Winterizing School Age Children:
Keeping Them Well Is a Major Responsibility

School days are now in full force, with the hot summer months quickly folding into fall and winter coming way too soon. (Sigh) As we anticipate these long cold months ahead, many of us are wondering how this winter will be different from others that came before it. This is a question we had no need to contemplate in years’ past. (Another big sigh) :>)

Some of us are concerned about all the new mandates in this school year, which arose after hectic month after month dealing with masks, lockdowns, and vaccines that some are still skeptical about. This is why I thought the idea of winterizing our children would be a good subject to write about from the perspective of someone in the nutritional arena. So, let’s talk kid stuff and how to keep them as safe as we can from serious illness, not just during this peculiar year but for years to come.

Where to Start

I recommend that you immediately order one of the best books on preparing easy, profoundly nourishing meals in record time: The Nourishing Traditions Cookbook for Children. Maybe you already have a copy that you are familiar with—or maybe you have a copy but it hasn’t been a top read in your life. Either way, cracking the pages of this book will show you how to prepare a variety of handy quick snacks, easy meals, sandwiches, and yummy, healthy beverages that even the children can help make. (Smile) If you don’t already have it, go out and buy this book. Then come back and learn some more ideas for winterizing children below.

Another resource that I highly recommend is Trophia: Simple Steps to Everyday Self-Health by Paula Widish. Parents will find many useful tips for small steps they can take to help put their family on a path towards a healthier lifestyle.

The Child of Today

The days of giving direct orders and telling our children what to do is long over. Yes, that’s what I mostly see in the parenting of today. I recognize that parents have more or less switched over to a form of negotiating in order to get kids to do things our way. (Smile) Nevertheless, most parents seem to be winning, and what better way to get children on your side than with nourishing foods and gentle remedies that will help keep them off of the antibiotic trek. If you think antibiotics are a great way to get sick kids well, please think again and read my blog post on how to keep free from antibiotics, including seeking safer alternatives.

The Most Frequent Winter Illnesses of Childhood

As I did the research for this article, I learned that the five illnesses below are the most frequent winter illnesses that children experience, but they are not necessarily caused by cold weather as many of us think. Rather, most of them are caused by being stuck inside classrooms or at home where fresh air is not a part of the normal environment. Click on the links to learn more about each of these serious conditions.

Prior to the lockdowns, I wrote “Goodbye Hot, Hello Cold: The Real Cause of Winter Colds.” The following quote from this article is about the importance of our immune system and is highly relevant when it comes to the prevention of colds and flus.

“Addressing the health of the following key body parts is, in my opinion, the only way to maintain a strong, functioning immune system, and the experts I’ve consulted with agree with me. These key portions of the body are as follows:

“The digestive system: This is the first line of defense in protecting our overall well-being. And the stomach, where hydrochloric acid (HCI) is produced, is of particular importance. HCI breaks down the food we ingest and kills pathogens and toxins in our food. HCI is also a deterrent to parasites. It’s important to note that HCI begins to wane after the age of forty. Medications, such as acid blockers for acid reflux, interfere with HCI production and other digestive functions. [Note: ½–1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar with a bit of water is an inexpensive way to replace supplemental hydrochloric acid.]

“The intestine-immune connection: You’ve probably heard that a full 70–90 percent of the immune system is dependent on the health of our digestive system. There are numerous references to this fact in medical and holistic literature. It’s often called our ‘second brain’ or the ‘center of digestive intelligence.’ This immune-intestine connection starts with the fact that our bodies are 90 percent bacteria.

“Yes, for every cell in your body, you have nine cells of bacteria living in and on your body. And most of that bacterium (called intestinal flora) lives inside your intestinal tract. That’s why the health of your intestinal flora is paramount to the health of your body and that of your children.”

4 Recommendations to Help all Children Have a Happy, Healthy Winter

  1. Coconut oil. Give the children as much organic coconut oil as they want. This definite internal body warmer, which is known for its antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties, should be used on a daily basis. Cook with it, put it on sandwiches, melt it in hot soups and beverages, or just eat from the spoon!
  2. Broth. Prepare bone broth for the children and the rest of the family using recipes from Nourishing Broth by Sally Fallon Morrell and Kaayla T. Daniel. (Also read my blog post “Medicinal Broth for Winter’s Woes.”)
  3. Cod liver oil. Start the kids on a daily dose of fermented cod liver oil from Green Pasture or Cod Liver Oil from Standard Process. Both provide natural sources of vitamin D and are great for warming up internal body temperature.
  4. Raw milk. To learn more about the powerful influence of raw milk on the body, read my blog post “Raw Milk Awakening!

2 Suggested Whole Food Supplements

  1. Congaplex Chewable. This whole food supplement from Standard Process contains thymus gland, a specialized primary lymphoid organ of the immune system found in concentrated whole foods.
  2. Lactic Acid Yeast. Add these chewable wafers after or with the children’s meals. (Unless you intend to make fermented foods as shown in Cook Your Way to Wellness and Sally Fallon Morrell’s Nourishing Traditions.)

In closing, the key—as always—is nutrition, nutrition, and nutrition! Oh, and a big hug before bedtime is always a welcome and comforting gesture that many tired and worn-out parents may at times forget. Winter is a good time for remembering these precious moments.

Afterthoughts from the Traditional Cook

My Precious Child

The greatest gift we will ever know
is a child, born to love and grow.
Conception is a miracle in itself;
the start of new life and good health.

Such a treasure your precious child is,
who will thrive on every hug and kiss.
Hold them close and sing them songs;
they will only be a child for so long.

They may not always smell pure and sweet,
dirty diaper or a dampened sheet.
But with a loving cuddle and a beautiful smile,
the joys of parenthood are all worthwhile.

“Thank you, Lord, for our precious child.”
Lisa Runstedler

Disclaimer from Maria Atwood, CNHP: I am a Certified Natural Health Professional (CNHP) not a medical doctor. I do not diagnose, prescribe for, treat, or claim to prevent, mitigate, or cure any human diseases. Please see your medical doctor or health practitioner prior to following any recommendations I make in my blog posts or on my website.

Images from iStock/Wavebreakmedia (main), Prostock-Studio (mother and sick daughter), nadisja (coconut oil). 

Maria Atwood, CNHP

Maria Atwood is a semiretired Certified Natural Health Professional and Weston A. Price Chapter Leader in Colorado Springs, CO. Visit her website at TraditionalCook.com. Also check out Maria’s Cook Your Way to Wellness DVD (also available as an e-learning course) and be sure to follow her Tips from the Traditional Cook blog.
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