Sprouts are crazy good for your overall health! Plus they are easy, cheap, delicious, and super fun to grow at home. Win, win, win, win.
It may be one of the easiest and most effective ways to increase the nutrients you are eating and the nutrients you are able to absorb. Wowser!
Sprouts are seeds that have germinated and become live plants. They have woken up, so to speak. Sprouting seeds, nuts, whole grains, and legumes dramatically increases their nutritional value and how easy they are to absorb. Although the specific nutrients vary according to variety, sprouting increases the amount of protein, fiber, the amount of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and especially vitamin C!
Many plants and seeds we eat contain antinutrients that serve to protect the plant but also make them harder for us to digest. Antinutrients can lock up the vitamins and minerals in plants. Some antinutrients include phytic acid, lectins, and tannins which keeps nutrients in foods such as pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and chickpeas tied up. Sprouting appears to reduce these antinutrients, allowing us to digest them easier.
The phytonutrients (aka plant nutrients) in sprouts are outrageous. My favorite seeds to sprout are broccoli and alfalfa seeds. They contain awesome phytochemicals and antioxidants such as sulforafane. I also try to soak or sprout my almonds and beans before I cook with them or eat them to make them more digestable.
Don’t stress about it though. Just start! Grab some seeds, soak them, drain, water, watch them grow, and enjoy the nutrient boost. Watch my 2 minute video that will show you how.
I am not into all the fear and frantically grabbing for a miracle supplement but I am into staying updated on the current situation and taking practical everyday science based action steps where I can to boost the resilience and immune function of my family, no matter what is going on.
What simple things can we do everyday to help boost our immune system and shift the terrain in our body towards resilience and health? Well, as it turns out, a lot. And don’t wait to get sick, start these now!
Eat brightly colored fruits and vegetables at every meal and snack (yes, every one). They contain many important vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and antioxidants to support our immune system. For example bell peppers, strawberries and oranges contain vitamin C which is antiviral, antibacterial and boosts antibody production. Camu Camu, inca berries, acerola cherries, and gogi berries are awesome sources of vitamin C also!! Vitamin E, vitamin A (also found in fermented cod liver oil and liver) and B vitamins are important too and many come from all those brightly colored foods.
Reduce consumption of processed sugar. Sugar consumption robs our body of minerals such as zinc which is crucial for our immune system, it reduces the ability of our white blood cells to fight invaders such as viruses, Dr. Sears teaches that 1 tsp of sugar suppresses the immune system for 5 hours, high blood sugar is an immune suppressant, and glucose competes with vitamin C. Yuck!
Reduce the overall inflammation in our body so our immune system can focus on what is important. Eliminate or reduce dairy, gluten, sugar, soy, all processed foods, toxins, pesticides, food coloring, and any foods you are personally sensitive to. Add foods like turmeric and omega 3 fats to reduce inflammation. These changes, as well as healing a ‘leaky gut’ (think bone broth) and optimizing your microbiome (think probiotics and fermented foods) will help your immune system focus on fighting invaders like viruses and bacteria instead of dealing with hard to digest foods and unnecessary inflammation.
Make sure you are getting enough sleep (Shoot for 7-9 hours) every night and do what you need to support this. Ideas include reducing caffeine, eliminating screen time before bed, using calming herbs such as camomile, passionflower, valerian and lemon balm, getting blood sugar under control, taking magnesium before bed, or taking a magnesium and lavender bath. Ahhh. My family has a pre-bed tea time ritual around the fire, which I love.
Vitamin D is important for immune function because it activates monocytes (an immune cell) to kill viruses. We get Vitamin D from the sunshine, fatty fish, grass fed butter, egg yolks, and fermented cod liver oil. Eat up or supplement if needed with D3.
Consume important immune minerals, including zinc and selenium. Foods rich in immune boosting minerals include pumpkin seeds, oysters, brazil nuts, lentils, cashews, shrimp, salmon, sesame seeds, and lamb. Eat some of these foods every day.
Super Immune Plants- Other plants to include that are supportive to our immune function include elderberry, garlic, ginger, turmeric, astragalus, mushrooms (chaga, shiitake, reishi- I like these in tincture form), echinacea, goldenseal and more! Any and all herbs and spices will help too. Eat, drink, or supplement when desired for an extra immune boost.
Laugh, rest, relax and get some playful exercise outside everyday. Stress depletes B vitamins, vitamin A and zinc and lowers immune response. I love guided imagery, breath work, or restorative yoga to chillax at home too.
Stay hydrated. Drink 1/2 your weight in ounces of water every day. Bone broths, mineral broths, and herbal teas all help.
And off course, wash your hands with soap and water often!
Functional Nutrition is all about taking steps towards optimal overall function, in this case immune function. I consider the terrain as important as the virus. These are the things we can do to impact the terrain that health or sickness take root in. Stressing out over the situation is certainly not going to help, so we are all about action steps instead of stress.
Take a deep breath and eat up (but wash your hands first, did I already say that?)! Happy Optimizing, Janel Ferrin Anderson
Oh you know you have them too. Those evenings you get home from work, shuttling kids, crushing the chores, and all that you do just to realize “Oh shit, what’s for dinner?”
If only we had a magic fairy that was home taking care of that all day everyday.
Alas, we need to be our own damn fairy.
I love it when I am all organized and have all my meals planned out for the week and shopped for. I actually enjoy preparing nourishing meals when my day allows for it. However, the reality of working, having a family, and a life of my own is why some nights I completely space dinner until we walk in the door after dark, famished, with little eyes looking at me like I know what to do.
Luckily, I have a back up plan for those nights that usually works (and I am not talking about pizza delivery, ok, well not always anyway).
Feeding my family nutritious food is crazy important to me. I know how it directly impacts our hour to hour health as well as our long term resilience, mental capacity, and vitality So, I have a back up system in place for these nights so we can keep our meals nutritious and avoid the inflammatory white food nutrient depleters.
Although not perfect or optimal, I always have a few things on hand in the house that allows me to cook a nutritious and delicious dinner when I totally space it.
I always prefer fresh foods but emergency staples to always have in the cupboard for last minute dinners- non bpa canned beans (black, garbanzo, kidney, pinto, lima, etc), organic brown rice, quinoa, pasture raised grass fed chicken bone broth (lots!), organic coconut milk, ghee, dried herbs/spices, jarred tomatoes, jarred artichokes.
Emergency perishables I try keep in abundance- onions, garlic, ginger, celery, carrots, eggs, nuts/seeds. avocado.
I also always make extras at meals to have Quick leftovers for lunch, dinner, and oh shit moments.
So, tonight this was my miracle recipe.
Extra virgin olive oil to sautee
1 yellow onion diced
4 celery sticks diced
4 carrots diced
4 cloves of garlic diced
about 45 ounces of bone broth
1 28 oz can organic garbanzo beans drained
10 ounces of organic canned diced tomatoes
left over diced chicken from last night
left over roasted asparagus diced
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin powder
sea salt and pepper to taste
Seeds to sprinkle on top (I keep salted and roasted pumpkin and or sunflower seeds on hand)
Directions- Sautee onions, carrots, celery for a few minutes in the olive oil on the stove in a stainless steal pan. Add the garlic and sautee a couple of more minutes. Take a moment to enjoy the smell:) Add the spices, broth, beans, and tomatoes. Cook together about 20 minutes until veggies are soft. Add the pre-cooked chicken and asparagus for the last few minutes to warm up. Ladle into your favorite soup bowls, gather around the table, sprinkle with pumpkin seeds if desired and enjoy a quick but nourishing Heck Yes This Is For Dinner meal.
Note- all ingredients can be exchanged for other similar ones you have one hand. The basics are onion, garlic, celery, carrots, bone broth, protein, veggies, and herbs/spices. You can add brown rice or quinoa if you have them too.
Boom! Way to rock it, last minute unplanned dinner fairy.
Make even the most rushed breakfasts loaded with nutrients so you and/or your kids can function your best!
My 13 year old gets picked up at 715am for school (note- he is NOT a morning person) which makes delicious and nourishing breakfasts tricky sometimes.
Not with this gem that we pull out a few days a week when he needs nourishment in a flash.
It’s loaded with the macronutrients he needs to stay sharp and energized without crashing later and the micronutrients so his body can function optimally. It’s anti inflammatory and gut healing to boot. Oh, and it takes about 3 minutes to make and tastes delish. 👊🏼
1.5 cups of milk (we use homemade almond, full fat coconut milk with a little water, or raw whole milk)
1 scoop of chocolate bone broth protein powder (we use ancient nutrition brand)
1 organic banana
2 tablespoons almond butter
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
optional scoop of chocolate multi vitamin (we use amazing grass kids superfood, chocolate flavor here)
optional tsp chia, flax, or hemp
Put all ingredients in the blender and blend.
Pour into cup and watch your kiddos devour it
Tweak portions to match your tastes. You can add more liquid, less, add ice, whatever floats your boat.
Don’t let rushed mornings dictate the quality of the nutrients you put into your body. Rock it in a flash with nutrient dense smoothies!
The smell of homemade chai brewing on the stovetop is definitely one of the things I love most about the fall.
My kids start asking for chai as the temp gets chilly and the pumpkins start to appear. We have made it a family ritual to drink chai in the fall and it feels good for so many reasons. The chai teas that you get out are way too sugary for us so making it at home keeps the deliciousness but skips the scoops of white sugar that make us sick.
First off the spices in chai- cinnamon, pepper, cardamom, and ginger are all herbal stimulants, which mean they enliven and warm the body. This is perfect for the fall when things are getting cold and slow. They are all also herbal digestives and carminatives which both help with overall digestion and gas. Cloves also have antibacterial component which is perfect for this time of year when colds are common. There are many phytochemicals, or unique plant constituents, that are powerful health allies in each of the herbs in chai.
I am not one for a recipe per say but here is our basic formula that I tweak daily depending what we want more of that day (spice, caffeine, etc). You can start here and vary things as you and your family like.
20 cups of filtered water
2 tablespoons of whole cardamom pods
2 tablespoons of whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon of whole peppercorns
1 inch of sliced ginger
2 tablespoons of loose leaf black tea or rooibos tea if wanting caffeine free (you can use tea bags too)
honey to taste
your favorite milk if wanted (we use full fat organic coconut milk, homemade almond milk, or raw whole milk)
Put the water on the stove on high.
When this is heating up grind the dry spices in a spice grinder briefly, just to break them down a bit not to powder. You can use a coffee grinder designated just for spices/nuts (this is a crucial tool I use almost daily in my house). I usually snap the cinnamon stick in half first or grind it separately.
Reduce heat when boiling to medium and add spices.
Add sliced ginger.
Let this brew on the stovetop on medium low anywhere from 10 minutes to 1 hour (because sometimes I need to wait for the right time with busy mornings).
Take off heat and add black tea (or rooibos). You can also skip tea and just go with herbs. Let steep an additional 5 minutes or so if adding tea.
I strain this into a large bowl using a large muslin herb bag (see photo). You can also put the spices into this kind of bag before you add them to the water so you can take it right out. That is much easier I just like watching the herbs float around in the pot. A third option is a mesh strainer like this one at the end.
Pour into cups. Add honey to taste. Add warmed milk to taste (I add a heavy splash but not too much). You can make it fancier by steaming your milk but we don’t find it necessary. ENJOY
Keep extra chai tea in mason jar in the fridge to warm up when someone needs a soothing cup of fall goodness.
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.
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
2. Around 70% of our immune system is in our gut. What we eat directly affects the status and health of our immune system. Our immune system can be under functioning (as with cancer or constantly catching infections) or over functioning (such as 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 you need 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. 1, 4,5,6
6. We need our gut to absorb the appropriate sized particles but to keep out particles that do not belong and that our body sees as invaders. The food we eat, our lifestyle and medications all impact this important barrier function of our gut (‘leaky gut’ or hyper-permeable membrane are factors in autoimmunity, oxidative damage and more). 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 wreaking havoc (including harmful toxins and used hormones). 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, etc). Ensuring our body has the extra nutrients it needs to detox them 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. Food itself can cause inflammation as does our gut when it is not functioning properly somewhere along the route. Down regulating inflammation is essential to healing and staying symptom and disease free. We must remove offenders and add foods to support. 2, 4, 5
9. Our Mitochondria, or energy makers in our body, are also impacted by the condition of our gut! What? Our mitochondria and cells need certain nutrients to produce energy and remain undamaged. 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. 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
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.
Janel Ferrin Anderson PhD- 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
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
Last time we made turkey meatballs at home we doubled the batch and froze them. What a treasure on day 3 of camping! Homemade garlic, onion, herb gluten free and organic turkey meatballs made boring rice noodles delish! Homemade Caesar for the salad to boot. Making double or triple batches Before hand is always a good choice for EASY clean eats on the road! – Chow, from Leadville Colorado
Clean and Delicious Turkey Meatball Recipe– (double, triple or more for goodies later)
3 gloves of garlic chopped fine
1/2 yellow onion chopped
1 egg1 lb of organic ground turkey
1/2 cup gluten free breadcrumbs
zest from 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp chopped thyme
1 tbsp chopped rosemary
sea salt to taste
Sautee onion and garlic in olive oil. In mixing bowl add chopped herbs, breadcrumbs, salt, sauteed onions and garlic, salt, egg, lemon zest, and salt. Mix well Add turkey and mix with your hands until just combined.Form into 1 inch balls and sautee in olive oil for about 5-10 minutes until done turning often. Serve as is or cook in marinara sauce for a few minutes or to reheatENJOY with family and friends. I like to eat them on toothpicks too!
We don’t do many packaged foods and with these gummies my kids don’t feel like they are missing out on anything. And let’s be honest, I love them too! This simple recipe makes it crazy easy and fast to make these fun treats anytime. You can personalize the juices and the shapes, make it into jello, they even travel well AND they have nutritional benefits?! What? YES!
The basic recipe is 3 cups of juice and 4-6 tablespoons of gelatin (depending on how firm you like them, I prefer 4 tbsp). I use Great Lakes Unflavored Gelatin which come from grass fed and pasture raised beef gelatin with no hormones, antibiotics or steroids. You can purchase it on amazon here.
For the juice I use a mix of organic grape juice, organic apple juice (usually 2 cups of these as the sweeter juice) and then 1 cup of organic cherry juice, pomegranate juice, or this organic antioxidant blend.
If you want you can add honey or maple syrup or stevia depending on your sweet preference.
To make the gummies- heat the juice up in a saucepan until hot but not boiling. Take it off the heat and add the gelatin, whisking until it is mixed. Cool in the fridge for a couple of hours. After it is set you can pop them out of the molds or cut into shapes with a knife or cookie cutters. Awesomeness!
I love these treats for many reasons but getting gelatin in my kids is always a bonus! Gelatin is a protein that comes from collagen and is full of many beneficial amino acids. It is why I love bone broth so much too. The amino acids in gelatin have been shown to help strengthen bones, maintain healthy ligaments, improve skin and hair, maximize brain function and digestion function, as well has aid in sleep, mood, blood sugar and more. Wowsa! Here are 2 articles elaborating on the benefits of gelatin and a couple more recipes if you are up for using whole fruits.
Artichokes are gorgeous unopened edible flowers from a thistlelike plant that pack a powerful nutritional punch and are crazy fun to eat. They are grown in California but most are grown in Italy, France, and Spain.
Artichokes are a fabulous source of magnesium (which most of us do not get enough of today), chromium, vitamin C, folate, biotin, manganese, and many more minerals and vitamins.
They are an awesome source of dietary fiber and amazing for blood sugar regulation. This is partly due to the fact that the fiber in artichokes is primarily in the form of inulin, which the body does not treat like other sugars. According to leading nutrition expert Dr. Mercola, along with stabilizing blood sugar, fiber in artichokes helps us stay regular (aka Poop regularly), maintain healthy cholesterol levels, supports heart health, and reduce inflammation.
The average amount of fiber to shoot for in a day is 30 grams. A medium artichoke provides about 5.5 grams of fiber, 4.2 grams of protein, and .2 grams of fat.
The cynarin (a phytochemical) in artichokes increases bile production in your liver and increases flow to the gallbladder. It is a powerful food for nourishing the liver. According to Dr. Murray artichoke leaf extracts have shown significant liver protecting effects and have been shown to lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels in humans as well.
When picking a fresh artichoke make sure they are dense/heavy for its size and leaves should be tightly packed together and green. Artichokes can be enjoyed from a jar or freezer as well. Either way, don’t miss out on this delicious and nutritious spring vegetable.
My favorite irresistible fresh artichoke recipes-
Steamed artichokes with Herbed Lemon Dipping Sauce (recipe from Dr. Mark Hyman)
Cut off top 1/3 of artichokes and rub with lemon. Place artichokes upside down on steam rack over boiling water. Cook for 30 minutes or until leaves soften and pull out easily and bottom is tender. Place on plate and enjoy dipped in sauce.
Herbed Lemon Dipping sauce- 1/2 tsp lemon zest, 2 T lemon juice, 1.5 tsp minced garlic, 2 tsp minced parsley, 2 tsp minced tarragon, 2 tsp minced chives, 2 tsp minced mint, 1/2 tsp sea salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 6 T olive oil. Directions- Put all ingredients in a jar and shake. Enjoy with artichokes!
You don’t need a fancy juicer to make a nutritious green juice and feed your body easy to digest nutrients?
True story! You can use your blender. Heck yes!
The benefit of drinking green juice is taking in a huge amount of plant nutrients and not having to exert extra energy digesting it. Boom, immediate goodness for your body. Of course we love fiber too but both green juices and fiber are good for different reasons and can both help us rejuvenate our body at different times during the day. So get ready feel the zing of vitamins and minerals rushing to your cells…………….
1 cucumber, 1 lime, 1 bunch of parsley, 1 inch of fresh ginger root, 1 bunch of celery, 1 bunch of celery, 1 apple (all organic and washed)
Chop up all the veggies, place half in blender, add filtered water to about 1 inch the blender (you can vary this depending on your blender and your preference), blend on low speed or medium until soupy, add the rest of the veggies, blend again on low or medium until thick smoothie like consistency.
Get a big bowl and place nut milk bag over the bowl, pour blended veggies into nut milk bag. Twist bag and squeeze until all the juice is in the bowl. Pour into jars, drink through out the day but especially first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, and enjoy the extra zing in your step as your cells indulge in the nutrients!
Our Spring Cleanse group is having a kick booty time right now connecting and sharing strategies to help optimize our body’s detoxification systems and digestive system. Join us for the next group class! Info here