At the end of June few people are thinking about colds, flus or infection, but now is a great time to be thinking about what you’re going to implement this year to keep your family healthy throughout the winter months. 8 weeks of summer fly by. We all know this to be true. And every year, we hear the struggles of parents dealing with repeat illnesses in themselves and their kids. No one likes walk-in clinics (or worse ER), days of missed work and school, and unexpected medication. In our family, our kids rarely get sick, and when they do it is almost always short and sweet. But these past 14 months, we’ve had virtually NO ILLNESS (3 kids who do not live in a bubble and 2 busy parents who deal with the public everyday). I’d say we have some not-so-secrets to share!

It’s all about disciplines and daily routines. Our family is not perfect but treats are the exception, not the rule. Here’s a few things we do regularly that contribute to our strong immune systems and overall health that are totally manageable for a busy family and affordable for those who value their health:

1. We get checked and adjusted weekly, minimum, maybe more if there are stressors happening. Chiropractic is important to anyone with a spine. Period. If you aren’t getting adjusted, then you either don’t understand how your nervous system works (the organ system that runs the entire show), or don’t place any value on health. For this reason we have family plans in place to make weekly and biweekly care affordable.

2. We take probiotics, vitamin D and Omega 3 everyday. All of us. If you teach your kids that these are important to a growing, healthy body, they’ll get on board. There are others we take at various points depending on season and health status: vitamin C, zinc, selenium, maca, milk thistle etc.

3. We avoid bad food (most of the time, remember: not perfect.) Dyes are terrible. Gluten is good for no one. Preservatives suck. Organic is best if available. If we know there’s an opportunity for a treat (like a birthday party) then we keep things clean and let our kids make a choice: you can have one treat while we are here but then it’s all growing foods. They get it. Bonus: studies show that the ability to display delayed gratification in children is a characteristic of success later in life.

4. Sleep. Maybe mom and dad aren’t great at following this advice, but our kids get good sleep. We have a routine that allows for predictability and cooperation, and when we deviate on this for special events, it sure does show. Sleep matters, especially to growing brains and bodies.

5. Exercise. Preferably in the fresh air. Everyday.

6. Minimize stress, in all forms. Some of the above points are about minimizing chemical and physical stressors, but emotional stress, especially in children, is important to acknowledge and mitigate too. Crying it out = stressful. Separation anxiety, fears about strangers, guilt about behaviour, time outs and negative talk can create emotional stress for children. Attachment style parenting and treating children like people with thoughts and feelings is one way to cultivate empathy and model conscious emotional control. Kind of important stuff if you ask me. One of the few illnesses we did have this year was in our robustly healthy oldest daughter who started grade primary. She was under A LOT of emotional stress in the first few weeks and it showed. Emotional outbursts, fatigue and eventually a bad cold. I’m happy to report she has since come to LOVE her class, school and her immune system has remained unwaveringly strong!

There were a few things that were on my health goals for 2015 that we did implement for our family and I’d say the aggregation of all of the above, along with these 3 things, are what contributed to strong health and lots of happiness in our busy family of 5!

1. Identify any Food Intolerances and Avoid. We had food intolerance testing done on each family member. We chose Carroll Method of testing done through our Naturopathic doctor. While there is some criticism of this type of testing, it has proven to yield valuable results for many practice members we have talked with over the years. In our own family, we determined 2 potatoes, 2 dairy and 1 egg intolerance (and sugar across the board). When we are eating to avoid these identified intolerances there does seem to be a noticeable difference. We don’t have any chronic ongoing concerns prompting us to have further IgG testing done but that would be a logical next step through a Naturopathic doctor. Carroll testing + doctor appointment costs about $200-250/person.

2. Elderberry Syrup. This syrup made from the elderflower is high in antioxidants and is recommended to take to help fight colds, relieve sore throats, cough and fever. Our family took it daily as a supplement and our baby will start taking it also when she turns 2. It has a bit of a tartness to it, but of all the brands we tried our kids liked Suro the best. Bonus: it’s organic, made in Canada, and costs about $20/bottle which last 3-4 weeks.

3. Essential Oils. We started using some of the basic essential oils for illness a few years ago, eucalyptus, peppermint and oregano. After gathering info I started using the immune supporting blends on the kids daily, and purchased a diffuser to use in the house. I make a rub using coconut oil and add a few drops of On Guard from doTERRA (1:4 ratio of oil to coconut for the kids). I rub it down their spine before they leave the house and before bed. I also use it in the diffuser in the bedroom every night. If I heard of a tummy bug going around I’d switch it up to DigestZen and if someone was a bit congested then we’d use Breathe. I like that essential oils travel well so we always have options with us even when we are away from our normal health routines. All of the above are blends by doTERRA. While we have used various oils from Young Living, Plant Therapy and a few other brands, we like doTERRA and order from them primarily now. A good diffuser costs about $80-100 and essential oils vary in price depending on type of oil. Watch the Village Wellness newsletter for availability of some of our favorite oils for health and wellness at the practice, or get in touch with Dr. Megan.

https://www.mydoterra.com/drmegan/#/.  Essential Oils are a valuable addition to our wellness lifestyle worthy of a few of their own blogs on how we use them for benefits!

Overall we already had a pretty healthy crew, but these additional efforts which have minimal costs and take minimal time once you are comfortable with them and in a routine, have proven valuable and effective. Sickness may still happen, but having a natural medicine cabinet, being educated on how to use it, and staying connected to knowledgeable natural health care practitioners, helps our family stay on the path of health and wellness we feel is best for our family! We’d love if you would allow us to be a part of your family’s regular healthcare team! Contact us at 902-835-5033 to join our practice!