Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?

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This year has been pretty brutal with regards to the flu, bronchitis, the stomach bug… you name it and we know someone who has had it.  The news is covered with stories on the latest area to be stricken.  Schools with low attendance, workplaces with hand sanitizer stations just inside every entrance, and grocery store shelves empty where tissue boxes, cough syrups, and fever reducers used to be.  The waiting rooms in all of the urgent care clinics in our area are filled with people suffering from these awful illnesses.

I am so thankful that we have had an unusually healthy Fall and Winter season in our household this year.  I can remember a time when our youngest had strep throat almost every Thanksgiving.  Yes, I mean on Thanksgiving.  It never failed.  If we were supposed to be going out-of-town, he would get sick the day before.  Bless his heart.  He would spend the day on the couch with a bowl, a washcloth, and a cup of Gatorade.  It seemed every Fall our two youngest would get the sniffles and the stuffy nose and congestion would just stay with them almost all Winter long.  Not really sick, but not really healthy or well either.  I remember one Valentine’s Day, I had already been sick for about a month and had an asthma type attack at work.  I had to leave and go to the doctor.  I had developed Bronchitis and was prescribed an inhaler and other meds.  The last couple of  years has been remarkably calm for our family and again – I am so very thankful.

So what changed?  Have we just been lucky this year?  Extra blessed?  I don’t think that’s it.  I thought this would be a good place to just think about and write down the changes we have been making over the last couple of years and how I believe they have helped and maybe how they might help you, too.  These are the big things that I believe have helped our family stay above the wellness line, so to speak.

We try to limit the amount of sugar we consume.  Excess sugar depresses immunity.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  We still ordered Girl Scout cookies.  We aren’t crazy!  We just watch the amount of sugar we consume and cut it out where we can.  I use raw Stevia in my coffee, for example.  I don’t drink coffee every day because it has a tendency to make me too acidic.  When our bodies are too acidic, disease can take root.

My son now drinks non fluoridated water and uses non fluoridated toothpaste.  We have been trying to reduce as much inflammation in his body and brain as we can.  This has proven, for us, to help him tremendously.  We also use aluminum free deodorant for the same reason.  We try to eat less inflammatory foods, such as dairy, grains, and soy.  Reducing things that cause inflammation in the body has been key.

My family started using essential oils last April.  We began that journey when our daughter had a severe eczema flare and nothing else we tried helped.  As a result of venturing into the world of essential oils we stumbled upon a super fruit drink called Ningxia Red.  It is a highly concentrated blend of super fruits, the wolfberry, and essential oils.  It helps support the immune system and is high in nutrients and anti-oxidants.  This has been a game changer for our family.  I will post another article on how this has helped our autistic son tremendously.

The last thing I believe that has helped us stay above the wellness line is the reduction in the use of toxins in our home.  I used to love to burn candles.  I was unaware of the dangerous chemicals released into the air when burning candles.  Most candles are made of paraffin wax, which emits highly toxic benzene and toluene when burned.  We have stopped using aerosol sprays that contain highly toxic chemicals like regular household cleaners.  The ingredients in some widely used disinfectant cleaners are highly toxic and can disrupt our endocrine and respiratory systems.  We are still in the process of replacing our cleaning supplies with non-toxic ones that won’t harm our bodies.

Now, I know that even doing all of this doesn’t make it impossible for us to get sick.  I just hope that by making these changes we stay healthy more often.  Each of these changes are simple, but I believe they add up.  As we eat healthier and take vitamins and supplements that strengthen our immune systems and rid our homes of as many toxic chemicals as possible, we get stronger and healthier.  Praying that you find all the things that help you and your family stay healthy, too.

 

 

My Story

I cannot even begin to tell you how far out of my comfort zone I am.  I have been asked by friends for years to start a food allergy blog, but was too afraid to do it.  Our middle child has multiple life threatening food allergies.  She is 18 now and not as severe with some of them as she used to be, but still anaphylactic to others.  I am not very good with technology.  Pencil and paper are more my speed, but after 25 years of marriage and learning to navigate food allergies, autism, keeping the neurotypical, non-food allergic child from feeling invisible (none of this perfectly, mind you)  I guess I have a lot to share.  So – here goes!

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My husband Steve and I have 3 children.  Madison is our oldest.  She is a recent college graduate and is currently in training for her first “big girl” job.  We are so very proud of her.  She has worked or volunteered, in some capacity, since she was 16 years old.  She has amazing compassion and love for her two younger siblings and has handled playing second fiddle to all of the medical needs with true grace.

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Lauren is our middle child and is in her first year of college.  Yes, it is a big challenge.  The university she attends has a rule for Freshmen to live on campus the first year.  She is anaphylactic to wheat, dairy, eggs and peanuts, so eating in the dining hall is not really an option.  We have kept her alive for 18 years by cooking the majority of her food.  She has still had to be injected with an epi-pen on 6 separate occasions, over the course of her life.  So, we chose her roommate carefully and received an accommodation to have a full size refrigerator in her dorm room to be able to hold all of her meals.  I make a weeks worth of breakfasts, lunches and dinners every weekend. It has worked very well for her college to be only an hour away.   We are so very thankful for Enjoy Life Foods and other companies like them that have come onto the scene over the last several years that have pre-packaged cookies and snacks that she is able to have.  Lauren is doing very well this year and just received notice of  making the Dean’s List this past semester.

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Our baby is Michael.  He is 15 years old.  He is funny, friendly and has the biggest heart of anyone I know.  I have learned many lessons from him over the past 15 years of his young  life.  I could tell things weren’t the same as with the girls when he was around 11 or 12 months old.  He would open up DVD cases and spin them.  He would line up toys and have a meltdown and a half if one of them was moved.  He did not speak.  All of my friends and our pediatrician assured me it was just that he was the baby and the girls spoke for him and that he would do things eventually.  If he had been my first child, I probably would have believed them, but he was not.  By your third child,  you know.  You don’t just take what anyone says and go with it because you think they know more.  I think even mothers of first-born children probably know.  Anyway, over the next 8 years we went through evaluation after evaluation.  We were told severe developmental delay, ADHD, sensory integration dysfunction (sensory processing disorder), and then finally what I knew all along and just needed someone else to see – Autism.  Of course,  before the official diagnosis at the age of 9, we still sought out help and therapy.  I had to teach him how to put his pants on and pull them up,  put his shirt on and put his shoes on.  Nothing came naturally like it had with the girls.  I vividly remember going to a parent-teacher store and buying beads and shoestrings to help him learn fine motor skills. I sat on the living room floor and put him sitting in front of me and dumped the beads and string onto the floor.  I took his hand in mine and helped him pick up a string and then a bead and put it onto the string.  You know that angry cry that little ones have when they don’t want to do something?  Yep.  That was Michael…and me, except my cry wasn’t an angry one.  It was one of heartbreak, that every little thing was such a huge struggle for him.  I could tell story after story just like so many other autism moms out there.  I tell you how we started out, not to make you sad, but to bring hope to those of you out there experiencing the same.  Michael is now in the 8th grade in public school.  He still has many struggles, but is doing remarkably well.  I cannot wait to tell you more about all of the progress he has made over the years and is still making and what all we have learned on this journey.

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Steve and I have been married for 25 wonderful years.  Does that mean each day has been wonderful?  Umm…no.   I can say, however, that I wouldn’t have wanted to do All The Things with anyone else in this world.  I look forward to sharing what all we have learned that has worked in our lives, family, marriage to hopefully encourage you as you tackle all the things of life.

 

Cindy

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