At this time of year, we’re almost always hearing of someone who is sick.  As moms, we dread winter because we know it’s just hurdle after hurdle of fevers and doctors appointments.  You’re afraid to leave the house in fear that your kids will get sick, when one does you anxiously await your turn in the family cycle, medicine becomes a staple meal in your family and by spring, you’re on a short-name basis with our doctor. (hey Mike!)

Let’s face it.  Winter (aka “sick season”) is the pits.

But.. it doesn’t have to be.  Today I’m showing my favorite tips to keep your family healthy year-round.  It’s a really long story of how I became such a hippie, but alas, I have embraced my role well.  I love natural remedies, I love being able to stay OUT of the doctors office as much as possible (sorry Mike!) and I love feeling like I can do something about my family’s health.  Take it or leave it, sister.  This stuff works for us and I hope it will for you, too!

(quick disclaimer: this is what works for my family, just from my own experience.  Remember I’m not a doctor and what works for us may not work for you. 😉 )

1. Doterra essential oils. 
This is the number one way I keep my family healthy.  If you haven’t experienced the magic of essential oils, you don’t know what you’re missing.  This is just one of those things that you can’t knock until you try.  I have witnessed miracles with these oils.  Miracles, I say!  Just a quick little testimony.. last Thanksgiving my sister came down with a gnarly 24-hour flu.  She was staying at our house and obviously, we had to carry on with dinner.  In the next week, out of the 17 people in our family, 14 came down with the flu.  Do you want to guess the 3 that were spared?  My 2 babies and myself.  The avid users of the oils.  I have had a handful of experiences like this and I love my oils dearly.  I love feeling like I can do something to help my kids first of all, keep from getting sick and second, if they do get sick, I have something to help them feel and get better.

My go-to winter oils are Onguard, Breathe, Oregano, Melaluca and Lemon.

Onguard – Keeps you from getting sick. It’s a natural immune-booster that can be applied many ways.  I put a drop of oil on our feet before bed and if I know we’re going to be around a lot of people, i’ll put some up before we leave in the morning.  When my kids do get sick or start to come down with something, we do OnGuard twice a day and whatever the sickness is, it usually moves through our system very quickly, or never turns to anything more than a runny nose for a few days.  This to me is liquid gold.  It seems pricey at first (around $40 a bottle) but a bottle lasts my family the better part of a year and to know how well it works, it really doesn’t seem that expensive.  They also make OnGuard tooth paste and throat drops which we love, along with a few other products to check out.

Breathe – is a respiratory oil.  When Harlo was 3 months she came down with bronchialitis (like RSV) and a friend gave me a sample of Breathe – my very first oil to try.  In just 2 days she was back to normal.  The doctors were stunned by how quickly her recovery was.  That type of sickness in a 3 month old usually entails a week or more of hospital suctions and breathing treatments.  I was sold.  Breathe is amazing, you can literally FEEL the difference after you put it on.  For babies that are congested, a drop on the feet and a couple in a humidifier will do the trick.  For older kids or adults, I put a drop on feet and a bit on their chest (like a vicks rub) and for me, I like to put it right onto my nose to clear those sinuses.

Oregano – A natural antibiotic.  I use this for when we do get sick.  I do a drop of OnGuard and a drop of oregano to the feet before bed.  It will boost the immune system and help cleanse the body of anything it’s needing to fight.  I use this more in the winter than I do in the summer months, but I’m always so happy to have it on hand if anyone comes down with something.

Melaleuca and Lemon – The best sore throat/cough remedy.  I apply together right onto the throat and chest.  You can feel it soothe your throat almost immediately. I also will do a few drops of each to a bath when my girls aren’t feeling well.  Apart, they both have great purposes.  Melaleuca is great for skin (acne, rashes, dermatitis, dry skin) and lemon is a great cleansing oil.  I like to keep both on hand year-round, but together they make one of my favorite winter time combos.

2. Vitamins.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but people often ask me if I give my kids vitamins and what kind.  We take daily vitamins and always have.  I think this is probably the first step anyone should take toward a more healthy lifestyle.  It’s super easy and accessible.  Brady and I just take a daily multi-vitamin at night.  The girls get their vitamins in the morning and it’s their favorite treat of the day.  Any vitamin will do, but I have found a lot of dyes in vitamins and they were pretty much my girls’ only source of dyes, so I switched it up a bit.  My favorite super healthy, preservative & dye free vitamins for the girls are Nordic Berries.  They’re seriously delicious, too.  I always find myself sneaking one.  I have also found dye-free gummy chewables in the grocery store, so just keep an eye out for that.  Flintstone vitamins have a lot of dyes and preservatives and I feel like that sort of defeats the purpose of having a daily vitamin, but that’s totally just my opinion.  Dyes and preservatives just freak me out a bit and I try to avoid them when I can.

Along with a daily vitamin, we get an extra vitamin C (especially in the winter) THESE are our favorites.  We order online or just get them at our closest health food store.

We also love Airborne and super love that they recently came out with a chewable tablet.  They say it’s not for younger kids on the label, but it’s really just full of vitamin C and echinacea and I’m fine with my girls having them, but I don’t give them daily.  Just if they’ve been exposed to something or if they’re coming down with something.  This would be in place of their vitamin C for the day.  Brady and I usually take these daily during the winter. We get these just at the grocery store.

3. Enerfood 
We drink Enerfoood green smoothies every morning.  Enerfood is a superfood and it’s pretty much everything you would need in your daily nutrition in one drink.  There are so many health benefits to it and benefits I’ve experienced first-hand.  Enerfood has tons of great stuff in it.  You can put it in juice, but we like it hidden in a yummy smoothie.

Our smoothies consist of:
1/2 cup (or so) Almond milk
1/3 cup organic juice (grape, apple, pomegranate.. any kind we have)
1 banana
1 slice pineapple
2 scoops honey greek yogurt (Greek Gods is our favorite!)
1 scoop enerfood
1 scoop coconut milk powder
1 handful kale or spinach (kale is better and less green tasting, in my opinion)
a cup or so of frozen triple berries (from costco)
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup peaches.
It is the perfect way to start your day.  Trust me. And it kind of seems like a lot, but once it’s in your morning routine, it’s just as simple as making a pot of coffee.

4. Raw Milk
This one is probably not for everyone.  I never thought I’d be the type to drink raw milk, but I’ve never felt comfortable with milk.  Antibiotics, steroids, who knows what?  Then soy milk with the high estrogen levels? I had issues with it, and major issues letting my girls drink it.  When a friend (a very normal non-hippie friend) started talking about it, I gave it a little research.  I was amazed at the info I found.  And lucky for us, a great raw milk farm delivers to our city.  You want to treat raw milk how you would meat.  There are bad things people say about raw milk having risks, but also if you eat meat that’s not clean it has major risks, so you just need to make sure you know your source.  One thing that stood out to me, raw milk is the only substance that a human life can rely solely on.  There are people who have been drinking only raw milk for decades!  If you have allergies or asthma, raw milk can be a huge benefit.  I have noticed a difference since switching to raw milk and now I can’t imagine another way.  THIS is a good place with a lot of info.  THIS is the milk we drink.  I love knowing exactly where our milk comes from.  It might seem extreme, but check it out. You might be surprised, like I was.  Whether you’re into it or not, it’s one way I keep my family healthy.

5. Honey
Do you know how many health benefits come from honey?  SO many.  A spoonful of raw local honey will keep your seasonal allergies at bay.  Honey is full of antioxidants and all sorts of other good stuff.  I found some cool info on here while searching around.  Allergies run rampant in my family and since we started eating raw local honey (has to be local to build up your body’s immunities to the pollen in your area) our allergies have disappeared.  Honey is also my very favorite cough medicine.  This last week the girls have had a cough, a spoonful of honey before bed kept them from coughing the whole night through.  It also helps children sleep.. who knew?   A spoonful of honey and lemon will knock out a sore throat or cold, and I’ve heard a spoonful of cayenne pepper and honey is a long time remedy in Mexico that will cure any cold.  While my babies have been coughing this last week, I give them honey before bed and add a drop of lemon oil to their bedtime water.  It helped about 100x better than the over-the-counter cough medicine we had.  I love when natural remedies beat out medicine!  In fact, if you check out your natural cough medicine like Zarbees or Hylands.. you’ll find Honey as the main ingredient.  Bonus, your kids wont mind taking a spoonful! (remember honey can be dangerous for children under 1 year of age.. never give your baby honey.)

These are just a few of my favorite ways to stay healthy during the winter.  These things along with eating real food seem to be the perfect balance for us. To give a little background for credibility.. my 2.5 year old just had her very first fever, which was gone in 2 days without help from a doctor or antibiotic.  This is the first time she’s been sick in her life.  2 and a half years! I’d say it’s pretty good.  My 4 year old also has not been sick since her bronchialitis at 3 months.  So she went almost a full 4 years without getting sick.  If there is a cold going around, my kids might start coming down with a runny nose, but it almost always stops there.  We very rarely have sick days like we did last week where a virus goes through the family.  In any case, we usually get the mild end of it and are usually back up and at ’em in a day or two.

Wish you a very sickness-free winter! If you have any questions, or if you have any tips for staying healthy, post them in the comments! 🙂

xo, C