5 Simple Steps for Back to School Health

It’s that time again and I’m seeing lots of posts of kiddos all spiffed up and heading back to school.  Our guys have another week or so before heading back and I feel blessed for this little bit more of summer to enjoy.

That said, we’ve checked off the school supplies and procured new shoes to fit those feet that sprouted a little longer with the sunshine and sandal days of summer.   What’s on the checklist now are some of the things that ebb and flow like the ocean tide.  We change up our herbs and supplements to support the body through transitional times — Summer into Fall with back to school is one of those critical times that helps sure up the system and keep everyone strong in the face of communal germs and the stress of schedule changes.  Right now is the time to be setting the firm foundation for great winter health.  By fortifying and supporting the system now, we will hopefully fend off the colds and flus that can run through a household like a freight train.

BTS health

Here are the 5 Simple Steps:

  1. Sleep.  Gone are the late nights of star gazing and firefly catching. Gently transition bedtime back by 15 minutes a night until you reach a time where your tribe will have a good 8- 9 hours of rest.  If the alarm goes off at 5 a.m., the shuteye should start between 8 -9 p.m.  High schoolers should aim for 10 p.m.
  2. Hydrate.  The body loses between 2-3 quarts of water with normal activity.  Add in playground fun and afterschool sports and you’ve got a recipe for 4-6 quaarts lost.  Water, pure and clean, is the best option for hydrating and rehydrating the body.  If soda or a caffeinated drink enters the mix, expect to add an equal amount of water to compensate for the dehydrating effect.  Bottom line, kids with access to water bottles during the day, at lunch and at sporting events will do better than those without.  Aim for 1/2 the ideal body weight by age to be consumed in ounces.  So, a child whose ideal weight is 80 lbs should be working towards 40 ounces of water.  Mom, at 140, should be sipping her way up to 70 ounces.  More active?  Add an extra cup.
  3. Feed.  Most kids have 5 main opportunities to fuel up during the day.  Breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afterschool snack and dinner.   Without diving deep into this area, the quick picks should be a fruit and veg at each pit stop with a quality protein and a little fat (yes, kids need a little fat for healthy brains!)  Next week I will post some ideas for easy, healthy kid meals — so sign up for the RSS feed or the newsletter to get that in  your inbox!
  4. Go Pro.  Gut health and great poop at where it’s at when we’re talking about keeping kids healthy.  For everything from immune health to mental health, studies are showing that we need to go pro — probiotic! There is so much evidence now linking great gut flora to overall health that it’s really something to keep on your seasonal radar.  Probiotic foods like yogurt, fermented veggies and drinks like kefir and kombucha can be rich and tasty sources of the good gut stuff.
    For healthy poop, getting in those 5 fruits and 5 veggies daily will help with fiber which will make nice bulky stool.  Getting enough water will plump things up and make poop that easy to pass.  Those things are great — a good pooper will feel better than one who’s stopped up or straining.  Beyond fiber and water, a quality probiotic is key.  If you need help choosing one, drop me a line.
  5. Open the Seasonal Toolbox.  This is the bag of tricks that every parent has and draws from… you know it and you’ve got one… it’s your tried and true’s, your grandma’s wisdom and your intuition.  For me, I wouldn’t start a later summer season without Ashwaghanda, a neti pot and a diffuser with some essential oils.
    Ashwaghanda is an adaptogenic herb that helps the body respond to stress.  It is neither a stimulant nor a relaxant.  It helps bring balance.  The neti pot allows us to rinse our sinuses and keep them lubricated.  We stave off late summer allergies and also keep nosebleeds at bay (our 9 year old used to have them fiercely and often).  Finally, some quality essential oils and a diffuser.  Honestly, we have diffusers in each bedroom and one downstairs.  The beauty of essential oils is that with a drop or two you can uplift or calm, you can focus or relax… you can even combat germs.  They are kind of amazing.  (Click here to see what brand I prefer… you can order your own or contact me and we can take 15 minutes to talk about what you need and choose the best oils to match — I can even get you a wholesale account so you get the best price and some free oils to boot!)

Wishing you a happy, healthy back to school!

Stay tuned for upcoming articles on

  • Easy Kid Meals and snacks for back to school
  • Head Lice solutions — prevention and eradication

I’ll be posting the Fall Calendar of events next week too!  If there are classes that you’d like to see or topics you’d like me to cover, drop a note or post below!



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Warming Chai, DIY Warming Balm AND a chance to win!

Wow, is it chilly here in New England this morning! I’m pulling out a mug of cinnamonny chai and rubbing some warming balm into the soles of my feet… and I’m keeping on my fuzzy socks until the sun comes out!  {{don’t judge!}}  It is June, right?!

Anyway, if you’re game to try, I’ve posted my recipes for my favorite Coconut Chai and Warming Balm below!  I’m also including a blurb about the bennies of Coconut Milk (which apply to Coconut Oil too).  I alternate dairy free milks depending on my mood and on what I have in the pantry… coconut, hemp, almond and cashew are easy to store and easy to blend into your perfect milk! (I’m hooking you up with my DIY Coconut Milk Recipe too… :)  )

I want to hear from YOU!  What do you do when you are chilly?  What is your go-to, warm-me-up, comfort-in-a-cup drink?  What other tricks do you have up your sleeve?  Share…  I’ll be picking ONE or TWO people to send a tin of my gorgeous Warming Balm or a Chai Lip Balm… I’ll let you choose.  But, you can’t win if you don’t share!  Get to it!   



5 Health Benefits of Coconut Milk

  1. Calcium and Magnesium powerhouse ~ Coconut milk is higher in calcium than regular milk and almond milk! It is also rich in magnesium which can help relieve and ease sore muscles and promote a sense of calmness for relaxation and sleep.
  2. Nutrients galore ~ Coconut milk contains iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium, as well as vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6.
  3. Immune System Booster ~ Coconut milk and coconut oil contain lauric acid, which is anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. It’s a great tool to support a healthy immune system.
  4. Weight Management ~ The body uses the short and medium-chain fatty acids in coconut for energy. The fiber in coconut milk is also great for helping you feel full and satisfied AND it’s great for your colon!
  5. Dairy Free, Nut Free and Vegan ~ allergy friendly for those who need to be dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free and gluten-free.

DIY Coconut Milk

  • 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 4 cups water

What you will do:

  1. Soak coconut in the water for an hour
  2. In your vitamix or high speed blender blitz everything – the coconut and the soaking water. You want to blend on the highest speed for about a minute. You’ll see that the solids will dissipate and the whole mess will get insanely creamy — watch the sides of your pitcher for the change!
  3. If your blender doesn’t get the mixture completely smooth, go ahead and strain everything through a clean nutmilk bag or clean coffee filter.

NOTE:  you can add a little vanilla extract and a few drops of liquid stevia if you want to change the flavor.  Also, for DIY Coconut Cream, reduce the amount of water to 2 cups.  You may need to add a little water as you blend, depending on the moisture content of the coconut that you start with!

Warming Coconut Chai

What you will need:

  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • ¼ tsp clove or 2 whole cloves
  • ½ tsp cardamom or 1 cardamom pod
  • 1 tsp cinnamon or about 1 inch of cinnamon bark
  • ½ inch fresh ginger, skin removed and minced
  • black tea – 2-4 teabags, depending on how strong you like your chai
  • raw honey, stevia, or coconut sugar (usually a tsp or two will do if you need it sweet)

What you will do:

  1. Crush any whole spices (not the ginger) in motor and pestle or put them in a baggie and gently bash them with a rolling pin; a clean coffee grinder also works as does a quick spin in your high speed blender with the coconut milk. Whatever your method, grind the spices and combine with the coconut milk.
  2. Heat coconut milk, ground spices and ginger to a simmer.
  3. Add tea bags and simmer for about 5 minutes, then shut off the heat and cover; the longer you let this steep, the deeper the spiced flavor will be – 10-15 minutes.
  4. Taste the mixture. Does it need sweetener or is the cinnamon enough?
  5. Strain your concentrate through a sieve or tea strainer.
  6. Reheat the concentrate and add some water to thin it if you like.

Whipped Chai Balm

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