Free resources for families

20190518-_RJW0250How are you holding up, friend? What a strange season we’re all adrift in. Separate, yet together. I’ve been quiet here on the Happy Healthy Family Blog, but so busy over on my personal blog!

I’ve been busy sharing thoughts and resources over on Rachel Wolf Clean, and have been remiss in sharing those links with you here. So sorry to have left you out of the loop!

Here are a few recent posts that I think you will enjoy:

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Wild and Tame Tea Sandwich Recipe

This free excerpt from my upcoming book, The Unplugged Family Activity Book is a fun and simple recipe for homemade pesto sandwich spread. It’s a cinch to make and is a delicious diversion!

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Process over Product (processing over producing)

Reflections on how during quarantine we need not be striving to make, do, be, excel, and perhaps there is work to be done by simply tending our hearts.

 

Signs of Spring

Signs of Spring Scavenger Hunt, another free excerpt from my upcoming book for kids and their families. A downloadable, printable page to take with you in your own backyard or neighborhood park.

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Reaching for Grace, an acknowledgement that life is messy and no one has it all dialed in. Not now, not ever.

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How to make beet kvass, the 5-minute ferment. You can do this!

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If you have kids at home, my kid has you covered. With small, simple projects to keep your kids hands and minds engaged during long days at home. Lupine (my daughter and the “Lu” of LüSa) has launched a YouTube Channel, just for kids. Learn more (and link on over) here.

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And finally, suddenly homeschooling? Read this. 

I hope these resources serve you and your family, and bring a bit of ease and comfort during these trying days.

Big love,
Rachel

Wash your hands!

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Pro tip: wash your hands with soap.

Why? Because the weakest layer of a virus is the lipid (fat) layer. Soap molecules act like a magnet, with one end that bonds with water, the other that bonds with fat. Through this sudsy miracle, SOAP DISSOLVES FAT.

And when a virus loses its fat layer, it dies.

In a pinch, you can also kill a virus using alcohol (ie: hand sanitizer) but soap + water is far more effective.

Wash your hands, yo.

You’re welcome.

Psst… if you haven’t already, sign up for our newsletter now! Because we’ll be giving away free soap later today, and everybody loves free soap. Amiright?

 

Learn more about how soap works to kill viruses here.

Natural immune support for adults + kids (bonus elderberry gummies recipe)

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Cold season, the flu, and now the dreaded coronavirus. Many of us worry to some degree about falling ill in the winter every year, especially during the bridge between seasons when the weather swings unpredictably from cold to warm.

And with the onset of every potential pandemic, we worry even more.

Our first line of defense from any virus? A healthy, robust immune system.

Take simple, sensible actions to support a healthy immune response, and reduce your risk (and fears) for whatever bugs you might be exposed to. With regards to fear, I encourage you to not fall into the fear cycles perpetuated by an overzealous media. Weigh the actual risks, not the hype. Then get busy shoring up your immune system with some simple, tried-and-true tricks that can make all the difference in helping you stay healthy and strong.

Support a healthy immune system

Follow the six tips below for your healthiest immune system yet. Then talk to your holistic health care provider or family doctor for even more solid options to better health, and to ensure that the options below are a match for your family and your existing health conditions.

One Small Step toward sustainability: swap plastic bottles of soap for bars.

1.Wash those hands!

Sometimes the simplest tricks are the most effective. Your first line of defense to keep bugs out and good health in? Proper hand-washing, especially when you’re out-and-about.

Pro tip: My daughter and I carry a small bar of LüSa Organics soap in our bags whenever we go out, so that we don’t have to use the fragrance-drenched detergent in public bathrooms. We’re sure to practice better hand-washing if we have soap with us that won’t scent our skin or give us a fragrance oil-induced headache.

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2. De-stress + rest

High stress often translates to a suppressed immune response. Support your body, mind, and spirit with plenty of sleep, and by managing your stress.

3. Upgrade your diet

Reduce sugar intake, and boost your consumption of healthy veggies and proteins. These steps benefit more than just our immune system, and can lead us to greater health for bones, teeth, gut, and brain. You’ve got nothing to lose making this (relatively simple) shift.

What is the best education for your child? The answer might surprise you. #education #homeschooling #school #parenting

4. Check your D levels

Vitamin D3 is critical for a spunky immune response. Check your levels and supplement with a natural source, like fermented cod liver oil.

5. Oh, Mg

Look into topical magnesium (I offer my own version here), which can help support healthy sleep cycles and a healthy immune response.

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6. Herbs for the win

Bring on the immune-supporting herbs! From a daily shot of homemade fire cider to spiking your chai with astragalus, or adding medicinal mushrooms (like rishi + shitake) alongside aromatic herbs in your bone broth, there are a plethora of simple herbal ways to support your immune system.

Which herbs are a great place to begin your research to see if they’re a match for your family? A handful of my favorites include:

  • Astragalus
  • Echinacea
  • Usnea
  • Chaga
  • Rishi
  • Shitake
  • Rosehip
  • White Pine
  • Elderberry

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Elderberry love

One of our very favorite immune-supporting herbal remedies is elderberry. It’s is one of the ten herbs I feature in-depth in my beginner’s herbal book, Herbal Adventures. With tips on using foraged/fresh berries or purchased/dried, there are recipes within these pages to savor throughout the year.

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Whether you choose homemade our boughten elderberry tinctures, elixirs, teas, syrups, or gummies, there is a plethora of excellent options to incorporating this immune-supporting powerhouse into your winter and spring routine.

Want to get started making your own kid-approved elderberry gummies? Then turn to chapter 4 in Herbal Adventures. Don’t have your own copy yet? There’s  another way to try my recipe! (Read on.)

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I was honored last week to have Kelly from Primally Inspired share her love of Herbal Adventures (and my elderberry gummies recipe) on her blog.

Click here for both her feedback on my book and my recipe! Then get to work boosting your (and your children’s) immune systems.

Be well, friends.

Love,
Rachel

What are your family’s favorite natural immune boosters? Add them in the comments below!

 

Wellness, naturally: five simple tricks to help you get well soon

This winter has been a strange one, with temperatures fluctuating wildly from cold to warm, dry to wet. These weather fluctuations–whether atypical, like this year, or the normal changes common during the beginning and end of winter–often trigger bouts of winter colds for children and adults alike.

Last week a bug landed in our home, leaving half of our crew down for a couple of days. And like any time we find ourselves with a cold or flu, we reached for our herbal kitchen arsenal to bring comfort and healing–fast.

I thought some of you might be interested in hearing some fresh ideas to get well on the double. With this in mind, five of my favorite wellness tips for cold and flu season are below. I hope they help you and your loved ones feel 100% again soon!

(A few afflinks follow. That said, I always encourage you to purchase what you can locally!)

Get well soon! {A cold and flu season recipe round-up} Clean. www.lusaorganics.typepad.com

Five simple tips to help you get well soon

1. REST

Lots and lots of rest.

As a rule, we suck at this in western society. We go to school or work sick. We pound cold medicine to feel well enough to keep up with what we think we “should” be doing, despite being sick and needing rest.

No, not everyone has the luxury of missing a day of work because they are sick. But if you are in the group of folks that does, please stay home and rest.

For me, a comfy chair, quilt, and basket of knitting beside the fire helps (a lot). Press pause on any out-and-about activities. This will not only speed your own healing, but keep your friends, classmates, or coworkers from unnecessary exposure to your bug.

Getting adequate rest when you’re under the weather means falling asleep early and staying in bed as late as you can. It means taking it easy during the day, as much as you can manage.

Get well soon! {A cold and flu season recipe round-up} Clean. www.lusaorganics.typepad.com

2. Homemade (or purchased) Chicken Broth or Stock

Sipping flavorful mugs of bone broth is an easy way to nourish your body during cold and flu season, without overtaxing your digestive system. It’s my magic potion for getting well in a hurry.

My basic recipe is can be found here. During cold and flu season I love adding a giant knob of smashed ginger, a full head of smashed or sliced garlic, and two big handfuls of astragalus root at the start of my cooking cycle.

Make a big batch of homemade broth now, then sip it throughout your resting period and until you feel 100% again.

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3. Herbal Tinctures and Teas

I think simple, homemade tinctures and teas are the best medicines of all. Our family makes many different kinds each season, and we rely on them throughout out the year to support our health.

Tinctures are available for purchase in most natural food stores, but they are ridiculously simple to make at home. If you’ve never made tinctures before, give my simple folk remedy for homemade elderberry tincture a try!

Suggested teas are below. For tinctures, look into the specific symptoms you are looking to comfort, as well as your own constitution. Generally speaking, immune-supporting herbs like elderberry and echinacea area a good choice, as well as herbs for specific symptoms like fevers, body aches, chills, or herbs for lung support.

Get well soon! {A cold and flu season recipe round-up} Clean. www.lusaorganics.typepad.com

4. STAY HYDRATED

Warm drinks are key to a fast recovery. The aforementioned chicken broth and tea are key. Along with hot toddies, they are my top picks to deliver good medicine while helping us stay hydrated.

A hot toddy (in our world anyway!) is not a boozy concoction, but rather a strong lemon and ginger infusion, sweetened with honey, then spiked with optional herbs and tinctures. My easy hot toddy recipe – with variations from the most simple to more complex – can be found right over here.

For teas, think of immune-supporting herbs like echinacea, elderberry, and chaga; lung-support like mullein and wild cherry bark; or fever remedies like yarrow and elderflower.

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ANOTHER FAVORITE WARM DRINK AROUND HERE IS HOMEMADE PINE NEEDLE TEA.

Made from a simple decoction of white pine needles and thin branches, pine needle tea feels excellent on the throat, quiets coughs, and is loaded with vitamin C. I share a how-to for my favorite version on page 160 in my book.

If you don’t have a copy on hand, simply harvest fresh white pine needles, twigs, and bark. Cut into pieces and place in a large nonreactive pot. Fill pot with water and simmer covered for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and steep for 10 additional minutes. If desired, additional herbs can be added to the pot, depending on the cold or flu you’re working through. Consider mullein leaf, bee balm, yarrow, elderberry, elecampane, or wild cherry bark.

If you’re aren’t up for making your own tea blends, choose a purchased herbal tea that matches your symptoms. We love the Traditional Medicinals brand, especially Throat CoatBreathe Easy, and Gypsy Cold Care

Get well soon! {A cold and flu season recipe round-up} Clean. www.lusaorganics.typepad.com

5. TREAT YOUR SYMPTOMS

Body aches? Epsom salt baths are a wonder for sore muscles. Arnica massage oil also supports healthy, happy muscles and joints. Also try a hot water bottle tucked up against an aching back or sore neck.

Earache? You can’t beat garlic ear oil. There is a recipe for my favorite version with mullein flowers in Herbal Adventures. I also shared this simple garlic recipe years ago (along with a few other holistic earache remedies).

Support healthy respiration with LuSa EOs

How are your lungs? Support them with herbal steams and by keeping your humidifier filled and running.

Here at LüSa we also make two lines of essential oils and chest rubs to support healthy respiration. Our Breathe Easy EO blends and Children’s Chest Rub are eucalyptus-free designed specifically for kids under 10, while our Breathe Deep EO blends and Original Chest Rub are just the thing for ages 10 and up.

The undiluted oils can be added to a diffuser or humidifier, or mixed with a carrier oil along with your epsom salts in the bath. 

Get well soon! {A cold and flu season recipe round-up} Clean. www.lusaorganics.typepad.com

Sore Throat? Those hot toddies (above) work wonders; so does gargling a simple cup of hot salt water. My go-to remedy for sore throat is homemade Monarda tonic or oxymel. Made with just wild bee balm, raw honey, and brandy or organic apple cider vinegar, it soothes sore throats in a hurry.

I share an entire chapter of Bee Balm/Monarda recipes in my book, Herbal Adventures (including a Bee Balm Oxymel recipe). If you already own a copy, head to page 118 and dive in.

Since many of you don’t have bee balm on hand, try a tea made from sage and thyme instead–herbs with similar medicinal properties to bee balm, but found right in your spice cabinet.

Pro tip: always steep herbal teas covered to keep the healing aromatics in the cup.

Fever? My favorite herbal remedy is a tea made of 2 parts peppermint leaf, 1 part yarrow, 1 part elder flower, and 1/2 part catnip. Again, there’s a proper recipe in Herbal Adventures! (Noticing a theme? These are most certainly my favorite, go-to home remedies.)

Try Belladona 12C homeopathic remedy. This along with our homemade fever tea and the other wellness steps above are our best defense.

Get well soon! {A cold and flu season recipe round-up} Clean. www.lusaorganics.typepad.com

Cough? I can’t sing the praises of this remedy enough. If you don’t have elecampane on hand I urge you to pick some up now and have this remedy ready for your next round of coughs. It works like magic. 

What would you add to the list of wellness tips above? What are your go-to solutions to cold and flu season?

Pssst, LüSa Fans…From now until January 15, jump in on a buy-3-get-1-free offer on all LüSa Organics cold and flu season wellness products. Find the details here

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5 simple tricks for healing from cold or flu, naturally.