Fired Up Friday- There Is No Right Or Wrong Way To Menopause

I am starting to feel like Menopause is becoming divisive and it is frustrating as hell.

I am sick of our two sided culture and I see it slowly creeping into the Menopause and women’s hormone health arena and it is firing me up.

Let’s be better than this, women folk. There is another way! But before we go there, things are changing for the better. These are the 4 big things I see.

1. I am definitely on board with the excitement around more female specific research and focus on women’s health. It is long overdue. For a long time we have been considered ‘small men’ and most health research has been based on men. Women’s hormones have been been considered too complicated to ‘control for’ in research so we were largely skipped over.

Research is changing and I am stoked.

2. There has also been a recent clarification around the Women’s Health Initiative research done in 2002 around women’s hormone therapy. In a nutshell it was not great research, as it did not clarify the kind of hormones used (synthetic), how old women were, how long it had been since menopause, and other factors. In result hormone therapy was vilified and thought to increase women’s chances of getting heart disease and breast cancer. We now know that bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is a wonderful tool for many women.

The dialogue around menopause is changing, which is wonderful. (there is actually dialogue here, so that alone is a change)

3. The third thing I see changing is that women are learning about their body and their hormones. This is empowering us to take agency over our health and know how we can use various tools and lifestyle changes to improve how we feel as hormrones change monthly and at times of bigger change- puberty, pregnancy, perimenopause.

Women are choosing to understand their body and this rules.

4. Finally, there is more research around what drives symptoms, what drives disease, how genetics can be impacted by our environment, and how we can be proactive and prevent future disease states. This allows us to address the root causes of health and again take agency over our body and daily choices.

Focusing on root cause and prevention is a wonderful improvement for women and health in general


However, despite all of these awesome changes, what I see now is two teams emerging-

  1. The ‘you must be on hormone therapy if you consider yourself an educated and progressive woman and if you want to do menopause right’ team
  2. The ‘menopause is natural and I am taking nothing to get in the way of the natural transition’ team

I am here to scream from the mountain top that you do not have to pick a team. There is no right way to menopause, despite what anyone tries to tell you.

If you choose to use hormone therapy to help improve how you feel in perimenopause or menopause, that is wonderful. If you choose not to use hormones as you move through perimenopause or menopause that is wonderful too. If you use some hormones for a little while, until symptoms settle, that is wonderful also.

Again, there is no right or wrong. You just need to find what works for your unique body, your goals, your motivation to make changes, and your health.

Here is the thing- we are all going to go through menopause. There is not stopping that process. It can be debilitating for some women and symptoms can last for years for some while others don’t notice the changes as much. Symptoms can start as early as our late 30s. For many women, perimenopause is the more tumultuous with bigger swings. Since estrogen and progesterone have receptors all over our body, changes impact our brain, heart, bones, muscle, metabolism, gut, sleep, mood, and more. There are tools and lifestyle changes that we can use to ease our symptoms and reduce our risk for future problems. One of the tools to improve symptoms is using bioidentical hormones- estrogen, progesterone and/or testosterone. But there are other tools and they are not mutually exclusive to hormones, they include

  • Working on your gut microbiome, which directly impacts hormones
  • Supporting your liver end detox pathways, which impact hormones
  • Making sure you have optimal Magnesium, Zinc, B12, D and other vitamins and minerals as those impact how our body ages and how hormones change
  • Optimize blood sugar and how our metabolism changes with hormone changes
  • Reduce chronic inflammation, as inflammation impacts hormones and symptoms
  • Improve sleep, as sleep makes everything work better and improves blood sugar
  • Cradle the adrenals, HPA axis, and our stress response, as cortisol is the bossiest hormone that makes other hormone balance more challenging
  • Build muscle, as muscle is medicine as we get older and lose hormones
  • Improve digestion as that impacts hormones and also changes as hormones change
  • Utilize herbs and nutrients to ease symptoms such as GABA, Vitex, adaptogens, Valerian, more

We are lucky to have so many tools, increasing research, community, and information available to support women during this big transition, or initiation really. We work on all of the things listed above in the Hormone Club and they are relevant if you do or do not choose to use HRT.


With so much change happening in women’s health at midlife, I think the pendulum is swinging. In result, I am seeing the two sides emerge.

I believe that Perimenopause and Menopause are an initiation, a rite of passage, one that we have the potential to emerge on the other side a new and improved version of ourselves. HRT or not.

We do not want to suffer more than we have to though in the process of Perimenopause, Menopause, and into Post Menopause. So whatever tools you choose to use on your journey, which for most of us will be many, I hope you feel empowered and confident in your choices. I hope you understand your body and how it is changing. I hope you do not feel judged for your choices and I hope that you do not judge others. And above all else, I hope you emerge on the other side wiser and kinder and more badass and sure of yourself than ever.

What about you? What are your beliefs around this change?

xoxo Janel

Janel Ferrin Anderson NC FNLP DNM

Janel is a board certified nutritionist, a certified functional medicine nutritionist and doctor of natural medicine. She is obsessed with helping people understand their body better and supporting them to improve health. She specializes in gut health, hormones, autoimmune disease, and energy. Janel has a mother that has taught her that with each decade life improves and women become wiser and more sure of themselves. Learn more about Janel here.

Winter- Women’s Hormone Club (coming year round soon!)

NOurishing Spring Cleanse and Liver love

Learn More- Energy Club- Metabolism
Learn More- Functional Nutrition Foundations Bundle

Digestion bundle coming soon!!

Health Maps- The Missing Piece Of Your Health Journey

For anyone feeling overwhelmed with information, or who is struggling to resolve chronic symptoms, or who wants to understand their body and function their best- what we are missing today are health maps.

Making health maps fires me up! Because they work. And because it feels like the missing piece in healthcare today.

So many people are getting lost with so much health information coming at them. Getting lost in fad diets and quick fixes that don’t work. Getting lost with practitioners who give up when goals are not reached. Getting lost with practitioners who dismiss their symptoms or don’t have the tools to help. Getting lost with protocols that don’t consider the individual. We need a clear framework to stay grounded and on track, at a pace that is right for each of us.

If you want to step forward and take charge of your health in a calm and effective way so you can feel your best and reach your goals, read on.


Maps keep us from getting lost

Maps allow us to move at our own pace

Maps bring clarity and understanding of the big picture

Maps allow us to feel calm and grounded knowing that if we get stuck in a rut or vear off trail we know exactly where we are how to come back on the path

Maps show us all the places we might want to stop on the way

Maps remind us of how all of our efforts fit together to get us to where we are going


I invite you to calm and clarity with me. The answer is a health map. Let me explain.


In working with hundreds of people to resolve symptoms, balance hormones, improve digestive function, reverse autoimmune issues, prevent future health issues, and establish robust energy- I have learned 4 truths.

1.First off we are all different. Not only in where we are coming from health wise and genetically but also in how motivated we are to make changes. There is no one size fits all protocol, approach, or pace. People need time to heal in a way that works for them and we need plans that focus around the individual.

2. Health is intricate in today’s modern world. We are still wired in 50,000 year old biochemistry but our modern world does not match this. There is so much that impacts how we function and contrary to what we might have been taught, all of our body systems are in fact connected. There is no magic protocol or pill that works for everyone. When you work methodically, addressing the roots of health and each of the body systems impacting your condition, there is a lot you can do to turn the dial towards improved health. This is true for people who are already doing a lot right and this is especially true for complicated conditions.

3. I have learned that people are motivated by understanding WHY specific recommendations are made and are empowered by understanding the workings of their own body. This gives them agency, independence, and motivation.

4. There is a ton of information is out there for you to take in. It is often helpful but can be overwhelming to know what is true, what is effective, what order to approach things, what will work for you, or how it all fits together. So many people come to me frantically trying so many different tricks (diets, herbs, supplements, lab testing, etc) but don’t understand how it fits into the big picture, what to focus on, and where to turn next.


One solution I have found that works incredibly well for people looking to feel and function their best not just today but for decades to come is making health maps.


Health maps allow us to see the big picture and stay grounded.

Health maps show us where there are short cuts and where we need to stick to the route.

Health Maps are a framework that allow us see how all of our body systems are connected and do not exist in isolation as we have been trained to think. Often times what moves the dial most, we may have not even considered as a factor contributing the the problem (for example how our detoxification impacts our hormones, or how our microbiome impacts our mood, or our stress impacts our weight, or how gluten impacts autoimmune, etc).

Health maps provide us space to move at our own pace on our health journey and leaves room for all of the layers to unfold at their own time.

Health maps give us clear steps to turn the dial towards greater health and function. We can start with the simple stops first and move forward only as needed.

Health maps remind us WHY we are making certain efforts and remind us that they are part of the process, not the end stop

Health maps can bring us back on track if we do get lost on our health journey or if we are not getting to where we want to go.

Health maps allow us to see where each ‘fad diet’, supplement, lab test, practitioner, or health hack fit into the bigger picture and may or may not have a place

Health maps provide a framework to track our efforts and progress so we don’t get lost along the way or end up going in circles.


So how do Health Maps work in practice?

In my groups we map out each topic clearly so you have a framework to come back to and work from. People can adapt it to their life and preferences but remain grounded in how all of our body systems impact our goal. You can take the small, clear and methodical steps around each stop on the map AND come back to the big picture when you want.


In The Hormone Club we map out everything that impacts our hormones and how this changes as we age. The amount of hormone, type of hormone, how it is detoxed, how it is received in our body, how they change over time, how they work together or against each other, how they are impacted by various body systems, and all the ways we can impact them to feel and age our best. Our hormone maps allow us to work at a pace that is right for each person. We can choose the lowest hanging fruit first and move on as needed.

An example of one of our hormone maps at The Hormone Club. This keeps us on track and calm along our journey to hormone balance and to feeling and aging our best. From here we can move to small action steps at each stop along the way.

In The Energy Club we map out energy and blood sugar as this impacts every body system and changes as we age. We map how we make energy, what impacts it, what might be causing us challenges, how it changes over time, how different body systems impact it, etc. Again, we go for the easiest and most impactful steps first and then move around the map as needed to reach our unique health goals at a pace that works for each individual.

An example of one of our Energy Club maps that we use to keep us grounded and moving towards our goals. This reminds us why we are taking the methodical steps during our time together.

When I work one on one with people we dig into everything YOU. We map out all the body systems that might be impacting your health and possibly holding you back from reaching your goals. We consider what labs might be relevant, what efforts you have already made and track those, and where you want to go. Then you get to pick where to start, how fast to proceed, what your end goal is, and how you want to get there. Some people like to lead and some like to follow. It works either way with a map.



I also love mapping out complicated conditions and Root Causes that can impact our entire body such as what drives inflammation, what chronic stressors are, what impacts the health of the microbiome, causes of headaches, insomnia, constipation, mental health, digestion top to bottom, and more.

Want to see my inflammation map? Email me and I will send it to you.

Constipation Map. This keeps us grounded as we work to resolve the problem

So I guess you could say I am a map maker and trail guide as well as a nutritionist and doctor of natural medicine. I love working alongside people who want to step into their health in an empowered way but who also want results.

What do you think?

Can you see how having a map can keep us grounded and on the path towards greater health in a calm and grounded way? So we can work at our own unique pace?

Have you ever felt overwhelmed and confused about what matters and what efforts to prioritize to feel and function your best?

Stop getting lost down health rabbit holes that worked for someone else and start moving calmly and methodically on your own path to health. Find someone to make you a health map! They rule.

Janel Ferrin Anderson NC FNLP DNM

It is my mission to help people understand their body better, how it works, how it changes, how it is impacted by our world and how we can improve symptoms and function while preventing future health issues. I use science, education, food, lifestyle, herbs, and nutrients, to shift the body towards better function.


Women’s Hormone Club
Energy Club

Fired Up Fridays #3- “Please, Don’t Be a Good Patient”

This week my son had an appointment with a new doctor whom I was hoping to get a fresh opinion from. I was super upset I could not make it myself but thankfully my husband could take him, as it took months (actually years due to COVID) to get scheduled with her.

After adding my questions to his list, the last thing I said on the phone before they went in is was “Please, just don’t be a ‘good patient'”. Despite being a doctor himself, he knew exactly what I meant.

There are a ton of great docs out there, but as anyone knows who has actually had to be part of the receiving end of the medical system, you need to advocate for yourself pretty aggressively to get good care. In fact I have seen it change dramatically with just a few extra questions.

We have personally been on the receiving side of the medical system with my son for 15 years now and I have learned the hard way the importance of asking extra questions and not just nodding and doing as we are told.

Additionally, I worked as a doula in hospitals with women at their births for 8 years. Both in the exam room and labor room I saw time and time again how asking the right questions changed care significantly.

Now, having worked with hundreds of men and women around gut health, hormone health, and all sorts of chronic problems and as a health educator I am always reminding people to ask their medical providers the right questions to make sure they are receiving the best care.

In my experience, taking the time to speak up for yourself, ask questions, have treatments explained to you, and demand you are heard and seen as a whole unique person is critical in receiving the best care for both short and long term health.

This is of course going to look differently for everyone. Because of how insurance works and how the medical system works this can at times be challenging. However, a few great strategies I have learned over the years to help get better care-

  • Make sure your sings and symptoms are not dismissed. If they are, find a new provider or at least more practitioners to add to your team who will listen.
  • Clearly tell your provider your health goals
  • Know what tools this particular provider has to work with. If you are seeing surgeon they are going to give you surgical options, if you are seeing a medical doctor they most often work with medications and likely do not have nutritional information, if you are seeing an herbalist they use herbs, and so on. Be aware of the perspective you are getting.
  • Be curious and respectful, asking questions such as-
    • What would happen if I don’t do this treatment or take this medication right away?
    • What might a more conservative doctor suggest?
    • What might a more liberal doctor suggest?
    • Have you ever heard of people using food or lifestyle to impact this issue?
    • In your opinion what might be driving this problem?
    • Do you think there is a way to impact what might be driving this problem?
    • Would this medication or protocol cause any side effects?
    • Have you heard of any new research in this area that I could look up?
    • How does this protocol or medication impact my body? Meaning does it deplete me of any nutrients or digestive function or impact my microbiome?
    • Do you know of any other practitioners who can also help with this issue?
    • Can you help me understand what is going on in my body?
    • Is there any reason I would not want to take this medication or have this surgery?
    • What are the pros and cons of this treatment.
    • Are there any other labs that might tell us more information about what might be going on?
    • Does this seem urgent to you?

Respectful? Yes, of course, this person likely has a great perspective to offer. But “good” (aka nod and accept whatever is suggested without understanding why or being curious)? No way.

Too many times I have seen people lumped into a category and receive the status quo treatment that often involves masking symptoms. The current medical system and insurance business make it challenging for doctors to spend the time to fully see patients as the unique individual they are. I think any doctor will agree with that.

For me personally nothing felt scarier then my husband showing up for that important appointment and smiling, nodding, and being a ‘good patient’. I have seen time and time again how care changes dramatically when you are not a “good patient” but instead advocate for yourself.

So yea, I get fired up around this.

Please, don’t be a ‘good patient’. Ask questions, speak up for yourself and if your medical provider resents that then find a new one or find additional people to add to your wellness team. People who are curious about not just what but WHY. Your body is amazing and unique, you should be treated as such.

Fired Up Friday #2- TOTAL BODY BURDEN

Fired Up Friday #1- The Gap in Healthcare

Janel Ferrin Anderson NC, FNLP, DNM

Janel works with people in Truckee CA and online who want to understand their body better and get curious around the science of how food and lifestyle impact their health. She works one-on-one with people and in several groups that happen each year. Learn more about Janel here. Learn more about working with Janel here

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 https://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.

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