Staying Healthy Plan

Why can’t I stay healthy for more than 4 weeks? According to my doctor, it’s because I have a 4 year old daughter, Indie.  No-one ever really warned me about that.  Sleepless nights, crying, fussy eating habits maybe, but not getting sick every other week.  It’s crazy.  Pre-Indie we’d get the usual cold once a season that lasted maybe a week. But now we are exposed to these mega-germs that bring us to our knees for not one week, or two, but three.  Just last year in the space of 13 months I had my first real big sinus infection, a lung infection, bronchitis, 4 colds, and drum roll please…the dreaded H1N1 too.

Last year I committed to working on boosting our immune systems.  If we could keep Indie healthy, then maybe we could escape some of the sickness. We took probiotics, drank Echinacea tea, elderberry tablets, Kombucha tea, wellness tablets,…I have spent so much money on immune boosting medicine it is crazy. But alas, the periodic sickness continued. About germs; we tried both ends of the spectrum. First we weren’t religious about washing hands and then we became germaphobes. This winter it was time we decided to fight the war full on and we did use the anti-bacterial soap and hand sanitizer.   But again we lost the battle.

So my next line of defense: supplements. I’m not a big supplement taker. I don’t like to swallow the big horse-like pills. The only supplement I have taken with any regularity is B12 (the one thing that is difficult to get in a vegetarian diet). And the reason why I have stuck it out with B12 is that is a teeny tiny pill that you dissolve in your mouth.  I give Indie a daily chewable multi-vitamin. She doesn’t complain. She thinks she is getting a treat. So that got me thinking.  That’s exactly what I need. So my latest purchase had been a whole line of chewables:

My new chewables

Chewable calcium, chewable vitamin D, and a chewable multi-vitamin and mineral.  And so far I’ve been able to keep up taking them with some consistency.  Granted there is sweetener added to the chewables to make them tolerable, but hey, that small amount is OK with me if I can stay healthy for 4 weeks.  Vegetarians beware that some chewables contain gelatin.

The other thing I’m adding to my line of defense are smoothies. I have a vitamix which I love. It makes the best smoothies. I’ve been making mixed berry smoothies about 3 times a week.  Ingredients include: greek yogurt, vanilla protein powder, banana, berries, orange juice and ice.  A good source of protein, calcium, and anti-oxidants.  Next I want to experiment with  making super green veggie drinks (carrots, greens, celery, parsley, etc.). I’ll post some recipes later. 

And finally, I got over my fear of  sinus flushes. There are a couple of different methods (neti pot or flush bottle) to do this, but basically you flush warm saline water up your nose  to help clean out mucus, allergens, irritants, bacteria and viruses thereby reducing the frequency of infection. It actually feels pretty good.  As soon as I start to feel like I may be getting sick, out comes the flush bottle and so far so good. I’ve been healthy for 6  weeks and counting!

So in summary, this is what I’m currently doing:

-Daily multi vitamin and mineral
-Vitamin D 2000 IU
-Fruit Smoothies
-Super Green Drinks
-Sinus Flushes
-and over the winter I’ll add an immune boosting supplement and probiotics.

What works for you? What is your stay healthy plan?

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  • Great story. Yep it can be confounding trying to stay healthy sometimes.
    I had good success this last winter by monitoring my Vitamin D blood level and supplementing Vitamin D based on that. I’ve found that most people need about 5000 IU vitamin D a few times a week to stay at or above the ideal 50ngm blood level. I encourage people to get a blood level in October and again January to keep an eye on the Vitamin D.

  • That’s good to know. I didn’t even think to get Vit D blood levels checked. Thanks.

  • Mike Lilly

    What worked for me? Time. As the kids grow older, their exposure to day-care, pre-school, elementary school viruses goes down. It’s the only sure thing. Sorry. No one tells you about this problem because there is nothing you can do about it, and we don’t want to seem like complainers. But almost every parent has experienced it.

  • I hope you are right. Sometimes it’s so hard. I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel yet. I’ll keep looking for it though! And in the mean time, keep working on boosting my immune system as much as I can.

  • Mischelle mcmillan, MD

    Hey Julie, have you tried adding co-enzyme Q-10. It is an enzyme found in the electron transport chain (which is part of the energy producing enzymatic processes in the body). This is an O2 dependant (aerobic) system and is responsible for producing 95% of the body’s energy sources (ie ATP). It is found primarily in mitrochondria. Coenzyme Q-10 deficiency is a VERY RARE disease (I have only seen one patient with this disease and he needed an iron lung in order to breath). However, coenzyme Q-10 is commonly used as a supplement in daily life. There is some evidence that it helps repair muscles after a workout. In addition, a small study showed that it reduced the pain associated with statins (example=Lipitor) by about 50%. I would take 400 mg/day. Hope this helps.
    PS….your daughter is probably bringing home a new virus about every 2 weeks….there is a reason why infectious disease docs call kids in Daycare “disease vectors”!!!!! But don’t worry…this too will pass!

  • Mischelle mcmillan, MD

    Oh and I forgot to say I really agree with the vitamin D comment above. 40 to 50 % of people in the Pacific NW are vitamin D deficient. You should have a 25 hydroxy vitamen D leval checked (aka 25-OH vitamin D). A normal range is between 32 and 100 ng/mL. Use a Legacy lab to have this drawn…Providence labs are behind the times and don’t have the correct ranges on their”normal ranges”. Take a soft gel capsule…better absorbed than a hard tablet and recheck vitamin-D levals in 1-2 months. I check vitamin D levals on all my patients!
    And hey what about omega-3 fish oils (or walnuts)????

  • Some good information Mischelle. Thanks. Personally, I get omega-3 from walnuts and flax seed oil. I was going to talk about that in a future posting on wellness and nutrition.

  • Hmmm…I don’t know much about coenzyme Q-10. Would this be a supplement for overall wellness or for immune health? Or both?

  • Mischelle McMillan

    Co-enzyme Q-10 appears to help with prevention/reoccurence of gingivitis (an infectious/inflammatory gum disease).Wikipedia has more info on this or you can do a “medline” web search.

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