Saturday, October 9, 2010

L'chaim-to your health

With our first runny nose/cold upon us I thought I'd put a post up about what we do to stay healthy.  First off, note that it is the child who sucks her thumb that has the cold.  I have found that my kids who suck/ed their thumb get more colds than my other kids.  Even with this, I feel that my family has less colds/illnesses than average.

What do we do?  I believe that less processed and more whole grain is better.  We do not use anti-bacterial soaps.  We do (well, really the kids do) drink whole milk.  We shop first at the farmers' market for meat, fruits and vegetables and have our milk delivered from a local organic dairy.  We believe that food that has touched less hands and miles will be fresher and have less problems.  Our meat is grass fed and so are our milk and eggs.  This means that the vitamin D that is from the sun is in our milk, butter, meat and eggs.  With the vitamin D in food we eat, we get vitamin D.  Yes, all of this food costs more.

We eliminated processed cereal.  Even whole grain that has been extruded into the cute shapes.  My kids miss this, but haven't gone hungry.  We initially switched to bagels and granola cereal and then to warm rice cereal that can be cooked in 6 minutes.  My original thinking was that less processed was healthier.  It has turned out to be cheaper too.

We also supplement with cod liver oil and elderberry.  In the past, I put one teaspoon of Nordic Naturals cod liver oil in juice and had my kids drink that.  It was the only way they received juice.  I was not very consistent with this, but tried.  The elderberry came in liquid format of Sambucol.  My girls all took a teaspoon of that very easily.  Because it is elderberry and it has the word "berry" in it, my anti-fruit/vegetable son refused.

What we do now is have the kids vitamins on the table.  I buy the chewy cod liver oil vitamins at Costco (32mg DHA/4mg EPA), of which my picky son will eat (only yellow ones though).  I also have Nordic Naturals in capsule format (375mg DHA/246mg EPA).  This brand was recommend to me by an anthrosophophic doctor we were seeing.  When #4 was 6 months old, she was very underweight and behind in motor skill development.  We put cod liver oil in everything she ate.  She now doesn't even notice its flavor in food. It has a high level of nutrients compared to the other brands (as you can see comparing the 2 different ones above) and is pretty pure in how it is made.  We've also switched to capsule format in our elderberry and chewables.  Gaia is the brand of capsules with 800mg of sambucus and Solaray for the chewables with 400mg of sambucus.  Elderberry/sambucus can be taken 2 a day and then up to four times a day if a cold is coming or sets in.

I now leave the vitamins on the table and the kids all serve themselves.  This takes mommy remembering out of the equation.  I have taken the Nordic Naturals capsules and can taste them after.  Yuck, but don't tell my kids.  I found Metagenics EPA-DHA Extra Strength.  They are enteric coated and smell like vanilla.  They have 400mg of DHA and 600mg of EPA with no nasty after-taste.

This isn't free, but I'd pay a bit for healthy kids.  It keeps us out of the doctor's office and in school.  It keeps me from feeling guilty when I want to take them out of school for fun things.  I will also say that we choose to not have the flu shot in our family.  Other than when I was pregnant with #1, none of us have had the flu (knock on wood or whatever will keep that statement true).

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