I’m on a bit of a health kick lately, in case you haven’t noticed. Let’s just call it “Hols’ Healthy Habits”. Check out my SMART resolutions, organization my fridge for weight loss (and food safety), DIY Juice Cleanse success that have been posted so far in my series. Join our Instagram feed where I post whatever yummy healthy thing I’m eating now too.
As a parent, last year, I watched every illness under the sun make it to my house. Every single illness that made it through our front door took down each one of my family members (well, except Milton the dog). I struggled to keep a clean house, eat healthy, get exercise, and of course, work a full-time job. I ended up in the hospital room myself being so ill and pregnant. I struggled with this a lot, because I didn’t really think we were doing anything terribly wrong.
I started to research natural immunity boosters, and how to prevent getting sick. Here are a few of the routines & products we have been using that have been working for our family. I hope it helps you too in your quest to keep your family healthy & stay sickness-free this winter.
How To Prevent Getting Sick This Winter
Vitamins & Fish Oils
A multivitamin has long been recommended to help health and fill in the gaps in our typical North American diet (which sometimes can be lacking).
I started looking for a multivitamin for my 2 year old to take. I wasn’t impressed with many of the drug store offerings as they contained a lot of sugar or were hard pills and recommended over the age of 3 to start Ways to Reduce Stress and Panic in The Moment. Then I stumbled on to Nordic Berries by Nordic Naturals. They are a delicious sweet citrus chewable vitamin that looks a lot like a jujube. They provide all essential nutrients and contain no artificial colours or flavours. Mr J is a huge raving fan – he often reminds me to give him his “owie yummies” if I forgot. The dosage is 4/day, so I usually give them to him at mealtimes.
The Fish Oils: Omega 3’s (EPA, DHA)
The two main omega-3s eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) promote a healthy immune response that is behind the relief of many chronic conditions but that are too often inhibited by poor nutrition. It’s recommended to get at least 500-1g EPA+DHA daily for proactive support of your immune system in adults. To read all the other great benefits of these acids, check out the complete list!
We have been giving the Children’s DHA to Mr J. He likes to eat them too – the strawberry flavour is quite mild, and they are not fishy at all. The only problem we ran into was he likes to swish them around in his mouth and often spits them out because of it, and the lid is not child-proof! I recommend a tall cabinet for these.
I am just finishing up my Prenatal DHA capsules. They are really easy to swallow and digest. I have tried taking fish oil before orally and I just couldn’t fathom the fishy taste and smell although I love fish. Having them in an easy gel capsule makes it so much easier. Best of all, they aren’t huge horse pill vitamins like other prenatals can be.
Vitamin D is often called the sunshine vitamin, and in winter it’s incredibly important to get enough. Vitamin D also supports the immune system, and the hormones that regulate mood and sleep. Although we can get it from the sun, with the -30C degree days we’ve been experiencing lately and the short daylight hours in winter, it’s hard to get enough.
Enter a delightful chewable wild-berry flavoured Vitamin D3 Gummies. Just one of these is 1000 UI – which is the optimal daily dosage for adults. My husband and I both really enjoyed these, and took them daily for about a month when we ran out! We have another bottle currently on order. It was nice not to swallow yet another pill to support our bodies.
In case you aren’t familiar with Nordic Naturals. Their products are highly recommend because of the purity and freshness they have. (Truly this is the case, I asked my naturopath about top brands and this is one she recommends). In addition, every single product we have tried of theirs tasted great. You sure can’t say that about many other vitamins! All of their fish is 100% wild caught and they use sustainable fishing techniques. To read about this in more depth, check out more compelling reasons to chose Nordic Naturals.
Elderberries have burst on to the scene lately. Recent studies have demonstrated that elderberry helps relieve constipation, sore throats and has antiviral properties (Zakay-Rones et al, 1995; Zakay-Rones et al, 2004).This makes elderberry a great ally when you have a cold or the flu.
Talk about the natural flu shot, there it is. You can take it preventatively or in larger quantities once sick. We started taking Suro Organic Syrup this winter as an additional step to keep us healthy. I really enjoyed emailing back and forth with the Mercier’s who produce Suro on their farm in Quebec. Jacinthe and and Sylvain are both nature lovers, and highly educated about herbal care. They have hands-on knowledge about their products, and I think that knowledge and care really shows within their elderberry syrup.
You can purchase two different kinds – a kid’s version (alcohol free) or the regular version of the syrup. It has a strong berry taste, and we typically take ours mixed in fruit juice (grape is the favourite). It keeps in the fridge up to 4 years (even after opened). I love that is all natural Canadian ingredients, as well as the fact that is Eco-Cert Canada approved.
We have just begun to research and learn more about probiotics in our family. The product that I am currently giving to my children is Pedi-Biotic from Virage-Sante.
One of the concerns for a lot of babies born via C-Section is that they don’t have proper gut flora. We are trying to help strengthen that flora as well as help prevent colds and flu. Before any vaccines, I am also giving this to my youngest to help strengthen her immunity against the viruses. I mix a small amount as directed in milk. It can also help with colic, diarrhea, allergies, and eczema.
Eat Well, Be Stress-Free & Move!
I’m sure you have heard all of these before, and I understand how tough it can be to make time for everything! Here’s a couple of my tips of things that work at my house that may help you at yours:
- Check out the Canada food guide for recommendations on portion size & what you need daily
- In a rush? Check out prepared meals in your supermarket. We love sushi, the roast chickens and salad in a bag. They are easy, quick, healthy meals.
- If you don’t plan, you’re planning to fail. Make meal planning a priority in your week. Not only will you save money, you’ll also be less stressed.
- Use the Crockpot. I love nothing more than coming home to a meal that’s already done!
Be Stress Free:
- Write about it. Start a blog, journal and write about what you’re grateful for, or your current concern.
- Make a List. One of my best work tips is I give myself 10 minutes at the end of the day to summarize where to start the next day. This allows me to just come in and execute and not stew about things overnight.
- Get your OMMM on. Take a yoga class to center you, do one thing you love once a day or learn about meditation.
- Exercise. It’s the best anti-depressant and will help you stress less!
- Families are actually less likely to engage in spontaneous recreation, and especially not as a unit. Pick an activity you can do together each day – the possibilities are endless from dance parties to family karate.
- Find 30 minutes in your day to work out a good sweat. It’s 3% of your day – no excuses.
- Grab that leash. My best exercise partner is my dog. He’s literally always jumping with joy when I grab it, and his enthusiasm is contagious!
We’re still healthy! We’ve battled a few small runny noses but that is all (knock on wood). What are you doing to keep your family healthy this winter season?
**I was provided the featured product free of charge to facilitate my review, but all opinions are 100% mine.
a passionate recreation coordinator by day, crazy farm mama of two by night. i live outdoors: growing my own food, camping and hiking with my border collie with two active kids in tow. when I’m not writing, I’m experimenting with recipes, and crafts – or anything else that might keep the monkeys entertained.