December 17, 2008 7:19 PM
Health Smoothies - a big difference and worth the time and effort
With 12 kids, including four with Down syndrome, I've spent way too much time in doctors' offices. The Downzers - especially when they were younger - had extremely weak immune systems, though they've gotten stronger with age.
For a few years, their pediatrician and I kept them on Sulfatrim all winter in an effort to keep them healthy. Still, they ended up with two or three breakthrough cases of strep/sinusitits/whatever.
We made a big leap forward healthwise a few years ago when they all had their tonsils and adenoids removed. As someone from the generation where T&As were widespread, I think the medical pendulum has swung too far the other way, making it too difficult to get this health-saving operation. We had an ENTJ from a family of 8 with a sister with Down syndrome who was very sympatico. The results following their surgeries were very noticeable. The kids had growth spurts (I felt they were suffering from oxygen deprivation at night, which was retarding their growth) and we were able to discontinue the daily winter sulfa. The next year Maddy - who suffered frequent strep and sinus infections - even mono - had hers removed, with great results for her health.
Still, for the boys, winter brought inevitable runny noses and eyes, skin rashes, and too-frequent full-blown infections.
I am embarrassed to admit that it has taken me until this year to begin a more pro-active health regimen which has proved effective in bringing them to stable and optimum health. And that it took this terrible ordeal Tripp has been through. Five weeks ago, when we were in the midst of trying to bring Tripp's post-surgery MRSA infection under control, Greta suggested Dr. Sears' Health Smoothie recipe.
I felt so dumb. Why hadn't I thought of that? I knew Dr. Sears had created this recipe as a result of his own research after enduring all the standard treatment for his colon cancer in the early 90's. Now I looked at his protocol with fresh eyes. With Tripp in such scary straits, suddenly gathering the unfamiliar ingredients and the putting them together each morning looked a lot more doable than the life our family had been living with so many trips to the doctors and antibbiotics galore.
I went to the store on 11/10 and bought everything I needed and began the regimen 11/11. I used the Sears' recipe except after the first day I deleted the peanut butter because I liked the taste better without it, added 2 tbsp. cranberry juice concentrate for urinary tract health, doubled the flax oil because the Downzers have such dry skin. While I used the Sears' multinutrient supplement for a while (Greta's gift), with the number of people I serve each day I simply couldn't afford to continue it forever - and since my kids eat a very well-balanced diet and love even broccoli and Brussels sprouts, I felt like that was okay.
So for five weeks I have made absolutely sure to always have frozen strawberries and blueberries, bananas, papayas, avocado, tofu, honey, milk, yogurt, flaxseed oil and cranberry juice concentrate in the house. I researched flax oil and found Barlean's
to be the best - cheapest at Amazon and I buy several at a time to save on shipping. I also have been buying cranberry juice concentrate from Amazon for a couple years because of the Fat Flush Diet (more about that next).
I get up 20 minutes early and after getting the kids started on their morning routine, I get out the ingredients and start peeling the papaya and so on. I measure 1/4 cup of flaxseed oil - shaken well first - but I'm past measuring everything else - just throw it all in.
It is amazing how fast the kids get dressed and come down to watch this process. They remind me of hungry birds gathered around eagerly awaiting the results. They've grown to love their morning smoothies so much. It is so gratifying and makes me wish I had thought more sacrificially and started this whole routine much sooner. it hasn't been as difficult as I thought.
Now the whole family drinks these each morning - kids from 8-23 (the college kids are home and Matt takes a slurpee cupful to drink on the way to work. Tripp has a tall glass too. So I actually make 2 or 3 blenders full each day. This takes the place of breakfast, but is harder to clean up :)
I know some of you have already instituted health regimens for your families and you may be wondering what has taken me so long. I don't know. I must confess that I get to a point where I think I'm doing so much I can't possibly add one more thing to the list. The funny thing is that once I'm pushed to include it, it turns out to be not such a big deal at all and I feel so dumb to have waited so long.
Besides, when I think of the time and money saved in trips to the doctor - and the worry over rashes and runny noses, I can't tell you how liberating it's been to have five straight weeks of my kids looking better than ever - dry skin and cracked lips gone too!
Especially if you've got special needs kids like mine - I recommend that if you've been dragging your feet like I did for so long, that you give this regimen a try and see how it works for you.
"The funny thing is that once I'm pushed to include it, it turns out to be not such a big deal at all and I feel so dumb to have waited so long."
SO true! I am going to do this! 2 of my 10 have an autoimmune disease (type 1 diabetes) and I am always looking for ways to keep them healthy since even a simple cold can cause them a lot of difficulties.
Thanks for sharing this Barbara.
Posted by: Michele Q. | December 18, 2008 12:14 AM
Ok, do you seriously put the avocado in? And does it blend in completely? I can't imagine my kids drinking avocado...
Posted by: MJS | December 18, 2008 3:12 PM
A 1/4-1/2 cup of canned pureed pumpkin or cooked pureed kale blends well in smoothies, too.
Posted by: Minna | December 18, 2008 5:09 PM
I have always wanted to drink smoothies for breakfast and now we're going to do this!! I went to Dr. Sear's website and saw all of the supplements he offers. Do you just use the Juice Plus Complete in the smoothies or do you also take the Juice Plus supplements? Thanks!
Posted by: Lisa | December 18, 2008 8:08 PM
Nevermind! :) I just re-read your post and see that you don't use the supplement anymore.
Posted by: Lisa | December 18, 2008 8:10 PM
Yum! I love green smoothies, and my kids do too. Curious about what kind of blender you use. I am wanting to upgrade, but can't decide between the Vitamix and Blendtec... With all our smoothie-drinkers, I'm sure you have a super-powered blender!
Posted by: Zoe | September 10, 2009 7:33 AM
Avocados do indeed blend into smoothies to the point where you can't tell they're in there. They do give it a great texture though.
To ripen avocados, put them in a brown paper bag with a banana. They will ripen in a day or two.
Smoothies are my typical breakfast for much of the year. I use homemade yogurt as a base, then add in whatever fruit we have handy- usually strawberries and something else. I typically add a few leafs of lettuce or something else green- it blends to where you can't taste it. If its too thick I thin it out with milk or juice. If it needs a sweetener (which is rare), I use liquid stevia.
Posted by: Stacy | September 24, 2009 10:33 PM