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For several years our family had a very specific way of
dealing with winter colds: We hoped that we wouldn't get sick.
It didn't work.
Year after year, one of us got a horrendous cold then
magnanimously shared it with the rest of the household. By March, my husband
and I would have cashed in our sick days, either for ourselves or to care for
our kids on missed school days.
Last year I decided to try some natural remedies in a preemptive
strike against winter illness. It worked. We had some sniffles and sneezes here
and there, but not the knock-out that used to fell our family for a week at a
So this year I'm starting even earlier with my expanded natural
health plan to keep my kids well. Here it is. Give it a try for a healthier
For a delicious flu-fighting drink, power up your blender
with some grated ginger, the juice of one lemon, honey to taste and two cups of
ice water. Blend into an icy concoction (you can also use warm water or heat in
the microwave.) Pour out a small glass for everyone in the family.
Ginger is not only great for digestion, but also high in
gingerol, which happens to be a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. And
lemon is full of Vitamin C that helps strengthen the immune system and eliminate
waste from the body.
As a bonus, ginger and lemon are a detox duo = great
for controlling weight.
2. Echinacea and O.J.
Echinacea is my go-to herb when any of us get sick, but now
I use it proactively. If you or your child senses even a twinge of a cold is
coming on, try a dropper full in your morning orange juice then use it throughout the
day. The regular liquid form can be bitter for kids, so pick up Children's
Echinacea that has a little sweetness to it.
Echinacea can activate chemicals in the body that decrease
inflammation and reduce cold symptoms.
3. Afternoon Tea
Find a few quiet moments when you're home with your children
and make everyone a cup of herbal tea. Serve it with a healthy snack. Slowing
down during a busy day is always good for the immune system, especially for
over-scheduled kids. If you ban phones at teatime, your kids (and you) will also
learn the value of taking a break from technology, too.
4. Soup-er Sunday
We started doing this a few years ago, and the tradition has
stuck. In the winter months, we make a huge pot of soup on Sunday then have
enough for leftovers. Soup is the absolute easiest way to pack vegetables (as
well as superfoods like garlic and greens) into a family meal. And if your kid
really hates the kale, then she can have hers without it. (She doesn't have to
know the broth is still full of vitamins and healthy goodness.)
5. Individual Toothpaste for All!
This is the time of year that everyone gets their own
toothpaste tube with their initials written in Sharpie pen. Keep from spreading
6. Sweat it out
With the end of the fall sports seasons, your children may
suddenly get more sedentary. But moving, sweating and playing outside is key to
good health. Even when you just want to cozy up after a day of work and making dinner,
it's a big health benefit to get up and move.
It's so true. Laughter is great medicine and similar to
exercise in how it affects our body. When we laugh we stretch our facial
muscles and breathe faster, sending even more oxygen to our tissues. So if
you've been taking life a bit too seriously, find a funny movie to watch as a
family and appreciate the win-win: entertainment that improves your health.