Let’s talk sustainability in health. Of course, we strive to be healthy individuals in our daily life. Health plays a big role in why we do what we do. However, beyond just keeping our bodies healthy, we have many other reasons to stay healthy. As ranchers & homesteaders, we don’t have the luxury of taking a “sick day”. Both our livestock and our livelihood rely on us being available day in and day out. Additionally, living in a remote location, there is the aspect of logistics, making it all the more important to be on top of self-care. Being proactive about staying healthy keeps us from being dependent on the mainstream medical system. We believe that doctors can be good and play a very important role in our life. There is definitely a time and place for good doctors. And while we appreciate what they do for us, we believe that health starts in the home with what we eat and the lifestyle we live. We believe that God has given us so many tools to keep our immune systems functioning at peak performance. And we want to be responsible stewards by using those tools to maintain our health.
Every fall, as cold & flu season sets in, I start incorporating ways to keep our family healthy. Here are my six most favorite ways to support our immune system. They are my favorite because:
- They are ALL NATURAL
- They are AFFORDABLE: Many of these items are quite pricey when you purchase from the store. But they are ALL things that can be made easily at home. And when you DIY, it is literally pennies to the dollar (and probably a healthier, fresher source).
- They are EASY to naturally incorporate into our diet.
Bone broth not only supports immune function, but more importantly, it aids in gut health, which we all know is the root of overall healthy living. Making your own bone broth is easy and only requires a few ingredients! The key is to get your bones from a good source (we use beef bones from Arrow J Beef www.arrowjbeef.com).
Bones (Beef or Chicken)
2 T. Apple Cider Vinegar
3 Celery Stalks
2 T. Salt (I use Redmonds)
Pepper to taste
2 Cloves of Garlic
Any herbs you would like to add in
Roast bones for 30 minutes at 350. Transfer bones to pot and cover with cold water. Add 2 T. Apple Cider Vinegar and let sit for 20 minutes (this begins the process of pulling nutrients from the bones). Add Vegetables, salt, and pepper (and any herbs if desired). Pressure cook for 3 hours or slowly simmer for 24-48 hours). Strain and done!
Elderberry Syrup is another really simple item to make at home. It’s high in antioxidants and vitamin C, making it a powerful preventative remedy.
1 Cup Dried Elderberries (I get mine from Farm House Teas www.farmhouseteas.com)
4 Cups Cold Water
2 Cinnamon Sticks
1 Tbls. Freshly grated ginger
½ C Honey (I get mine from Bitterbrush Farm & Appiary www.bitterbrushfarm.com)
Put all ingredients (except honey) in a pot and bring to a boil. Lower the temperature and simmer for 30 minutes or until reduced by 1/3. Strain. Using a spoon, gently press on berries to get all the juice out. Allow liquid to cool to luke warm before adding honey. Stir in ½ c. honey until dissolved. Continue to add honey, if necessary, until you reach desired sweetness. 1 tsp./day for children & 1 T/day for adults for general maintenance.
MANGO & PINEAPPLE SMOOTHIES:
Smoothies are such an easy way to up your vitamins naturally! And a smoothie can easily replace any meal. Between the mango, pineapple, and spinach, this smoothie is PACKED with Vitamin C. We drink smoothies of all kinds daily. So during cold & flu season, I simply switch to this flavor. I don’t have a recipe written out and just add ingredients to taste:
2 T. Flaxseed
1 T. Chia Seed
Handfull of spinach
Frozen chunks of Mango & Pineapple to taste
Clean Water (or coconut water)
Blend and enjoy.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR:
ACV is another great immune support. In my opinion, it’s the magic potion. I feel like ACV has helped minimize sicknesses or even prevented me from getting sick multiple times. And, it’s just plain good for you. During colder seasons, I like to enjoy a warm cup of ACV:
A Mug of Warm/Hot water
1 T. Apple Cider Vinegar
Dash of Ginger
Squeeze of Lemon
Teaspoon of Honey
Like bone broth, EGGS are a great source of amino acids, which are needed by the body and immune system to function properly. As stated earlier, amino acids can not be created by the body and must be consumed through the foods we eat. EGGS are one of the best foods to consume to restore your amino acid levels. And most homesteaders either have eggs on hand or have access to eggs. A simple scrambled egg as a daily snack or for breakfast helps keep you amino acids up and your immune system functioning at peak performance.
Essential oils are a luxury in our household. EO’s are a fabulous natural resource, but good quality oils can be pricey. So when I buy my oils, I stick to the ones I NEED. And IMMUNEPOWER by Young Living is one of those oils I choose to keep on hand. I diffuse IMMUNEPOWER anytime we’ve been exposed to sickness or someone feels like they are fighting something. I also really like Plant Therapy’s germ fighter roll on. It’s kid friendly and easy to use. During times of sickness in our community, I simply apply before heading out into the world. (I get my Young Living oils at www.thewellnesshouse.club)
I hope these thoughts give you an idea of how easy, affordable, and sustainable healthy living can be. And of course, lots of water, good sleep, and limited processed foods and sugar is always a smart way to go.