Supporting Your Microbiome With Food and Lifestyle

Your Microbiome is hugely influential to your everyday and longterm health, and here is the thing, your microbiome is malleable, meaning it changes depending on your lifestyle and your food choices. 


Your microbiome, according to microbiome scientist extraordinaire Dr. Joseph Petrosino, is important for mental health, immune health, hormone health, healthy weight and energy levels, brain function, digestive health, inflammatory levels, cardiovascular health, and more (1)! 


I am loving all the new science and appreciation that is happening around these important microbes and how they influence us.  We are learning more and more each day.  Here are just a few ways we know the microbiome influences our health.

First, the gut microbiome is the totality of all the organisms, bacteria, yeast, fungi, in your gut as well as their genetics, in relation to you, the host. What happens to them, happens to you, and vice versa.

The crazy thing? We have more microbial cells than human cells in our body. Even crazier.. according to microbiome scientist Kiran Krishnan, new science has made it clear that these microbes control around 90% of our genes (2). Humans have around 7 pounds of influential microbes in their gut alone!

Why is it important?


Among many other important functions, our microbiome provides a barrier system, between the outside world, or the foods and substances you ingest, and the inside world, your bloodstream and your immune system. Making sure you have a robust barrier is key to your health.  We want to keep out what does not belong in our bloodstream but absorb what we do need.

In particular the microbiome and the balance of microorganisms in your body influences your immune function, in fact, according to Krishnan, your immune system would not exist with out it. Your microbiome acts as watch guards to help find invaders, and then communicates via inflammatory markers with the rest of your immune system if back up is needed (so your immune system can act on invaders and keep you safe).


Another incredibly important role of the microbiome is the production of Short Chain Fatty Acids and the impact of butyrate in particular.   These substances, that healthy microbes produce, directly impact your brain, your immune system, and more.  (check out my short videos on feeding the microbiome to support immune health below)

Your microbiome is also key to your metabolism by helping you digest and utilize foods. We can eat the best foods in the world but we need out microbes to help us use them. In fact it helps us not only process foods but also process medications (5).

Your microbes send messages to your nervous system and can influence what foods you crave and how satiated you feel, says Krishnan. They can influence which part of the nervous system is activated, the rest/relax or fight/flight one, impacting your mood as well as cravings. In addition, studies have confirmed the influence of the gut microbiome on neurodegenerative diseases, neurotransmitters, and behavioral disorders (3).

According to health expert Chris Kresser the microbiome plays a critical role in hormone balance as well, influencing hormonal symptoms, diseases and cancers (4).

This is just the start, as we are only now starting to understand how influential our microbiome is on every part of out physical and mental health. Since your microbiome influences so many aspects of your body and your health it is worth taking care of. The crazy cool thing? It is the choices you make everyday with food and lifestyle that make the biggest impact.

When considering the health of your microbiome, it is important to

  1. Ingest healthy microbes to ensure diversity
  2. Feed the microbes in a way that promotes a healthy population
  3. Protect our microbiome from damage. 

Ways to enhance a healthy and diverse microbiome- 

  • From the get go, vaginal births seed the microbiome with healthy microbes and Breastmilk feeds these microbes exactly the right foods to thrive.
  • Avoid unnecessary antibiotics and medications
  • Eat fermented foods like Kvass, sauerkraut, yogurt, Kimchi, or other fermented veggies to get good microbial diversity
  • Eat loads of fiber, phytonutrients, and prebiotics from veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds, legumes (this is what feeds your healthy microbes)
  • Sleep 7-8 hours per night
  • Exercise or move your body daily 
  • Reduce everyday stress and learn to process stress (breath work, meditation, guided imagery, etc)
  • Avoid pesticides on your food and in your life like Round Up
  • Keep inflammation under control 
  • Play in the dirt including organic gardening

Look for more coming around the importance of the microbiome and practical steps to help you maintain a healthy balance of these incredibly influential little critters.   For now, check out my videos below on 2 ways to feed your microbes the right foods.


Two microbiome scientists I love, who are doing really great research, and to keep an eye on are Dr. Joseph Petrosino and Kiran Krishnan. You can also check out the Microbiome Summit if that interests you.

AND keep an eye open for my Healthy Digestion Club coming soon!

Exact quantities will vary depending on your unique body and gut health. Start low and slowly increase amount of ground flaxseeds and psyllium as your gut permits. I do 1 tablespoon of each but find what is right for you. Always chase with a glass of water:)
Stewed Apples For Gut and Immune Health- Short Chain Fatty Acids
Get my recipe for stewed apples here

References-

  1. Romm, Aviva. (2018) Frontiers in Microbiome Research with Dr. Joseph Petrosino
  2. (2020) The Healthy Terrain Summit. Krishnan, Kiran. Our Microbial Terrain. The Science Of Community
  3. Strandwitz P. Neurotransmitter modulation by the gut microbiota. Brain Res. 2018 Aug 15;1693(Pt B):128-133. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2018.03.015. PMID: 29903615; PMCID: PMC6005194.
  4. Kresser, Chris. (2017) The Gut Hormone Connection.
  5. Jandhyala SM, Talukdar R, Subramanyam C, Vuyyuru H, Sasikala M, Nageshwar Reddy D. Role of the normal gut microbiota. World J Gastroenterol. 2015 Aug 7;21(29):8787-803. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v21.i29.8787. PMID: 26269668; PMCID: PMC4528021.
  6. Functional Nutrition Lab. FBS. Digestive Intensive 2018

Janel Ferrin Anderson NC FNLP PhD is a Board Certified Holistic Nutritionist, a Functional Medicine Nutritionist, has her doctorate in Natural Medicine, is a certified family herbalist and a certified yoga therapist. ‘I am dedicated to empowering women to feel their best and to take charge of their health. I help people understand what is going on in their body and how to use food and lifestyle to improve health and resilience.’

Read more about Janel here

3 Ways To Add Calm and Resilience in 2021

Read what inspired me to study the body and to support people in their journey towards health

3 Ideas To Build Resilience, Health, And Calm in 2021

Welcoming in a new year feels vastly more important this year.  Although a new year will be appreciated on many levels and brings with it the potential for needed change, it is not a free ticket to better or easier times.  But the cool thing is there are some awesome habits you can adopt to increase how well you feel and how resilient you are this new year. 


I could easily name 10 (or 20) but I am going to keep it to 3 and they will all be about adding, not taking away……..

1. Add booster foods to your life.  I love booster foods.  They are such a simple way to add nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, clean proteins and fiber to your day.   They will help you become more resilient in so many ways as your body restores and refuels a little bit more every day.  What are booster foods exactly? They are a group of foods that are nutrient dense power houses.  They are loaded with the constituents your body needs to function its best but are sorely lacking in so many foods today.  The key to incorporating them into your life is making a place for them in your home that you see everyday which helps you to remember to add them.  Here is a post I wrote on booster foods if you want more.  I have a special shelf in my fridge dedicated to these foods alone. Some of my favorites include flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, camu powder, maca powder, a mix of sesame/pumpkin/sunflower seeds, gogi berries, mulberries, kelp flakes, nutritional yeast, collagen, and cacao.   I try to add them when I can throughout the day to salads, yogurt, smoothies, soups, toast, nut butters, potatoes, bars, etc.  Sprinkle that nutrient dense magic everywhere.  The key is being organized and creating the space.


2. Eat the rainbow, seriously, I know you’ve heard it, but do it each time you eat.  It’s not about eating perfectly is’s just about adding color. At every meal and snack ask yourself, “how can I get more color?”.  Colorful whole foods are loaded with important phytonutrients (which means nutrients from plants) that our body needs to operate it’s best. Our immune system needs colors, we need colors to fight off cancer, our brain needs colors, our gut needs colors, colors fight of oxidative damage, our heart and our hormones all need colors.  I know you know it, but now let’s make it happen.  -Eggs and toast for breakfast? What can you add? Blueberries and kale chips.  Great. The rainbow.  -A bowl of chilli for lunch?  What can you add? Sliced cucumbers on the side and chopped cilantro and pumpkin seeds on top. Yum. A rainbow.  -Roasted chicken, potatoes and a simple salad for dinner?  Get out the grater and grate a couple carrots and beets for the top of your salad and add a few chunked pieces of broccoli to boot with, a squeeze of lemon of course. Rainbow beauty there.  -Your kids having mac and cheese again for lunch? Ask them what colors they want to add on the side.  Roasted brussel sprout chips, strawberries, a tamari seaweed snack, green apples, red pepper strips, or carrots would bring in awesome colors.  Find what works for you but just think ‘what other colors can I add?’.  The key is shifting your mindset each time you eat to consider the rainbow.

3.  Make time for quiet.  Shhhhhhh. Honestly, it does not have to be fancy or timed or structured.  Although those things help some people, find small things you can do daily that are quiet,  just for you and that feels good.  For me I love lighting a candle every morning in the fall/winter/spring.  I take some breaths there, think of what I am grateful for, that’s it.  My sweetie walks outside each morning and spends just a few moments breathing in the cool air.  Some people spend time meditating, or doing breathwork.  Doing some gentle stretching is lovely each day.  Even a walk, all alone, with no phone.  Maybe watch the sunset each night.  Give your brain, your heart and your soul some quiet where there is nothing to do, no electronics on, no to do list.  Not even reading or music.  No pressure. Just quiet. And it can be only a few minutes each day.  What quiet will you add each day?  The key is doing it every day and keeping it simple.


I hope 2021 brings you calm, health, and resilience. 

Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.

Wildly, Janel at Mountain Rebalance

Hunger and Satiety Hormones

There is a lot more than willpower involved with hunger/satiety.  There are many hormones involved with both and there is a lot we can do to impact them.

Hormones interact with the world and they communicate with one another about what is going on. With hormones there is always a stimulus, a receptor, and an effector.  Our environment impacts each of these. 

We want our hormones to turn on at the right time, to be received successfully, to do their work, and then to turn off. Here, with hunger/satiety hormones, we want to feel hungry at the appropriate time and then we want to feel full after we eat.

Raise your hand if you want to feel satisfied with food and well energized all day. I do! 

What you eat, when you eat, how you process stress, how you move your body, and how well you sleep all impact our hunger/satiety hormones.


Meet some of your hunger hormones………

Leptin – Made primarily in fat tissue.  This hormone acts on the brain (hypothalamus) to inhibit or reduce appetite and induce fat burning (tells you you are full).  It was only discovered in 1994!  This has a circadian rhythm to help you sleep. Leptin resistance (and insulin resistance) is a big factor in over eating. We want our cells to ‘hear’ our hormones so they can do their jobs.  Optimizing blood sugar, reducing inflammation and excess sugar/starches, reducing stress, and removing nutrient-poor and highly palatable foods will help with this. 

CCK or cholecystokinin– This is our main satiation hormone and it is produced in the small intestine.  It slows the emptying of the stomach to promote fullness. It suppresses appetite and signals satiety.  It is especially stimulated by eating proteins such as slow cooked meats (which have specific amino acids and umami to signal fullness), long chain fats such as omega 3s, and fermented foods. 

PP or pancreatic polypeptide– Due to vagal nerve stimulation this is released from the pancreas and inhibits food intake.  This is released in response to chewing.  Chew Chew Chew (and note the importance of the vagus nerve). 

Ghrelin– Made primarily in the stomach and only discovered in 1999.  This hormone stimulates hunger by acting on the brain (hypothalamus) and tells you that you are hungry.  It interacts with leptin and others.  This hormone is impacted by stress and implicated in stress-induced eating and food/reward behavior.   It is released when blood sugar drops, when you are stressed, with high fructose consumption, or when you did not get enough sleep, all making you feel hungry.  A 2006 study by American Society for Clinical Nutrition suggested a breakfast high in protein was better at reducing ghrelin (making you feel full). 

Takeaway?

A calorie is not just a calorie.  Our food and lifestyle is information for our body, for our cells, and for our brain.  Our hormones are impacted by our environment.  


What 4 things can you do to ensure your hunger/satiety hormones are working for you? 

1. Focus on whole, nutrient dense foods that your body can recognize (and make sure you are digesting them).  

2. Work on reducing stress, learning to process stress, and never eat when stressed out.  Take at least 3 calming breaths before each meal. 

3. Make sure you are gettting enough sleep each night, 7-9 hours

4. Eat a healthy fat, a clean protein, and fiber at every meal and snack. 

  • Healthy fats include avocados, coconut oil, olives, nuts, seeds, fatty fish, organic butter, olive oil, coconut
  • Clean proteins include eggs, grass fed beef, bison, chicken, lamb, beans, lentils
  • Fiber is in veggies, fruit, nuts/seeds, legumes


Even small changes can have a positive impact on hormones:) 
Eat up, rest up, and enjoy

Wildly, Janel

  • Jones, David. (2010) Functional Medicine Textbook. The Institute for Functional Medicine
  • Nakayama, Andrea.  (2018) Full Body Systems. Functional Nutrition Lab. Endocrine System.
  • Bauman, Ed. (2018) Therapeutic Nutrition- Weight Loss

Janel Ferrin Anderson NC FNLP PhD is a Board Certified Holistic Nutritionist, a Functional Medicine Nutritionist, has her doctorate in Natural Medicine, is a certified family herbalist and a certified yoga therapist. ‘I am dedicated to empowering women to feel their best and to take charge of their health. I help people understand their body and how to use food and lifestyle to improve health and resilience.’

My Inspiration For Bridging The Gap In Healthcare Came From My Son….

One reason I became interested pursing the study and function of the human body and how food and lifestyle impact it was because of my son.

14 years ago my husband and I were told that our 1 year old had Spasticity in his legs, which is a form of Cerebral Palsy from an in-utero stroke. We were told it was something that could not heal but would not get worse. Time would tell how much it would impact his life but we should count on him having to miss a ton of school for doctors appointments and physical therapy throughout his life, getting many surgeries, probably not walking, and we would see what else with time.

We were absolutely shocked.

That is when I went to work figuring out…. WHAT CAN WE DO?

I call this ‘optimistic science and wellness’ and many degrees/certifications/internships later this is essentially what I practice today.

Although we had fabulous doctors from the get go we were treated as Levi’s diagnosis and not the person he was or the people we were (***see footnote about our amazing physical therapists) . It felt like no one was seeing us, no one was there in the docs office to talk to about what was happening in his body and what we could do to impact it. No one was interested in thinking into ways we could enhance his life and optimize how the rest of him functioned so he could thrive and live his best life. No one was curious with us. No one explained ‘what’s going on in there’ so we could better understand the big picture. And no one seemed second guess feeding Levi chocolate pudding, red jello, dino nuggets and white crackers when we were living in the hospital after his massive surgery hoping he recovered strong………

So I started researching, investigating, and thinking into WHAT CAN WE DO to help?

If he was going to miss so much school, have so many surgeries, and not walk how could we maximize how the rest of him functioned and increase his resilience?

I would have to dig into a lot of biochemistry and physiology but luckily I was already in healthcare and was off and running in no time.

With the help of our brilliant physical therapists, we had the muscular/mechanical part down. But I was curious what was going on physiologically with spasticity and how might that have happened. I was curious about his immune system, and what we could do so he wouldn’t miss more school for preventable viruses and infections. I was interested in what we could do to impact his brain function so he was as sharp and clear headed as he could be. I wanted to know how we could we best support him around healing from numerous surgeries. It was only later that I learned how important it would be to optimize how his digestive system worked top to bottom so he was able to break down all the nutrients he needed from foods so he could be his strongest self as well as reduce inflammation from poor digestion. I learned how important reducing chronic inflammation was. With years of studying I learned how important it was to support his liver so he was able to clear all the medications he would need for surgeries. We knew how important his diet would be to ensure he had enough energy to keep up as best as he could, knowing he was working 20 times harder than other kids his age to simply stand.

The list goes on and on. We wanted him to function as best he could knowing he would struggle for his entire life to walk, stand, tie his shoes, and carry a backpack. Turns out there was a lot we could do.

During these years I realized the incredible need to bridge the gap between doctors and patients. We need to think beyond a diagnosis and more into practical ways to optimize any situation. No one ever mentioned food or lifestyle to help Levi function.

So I went back to school to figure out how we could make an impact on the rest of his body and to bridge the gap that we experienced. I spent over a decade searching for what was missing. First I studied Holistic Nutrition, then I studied Natural Medicine, then herbs, and I studied Functional Medicine and Functional Nutrition which proved to be the methodical, truly holistic, curiosity driven, and systems-biology approach that I felt was so sorely missing. I began getting curious around what drives symptoms and disease, what can we do at a foundational level to make an impact, and how to educate and support people to make appropriate and sustainable changes.

I call this “what can i do wellness” or “optimistic health and wellness“.

Now, I get to listen to people, I get to hear their story, I teach them about their body, and help them to use food, herbs and lifestyle to optimize how they feel and function. I dig into the science of ‘what is going on in there?’ so we can get an idea of the root cause, or what might be driving or impacting symptoms or disease. I understand that we are all unique and that our environment talks to our genes and impacts their expression. People come to me now with all sorts of goals, diseases, symptoms, dysfunctions, hormone imbalances, history and life experiences. I listen carefully to each person and we map out their body systems including digestion, immune/inflammation, environment, energy production, detoxification, hormones/neurotransmitters, spirit/resilience, and physical integrity. We dig into their personal goals, their unique history, and focus on optimizing how all their body functions at a grass roots and foundational level. I help people to see how everything we do impacts our health; including sleep, stress, mindset, diet, relaxation, movement, and more. I spend the time helping people understand the science of that. There is always something we can do to make a difference and to support our goals if we just understand what’s going on in our own body.

All of this, coupled with my innate desire to find unbiased truth, has let me to my life’s work.

I wish I had someone 14 years ago to join our team and dig into this with us. But I am grateful for our experience as it brought me to where I am today. And I am grateful everyday for our oldest son who is my greatest teacher and who I wouldn’t change a thing about. He is currently writing a hero’s journey short story for high school english. He doesn’t know it yet but he is his own hero in his own journey and he is definitely mine.

“Sometimes a journey is not about the traveler. It is not about a destination. It is about the bringing together of worlds. It is about lighting a path.”
― Thomas Lloyd Qualls

*****On a side note, I should mention that our physical therapists have always been our heroes and wonderful advocates for Levi and our family. Deborah, Amy, and Christine. They did spend a great deal of time supporting us and getting curious with us regarding Levi’s physical movement. I will be forever in debt to our magnificent PTs. It is in fact my goal to bring that kind of thinking, problem solving, curiosity and attention to my clients only for me using food, lifestyle and herbs.

Read more about my story here

Check out our Women’s hormone club here

Hear what people are saying about working with me

Curious about how our gut impacts our health?

Women, Girls, Mothers, Grandmothers- It Is Time To Rise Up, Together

The world needs us to rise up, women.   We need to be brave, strong, and loud.

In order to do that we need to feel our best, have as much energy as possible, be clear headed, and unite. 

Like many of you I was incredibly saddened to hear about the passing of Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, last week. Then I spent some time feeling anxious about what it means politically, moving forward. Thankfully I woke up Monday inspired to take action in my own small way. To RISE and persist like Ruth would have wanted.

RBG spent decade after decade fighting for women’s rights. She  fought for reproductive freedom, equal pay, job based discrimination, financial discrimination, and so many other issues involving  gender discrimination. I am so grateful for her tireless work.

Women need to feel empowered around their health and their body so they can go into the world feeling strong, energized, and sharp. We need to change how healthcare is practiced, seeing the whole person, the whole woman, hearing, trusting, and focusing on using every day tools to optimize health.

When you are stronger WE are stronger 

10 things you can do starting today so you have the resilience and energy it takes to rise up in your own way. 

  1. Sleep at least least 7-9 hours a night, seriously, how can we rise up if we are tired?
  2. Eat whole foods including nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats and clean protein. Stay away from any foods that negatively affect you personally
  3. Say no to things and people that bring you down. Practice now……. ‘No’
  4. Discover your heart’s desire and go do it
  5. Play outside in the sunshine, rain, wind, and snow
  6. Drink water, tea, and broth
  7. Cook
  8. Support and encourage other women to do their best and to shine brightly (and you shine as brightly as you can, don’t hide that shit)
  9. Find a way to process your stress and practice doing it every day- meditation, deep relaxation, breath work, mantra, etc
  10. Be careful of the self limiting and negative stories you tell yourself. They are just that, stories, they are not truths and they can sabotage you. Make a new mantra and create new positive stories you tell yourself. It might take time but you can do it.
  11. Speak your truth and speak it loudly

Start making changes today towards feeling your best. Pick one small thing and focus on it until it becomes second nature or habit. You got this! We need every last one of us.

Check out our Women’s Hormone Club that starts this January

Set up a free 15 minute call with Janel to see if I can help you achieve your health goals

Find out how your gut impacts your health

Download a free Fall Recipe Book here that will inspire you to eat clean and try new delicious seasonal recipes that promote health.

Janel Ferrin Anderson is a Board Certified Holistic Nutritionist, a Functional Nutritionist, has her doctorate in Natural Medicine, is a certified family herbalist and a yoga therapist. I am dedicated to empowering women to feel their best and take charge of their health. I would love to support you on your journey towards more resilience, wellness, and ease.

“All Disease Start In The Gut”- Hippocrates. 10 reasons why……

Our gut is the place that the outside world interacts with our inside world, all day every day. The health of our gut impacts every single system in the body and must be addressed when looking at any disease or symptom. What happens in the gut sets the stage for health or disease to take root. No matter what other route you are taking to heal, addressing gut function is key.

What directly impacts gut health? Food, lifestyle, mindset, and environment. Wait, holistic health is important for a biochemical reason? Yup!

10 ways the gut directly impacts our health-

1.Many of our genes are turned off or on depending on what comes in from the outside world through our gut and the condition of our gut. New science shows us that we are not our genes but instead what health promoting or disease promoting genes turn on depending what environment they are in (epigenetics and gene expression). 7, 1 Humans do not have that many genes, it is our life experiences and the world around us that dictate so many of our differences.

2. Around 70% of our immune system is in our gut. What we eat directly affects the status, health, and activation of our immune system. Our immune system can be under functioning (as with cancer or when we constantly catch infections) or over functioning (such as in autoimmunity, allergies, and chronic inflammation). We need our immune system to activate, work, and then return back to monitoring. The foods we eat, how we digest them, and the environment of our digestive tract can turn this chronically on or deliver input that leads to downstream immune dysfunction. (Take the thyroid for example you can have high antibodies for 8 years before your thyroid is seriously damaged or you even have symptoms! That gives you almost a decade to turn things around with food before disease sets in!) 8, 4

3. Many of the neurotransmitters we need for brain health are produced in our gut and are essential for our mental health. When the gut is not functioning correctly the brain can be directly impacted through these messengers. That serotonin that helps you to feel good? Most of that is made in the gut! Even gluten, cassein, and sugar can have opiate affects in our brain! 1, 3

Our gut is even considered our second brain. The vagus nerve directly connects our gut to our brain and there are messages that go both ways on this nerve, keeping the brain in our head constantly informed as to what is going on in our gut (not just vice versa as we once thought). When our gut dysfunctions or is inflammed our brain can dysfunction in result. This is known as our Gut/Brain Axis. 7

4. Almost every nutrient we need to function is broken down, absorbed, or made in our gut. We need our gut functioning properly to get these vital nutrients and precursors. We can be eating a perfect diet and still not be getting these nutrients we need if we are not digesting and absorbing them correctly (stomach acid problems, lack of enzymes, bile issues, vili damage, the wrong microbes, eating foods we are sensitive to, and more). Stress can even cause a digestive system breakdown leading to downstream symptoms and disease. 1,3

5. Our gut is the home to millions of microbes. We have 150 times more bacterial genes than human genes and 10 times more intestinal bacterial cells than human cells. What? Yes! This bacteria communicates directly with our entire body and impacts gene expression, brain function, metabolism, nutrient absorption, immune function, hormone detox, and more. These microbes produce certain nutrients and break down harmful substances. The food we eat and our lifestyle directly affect the quality of our gut bacteria (microbiome and dysbiosis) and in result our overall health. The new research coming out around our microbiome is outrageous and indicitive of 1, 4,5,6

6. We need our gut to absorb the appropriate sized particles but to keep out particles that do not belong in our bloodstream and that our body sees as invaders. The food we eat, our lifestyle, and medications we take all impact this important barrier function of our gut. Leaky gut’ or hyper-permeable membranes are factors involved with autoimmunity, oxidative damage and the source of chronic inflammation that drives most modern chronic disease. Even healthy foods can cause damage when there is a leaky gut. 1, 3, 4, 6

7. We need a properly functioning gut and liver/kidneys to eliminate and get rid of waste. It is important this happens in a timely manner so these substances can be eliminated and not linger in our body, wreaking havoc. Toxins can cause endless downstream problems and the truth is we have exponentially more exposure today to these harmful substances than ever (pesticides, air pollution, plastics, chemicals, etc). This is known as an evolutionary gap, where our body has not had the time to keep up with the extra demand. Ensuring our body has the extra nutrients it needs to detox toxins properly is vital. 7,8,1,3

8. Our gut can be a major cause of chronic inflammation. New research shows that Chronic Inflammation may be a leading factor to all chronic disease. Processed food, oxidized oils, and many others can cause inflammation as does our gut when it is not functioning properly and able to break down food properly. Down regulating inflammation is essential to healing and staying symptom and disease free. We must remove offenders and add foods to support and heal our digestive system. 2, 4, 5

9. Our Mitochondria, or energy makers in our cells, are also impacted by the condition of our gut! What? Our mitochondria need certain nutrients to produce energy and to remain undamaged as free radicals are created when we make energy. We get these nutrients, precursors, and antioxidants from the foods we eat and depend on the integrity of our gut being intact 5, 2

10. Hormones– Blood sugar dysregulation and stress from eating the wrong foods can be the primary cause of many downstream health and hormonal problems, including sleep struggles, energy crashes, cravings, infertility, pms, and many more. With today’s diet is easy to have blood sugar problems and I am not talking about diabetics but instead most Americans because of the foods we choose have some kind of disregulated blood sugar. Getting a handle on blood sugar and other food stressors are key to overall hormone health and set the stage for healing to occur. 1, 2, 3

Both how your gut is functioning and the foods you are eating directly affects every single part of your body. Your brain, your immune system, your detox organs, your hormones, your genes, your mental health, your energy, your sleep, and more. Your gut is the doorway to health or disease. How is yours functioning?

No matter how minor or major the health problem or symptom is that you are dealing with and regardless of using other medical interventions- the gut needs to be addressed.

Helping people optimize the gut from top to bottom, and in result optimize health for today and for decades down the line is my specialty (and dare I say obsession). I am a Functional Nutritionist, a body detective if you will. Let’s see how the food you eat and your environment are impacting your gut and ultimately how you function and feel as a unique individual. I take a true holistic and grass roots approach to wellness and listen to your story.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” – Hippocrates. But that is a bunch of blah blah blah if your digestive system is not functioning correctly.

Heal Before Ideal! Which means we must heal the gut before even the most ideal diet can serve us. Plus, since we are all biochemically unique, what is medicine for me might be poison for you. That fast that saved you might be what tanked me. What? For real.

Let’s chat!

Email or call today for a free 15 minute consult

Janel Ferrin Anderson PhD NC- Board certified Holistic Nutritionist, Functional Medicine Nutritionist, Doctor of Natural Medicine, Family Herbalist, Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist, endless pursuer of why, and now specializing in advanced individualized diets such as salicylates, oxalates, FODMAPS and more.

Mountain Rebalance- Empower, Support, Investigate, and Integrate

This is my hubby and I on many of our awesome runs in the mountains endlessly discussing how western medicine and functional nutrition can and need to work together so people can find true health.
References 
1-Nakayama, Andrea. (2018)Full Body Systems. Functional Nutrition Lab. 
2-Bland, Jeffery. (2016) The Disease Delusion. Harper Collins. NY NY
3-Bauman, Ed. Friedlander, Jodi.  (2016). Therapeutic Nutrition Textbook Part 1. Penngrove, CA. Bauman College. 
4-O’Bryan, Tom. (2016) The Autoimmune Fix.  New York, NY:  Rodale Wellness. 
5-Jones, David MD.  (2010) Textbook of Functional Medicine.  Washington
6- Fasano, Dr. Allesio. (2019) Gluten, Autoimmunity, and Leaky Gut. https://chriskresser.com/pioneering-researcher-alessio-fasano-m-d-on-gluten-autoimmunity-leaky-gut/
7. Perlmutter, Dr. David.  (2019) Autism Spectrum Disorder and Pesticide Exposure. Dr.Perlmutter.com
8. Romm, Dr. Aviva. (2018) Reducing Thyroid Antibodies Naturally. Natural MD Radio episode #73


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Why Balance Is Key For True Health And Wellness


The idea of balance has intrigued me for 3 decades but has intrigued humans for thousands of years.  The more I study and experience in life the more I understand just how important this concept of balance is for true health and wellness:   Balance emotionally, balance energetically, and balance biochemically.  Balance feels good AND is what is what our body needs in every way imaginable.  The concept of balance has continually returned to me in my journey and I think it is the key to good health, resilience, and wellness.


As a yoga teacher in my early 20s I learned the importance of balancing effort with relaxation, balancing strength with ease, balancing humor with determination, balancing inhales with exhales, and balancing the body with our energy and spirit.  Yoga is a tangible practice of these concepts that the western world does not have a set way to study and feel otherwise.  You could say it was my ‘gateway drug’ to balance.

As a river guide, living outside for months at a time and experiencing all nature presented, it was clear in a conscious and unconscious way how important balance is.  Night and day, rain and sunshine, summer and winter, rest and excitement, smiles with tears, fear with relaxation, full moon and new moon, high water and low water, and more.  Balance is part of the natural world and reconnecting with that ebb and flow is a primal part of being human and what we  biochemically and energetically evolved in sync with.  We are sadly far removed from this pace in our busy, fast paced, controlled world.  There has been a lot of focus and research lately on the importance of connecting with nature and I think it is this concept of balance that plays a big part.


Balance is a fundamental concept in Ayurveda, which is the ancient medical practice of India and what I practiced in my early 30s as Mountain Rebalance.  The entire philosophy is based around the fact that there is no right or wrong or good or bad but instead things that balance each person uniquely for them at exactly where they are in their life.   We each have things that can balance our unique personality/energy and this changes during different phases of life, different seasons, different times of day and more.  When out of balance for too long symptoms and eventually diseases manifest. All things have this ability to balance or throw us off balance including foods, spices, physical activity, breathing techniques, careers, and so much more.  Spicy peppers and hot yoga might be exactly what one person needs to return to balance when it is exactly what will cause someone else who is already fiery to wobble out of balance and experience dis-ease, especially in summer. That person might need more rest/relaxation, cooling foods and imagery to balance them where those things would be too sedate for another who is already calm and still. We need to balance our energy instead of feeding what is. You can learn more about Ayurveda here if this interests you, it is fascinating mind shift.   https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-1117/Ayurveda-Dosha-Types-for-Beginners.html


I loved this ancient philosophy and healthcare model and practiced Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy for many years before I yearned for more ‘hard science’ and returned to school again in pursuit of ‘why’.  Still, as I dug into biochemistry, systems biology, pathology, and nutrition the idea of balance was there again.  

  • Cortisol is our stress hormone and gets a lot of negative attention today when it is actually very important.  Yes, excessive cortisol can cause all sorts of problems including fatigue and hormone problems but we need cortisol to wake up and feel awake and motivated for the day, we need it to decrease inflammation, and we need it to move sugar into the blood when we dip too low and need energy.  The right amount of cortisol is important but too little or too much is the problem. Balance biochemically is like goldilocks, not too much, not too little, but juuuust the right amount.   
  • Our microbiome depends on a balance of health promoting bacteria with harmful ones that are always there.  If the scale tips too far and harmful bacteria or yeast take over we might experience headaches, fatigue, cravings, muscle aches or more.  We need our microbiome balanced so it can help us with energy, digestion, hormones, neurotransmitters, vitamin production, toxins, and more. 
  • So often people are fearful of cholesterol and strive for very low cholesterol but really we need cholesterol to make our sex hormones and to maintain the integrity of every cell membrane so each cell can do its job.  We just need it balanced and in the right amount and form. So it’s not good or bad, we just need it appropriately balanced.
  • Sex hormones require balance also, including the important hormones estrogen and progesterone.  We need them balanced at the right times, not too much of one or the other. When they are balanced we feel motivated, calm, confident, creative and can reduce the pesky symptoms of pms and menopause.
  • Neurotransmitters such as GABA and Glutamate depend on a balance to help us feel calm and motivated instead of fatigued and anxious.
  • Our Immune system needs to be balanced so that it does not overwork such as occurs in allergic reactions and autoimmune disease but does not under function as occurs in cancer and when we catch every infection out there.  We want it working enough, but not too much.
  • In the digestive system we need balance keeping out the harmful or undigested particles but effectively absorbing and using the nutrients we do  need.  Even the best diet in the world could be causing damage if there are digestive imbalance
  • The delicate balance of antioxidants vs free radicals is needed to protect us from oxidative damage and resulting diseases and dysfunctions. Balancing the break down and destruction of the old with renewal and restoration is at play here cellularly.
  • We need balance for appropriate inflammatory reactions -using inflammation when we need it to heal but stopping chronic inflammation from causing pain and disease

The importance of balance in maintaining health both energetically and physically is obvious, so what throws us of balance?

Many things in today’s world can throw us off balance, tipping the scale too far and causing symptoms and disease, including past trauma, undected infections, emotional stress, pregnancy, childbirth, processed foods, overuse of antibiotics, aging, the Standard American Diet, environmental toxins, sugar consumption, chronic inflammation, mold, unhealthy relationships, lack of sleep, food triggers, not digesting the right nutrients, genetics, being over busy, not having a spiritrual practice, and more.   These imbalances prevent us from functioning optimally and lead to symptoms and eventually to diagnosed diseases. 

Balance is necessary for our body and soul. As the years go on I am continually grateful to have named my practice Mountain Rebalance. We all need balance and often that means reestablishing it. Come Re-balance with me.

Book a free 15 minute call with Janel to see if you would make a good team


Janel Ferrin Anderson lives and works in Truckee CA and is constantly working to balance her full life of family, work, play, and breath.  She is a board certified holistic nutritionist, a functional medicine nutritionist, family herbalist, Doctor of Natural Medicine and believes in empowering people to take a front seat in their health and wellness.

Heal vs Ideal- When Even The Best Diet Won’t Solve Your Problems

Imagine if you wanted to get stronger and you started running or hiking on a broken leg to get in shape. It wouldn’t work. You would get worse and be in tons of pain, even do more damage despite starting a healthy activity. Would you blame running/hiking? No. If your leg was broken you would need to heal the break first, then start up the ideal healthy practice of running/hiking after your body was ready. If the root of your problem was just that you are lazy, then yes, get off the couch and go for a hike. But you need to consider the root of the problem.

Same is true of your gut and overall health

If your digestive function is broken or not functioning right, eating an ideal diet might not work if you do not heal the ‘break’ in the system first.

We all pretty much know now that digestive health and nutrition is the cornerstone of all health, including genetic expression (aka what genes turn on and which ones turn off). Crazy cool and empowering! But if we are not digesting our food, metabolizing our food, and absorbing our food properly we can become depleted, lethargic, gassy, bloated, fatigued, spaced out, unable to sleep, in chronic pain, infertile, anxious, moody, constipated, and so much more…..even on a great diet!

What?

Yes. It is true. I see people all the time in my office that are either eating a ‘great diet’ but still feeling lousy and now frustrated. I also see people that tried to add ‘healthy’ foods to a not so great diet and got horrible results, feeling even worse and now confused, thinking it is the food that is bad for them. Truth is, the food might not work until they fix the root of their problem. We must Heal before we jump to an Ideal diet in this case. There may have been a turning point or trigger in their (or your) history that now requires healing before jumping to an ideal diet.

Another awesome way to look at digestive health in this way (heal vs ideal) is the brilliant analogy Dr. Murray uses about a garbage and flies problem. Say you have a huge fly problem in your house and it is driving you nuts. If you just take away the flies but you still have the garbage that attracted them, the flies will come back eventually. It is all about the terrain that created the problem. You have to get to the root and remove the garbage and only then will the flies not come back. I see this all the time with people trying to optimize their health. You cannot just get rid of the problem without addressing why the condition started in the first place.

This has led me to start a blog series on digestion top to bottom, in small doses with lots of action steps, so you can learn about the different stops along the system and empower yourself to up-level your digestion and in result your health and resilience. Darn near every symptom could be digestion related and there are easy, non invasive, cheap steps you can take to see if getting your digestion to function better might help you feel better.

Of course this series and all of my blog posts are meant to educate and empower, not to treat or diagnose any disease. Please consult your physician with any questions or concerns. Eventually enough stress or damage on the system can create a tipping point and with time a disease state that requires more than healing your digestion. That said, it will always help build resilience and function.

Do you want to feel your best? Join us for this upcoming blog series! Subscribe to our website, facebook, or instagram to keep up

Janel Ferrin Anderson NC is a Functional Medicine Nutritionist who is passionate about helping people understand their body and feel empowered to take the front seat in their health care. She works with and partners with people to help them optimize how all their body systems function. Click here to schedule a free 15 minute call to discuss your needs

One of My Favorite New Snacks And The Recipe….

Finding snacks that are loaded with healing and beneficial nutrients, plus ones that contain the important balance of fat/fiber/protein, AND that taste delicious is a major win in my world. Because here is the thing, I love good food and I love giving my body what it needs to function as best as it can. Win Win

When considering what to eat every day for long term and sustainable health I am always thinking 1. what can we add? 2. what can we take away? And of course what is DELICIOUS.

This snack is beautifully free of all the major common inflammatory foods that can gradually lead to symptoms/disease, pain, faulty digestion, immune disfunction, mental health problems, and more . Plus, it adds tons of important nutrients our body needs to stay strong as well as that fat/fiber/protein ratio to help balance hormones (insulin, cortisol, thyroid and even sex hormones!).

What’s up with the fat/fiber/protein? This ratio of nutrients is the key to keeping our blood sugar balanced (glucose and the hormone insulin) and feeling satiated while getting important building blocks for body functions. (In our house we call fats brain food, protein muscle foods, and fiber energy/plant nutrient foods) When our blood sugar spikes from eating fast carbs, refined carbs, or carbs with out fiber (bagels or pretzels for example), it starts a cascade of hormonal events that can cause energy problems-problems sleeping, problems with sex hormones, fatigue, and more. By eating a healthy fat, a clean protein, and loads of fiber each time you eat you are doing your body and mind a huge service. It’s an easy, delicious, and satisfying way to eat!

This snack is a perfect mix of fat/fiber/protein and is loaded with nutrients. Here are all of the star ingredients-

A few of the stars-

Sweet potatoes- sweet potatoes are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They contain loads of vitamin C, vitamin A, B6, manganese and many more healing nutrients. The fibers in them are awesome for your gut health and microbiome, which impact your entire body. Thy support immune health, brain health, hormone balance and more.

Avocados– Avocados are an awesome source of important healthy fats. They are primarily oleic acid which is an anti-inflammatory fatty acid. They are a great source of vitamin K, potassium, vitamin c and folate.

Garlic– Garlic is used as medicine all over the world. It is known to boost immune function, be helpful in lowering blood pressure, heart health, cholesterol, and has tons of antioxidants to prevent free radical damage.

And here is the recipe so you can enjoy the goodness for yourself

Ingredients

  • Sweet potatoes- sliced into even rounds
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea salt
  • Avocados- 2
  • Garlic cloves (smashed and chopped fine)- 2-4 depending on your love
  • Fresh cilantro- 1 tbsp plus more for garnish
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Smoked salmon

Procedure for sweet potato chips- Preheat the oven to 425ºF (218ºC) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or not). In a bowl, add the sweet potato rounds along with avocado oil and sea salt. Toss to combine. Place the rounds on the baking sheet, ensuring they are spread out evenly. Bake for 12 minutes, flip and bake for 10 minutes more. Remove and set aside.

Procedure for avocados and snacks- In a bowl, add the avocado and mash with a fork. Add cilantro, sea salt, lime juice and fresh garlic. Add the mashed avocado mix to the sweet potato crostini. Eat as is or I like to top it with smoked salmon and chives. Serve and enjoy!

You can make a big bag of the sweet potato chips and store the ones you don’t use in the refrigerator to use another day for a quick snack.



A few of my other favorite snacks include- almond butter with apple slices, carrots/celery and hummus, kale chips with nutritional yeast, hard boiled eggs chopped up in lettuce wraps, olives, artichokes, chia pudding, and clean smoothies with a good fat/protein. What are your favorites?

Janel is a Functional Medicine Nutritionist, Board certified holistic nutritionist, herbalist, yoga therapist and has her PhD in Natural medicine. She works with people using food and lifestyle to help them function their best today and for decades to come. She believes in empowering people to understand their body and take charge of their health.

Schedule a free 15 minute inquiry call today

Check out upcoming group events here

Amazing Golden Milk- 3 Ways

Everything about golden milk is good.

The smell, the taste, the color, how it makes me feel, and of course the health benefits- they are all amazing.

Golden milk has so many health promoting players including turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, coconut milk, coconut oil, and black pepper. It is actually the synergy of them together that helps their magic work.

First a bit on the star players, then the recipes………..

Turmeric Root- Turmeric has several anti-inflammatory agents and is used as medicine all over the world. There are many studies showing curcumin, one of the chemical constituents in turmeric, is as affective as many medications for reducing inflammation and pain. It has many antioxidant actions as well helping protect the body from free radical damage. It can be helpful in protecting agains heart disease, Alzheimers and boosting immune function (Murray, Michael.)

Ginger Root- Ginger has been used historically for gastrointestinal distress as well as many other medicinal uses. It can help with relieving gas and nausea. Ginger also has many anti-inflammatory agents including gingerols adding to its ability to ease pain and modulate immune function (Murray, Michael).

Cinnamon- I love that cinnamon comes from the inner bark of an evergreen tree. It is not only delicious but it also has many wonderful health benefits as well. People have used cinnamon to help ease many inflammatory conditions including menstrual pains, arthritis, psoriasis and more. It is helpful as a warming digestant but also has proven to help regulate blood sugar (Davis, Paul).

Coconut milk and MCT oil- Coconut milk is loaded with healthy fats that we need for hormones, brain health and for the integrity of every cell in our body. It contains many medium chain triglycerides that are easier to digest than other fats and can be used more easily for energy. Coconut milk has anti-inflammatory properties as well as antiviral and antibacterial benefits (Murray Michael).

Black pepper- Black pepper is warming and is helpful with digestive disorders. It aids in digesting fats in particular but also boosts digestion as a whole. Piperine is one of the components in it that has several benefits including boosting the liver’s detox function and helping increase the absorption of nutrients (Murray, Michael).

Now, let’s get to that golden milk! My mouth is watering already.

Yes, the ingredients in golden milk are healing and health promoting, but what I really love about it is the taste and as well as the ritual of enfolding my hands around my mug, taking a deep smell, admiring the golden beauty, and slowly sipping and savoring this elixir.

Golden Milk Recipe #1- The Longer, Heart Melting Delicious Way. Making a Golden Milk Paste From Whole Turmeric Root

Golden Milk Paste

This one is my favorite and I love when I remember that I have the paste made already! I really love that it has some fiber in it and that along with the fats from coconut milk and MCT oil make it better on blood sugar regulation as well as satiation. Ymmmmm

Ingredients

  • Turmeric Paste:
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon water, or as needed
  • Golden Milk:
  • 2 cups almond or coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon MCT oil or coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
    1. For the Paste- Combine 1/2 cup water, turmeric, and pepper in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, 7 to 9 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon water. Continue cooking until thickened into a paste, 7 to 9 minutes. Cool completely, 15 to 20 minutes. Pour into an airtight glass jar.
    2. For the drink- Whisk 1 teaspoon turmeric paste with the almond milk, coconut oil, ginger, and cinnamon together in a saucepan. Heat over low heat until hot, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in honey.
    3. Strain milk mixture into mug. Drink. Enjoy! Ymmmmm.  ( I like to sprinkle on cinnamon and turmeric on top

Golden Milk Recipe #2- The Scoop Scoop Scoop and Go

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of full fat coconut milk
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 2 tsp MCT oil or coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1-2 tsp raw honey
  • heavy pinch of black pepper
  1. Blend all the ingredients (excluding honey) together in a blender until it is smooth
  2. Put mixture into saucepan and heat over medium about 4 minutes or until desired temp.
  3. Take off heat and add in honey. Drink and enjoy

Golden Milk Recipe #3- Quick Version

So this is technically chai but it feels close enough to me that when I want a cup and want it fast this is an awesome choice. One scoop in warm nut or coconut milk, splash of honey and you are on your way golden bliss. The Golden Masala Chai from Blue Lotus Chai does have black tea in it, so be aware of that if you are wanting it later in the day. It still features turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, and black pepper making it very similar. For an added benefit it has Maca as well which is a powerful adaptogen that helps modulate stress.

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However you make your golden milk, enjoy it. Cheers. Janel

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References-

Davis, Paul. Sept 2011. Cinnamon Intake Lowers Fasting Blood Glucose: Meta-Analysis. PubMed https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21480806/

Murray, Michael and Pizzorno, Joseph. 2005 The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. Atria Books. New York NY

Janel is a Functional Medicine Nutritionist, Board certified holistic nutritionist, herbalist, and yoga therapist. She works with people using food and lifestyle to help them function their best today and for decades to come. She believes in empowering people to understand their body and take charge of their health. Schedule a free 15 minute inquiry call today

Check out upcoming group events here

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