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This winter, I've felt pretty blessed that we haven't gotten sick much to speak of. I'm so grateful! Really, who likes to be less than well, ever?! I know that sickness oftentimes is the norm during the winter specifically, though. Traveling from one family member to the next, to the next- ah, stop the madness!
My Mom is super knowledgeable about lots of different health related topics and she's helped me be more aware of some simple things that help keep us all healthy! Thanks to #CollectiveBias, I've had the chance to try out the new Insync Gradual Release Natural Probiotic supplement from Walgreens, which fits right in with some of those tips I've learned from her. Today I'm sharing more with you, hoping some part of this information will be helpful to someone!
We've heard the word, but really, what IS a probitoic? I researched a bit and found that it's an organism, such as bacteria or yeast, introduced into the body for it's beneficial qualities. Not too scientific, I guess, eh? :) And why do those organisms matter at all:
- 80% of our immune system is located in the digestive system
- As we develop in the womb, our gut originates from the same type of tissue as our brains, making the digestive system a whole lot like a second brain!
- Probiotic organisms are essential for good digestion of food and absorption of nutrients
- They also help the body produce vitamins and get rid of toxins
- constipation or diarrhea
- gas and bloating
- sugar cravings and cravings for refined carbs foods
I got Perrigo's new Insync #NaturalProbiotic at Walgreens, in the area near the pharmacy counter. The supplement is actually B. Infantis, one of the good bacteria our bodies need for digestive system balance! :) Connect with Insync and learn more on facebook or twitter.
2. Essential Oils
These have sure become popular lately, eh?! With good reason- they work! I use doterra's On Guard oil, but know that other essential oil companies offer immunity blends very similar that are surely great too. Here's a few ways I use it specifically...
- rub on the bottoms of feet before bed
- on the glands at each side of the neck (below the ears) when you feel like you might be getting something, or someone in your household is sick and you don't want to get it!
- best to be ingested in a capsule or juice once you're already not feeling good
- use a diffuser to keep this stuff in the air!
One of my very favorite essential oil remedies is for ear infections... put a drop of doterra Purify and a drop of Melalueca side by side on a cotton ball. Set the cotton ball inside your ear lightly and use a bandaid or tape to keep it sitting there. Cooper went to bed with an earache and this remedy, then woke up the next day happy to go to school- I was sold!
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has been touted as almost magical, it seems. It can aid in just about everything, in just about any way you can think of to try! I personally haven't used apple cider vinegar as prevelantly as some of the other things included in this post, just because it is sure a strong taste! I've swished it with water and honey and had to pretty much gag the stuff down in all honesty! But I do believe that it is awesome stuff, only my method has been flawed- ha! It makes sense, given that it is made through the process of fermentation and that is what is so helpful in the gut like I mentioned. I am looking forward to trying some of the options in THIS post that shares several recipes for drinking it! NOTE: You do need to use raw, unfiltered vinegar that contains The Mother for apple cider vinegar to be effective in aiding your overall health. Bragg, the brand I have pictured above, is widely considered the best :)
Black elderberries have been shown to prevent flu and speed recovery in those who already have it. I give my boys gummy elderberry from Nature's Sunshine now, but I love the idea of making them at home myself.
THIS post includes great recipes for homemade elderberry syrup and gummies for kids that I'm excited to try! This is just another piece of armor in the battle to prevent picking up germs and sickness from everywhere :)
I see this in stores a lot lately and there are lots more flavors than there used to be! A box contains the thin packets that you rip open and add to four ounces of water. The mixture bubbles up and then you drink- it really is super good and has all kinds of good vitamins and minerals that help aid immunity. My sister started calling it "pop juice" and we took to it too! So now that's all the boys know it as... little do they know I'm keeping them well, not just giving them fun fizzy juice with breakfast :)
6. Homemade Broth
Our ancestors used every part of an animal. I loved THIS post from the moment I first read it- made such sense to me! Great info there on why homemade broth is better, cheaper and awesome for you :) I made my own broth awhile back and it really was delicious, plus I loved knowing it was SO good for my boys.
7. Hand Washing and Anti-Bacterial Gel
This one's a no-brainer, I know. We all know washing our hands often and at the right times is important. My boys don't always do so well at this- it's a constant struggle! Guess they're just kids, boys at that, in a hurry to move on to the next thing that isn't the bathroom. :) I remember a pediatrician telling me when the boys were younger that studies had shown that anti-bacterial gel is actually better at killing germs than hand washing. She said that what she does is washes with soap before an exam and uses the gel after- I liked that line of thinking :) I read recently too that when hand washing it's smart to finish with a cold water rinse- closes the pores back up to keep germs at bay a little longer!
8. 100% Juice and Vegetable Intake
Since we're talking about health being in the gut, I looked up specifically which foods are the best and worst for digestive health. The worst (you can probably guess!):
- chili peppers
- berries with small seeds
I've also made sure to buy 100% grape juice frequently and give it to the boys often during the winter specifically. It really does seem to help keep them healthier better than when I didn't use to worry about this tip at all :) Plus, of course, they love it :)
9. Get out of the house... but be wary of where
I love days at home, wearing soft pants and a braid, knowing I don't have to go anywhere other than to pick Cooper up from school and back. But... truth be told, the next day I'm generally ready to go out and about a bit again. When I get dressed up to be in town and have more of a schedule to be kept, my blood gets pumping and helps me feel better for sure. Still... if I can avoid going somewhere that I know lots of people will be in a small space, I do! I try not to touch railings or use public drinking fountains- just common sense things that at least help you not be in the line of fire for germs!
10. REM Sleep
What? What are we talking about again? Sleep? What's that? Ha ha... most Mom's feel that way all too often I think. I know that lots of times, even when there is no good reason for me not to be sound asleep, I just can't seem to stop thinking well enough to do it- my body is dead and my mind is alive! I can sure tell in the morning if I've gotten any REM sleep the night before- my whole day goes better by far! REM sleep is when our brains:
- process information from the day
- form neural connections that strengthen memory
- replenish their supply of neurotransmitters, including feel-good chemicals that boost mood during the day
To get more mind and mood-boosting REM sleep, it's a good idea to sleep an extra 30 minutes to an hour in the morning, when REM sleep stages are longer. Wish that could happen more often for sure! :)11. Positive Affirmations
Maybe this is gonna sound weird, but I do believe in the power of positive thinking. When I send my boys to school, I try to expect that they'll be immune to the inevitable germs of a group setting of kids. I'll even say out loud, "they aren't going to catch anything," or "they will remain healthy." And if they do get colds, as I'm cuddling them, having to breath the same air basically, I'll think to myself, "I'm not going to get this. I will stay healthy." I know, I know, it sounds a bit "out there." But I know it works- I've seen in our life how as we've assumed that things will go right and do the best we can, they do. It's actually not just my own random weirdness... it's called the Law of Attraction. Read more about it HERE, in a post Oprah shared of real life stories :)
12. Giving In and Selflessness
Just the other day, I was kinda lamenting my former self. I was feeling like I sure used to do more creative things with the boys and play better with them and all of that... and for some reason, I kinda stopped and realized... that I was thinking back to the summer. I was remembering that I am a better Mom when it's warm outside, when we have the option of playing outside! I realized I just kinda have to give in to the fact that summer is a better time for me. Winter requires more selflessness somehow- I have to talk myself into being as energetic as I am easily when it's warmer. Awhile ago I shared this printable:
and I firmly believe this... I think this might just be engrained in Mom's around the world. When we put ourselves second, in moderation at least, goodness can only come as a result :)
So, there you have it! Longest post ever :) But I know all of these tips and tools can be really helpful in keeping ourselves and our families healthy- hopefully you'll find them helpful too!