‘Tis the Season of sickness at the Andersen household. Last week it was stomach flu, and this week it is an ear and sinus infection. What is a poor mom to do when all this sickness strikes?! Years ago as a new mother, I used to rush to the doctor’s office and wait in line with all the other sick kids to get a prescription for an antibiotic. Then I would come home and sanitize my home from top to bottom in an attempt to make the the germs stop their spread. Now days, I am doing things a little differently. Sure, I still keep our home very clean, and I consult with our family pediatrician when necessary, but I try to offer some natural remedies to my family before rushing to the doctor’s office.
Dairy and White Sugar
The first thing I do when my kids start showing signs of sickness like sore throat, fatigue, or sore ears, is stop feeding them dairy and white sugar. I do this because dairy is an animal product which causes inflammation. Inflammation is causing their ears to sting and their throats to burn. Normally, our immune systems take care of sugar and dairy without a fuss, but when we are sick, our immune system is working overtime to rid the body of offensive germs and bacteria. So instead of adding inflammatory foods to the mix I let the immune system focus on eating up the sickness.
I cut off white sugar consumption because it feeds infections and bacteria. Think about baking yeast bread: recipes call for some kind of sugar to feed the yeast. As the yeast eats the sugar, it gives off carbon dioxide and alcohol as a byproduct, allowing it to rise properly. The same happens in our bodies. Sugar fuels the bacteria allowing it to grow and spread.
So here’s what happened this week with my 8-year-old daughter: After a week of stomach flu making it’s way around the family, her immune system was understandably decreased and she woke up days later complaining of a sore throat. For breakfast, I made her a Blueberry Ginger Smoothie with Kefir (recipe below). The rest of the day, I pumped her full of water, and the only dairy she ate was the Kefir in the smoothie. All the good probiotics in kefir helped replenish her gut flora and start building her immune system back up. Read more about the health benefits of kefir here. In the evening, she was really in a lot of pain in her ears and sinuses, and she was beginning to have a low-grade fever. Following is what I did for her:
1. I gave her 1 teaspoon of minced garlic and told her to chew it for just 10 seconds before swallowing. She resisted this one, but after explaining to her that garlic is a natural antimicrobial, she humored me. Allicin is an enzyme in garlic which is activated when it is freshly crushed or chopped. Not only does it provide a strong aroma, but it has also been found to kill various strains of bacteria, fungus, and parasites.
2. Gratefully, she immediately washed down the garlic with the (delicious) Cold and Sinus Remedy Smoothie below.
3. Next, I let the fever do its thing…. meaning, I made her wait a good 3-4 hours with a low, 99.5 degree fever before I gave her medicine. Fever is a sign that the immune system is working to kill off the bad bacteria. Don’t disrupt that too quickly!
4. To open up her sinuses, she took a hot shower and slept with a humidifier in her room.
5. As I tucked her into bed, I gave her ibuprofen for the pain so she could sleep. Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) which reduces fever, pain, and inflammation. I also rubbed “Breathe” oil (doTERRA) behind her ears and on her chest. This is the only essential oil I own, but I like it because it works like a vapor rub.
6. The final thing done for her was a Priesthood Blessing. In the Latter-day Saint faith, we believe that the divine authority to act in God’s name is given to worthy men of the Church. My husband holds the Melchizedek Priesthood and has the power to give blessings to those who are sick as described in James 5:14-15. Ask one of your LDS friends to tell you more about it.
My daughter slept like a baby through the night and woke up her chipper self in the morning. What a blessing! Surely, our Creator has not only provided means for His children to be healed through Spiritual power handed down to worthy Priesthood holders, but He also created fruits, vegetables, and other plants for the purpose of nourishing and healing our bodies as well. Isn’t it so liberating to have the tools to take care of ourselves without always depending on a prescription?!
Live happy and enjoy this lovely winter season!
Blueberry Ginger Smoothie with Kefir
Folate from spinach, anti-inflammatory properties from fresh ginger, and good bacteria from kefir in this smoothie will help you ward of the sick germs during cold and flu season.
- 1 Cup Raw Spinach packed tightly into blender
- 1 Cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond milk
- ½ Cup Plain, Unsweetened Kefir
- ½ Banana ripe
- 3/4 Cup frozen Blueberries
- 1/2 teaspoon Ginger root freshly grated
Tightly pack spinach into the blender and fill the almond milk to the 1 Cup mark. Blend until very smooth.
Add the remaining ingredients and blend another 60-90 seconds or until no chunks remain.