So truth be told, my kids do not get baths everyday, we’re lucky to get one 1-2 times a week. Chalk it up to laziness, desiring to get to bed early and just not wanting to clean up the watery mess it makes!!! But the more naturally and holistically minded I become, I realize this less amount of bathing might actually be a GOOD thing!
Probably during your life time you have been instructed that bacteria were mostly bad and you should avoid them at all costs with things like hand sanitizer, antibacterial soaps and frequent bathing. But did you know all sorts of interesting research is finding that there are friendly microbes in our environment and they play a key role in our health? The Human Mircobiome Project being one of the leaders in this new information. Here is a great little video about how important the microbiome or having friendly bacteria around is to your health.
Lots, like trillions of things. There are trillions of bacteria or microbes that live on the skin with the majority of them being friendly. If one bathes too much, these friendly bacteria can dwindle in population and not be able to fight the bad microbes away. And did you know being covered in dirt can actually build a child’s immune system in a healthy way ? My girls are rarely sick , can I make the correlation that because they don’t bathe very often they are not sick as much? Probably not because this is an “n” of 2, but I sure would love to do some investigation and research about kids who bathe more than others and the rates of frequent illnesses!
So I hope you won’t judge me in knowing we are not frequent bathers, but I’m thankful for the little family of microbes that inhabit my kid’s bodies helping keep them healthy. Probiotics and fermented foods also play a big role in this and one of my favorite places to learn about fermented foods is the blog Cultured Food Life. Please do check out all of her recipes, cookbooks and helpful information. She’s made it easy for even a girl like me who doesn’t like being in the kitchen to serve some fermented foods to my family!!!
And on that note, a little plug for avoiding hand sanitizers. Yes, we need to have clean hands when we eat or after going to the bathroom, but if we use hand sanitizers repeatedly we are not only killing off the bad population of bacteria, but the friendly ones as well. Eventually if you kill off too many friendly ones, the unfriendly ones will take over, thus causing much more resistance and even more illness. I always encourage plain soap and water or just water and good friction to get the grime away!
A helpful little you tube video about the potential dangers of hand sanitizers and antibacterial soaps:
So here’s to less bathing and more playing outside!!!
Salmon can be one of the best sources of omega 3 fatty acids, and if you are familiar with fatty acids, you know the brain, and especially kid’s brains need lots of omega 3’s to function optimally. Hands down, salmon is one of the best sources of fatty acids. It is also a great source of Vitamin A and D- and some B vitamins are in there as well.
We have found that putting a little lemon, garlic and REAL SALT works well and our girls will eat it. You might could try maple syrup if you need a little sweeter taste.We did call it “chicken for a while, but now that our girls have approved, we let them know it was salmon. Right approach? I don’t know, but it worked!!
Finding good sources of salmon can get a little tricky. There is the great debate on farm raised vs. fresh. I’m partial to NOT eating the farm raised. Then we have the genetically modified salmon that recently slipped into the market. Feel free to make your own decisions here, but for my family we are choosing to steer clear of anything GMO if we can help it! Some great sources of salmon include Vital Choice or some good Alaskan Salmon from Tropical Traditions.
Hoping you have learned about fermented foods and their amazing benefits for our bodies. If you haven’t please check out Donna Schenk at Cultured Food Life to be in the know. Sauerkraut it is one of those foods that really has some amazing properties when it comes to gut function and I’m not talking about the simple store bought kind…Aim to find it made locally or make it on your own.
I have finally figured out a way to get my family to eat this without them really knowing. Ok, so maybe that is not the best approach, but I’m undoing a lot of habits I created before I realized the importance of fermented foods, so have to bring the palate around in my kids’ world. Sauerkraut can be easily put in the blender with a liquid substance, I prefer broth or yogurt. I also am thankful I have a Vitamix because it can liquefy pretty much anything. Sauerkraut and broth make an excellent macaroni and cheese sauce addition.
(yes I do let my girls occasionally have the Trader Joe’s Macaroni and cheese- especially when a babysitter is coming, and I don’t have the time to make them dinner. ) But when I started adding the sauerkraut in with a little broth or yogurt to the sauce is when they started telling me it was the best mac and cheese they had ever had!!! I also have blended sauerkraut and yogurt in the Vitamix and added it to this beef stroganoff from (Stir it Up) sauce recipe at the end as to not bring heat to the microbes in the sauerkraut which will kill the healthy bacteria.
Go long- maybe your kid will eat it straight up, but if not get creative and put it in the Vitamix to make a sauce so they will never know.
Kefir is another food that falls in the fermented family that is full of friendly microbes that will make your kids gut happy, therefore make him or her happy and therefore keep you happy:) It comes in several different types, water, dairy and even coconut. There is probably a lot more ways it can be used, but these are the ones I know and love. If you are new to the kefir world, you might want to start with buying some first to try it all out and see what your family likes. Then you can go crazy and maybe even make it yourself. My girls are partial to the water kefir because it can be made with all different flavors. In Atlanta, there are several local families making this and bottling it up and it is flying off the shelves. If you are not in Atlanta, do check your local farmer’s market as many businesses are springing up that sell kefir and fermented products. Trader Joe’s makes a dairy kefir in several different flavors which has a much higher sugar content than I would like, so maybe sticking with the plain flavor is best, and I prefer full fat rather than low fat, but it is a good place to start. Lifeway kefir can also be found at most grocery stores. The diary or coconut kefir can be a great base for smoothies. Some, but not all people who can’t tolerate dairy in milk can tolerate dairy kefir because the fermentation process predigests the dairy proteins, thus making it easier on the body!
Do you remember the days when we were told fat was bad, therefore butter was bad and margarine was better for you? Margarine is actually taking oils and putting them in a spread- a process called hydrogenation, and thus a created or processed food. Butter on the other hand when made from organic good quality grass fed cow cream (I prefer raw) is an amazing food full of various nutrients. The fat soluble nutrients, vitamin A, D, E, and K are critical for a child’s neuro and overall development. Butter has all four fat soluble nutrients. It is also a great source of the minerals selenium and iodine, as well as antioxidants that protect against free radical damage. Butter can also help with digestive issues as it contains something called glycosphingolipids which help support friendly gut bacteria therefore aiding in digestion.
Some brands that are easily found at most grocery stores are Kerry Gold and Organic Valley. Some of our favorite ways to use it is to lather it up on a good piece of sourdough toast, we always put it on warm vegetables with some REAL SALT, and let it mix in some oatmeal with a little maple syrup… yummmm! A favorite snack is organic air popped popcorn loaded with melted butter, and again, REAL SALT. Beats microwaved popcorn hands down!!!
OK, admittedly, this might be the hardest sell to get your child to eat but it is truly one of the best health foods around. I myself try and take tablespoons of it at a time, but I do gag on its way down! However, there are ways to use it that can cover the taste and texture if that is a problem for your child.
Let’s talk about its goodness though and then some ways to get it in….Fats in recent decades got all sorts of bad press, in particular saturated fats. In my own research I have come to the conclusion that we need saturated fats and they are not BAD for us as concluded in recent years. You can do your own research-here is a great article about enjoying saturated fats and why they can be helpful in so many ways. By eating coconut oil the feeling full mechanism kicks in much quicker and stays longer. Can help with that constant, “Mom, I’m hungry!!!” Your metabolism rate can be slowed by eating coconut oil- great for moms AND kids! It can give sustaining energy in a snack instead of quick goldfish or Cheerios that will last you maybe 30 minutes! Coconut oil can help control yeast overgrowth. If you have ever had an antibiotic in your life, the yeast population loved it because the friendly bacteria got killed off and allowed the yeast to over grow (hence why you might get a yeast infection with an antibiotic) . Coconut oil is great at helping combat this yeast overgrowth. It can also help directly applied to skin (i.e. dry skin, eczema) and be very helpful for dry hair.
Here is a great website that has tons of coconut recipes. Tropical Traditions is probably one of the best resources for the finest coconut oil around. There are a few different types of oil to learn about and a few different products like coconut milk or cream if you just can’t do the oil. I have found cooking Einkorn muffins using coconut oil has been a great lunch addition each day as well as a great snack!There are lots of great smoothies to hide it in, or it can even be used as on oil when cooking an egg or drizzling over popcorn.The possibilities are endless.
I hope you will take the time to learn about a few of these power foods and find ways to incorporate them into your child’s diet. You will be glad you did!
Please share below if you have had success (or not) in using any of these power foods!