admin/ September 30, 2015/ Dr. Danielle

As a parent with school-aged children, I have learned to loathe this time of year. The two month summer vacation awarded to students every summer is just enough time for me to get into a new routine. And of course, the day I feel like “I got this”, it’s labour day weekend and I am preparing for my kids to return to school. Had it. Lost it.

Now, in preparing my kids for back to school, there are a lot of things to consider: clothes, school supplies, lunches, and their health; which is always guaranteed to go for a nose dive once flu season hits. At first thought, I dread the times I am going to be getting the “puke bowl” out from the cupboard, or the number of times I am going to have to remind them to blow their snot into a Kleenex rather than their sister’s hair, or (my personal favourite) having to remind my one daughter that kissing is for family only. At the same time, I am quite happy that their immune systems are going to be getting a quick little booster. As I have mentioned in a previous post, it is important that our immune systems are kept on the cutting edge of microbiology. It does this by reacting to a pathogen or a bug (bacterial or viral) that makes us sick. Because each time we get sick, our immune system creates antibodies or little soldiers, if you will, that will strengthen our overall immunity.

Having said this, I still take extra measures to ensure my kids won’t suffer too long or too badly with a flu or cold and also make sure they are resilient in recovering from illness. First and foremost, I make sure their diet is full of vegetables, fruit, and concentrated protein. And we try to stay away from processed foods or boxed foods. This ensures proper nutrients (including vitamin C) to keep their body working at an optimal level. Sugar is also kept at a bare minimum as this alone distracts and weakens the immune system. It helps to make healthy food look fun. Kabob sticks filled with colourful veggies and chunks of chicken go a long way. As do leafless salads. My kids love “Rainbow salad”. A bunch of different veggies with some olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette, and lots of different herbs. Oh, and hummus. Hummus is a dip. Kids love to dip. Don’t underestimate this!

Don’t get me wrong, they still get their treats…but we really focus on the healthy food at all times. The easiest way for me to do this is to teach them what’s important about each food. Before you know it, they’ll be eating brussel sprouts like candy (no joke, my kids do this….ha!).

And now please allow me to talk quickly about dairy. There has been a ton of media coverage regarding dairy and about how we shouldn’t be having it. And most of it is true! And then everyone freaks out about not getting enough calcium or vitamin D or fat in our diet. And others claim they are addicted to yogurt and cheese. And they are. And some have polyps in their sinuses that are the size of baseballs and would rather undergo surgery than take the milk out of their coffee. I have heard it all! Dairy is mucous-forming, inflammatory, offending to the body even without a bonified allergy/sensitivity, and is a food source for pathogenic bugs (due to its sugars). Are there other sources of food that we can get enough calcium from?? YES! Are there other ways to get vitamin D? YES! And I sincerely hope milk is not your main source of vitamin D! Are there other ways to get good fat in your diet?? OF COURSE! Dairy fat isn’t even considered a “good fat”! So don’t be scared. Try it. You will feel better and your immune system will be happier!

Ok, back to prepping for school. From a supplement standpoint, I get my kids back onto “magic water” (the recipe involves R.O. water at room temp mixed with my favourite probiotic powder), some Vitamin D drops, and some of my (but not necessarily theirs) most treasured fish oil. The probiotic and vitamin D are for immune strength, while the fish oil acts as a swift kick to the butt in the focus department. And when they do get sick, they get to do the wet sock treatment (if you don’t know what this is by now, shame on you), some good ol’ Echinacea, and perhaps a homeopathic remedy, if they are lucky. If you are unsure about anything you just read, perhaps it’s time you visited a naturopath 😉
As I write this, school starts in less than three weeks!! Three weeks!!! So start scrambling now to get all your ducks in a row before September 3rd is here! This will allow you to relax labour day weekend and help your kids transition back into school with ease!

Girls rule, boys drool!

Dr. D