Here we are. You made it! Delayed gratification, my friend. It’s all worth it, I promise.
Yesterday, I told you what brought my family to the decision to incorporate 3 lifestyle changes that would help keep us healthy throughout the year. Check out More than Expensive Pee Part 1 if you missed it. Now, I will get on with it…following are the nutritionally rich supplements that my family takes and how we take them. To start it off, my absolute favorite:
1. (Vitamins, Vitamins, Vitamins Continued)
- Elderberry Syrup – Thank you, Jesus, for elderberries! I wish I had learned about elderberry syrup long before I did. This little concoction has been a lifesaver. Also known as Sambucus, elderberries made into syrup form can be bought over the counter at many natural food stores or even online. Here is one example of one for kids – Nature’s Way Sambucus for Kids Bio-certified Elderberry, 8-Ounce or check out this one for adults – Nature’s Way Sambucus Black Elderberry Original Syrup, 8 Ounce. However, it is WAY more economical (and very simple) to make it at home (stay tuned to behindourdoors.com for us to share our elderberry syrup recipe very soon). Using it is easy. We each take a teaspoon a day, and if a germ happens to slip in somehow and start producing symptoms, we simply increase the dosage to decrease the severity and duration of the illness.
- Multivitamins – It is nearly impossible to ingest from our food all of the vitamins and minerals that we need in a day to have fully functioning bodies and still maintain excitement about what we are eating. So, for that reason, we take multivitamins! Just taking any multivitamin is probably not going to do you much good, though. Make sure to take into consideration what the product is made from and who will be taking it when researching the best choice for each of your family members. Look for vitamins made from as minimally processed and refined foods as possible, aka “whole” foods. An excellent example is New Chapter’s line of vitamins. Personally, I take New Chapter Every Woman’s One Daily Multivitamin, 72 Tablets. *Please note – these particular vitamins are NOT appropriate for pregnant or nursing women, but Missy takes and loves MegaFood Baby & Me Prenatal Vitamins 120 Tablets, which are excellent for pregnant or nursing mommas! New Chapter also carries prenatal vitamins, which I assume are excellent since I’ve had success with their women’s vitamins. Again, please research which vitamin will work best for you. Both (New Chapter and MegaFood) also carry multivitamins for men, men or women over 40, pregnant/nursing women, etc. Vitamins are a very personal choice, and it’s worth the time required to find the best options for you and your family members.
- Probiotics – Probiotics are organisms that when present in our bodies are proven to improve health by assisting the immune system. They naturally exist in our bodies already but can be diminished by other factors of our living. These health boosting organisms help the body by disabling bad organisms and impeding their spread. Although they are not all bacteria, sometimes probiotics are referred to as “good bacteria.” I prefer to call them “warrior bugs”! You can find probiotics in so many shapes and sizes these days (even in powder form for infants or young children), so I suggest doing a little research to find the one that fits your lifestyle. Remember to pay attention to each product’s directions because how they are taken can make all the difference!
- Grape juice – This last one may sound like a silly old wives tale because the research isn’t there to back it, but after my family went through a couple of years in a row where we got stomach bugs every 3-4 months, it was worth a shot! I credit my sister-in-law, Kim, for finding out that drinking 4-6 oz of 100% grape juice a day can help keep stomach viruses at bay. Acidic conditions are less than ideal for these germs, and daily ingestion of grape juice helps maintain a lower pH in the digestive track. Let me assure you, since this discovery we have gone no more than a couple days without ALL having our daily glass.
2. Eating based on nutrition, not only convenience.
Back during the “Season of Perpetual Illness” (my fond nickname for those toddler years) we lived busy lives. Still do! I was a tired momma, and my husband (who typically works 65-70 hours a week) is the better cook of the two of us. So, for those beginning years of my mommy-hood, feeding my kids was mostly focused on making sure they did not go hungry. I am not an experimenter when it comes to cooking. I find things my family likes and stick to them. So for me, adjusting our diet meant finding the right products and/or ingredients that we all loved. For example, Aidells Apple Chicken Sausage is a staple around here and for an easy side I will steam some fresh broccoli (or another loved veggie – yes, my kids are weird…they love broccoli!). As you can see, convenience is actually still in the mix. Probably what made the biggest impact in this area was merely learning to be a label detective. I am a believer in being healthy from the inside out, so what better place to start than with what we eat?
3. Promote healthy activity, and be excited about it, too!
Did you know that consistent exercise boosts your immune system? By making your body healthy and strong you improve the way that it functions, and in turn help improve its ability to fight off the germs you encounter. If your own well-being isn’t enough motivation to get yourself movin’, do it for the kids. It’s extremely healthy for your little ones to witness a positive attitude from you about being active. They are so impressionable! If they see you enjoying exercise it is so much more likely that they will follow in those footsteps and live healthier lives. So, find something that you love and show your family that you enjoy it!
My intent with this post is not only to encourage those of you out there who may be discouraged by frequent illnesses in your family but also to give some suggestions for how to fight back against them. These things have worked for me and I hope they do for you too!
Remember: We are sharing what has worked for our families. Always check with your health care professional before using new products, especially if you are pregnant, nursing or trying to get pregnant.
What ways have you found to prevent illness in yourself and/or your family members?