Back to School Blues & Immune Busting Tricks


Last school year my whole family made it from September until December 23rd with nary a sniffle or sneeze. Then we got knocked on our butts by the flu, tackled one by one. I was proud – not about the flu part – about the whole making it through preschool five days a week WITH a thumb sucker and staying healthy for four months. As a family we bounced back just before Christmas vacation was over and had a healthy spring and summer.

When we sent our two girls off to preschool this year, both thumbsuckers, I said a pleading prayer to the gods of gut health and immune systems…aaaaaaand we have been sick since September 8th. There has been a chorus of sniffles, sneezes and coughs echoing through our house, and I am one mental breakdown away from sending them to school in hot pink hazmat suits…totally normal, no?
So what’s girl to do? Well, Thankfully I’ve been working in the right place for the last couple years, and Katie and Megan have taught me a thing or two about boosting the immune system. Now it’s on me to actually DO it. Here’s the plan:
  • We are going to use some of the GAPS diet protocol to help heal our guts and get our immune systems back on track. I just ordered The Heal Your Gut Cookbook and am already avoiding laundry and dishes as I delve in and meal plan. This book was super affordable on Amazon, and I have a feeling it will be worth its weight in gold – I mean, there is a recipe called “Roasted pork sausage with red onion and butternut squash.” I probably would have paid $18 for that recipe alone!
  • Fermented cod liver oil and elderberry syrup. I recently read this post as a way to help kiddos take this stinky, nasty, miracle oil. I swear by FCLO, but it is so hard to get the girls to take it. So, toss in some elderberry syrup (great in its own right), and everyone is happy and healthy.
  • Probiotics up the wazoo, not literally of course, that wouldn’t be helpful – or would it?! Katie? Megan? Jk, jk, we’ll stick to swallowing them for the time being. We will take probiotics three times a day for the next few weeks or maybe until Christmas, so we can actually celebrate this year.

I will leave you with an awesome and easy bone broth recipe adapted from It All Starts With Food. It’s great for nourishing and healing your gut, and ultimately boosting your immune system:

In your crock pot (yes!!) add:

4 quarts of water
3-4 pounds of bones (meat or poultry)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon of salt
3 cloves of gently crushed garlic
2-3 carrots, chopped
2-3 stalks of celery, chopped
2 onions, chopped
1 bunch parsley
1 bay leaf

Turn your crockpot on high until the broth comes to a boil, then reduce to low for 24 hours. Strain through a mesh strainer and discard the solids. You can enjoy this broth out of a mug, or add to soups and other recipes calling for broth. It will keep in your fridge for about 3 days or last in your freezer for up to a year.


Here’s to a healthy fall and winter!

Comments (11) | Add Comment

  • by Mollie on

    Hi Anna!
    Love the post 🙂
    Did you take CLO while pregnant?

    • by Anna D on

      Hi Mollie- I did take fermented cod liver oil (Green Pastures) while pregnant. Congrats to you, btw!! I hope that you are feeling well!

  • by Ellen on

    Me, too, Anna. My kids are a MESS. Thanks for the tips!

    • by Anna D on

      Ellen – Mess is TOTALLY an accurate description. I hope you guys bounce back soon!!

  • by Mae on

    Can u just buy a whole chicken? Are these left over bones? Help’

    • by Anna on

      The bone broth calls for just the bones – no meat. You could use the bones from a whole chicken – for example a rotisserie chicken. Another option is to just buy the bones! Check with your butcher and see if you can find bones from pastured, organic chickens.

  • by Sara on

    Anna, as someone who is fighting a cold for over a week and leaving in 3 days for an anniversary trip… it ok to take extra probiotics? I know you said you all are going to but I just wanted to check before I do. I need to get better and soon!!! Thanks.

    • by Megan Morris on

      Hi this is Megan, but just wanted to say it is okay to take extra probiotics! This is the time your immune system needs extra support, and probiotics will directly help that. Feel better soon!

    • by Anna on

      Sara, I LOVE Coldcalm by Boiron for colds. It is a miracle worker 🙂 Enjoy your anniversary trip!

  • by michelle on

    hey! thanks so much for this great list of reminders. i’ve had to cut the stock recipe in half due to a smaller crock pot. should i plan to cook it the full 24 hours, or will it take less time?

    • by Anna D on

      Hi Michelle! 12-24 hours is the recommended time, so anywhere in that window is great.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *