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keeping my family healthy

When November rolls around and warm days give way to colder temperatures, I start holding my breath. Some of you may remember several years ago we had the worst winter ever!  We were living at a high altitude.  Harper got pneumonia and ended up in ICU.  Kael got the same viral stuff and landed in the room right next to her in the hospital.  Hasya, Hailee and Haven all got the exact same thing but thankfully remained at home on oxygen. For two weeks, Anthony and I gave meds, sanitized, cleaned, gave more meds, checked fevers, applied cold compresses, fought against four canula lines constantly getting tangled, and forgot to sleep.  It was ridiculous!

Since that time we moved to a lower altitude for the sake of our children who struggle more during the cold, Colorado months.  A hard move, but so absolutely worth it. And I went on a mission to explore different options to try and keep our little ones healthier during the winter.  Around that time, we made more changes to the way we eat, put our three children who have Down syndrome on a strict gluten-free diet, radically reduced dairy intake, and started looking into supplements to fill the nutrition gaps (because no matter how healthy you eat, there are always gaps). It was also at that time that I went back to school to become a certified health coach and also started studying the amazing world of essential oils, herbs, and alternative ways to keep my tribe healthy.

We’re several years down the road now.  The last three winters have been so different for my family.  Yes, we deal with some snotty noses here and there, and the common cold sometimes gets one or many of us. But for the most part, my kids have done so much better.  And for that, we are so thankful.

Keeping my family healthy during the winter takes some time and effort. Ensuring that they are eating well-balanced, home-cooked meals and that their lunch boxes are filled with nutritious meals and snacks take a whole lot of planning.  I prepare eight school lunches every morning.  Some gluten free.  Some regular diets.  It definitely takes planning and thinking ahead. Most of the time I have it all together.  And then there are the days when I’m scrambling at 5:30 a.m. to find something nutritious to send to school.  Joy!

A lot of people ask me exactly what supplements we use to keep our children as healthy as possible.  So I thought I would share here some of the things that work for us.  Every winter I discover something new and we’re always trying different things. Hopefully it can help some other moms.

Firstly, essential oils.  If you have never tried or learned about the incredible health benefits of oils, you’re missing out.  For years I was a skeptic.  To me, they smelled good and that was about it.  It wasn’t until I read a book called Healing Oils of the Bible that I realized that there really was so much more to the nice smelling oils than I dreamed possible.  It put me on a journey to reading as many books and websites as possible about the wonderful oils that date back to the Bible.  Used for thousands of years, essential oils are incredible!

I have used many, many different oils and different brands over the years.  There are tons!  These are just a few of my absolute favorites–ones we are never without during the long winter months.  If you are just starting out using oils, make sure that you only use therapeutic grade essential oils and that you know when to dilute.  Some are very potent–especially on children. Some of my favorite companies are doTerra, Young Living, Spark Naturals and Rocky Mountain Oils.

First up is On Guard. I have only been using doTerra essential oils for a few months.  I love them. Exceptional quality oils. On Guard is an oil we use every single day on our little ones to keep their immune systems healthy. We diffuse it into the air when they sleep and rub it under their feet.  If a child has a cold, we use it often throughout the day.  Here are some the benefits:

~~  Supports a healthy immune function.

~~  Is a “protective blend” which may help kill off harmful bacteria and viruses.

~~  Supports healthy cardiovascular function.

~~  Protects against environmental and seasonal threats.

~~  Is an excellent natural, non-toxic cleaner.

~~  Has cleansing properties.  Can be used to clean the air by diffusing.

Young Living has a similar product called Thieves that we have used for a long time.

Lavender essential oil is one of my most favorite oils.  It has so many wonderful uses. It’s one of the most versatile oils around.

~~  Can help with stress, anxiety, poor concentration, some skin irritations, bee stings, sleep problems, nausea, dandruff, cold sores, allergies, pains and sprains, wounds, high-blood pressure, headaches, etc.

~~  Diffuse at night for a peaceful night’s sleep.  Or put a few drops on your pillow.

Young Living’s RC oil has been a must have for us through winter.

~~  RC may provide relief from colds, bronchitis, sore throats, sinusitis, coughs and respiratory congestion. It can also decongest sinus passages and combats lung infections.

~~  May also relieve allergy symptoms.

~~  When my kids have colds, I dilute RC with coconut oil and rub it on their chests.

Peppermint oil is another extremely versatile oil that has been around for thousands of years. This little bottle of oil can help a myriad of problems and we always have a bottle on hand.

~~ May relieve sore muscles, is known for its anti-nausea properties, clears the respiratory tract, freshens breath, soothes tight muscles, etc.

~~  We use peppermint in a diffuser at night when the kids have stuffy noses.  It’s soothing and helps them to breathe.

And when those colds abound, we use Breathe essential oil a LOT.

~~  Rub on chests (diluted with coconut oil) to open the airways and relief the “stuffiness.”

~~  Diffuse at night for a better night’s sleep. I LOVE this oil.

Raven is a similar oil that we have used a whole lot of.  Diffuse or apply topically.

Oregano oil is one that everyone must have in their medicine chest.  If there was one oil that I would not do without, it’s probably this one.  It’s been said that Oregano has benefits superior to antibiotics.  Oregano is known for its super powerful anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.  We use it every day on our kids feet and when colds hit, we increase the amount.

Those are just a few of my favorites.  There are many other oils that we use regularly depending on the needs that we have.  I diffuse oils every day, clean with them, disinfect with them, and am always learning about new oils to try.  If there is any way to avoid pharmaceuticals that come with side effects, we will.

In addition to using essential oils, we supplement with vitamins and the best nutrition available. We eat lots of fruit (especially citrus in winter) and vegetables, and I am always trying to find creative ways to get raw veggies into my kids’ diets. Hailee has come a very long way in being willing to eat raw.  A few years ago she would not touch anything green, raw or crunchy.  How far my Hailee girl has come!

IDLife kid’s shake is packed with nutrition, protein and omega fatty acids to fill the gaps. It’s gluten free. Soy free. Non GMO. Hormone free.

We also give our children an excellent quality multi-vitamin every day. We feed them bars that are packed with whole, raw food and an amazing amount of nutrition.  And we keep them hydrated with Hydrate which contains no sugar, no additives, no high fructose corn syrup. It contains vital electrolytes, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins for healthy bodies and is sweetened with stevia. Regular juice is filled with sugar and is awful to give to children (and adults!).  There are healthier options around.  You just have to look for them.

In addition, we supplement with Vitamin D3 drops (which I either add to their drinks or put straight onto their tongues). Most Americans are deficient in Vitamin D and should be supplementing. We use Pure Encapsulations which you can buy on Amazon.

And Vitamin C is a MUST throughout flu season.  A few years ago my friend, Pam, introduced me to Lypo-spheric Vitamin C.  We have never looked back!  This amazing vitamin reduces inflammatory conditions associated with colds, fevers, allergies and the flu, boosts the immune system, improves the healing process (cuts, wounds, sprains, etc.), has powerful anti-oxidant properties, and a whole lot of other incredible benefits.  “Liposomal vitamin C is packaged like a bodily cell so it passes through the digestive barrier and delivers the nutrient directly to the bloodstream. This has a much higher absorption rate with over 90% of the cells being bathed in vitamin C.” ~~  The Healing Power of Vit C.

We add Silver Biotics (colloidal silver) to their drinks once a day.  Another awesome immune system booster. Colloidal silver is antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, controls sinus infections, and can help to prevent all strains of the flu, bronchitis and pneumonia.  If you’re new to colloidal silver, you can read more about this amazing, colorless, odorless liquid here.

When colds hit, Elderberry syrup is wonderful at reducing the length of the cold/flu.  It’s pretty expensive in the store, but easy to make.  There is a recipe in this article.

All photos courtesy of Google.

And lastly, zinc and probiotics.  Zinc is an amazing immune system booster. And probiotics are essential in keeping the gut healthy. Our kids’ multi-vitamin contains zinc so we don’t add extra. We do supplement probiotics. Read the labels on your children’s supplement and make sure that they are getting enough of both.

When the cold weather hits, we start using cool mist humidifiers 24/7.  The flu virus loves cold, dry temperatures and so adding humidity into the air really helps.  My kids sleep with them running all night. Humidifiers plus diffusers help to keep the air clean. One day I would love to get a whole house humidifier.  They’re amazing!

I hope that helps some of you who just don’t know which way to turn in the world of supplements and are trying to boost your children’s immune systems. It can become overwhelming!  These are a few of the tried and tested things that we use.  They have made such a difference in my children’s health.

Finding what works for your family takes time and effort, but it is definitely worth it!

**  These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  Consult with your primary care physical before using supplements.