Viral vs. vital

The fact that I was, in the very recent past (last Monday), able to take this picture:


… led to an urgent plea for information and advice from friends of mine who are far wiser than I in matters of healthy-ful living, and the compilation of this list:


… because I don’t know if you remember last winter when we all had the blechs (multiple times)(and the kids got lice multiple times)(and we had a rat)(BUT ANYWAY WHAT WAS I SAYING), but after several turns on the sicko-go-round, I had had it. It’s big part of the reason why I have a different job now, because three children getting sick on repeat plus an hour commute to a full time job was about to kill me dead. Plus, there was also the awful “who’s taking one for the team this time” conversation that has to happen between two working parents that almost always involves heavy sighing and frustration at all things. So on this year’s application for wellness I am calling in the most esteemed references and checking all the boxes that say I WOULD LIKE TO ENROLL IN THE GERM-FREE PLAN. That’s right: I’m keeping us healthy like it’s my JOB. (Which … it kind of is? All of our jobs? As humans? To keep ourselves healthy? But whatever. Anyway.)

I’ve already started by tackling meal planning with a little more of a discerning eye; that is: I am meal planning. Oh, sure, I did it before, but it was slapdash and the inevitably same lackluster things over and over. Or I wouldn’t meal plan, and dinners would be some sort of frozen lasagna or chicken pot pie I slung in my grocery cart after work. Which are fine, don’t think I’m going off the deep end with my food snobbery, but the processed-ness of things had been getting to me anyway, so a early-in-the-school-year vomit was all the motivation I needed to get it together and make better meals. (And let me be clear here: by lackluster I’m not being faux-self deprecating while secretly serving pin-worthy meals garnished with sprigs of parsley. I’m talking peanut butter sandwiches. LOTS of peanut butter sandwiches. And hot dogs.) I’m trying to introduce more vegetable variety into our diets (95% of our meals are served with a side of raw broccoli. Which is a lot of broccoli. Which is good, but I’ve heard told that there are other vegetables. Allegedly.) and also make more casserole-y type dishes, because casseroles are like the Swiss bank accounts of entrees—you can hide all kinds of vegetables there and withdraw away, and your kids are none the wiser.

I am scrounging at metaphors.

I’ve also been trying to say no more often to sugary things for the kids (I know, what a drag, geez) because darn-tootin’ they are getting those things other places. So they may have a dessert one, maybe two nights at home during the week. And dessert = a Hershey’s Kiss. Or a Tic Tac (no joke). Sometimes when we are feeling generous, they get three Tic Tacs. And then we are declared the “best mommy and daddy” by Rosie, who is an adorable sucker.

I’ve tried a couple of the supplements listed above, but haven’t really delved into that realm yet. I plan to, though. Both kids like the zinc lozenges I still have around from my fun times with mono earlier this spring, and according to my doctor friend who is smart as the dickens, that is the best bet for stopping a virus in its tracks. This is the whole reason I went to medical school. To have a host of really smart MD Facebook friends who can give me medical advice for free via social media.

Anywho, what is my point? There is no point. Just that I’m trying to do a few things better around here. Be more health conscious. Like go to bed earlier, for example (see above list). In which case I will wrap up and tuck myself in for the night. Ah yes, I can feel the antioxidants releasing now.


1 Kathryn { 09.18.13 at 11:08 am }

I hope this winter is better than your last winter! Lemme know if you want any recipes. I have some pretty easy ones.

2 racher { 09.18.13 at 11:44 am }

@Kathryn—Yes please! All the recipes! I got nothing except the same ol’, and will take any/all suggestions!

3 Katy German { 09.18.13 at 3:54 pm }

Let me know when you hit your smoothie phase and we’ll talk. Also, my personal experience is that I am SO MUCH LESS sick now that I a)don’t eat beef (which I LU-HUV) and b) eat a mucho amounts of fresh fruits and veggies – mostly in the form of smoothies. Also I now love tempeh, but that took a while. I have gone from being a complete skeptic of all vegetarian mumbo jumbo to eating almost no meat. The me of 3 years ago would never in a million years have believed that was possible.

4 racher { 09.19.13 at 8:51 am }

@Katy—If you’ve got smoothie info, lay it on me. I tried a kale/banana/celery/apple juice one, thinking the kids would like it, but I tried it myself first and it was very … leafy tasting. But I’m looking for something like that to get greens in them in a fun way. Also, what was your reason for going meatless? Was it diet? Or other?

5 Lisa { 10.01.13 at 1:52 pm }

Rachel – try putting kale or spinach in a smoothie that contains berries (I use a frozen bag of strawberries, blueberries, or mixed berries). The berries totally hide any veggie-taste!! I also put a cup of plain Greek yogurt in & generally a banana, too. Add a scoop of oats if you want. Seriously – berries have a much stronger taste than celery/banana if your goal is not to feel like you’re drinking pureed kale. :)

6 Katy German { 10.07.13 at 12:50 pm }

I’m not fully meat free, but I am beef free. Basically, my body just decided it’s not going to digest beef any more. I tried cutting out a lot of things to figure out why I was in so much pain, and when I finally cut out beef the problem resolved. Like overnight. I was very grumpy about it at the time. But, no, definitely the beef. As a precaution I go easy on meat all around – no more than one meat meal per day. It was a lot easier than I thought, actually. I really like veggies, beans, and tempeh. Not so big on the tofu. But I am a much happier camper. AND…the whole point… have been much healthier overall since. It helps to live in a place where vegetarians almost outnumber carnivores, too – lots of yummy options. Ok, smoothies…

For whatever reason, I do not like yogurt-based smoothies. And I love yogurt, so that’s strange. Also, if you put celery in my smoothie, I cut you. I cannot do celery in smoothies. Here are our go-to faves. We’ve tried lots, but keep coming back to these.

Samuel’s fave smoothie: Banana Vanilla Spinach

1 cup milk (cow, almond, whatever)
1 banana
2 cups baby spinach
2 tbs flax
1 tbs raw honey
1 tbs vegetarian protein powder
1 tsp vanilla

variation: replace honey, vanilla, protein powder with 1-2 tbsp of peanutbutter- tastes like pb, banana sandwich!

My fave smoothie (at the moment): Pineapple, coconut, kale

1 cup coconut milk
1 cup kale
1 banana
1 tbs protein powder
pineapple chunks to taste (sweet! yum!)
blend the heck out of it so that the kale is manageable

Clara prefers spinach based recipes, heavy on honey, berries, and milk. Blackberries with vanilla and honey are a nice combo (with spinach). If you don’t like honey, you can add an extra banana to make them sweeter, too. We find that drinking them through straws makes them taste much better. Seriously. And really, there’s a whole world of smoothies we haven’t tried yet (with coffee and cocoa, etc), but these work for us and I’m just thrilled we’re gulping down raw greens!

7 Katy German { 10.07.13 at 12:52 pm }

Oh, and by “flax” I mean ground flax.

8 Katy German { 10.07.13 at 12:54 pm }

Last comment, I promise: You can also add orange juice or pealed clementines to the coconut pineapple smoothie – very good. Ok, now I want one.

9 racher { 10.15.13 at 9:17 am }

Thank you for these! Awesome. And yes, I tried a smoothie with celery in it recently. NOPE.

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