It is flu/cold/virus season. Whatever you want to call it. Fact is, many people are sick.
Lately I found myself giving ideas and advice to fellow mamma's and friends all around me on how they can prevent getting sick, or recover faster if they already have gotten sick.
So, I figured I will just write a post about what I do to keep my family healthy.
1. We do not eat processed foods.
Our diet consists of fresh organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed animal products such as beef, lamb, bison, organic chicken and whole grains such as brown rice, whole grain rice pasta and spelt flour bread.
We do not include sugar and white flour products in our diet.
Sugar depletes the body of many important vitamins and minerals and weakens the Immune System. Sugar and white flour products provide only empty calories meaning that if you eat a lot of processed sugary and white flour products, you are not leaving enough room in the diet for real whole foods containing minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals.
We also do not consume any milk and dairy products.
Besides the fact that most members of my family react sensible to dairy, dairy also produces mucus in the body, creating a great environment for bacterias and viruses to grow. At the first onset of a cold, cough, runny nose...leave the dairy out of your diet so the Immune System can do its job.
2. I give my kids supplements. (and myself, and my husband - if he doesn't forget)
Today's produce is not what it was 20, 30 years ago. It doesn't offer the micronutrients it used to. An apple has much less vitamins now than it had before we started using chemicals, pesticides and fungicides in agriculture. The use of glyphosate in agriculture (Monsanto's round-up, a weed-killer) depletes nutrients in the soil, and therefore in the produce grown on that soil, up to 80%!!!
Besides that, we are exposed to so much stress, many chemicals and pollution on a daily basis that our daily need of vitamins and minerals went up so we can deal with the detoxification of our body's and stay healthy. Because really, all the body ever wants - every second of the day and night - is to maintain homeostasis.
Homeostasis -> the property of a system that regulates its internal environment and tends to maintain a stable, relatively constant condition of properties such as temperature or pH. It can be either an open or closed system. In simple terms, it is basically a process in which the body's internal environment is kept stable.
I give my kids a multivitamin, fish oil (containing Omega-3, DHA, EPA), Vitamin C (250mg/day), zinc and probiotics.
Multivitamin: it is important that it contains 400IU of Vitamin D. Choose a supplement that doesn't contain GMO's, fillers, artificial sugars, preservatives and artificial food coloring.
-> Go to Sprouts or Whole Foods and ask them, they are pretty knowledgeable if you ask what you are looking for.
Fish oil: ask for one for kids, use as directed on the label, look for dosage per age, choose a safe one (mercury free, if you are vegan: there are vegan ones out there)
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and what the body doesn't need is excreted. I give my kids 250mg daily. When they show signs of a cold, I double the dose. When a kid gets diarrhea, it was too much. That is how you figure out the right dosage. (-: no kidding. If my kids were to get sick frequently I would give them more (1000mg). I give it in 250mg increments throughout the day, not the whole 1000mg at once.
Zinc: Helps with fighting viruses. In the cold season, my kids get 25mg of zinc daily. Take a break after supplementing for 3 months. If they get sick I give them 25mg twice per day. DO NOT GO OVER 50mg FOR KIDS, 100 mg for adults.
Probiotics: Probiotics keep the digestive tract healthy, a healthy digestive tract means a healthy immune system. We make our own water kefir. (see link below)
For adults: I recommend Vitamin C, fish oil, probiotics and Vitamin D. (Vitamin D is a hormone and should be measured before supplements are taken)
UPDATE 09/08/2013: Vitamin D can be up to 1000IU per day for children! 400IU is on the very low end, especially with no sun exposure!
3. Essential oils/Aromatherapy
Another way I help my kids is with essential oils. I rub eucalyptus and thyme oil on the bottom of their feed for bedtime. It opens up their airways and thyme oil is known to help with fighting viruses.
4. Homeopathic Remedies
By the onset of signs of a cold, we use homeopathics right away.
We routinely use 'Coldcalm' and 'Oscillococcinum' by Boiron, there is also one for sore throats and if you use it right away they work like a charm. Use per package direction! And I definitely recommend to keep them all at home so you have them RIGHT AWAY when you need them. The sore throat one has saved me many times.
(see link below)
5. Tea and Honey
Warm beverages are a must. Teas with Echinacea and sweetened with honey. Raw, Organic Honey!
We like the Traditional Medicinals Organic teas. They are seriously great!!! (see link below)
Honey straight up on a spoon is also a great cough remedy.
We use this protocol through the whole year and we have built it into our routine and 'touch on wood', we have been spared of most crazy cold and flu outbreaks.
I personally also do not believe in pharmaceutical cold remedies, usually they just suppress symptoms and do not support the Immune System. The symptoms may subside for a while, but will come back later because the body has not been able to fight the intruders, the medication just kept the symptoms at bay. If you really want to get rid of viruses and bacteria in your body, a healthy diet and natural Immune Supporters are the way to go.
This plan works for me and my family, if you need individualized advise please contact me personally and we can talk about it. If any of your family members are on any kind of medications discuss supplementation with your health care provider.
My family and I never had a problem with supplementation of any vitamins or minerals and I am trained in what I recommend to clients, but a generalized plan like the one that works for my family might not work for everyone. It is all about individualization!!! Keep that in mind.
Disclaimer: please note that this protocol works for my family,you and your loved ones may have different needs. "Please understand that counseling through a holistic nutrition consultant is a form of alternative health care and it is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any form of disease, mental or physical and it does not in any way substitute the care through a primary physician or medical doctor."
GREAT RESOURCES AND LINKS!!!
from this blog
agriculture and chemical exposure to glyphosate