Kids vitamins, teas

I have been trying to be more healthy. We have been cutting out additives and preservatives where ever possible. I wouldn’t call myself an organic only family. Just more whole foods, back to basics instead. Along with choosing healthier versions of foods, I have replaced our family vitamins, toothpaste, and cold remedy with more natural versions. They are just as effective but with less unwanted side effects and chemicals.

I noticed that my son was often hyper after taking traditional vitamin pills. I tried the sugar free kind and had only a minor improvement. I started checking labels and got a wake up call.

POLL TIME!

Vitamin pills have changed a lot since I was a kid. Gone are the large nasty tasting pills. Instead they are more like candy in their favorite cartoon shapes and a rainbow of colors. In fact some are “gummies”. Besides the nutirients you want in them, they are filled with sugars, preservatives, artificial flavors and colors, and other chemicals to make them taste, look, and even smell good. Even the “sugar free” kind are no better. They just trade regular sugars for sweet tasting chemicals.

I went to a health foods store and looked at their kids vitamins. Yikes! They went the opposite way. Not many vitamins/minerals in them. Instead they were just mostly food and berry extracts. I’d have to get several different pills if I wanted anything reasonably complete. Plus they are expensive.

Back at the organic section of the grocery store, I looked at kids vitamins. Again, many of them were similar to the ones at the health foods store. I was starting to get frustrated. Surely someone made a semi-complete vitamin/mineral supplement for kids without all the junk.

I finally found something called Kidfit Tigers Natural Berry Flavor made by Naturally Preferred. It has 100% of 12 vitamins/minerals and lesser amounts of 6 more. The label says there is no starch, no yeast, no preservatives, no artificial flavoring. There also aren’t any food colors so they are the yellow/brown color of straw. It is sweetened with fructose (fruit sugar) and berry extracts. Another good thing is they come in a dark, glass bottle. Unlike plastic, glass bottles help prevent oxidation which can damage some vitamins. Still the best thing about these is that they don’t leave my kids bouncing off the walls.

Back at the beginning of summer, I switched toothpaste for both me and the kids to Tom’s Natural. The stuff we were using had lots of artificial colors and flavors. In fact the kids toddler paste was almost sugar paste only with chemical sweetener. Mine was little better. It was colorful, tasted good and had fluoride. The Tom’s toddler paste is still fruity sweet but has no artificial sweeteners (it has fruit extracts), colors or preservatives.

I use the spearmint antiplaque toothpaste. (Unless you like licorice, I wouldn’t recommend the anticavity peppermint.) I still use Listerine mouth wash. Before I switched to Tom’s, my mouth would feel slimy after a few hours, especially overnight. I no longer have that problem. My mouth feels fresh all night. It also doesn’t have flouride. I’ve read some controversial things about fluoride that make me just want to avoid it until more clear studies are done. We have our water delivered from a place that doesn’t add it.

My husband didn’t like all the cold remedies we seemed to take. They generally just masked the symptoms but did little to shorten the length of time we were sick. In fact, if we didn’t take them we seemed to get better sooner although we were more miserable. I kept tylenol (regular and childrens), some pseudafed (for husband), benedryl (regular and childrens), and Robitussin CF (the only thing that seems to help croup besides an ER visit). We got rid of everything else. These are taken as a last resort only.

Instead of the cold remedies, I discovered two teas I like to call Get Well Teas. One is for kids and the other adults. The kids is Just For Kids Organic Cold Care by Traditional Medicinals. I can get it at the grocery store for about $6/box of 18. Each bag makes about 2 cups. I like to add a teaspoon of honey. It has elder flower, linden flower, chamomile, and peppermint. It helps relax my kids and calms their coughs. I usually give them 3-5 cups a day while sick then a cup or two for few days after they are better.

The adult is Cold Season by Yogi Tea. I have to get this at the health food store for $7/box of 16. This tea really helps me. it cuts down on the urge to cough. The warming breaks up congestion and soothes my throat, making it easier to breathe. I add a little honey because it can be a bit bitter. It has ginger, licorice, eucalyptus, orange peel, valerian, lemongrass, peppermint, basil, cardamon, oregano, black pepper, clove, parsley, yarrow, cinnamon, and orange flower. Because of the valerian this shouldn’t be used during pregnancy or while nursing.

Many of my friends who are into alternative medicine have made a big deal about ecinacia for colds. The grocery store sells many ecinacia pill and tea varieties including a Cold Season Sampler that has a few Cold Season tea bags in it. However, the sampler also has teas with ecinacia in it that I don’t like. Recent studies have shown ecinacia has no anti-cold value and is a waste of money. I would tend to agree since the few times I took products with it in it, I wound up getting worse instead of better. My friends that took it didn’t seem to get better any faster than those who didn’t.

If you have any doubts or concerns about the supplements your family is taking, find a doctor who will give you an honest opinion rather than the one the drug companies or insurance expect. Perhaps a nutritionist or doctor specializing in alternative therapies would be useful. But be careful not to go doctor shopping until you find someone who gives you the answer you want.

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3 Responses

  1. This post seems to be getting a fair number of links (I’ve deleted the most silly site links) to it but they are all robo links. What does anyone live think of this post?

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