A Happy Immune System, Naturally
“Your Kids Never Get Sick.”
This is a comment I receive often! Here are the facts:
My nearly 3-year-old has never been given antibiotics.
He has never been given Tylenol or any pharmaceutical.
He has never had a diaper rash.
He has never been constipated.
He has been to the hospital once after a fall down the stairs.
My 12-year-old has had antibiotics once in his life.
We don’t own a single pharmaceutical.
Let’s be clear – my kids do get sick. More accurately though, it is indeed quite rare comparatively. (About) twice a year and usually with a change of season, our family experiences a typical run-of-the-mill cold. At least once per year by similar accounts we get knocked down by the flu. No big deal.
I believe it is IMPORTANT and in fact HEALTHY to get sick:
For babies (4+ months), a cold or flu is a clear indication that they are being appropriately exposed to the germy terrain of their brand new environment. A natural inoculation. This concept definitely felt necessary to us instead of sanitizing their world which seemed counter-intuitive… despite our modern obsession with disinfecting…. everything.
The immune system is like a muscle – it needs to be worked in order to get stronger.
Although it was hard at times I let my kids lick toys, eat dirt, kiss their snotty friends, and just generally explore their world in a natural, baby-like, sometimes gross way.
For school-aged children I maintain the same principle about the importance of natural exposure to germs, though there seems to be less licking of one another and instead more coughing + sneezing in close quarters, plus shamelessly terrible hand-washing skills. (Trust me).
But let’s face it – being sick often or always (even something as simple as a constantly runny nose) is a definite indication that your immune system needs some Love.
Since I’m asked on the regular how we support ourselves in “cold and flu season” I wanted to share my Foundations for The Happiest Immune System on the Block.
Please keep in mind these recommendations do not replace the guidance and necessity of your primary health care-giver. I am not a medical professional. Simply a Mama with a keen desire to be the first line of defence for my children.
Let Them Love Germs
Let them lick door knobs. OK – I’ve gone too far – I don’t really do that. But in seriousness, the only time I draw the line is while using shopping carts (since sometimes even big boys and girls don’t wash their hands after going potty), in airports, or when someone is violently ill – because I just don’t want that for my kids. Other than that, I let them love germs.
Nurture the Gut
The gut (or gastro-intestinal tract) is where we digest our entire world. It is the second most concentrated area for nerve endings in the body and is considered a sophisticated messaging system, directly reporting to none other than the brain;
It is our very first line of defence fully equipped with protective + beneficial bacteria to slaughter invaders, problematic pathogens, unwanted bacteria, and unfriendly animals (parasites). To name a few.
We might consider the GI a tiny factory, imperative to important digestive processes such as the sorting + filtering of food, breaking down of nutrients, manufacturing vitamins, and eliminating toxins. It has been suggested that 80% of the immune system is located within the gut with the role of beneficial vs harmful bacteria becoming one of the most widely researched fields in medicine.
It deserves the upmost respect.
To promote a healthy gut, we incorporate professional quality probiotics + traditionally fermented foods on a daily basis. We also have very clean eating habits;
Additionally I believe in extended (1Y+) breastfeeding, for Mamas who can, to ensure our babies get the antibodies + microbiome that dreams are made of! Our microbiome is a population of 100 trillion bugs that live on our skin surfaces, in the mouth, intestines, and uro-genital areas;
She is the Hostess with the Mostess generously providing the above mentioned health-care benefits, for free.
Our Primary Healthcare Providers
Chiropractic Doctor + Midwives + Holistic Nutritionist + Master Herbalist
Let me first say that should I get hit by a car, I will not be calling my Herbalist.
Nor do I wish to reduce the value of the life-saving technologies, medical professionals, surgeons and specialists whom we as a nation, have privileged access to.
For our family though, preventative practices rooted in traditional + ancient medicine models more intuitive than science could ever define, have always been a foremost priority and have shown us health + healing beyond our wildest imagination.
Thank you for your open, inquiring mind!