Fired Up Friday #4- Why The Hell Aren’t We Taught About Our Hormones, What’s Normal, And How We Can Impact Them??

This really fires me up.

As a mother of teen girls, a women going through perimenopause myself, and as a women’s health practitioner it blows my mind every day how much we don’t know and are not taught about our hormones.

Can you imagine if we were taught at a young age and throughout life how exactly our hormones change each month, how that impacts our body, our mood, our mind and our soul, what is normal and what is not normal symptom wise, how to understand what our body is saying, and can you imagine if we were taught from the get go how we can impact our hormones every day so we feel and look our best?

This is not rocket science.

This should be basic knowledge.

It is called body literacy or body intelligence and we deserve to know it.

Hormones are meant to fluctuate but we should not be suffering endlessly. Not monthly, not in puberty, not postpartum, not as we transition in perimenopause around our 40s, and Menopause to our wise years around our 50s on. There is so much we can do to impact these shifts, so we can lean into the rhythm and wisdom of these powerful hormones. And if we do not listen to symptoms or imbalances in our monthly cycle when we are younger, they will likely talk louder and louder as we make hormonal transitions as we age.

Our hormones are like canaries in the coal mine, they are the first to falter if something is off in our body. If we are having symptoms that are debilitating like cramping, heavy periods, headaches, aches, fatigue, insomnia, brain fog, anxiety, infertility, stubborn weight gain, low libido, skin issues, skipped periods, or other hormone related symptoms- these are messages that we need to pay attention to not just symptoms to cover up. Those symptoms might be common but they are not normal and they are telling you something, and they will talk louder if we do not listen.

Yes, of course there is a place for covering up symptoms so we don’t suffer but getting to the underlying root of what is driving those symptoms is typically not mysterious or out of our control. It is knowledge we all deserve to have. And it is something we can impact every day. If we listen to these messages and respond, they will not have to talk louder and louder (aka worse symptoms).

First, we need to understand how our hormones work monthly. Then we need to understand how they change as we get older. After we understand what is going on in our own body, and we learn what we can do to impact that, then we can choose to take clear and methodical steps to optimize how we feel and age at any age. We are in the driver’s seat of our hormone health and can take control of how we feel.

But we don’t have that choice if we are not taught this.

Why aren’t we taught this?

I am hell bent on helping women understand their body better and helping them to feel their best. I want to bridge the gap that is so sorely missing between women, their doctors, and their health (aka how they feel every day). That is why I am teaching the Women’s Hormone Club and why I am working with my daughters on a hormone project that I am stoked to release soon (stay tuned!!).

Our hormones are powerful. When they are not fluctuating optimally we likely feel like crap at different times of the month, depending what is off. When they are functioning optimally, and we can align with their different energies, our month can flow in ways that feel incredible. When functioning optimally, we can lean into estrogen, as it climbs during the first half of our cycle and we feel driven, social, and sharp. And then, when ovulation occurs, we can lean into progesterone, as it climbs during the second half of our cycle, and we might feel more creative, reflective, and internal at that time. As they both drop right before our period we might have cravings and feel a bit low as progesterone and estrogen are tied to brain neurotransmitters and insulin, our blood sugar hormone. As these hormones rise and fall our mood is impacted, our body, our brain, every part of us. It is empowering to feel these shifts and understand them. Choices we make everyday impact how these fluctuate and how we feel.

Chart from Functional Nutrition Alliance FXNA

The time to focus on your hormones is now, no matter how old you are. But it is definitely time in your late 30s and 40s to get things dialed so as you transition into menopause things go as smoothly as possible. You do have control over this and you don’t have to suffer. We can’t remove all the sensations but we can turn the dial. Body Literacy is power.

As we move through our 40s progesterone starts to decline first, automatically putting us at risk to all the symptoms that happen in estrogen dominance. Because it is largely about the relationship of these two hormones. So it is even more important than ever that things are functioning optimally. Following a drop in progesterone, estrogen starts to go all over the place before it settles at a lower level. Again, we want an optimal environment in our body as these shifts occur so we ease from one phase to another as much as possible. There is so much we can do to ease this transition. Again, knowledge is power and small efforts are everything.

This chart is from Lara Briden’s Brilliant book Hormone Repair Manual

Your gut matters. Food matters. Detox matters. Stress matters. Blood sugar matters. Poop matters. Muscles matter. Sleep matters. Inflammation matters.

What do you think? Have we been taught enough about our body? What it is saying? Are we trained to listen to it? And then know what steps to take to feel our best? No way. Not yet, but I am hopeful this is changing and hell bent on making this happen. I encourage you to join me in this effort. Stay tuned for more!

Janel Ferrin Anderson FNLP, NC, DNM

I am determined to help people understand their body better and help them make changes to impact their health. I see people one-on-one and in group settings both in Truckee and online. I practice truly holistic healthcare and team up with people who want to function their best.

http://mountainrebalance.com/?p=1366 Women’s Hormone CLub

Fall Wellness- Back To School List For Teen Health- Top 12

I don’t know about you, but I love back to school shopping. Not at the mall or for clothes or school supplies, but to dial out our wellness routine for back to school in the fall.

When school starts back up life gets busy. But is important to me that we eat and include habits that support optimal focus, energy, immune health, and mental health. As always, we are not perfect in my house, but I find having these 12 things in place sets us up to win and at least have a solid base for functioning our best.

If you know me you know I love lists. They keep me grounded, calm, and are an easy way to circle back to what is important to me. Plus the fall is such a wonderful and grounding time for a clean start. So here it is, my Top 12 Back To School Wellness Shopping List for the teens in my house.


Back To School Wellness For Teens – Top 12

  1. Phone charging station in kitchen so the kids do not sleep with their phones (and alarm clocks set in rooms so they have not excuses)
  2. Essential oil diffuser and our favorite oils
  3. Sleepy tea or tinctures to help ease into sleep
  4. Smoothie recipes updated and printed out and breakfast ideas for middle and high schoolers printed out (link here)
  5. Chai herbs refilled and handy (and chai protein powder)
  6. Booster foods, organized and out
  7. Protein and greens powders
  8. Supplements in organized boxes (EFAs, probiotics, beef liver, magnesium powder)
  9. PRINT OUTS- Lunch box handout printed out and Building A Plate printed and on fridge and Meal planning forms printed out
  10. Spirit cards
  11. Rescue Remedy
  12. Books- 5 Love Languages for Teens and Enneagram for Teens

______________________________________

Phone Charging Station- Our family rule, and it is NOT easy, is that all phones are on the phone charging station every night around 8-9pm depending on the kiddo (age). I can feel the kids anxiety increase as they scroll on their phones, they are my least favorite part of parenting. This at least gives them a break and allows their nervous system a moment to settle. We also needed to make sure we had good alarm clocks in everyone’s room and that they were set.

Essential Oil Diffuser– I love how the smell of a room can change the entire mood of the family. It is really important to me that we do this cleanly though, as artificial scents from candles or room fresheners can impact hormone balance and stress our body’s detox system. So we do this with essential oils and a diffuser (or a few drops in a spray bottle to clean surfaces, we use this on counter tops and the table). Some of my favorite morning smells are Lemongrass, Rosemary, or peppermint. I love diffusing lavender and chamomile after dinner in the evening to help people wind down. There are so many to choose from though. I would love to hear what your favorites are!

Sleep tea or tinctures– My kids love tea and they love the ritual of tea as well. It is such a sweet offering and has endless benefits depending what your goal is. We also use a lot of herbal tinctures in water too. Either way, some of our favorite evening herbs include chamomile, catnip, kava, valerian, skullcap, and california poppy. These herbs work wonders in the evening to help teens wind down and fall to sleep. You can easily purchase herbal tea mixes such as sleepy time, or tinctures at your natural grocery store. You can find some of my favorite herbal tinctures here. Some of my favorite herb companies include Mountain Rose, Gaia, and Wise Woman Herbals. But honestly, if nothing else, don’t underestimate the ritual of a cup of chamomile tea before bed.

Smoothies– Smoothies are such an easy and quick way to load up on nutrients. But of course not all smoothies are made the same. Check out my blog on building a smoothie and download my cheat sheet there too. My kids each have their own favorite. We did just master the chocolate Rebel Smoothie recipe which is the family favorite at the moment. And it is SO easy. I will post that recipe this week on Instagram @mountain.rebalance.wellness. Whatever kind we make it is important to include a healthy fat and a good protein to make sure the energy from the smoothie is balanced and long lasting. My favorite clean protein powder right now is from BeWell with Kelly. The easiest fat to toss in is MCT oil or ground flax seeds.

Chai tea– This is the smell of my house in the fall. I love it, the kids love it, it warms and soothes the soul immediately. My kids love making a cup for their friends now too. You can find this recipe here and read up on other fall rituals I love here. Buying a simple chai tea blend from the grocery works too, and mix it with honey and coconut milk or milk of choice. Ymmm. I often sneak in a scoop of unflavored collagen to get some protein in their morning.

Booster Foods– Let’s be honest, the older my kids get the less perfectly they eat. I am grateful that they do understand the important of eating healthy fats, clean proteins, and colorful fiber (fruits/veggies) but they also eat a lot of crap as they get more freedom in the world. Booster foods are such and easy way to load up on nutrient dense foods so I can feel okay about their not so great choices. Check out my favorite booster foods here. The trick is they need to be handy and visible.

Protein and Greens Powders– These are also booster foods but they deserve their own place because we use them daily. I love adding these to smoothies. Easy and done. Some of my kids will even slam a greens powder mixed in water. I always explain WHY these foods are so important and then I sit back and watch them add them now and again. Mom win. (remember, protein helps us build muscle, supports mood, and helps promote balanced energy. greens powders add loads of vitamins and minerals to keep our immune system strong and cells strong and skin glowing).

Supplements– Some people love them some people hate them. They are not meant to supply all our nutrients but they are meant to supplement where we are not getting enough. Again, my teens are not eating fish and veggies everyday all day so we choose to supplement during these intense years of growth and learning. We take them about 50-75% of the time just to keep it chill. My basics for them include Essential Fatty Acids, Probiotics, beef liver, and Vitamin D drops. Some of them choose to take magnesium at night to help them relax. But of course, not all supplements are created equal and this sadly can be so confusing. Feel free to check out the clean and high quality ones we use and you can purchase them here as well.

Print outs– You know me, list girl. They make things easy and THEY WORK. You can print out our family’s top 3- Lunchbox Cheat Sheet, Building a Plate cheat sheet, and Meal Planning Form (find links above in list). Because food really is medicine if you want it to be and this is a life skill they will take with them for decades to come. But we need to be organized, so lists.

Spirit Cards– This might sound silly but these cards have been so wonderful in our home. They open up the space to think about things and reflect on things in unique and mindful ways. I have given each of my kids their own decks in the past but I also have a family one that I spread out each morning on the kitchen table and each kid picks one when they wake up. Somedays they think of a question they have about the day first. Then, they close their eyes and pick the ‘right one’. Each card has an animal or symbol on them and you can look up their meaning or take what you want from it. It is so touching how the kids respond. It really adds some morning magic. Simple and sweet and lets them tap into their intuition, which is a treasure with teens.

Rescue Remedy– Have you used this? It comes in a spray or little candies. It is flower medicine and helps in times of anxiety/panic/overwhelm. I have a little tin of this in each of my kids bags for those moments that they need a life line. They don’t talk about it much but I see then disappear slowly over the year and it makes me happy they have a small tool, along with their breath, to help support calm.

Mindful Books– I love these books and I love when my kids can get to know their true selves and how they tick! Some of my kids enjoy them more than others. Sometimes I am reading from seemingly into space but then they will mention them and I know they picked up on it. Or they will discuss it with their friends or their teams or often we will discuss them at the dinner table. Despite eye rolling, any amount of self awareness is a success. I really believe that the more our kids can know themselves, and understand themselves and how they interact with the world the deeper and more positively they can experience life and others. This includes teachers, coaches, friends, partners, employers, and their own big feelings. Currently my 2 favorites for this year are A Teen’s Guide to the 5 Love Languages: How to Understand Yourself and Improve All Your Relationships and The Enneagram for Teens: Discover Your Personality Type and Celebrate Your True Self. Do you know your love language? Your kids? How about how your personalities get along? So cool. A few other ones I am loving for the family are Wolfpack by Amy Whamback and Queen Bees and Want to Bes. What are your faves?


There are so many parenting classes, books and open conversations when our children are younger about how to navigate things. I have found that parenting becomes even more important and even more challenging in more complicated ways when our kids become teens. Yes they are magnificent to talk to and are full of so many cool ideas, but I would argue they need even more from us at this time- physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Since I am far from perfect at this, these tricks here help.

I can see a big difference in my kids when I make time to prioritize health. I feel good about helping them to eat and live to support their brain, muscles, spirit, mood, immune health and energy. How about you? Have you seen small things you do to stay ahead of health pay off? Or the opposite? What is on your back to school health list? I would love to hear!



Janel Ferrin Anderson DNM FNLP NC and mom

Hello, Janel here. I am a functional medicine and holistic nutrition therapist. I obsesses over how the body functions and helping people to use food, nutrients, lifestyle, and herbs to optimize how they feel and function. I believe in science and research but am also deeply rooted in intuition and the wild.

Every Winter http://mountainrebalance.com/?p=1366
This Fall!! Join the fun

Fired up Fridays #2 Total Body Burden

Fired up Friday Take 2

I get fired up about the idea of Total Load or Total Body Burden.  This is a big concept that gets overlook when we are looking for 1 cause for our health issues or 1 magic bullet to solve our problems. 

I see a lot of people getting stuck looking for this 1 thing driving their problems. I also see medical providers dismissing things because it does not directly cause one specific problem. People often forget the impact of the accumulation of things over time. Welcome Total Load.

This is a foundational theory in functional and holistic nutrition and it helps us to see how food and lifestyle can shift the terrain in the body towards greater health in a powerful way.

The theory of Total Load is an important and empowering one to consider if you want to both improve chronic symptoms or how you feel now AND if you are hoping to prevent future health issues from surfacing as you age.  It helps us see how working on many little things can have a big impact on our health even if we can’t find 1 cause for things.

The basics go like this- 

We all have a metaphorical bucket.  Various things fill our bucket over time.  When we are physiologically healthy or resilient our body can usually keep up with this burden.   But when our bucket overflows from either 1. too much coming in or 2. from not moving things out or 3. a small bucket, we can become overwhelmed and we might experience signs, symptoms or illnesses. 

This bucket concept can be used to think about our EMOTIONS, our IMMUNE HEALTH, TOXINS/DETOX, DIGESTION, and much more.

This concept also helps us to remember that each person is unique, that we are impacted by things differently, that all of our body systems are in fact connected, that everything we do makes an impact on how we feel and function, and that 1+1 does not always =2 when we are talking about things accumulating over time. 

Let’s dig into what impacts our bucket size-

The first important thing to realize is that each of our buckets are a different size and drain at a different rate.  So what determines this resilience or our body’s ability to handle this burden? The size of our bucket and how fast it drains depends on several things including- 

  • Our genetics and what genes are expressing themselves (various SNPS impact how well we do or don’t detox and may need more support), 
  • It depends on our nutrient reserves and how many phytonutrients and antioxidants we consume/digest/absorb, 
  • It depends on how well we sleep and our circadian rhythm, 
  • How well our phase 1 and phase 2 detoxification work in our liver, 
  • How well our vagus nerve functions, 
  • The integrity of our gut (including leaky gut) and of our digestive system and even how timely we poop
  • How well we can activate our parasympathetic nervous system or our rest/digest part of our nervous system (and the amount of emotional stress, food stress, physical stress, stress from overtraining etc)
  • Lifestyle habits that support detoxification such as sweating, moving our body, not eating 24 hours a day, etc

Next, let’s consider what fills our bucket day to day and over time– 

Singularly the things that fill our bucket might not cause a problem but over time they have the potential to accumulate, contribute to dysfunction, and overwhelm our body’s resources and ability to process them or heal.   These substances that contribute to our body burden or total load include-

  • Toxins from the air we breath and water we drink
  • Chemicals on our food such as fertilizers, pesticides, etc
  • Heavy metals and EMFs
  • Alcohol 
  • Chronic infections such as Lyme, Epstein Barr, etc 
  • Mycotoxins from mold, bacterial overgrowth in our gut, yeast overgrowth such as candida
  • Eating nutrient negative foods and/or inflammatory foods
  • Stress and isolation
  • Hormone imbalances 
  • Endotoxins (toxins that come from inside our body such as LPS)
  • Chemicals from cleaning products, fire retardants, skin care products, furniture, flooring, etc
  • Problems with digestion/absorption and our microbiome

So again, we are built to be resilient, we have evolved to handle various stressors and our body is detoxing all day. However, we did not evolve to face the amount of stressors filling our bucket today. In addition, to compound the problem, our food supply is less nutrient dense today with our depleted soils and monocropping and our modern lifestyle habits often do not support resilience. I have heard this referred to as an evolutionary gap and we are in it.

But this is not all doom and gloom. Quite the opposite.

Often we can’t find one cause for our problems (although how great when we can!). But when we can’t find the one cause of our signs/symptoms or chronic disease or the one magic bullet to find relief doesn’t exist, there is still a lot we can do to impact how we feel and function. We might not always have the answer but we can improve our body’s resilience and ability to process the things coming at us.

If you have have frustrating chronic issues such as skin rashes, headaches, joint pain, fatigue, memory problems, chemical sensitivity, etc or if you want to optimize how you age, there is a lot you can do today with food and lifestyle to make an impact and improve your body’s resilience.

Start with improving how you drain your bucket, reduce what is filling your bucket, optimize digestion/microbiome, and give it time.

During the Nourishing Spring Cleanse and Liver Love we will be supporting our body’s and liver’s ability to ‘lighten the load’. It is no magic bullet but it is one way to make an impact and give your body a needed rest. We work on removing insults while adding nutrients and lifestyle to support our body’s detox ability.

During Foundations of Health we will be introducing all the most powerful lifestyle habits slowly over time to increase resilience as well as eating for health and optimizing digestion. This program was designed to build resilience no matter where you are at. We work on all the things that increase our ability to drain our bucket as well as reduce what is coming in.

Most people have ‘aha’ moments as they take this TOTAL LOAD concept forward into their lives. Does this resonate for you?


Here is one of my favorite recipes for a clean home cleaning product to replace a toxic one-

Disinfecting Spray

  • 1-1/2 cups Water
  • 1/2 cup White Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Dish Soap
  • 12 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil (optional)

What can you do to give your body a break and lighten the load?


Janel Ferrin Anderson NC FNLP DNM


JOIN THE SPRING CLEANSE http://mountainrebalance.com/?p=1884

Fired Up Fridays#1. The Gap In Healthcare

FIRED UP FRIDAY TAKE 1

I get fired up about the gap in healthcare and I’m not sure why we don’t address it more openly. 

First off, there are a lot of magnificent doctors, nurses, and other medical workers out there doing important and hard work. I’m married to a brilliant doctor and my mom is a wonderful nurse.  

BUT

There are a lot of people with chronic health issues today who are not getting the support they need around their health. 

Both of those things can be true. (note, we will come back to that idea, it’s a big one)


These people who are struggling with chronic health issues need more.  

  • More time to be seen, heard and understood. 
  • More curiosity around what might be going on in their body.
  • More empathy around their story. 
  • More focus on WHY symptoms are happening and what is driving them. 
  • More support to make sustainable changes that impact health.  
  • More attention and help tracking signs/symptoms over time. 
  • More education around what is going on in their body. 
  • More practitioners who know how to methodically use food and lifestyle changes to support each person’s unique physiology. 
  • More practitioners who can refer them to others who can help support their health journey.
  • More support in addressing unique health issues and goals even if there isn’t a diagnosis, aka help functioning better.
  • More focus on preventative measures to move towards health and aging healthfully

Chronic health issues do not happen overnight. There is a progression and usually several factors at play. In many cases symptoms are not even the problem but instead information that something is going on in the body.

People come to me all the time with issues they have struggled with for years.  These often include unresolved chronic headaches, bloating, memory problems, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, anxiety, pms, body aches and pains, weight gain, difficulty paying attention, brain fog, rashes, immune problems, memory issues, etc

I have heard time and time again how frustrating and hopeless this can feel.  Often these people have seen doctors, maybe multiple doctors,  and nothing seems to come up. 

And honestly, I have heard doctors on the other end talking about how frustrating this population can be.   And I get it.  Our medical system is not designed for people with chronic issues.  They are incredible when there is trauma, or surgery needed,  when a life saving medication or therapy is required, etc. 

But again, there is a growing population that needs more AND there is a lot that can be done to improve signs, symptoms, and disease process even if your doctor does not know about it. There is a ton of new research and clinical evidence showing that food, nutrients, herbs, gut health, chronic inflammation, and lifestyle changes have a huge impact on how your body functions and how disease progresses and how genetics express themselves. Chronic disease does NOT happen overnight but instead it is a slow progression.

I have decided to stop arguing over western medicine vs natural approaches and I am working instead to fill this gap the best I can.

There is so much work that needs to be done here. 

There are people who do work slowly filling in this gap, who track history, timelines, story, who discuss physiology and how the body systems work together and are connected, who teach people how to listen to their body with a scientist’s mind, who are okay not knowing the answer right away but instead can sit in a place of curiosity while we investigate, who understand the nuances of how food and lifestyle impact each body uniquely, even impacting genetics and impacting how we age and who are happy working alongside physicians and any medical team. 

I am thrilled to be part of that system to fill the gap. 


I really feel like if we as health and wellness practitioners could acknowledge our own limitations as well as what our strengths are, we could truly serve people extraordinarily.  Because as I said earlier, there are incredible doctors AND people with chronic issues who need more.  Both can be true (thanks for that empowering phrase, sister Brittany).  

Have you experienced this gap? As a practitioner or patient? I would love to hear about it and talk about it more openly. 


Follow me on instagram to keep up with more Fired up Fridays.

Janel Ferrin Anderson DNM, NC, FNLP

Janel works and plays out of Truckee/Tahoe and is endlessly passionate about helping people understand their unique body better. Janel helps people use food, lifestyle, herbs, and nutrients to shift the terrain in their body towards greater health and function. She works one on one and in groups settings.

JOIN THE SPRING CLEANSE!

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