As Halloween candy stashes get smaller, temperatures get colder, and noses get runnier. To many parents, fall just means the start of runny noses, flus, colds, and ear infections, but this doesn’t have to be the case! Many statistics say that kids get an average of 5-12 colds and/or flus each year - a statistic that I find ridiculous. If you take the necessary action steps to boost your family’s immune health then having sick kids can be a rarity, or at the very least a much more occasional occurrence. 

As a parent to 3-year old twin girls and a husband to a pregnant wife (due March 1st), keeping my family healthy in the short-term this winter is almost as important as keeping them healthy in the long-term. 

Although we are very far from perfect, this podcast gives some thoughts and suggestions on how we hope to keep our kids healthy this winter. 

First thing to remember - we like germs! We even like sickness! We like the immune system to be strengthened! We are not afraid of “germs”, and we do not want to wipe down every surface with toxic disinfectant wipes. 

We don’t “treat”, we don’t “medicate”. We use very little therapeutically - maybe some essential oils. We ABSOLUTELY would never get a flu shot!

Because Benjamin Franklin was exactly right when he said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” So here are 5 ways we are hoping to “prevent” sickness through supporting our immune system and honoring our body’s God-given ability to be healthy. 

Eat Real Food

I considered leaving this one off the list because it’s just a normal part of our lifestyle and nothing special that we do, but eating Real Food is crucial, and a list of 5 Ways sounded so much better than a list of 4. Winter kicks off with Halloween candy, then moves almost immediately into Christmas cookies, then back to candy for Valentine’s Day followed up by Easter. We are not 100% food Nazis to our kids, but we do maintain a low-sugar, gluten-free, very little processed foods diet while intaking a lot of fresh foods, local when possible, which are high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and a variety of spices and herbs like garlic, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon.

Orange Juice - Oranges are real food. If you are juicing your own oranges, it’s relatively good for you (even though it’s a lot of sugar!). If someone else is juicing them, it’s not nearly as good. Vitamin C is very susceptible to heat damage, and all orange juices on your shelves are pasteurized, which kills the vitamin C and makes it a sweet sugar water. Don’t drink orange, apple, berry juice thinking that you are boosting vitamin C and immune function - you are not! Not to mention a recent study found the toxic herbicide glyphosate in the top 5 major brands of orange juice….we stay away from store-bought juices as much as possible. 

Filter the Air

This is especially important in Utah in the winter. Most symptoms of “sickness” start in the ears, nose, and throat - so removing any inflammation-causing particles in the air helps a lot. In Utah, air pollution is really bad in the winter and is linked to all sorts of health problems, including heart disease, allergies, asthma, and autism. Read the following article to learn more.

Get Outside

This is more of an important priority when you live in cold weather. If it’s warm out, you should be outside year-round! Even in colder areas in the winter it’s really important to make an effort to get outside. Daylight is one important component of this - at the very least you need to keep your blinds open and get the bright sunlight into your eyes. Glass blocks UV light however, so it is important that you get out from behind the glass and get actual sunlight! Open the window of your house, crack the window in your car, turn the heat up if you need to, but take off your sunglasses and get your eyes exposed to actual sunlight and, if at all possible, get your skin exposed. Vitamin D3 is made by UV-B light, so getting as much exposure as possible is important. If you are getting your kids outside, get them barefoot whenever possible. Being barefoot keeps you grounded to the earth which decreases inflammation. In some areas of America this is not possible, but if a warm front comes through, take advantage. Otherwise take a winter vacation to somewhere sunny, or do the best you can with what you’ve got. 

Live a Probiotic Lifestyle

Don’t be scared of germs! Gut flora is key to proper immune function. Living a probiotic lifestyle is not about taking a supplement, it’s about exposing yourself and your family to bacteria and not being afraid of germs. In our society of antibacterial soaps and disinfecting wipes (especially around kids), we have wiped out all the bacteria that actually help our kids’ bodies build strong immune systems. We welcome dirt in our house (ok maybe not IN THE HOUSE). Our kids play outside, they go to a public daycare with other kids, we all take a product called Restore, we eat fermented foods, we drink sauerkraut juice, we take occasional probiotics, but we also play outside and get dirty and get exposed to bacteria often. That is a probiotic lifestyle!

Use Liposomal Vitamin C

The only supplement I would use after symptoms arise is a liposomal vitamin C. We use a high-quality liposomal vitamin C from Seeking Health, a company that we trust. If my kids were getting a runny nose or sore throat, I would give them 3 grams, or 3,000mg (and up to 5,000mg) of liposomal vitamin C in divided doses (500mg/dose) for a couple days. If it was myself (170lbs), I would easily go up to 10g/day for a couple days. This is a high-quality, liposomal product - NOT YOUR ORANGE JUICE LABEL!

Dr. Thomas Levy, MD, a vitamin C researcher and pioneer of intravenous vitamin C therapy, states that in his opinion, 1g of liposomal vitamin C is as good or better than 5-10g of intravenous vitamin C for an acute viral infection (think: influenza).