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

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

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

10 ways the gut directly impacts our health-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s chat!

Email or call today for a free 15 minute consult

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

Mountain Rebalance- Empower, Support, Investigate, and Integrate

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


Featured post

Why Balance Is Key For True Health And Wellness


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


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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Spring Cleanse With Us!

It is happening! Bring in the fresh and light energy of the spring so your entire body functions better. Nourish your body and your soul during this natural time of year to cleanse. Set or reset new habits that move you towards feeling your best. Connect with community.

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

Sign up by May 10th and get 20% off code- shelterathome

Previous group participants and clients get 35% off code- alumni

Previous Detox alumni get 50% off! code- detoxalumni

Yes this is an awesome 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, get the chance to work with Functional Medicine Nutritionist, Doctor of Natural Medicine, Herbalist, and Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist Janel Ferrin Anderson, and eat delicious food while nourishing your entire body.

THIS IS NOT YOUR TYPICAL COOKIE CUTTER CLEANSE

Choose what level you want to participate depending where you are at in your life and with your health needs. I will help you choose what is best for you. This cleanse is appropriate for anyone because of this flexibility.

Get helpful handouts, lists, recipes, support from me during the week, lifestyle practices to enhance detox, daily guided breath work practices, and more.

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!”

“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!”

Click Here To SIGN UP NOW!

Dates- Live 1 hour classes at 730pm on May 17th, May 24th, May 31st and June 7th. Cleanse the first week in June after having plenty of time to learn and organize.

Let’s Do This!

Cost of the entire program is $120 But Sign up by May 10th for 20% off (code shelterathome) and save $24. Previous group alumni and clients get 35% off (code alumni) and save $42.

DON’T WAIT! SIGN UP NOW AND JOIN THE MOVEMENT TOWARDS EMPOWERED HEALTH!

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! You can choose which level you participate at because as I always say there is not one size fits all plan for everyone. I will be available to help you decide.

Learn how to activate your systems of elimination, give your body a chance to reset, restore depleted nutrients, reduce inflammation, reduce the stressors on your gut so it can do it’s job allowing all your body systems to function better. Awesome!

SAVE 20% (sign up by May 10th) or 30% (for people who have worked with me) when you sign up now! Apply promo code when purchasing.

Booking Provided by Healthie

Janel Ferrin Anderson. Hello. I am Janel. I am pumped to dig into a spring cleanse with you. Empowering people to understand how their 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

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

Most of us want to take care of 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 it and consider what you might need to remove that might be reducing its effectiveness.

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.

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. This includes
    • 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 immune function. The specific jobs of the immune can be impacted as can the various layers. 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.

You can skip below to the lovely infographics if you want the lists. Otherwise keep reading if you want the why.

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 in this way. 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)
  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.
  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!
  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?

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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

My Favorite Granola Recipe With An Immune Supportive Boost!

Okay, this was already my family’s and many of my friends favorite granola recipe, we just gave it an immune boost by adding specific Immune nutrient rich foods.

Our Immune system is not static and it changes its effectiveness in relation to many lifestyle and nutrition factors. What we eat and do everyday can help boost our resilience and immune function or decrease its ability to fight off invaders. This recipe offers healthy fats and protein as well as many immune nutrients to give your immune system what it needs to function its best.

Zinc- There is a lot of research showing that zinc has anti-viral properties against many different viruses. Pumpkin seeds and oats are loaded with zinc.

Selenium boosts our immune response and decreases inflammation so our immune system can focus on fighting bacteria and viruses. Brazil nuts and oats are rich in selenium.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant, protecting cells from oxidative damage.  It boosts immune cells and enhances immune response. Almonds and Sesame seeds are loaded with vitamin E

You could add gogi berries at the end with the dried fruit for a vitamin C boost too.

You can make any variations that you like really. Omit nuts/seeds if you don’t have them or like them or add others like walnuts or flax seeds. This is the base we use though that disappears in just a couple of days. We love it with homemade almond milk, on a banana with nut butter, or with coconut yogurt. Store what you don’t use in a mason jar or give a jar to a friend.

Stay well! xo Janel

Link to Blog about eating and lifestyle to boost immune function

References- Bauman, Ed.  Friedlander, Jodi. (2016) Therapeutic Nutrition Part 2. Penngrove, CA: Bauman College. 

I am doing all consults via telehealth or online counseling during the coronavirus isolation. Please call or sign up for a free 15 inquiry if you would like support at this time or to learn more how we can work together.

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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

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Coronavirus – Tips From A Holistic and A Medical Doc

Grab some tea and join me and my husband as we discuss a holistic and allopathic approach to the coronavirus.

As a Functional Medicine Nutritionist I put a lot of value on boosting the immune system from the ground up. I sat down with my hubby John, an ER doc, to discuss ways we can use holistic medicine to stay resilient and boost immune function and then what the medical system currently looks like if you do get the Coronavirus.

It is powerful when we can use the best of preventative medicine as well as western medicine, each at the right time and in the right way, together for awesome healthcare. I hope you enjoy this proactive, realistic, and down to earth approach.

https://mailchi.mp/35de924719db/mountainrebalanceimmunerecipes

Sprouts For Health! Easy Peasy. Start Today

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.

Places to get seeds-

Tools you might want

References

  1. Bauman, Edward. Foundations of Nutrition Textbook. Penngrove, CA: Bauman College, 2012.
  2. Murray, Michael, N.D. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company, 2013.
  3. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/alfalfa#section4
  4. https://draxe.com/nutrition/sprout/

Fighting The Coronanvirus (or ANY Virus) With Food And…….

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!

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Stay hydrated. Drink 1/2 your weight in ounces of water every day. Bone broths, mineral broths, and herbal teas all help.
  10. 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

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Food Allergy vs Sensitivity vs Intolerance- What The Heck?

Okay, this is crazy confusing but it doesn’t need to be.

First off we are all Bioindividual, due to our genetics, our history, our diet, our lifestyle, etc. Something that affects you in one way will affect me differently and so on. Good quality dairy might be a true allergy for you, it might be hard for me to digest, but a superfood for your friend. Again, this sounds confusing but here are the basics……

Here is how I keep them separated – Food Allergies, Food Sensitivities, and Food Intolerances. Let’s dig in.

  1. A true food allergy– A true food allergy happens when the immune system over reacts to a specific food by making antibodies against it. In this case it makes IgE antibodies which cause an immediate response. The speed at which this happens makes it easy to tell what caused the reaction. The reaction could include hives or anaphylactic shock. The most common food allergies are peanuts or eggs but any food can cause this kind of allergy in someone.
  2. A food sensitivity– A food sensitivity is also an immune response to a food that also involves antibodies but in this case the antibodies are IgG, IgA, or IgM. The affects of these antibodies take longer to see, making it very hard to know what is causing the problem. They can take 6, 12, 24, or up to 72 hours to show up and can appear as inflammation, pain, anxiety, hyperactivity, headaches, skin disturbances, digestive problems, brain fog, or more. The primary foods that cause this reaction are gluten, casein, soy, and corn but again any food can cause this reaction.
  3. A food intolerance– Food intolerances are foods that are hard for the body to digest for several different reasons but NO antibodies are made in the immune system. Someone may not be making the appropriate enzymes to break down certain foods, or not have proper amounts of bile or hydrochloric acid. Certain foods may be feeding unfriendly microbes that have become unbalanced, or just causing stress somewhere along the system. The immune system does play a role here in the form of inflammation. Common foods that are hard for the some people to digest are grains/lectins (including gluten), salicylates, amines, glutamates, FODMAPS, dairy and more. The symptoms of food intolerances again can be delayed and involve any system in the body as the gut is directly linked to the immune system, nervous system (including brain), and endocrine (hormone) system. That means symptoms can be gut pain to brain fog to anything in between, but is often gut discomfort.

Okay, those are the basics. Above all else become curious and learn what is true for YOUR BODY by tracking and connecting how you feel to what you eat. Sometimes foods need to be removed for the long haul but often if we heal properly we can add foods back eventually with no reaction or a small reaction that might be worth the treat. I call this HEAL vs IDEAL and will be coming out with a blog on that soon. Ideally we want to be eating as many whole foods as we possibly can with out over restricting. Healing may have to happen first!

Below is a video of me briefly talking about the differences. XO, Janel

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