Preventing Sickness in your family this cold and flu season


A friend emailed me asking about supplements to prevent sickness this winter. She has school-aged children as well as a precious little baby, so it’s understandable that she’d be concerned about germs!

Here’s most of my reply (maybe I’ll go look up how to spell echinacea LOL!):

I’m honestly not a big fan of supplements. I take a good quality prenatal (Source of Life brand) that I love, and I give my 3-year-old their children’s multi and cod liver oil (fat soluable vitamins in that). I’ll take echinacea if I think I’ve been exposed to something but I’ve never given it to Hannah. Echinacea is safe to take while nursing, but Goldenseal that it’s often paired with isn’t safe while pregnant and I don’t take it while nursing (it’s not really confirmed) but you can get echinacea without goldenseal.

For us, eating right is what keeps us from getting sick. This year I’m thinking a good quality coconut oil is helping us too (I read about it in the Eat Fat Lose Fat book). I noticed that we all picked up colds last week, the baby was chewing on a chair at the airport while we waited for my mother-in-law to arrive and we had colds the next day. I was done with mine by Wednesday, the kids were done by Friday, and hubby still has his. The kids and I eat about 80% good food (we do the 80/20 thing, since that seems to be about all that I can handle at this point in my life), and hubby eats maybe 50% good food- he prefers white bread to wheat, isn’t a huge fan of coconut oil, and loves cookies. It’s not just this time, I notice that when my life gets too busy and I start cooking frozen pizza and corn dogs and buying white bread products, we always get sick within a week.

It’s my opinion that we might need an extra boost to fight something off if we know we’ve been exposed, but all the herbs and vitamins in the world aren’t going to make up for anything if our body doesn’t have the nutrients it needs to run well.

What do you think?

I’m going to work on getting a list of menu ideas that are simple, somewhat economical, and nutritious. ‘Cold and flu season’ has a combination of factors stacking against us: Being in confined spaces with other people, whether it’s at school or work or a crowded grocery store; the abundance of seasonal junk food (a box of maple syrup cream cookies – not real food- landed in my grocery cart at Costco yesterday); the rush of back-to-school and then the holidays does put stress on us and take energy; the lack of outside time and fresh air as the weather turns.

But thankfully with autumn comes foods that are simple to prepare, warm, and nourishing. I’ll write a post for next week with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack ideas that I’m looking forward to preparing this fall, with the intent of keeping us healthy.

What is this 80/20 thing that I’m talking about? I just try to stick to eating real whole foods 80% of the time and then don’t worry about the other 20% when I might grab a cookie with refined sugar and flour, or pretzels, or the so-called fruit smoothie at Costco that I’m rather positive has corn syrup in it.

More posts:

Making Chicken Stock– easy, economical, and nutritious. Use that crockpot that’s been sitting in your cupboard, all lonely ~grin~

Eat Fat Lose Fat: My ramblings on this book

Confessions (because sometimes I feel too preachy here)

Update: Meal and snack ideas, including a week’s menu

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  1. says

    I have always been a big supplement taker, but since discovering WAPF and real foods, I’m looking for ways to get our nutrients from food. Whoa, what a concept, right? Vitamin D is the big cold/flu preventer (and K along with it). In the winter, I’m pretty sure we’ll still be supplementing with it since the sun is sooooo far away and often not even visible. We (four adults) take 5,000iu about 5 days a week. Fat soluble so you can take them all at once, like every Monday. None of us have had a cold or flu in years.

    One caveat: I did get a strep bacteria with resulting pneumonia… still investigating how that happened. I was living in a tropical climate, looking into parasites and other potentials.

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