School has started! Does that mean it’s runny nose season yet? We’re only on day 3 of school around here and so far everyone is healthy, however, I’m ready if and when the first cold hits. I use a variety of means to get my kids back to health when they are sick–our holistic medicine kit, bone broth, essential oils, natural remedies, and…acid/alkaline balance.
Rest, fluids and TLC are always good places to start when you have a little one sick at home, but believe it or not, there are a few additional principles that will send your child on the road to recovery even faster.
Let’s talk pH and why an acid/alkaline balance keeps kids healthy.
The body’s pH is a key factor in our overall health and wellness. Are your eyes glazing over with flashbacks to 10th grade chemistry class? Don’t worry, I’ll make this overview brief. The pH system in our body spans from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. The ideal pH for a body in optimal health is roughly 7.3. Below 7 is acidic and above 7 is alkaline. The more acidic your body is, the more prone you are to disease. To bring yourself back to health you must bring your body back to an alkaline state.
Those are the basic pH facts, are you still with me?
So how can you use the pH system to help your child feel better faster? Help him shift his body back to an alkaline state (and to keep him healthy try to stay there!). When your little one is sick, avoiding acidic foods will help his body heal faster. Acidic foods create mucus in the body. Mucus clogs us up internally and makes a happy, sticky home for illnesses of all kinds. With the pH principle in mind, it is best to avoid the following foods when your child is acutely sick:
- Dairy (yes, this means MILK–a huge mucus producer! As is yogurt, ice cream, cheese, etc.).
- Refined and processed foods (you don’t need me to tell you that).
- Hydrogenated oils.
- Soft drinks.
To encourage healing try adding as many alkaline foods as possible into your child’s diet.
- Almost all veggies are alkaline with: kale, broccoli, cucumber and wheat grass leading the pack.
- Most fruits are neutral (some can be slightly acidic) but these swing alkaline: avocado, grapefruit, lemon, lime.
- Grains are usually neutral if soaked and sprouted (some can be slightly acidic) but these lean alkaline: millet, buckwheat, spelt, lentils.
- Nuts and seeds: pumpkin, almond, sunflower, sesame, flax, anything sprouted.
The literature about acid/alkaline food lists can vary slightly because each food has a pH somewhere on the spectrum and that means every author can interpret the numbers differently for foods with a mid-range pH (again, they vary only slightly). For the purpose of getting your child better, I have listed “extreme” foods first in the lists above. For instance, there isn’t ANY confusion about the pH of meat and dairy because they are both acidic (grass-fed meat will be less acidic). When your child is ill, stick to fresh vegetables while avoiding fatty meats, dairy and sugar. I like the list from Dr. Robert O. Young if you are interested in learning more.
When my kids come down with a cold I order suggest my husband avoid feeding them dairy for a few days. Then I whip up a batch of broccoli soup or chicken noodle soup with bone broth and my kids usually recover pretty quickly. Do I credit our forced “no dairy” day to their healing? Well, I wouldn’t want to discredit their hard working immune systems so I won’t go on record…..BUT….I don’t think it hurts to go dairy-free for a few days while the body heals (why ADD to the mucus production?).
I guess my mom’s lecturing about “no dairy, no sugar” when we were sick as kids finally sunk in. My kids will have to send Grammy a BIG thank you for planting the sprouted alkaline seed the next time I forbid ice cream when they feel icky. Point is: eating an alkaline diet isn’t always popular with the kids, but it works. After your child has kicked his cold to the curb, maintaining health is the number one priority. An ideal diet for optimal health is 80% alkaline, 20% acidic. Whew, you can breathe a sigh of relief…I’m not suggesting you become a VEGAN, just keep the acid/alkaline balance in mind!
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