Since we are still in the wintertime months, Kendra suggested I give a few pointers on keeping our children healthy. These are not earth shaking facts I am sharing, but hopefully you will pick up something helpful. When our children were young, I felt like my gray hairs multiplied overnight when we were in the throes of a virus, so I empathize with you younger mothers!
Contagious childhood diseases seem extra virulent and trying to keep toys and door knobs de-germed often felt like a lost cause. Please do not feel like a poor mother if your children seem sick a lot. It goes with the territory, until one day they are all grown up.
Tip # 1: Keep stress to a minimum.
A stressed child (or adult for that matter) is easy prey for illness. It comes in many forms: strife in the home, too little sleep, too little exercise, poor nutrition, or it may be as simple as becoming chilled.
Tip #2: Keep only wholesome snacks within easy reach while keeping sweets in a less accessible spot.
Eating sugary food interferes with the ability of our fighter white blood cells to engulf the enemy. “Sugary” beverages are certainly included here, even fruit juices, as they are high in fructose without whole fruit benefits. Teach your children by your example to drink lots of water between meals.
Children are born with a sweet tooth, but will not crave excessive amounts of sugar if they have regular meals rich in whole foods. Also remember that our bodies handle carbohydrates less efficiently in the morning. Instead of cereal and fruit, have protein and healthy fats on the breakfast menu.
Tip #3: Introduce fermented foods to your children.
Two child friendly ones are yogurt and kefir. We have heard of the good bacteria found in yogurt, but are not as familiar with kefir. The good gut bacteria in yogurt passes on through the digestive tract, while kefir, chock full of beneficial bacteria and yeast, are able to colonize the intestines. Kefir is cultured at room temperature, so after you obtain kefir grains, it is very simple to make over and over! It tastes similar to old fashioned buttermilk to me, but makes a really tasty fruit and kefir smoothie.
Tip #4: Eat your vitamins!
Our bodies knows what to do with food, so always pick nutrient dense foods over supplements when feasible.
Vitamin D is the exception in that it is the only vitamin that our bodies can produce in the presence of sunshine. Refrain from bathing with soap after sunbathing for 48 hours because the newly formed vitamin D needs that length of time to be absorbed into your skin. There are few really good D food sources-oily fish, and organ meats such as liver, being the best. Consider giving your little ones a daily dose of good quality cod liver oil during the winter months if you live in northern latitudes. There are minted and citrus flavored kinds available that leave no fishy aftertaste.
Here I want to put in a plug for eggs fixed in any shape or form. Eggs from chickens with access to greens and insects produce yolks rich in color, and contain valuable amounts of all four of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. The same can be said for butter or meat from grass fed cows.
Vitamin C is the first vitamin we think of when wanting to shortcut a cold. There is a raging controversy whether ascorbic acid, which we call vitamin C and is synthesized cheaply in a lab, is actually harmful with long term use. Here again, our bodies know best how to use the C in fruits and vegetables. Having a dried, powdered high vitamin C fruit (such as camu-camu or acerola, which are available on Amazon) ready to use on your shelf is invaluable. A teaspoon can be stirred into yogurt or blended into a liquid.
Tip # 5: Minerals!!
We haven’t even talked about all the minerals needed for good health, but if your children eat their vitamins as in Tip # 4, you should be covering all the bases. (If you need help with finding high magnesium foods, know that a piece of nutty dark chocolate is a good source!)
Tip #6: Breastfeed your baby.
This is an important way God arranges for a new baby to find friendly flora to set up housekeeping. For more on this subject, go to an excellent article titled, “Just One Bottle Won’t Hurt” — or Will It?”
I will throw this short term solution in for free: if someone in your family does come down with an intestinal virus, immediately have the rest of the family members take 4 doses of 100% purple grape juice daily. Each adult dose is 1 cup while a child’s is ½ cup. I haven’t studied the whys and wherefores of this remedy, but have read many positive reviews. However, do not ask a little one with a queasy stomach to take this, as you won’t appreciate dealing with purple “vomitus.” Let us know if this works for you the next time the bug hits!