Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year’s Eve Celebrations

New Year’s Eve is here! A lot of people will be going out to parties, eating and drinking in excess, then regretting it New Year’s Day. So, what can you do to avoid a hangover? Of course the very best way to avoid any type of hangover is to abstain or minimize the alcohol consumption. Try some tasty sparkling lingonberry juice as an alternative!
OK, so I realize that many people are going to refuse my good advice to abstain, so here are some tips to help reduce hangover symptoms. The key is planning ahead.
If you know you are going out in the evening, eat lighter, healthier meals during the day.
Drink lots of water. Many of the symptoms of hangover are due to dehydration. Drink water before, during and after your celebrations. In addition take an herbal base B complex vitamin.  Since alcohol causes you to lose more fluids, B vitamins are also lost and should be replenished.
Have a detox formula on hand. The very best thing you can take is a formula that contains N-acetyl-cysteine, which helps to protect and detoxify your liver, and can help reduce the symptoms of a hangover. A formula like Paragon Plus Cleanse Detox is good because it contains this form of cysteine, plus some potent liver support herbs.  Take it as directed before you go out, when you come home, and again in the morning.
Most importantly, be safe and have a Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Keeping Kids Well Part 3

Another week and we'll be gearing back up for school after the holidays…and we’re right in the heart of cold and flu season! Here are some tips for daily wellness to keep everyone healthy throughout cold and flu season.

Never, ever skip breakfast. This is especially critical during school, but should be a rule every day. Breakfast is essential for healthy kids, providing nutrients they need to get them through the day. Research over the years has consistently shown that children who eat breakfast perform better in school (both academically and behaviorally) than those who skip breakfast. A nutritious breakfast also helps the body better handle the stresses of the day, stresses that can weaken the immune system. If time is an issue, serve a combo of yogurt, fruit and granola, mix up a shake with a nutrient-dense green foods powder, or choose a nutritious fruit and nut bar to eat on the go.

Add a daily high-quality multivitamin. Be sure your child takes a multivitamin every day. This ensures the basic nutrient requirements needed by growing children are met. Look for natural supplements that do not contain the artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners that you’ll find in a lot of well-known children’s cartoon vitamins. For an extra antioxidant boost, look for formulas with fruit and/or vegetable concentrates.

Give probiotics daily. The intestinal tract functions as a primary barrier against harmful bacteria. Probiotics help the growth and balance of good organisms in the intestinal tract, keeping bad organisms in check. They also encourage an acidic intestinal environment which strongly inhibits undesirable or harmful bacteria and yeasts. And research has shown that probiotics have a balancing, effect on immunity. Give your kids yogurt with live cultures, paying attention to how much sugar is in the container. Flavored yogurt can contain a lot of sugar, so pay attention to the label, looking for ones lower in sugar. Kefir is another good option – like a drinkable cultured smoothie. Lifeway makes the ProBugs kefir that appeals to kids. I use a daily chewable probiotic just to ensure my daughter is getting enough of these beneficial organisms.

Get enough vitamin D. This is true both for children and adults, especially during winter when we are inside more than we are outside. Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for the immune system, and may even play a role in reducing risk of colds. One study found that children given 300 IU vitamin D daily for 3 months had 50% fewer colds compared with those without supplements. A 2008 study found that 40% of children have inadequate or less than optimal levels. A 400 IU supplement for a child may be beneficial.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Keeping Kids Well Part 2

While the kids are at home during Christmas break, keep them (and your whole family!) well with these tips:

Boost vitamin C intake. Taking extra vitamin C for immune support substance is essential. Vitamin C rich foods include oranges, berries, bell peppers, broccoli and pineapple, among others. This time of year, you may also want to add a chewable vitamin C for an extra boost to the immune system. Just be sure the chewable vitamin does not have added artificial colors or sweeteners.

Keep Immune Support herbs on hand. There are two approaches to immune health – daily and acute. Some herbs and nutrients work best when used long-term, offering a tonic approach to the immune health. Beta glucan from mushrooms can be taken for longer times for immune health. Echinacea can be used both for longer term prevention, and for acute infections, so it is a great herb to keep on hand. If your child does end up with a cold or flu, elderberry is a great natural remedy that works to fight the virus and help your child get better faster.

Offer healthy snacks. Holiday season often means sugary treats and excess foods. Don’t let that keep you from making good choices for your family. Make sure plenty of healthy snacks are available at home, including fresh fruits, nuts and vegetables with dip. Cut back on sugary foods, as excess sugar can weaken the immune system, making a child more susceptible to infection and illness.

Here is an interesting twist on crispy rice treats, with more nourishing ingredients.

Honey Almond Crispy Rice Snacks

1/2 cup Chunky Almond Butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups crispy brown rice cereal

Mix almond butter, honey, raisins, vanilla, and cinnamon together in a bowl.  Add cereal and stir gently until it is well-coated. 
Place a dish of water near the bowl.  Using wet hands, form the mixture into walnut-size balls and place them on a lightly oiled dish or on waxed paper.
For variety, try rolling crispy rice snacks in coconut, chopped nuts, or sesame seeds. 
Let treats set for a few minutes, and they're ready!
Makes approximately 2 dozen.

My next segment will cover immune health from the perspective of getting your child ready to go back to school after the holidays.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Keeping Kids Well

I just spent last Friday cleaning up after my daughter ended up with a stomach bug in the afternoon – fever, vomiting, the whole nine yards. Tis the season! Between colds, the flu and the stomach bug, I’m guessing your children have been sick at least once too. Children are often at higher risk of getting sick because they are around so many other children (school, activities, etc), which can increase their exposure to germs, which they turn around and bring on home! So take steps now to keep your kids healthy, which will help keep your whole family healthy. Today I’m talking about the stomach bug that I am sadly familiar with, but I will continue with a couple more entries on general immune health.
When a child has a stomach bug, fluids are the most important things. I gave my daughter clear lemon-lime soda because it was appealing to her. I don’t try to force other things at this time. You really have to do what sounds good to your child, which may be nothing. But try to get them to drink small sips of water or soda. Even better, if they like coconut water, it is an ideal rehydrator.
The other really critical thing I do is add grapefruit seed extract to the soda. I use NutriBiotic GSE, and I ALWAYS have it on hand. It is very potent, and very bitter, so you don’t put a lot in. I would make about 8 ounces of soda and add 3 drops of GSE. If she didn’t drink it all, I would make a fresh batch, just encouraging her to drink when she felt like it. She was better and keeping fluids down by 11pm the same night it started. I made another batch of GSE spiked soda, which she drank all of. By morning, she was up and raring to go. While her appetite took another day to catch up, she did eat some food that next day. So with that I encouraged a heavy dose of probiotics to get her intestinal tract back in order. All in all, it was short-lived, thankfully.
And mothers and fathers reading this, YOU should be taking GSE also if you are around someone who is stricken with a stomach bug. I take a lot – about 6 tablets in a day for 2 days. But it keeps me well. I firmly believe in this remedy. I have used it many times in the past, and it has kept me well when others around me ended up sick.
So enough with the stomach bug! I’ll be posting more general information on keeping your kids over the next week.