Leading up to Valentine’s Day you are likely to read articles about gift ideas, ways to make it magical, or perhaps what candy and chocolate is the most ethical and healthy. You don’t typically see articles about what to do if your kids came home from school with a metric ton of candy and sweets and you don’t actually have the heart to confiscate it. That would be me. I don’t buy any Valentine’s candy his time of year. Not a single piece for me or the kids. When we have to send the kids to school with Valentine’s we either make our own cards or go with ones that have little toys, bookmarks, or pencils instead of candy. But it is understood that when they come home from school they are going to have a paper bag full of Valentine’s Day booty. Since they don’t get candy very often I don’t worry so much about it, but then again I don’t dismiss it either.
Valentine’s candy is actually pretty bad for our children’s health. That is the just the truth of it. It is loaded with immune suppressing sugar and other junk ingredients like artificial dyes and additives. Consuming all that candy is literally putting their immune systems under a form of attack and during a time when they are already vulnerable… few sunlight hours available, activity can dwindle, and cold and flu bugs are going around like party favors.
If you want to get creative and trade the candy for money or other treats go right ahead. That actually worked with my youngest son this year. My daughter would not be swayed. Rather than let it bug me I just decided that it is a grand opportunity to teach my kids how to take care of their bodies after they have had a lapse in judgement. Giving them insight into how their body works when we eat junk and how we can nurture ourselves in the aftermath is just as important in my mind as teaching them about healthy eating. They need to know how to heal themselves when their healthy habits take a detour.
You might decide to try and ration the candy so they don’t go crazy and eat it all at once but that is actually not a good idea. Let them eat up all the candy. It just extends the immune suppressing abilities of all that junk so it’s best to get it gone and start the healing. Whatever they don’t eat that afternoon/evening might even magically disappear. Give me the rest of that candy and I will take you to a movie on Saturday morning, deal?
Here are some other ways that we give our family an immunity boost after gorging on candy. These tips work for Valentine’s Day or any candy centric holiday (ie Halloween and Easter).
Broth – Once that candy is gone we go into a week long spree of nourishing, nutrient dense, broth based soups that are heavy on the veggies, garlic, onions, and ginger. My dutch oven get a mighty workout all week long.
Hydration – The drink of choice after Valentine’s is good old fashioned water and I make sure it is alkaline as well. No natural juice, smoothies, or sweetened teas right now, just water.
Fermented Cod Liver Oil – Very nutrient dense and helps boost immunity and sleep. This brand is especially good because it is fermented, unheated, and it retains the natural vitamins and enzymes that are destroyed in the processing of many other brands.
Garlic - It has strong antiviral and antibacterial properties and can help ward of illness. I will often use an entire bulb in our soups after we have had excessive candy exposure.
No White Stuff or Grains - Sugar is one of the white things to be avoided but also white rice and flour. Make pancakes with coconut flour or give them a cereal of just chopped almonds, pecans, pine nuts, and shredded coconut. It is especially important not to eat any white stuff after a candy binge but grains just convert to sugar in the body too so it is best to avoid them.
Ginger - Ginger warms you up so fast you think you might be having a hot flash. That is of course why it works so well. It raises your body temperature and fights off viruses and prevents them from replicating. It is also anti-inflammatory and it supports our immune system.
Elderberry - This amazing herb is an anti-viral and it helps to fight viruses by warming your body temperature. It also has strong antioxidant properties that boost the immune system. You can make your own or you can buy it in the form of Sambucol.
Exercise – Take the kids out for evening walks, dance while you do chores, and go on some weekend hikes. Exercise boosts immune function.
Whole Foods Vitamins – Give your kids vitamins sourced from whole foods (ala apples, mango, etc), not one with synthetic ingredients.
Plenty of Rest – After an event like Valentine’s Day we send the kids to bed earlier so they can get plenty of rest… their little bodies need it. All week long they are required to hit the sack an hour earlier than usual and this gives their immune system a chance to recover from the shock of all that sugar.
How will you keep your kids healthy after Valentine’s Day?
Wednesday, February 15th, 2012