Ok friends, this is the time of year my social media feeds are full of panic and complaints of just wanting their family to be well. Somehow, like Christmas, the cold and flu “season” begins earlier and earlier every year. I won’t get started on that, but here’s what I can say: We began a progressive natural health journey that started with food and nutrition nearly 10 years ago, and has slowly grown into becoming a toxin-free home, from what we eat, to what we clean with, what we put on our skin, supplements, all of it. In my upcoming e-book I have coming out next month, I recount in more detail this journey and how I went from that constant sickness to today (if you want to know when that comes out, be sure to join the list here) where we don’t fear this season at all because we have full confidence in our daily habits and intake this time of year. There’s not enough space here for me to tell you everything we use and do, but I wanted to tell you our top must-haves and some easy ways for you to get started on this journey if you haven’t already. Get your fingers ready my friends, I’ve provided you with all the links so you can add away to amazon as you see fit!
Take all the supplements, use all the oils and herbs in the world, but if you have a poor diet, you’re still doing it wrong. Nutrition is the key to it all. Nutrition is what heals your body from the inside out. This time of year with back-to-back holidays, one of the reasons I believe we see more sickness is because there is an increased intake in sugar, a decrease in sleep, and an increase in stress. That is the perfect host for a low immune system. With all the parties and travel and end-of-year busyness, if we aren’t careful this will wreak havoc on our body systems. I’m not saying you can’t have sweets-we love to bake around here and dark chocolate m&m’s are my weakness, just be mindful. Plan ahead and stay on top of a clean diet as much as possible. If you cheat one night, have a green smoothie first thing the next morning. Keep your home stocked with healthy foods so you aren’t tempted to keep eating junk. When holidays come, go ahead and give yourself a limit of those special things you want to consume you only get this time of year. Your gut is absolutely key and essential to your overall health. It’s where 70% of the immune system lives. It is connected and send signals to your brain. Treat it well and take good care of it. If you want to see some of my favorite healthy recipes and resources, you can check out this blog. There are a couple of things I would definitely add or up your intake (if you’re already consuming these) this time of year.
Bone Broth: You can totally make your own, but in my experience a chicken carcass will sit in the freezer for a year and you will keep putting it off because it takes 2 days to make and…ain’t nobody got time for that. We love this brand. A mug of bone broth delivers powerful nutrients to your body. This isn’t chemical canned chicken noodle soup y’all. This is broth the way your grandma and great grandma made it. This is immune boosting through food. This is gut health in a high form. I actually like to drink a mug of bone broth for breakfast this time of year. Sets my gut off to a good start, it’s filling, and nourishing.
Kombucha: This is fermented tea, and if you know anything about fermented foods and drinks, you know they are naturally rich in probiotics. If you’re a soda drinker, this is a good way to ditch and switch that habit. Again you can totally make your own. We once did this, but I just couldn’t keep up with it or make the flavors taste just right. Holy Kombucha is by far our favorite and I believe best brand. Once you’re done with a bottle, save it. They make the perfect containers for your homemade elderberry syrup. Side note: If you want to get some other fermented foods into your diet, just think sauerkraut, kimchi, any pickled vegetable.
Ningxia Red: This could go in either food or supplements, but I’m putting it here because it’s really food. We drink 2-4 oz of this daily, as it’s simply purred wolf berries-the highest antioxidant food in the world, infused with essential oils. Literally you only need 2-4 oz but that 2-4 oz is the equivalent of eating a pound of carrots! We also absolutely love Ningxia Red, and I wrote a whole blog about why we take that here.
Now on to supplements. Just like food, they are not created equal. I’m appalled at the amount of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and other chemicals in most supplements on the market. I’d rather you not take any supplements at all than buy that junk that does more harm than good. Learn to read your labels, and research the source. Why take supplements in the first place? Because even if you had an absolute perfect diet, there is no way your body could take in and absorb all the nutrients it needs. A good supplement helps take that healthy diet and make it go even further, clean out what is necessary and help move things along, and overall regulate the body. Every person and body is different on what exactly they will need, but here are some basics that are absolute musts this time of year.
Probiotic: This is something we take year round, but is extra essential this time of year. Your gut needs good bacteria and a good amount of it, and you get that through food rich in pro and prebiotics, and a good probiotic supplement. We take Life 9, and Kai takes Kidscents Mightypro.
Vitamin C: Again eating foods rich in this like oranges and apples, fruits that are in season this time of year, in addition to a good vitamin c supplement. We like Super C, and for Kai Kidscents Mightyvites.
Elderberry Syrup: This stuff is liquid gold, and has been clinically proven to prevent multiple strains of the flu and other viruses. I’ve got a recipe for you at the end of the blog, because it is SO easy and much cheaper to make your own vs. buying it at the store.
Collodial Silver: This is simply a liquid with a suspension of silver particles and silver ions. It has no taste, and can be used to fight all kinds of viruses and viral infections. Some people use this daily, we only use this as necessary when our body needs the extra support. It definitely comes in handy when we are fighting things surrounding our ears, nose, and throat. We use this brand.
Essential Oils & Toxin-Free Products
I didn’t know five years ago how much so many of the health issues I was dealing with were directly linked to the toxins in my home. Since ditching and switching, I really don’t struggle with the allergies and respiratory issues I had for years before, headaches have drastically decreased, things that I didn’t realize were that bad until they were gone. Instead of candles, we diffuse. Instead of 10 different toxic cleaners, we use one plant based, non-toxic cleaner that automatically has immune boosting powers. I could go on and on about the products in the home, but all I will say is it’s something to consider, especially this time of year. I encourage you to download the app Think Dirty: Shop Clean and start going around your house scanning the products you use and see what’s lurking in there and what those ingredients are linked to health-wise. If you are using any product with a rating of a 4 or higher, I’d say it’s time to go. The best and easiest budget-friendly way we have gone completely toxin free the past 5 years is through our wellness subscription box from Young Living. It’s all we use and it’s completely transformed our home and health.
If you’ve been around here for any period of time, you know my love-affair with essential oils. In every “must-have” list I have, these bottles of joy are in there. Though yes and absolutely, these oils help with our immune systems and we use them daily, what I want to tell you is this time of year is stressful. Remember what increased sugar intake, decreased sleep, and increase of stress does to the body? These oils can actually help with all 3, from curbing cravings with Peppermint and Grapefruit, to daily cleansing and detoxification with Lemon and Digize, to sleeping well with Cedarwood, Dream Catcher, Lavender, or Stress Away, to rolling on and diffusing all day to stay calm and collected with Frankincense, Stress Away, Vetiver, Tranquil, Valor, White Angelica, and Orange…just to name a few. Our most favorite way to use our oils is for emotional support. This can be a really hard time of year, and daily diffusing and applying of oils like these can be a huge help. Using oils for emotions raises the overall frequency of the body, and when your body has a high frequency, it’s less likely to be susceptible to things that can bring our immune systems down. You can check out all of those oils and more here.
Now that you’ve got a good idea on some of our must haves, I’ll share that super easy recipe for you! First, you’ll want to grab some dried elderberries, which you can find here. I promise you-considering the fact that most bottles of elderberry syrup under 16 oz are around $15, that goes FAST. We know, even for us as a family of three the amount of money we have spent on pre-made elderberry over the past 5 years is ungodly. Plus, I can’t control those ingredients. Elderberry syrup should be simple, there shouldn’t be additives in there, what’s the point in that? This 1 lb. bag will probably last you till next year. You could even split this up among multiple people. Elderberry making party anyone?
Also, I chose to up the ante even more and infuse mine with essential oils. You don’t have to do this, but it adds even more health benefiting properties. I chose Clove because it is the oil highest in antioxidants, and Ginger because it’s great for all things tummy related and helps the body’s natural response to inflammation. After you drink a couple of bottles of that kombucha I mentioned before, save those bottles. They are the perfect way to store this elderberry syrup! This recipe makes 32 oz of elderberry syrup. A typical daily dose for adults is 2 tbsp, for children 2 tsp. The point is daily, this is a preventative. Double the dose if you’re fighting something.
1 cup of dried elderberries
4 cups of water
1 cup of raw honey
Optional: 1 drop of Clove Vitality and 1 drop of Ginger Vitality. I ONLY recommend Young Living if you are going to consume oils, which we do and these vitality oils are GRAS and these specifically are labeled to ingest. I would not recommend doing this with any other brand.
In a medium saucepan, add the elderberries and water, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to low simmer for 45 minutes, until it has reduced by about half.
While the elderberries are working, grab those empty kombucha bottles you saved. Wash them out, and take off the labels. Leave behind a reside? No problem, there’s even an oil for that! Lemon or Citrus Fresh will take that sticky residue right off. Just put a drop on a paper towel and start rubbing. Keep adding oil to the paper towel and repeat until residue is gone, and be amazed.
Once elderberries are done simmering, strain them over a bowl to save all that liquid. I do this over a large glass bowl. Discard the elderberries. Once the syrup has cooled to room temperature, add 1 cup of honey, stir to mix.
Grab those cleaned out kombucha bottles, and distribute the syrup evenly between the 2. These bottles are 16.9 oz, so I don’t fill them up the entire way. Add 1 drop of clove to one bottle, 1 drop of ginger to the other, if using. Put the lids on, do a little shake to distribute those oils.
Grab some cute washi tape and a sharpie, and be sure and label which one is which. Consume daily! I alternate and do clove one day, ginger the next.
I hope you have a full amazon cart and Young Living cart to keep your family healthy and well this season. It’s all about prevention. Want more tips like this? Be sure to join my email list!
I know someone is going to ask me about kids consuming oils. This is 100% your choice. I’m not a medical professional and don’t claim to be. Kai is 5 and the supplements he takes are oil infused, so I’m fine with it. Plus, it’s 1 drop in 16 oz of liquid, so it is highly diluted. However, to each his own, do what you are comfortable with. You can make one batch for adults with oils and one batch without for kids if you want.