Here we are smack bang in the middle of winter everywhere we go people are sniffly and coughing and it seems liked its unavoidable to completely bypass sickness. My youngest has previously struggled with respiratory issues that have landed us in hospital every few weeks through the winter so I am super intentional about bombing the kids bodies with nourishing foods that are going to keep their immune systems firing and strong.
We have been working on gut health for the last couple of years following years the gaps diet, which is a very deep gut healing and rebalancing protocol. The benefits we have seen in our health and our children’s heath is incredible.
When we begin to look at our health holistically what you put into your body and what you put on it and learning ways we can all use food as medicine instead of at every event running to pharmaceuticals you begin to get a powerhouse of health and we become armed with a solution.
I believe our kitchens can be one of the most powerful apothecary’s for our health and live with a firm resolve that food is medicine and the health of our gut underpins almost everything that is going on with our health. We use functional foods, medicinal teas, ferments, pure essential oils and traditional ways of cooking. Real food cooked from scratch and unburdening the toxic load off ourselves and our children by using products without chemicals.
So what are some of the things we do as a family to keep our gut health strong and build our immune system that you may find helpful for you?
When we first started the gaps diet the thought of drinking broth and cooking with broth was so overwhelming but as we journeyed we have found it to be the most natural flavorsome way of cooking and eating. I read recently that broth was the reason the first ever restaurant was opened in France and that name actually came from the word RESTORE = RESTAUR and all they served was broth. It was a place people could go to get bowls of this nourishing goodness and restore their health… amazing huh! .
Every week I make a massive stock pot of broth to cook in and drink with meals. Initially we had to start slow and none of us were keen to drink it but as I started adding it into my cooking and using is as a basis for soups, casseroles, gravies and sauces we soon all developed the taste for it and now all love it. It is the most nutrient dense food we can give our bodies and if full of protein, gelatin, collagen and stacked with minerals that support immunity and build our intestinal lining.
I have also learned that when children get sick is not the time to make them start trying broth. Introducing these foods into their diets so that if they do happen to get sick you wont have a fight on your hands and will easily be able to get them to drink it and kick the cold quickly.
I have read that one teaspoon of sauerkraut has more diversity of beneficial bacteria that a whole bottle of probiotics that you can buy from a health food shop. So we use food as medicine and get as much fermented foods into our diets as we can in varying forms.
It’s not a one-off probiotic that will heal and rebalance our gut flora it’s the daily addition of a range of nourishing foods and a variety of ferments. To start out including these foods you don’t have to be master fermenter there are plenty of amazing brands you can buy from health food shops and markets.
Some of the ways we love to get fermented foods into our diets are.
At the first sign of a sniffle I put my children in a bath with a handful of magnesium salts and a few drops of on guard and frankincense. If they are unwell I literally soak them in a bath every few hours and rotate between bi carb + magnesium salts + apple cider vinegar + seaweed and betanite clay. These all detox our bodies in different ways and I am always amazed at the difference it makes. We’ve found it can even stop a cold in its tracks!
Beautiful pure essential oils I include and rotate are:
Eucalyptus + tea tree + on guard + lavender + roman chamomile + frankincense…. Always frankincense right!
If they are running a temp just keep the baths lukewarm and after dilute in a carrier oil a few drops of ginger essential oil and rub it into their feet or get them sip on warm ginger tea. Ginger is an amazing anti-inflammatory and is nature’s way of helping our bodies fight fevers.
The quickest and fastest way to absorb vitamin d into our bodies is through sunshine. If it’s not too breezy expose as much skin to the sun as you can. I tell my kids its sunshine or cod liver oil. They always chose the sunshine. Ha!
I make some sort of jelly every week I mix up the flavourings. This year I’ve been incorporating and loving the benefits of medicinal teas and herbs to help support our bodies in so many wonderful ways.
These jellies I make with elderberry tea which are amazing at boosting our immune system and you can also add probiotics through fermented drinks to make these extra gut loving and an amazing treat that the kids love.
2 cups of boiling water infused with 1 teas of dried elderberries
When it has cooled a little strain it and add 2 tabs raw honey (or to taste)
Optional: add ½ cup of kombucha or coconut kefir
Whisk really well.
Then pour into a dish or moulds and set in the fridge.
My encouragement to you is that it can be simple just adding in things one at a time. It’s not about a quick remedy but it’s about consistently adding in things that build out immune strength before we are smack bang in the middle of a full-blown flu and scrambling for ways to help fight it. Every step we take towards health makes a difference!
Much love Libby x
Thank you so much for sharing your tips Libby, how beautiful do the Elderberry jellies look?!
Make sure to follow Libby over on Instagram @olivesandgreens. She’ll motivate you!
If anyone wants to know how to get some pure essential oils into their homes, please feel free to send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Much love + be well!