Being sick of being sick

honest momming

These past few weeks have been as close to personal hell as I possibly could get. First, we stopped taking A1 to the OT, rather opting to do “therapy” at home, and to send her to a nursery school once a week for much needed socialisation and stimulation. Soon after, A2 got sick, for the first time since birth. At first she wasn’t really bad, she had an irritating cough but no fever, and also didn’t sleep or eat badly. So we kind of ignored it for 2 weeks, just giving over the counter meds, using essential oils and breastfeeding as much as possible. Inevitably, husband got sick. I stayed next to the humidifier, spiked with peppermint and tea tree oil, trying in vain to not get sick as well. Mom (and business partner) went in for a major back operation, leaving me alone at the venue in one of our busiest weeks ever.  Then, A1 started looking and sounding bad, and A2’s cough got worse with a slight fever. My Mother-in-law took both kids to the doctor and came back with a bag full of meds. Felt like the whole pharmacy! A1 had pink eye, a throat infection and starting symptoms of flu. A2 had an ear infection and started with bronchitis. So both ended up on antibiotics, which we try to avoid at all costs. I ended up running around from one function to the next, doing hospital visits and doctors’ visits, in short just running hectically around, with 2 sick kids in tow. As with all other people, high stress usually leads to little or not enough sleep, which makes you hungry and cranky, which makes you crave the wrong food (or you are in such a rush that you don’t have time to get decent food), wrong food basically destroys your immune system and makes you tired. Now you are tired, under stress, eating wrong, getting more tired, getting sick because your immune system is just above 0, then getting more stressed because now you are sick and tired and over-worked. Vicious circle, and I was caught up in it. First thing that went out the window was my usual 6 to 7 hours sleep. Sick kids don’t sleep, and admin doesn’t take care of itself. Between the 2 I clocked about 2 to 4 hours a night. Next to go was my resolve not to use coffee as fuel – back to 7 or 8 cups a day. Tired and hyped up on caffeine, the healthy lifestyle was the next victim. On the road, between meetings and deliveries etc. food had to be on the run. Luckily for me (and my body) I don’t do take-aways, so food on the run is popping into Woolworths for a sandwich or salad or ready-made meal. And of course a coffee.


A less-than-ideal diet not high in fresh veggies, lean protein, good fat and no sugar, lots of caffeine, high stress and little sleep can only lead to one thing – I got sick! That means my whole family was sick, the two girls on antibiotics, myself on cortisone and husband on whatever he could get his hands on.  Luckily Mom’s operation was a huge success, and she takes nothing lying down. She got out of the hospital and almost instantly back into work, but could not do any driving, heavy (or any) lifting, and standing for long periods of time was also a problem. So I was still responsible for the bulk of the work, and now I was sick. We struggled through the next week or two, just trying to keep the edges together. Survival mode kicked in, leaving little space for the small details. Dinners comprised of single dishes, lunch was bought on the road, and breakfast skipped altogether. Oh boy how far had we fallen! Off course we all struggled to get healthy again. Luckily, things quieted down at work, and I could pay more attention to my family, meaning going back to our normal diet. And true as bob, within a few days we all felt more like our usual selves! This personal experience once again confirmed our very firm belief that the food that you put into your body is the most important preventative health measure that you can implement. We believe that what you eat has the ability to not only nourish but to protect, heal, and strengthen. If our diet had been better during this trying time, we most probably would have been able to jump back from the sniffles without having to go the antibiotic route. For this reason, we have systematically cut out all sugar, most starch (except for complex carbs and resistant starches such as beans and legumes and some starchy veg), all processed food, most seed oils, and to some extent alcohol (especially for the kids lol) and fruit. This has been very difficult to implement with the kids, in fact we are still struggling. Especially since we have to battle family, friends, and other care-takers’ old-school ideas of what is considered to be healthy and good. A case in point, honey. We don’t allow honey – it is almost 70% fructose (fruit sugar, in our household also known as “bad sugar”), and your body cannot use fructose for anything other than making fat cells. It does not provide energy, or fuel, and the small amount of nutrients that you can absorb from it does not outweigh the negatives. We allow fruit, especially for the kids. They can have as much fruit as they would like, as long as it is fresh. No dried fruit or fruit juice (pure sugar with no added benefit of fibre!), limited treats and sweets, and definitely no sodas. Our kids drink rooibos tea (unsweetened, mostly black), water, and full cream milk. We drink coffee (oops), lots of water, and some wine… sometimes more wine than just “some”…


I will write a more detailed post soon about our food struggles, triumphs, and challenges. For now, suffice to say that merely going back to our usual diet not only helped us all get our health back, but also allowed me to go on at full speed for the past 3 weeks. Husband is busy working full time and doing his MBA, with a wife who is rarely at home over weekends and 2 kids under the age of 3. And he is coping. I don’t think it is farfetched to chalk that up to his eating habits. Yes, we do exercise. Actually a lot, we love being active and busy and encourage the kids to also be. But as you all should now, you cannot outrun a bad diet – if you don’t eat healthily you won’t be healthy.  The past few weeks have been difficult, but it would have been a lot easier if we had taken care of our bodies, if we had kept feeding our systems the nutrients it needed we would have been better equipped to handle the onslaughts. Will we learn from this? I hope so! Luckily every time that we slide, we get back on track faster than the time before, so hopefully sooner rather than later we will be so invested in this lifestyle that there will be no alternative, and no bad habits to fall back to. But I will keep you posted!

Say no to sugar (1)

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