The boys have been getting sick a lot lately. We’ve made so many trips to the doctor’s in the last few months that I’m seriously concerned about their health. I suspect it that a large part of the reason is due to Hercules starting school in November. Unlike Aristotle, who is a bit of a germaphobe, Hercules is filthy. He puts anything to his mouth, including the soles of his shoes, so it is hardly surprising that he picks up a lot of germs. Throw him in with a bunch of other little kids who can’t keep their germs to themselves and it’s really a recipe for sickness.
Of course, the boys’ diets leaves a lot to be desired since they don’t really eat veggies or fruits – Hercules is marginally better than his brother in this department but not by much. Additionally, I haven’t been consistent with the vitamin supplements and now that Hercules has weaned, he hasn’t got the protective benefit of my breastmilk either.
To give their immune system a bit of a boost, I’ve been trying to improve their nutrient intake…
Wood’s Cold Shield
Contains immune boosting ingredients: Vitamin C, Zinc and Echinacea. I give this to the boys whenever they are coming down with something because it is supposed to help reduce the severity of the illness and shorten its duration.
Colostrum is the stuff that is produced during the early days of breastfeeding. It is supposed to be high in antibodies which helps to strengthen the immature immune systems of young babies. Now it seems that taking bovine colostrum supplements may be beneficial to the immune systems of children and adults. Before you rush out to the pharmacy, let me first warn you that the jury is still out on whether it really does provide added benefit to the immune function. Even if it does work, you’ll need to do your research on your supplements to make sure you get the quality stuff.
We were given a tub of colostrum powder by a doctor we saw when Hercules was sick. The doctor says that all of his patients who have been on it have found it really helps. The powder mixes up like milk powder and tastes a bit like skim milk. Hercules and Aristotle won’t take it neat so I have tried to mix it with Milo. Hercules managed to get through half a cup before he told me something was “wrong” with his Milo. That’s what you get when you have kids with sensitive palates. I blame their father.
In the end, the person who has benefited from that tub of colostrum powder has been me. Is it helping? Well, I don’t seem to be getting sick quite as often or as badly since I started taking it. Or perhaps it’s just placebo? Who knows…
Read more about it:
Since the boys’ diets are lacking, a multivitamin is always a good place to start. The boys are currently on Champs M with Lysine chewable (orange flavour). It’s not the best multivitamin for children but it’s one that they will take. I tried Blackmores Kids Multi but Aristotle didn’t like it.
Given the fact that the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables have been diminishing over the years, it is probably a good idea to take a regular multivitamin supplement even if your child’s diet is good.
Supplements can be helpful when your diet is insufficient but the best way to get your nutrients is still through real food. Since the veggies are an uphill battle, we needed another plan of attack and I figured that the next best way would be to ply them with fruits. Hercules loves strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, oranges and bananas. As far as nutrient content goes, this is a pretty good list. Aristotle likes apples, oranges, grapes and some mangoes. I’ve made it a point for them to consume fruits on a daily basis but I felt we could do better.
Some time back I tried some recipes from The Sneaky Chef. While the idea in theory sounded great, it failed during execution. Recently, I blended some fruits into a smoothie and Aristotle took it. Encouraged, I tried to sneak in some veggies. The results were promising – I added 3 stalks of celery and a whole carrot without the taste being noticeable (check out the recipe). I thought that was pretty good since celery usually has a very distinctive taste that can be hard to mask entirely.
The plan is to add in some spinach next…
To plan the nutrient content of your smoothie, you can follow these nutrient guides: