Last school year my whole family made it from September until December 23rd with nary a sniffle or sneeze. Then we got knocked on our butts by the flu, tackled one by one. I was proud – not about the flu part – about the whole making it through preschool five days a week WITH a thumb sucker and staying healthy for four months. As a family we bounced back just before Christmas vacation was over and had a healthy spring and summer. When we sent our two girls off to school this year, both thumbsuckers, I said a pleading prayer to the gods of gut health and immune systems. I don’t think I can handle a chorus of sniffles, sneezes and coughs echoing through our house. There won’t be any mental breakdowns where I decide to send them to school in hot pink hazmat suits…which is totally normal, no?
So what’s girl to do? Well, Thankfully I’ve been working in the right place for the last ~5 years, and Katie and Megan have taught me a thing or two about boosting the immune system. Now it’s on me to actually DO it. Here’s the plan:
- We are going to use some of the GAPS diet protocol to help heal our guts and get our immune systems back on track. I just ordered The Heal Your Gut Cookbook and am and am already avoiding laundry and dishes as I delve in and meal plan. This book was super affordable on Amazon, and I have a feeling it will be worth its weight in gold – I mean, there is a recipe called “Roasted pork sausage with red onion and butternut squash.” I probably would have paid $18 for that recipe alone!
- Cod liver oil (or fish oil) and elderberry syrup. I recently read this post as a way to help kiddos take this stinky, nasty, miracle oil. I swear by fish oil, but it is so hard to get the girls to take it. So, toss in some elderberry syrup (great in its own right), and everyone is happy and healthy.
- Probiotics up the wazoo, not literally of course, that wouldn’t be helpful – or would it?! Katie? Megan? Jk, jk, we’ll stick to swallowing them for the time being. We will take probiotics three times a day for the next few weeks or maybe until Christmas, so we can actually celebrate this year.
- Sleep is the answer. It’s no surprise, but resting is a cure-all. Moms, Dads, Sisters, Brothers… should you start to feel run down – that’s your body tapping you for a little extra love. Slow down, cancel plans, head to bed early. Trust us when we say, pushing it will not do the trick.
- Finally, don’t get too sterile. Surely we don’t mean sharing tissue with a sick kiddo, but exposure to healthy bacteria (yes there is such a thing… hi, probiotics) is a way to boost that immune system. Antibacterial soaps, washes and wipes if overused, limit our bodies subtle exposure to bacterias that can actually help us in the long run.
I will leave you with an awesome and easy bone broth recipe adapted from It All Starts With Food. It’s great for nourishing and healing your gut, and ultimately boosting your immune system:
In your crock pot (yes!!) add:
- 4 quarts of water
- 3-4 pounds of bones (meat or poultry)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 3 cloves of gently crushed garlic
- 2-3 carrots, chopped
- 2-3 stalks of celery, chopped
- 2 onions, chopped
- 1 bunch parsley
- 1 bay leaf
Turn your crockpot on high until the broth comes to a boil, then reduce to low for 24 hours. Strain through a mesh strainer and discard the solids. You can enjoy this broth out of a mug, or add to soups and other recipes calling for broth. It will keep in your fridge for about 3 days or last in your freezer for up to a year.