healthy how to: kick sickies to the curb + a DIY bone broth

Ohhhh yes. The sickies have invaded our home again this year... a couple of times. 

Despite all my best efforts (that we will chat about below) germs from Sloane's pre-school are keeping me busy. 

Talking with some of my other mama friends, I am assured this is the "norm" at this stage of life. I am also convinced that the different air, water and overall environment overseas is harder for us to handle. 

Over the last few years I have shared some of my go-to natural remedies for doing your best to prevent getting sick but also ways to support the body as it gets better. You can check those out HERE and HERE

Today, I thought I would update these lists with a few more of my go-to's. I am always looking for more natural ways to support my families health and while none are a guaranteed secret bullet, I have confidence as a mama knowing I have lots of ammo to help them fight. 

I have also tried to shift my way of thinking which helps avoid unnecessary mama stress. Instead of focusing on how many times we get sick (I would say the last year or so it's been about 4-5 times with colds/flu... a lot more than before Sloane started school) I choose to instead celebrate how intelligent our bodies are to heal. Nothing short of amazing. 

So here is some healthy how-to as you work to support your might immune systems. 

  • Lots of water! Well this goes for always, but when our kids are feeling off I try to make sure they are sipping lots of water throughout the day. My husband and I love warm water with lemon, ginger and honey especially when are feeling a little under the weather. The kids aren't quite sold on it yet...but I will keep trying ;) 
  • ELIMINATE dairy + sugar. Both are acidifying and make it hard for your body to fight. At the first signs of a virus or bug hitting our house all of this is off limits. 
  • Herbal teas. I love that both of our kids love a warm bevy just as much as their mama and I find this is so warming and healing for sore throats and upset tummies. Some of our favourites are fennel, peppermint and chamomile. 
  • Garlic + Onions. I add as much of this to the food we are eating as possible! I have had several practitioners over here in Germany suggest leaving cut onions in our bedrooms or close to where the kids sleep to absorb some of the germs. So I just tuck them under their beds. Or onion poultices are also popular over here, although I haven't gone all the way with that. My husband and I will also chop up a clove of garlic, put on a spoon with about 1 TSP of raw honey and swallow followed by a chaser of water. DON'T CHEW, just swallow. Trust me. 
  • Gargle with warm water, sea salt + apple cider vinegar 2-3 x's a day. This was one of my mama's go-to's and I hated it. I never believed it worked, but a much wiser me now recognizes how much relief this brings. My kids don't do this yet since they are too young...but they will. One day. Muahahaha. 
  • Essential oils. In addition to food, essential oils are without a doubt my next line of defense. There are so many of the single oils and blends that we use at the first sign of the sickies to help support our bodies. A few of my must-have's are: Melaleuca (tea tree), Lavender, Frankincense, Thieves, Purification, R.C., Oregano, Peppermint and Copaiba that I use to diffuse and apply topically. Note: Not all of these are used on our kids. If you haven't yet been introduced to this awesome plant power, start reading HERE and I would love to connect with you if you are looking for more natural ways to look after your family and join an incredible community of like minded mamas. 
  • NingXia Red + NingXia Nitro. These are two antioxidant rich supplements from Young Living and we use them on regular rotation in our house but I increase how much we have when we aren't feeling so hot. For the kids I dilute it into a nutrient dense smoothie to make sure they get everything they need (lots of fats and protein) or into homemade popsicles that are dairy and sugar free. Soothing on their little throats and help their bodies to get better. 
  • Throat spray. I was sent this throat spray to test out and I can say hands down that I L-O-V-E it and will be ordering more when I am back in Canada. You can check out more about this Propolis Spray from Beekeeper's Naturals HERE. It's awesome-town. 
  • Slow down. Yes, easier said then done but it is so so important to do what you can to slow down and rest, sleep, take a bath (our kids love this too) and relax. Do your best to eliminate stress and other stressors so that you can get better.

One of the last home remedies I will leave you with is my DIY BONE BROTH recipe.  

Although this bone broth seems trendy for the moment, it's anything but new. Our grandmothers new best and a soul warming soup really is just what the doctor ordered. Sloane now requests this soup when she isn't feeling well. 

Typically I will make a chicken noodle type soup but any soup is great! The base is what will set it apart from it's canned counterparts. 

Bone broth is kind of all the rage right now, which makes great sense because it is beyond healing for our entire body. It supports the immune system, is healing for the digestive system, support healthy bones and joints and is excellent for our skin, hair and nails. You can read more benefits of bone broth here. 

Making it yourself is so easy and is best if you can do in larger batches so you always have a bit of back up on hand. 

Ingredients for the bone broth:

  • Bones. I usually just take the bones from a chicken or turkey that I have cooked up. I also recently learned the you can sometimes purchase from your local butcher or farmer! A good place to start would be at your local Farmer's Market. 
  • Water. Amount will vary based on the size of your pot or slow cooker
  • Veggie Scraps. I always have an ongoing bag of veggie scraps that I keep in the freezer, I throw whatever I have stocked up in. 
  • Additional veggies. Sometimes I add a couple of garlic bulbs, a roughly chopped onion to add flavour, carrots or celery. 
  • Fresh herbs. My go-to's tend to be thyme, oregano and/or parsley. I throw a couple sprigs in during the last 30 minutes of cooking. 
  • Sea Salt + Black Pepper. I season with a bit of each but of course this can be added at the end when you are making your soup. 
  • 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar. This helps to pull more minerals and vitamins from the bones. 

Method: 

  1. Place bones in your large sized pot or slow cooker. 
  2. Fill with water (allowing enough room for the water to boil) + stir in your 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar. I let this sit for about 30 minutes for the acid to prep the bones so they can extract all the vitamins and minerals.
  3. If you choose to add any veggie scraps or fresh veggies add them in now. 
  4. I place my slow cooker on low heat and cook for 24 hours! If you are boiling your bones in a pot bring to high heat and to a rolling boil, then reduce heat and simmer for at least 3-4 hours. Chicken bones are best boiled for 24 hours and beef for 24-48 hours.  
  5. If anything floats to the surface while cooking, just remove it with a spoon. 
  6. In the last 30 minutes or so I add in the fresh herb. 
  7. Strain to remove all of the bones and veggie scraps. 
  8. Use to make your soup OR let cool and store in the fridge (use within 3 or 4 days) or freezer to use later. 

Of course, whatever you do with the bone broth is up to you! But my kids love the typical chicken noodle soup with celery, onions, garlic, carrots and zucchini, turmeric, and a gluten free pasta or rice. I also add 2-3 TBSP of my Great Lakes Gelatin for extra amino acid power. 

And in light of all this. Sloane had her first visit to the doctor last week for her ears. Her eardrum did in fact burst and there was some fluid leaking out. I was thrilled though that the doctor here in Berlin didn't immediately prescribe antibiotics. He made sure everything looked like it was healing properly and suggested a nose spray to deal with the throat and nose irritation. I was told told that if she spiked another fever to book an appointment ASAP at which time he would likely need to give us a round of antibiotics. But all is good for now and she is almost all better. Just a lingering cough for now and I am a happy mama to have all of our home remedies to help her out. 

My approach has turned more from wanting to fix my kids right away and instead support their bodies, take some time for lots of snuggles and downtime to rest as their bodies get better and figure it out. I choose not to hide the symptoms but stay attentive to their symptoms and do as much as I can to help them feel better as soon as possible. 

So, thanks for sticking with me for this longer share-session today! It's no fun to feel down and out yourself or to have some sick kiddo's in your home. I hope this empowers you with some new ways to look after your family and sick or not, a nutrient dense bone broth like this is great for general healthy maintenance! 

Wishing your family great health! 

N xo