6 Tips to Prepare Your Family's Immune System for Fall!

Bring on the school days and get ready for the cold and flu season that is shortly to follow. Not only do we have new germs we'll be exposed to, but we are also dealing with an increase in sugar intake, changes in diet, changes in stress levels, and less exposure to sunlight and vitamin D. So, if you're hoping to get a jump start on the season, here are a few tips from our family to yours, for nourishing healthy immune systems this Fall!

1. Sneak in "The Goods" with a Protein Shake!

Starting the day with a delicious non-dairy protein shake is the EASIEST way to sneak in immune stimulators without having to battle with your children to take just one more vitamin.  Fill up the vitamix with a non-dairy milk of your choice (we use organic almond milk), a few scoops of plant-based protein powder, fresh berries, a banana, and herbs and vitamins of your choice. I dont' suggest over-doing it with a lot vitamins/herbs at one time, as you don't want to upset anyone's stomach, however here's what we do in our home: 

  • Almond Milk
  • Banana
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • 500mg of Vit C (NO ascorbic acid!) 
  • Echinacea (Dr. Schulze is our favorite)
  • Plant based protein powder (Vega protein powder)

2. Curcumin (Turmeric)                                               

Curcumin is well known as the anti-inflammatory component found in the spice, Turmeric.  It's an excellent immunomodulatory agent that can enhance T-cells and increase antibodies. To get the benefits of this herb, Turmeric Milk is a favorite staple in our home. We heat up vanilla almond milk and add a tablespoon of the turmeric mixture. Delicious!! You can also add a few droppers of liquid Turmeric from Herbpharm to a glass of juice as a daily tonic  to boost your immunity and shorten the length of the common cold. When in the thick of a cold, add in a drop of oregano oil to kick it up a notch! (*Turmeric not recommended when taking blood thinners). 

3. Herbal Cold & Flu Shot (Adults)


The best flu shot is one that actually BOOSTS your immunity in preparation for the many strains of flu that are never quite accurately predictable from season to season. Our family uses Dr. Schulze's Cold & Flu shot not only as a preventative, but also to shorten the duration of any invaders that might slip through the cracks and cause a fever. It's strong, so we start slow and dose a very small amount. (For kids: I suggest contacting the support team at Dr. Schulze, who are great at answering specific dosage questions). We generally take this tonic for about 10 days prior to the start of the school year to provide an extra layer of immune strength. It's the real deal!

4. Reduce the Sugar and Ditch the GMO Corn Syrup! 


The sugar rush starts with Halloween and then continues straight through to the end of December. It's like one massive dump of toxins on your immune system that attacks it from every angle, and then BOOM - we're all battling the flu. Suggestions? Monitor your sugar intake!  Once the holidays hit, we LIMIT, MONITOR, AND SUBSTITUTE with healthy, low sugar sweets. Corn Syrup is not an option so read your labels. Purchase organic candy products without food dyes and and additives such as Annie's and Yum Earth. Make your own cookies with organic ingredients - no excuses - there are box products now...!  Remember: sugar feeds disease! 


5. Switch to Herbal Tea!

HERBAL tea.jpeg

As the winter sets in, we round up our bedtime routine with warm, immune boosting teas. It soothes the stomach and nourishes your immune system while you sleep. Replacing your dehydrating, acidic, caffeine packed coffee is also a MUST as we approach winter, because an acid body easily brings on illnesses. Instead of coffee, choose teas that are alkalizing and medicinal at the same time. Decaffeinated is preferred, however if you're afraid to make the switch, I encourage starting with a green tea for the caffeine-kick, and then slowly reducing your intake to decaffinated over time. Adding a teaspoon of raw honey has a multitude of health benefits, not to mention studies show it's a powerful healing agent for sore throats.  My favorite tea company:  The Art of Tea.

6. Sunlight, Vit. D and Stress Reduction


As Fall sets in, so does an increase in our stress levels as well as a decrease in our exposure to the sunlight. I find that taking brisk walks or doing yard work for just 15 minutes a day is a great way to keep the body moving and exposed to natural vitamin D. Adding a few drops of liquid Vitamin D to your daily smoothie also provides an extra immune boost for the whole family. Weekly epsom salt baths, lavender aromatherapy in your bedroom, and an earlier bedtime (7-8 hrs. of sleep for adults, 9-10 hrs of sleep for children) can significantly reduce your stress levels and promote stronger immunity. Stop over-booking your family and learn to say, "No." 

As we approach the cooler months, the body is begging to slow down and replenish itself. It's important to carve out time to rest, eat together as a family, and trim electronic usage. So when things get hectic this Fall, and you know they will, remember to grab a cup of tea, breathe some fresh air, and stay present for yourself. You have the ability to make positive changes, so go for it!




*As always, one size doesn't fit all. If you have a medical condition, be sure to consult with your physician prior to beginning a new health care regime.  :) 




Quick Tip: Top 5 Essential Oils for your home.

Photo by Aamulya/iStock / Getty Images

Dating as far back as 4500 B.C., the Egyptians were the first people known to have cultivated uses of Essential Oils. They revered these plant-based tinctures as the Medicine of the Gods. Not only did they use essential oils for their highly sophisticated embalming processes, but they also leveraged the life force of plant oils to heal the sick and treat the most advanced wounds, tumors and psychotic illnesses. Plants were the foundational medicines during this time, and healing rituals were centered upon the flow of energy in the body as a whole, complete, living organism.

The healing power of essential oils are some of the most potent yet underutilized plant based medicinals we have access to on our planet, so I'd like to share a few of my favorites with you, and tell you why I believe you should have them on hand at all times!


1. Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia)

  • can typically be applied directly to the skin (always do a patch test)
  • antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antidepressant properties
  • excellent for soothing minor burns, sunburn and bug bites
  • put some on a cotton ball and tuck it in your pillowcase for a soothing night's sleep
  • add about 10 drops to a bath for a truly relaxing experience
  • rub it on the bottom of your children's feet just before bedtime
  • My Favorite Pick: Weleda Lavender Oil

2. Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) 

  • should be mixed with a carrier oil, cream, or body butter
  • relieves nasal and bronchial congestion (chest rub mixed with carrier agent)
  • used as a disinfectant in hospitals in Europe; mix it with some water and get cleaning
  • add to an air filter, humidifier or even on the shower walls to open up the nasal cavities and breathe easier
  • My Favorite Pick: Aura Cacia Eucalyptus Oil 

3. Peppermint Leaf (Mentha piperita)

  • do not apply directly to skin, always mix with a carrier oil such as Jojoba or Olive Oil
  • add a few drops to a glass of water to reduce hot flashes
  • mix a few drops with a carrier oil, and apply to upset stomach, back of neck to relieve muscle pain, or a dab on your forehead to reduce a headache and improve mental focus
  • a few drops on the tongue and your breath will be sparkling
  • natural bug and ant repellant
  • My Favorite: Aroma Foundry

4. Lemon (Citrus limon)

  • not to be applied directly to skin; always mix with a carrier oil
  • invigorating, uplifting, mood enhancing 
  • excellent cleaning agent mixed with water; removes sticky, gooey muck
  • use to wipe your cutting boards free of bacteria
  • add a few drops to hot water and raw honey to alleviate flu symptoms
  • My favorite: Floracopia

5. Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)

  • can be applied topically (always do a patch test)
  • powerful antiseptic, antifungal, antibacterial
  • helps reduce acne with a few dabs on a cotton swab applied to the inflamed area
  • athlete's foot, nail fungus, bug bites
  • add to shampoo to reduce dandruff (and head lice...yikes!)
  • fights cold sores
  • a few drops in a spray bottle will purify the air in any space
  • My favorite: First Botany

If you have any questions/thoughts about Aromatherapy and you enjoyed reading this article, please click like, feel free to share or even post a comment below! I would love to hear from you!


THE TOP 5 TOXINS I AVOID LIKE IT'S MY JOB. (oh wait..it is my job...)

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am DEEPLY passionate (and borderline extreme) when it comes to toxic ingredients in my family's food, body care products and our environment. Why? Because when you have a child born with a compromised immune system who cannot effectively eliminate toxins from the body, reading labels and spending endless hours researching toxic chemicals becomes part of your everyday lifestyle. It's definitely a game-changer!   

The following is my list of non-negotiables: 

1. Carrageenan 

Carrageenan is a common food additive extracted from Red Seaweed and used as a thickener and emulsifier to improve the texture in foods.

  • Commonly found in: nut milks, ice-cream, yogurt and cheeses
  • Why I avoid it like the plague: can cause inflammation in the body and it is often used in drug studies to gauge the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory, experimental drugs. Lab mice also don't prefer it as it impairs their insulin production which leads to diabetes. 
  • Here's a suggestion: Take note next you're food shopping, of the many companies that are now posting on their packaging "carrageenan-free!"  Consider organic alternatives and read your labels.


2. BFR's (new car smell!):

Brominated Flame Retardants are just some of the 100's of chemicals off-gassing in your new car, and it's not just a matter of keeping the windows cracked for a few days.

  • Commonly found in: New Cars. (duh)
  • Why I avoid it like the plague: .  The off-gassing of these chemicals can last up to a year, and research has tied BFR exposure to learning impairment, infertility, and thyroid problems. Add in chlorine, PVC's, lead and heavy metals, and you have a lovely chemical cocktail that's all yours, bumper to bumper, all inclusive with a 5 year, 30,000 mile warranty.
  • Here's a suggestion: If you have to buy new, keep the windows completely down as much as possible and put some eucalyptus essential oil on cotton balls and toss them under your seats to diffuse the toxins faster. Your respiratory system will be so happy :) 

3. FD&C Red Dye 40 (and the rest of the artificial rainbow)

Since 1950, the legal amount of food dye allowed in consumer products regulated by the FDA has risen by more than 300%, with most food colorants being consumed in beverages. Got Gatorade? Horrifying. 

  • Commonly found in: pretty much EVERYTHING processed that you and your pets eat.... and even in your kids bubble bath (yikes...read your labels)
  • Why I avoid it like the plague: It's linked to hyperactivity and ADD in children, brain and adrenal tumors in mice, the FDA has banned some of these colorants in cosmetics, and certain countries in Europe have already banned most of the popular artificial colors we use in America (do you think maybe they know something we don't?). Lastly, my body body doesn't know what to do with anything artificial so it deposits this stuff on my estrogen receptor sites hoping I won't notice and it will all go away as mysteriously as it crept in. 
  • Here's a suggestion: Buy foods with natural food dyes made from fruit and veggie juices. They exist, but you have to shop in the natural food aisles. (ironic how we separate "natural food" in grocery stores..hmm?)  

4. Hormones

Currently, an estimated 80% of all US conventional beef cattle are injected with 6 different anabolic steroids (3 synthetic, 3 natural) to promote faster growth as they enter feed lots. Approximately 20% of dairy cattle also receive rBGH, recombinant bovine growth hormone, a genetically modified artificial hormone, that increases milk production. 

  • Commonly found in: conventional beef, dairy, poultry, fish
  • Why I avoid it like the plague: rBGH cows have much higher levels of IGF-1, a hormone considered to be a high-risk factor for breast, prostate, colon, lung and other cancers. Dairy cows are prone to constant udder infections from over-milking, so they are also treated with much higher levels of antibiotics hence being a possible cause as to why more diseases are becoming antibiotic resistant. Hormones in meat and dairy inevitably pass into our bodies through ingestion, therefore altering our natural hormone balance (no- you don't poop it out). If hormones make the cow fatter, what do you think it's doing to you? Over 100 countries have BANNED US milk treated with rBGH from entering their food system (AGAIN, I ask, do you think maybe they know something we don't??). And lastly, look around at the physiological differences we're seeing in childhood development with girls' bodies developing at much younger ages and the skyrocketing issues around infertility that couples are experiencing.
  • Here's a suggestion: If you are a meat and dairy consumer, PLEASE consider buy organic, natural, and local meats. Yes it costs a bit more, but isn't your health worth it??

5. High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

HFCS is a cheap, chemically processed corn-derived sweetener that is being dished out in our country in what I consider to be pharmaceutical doses!! It contributes to obesity, diabetes and now studies are showing it may be linked to enlargement of heart muscles.  Yikes! 

So why is it the basic ingredient in almost every food the average American eats? Because big companies are making a fortune off of the massive addictions and epidemic diseases that are a direct result of our rampant sugar consumption.

  • Commonly found in: pretty much everything you ingest that's not labeled organic or natural
  • Why I avoid it like the plague: HFCS contains traces of inorganic mercury due to the manufacturing processes necessary to metabolize the corn starch. Last I checked, mercury wasn't on my supplements list.... The average American consumes up to 140 pounds of sugar per year contributing to the drastic rise in obesity and childhood diabetes. (1000% consumption increase from 1970-1990). Soda and Ice tea drinkers consume approximately 17-20 teaspoons of sugar per drink, and most people drink at least 2 cans a day due to sugar addiction. HFCS is NOT the same as cane sugar and is processed differently in the body, robbing it of essential molecules for our body's natural energy production. Result? You feel drained after HFCS intake. HFCS has been shown to actually put holes in intestinal lining. (enough said). Corn is one of the top USA genetically modified crops (GMO) produced by big industries, and it's "dirt" CHEAP! (you do the math...) BTW, if you think you're safe because you drink diet soda all day long, think again....but I'll leave that for my next blog.
  • Here's a suggestion: Obviously, look for alternative foods that contain natural cane sugar in low amounts. There are natural sodas available on the market and you can even make your own if you have a culinary edge. For those serious about conquering sugar addiction, I highly suggest having a look at the Body Ecology Diet which talks about proper food combining and cutting off all refined sugars. I promise you'll sleep a lot better, your mood will improve, you'll find a healthy weight, and the brain fog will disappear! 

As always, please leave your questions and comments below, and to CMB (cover my butt), this article is not intended to make any medical claims, and readers should always seek the advice of their medical practitioner before making any changes in a health regime.

Live Inspired!





Mind/Body Connections

About a year and a half ago, my eldest son started complaining of earaches that would randomly come and go, sometimes feeling excruciatingly painful for minutes on end and then going away as abruptly as they had set in.  Being an holistic family, we exercised all of the usual interventions from the warm onion technique, to homeopathy, but nothing was working for him. Even the pediatrician who did a thorough examination of his ears said there was absolutely no infection, and that things looked perfectly healthy. This was good news indeed, but intuitively I knew there was much more to come. I felt as though things wouldn’t physically shift for my son, until he was emotionally ready to step into some changes.

Throughout my life I have always been fascinated by the energetic patterning we create from mind/body connections - what we put out vibrationally, what we think, what we say, and how we feel, are all in direct relationship to our current state of health. The further away we go from self-love and self-care, the more intense becomes the calling from our physical body to return to a state of balance. This is how we manifest disease, and/or live in a state of wellness.  

In Louise Hay’s Book, You Can Heal Your Life, she devotes the final chapters of her cancer-surviving story to a system of naming the emotions that actually cause specific illnesses to manifest in the body, as well as offering affirmations to go with each illness as a means of helping people make shifts into wellness.   

For Earache she writes:

Anger. Not wanting to hear. Too much turmoil. Parents arguing.

Was our son’s body telling him he no longer wanted to hear the chaos in which we were living? Were we saying things to him that he just wasn’t ready to hear?  It wasn’t until 3 months ago that we finally had a major breakthrough:

It was Saturday morning and we were all moving about the house in our usual fast paced manner -  the TV was blaring and the dogs barked incessantly at each jogger who passed by our front porch. The kids were all in the living room watching Gumball (yes - I admit), when something on the show set off our daughter, leading her into a major melt-down, with tears and screaming out of control.

As she screamed, the dogs barked louder, and my husband started yelling at the dogs while I simultaneously started yelling at the boys to shut the TV immediately. Then came the “aha” moment of awareness:


Wow…all I could do in that moment was hold him tight as we sat on the floor together and cried. What had happened to our family?  I sat there and listened to the turmoil around us, as if for the FIRST time I could FINALLY hear what was actually happening in our environment - an environment that was supposed to be safe and nurturing for our family.  

For years we had become numb to the sounds and outbursts in our household, and unknowingly accepted a level of chaos as our normal state of living – chaos from work, chaos from dogs, chaos from kids, and chaos from mom and dad always trying to rise above it all and take control of the situation. There was no level of self-care for my husband and I or for our children, and it had gotten so bad that my son had manifested ear problems and wished deep down that his ears would "fall off.”

Ironically, every ailment is a gift in it’s own way, and ever since that day I’m happy to say we’ve been able to share conversations with our son much more openly about what he’s experiencing emotionally. We speak about where he’s feeling discomfort and tension in his body and we hold space for him to label his physical pain with words such as anger, sadness, or any other feelings that come to mind.  When he makes the connection as to where he’s holding his emotions physically, things seem to lighten up for him, and he’s able to step back into alignment with much more ease and clarity.  

I’m also happy to report that since that Saturday morning, our son’s earaches have mysteriously gone away, and as a family, we have set our self-care rituals into full swing. An excellent tool we use and one I suggest to my clients is that when you are in the thick of something intense, stop for a moment and ask yourself, “What’s working here?" "What’s not?” and then use your breadth and physical senses as a gauge to clue you in on where you are in terms of your alignment.

Children are definitely our greatest teachers in life, and I’m grateful for the moments of contrast that ultimately bring us closer to the clarity of the big picture. I also LOVE that my kids are starting to make the connection between the power of their mind and emotions in relationship to their overall physical well being. It's never too early to teach children positive, self-care practices! Good stuff!

If you have a similar story you'd like to share about mind/body wellness, please add it in the comments below and I would love to hear from you.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read this post and for sharing this message with others.

Much Love!