed for their high protein content, but it’s important to know that some contain more carbohydrates than protein. For example, butter, cream, and cheese do not have high amounts of carbohydrates; they are higher in fats and proteins. Other products, like milk and yogurt, do contain significant amounts of simple carbohydrates that can raise blood sugar levels rapidly.

Dairy Recommendations

Good Decisions recommends dairy only for those who tolerate and do well with dairy. If you lack intestinal lactase, are allergic to casein, or experience pain, gas, mucus, inflammation, diarrhea, headaches, or other symptoms, dairy is best avoided. If you are uncertain as to how your body does with dairy, avoid it for a week or two while you are on the 30 Day No Sugar Challenge and see how your body feels. Many people feel better when they do not consume dairy products, while others love it and tolerate dairy well.

All-Star Dairy Products Include:

• Organic or raw whole fat milk or buttermilk
• Organic or raw plain whole milk yogurt, kefir, or clabber
• Organic or raw cheese
• Organic or raw half-and-half, heavy cream, and butter

These products are the most nutritious and contain high levels of protein, quality fat, enzymes, and probiotics.


What Are Good Decisions?

There is a lot to this, I would recommend reading my book Good Decisions... Most of the Time for a full accounting of Good Decisions and not so Good Decisions. For now, I will simplify it to mean:


What Does “Good Decisions… Most of the Time” Mean, Anyway?

When defining Good Decisions…Most of the Time, I asked for some help from family, friends, and clients. We played around with several different scenarios to discover what would work best, which time frame was long enough for us to make gains toward our goals of feeling better and losing weight, and what “unhealthy decision” frequency was enough for us not to feel deprived.




One Splurge/Reward Meal Per Week

On the day we allowed ourselves a reward meal, some of us splurged on bacon cheeseburgers and beer, some went for pasta and dessert, while others decided they simply wanted an additional glass of wine. Everyone in our group chose the evening meal in which to splurge, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be restricted to that time. If you have a luncheon scheduled, and you really want to enjoy a martini and dessert, choose that day. If family brunch on Sunday is a tradition and you love the coffee cake and waffles, choose that meal. Whether you tend toward sweet or savory, the meal you choose, and what “unhealthy decisions” you choose during that meal is up to you; it is your decision!
The next day, depending on the splurge, some of us didn’t feel so great. Most of us, however, were excited to get back to making Good Decisions. Those who over-imbibed on alcohol seemed to have the toughest time getting back on track. Overall, we found that making Good Decisions of lots of vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and quality proteins with a little fat made us feel great. In addition, when only given one meal a week to splurge, we didn’t lose most of what we had gained.

No Guilt, and No Shame

We also found that when we didn’t have something for a while, we appreciated it so much more. The pasta was moaned over, the wine was savored, and the bacon cheeseburger elicited nirvana—that transcendent state in which all suffering is vanquished! Having fulfilled our desires, while retaining our sense of self and purpose, without guilt or self-flagellation, we had made Good Decisions…Most of the Time.

The Good Decisions Lifestyle After The 30 Day No Sugar Challenge

If you have taken on sugar and kicked its butt, you are a Sugar Challenger Rock Star! Congratulations! Your blood sugar levels have balanced and it is time to move into the "Good Decisions Lifestyle". This is the perfect transition because your blood sugar levels are regulated, you have been on a very hypoallergenic way of eating, which is very anti-inflammatory and you have detoxed!
Now, it is time to step into the Good Decisions lifestyle where you get to enjoy one meal per week of anything you desire. Because let's face it, Life is too short not to eat chocolate!


Fruit will be delectable, and will seem like crazy indulgences! You don't have to test these to bring fruit back in. I have never met anyone sensitive to fruit! You can have as many fruits as you like. Whenever you have a craving, reach for fruit. No guilt, no shame, and enjoy it thoroughly!
Fruit rocks and is a very Good Decision.


Dairy products are healthy for some individuals and not so healthy for others. Dairy is best consumed with an awareness of how you feel after you have consumed it. Test to see how your body does with dairy before bringing it back in after challenging sugar. If your body responds to dairy by creating mucus, it may not be a Good Decision for you. Here is How To Tell If You Are Sensitive to Dairy.
For those who do well with dairy, choose organic grass fed dairy products to reduce your intake of antibiotics, growth hormones, genetically modified corn, and more. Trust me, we don't need any more growth hormones. We are big enough! Here is more on Are Dairy Products Good Decisions?
All-Star Dairy Products Include:
Organic, grass-fed, or raw whole fat milk or buttermilk
Organic, grass-fed,  or raw plain whole milk yogurt, kefir, or clabber
Organic, grass-fed, or raw cheese
Organic, grass-fed, or raw half-and-half, heavy cream, and butter


If you are a coffee lover and have spent the last 30 days away from coffee, pay close attention to how you feel if you choose to bring it back into your diet. Many people love the taste of coffee, but don’t like the way it makes them feel afterwards. Often they feel more tired than energized by coffee and find green tea gives them the caffeine hit without bogging them down. Good Decisions is not about demonizing coffee, but increasing your awareness of how you feel when you drink it. This allows you to make a conscious decision about coffee and whether or not it contributes to how you wish to feel.


Beer and wine can also be approached this way. I find that I thoroughly enjoy one glass of wine, but after a few sips of the second glass, my body is done with the experience and it is not as enjoyable. When I don’t listen to my body, I usually wake up the next day not feeling so great!
(If you are not a Challenger and would like to know more about taking on sugar you can check it out here: The 30 Day No Sugar Challenge.)

At Good Decisions we practice what we call, The Good Decisions Trifecta.
To get the good stuff, the deep details and nuances of each of these three pillars, you would have to join others and kick sugars butt in our 30 Day No Sugar Challenge, or sign up for our online course.
But for now, here is a small taste to wet your whistle:

The Good Decisions Trifecta


  1. Eat when you are hungry.
  2. Stop eating when your body is satisfied.
  3. Enjoy every bite, no matter what you eat.

Eat when you are hungry can be achieved by doing The Hunger Check.
Stop eating when your body is satisfied can be achieved by practicing shifting from one point on The Hunger Scale to another.
And enjoy every bite.. Well, that happens when you stop looking at food is the enemy. You let go of guilt, shame, and learn to enjoy food and how it nourishes your body. (Our online course helps with this)
There is a 4th aspect to this that is very important:

If you fall off the wagon, shake it off! And get back on!

And whatever you do, wherever you are, whenever you fall of the wagon, remember this video and just "Shake it off" and hop right back on!
Click here for a glimpse of our mascot video: "Shake It Off"

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