Michael van Straten
Michael van Straten

Back To School Bugs And Better Brain Power

Granny was right when she told us to eat fish for better brains
You’ve dashed round the shops buying the new school uniform, trainers, pens, pencil cases and sports bags, but did you spare a thought for your child’s mental performance and immune defences. As they set off for school for the first time or get ready to go back after the long summer holidays they’re going to be exposed to a range of bugs which they haven’t met before.

Their young bodies won’t have the natural immunity to protect them and within the first few weeks in the classroom they’re liable to go down with coughs, sneezes, tummy upsets and sore throats. By taking action now you can help build up their natural defences and so increase their self-protection. You can also help them to achieve their maximum academic potential by including fish oils, oily fish and other essential nutrients in their diets.

Start with a simple supplement boost to help fight the autumn bugs.

EchinaCold is a traditional herbal medicine that helps relieve the nasty symptoms of cold and flu infections. Traditionally used by herbalists for centuries, the herb Echinacea is a natural way to ease the discomfort of these seasonal ailments.

One tablet of EchinaCold contains 40 mg of dried root extract from Echinacea purpurea. Over many years, Echinacea has grown in popularity in the fight against cold and flu-like infections.
EchinaCold is one of the few flu remedies on the market that contains Echinacea; each pharmaceutical grade tablet is foiled blister packed to retain its freshness and maintain its potency.
Taking two to three tablets three times daily can help adults and children 12 years + to relieve symptoms of cold and flu type infections. For best results EchinaCold should be taken at the first sign of infection.

EchinaCold should not be taken for more than 10 days. If symptoms worsen during the use of the product or persist for more than 10 days, a physician or a qualified healthcare practitioner should be consulted. Go to www.echinacold.co.uk

EchinaCold is safe for the over twelve’s and adults of all ages.

Vitamin C with zinc is essential for a strong immune boost.

Vitamin D is vital for effective resistance, yet most of the population does not get enough from food or sunshine, so a fish oil supplement is good news in winter.

Few parents in the western world would consider that their children didn’t have enough to eat but the fact is that lots of youngsters, although over-fed are also under-nourished, with too many empty calories and not enough basic, high quality food - our society has produced a junk-food generation, weaned on chocolate bars and hamburgers. Processed, packaged, instant and convenience foods are not only expensive but poor in the nutrients essential for both brain and body.

Maximise your children’s immunity by ensuring they eat a healthy balanced diet - including fresh fruit and vegetables - every day. Vitamin and mineral supplements are available in children’s doses; they aren’t a substitute for healthy eating, but an extra 500 mg of vitamin C in winter is essential if your child won’t eat fresh fruit and useful as extra health insurance even if they do.

Surprisingly, our modern obsession with cleanliness and hygiene may have quite a lot to do with the lack of resistance which so many youngsters seem to have at the start of their school life. Recent studies have shown that children from homes which are disinfected from top to bottom twice daily, where household pets are banished to the garden shed, where the only outside activity is a walk with mum and dad and only selected friends visit the house, appear to be the most susceptible to every cold, ’flu and other bug going round the school.

On the other hand, kids who play in the street with lots of others, who get their hands in the dirt and love making mud pies, whose homes are clean but not "sterile" and who like nothing better than romping in the garden with the family dog, have much greater resistance which they have built up through contact with a wide variety of germs and consequently suffer less infectious illness once they get to school.

Cleanliness may be next to godliness, but obsessive hygiene is the first step to the doctor’s waiting room.

Packed Lunches
Young bodies need good nourishment to get them through the long school day. But children’s brains are even hungrier than their bodies, voracious in their need for oxygen, for energy and for key nutrients - especially essential fatty acids, iron, magnesium and B vitamins. If these demands are not met, children will find it a struggle to learn, to remember, and even to pay attention.

If “school dinners” are appalling, here are six great packed lunches which will make sure your youngsters avoid the artery clogging burgers and chips and get all the body and brain boosting nutrients they need to keep them going through the rest of the day.

1. Hummus, alfalfa sprouts, 2 teaspoons Barleans Fortiflax and chopped tomato in a whole wheat pita bread, a small packet of raisins, a tangerine and a carton of unsweetened fruit juice.

2. Salmon, cucumber and mayonnaise whole-wheat sandwiches, a bunch of grapes, a muesli bar and unsweetened juice.

3. Peanut butter, banana and honey whole-wheat sandwiches, packet of nuts and raisins, a small piece of cheese, an apple and a carton of juice.

4. Whole wheat roll with cold chicken, tomato, lettuce, a sprinkling of Fortiflax and mayonnaise, a small bar of Green & Black’s white organic chocolate, a pear, a small carton of their favourite yoghurt and a carton of juice.

5. Whole wheat sandwiches with cream cheese, seedless raisins, shredded lettuce and a sprinkling of Barleans Fortiflax, a muesli bar, an apple, a small bunch of grapes and a carton of juice.

6. A whole wheat pita with sardines or salmon, sweet corn, red pepper and mayonnaise, a banana, a slice of carrot cake and a carton of juice.

There is now such a wide range of good breads available, even in the supermarkets, that you can easily ring the changes using whole meal baguette, ciabatta with sun dried tomatoes, cheese breads, olive breads, rye bread and many more.

Mighty Muesli Munchies
300g/10½ oz of good quality unsweetened organic muesli: preferably without nuts
pinch of nutmeg
115g/4oz brown cane sugar
2 heaped teaspoons Barleans Organic FortiFlax
1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
175g/6oz runny honey
60g/2oz unsalted butter
175g/6oz fresh or semi-dried dates (not the sticky ones in Christmas boxes), stoned and chopped
3 ripe bananas, thinly sliced
juice of 1 lemon

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4.
In a big bowl, mix the muesli, Fortiflax and spices. Put the honey, sugar and butter in a small pan and heat slowly till all the sugar is dissolved. Mix thoroughly with the muesli. Put half of the muesli mixture in a greased 33cm x 25cm/13 x 10 inch shallow baking tray. Mix the bananas, dates and lemon juice, add on top of the mixture, then cover with the rest of the muesli mixture, smooth over and bake until golden - about 25-30 minutes.
Leave it to cool in the tin, then cut lengthways down the middle, and divide each half into 6 substantial bars.

Wake Up Call
2 eating apples
2 bananas
1 pear
1 heaped tbspn of smooth peanut butter
2 tsp Barleans Organic Flax seed oil
150 ml (5 fl oz) of crème fraiche
½ a tspn of cinnamon

Quarter the apples and pear. Peel the bananas. Put the apples and pear through a juicer. Put the juice, peanut butter, crème fraiche, flax seed oil and banana into a liquidiser and whiz. Serve with the cinnamon sprinkled on top.

Here’s a combination of quick and slow release energy, essential fatty acids and nutrients, protein and fibre for a great energy boost. Surprisingly peanut butter helps weight loss and sugar cravings. Because they’re broken down very slowly into energy giving sugars, the nuts and peanut butter help protect against diabetes. With the banana for more potassium and fruit for vitamin C and fibre, this is a vitality drink which is also rich in calcium and B vitamins.

Strawberry Sundae(2 Servings)
400g (14 oz) of strawberries
125 ml (4 fl oz) of crème fraiche
75 ml (3 fl oz) of full-fat milk
10 ml (2 tsp) Barleans Organic Flax Seed oil

Keeping two of the strawberries aside, put the rest into a blender with the crème fraiche, flax seed oil and milk. Whizz until smooth, thinning down with more milk if necessary. Serve with the almost halved reserved strawberries sitting over the rim of the glasses.

The crème fraiche and milk provide lots of calcium, the strawberries add loads of vitamin C, and this delicious cooling drink is also an immune booster and bone builder. The flax seed oil adds essential fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory and help improve concentration, memory and mental performance.

For Barleans products go to www.healthyandessential.co.uk


Some of my books...

Sign up for my e-mail newsletter:


10 Day Detox With Kim WildeMichael Van Straten's 10 Day Detox With Kim Wilde

"In this video, we will take you through a series of easy to follow and achievable steps. You too can safely and effectively lose weight as well as significantly increase energy levels".

Migraine Misery?


MigraHerb® Feverfew capsules.

MigraHerb® is a traditional herbal medicinal product used for the prevention of migraine headaches exclusively based upon long-standing use as a traditional remedy. Always read the label.

tickLessens frequency and severity of migraine attacks

tickFor people who have a doctor's diagnosis for this condition

MigraHerb® 30 one-a-day capsules.
Normally £8.16
NOW £6.90
Save £1.26.

» For more information visit www.migraherb.co.uk

De-stress and Energise!


Vitano® Rhodiola rosea tablets.

Vitano® is a traditional herbal medicinal product used for the temporary relief of symptoms associated with stress, such as fatigue, exhaustion and mild anxiety, based on traditional use only. Always read the label.

tickHelps revive both mental and physical performance

tickBalances a hectic lifestyle... naturally!

Vitano® 30 tablets normally £13.27
NOW £9.90 - Save £3.37.
Multi-buy deal also available.

» For more information visit www.vitano.co.uk

Not Sleeping?


NiteHerb® Valerian tablets.

NiteHerb® is a traditional herbal medicinal product used for the temporary relief of sleep disturbances due to symptoms of mild anxiety exclusively based on long-standing use as a traditional remedy. Always read the label.

tickA natural solution to a good night's sleep

tickWake up revived - not groggy!

NiteHerb® 30 tablets normally £6.12
NOW £5.20 - Save £0.92.
Multi-buy deal also available.

» For more information visit www.niteherb.co.uk