Amazing Zinc

I am such a sucker for nerdy nutrition jokes. This was a great one I learned from my Therapeutic supplement instructor Josh Digitalis about zinc and its importance for mental function and sexual function.

There are a lot of nutrients that are important but Zinc is definitely on the top of the list.

Zinc is necessary in over 300 enzymatic reactions all over the body! Why that matters? Enzymes make things happen in the body. Everything in fact. So even if you are slightly low in zinc there can be far reaching effects including skin problems, lowered immunity, reproductive challenges, slower wound healing, decreased vision, smell, taste, thinking power, and more.

Some Beneficial effects of optimal zinc

  • Immune Function
  • Wound Healing
  • Sensory Function
  • Sexual Function
  • Skin Health

Possible Symptoms of zinc deficiency

Skin changes, diarrhea, hair loss, mental disturbances, recurrent infections, poor wound healing, decreased sense of smell, decreased sense of taste, acne, eczema, psoriasis

Where do I get Zinc from?

Getting our nutrients from food sources is always the best place to start. Our body recognizes vitamins and minerals that naturally occur in foods and knows what to do with them. Eating some of these foods every day is best. Some of the foods highest in zinc include

  • Vegetable sources- Spinach, Asparagus, crimini and shiitake mushrooms, beet greens, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, swish chard, summer squash, Ginger, green beans
  • Nuts/seeds- Sesame Seeds, Pumpkins seeds, cashews, walnuts, Pecans
  • Legumes and grains- Garbanzo beans, Lentils, quinoa, oats, split peas, black beans
  • Animal protein- Beef, shrimp, turkey, lamb, oysters

Remember, it is important to make sure you are digesting and absorbing the foods you are eating as well as eating them. An easy place to start to boost digestion is to smell your food, eat while you are calm and relaxed, and chew until your food is liquid. Your body will thank you!

What if I need to supplement?

Supplementing is important for many people to get deficiencies to sufficiencies. There are several reasons people might need to supplement today including poor digestion/absorption, poor diet, lower nutrients in foods today, increased stress, if you are on the birth control pill, have an under functioning immune system, and more. In this case it is best to use a zinc that is chelated so they are absorbed easily in the gut. Zinc acetate, citrate, glycerate, and glycinate are more absorbable forms of zinc. Zinc sulfate is less absorbable and should be avoided for optimal assimilation. Zinc Carnosine is best for gastrointestinal support.

  • A standard maintenance dose of zinc is 15-20mg per day
  • A therapeutic dose of zinc depends on the person and their needs but is around 30-100 mg per day

One thing we love to do in our house when we feel a sore throat or cough coming on is to suck on a zinc lozenge a few times during the day. Of course a cup of warm peppermint tea, a hot ginger/lemon zinger, and bone broth are enjoyed too, but that is for another post:)

This post is NOT a substitute for medical care by your medical provider and is instead meant for educational purposes.

RECIPE- Ginger Candied Pecans

This is a delicious fall treat loaded with Zinc (From Taste of Home)! Enjoy

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 6 slices fresh ginger root (cut from a 1-1/2-inch piece)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce (optional)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 3/4 pound pecan halves (about 3 cups)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Grease a foil-lined 15x10x1-in. baking pan. In a small saucepan, combine the first seven ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 2-3 minutes or until syrupy, stirring occasionally. Strain and discard ginger slices.
  2. Place pecans in a large bowl; drizzle with syrup mixture and toss to coat. Transfer to prepared pan. Roast 20-25 minutes or until toasted, stirring occasionally. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

Blog References-

  • Bauman, Ed. Bauman Institute. Holistic Nutrition. 2018
  • Digitalis, Josh. Therapeutic Nutrition and Supplements in Practice. 2021

Hear what people say about working with Janel here

Janel Ferrin Anderson NC FNLP

Janel is a board certified holistic nutritionist and certified functional medicine nutritionist. Janel helps people understand their body so they can use food, supplements, herbs and lifestyle to optimize their health. Learn more about Janel here. Janel works one on one with people but she loves group wellness (see below)!

Find out more infohttps://mountainrebalance.com/?p=2544
Sign up opening up OCTOBER 1st for January 2022 session

Fat Soluble Vitamins and You

We all know they are important but knowing why, how to get them, how to absorb them and where to find them make it much easier (and fun).

First off, the fat soluble vitamins are vitamins A D E and K

They impact everything from hormones, to immune function, to eyesight, bone health, and more.

They are stored in your body longer than water soluble vitamins’

Fat soluble vitamins need to be eaten with fat in order to absorb them.

So, you need to be able to absorb fat to digest them. This means you need your gallbladder releasing bile to help emulsify fats and your pancreas releasing lipases in order to break them down, and you need your intestinal lining in tact so you can absorb them.

Because, as my teacher Andrea Nakayama says, we are not just what we eat but what we can do with the foods and nutrients we eat.

Let’s break them down and get practical

Vitamin A- Vitamin A was named because it was the first vitamin discovered, so it naturally is vitamin A.

Symptoms of low vitamin A include night blindness, increased infections, and bumps on the skin.

Someone might need extra vitamin A if they have pancreas issues or problems with bile, liver disease, chronic alcohol use, zinc deficiency, people on cortisone (problem converting), protection from smoke/smog, and high iron intake.

Benefits of vitamin A include a healthy immune response including increased white blood cells (fight bacteria and viruses) and increased antibody response (especially IgA in the respiratory system and digestive system mucus membranes). It is important for eye health, skin disorders, cancer prevention and immune health.

Food sources of vitamin A come in two forms, vitamin A itself and provitamin A sources or carotenes. The latter can be converted into vitamin A (liver function is important here) but you need much more carotenoids or beta carotene because we absorb less of it.

  • Vitamin A Retinol- kidney, liver, butter, whole milk, egg yolks, fish, poultry
  • Carotenoids- dark leafy greens, yellow/orange vegetables like carrots and yellow peppers, sweet potatoes, yams, squash, apricots, dandelion root, micro algae (spirulina)

Vitamin D- Vitamin D is actually more of a hormone than a vitamin and is also called the sunshine vitamin.

Every single cell in the body respond to only 2 things, Vitamin D and thyroid hormone (in other words, they are super important!)

Benefits of vitamin D- bone health is dependent on functional levels of vitamin D (regulates serum calcium), immune enhancement and keeping a healthy immune system, disease prevention (direct access to genetic material, epigenetics), helps with pain management, blood pressure regulation.

Food sources of vitamin D- Cod liver oil, mackerel, salmon, herring, butter, egg yolks, liver. We can also make vitamin D from the sunshine. When the sun hits our skin cholesterol in skin layer converts to D3. D3 travels to the liver and is converted into 25-OH D3. This then travels to the kidneys and converts to 125 hydroxy D3 (Boron is important here as well as kidney and liver health).

Testing for vitamin D is easy and important

Vitamin E- Vitamin E is a family of vitamins and is a very important antioxidant.

People at increased risk of vitamin E deficiency- Someone with IBD, cystic fibrosis, general gastrointestinal issues or surgeries.

Deficiency symptoms- nerve damage, weak muscles, poor coordination, involuntary movement of the eye, hemolytic anemia high oxidative stress.

Vitamin E protects cells from damage (it reacts to free radicals and neutralizes them before they can do damage to the cell membrane).

Uses of vitamin E include antioxidant use, hormone balance for women (including help with fibrocystic breasts, cramps, hot flashes, and menopause issues), stabilizes blood fats, protects blood vessels, immune support

Forms of vitamin E- l-alpha tocopherol is synthetic while d-alpha is natural (but there are many more natural forms)

Sources of vitamin E- seeds, nuts, whole grains, asparagus, avocados, berries, green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, wild rose hips, eggs

Vitamin K- This vitamin got its name from a German word for clotting.

Vitamin K helps with blood clotting, bone health, red blood cell formation and reduces excessive menstrual flow

Food sources- Kale, green tea, turnip greens, spinach, broccoli, natto, chlorophyll is a great source, brassica, sea vegetables, grass fed butter, parsley, whole milk, hard cheese

Forms of vitamin K-

  • K1 (natural form from plants),
  • K2 (produced by specific gut bacteria),
  • K3 (synthetic form)


What foods can you add to increase your fat soluble vitamins?

Some people can get their fat soluble vitamins from foods and some people need to supplement. Do you know which is right for you?

Sources For This Article-

  1. Gitalis. Josh. Lecture #1. Therapeutic Nutrition and Supplements in Practice. 2021
  2. Bauman, Ed. Therapeutic Nutrition. Bauman Institute. 2019

Janel Anderson NC FNLP

Foundations of Health– Group starting Sept 12th!

Womens’ Hormone Club– Group each winter

Spring Cleanse– Group each spring

Confused About Carbs?

If carbs confuse you, you are not alone.

Carbohydrates confuse most of the people I work with and honestly they confused me for a very long time. Most of us aren’t quite sure if they are good, bad, or what makes a carb a carb.

But here is the things, carbs are an important part of what you eat, and understanding a few things can help you pick the right ones for you.

When anything is confusing I like to go back to science or physiology and break it down in a simple way so people can make the best choice for their body and their goals. Because we are all different.


The Basics

Carbohydrates include fruits, veggies, grains, breads, cookies, muffins, milks, legumes, sugars, and more.

All carbs break down into glucose (glucose is the simplest sugar, which our body uses as fuel). But they all do this at a different rate. Some are slow and provide balanced energy for hours while some are fast and spike blood sugar and give us quick energy and a crash later. In order to know which is which, we will dig into what makes a carb a carb.

Carbs begin chemical digestion in the mouth but primarily break down and are primarily absorbed in the intestines. There, glucose travels into the bloodstream where it is then called blood sugar.  It can now travel to where it is needed to be used for energy or stored for fat or in the liver for later. Insulin is needed to help glucose get into cells, but we will leave that for another time.

All Carbohydrates are made of 3 things- sugars, starches, and fibers. There are other important things in carbs that include minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients (plant nutrients like antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, phytoestrogens, etc) that make them important.  The ratios of each depends on the food itself and dictates its impact on the body.

Fiber and Starch are more COMPLEX CARBS, they don’t have as extreme of an impact on our blood glucose levels. They have many branches of sugars bound together and they are slower to break down. This helps balance energy throughout the day.

Sugar is a SIMPLE CARB and causes more extreme ups/downs in our blood glucose levels.

SUGAR-

  • Sugar is a simple carb. The body does not have to work hard at breaking down sugar into glucose so it moves into the blood fast when consumed on its own or in high amounts. It is then called blood sugar, or blood glucose.
  • Sugar is found naturally in fruits, veggies, grains, and dairy but also juice, candy, cookies and even many packaged ‘health foods’.
  • What matters most is how much sugar there is and how fast it moves into the bloodstream. Fiber makes a big difference with how fast sugar moves into the bloodstream, as it helps slow it down. This is a key concept to remember for the long haul (important 99% of the time but maybe causing problems if you are running or sking a fast longer race and needing sugar NOW).

FIBER-

  • Fiber is a complex carb and is not absorbed in the gut. There are several kinds of different fibers but the ones we talk about most are soluble (dissolve in water) and insoluble (do not dissolve in water). All fiber slows down glucose from being absorbed into the blood too quickly. This is a good thing to help balance our blood sugar and energy (and mood, hormones, etc). Fiber also feeds the microbiome (which helps make short chain fatty acids we use all over our body for energy, repair, and more), insoluble fiber helps us to feel full, and helps to keep us pooping well (which is key for health).
  • Fiber is key for health but sometimes adding more fiber is hard for people with digestive imbalances. This could be due to 1. a shortage of digestive enzymes and problems breaking them down or 2. from bacteria being in the wrong places in the gut and fermenting these fibers. Adding fiber slowly is important for these people while efforts are made to rebalance the gut. Sometimes when the body responds to certain foods negatively it is more telling about the condition of the body, not the food. This is where the concept heal before ideal comes into play.

STARCH-

  • Starch is also a complex carb. I find this to be the most misunderstood. There are 3 different kinds of starches that have different impact on blood glucose. There are rapidly digestible starches, slowly digestible starches, and resistant starch. These all impact how fast the carb breaks down in your body and how it impacts blood sugar and your metabolism.
    • Rapidly digestible starch– These are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream and can spike blood sugar. These are in foods like potato chips, potato products, breakfast cereal, most processed breads, boiled white rice, cereal, etc.
    • Slowly digestible starch– These break down and are absorbed slowly into the bloodstream. Slowly digestible starch is found in foods such as quinoa, brown rice, steel cut oats, lentils, legumes, nuts, seeds.
    • Resistant starch– These act more like Fiber as they are not absorbed but instead move through the gut and feed the microbiome. Foods that contain resistant starches include beans, peas and lentils and some whole grains.

There are definitely health promoting choices (colorful fruits/veggies/bean/seeds) and health harming choices (white sugar, white flour, processed carbs) there is a lot of room in the middle depending on your unique body and goals.

One time that simple carbs or carbs with rapidly digestible starches are beneficial is if you are exercising at an anaerobic level (high heart rate) for a long enough time and need fuel. At this level your body only burns sugar for fuel, as opposed to fat which it can burn at an aerobic level for days if you are well adapted.

That is a topic for another time but some higher sugar whole foods that I reduce unless I am having a treat or fueling an adventure include- bananas, grapes, mango, papaya, pineapple, watermelon, white rice, white potatoes, crackers, refined grains, processed foods, potato chips, noodle products, bread products, etc.

Clearly, not all carbs are the same. Carbs have components that are important for all humans though. Focusing on a wide variety of brightly colored and unrefined carbs is best for sustainable energy and overall health.

Even if someone is eating keto or paleo, eating a large portion of complex and low sugar/starch carbs is essential for the vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber.

A few of my favorite carbs to include everyday are leafy greens, onions, garlic, mushrooms, peppers, sweet potatoes, apples, blueberries, blackberries, millet, beets, maple syrup, carrots, squashes, dry mango, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kiwi, quinoa, tomatoes and my favorite tartary buckwheat honey cake.


Here is a list of slowly digestible starch and high fiber carbs (aka vegetables) that do not cause a blood sugar spike (I like to fill at least half of my plate with these every meal)  artichoke, arugula, asparagus, bean sprouts, beet greens, bell peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, chives, collard greens, dandelion greens, eggplant, endive, fennel, garlic, ginger, green beans, jalapenos, kale, lettuces, mushrooms, mustard greens, onions, parsley, radicchio, radishes, shallots, snap peas, spaghetti squash, spinach, summer squash, swiss chard, tomatoes, turnip greens, watercress, zucchini.

But as always, my mantra for every meal and snack is FAT, FIBER, PROTEIN. So be sure to fill your plate with all the important components and make any adjustments that are right for YOU

What are your favorite carbs? How do they work for your body? Are you still confused? Please write in any questions you have and I would be happy to chat more!


Check out the Womens Hormone Club that runs every January

Or our nourishing spring cleanse every April

Or our Energy Club where we dig deep into metabolism, blood sugar and energy

Janel Ferrin Anderson FNLP NC

Hello. I am Janel, owner of Mountain Rebalance. I am a board certified holistic nutritionist, a certified functional medicine nutritionist, I have my doctorate in natural medicine, am a family herbalist and I started out as an Ayurvedic yoga therapist. I obsess over why. Why symptoms and disease manifest and how food and lifestyle impact how we function. I help people understand their own body and explore the root cause of their symptoms or disease. Learn more about me here

Download any of these practical tools to help make health promoting food choices and find other valuable resources at my resource page

Healthy School Lunches- No Fights, Formulas!

Packing school lunches can be an empowering way to help your kids learn about eating for their health. Print out this cheat sheet and have them pick from each category when they pack their lunch. You can expand on this but keep the categories the same.

Fat-Protein-Veggie-Fruit

After that they can add what you allow in your family

But making sure they get fat, fiber, veggies and fruit will help them to feel balanced energy all day. It will ensure their muscles (protein), brains (fat), and immune systems (brightly colored veggies and fruit) get fed every day.

Of course that is over simplified but that is how I talk to my kids about food every day and how I recommend my clients talk to their kids around food. No matter what age they are you will be empowering them to make healthy choices for the rest of their lives.

Check out the podcast I did with Kidzone in Truckee to hear more about teaching your kids to be empowered eaters.

Happy back to school! xo Janel

Foundations of Health

Women’s Hormone Club

Spring Cleanse

Hello. I am Janel, owner of Mountain Rebalance. I am a board certified holistic nutritionist, a certified functional medicine nutritionist, I have my doctorate in natural medicine, am a family herbalist and I started out as an Ayurvedic yoga therapist. I obsess over why. Why symptoms and disease manifest and how food and lifestyle impact how we function. I help people understand their own body and explore the root cause of their symptoms or disease.

Cacao Elixir (aka clean and nutritious hot chocolate)- 3 Ways

When something tastes this good and is this good for you, how can you resist? Well, on a cool and wintry day I cannot, and will not. Drink up let these hot cacao elixirs melt your heart and your soul!


Cacao is loaded with health promoting flavonoids and polyphenols that are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. It is also a great source of magnesium which is awesome for us ladies and plays a role in over 300 enzyme reactions in the body (enzymes are how things get done, kind of like a mom, IMPORTANT). 

Since I love foods that promote health but also love delicious tasting food that nourishes not only my body but my soul too, I give you my 3 favorite ways to enjoy a hot cacao elixir.

Note- Cocoa powder is usually highly processed and is often alkalized, which reduces the amount of antioxidants. Raw cacao is high in antioxidants and has many more beneficial nutrients, so stick with cacao.

Note- These drinks taste wonderful anytime but I am convinced they taste best at 3pm or after any outdoor snowy adventure, rosy cheeks and all. You choose what’s true for you.


 Recipe number one and my go to when I am at home (makes 1 cup)-

  • 1 favorite mug of choice
  • 1 tablespoon raw organic cacao powder
  • 1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 8 ounces of hot water
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut milk (from the can not carton)
  • 15 drops of stevia (adjust according to taste. You can also add a 1 tsp of coconut sugar depending on where you stand with sugars. I love it with stevia and my blood sugar and hormones do too)
  • Mix all together and stir with whisk or fork.
  • Bonus variations- Sometimes I put in a few drops of peppermint extract, other times I put in a dash of cayenne powder to heat things up.  Both are YMMMMMM good
    What is your favorite variation of this one? 

Recipe number 2 (makes 2 cups)

  • 2 cups of unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 3/4 ounce dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao)
  • Add almond milk to a saucepan and heat it over medium-low heat. Once it is warmed through (not boiling), add the cacao powder, maple syrup and dark chocolate. Whisk well to combine.
    Continue to whisk until all ingredients are evenly distributed and it has reached your preferred temperature. Taste, and add more maple syrup if needed. Divide into mugs and enjoy!

Recipe number 3 (not really a recipe as these are pre-made but so yummy and clean/quick/easy version). I have this at my office

  • 1 mug of hot water with either (I have no affiliation with any of these, I just love them for a quick delicious cup of hot cacao). Some of them have a bit of sweet in them but they all have great, high quality, health promoting ingredients and taste delish.
    • 1 package of Four Sigmatic Mushroom Cacao Mix
    • 1 scoop Kos Holy Cacao
    • 1 scoop Laird Superfood Hot Chocolate Mix

Enjoy and let me know which one is your favorite! Tag @mountainrebalance with a picture of you enjoying your mug of Cacao Elixir

More like this- Golden Milk 3 Ways, Favorite Chai recipe -Chai 2 ways

I will leave you with some snowy pics to inspire your cacao appetite:)

Enjoying a hot cup of cacao on a cold new years morning ski/fire with some magnificent women friends

icicles from my bedroom window

Kids skiing to school
My other favorite kind of chocolate

Happy, now I need some hot cacao!

CHECK OUT WHAT IS HAPPENING AT MOUNTAIN REBALANCE. MORE 2021 DATES BEING ADDED – Including Spring Cleanse, Badass For The Long Haul, Healing Foods Club, Digestion Club, Women’s Hormone Club, and more!

“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 digestive enzymes, bile issues, villi 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 FNLP DNM 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


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 lovely.

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! But is is harder to make time wise and ingredient wise. 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 (this one makes the paste to be added to around 6 cups of golden milk)

  • Turmeric Paste:
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup ground turmeric
  • 3 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 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 cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
    1. For the Paste- Combine 1/2 cup water, turmeric, ginger, 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, and cinnamon together in a saucepan. Heat over low heat until hot, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in honey.
    3. Pour 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 for 2

  • 2 cups of milk (I love coconut milk)
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 2 tsp MCT oil or coconut oil (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1-2 tsp raw honey (to taste)
  • 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 and hormones.

___________________

Hormone bonus- add unflavored bone broth protein powder or unflavored collagen powder for an added protein!!!!

These recipes are part of my famous Seasonal Elixirs guide!! it takes you through the best nourishing drinks of each season. I adore as the year progresses and my heart and body align with the season. – this is included when you sign up early for the Women’s Hormone Club and in The Healing Foods Club.

DOWNLOAD 2 recipes now for golden milk

Get my Free seasonal healing elixir guide and recipe book now!!

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

__________________

  • 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





Learn more here

Learn more here about Functional FOundations

Learn More about the Energy Club
Learn More about the Spring Cleanse

Annual Spring Reset and Liver Love! 2024 Dates

REPLENISH and REJUVENATE. Sign up now and I will make it easy for you to feel incredible!

“Mountain Rebalance’s Liver Love reset was not like any other cleanse I have done. Instead of feeling deprived, I felt nourished throughout the entire process. Janel provided empowering information on nutrition, delicious recipes, as well as other forms of self-care that support an ongoing healthy lifestyle. I highly recommend this cleanse and look forward to the next one!” -2022 Spring Cleanser

Bring in the fresh and light energy of the spring. Nourish your body and your soul during this natural time of year to cleanse and reset. Set or reset new habits that move you towards feeling and functioning your best.

This is a chance to REPAIR and REPLENISH

Join Board Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Functional Medicine Nutritionist, Doctor of Natural Medicine, Family Herbalist, and Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist Janel Ferrin Anderson on this AWESOME and unique spring reset and deep dive into rejuvenation, detoxification, and optimizing how you function.

No fad diets here, just an awesome, short, nourishing, straightforward, seasonal reset to jump start your body at a cellular level. This reset addresses one of the pillars of longterm health- detoxification and rejuvenation

Reset at a level that is right for YOU and welcome in the VIBRANT energy of spring!

Give your body what it needs this spring to hit reset, flush out the old and bring in the vibrant new. This is a food based reset

2024 Nourishing Spring Reset Dates

VIRTUAL GROUP and IN PERSON GROUP!!!

Reset Packets and Reset Videos Go Out Sunday April 14th

Group Cleanse Week- April 29th-May 5th (or pick a time that works for you)

Group Message board available for questions. Food demos to learn new skills.

4 Optional Group Q&As to connect virtually or in person on Wednesdays April 17th, April 24th, May 1st, May 8th

  • VIRTUAL Meetings- Meet online at 7pm pacific on Wednesdays (or noon option available).
  • IN PERSON- Meet Wednesdays at noon at Tahoe Food Hub in Truckee (food demos after!)

Virtual Sign up – Wed 7pm pacific

In Person Sign up– Wed noon pacific at Tahoe Food Hub in Truckee

Spring Cleanse Alumni get 40% off as always! Sign up again for just $90 (discount code for spring alumni only SPRINGALUMNI40)

Hormone Club Alumni get $40 off. Sign up and use code SPRINGHORMRONEALUMNI


Early bird discount!


Spring is the season of the the liver and spring produce is all about liver nutrients. The liver is important for hundreds of everyday functions and directly impacts hormone health, blood sugar, nutrient storage, fat digestion, protein digestion, enzyme synthesis, cholesterol, energy, and of course DETOXIFICATION of all substances that enter your body through the air, water, food, skin, and gut. This is a pillar of health and one of the foundations of hormone health


We are going to REDUCE inflammatory foods and toxins, and LOAD UP on nutrients while supporting our liver and detoxification pathways

Sign up now for virtual Q&As (wed 7pm or noon)

Sign up now for In Person in Truckee Q&As (wed noon)



Yes this is a rejuvenating cleanse but it is so much more! Learn new habits and recipes to nourish your body for decades to come, empower yourself by learning the ‘why’ behind cleansing, connect with like minded community, learn what herbs and lifestyle practices aid us in detoxing, work with Functional Medicine Nutritionist Janel Ferrin Anderson, and eat delicious food while nourishing your entire body.

Come away feeling revitalized and restored

THIS IS NOT YOUR TYPICAL COOKIE CUTTER RESET THAT I AM RE-MARKETING. I carefully designed this cleanse to help accommodate individual needs and support the body to function and cleanse its best.



Why Reset?

First off, doing a spring reset is simply an awesome way to mindfully load up on nourishing nutrients and give your body the tools to repair and set/reset healthy habits.

Bu there is one thing we all share which is our exposure to an increasing amount of toxins and stressors in our world. And while our body is designed to detox and cleanse everyday, the problem is the amount of toxins that are entering our body coupled with an increasingly nutrient deficient food supply and other modern day factors that slow down detox pathways. This idea is called Total Load or body burden. So it is not about one or two toxins, but about the accumulation over time.

Additionally, hormone balance at Perimenopause and Menopause depends on a happy liver!! Our liver detoxes estrogens. Making sure we are detoxing our estrogens in a health promoting way can decrease symptoms of hormone imbalance.


Who is this reset for?

You! Because we are all unique and are at different places in our lives, with different activity levels, stressors, gut health, cleanse experience, life commitments, etc… there is no one cleanse that works for everyone. That is why I include 3 options. This way you can pick what feels right for you.

I will help you choose what is best for you.

  • A building reset is for those that might be recovering from an injury, or breastfeeding, with a lot of physical demands on them, or are new to cleansing. In this cleanse we still bring in all the cleansing foods of spring and restorative practices but we include more solid foods, clean proteins and healthy fats to make sure you meet your needs.
  • A balancing reset is for most of us. We balance delicious cleansing foods, nourishing smoothies, green juices, herbs, and soups while incorporating supportive cleansing lifestyle practices.
  • A naked reset is for those that have cleansed before, that already eat a clean and nutrient dense diet, or that prefer the simplicity of this cleanse. As the week moves on we slowly move towards more liquid foods.

2024 SCHEDULE

  • April 14th receive –
  • 2 Recorded lessons that you can watch anytime so you can learn about what we are doing and why we are doing it. You will walk away empowered!
  • Protocol, Menus, meal plans, recipes, cooking demos, herbs, tips, tricks, and more (THIS IS MY FAVORITE RECIPE BOOK OF THE YEAR).
  • Easy to use format and Cleanse Packet with tips on cleansing, troubleshooting a cleanse, essential oils, detox enhancers, herbs, and more
  • Message board for sharing recipes, experiences, pics, connecting, supporting, and for asking questions.
  • Pick a time to meet or watch recording
    • Virtual 30 minute Q&As on Wednesdays at 7pm April 17th, April 24th, May 1st, May 8th.
    • In person on Wednesdays at noon at The Tahoe Food Hub in Truckee
  • Cleanse/Reset is the week April 29th- May 5th (or pick your own week)
  • Group Lake Jump, for Tahoe locals, to kick off the cleanse May 6th at noon at Donner Lake


What have people said in the past about this cleanse?

“Spring Cleanse! Oh my. What an incredible experience. I’ve never done something like this in a group. I’ve cleansed before but doing so in a group was so uplifting and encouraging. I LOVED the recipes, the online support, and the WHY! It all made it so much more feasible. Janel shares amazing, obtainable, knowledge on not only the “how” but the “why”. I’d definitely do it again!” -2019 participant

“Great program – short and sweet with lots of benefits – easy to follow – LOVE the new recipe book” -2021 participant

“Working with Janel was a great experience. I felt supported and educated about why this was a good thing for my body. When I believe I am benefitting my health it is easier to stay committed to the cleanse. I feel really good and I will move forward having gained some healthy habits and a better understanding of why nutrition is key to not just my physical health but also my emotional well being. Thank you!” -2020 participant

“I feel totally energized after doing the Spring Cleanse with Janel and the group. She offered a great variety of recipes to make the week of the cleanse and to use in daily life. There was support to set an intention and also a flexibility to create a cleanse that works best for each person. I’ll take this energy and inspiration forward to make better choices in my eating habits and increase my vitality!” -2021 participant

“I just completed Janel’s Spring Cleanse and this is the first time that I have done a cleanse where I felt like I was truly giving my body exactly what it needs without depriving it in the process. The purposeful decisions from my cleanse (and as I reintroduce foods) have carried over into my life and I am loving the boost of consciousness!” -2021 Veronica Lichter www.RumpusART.com

Mountain Rebalance’s Liver Love cleanse was not like any other cleanse I have done. Instead of feeling deprived, I felt nourished throughout the entire process. Janel provided empowering information on nutrition, delicious recipes, as well as other forms of self-care that support an ongoing healthy lifestyle. I highly recommend this cleanse and look forward to the next one! -2022 Spring Cleanser

The Spring Cleanse has been part of my ritual for many years like my own “new year,” and having Janel’s knowledge and guidance makes it extremely easy to prepare, stay focused, and feel supported. Many of Her recipes have Become staples in my house which is fantastic bc it brings some of that clean eating for the whole family. I look forward to learning more from Janel in the upcoming seasons. -2022 Spring Cleanser

“Thanks again Janel for a great seasonal reset. I love doing these cleanses with the support of the group and with your enthusiasm and recipes!.” -2023 Spring Cleanser

“Janel is very thoughtful in her teachings and a wealth of information on nutrition. I felt like she encouraged us to have a great cleanse, but no pressure. Absolutely would do again and recommend to friends.” -2023 Spring Cleanser

“Love this cleanse! I felt so supported by Janel and the whole group. Two years down, hopefully many to go”.- 2023 Spring Cleanser

Click Here To SIGN UP NOW! Online

Click here to SIGN UP NOW! In Person in Truckee at The Food Hub

Let’s Do This!

Early Bird cost of the entire program is $150. Previous Spring Cleanse participants get 40% off (that is $60 off!!)

Price goes up to $165 after April 10th



This is NOT about depriving ourselves but instead about NOURISHING ourselves with specific cleansing foods. If you have done 20 cleanses or if this is your first one, this is for you!

Give your body a chance to reset, restore depleted nutrients, and reduce inflammation.


WHAT YOU WILL GET-

  • 1 easy to use reset packet loaded with awesome tips
  • 4 Live Q&A sessions each week with Janel
  • 3 cleanse specific menus laid out for you to choose from
  • 3 cleanse specific delicious and beautiful recipe books
  • lifestyle to support your body’s detoxification systems
  • bonus cooking videos include- juicing in a blender, making nut milks, cooking healing and cleansing broths, cleansing elixirs, and many more
  • tips on how to sleep better, process toxins better, supportive cleansing herbs, essential oils, etc
  • optional supplement suggestions at a discount to support your cleanse
  • recorded lessons about the cleanse so you can learn about how/why to spring cleanse
  • education around detox organs and how they work and what they need to do their job
  • tips on troubleshooting a cleanse
  • breathwork and movement practices to support cleansing during the week
  • discussions about how our liver detoxes estrogens
  • Message board to expand learning on specific interests, connect, and share with others
  • info on toxins and alternative clean choices

Join us for all the fun or take the protocol/recipes/packet and do your own thing.


Have you watched the fun Find Your Liver Video? More importantly have you found your liver? And can you believe how important it is? It is on the right side of your torso, just under your ribs on the right. Find yours!

Check out what makes a perfect spring detox salad here

Booking Provided by Healthie

What people are saying about working with Janel at Mountain Rebalance

Janel Ferrin Anderson DNM FNLP NC

Hello. I am Janel. I am pumped to dig into a spring cleanse with you. Empowering people to understand how their unique body works and how the choices we make impact that is my passion. Optimizing how we function through food and lifestyle choices affects every part of our life including emotional, mental, physical and spiritual. Join us this spring and optimize YOU. Learn more about me here


Purchase The Functional Foundations Bundle now for you or a loved one. Mini self paced course

Check out the energy club now


Get To Know Your Immune System So You Can Boost Your Resilience.

Most of us want to support our immune system but we don’t understand how it works well enough to know how best to support our unique system. It is empowering to learn a bit of the physiology so we can better understand why the choices we make with diet and lifestyle impact our body the way it does. It drives me nuts to be told what to do with out understanding why. I find most people I work with agree.

The Immune System is a complex and dynamic system, which changes with our environment and diet.

Here are the basics to help you start thinking around what might impacting your immune system. Add what you need to boost its various functions and layers and consider what you might need to remove that might be reducing its effectiveness and barrier functions.

Feel free to skip right to the bottom if you want to go right into what helps/harms immune function. But if you want to dig in with me………

IMMUNE SYSTEM 101

According to the National Institute of Health the purpose of the  Immune system is to have a network of cells, tissues and organs working together to protect the body against foreign invaders. The immune system has three very distinct jobs that need to be executed as intended for the whole system to work properly.

These jobs are

  1. Identify an invader. This includes properly identifying self from non self and harmful from friend.
  2. Communicate with other immune cells. So, the watch guards start talking and informing other immune cells about what is happening. They may call in back up cells or alter the biochemistry to set the stage for defense (aka inflammation).
  3. Attack the invader. The immune cells need to launch an appropriate attack to kill the invader without doing excessive damage to the host, aka you. This includes shutting off the attack when appropriate.

We need each of these jobs functioning effectively.

Our body is constantly exposed to invaders such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites, and it is our immune systems job to keep us safe. That is when it is functioning properly, anyway. When it is over working we may experience allergies, autoimmunity, or chronic inflammation and eventually the downstream diseases that come from chronic inflammation (Heart Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s and many more). When it is under functioning we may get sick often or cancer cells may grow. So again, we want our immune system to function how Goldilocks likes things, juuuuust right.

We have 2 distinct parts of our immune system

  1. The Innate Immune System– This is the part of our immune system that we are born with. There is no specificity or memory. It is all about identifying all invaders and killing. The components of the innate immune system include
    • Our Physical barriers such as our outside skin and the internal ‘skin’ of our respiratory tract, digestive tract, and urogenital tract. This also includes the acidity in our stomach, the mucous membranes on all our internal ‘skins’, our microbiome or the good bacteria that covers our skins. Around 70% of our immune system is in our digestive system alone. Anything that reinforces these barriers will boost our immune system, and vice versa.
    • The cells of the innate immune system- This first layer of immune defense also includes several white blood cells- monocytes, neutrophils, basophils, eosinophils, and natural killer cells. All of which play key roles in keeping us safe from invaders.
  2. The Adaptive (Specific) Immune System– This is the part of our immune system that develops over time and involves a great deal of specificity. These are the more highly trained cells of the immune system and include our B cells (immunoglobulins come from B cells) and T cells. B stands for Bone Marrow and T stands for Thymus, which is simply where they each get their advanced training. The adaptive immune system is how we more easily fight off invaders after being exposed previously, it is why vaccinations work, and it is these immune cells, IgG or IgA or IgE antibodies, that we look to for certain foods or body parts that the immune system may be overreacting to.

Whew. Okay. We did it. That is the basics and it is from there that we can identify what food and lifestyle choices increase or decrease our specific immune functions and layers. The specific jobs of the immune system can be impacted as can the various layers by the outside world. Our immune function is dynamic and the food and lifestyle choices we make directly impact it. Some things decrease its effectiveness making them important to remove. Other things enhance how they function making them important to add.

10 THINGS THAT MAY NEGATIVELY IMPACTING YOUR IMMUNE FUNCTION

  1. Sugar- Sugar suppresses white blood cells and how responsive they are. Also, white sugar depletes our body of key immune nutrients
  2. Eating foods you are sensitive to or allergic to or foods that are hard to digest– These foods can decrease immune function in different ways. Hard to digest foods can damage the intestinal tract (damage the barrier function aka leaky gut), cause inflammation, and can distract the immune system. Foods you are sensitive or allergic to activate antibodies and again can cause the immune system to be on chronic attack, using up valuable resources and attention. (Foods that are often hard to digest include anything not chewed well, foods eaten while stressed, trans fats, dairy, gluten, soy, processed foods, beans that are not soaked prior to cooking, and more depending on a persons unique physiology).
  3. Alcohol- Alcohol reduces white blood cell count like sugar does and impacts the flow of oxygen at a cellular level preventing the body from functioning optimally 
  4. Nutrient Deficiency- Nutrients such as vitamins A, D, C, zinc, selenium are critical building blocks for immune cells.  From either lack of consuming them but also from lack of digesting and absorbing them a person can be depleted. Make sure digestion/absorption is functioning optimally so you can get the nutrients from your food as well as ensuring you are eating foods high in these nutrients.
  5. Toxins such as heavy metals, pesticides, pollution, smoking, chemicals, etc- can inhibit antibody formation, depress T cell and B cell function and Natural Killer cells. Pollution can Damage protective mucus membranes (line of defense) as well.
  6. Chronic stress –  Psychoneuroimmunology (big new area of study on immune system and nervous system interaction). Natural Killer cells are impacted by high chronic cortisol and this is a critical and aggressive cell for fighting viruses as well as cancer.
  7. Lack of sleep- During sleep your body releases immune cells that fight inflammation and infection. Lack of sleep reduces immune cells and hinders the protective response of the immune system.  Melatonin (sleep hormone) helps protect our lungs as well as activates natural killer cells.
  8. Trauma from surgery or accident including over exercising- Inflammation may be tying up the immune response
  9. Frequent Antibiotic use or other medications- antibiotics can damages important bacterial balance in the gut which is a line of defense while certain medications like ibuprofen and aspirin can damage the epithelium or inner skin of our digestive tract.
  10.  Exposure to chronic infections from the inside or outside- Epstein Barr, candida, lyme disease, etc, or with people working around kids all the time or on airplanes may be exposed chronically to bacteria and viruses, depleting immune function.

Helpful For Proper Immune Function

  1. A healthy lymphatic system, which houses many immune cells – Using your skeletal muscles helps move lymph as does deep breathing and bouncing.
  2. Appropriate nutrients- we make 2000 immune cells every minute, the better nutrition the better we are able to make those cells. Specific foods listed in infograph below but think colorful vegetables and fruit, nuts and seeds.
    • Vitamin A- supports mucus membranes throughout the body, is needed for white blood cell production as well as thymus and spleen health. 
    • Vitamin D-  The sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D, aids monocytes and T cells. Vit D triggers and arms the body’s T cells, the cells in the body that seek out and destroy any invading bacteria and viruses. It also reduces inflammation
    • Vitamin C- protects white blood cells from the enzymes they release to kill microbes, it’s an antiviral, it makes interferon, is antibacterial, and is an antihistamine. Supports innate and adaptive immune function.
    • Vitamin E- strong antioxidant  protecting cells from oxidative damage.  Boosts immune cells and enhances immune response
    • Zinc- Zinc is part of a wide range of immune functions. Needed to activate immune cells
    • Selenium- Antioxidant, boosts immune response and decreases inflammation
    • Quercetin- antiviral, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and aids in immune cell communication
    • Supporting digestive system-  Tools to help include fiber, microbiome support, hcl, mucus membranes, chew (releases growth factor which helps improve barrier)
  3. Sleep- See above. Sleep is hugely beneficial to our immune system and we need between 7-9 hours a night for our immune system to function optimally.
  4. Decreased stress and anxiety- Excessive cortisol (stress hormone) depresses immune function by decreasing Natural Killer Cells and diverting energy towards fighting a pressing or perceived ‘danger’ instead of fighting an immune invader.
  5. Appropriate exercise increases NK cells and other infectious fighting immune cells, it also decreases stress and increases circulation.
  6. Sauna or hot/cold therapy- This has been shown to increase both T cells and Natural Killer cells impacting both innate and adaptive immune function
  7. Microbiome- Important in barrier function and immune activity. Some bacteria in your gut spend their lives making antibodies! Look for a blog post dedicated to this important topic coming soon.
  8. Proper Hydration and herbs that sooth and nourish the mucous membranes such as aloe, licorice, slippery elm, and marshmallow root.

So what can you add? What can you remove?

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE RECIPE BOOK HERE!

Please Give a Shout If You Are Interested In Working Together! Book A Free Call Now………….

Booking Provided by Healthie

REFERENCES

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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