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An Amateur’s Natural Wellness Plan

I definitely don’t consider myself an expert on holistic, natural wellness. I’m still learning, gleaning what I can from great books and blogs and my natureopathic doctor.

As we enter the season where we are being bombarded with guilt- and fear-based campaigns for the flu shot and other medicines and antibiotics, I’m attempting to brave the natural road one more time. Last year was really the first time I attempted a more natural program of immunity and wellness, and I’m hoping for even better results this year for me and my family.

We read about Stephanie’s awesome home remedies last week, and now we’ll look at a handful of simple preventative tools.

Here are my very basic weapons against getting sick:

  • Water with lemon, 5-7 mornings a week
  • Using my neti pot (preventatively), at least 2 times a week
  • Multivitamin, daily (since I’m always open to getting pregnant, I try to remember to stay on a prenatal vitamin regiment- plus they’re also good for the nails and hair)
  • Probiotics, daily
  • Cod liver oil, for vitamin D, daily
  • Lots of garlic and raw honey
  • Frequent and thorough hand-washing
  • Cleaning the bathrooms extra often

Photo by iburiedpaul

I’m hoping to continue to learn more this month here on Simple Organic and elsewhere, and I’m really excited about Stephanie’s series at Keeper of the Home this month on Natural Home Remedies and Illness Prevention. She started out with a great guest post about boosting your immune system with real foods. And hopefully you didn’t miss Katie’s recent post featuring more great ideas (and a recipe!) for staying healthy with real foods.

The more I learn about a traditional diet of real foods and homeopathic remedies, the more I see the body’s natural ability and power to fight off sickness.

What are your favorite natural immune boosters and wellness tools?

Reading Time:

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23 Comments

  1. Christine @ Lily of the Valley

    I really enjoyed this post! We are hoping to stay healthy this year via whole foods and by following a similar wellness plan.

  2. Kara

    Honestly, I’m a fan of good old hand washing with regular soap, not that fancy antibacterial kind. I also like to drink massive amounts of orange juice when sick…even though I’m pretty sure it’s more mental, than physically helpful. I’ve been blessed with a good immune system too and am lucky to not get sick often. I credit that to my parents who weren’t antibacterial/disinfectant obsessed and let us play outside (and accidentally eat dirt as babies).

    One thing that isn’t natural is that I have gotten the flu shot most of my life. I’ve fallen into the at risk category up through elementary school and then it just sort of became a habit. I haven’t gotten one this year and I think I’m going to try going without.

  3. Laura

    I’ve got really sore lymph glands right now, so I made myself two big pots of parsley infusion tea for cleansing. Usually it tastes horrible, but the last couple days I’ve been craving parsley like crazy! I must need something that’s in there. I used to drink pots of it when I was nursing to ward off mastitis when I’d get a blocked duct. It really did work for that so I’m hoping it’ll help my sore lymph glands.

    • Nicole aka Gidget

      thanks for sharing another home remedy, Laura!

  4. Christine

    I enjoy keeping my family well and restricting the use of antibiotics to treatment of bacterial infections requiring treatment (giving my kids antibiotics when they have strep throat for instance). But I don’t understand your perspective on the flu shot. Flu shots are invaluable at preventing illness and, while not naturally occurring the way the small pox vaccine was, they use natural principles to fight infection by showing our body a portion of the disease so we develop immunity.

    Generally, I find this blog to be informative but not too fringe. I have to say, this post about “guilt and fear based” campaigns for flu shots is quite extreme. Flu shots save lives and getting our children vaccinated is the best way to prevent the spread of flu through our family (including grand-parents and great-grandparents and infants, all at great risk from the disease) and the community. In fact, in rural villages where all children were vaccinated and no others received the vaccine, the village never got the flu at all! Natural and holistic is often ideal, but this doesn’t mean turning our backs on the valuable things modern medicine has brought to us when they are used properly.

    • Casey

      Flu shots are still preserved with mercury. I have extremely allergic and sensitive children, and both my husband and I agreed that the risk for our children outweighed the benefit, since the flu shot is an educated guess at the strains that might be present this season. The flu is not polio. We did have our kids vaccinated (mercury is no longer allowed in vaccines) but we don’t do the flu shot. I think it is responsible to educate families about what is in the shot, and let each make the choice that is best for them, without guilt.

      • Christine

        Casey,

        I understand needing to make the right decision for your child and your family. However, I think it’s taking it a bit further when you start out a blog post implying that advocating flu shots for the general population is fear mongering. An individual choice is very different than off handedly dismissing a public health policy that saves many lives annually.

        Also, they have thimerosol free and preservative free flu vaccines. They are in limited supply, but many pediatric offices and OB offices have them on hand. I know I received on of these when I was pregnant a year and a half ago and it was all the OB office stocked.

        • Nicole aka Gidget

          Christine, just to clarify, I’m not saying that “advocating flu shots for the general population is fear mongering” but rather I was speaking from my own experience about being bombarded by advertisements, doctors and family members using guilt/fear tactics to try to convince me to get the shot. I agree that it is an individual choice which is why I was offering some basic wellness ideas for those that are on the same page as me.

      • Nicole aka Gidget

        For the record, we also vaccinate our family. I just have a different gut feeling abou the flu shot.

    • Maryann

      From what I understand there are hundreds of variations of the flu. Each season the medical field tries to predict which strain of the flu is most likely to appear that year & creates a vaccine for that. The recipient is injected with a mild form of that flu & develops a resistance to it. They also develop some of the symptoms as well. ]

      Can it prevent the flu? Sometimes. For me & mine (all healthy non-risk) we prefer to do without than take a chance on adverse reactions. It seems to be crap-shoot, really…

  5. Kara @Simple Kids

    These are good reminders – some of them we already do, but some are ideas we don’t incorporate but probably should (like drinking water w/ lemon and I’m really bad about remembering to take my vitamins). Cleaning the bathrooms extra often isn’t fun, but it sure needs to go on my list, too.

    Great article, Nicole! It is getting to be that time of year and good to have some natural ways to guard against the cold and flu season.

    • Nicole aka Gidget

      yeah, the whole staying on top of a clean bathroom one is a tough one for me, but I’m trying!! 🙂

  6. priest's wife

    I keep seeing water with lemon in the morning in different places- guess I had better start doing that- Thanks for all the great ideas! My husband works in a hospital, so these tips are extra important

  7. Casey

    A simple one that is easily overlooked in cold weather – open your windows. Even the EPA suggests 10 minutes of open windows for fresh air daily, even in winter. Indoor air is usually more polluted than outdoor air!

    • Katie

      Nice tip, thanks, Casey!

  8. Angela

    i’ve been drinking bird nest soup every night (i only get the homemade kind back at home). the only reason why i drink it is because it’s supposed to be good for complexion.

    i’ve been taking the store-bought kind online (e.g. http://www.geocities.jp/hongkong_bird_nest/index_e.htm of famous branded only of course) which is directly mailed from Hong Kong. this would be at a more affordable price.

  9. priest's wife

    …ran this post by a few doctor friends- They concur and said that if everyone followed this advice, they wouldn’t have much business

  10. Milly Haynes

    Hi Nicole,

    Some other great antibacterial and anti viral ways to stay healthy in the winter months….extra virgin unrefined coconut oil ,raw honey and cinnamon. I put them all on my kiddos sprouted bagels or hide the coconut oil in a yummy raw food smoothy. Also Raw Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mothers in it is a cure all. My daughter woke up with a funny stomach this morning and after a concoction of water, ACV and honey she is all better!! That is basically all we use besides a netty pot and humidifier in the winter. My kids do well with eucalyptis oil on their feet and chest when coughing but the raw honey does WONDERS!!! I personally love my netty pot! We have never had a flu shot but we did use some homeopathic anti flu spray last season that seemed to be a helpful preventative.

  11. april

    This is so helpful! Thank you =) I’m just curious as I am hearing more about water with lemon if you always keep lemons on hand or if you buy lemon juice? If you buy the juice, where do you buy it?

    • Nicole aka Gidget

      I’m thinking I should write a future post about the water with lemon thing, and it’s benefits. 🙂

      In the mean time, yes, I LOVE lemons, so I try to keep them on-hand. This time of year, they are in season thankfully (love how God designed citrus to be in season when we need it most). My dad grows Meyer lemons (my favorite) so he gives me them often, and I have a new tree that I’m hoping will be fruitful. I otherwise by them in the store.

      Sometimes I freeze the juice in ice cube trays for when I’m out of lemons. I use store-bough juice in cooking if I need to, but don’t drink it in my water because I don’t like the taste as much as fresh.

      • april

        thanks! I do LOVE how God designed citrus to be in season when we need it most =) And freezing the juice in ice cube trays is simply genius!

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