Even though the weather has been beautiful, apparently winter is on its way! A break from the sweaty weather can be a relief, but for me it brings all those dreaded viruses, colds and too many episodes of Man-Flu. You see, I live with 5 males (4 boys and a Husband) and this can be a challenge seeing as though they don’t like pain or discomfort in any way (I gave birth to all of them so the low pain threshold must come from their dad!). If one gets sick, by the time the first victim has recovered the next one is down for the count. Therefore it becomes a never ending cycle of green mucous and I feel like I’m cornered trying to be the carer whilst also trying not to breathe in around them! So for me, the best trick to keeping the whole family healthy is by getting in early to support their immunity and build their resistance to bugs. I don’t wait Man-Flu before I act (this is mainly for my own benefit and sanity!)
Currently, I am focusing on my teenage boys’ health as they seem to be the ones to bring home the most bugs (they are boys and all). My eldest is in his final year of school which is bringing many different challenges and increased stress into our lives. QCS exams, University applications, formals, part-time jobs, learning to drive and that scary feeling that they are soon to be let loose in the ‘real world’ completely stresses
me out woops I mean him out. Other mums and myself have noticed that this can bring on extra skin break- outs, anxiety attacks for some, out-of-whack hormones and general fatigue which is more than the usual I’m-a-Teenager-I-can’t-do-chores type of fatigue us mums are normally used to!
Here are a few ways I have managed to tackle some of these challenges so far:
How I have kept the family healthy (so far):
- Andrographis tablets – I have stocked up on these little babies – the kids aren’t allowed to leave the house before having one in the morning. They are wonderful for supporting the immune system, great for the liver (helps the skin), and if you can manage to get one with added zinc or Echinacea you will be sure to give your kids that added boost. You don’t need these in huge quantities, but prevention is key!
- Fish Oil capsules – Ironically, we often forget to take these wonderful memory and cognition enhancers. Kids need the omega 3 fats especially as we don’t make DHA ourselves and this is what gives our brains the ability to retain information and think clearly! I now sit them on the counter with a reminder post-it-note 😉
- Limit dairy and wheat– I have found huge improvements in the kids health and skin after dramatically cutting the amount of dairy they consume. I also packed our toaster away in the cupboard months ago and find that they automatically reach for healthier alternatives than just plain toast in the morning – simply because they are too lazy to get the toaster out. Brilliant…I know! The older boys are actually asking for salads for their lunch, which is a bonus!
- Restrict Wifi time – Sleep is definitely an important factor to keeping them healthy and so the kids need to have some sort of quiet time away from laptops, screens, ipads etc before they nod off. My Husband was clever enough to install a wifi modem that is capable of multiple SSID’s (wifi signals) that limits each of the kid’s time on the internet. My younger boys has theirs cut off at 7:00pm and the older boys get a little extra time for their studies. I have also been told about an app called OurPact, which has similar benefits.
- Balanced Nutrition – I notice that when my boys’ nutrition is at its best they not only perform better at school, they also seem happier. Unfortunately, depression and anxiety can be common amongst our teenagers whilst they deal with the stress of High School and beyond, but balancing those nutrients and giving the kids a good mix of veggies, fruit, fat and protein (with some junk likely mixed in that I can’t always control) seems to give them what they need to get through their hectic lives. It also let’s me rest in peace knowing that they are getting their basic nutrition and not living on junk or fast foods.
My Failsafe Chicken Zoodle Soup:
- 1 cup of diced red or brown onion
- 1 large carrot (optional)
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 2 medium zucchinis
- 2 garlic cloves
- fresh or dried thyme
- fresh or dried oregano
- 4 chicken thigh’s
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups of homemade or store bought chicken broth (I like Massell Brand has no added MSG)
- 2 cups of water
- Place a large soup pot over medium heat and add in the onions, celery, carrots and garlic. Cook for a few minutes or until vegetables “sweat” and onions are translucent. Add in the thyme and oregano and cook for another 1 minute, stirring frequently.
- Place in the chicken thighs and bay leaf and pour in the chicken broth, water and cover and let come to a boil. Once boiling, lower to a steady simmer and cook for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the chicken and peel off the skin and discard. Then, shred the chicken off the bone and set aside, with any juices. Place the bones back into the soup pot and simmer for 10 more minutes, uncovered.
- While the bones simmer, slice the zucchinis halfway lengthwise. Then, spiralize them, using Blade C (alternatively if you don’t have a Spiralator, just peel the Zucchinis into long strips like spaghetti or slicing it thinly). Set zoodles aside.
- Remove the bones and bay leaves and discard. Add the reserved shredded chicken back to the pot along with the zucchini noodles. Cook for 5 minutes or until zucchini is al dente or cooked to your preference. Serve warm.