Back to School – 5 Tips to Keep Kids Healthy

It’s time to get ready for school. Does back to school often mean more illness in your home? Often parents lament that when their children get sick and bring home “bugs” from school, the rest of the family tends to get ill also. There are a few easy steps to take to strengthen your child’s (and your) immune system. Stronger immunity will lead to a more productive school year and a healthier overall family.

1. Out With the Bad! Sugar is the enemy of the immune system. In fact when ingested, its negative effect on the immune system is almost immediate. Bacteria and viruses “love” sugar and they feed on it. Therefore if you feel a little “off” and think you’re getting ill or others around you already are, eschew all sugar immediately. It can make the difference between successfully fighting off the “bug” or succumbing.

Working to lessen sugar consumption and eliminating ALL high fructose corn syrup will strengthen your child’s immune system and make him or her less vulnerable to the “bugs” that other children have.

Remember it’s not only the sugar you eat, it’s also the sugar you drink in the form of sodas and other sweetened drinks. Even fruit juice is high in sugar, often. Make sure your children (and you!) attempt to drink half of the body’s weight in ounces of water each day. Active children need to stay hydrated.

Simple, refined grains such as white flour and processed breads, crackers and pasta, also fall into this category since, due to their highly refined nature, they turn into sugar very rapidly.

Note: A healthy immune system WILL successfully defend you against infections and colds, despite having others in your environment who are ill. The idea that if someone close to you is sick mandates that you too will get sick is false, fortunately!

2. In With the Good! The best way to strengthen your immune system is to arm the body, on a daily basis, with certain key nutrients. Phytonutrients, or plant nutrition, is well known to provide the body with a strong defense against invading organisms. The key is to consume a minimum of 5+ servings per day for children and 7 to 9 servings for adults of fresh, organic and raw or lightly cooked vegetables and fruits.

The list is long of the foods that fit into this category, but some key fruits, vegetables and herbs (organic, or at least not GMO) to emphasize are:

  • Citrus – loaded with vitamin C and alkalizing, which helps immunity.
  • Blueberries – a potent immune booster
  • Raspberries – high in antioxidants
  • Pomegranate – very high in antioxidants that “scavenge” unhealthy, disease-causing substances.
  • Avocados – full of vitamins C and E, they have anti-cancer properties and boost the immune system.  Note: peel the avocado with your fingers after cutting it in half to preserve the darkest green part – this is where the best health benefits reside.
  • Kale – a nice immune booster and a one cup serving has as much calcium as a glass of milk!  Hint: “Sneak” kale into many dishes by chopping it up finely. It’s in my chili, pasta sauce and I have a great kale pesto recipe on YouTube that no one will ever guess is kale!
  • Broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts – superfoods in the crucifer family and loaded with great immune protection.
  • Chlorella – this is an algae but easily found in high quality greens powders. Throwing a little in a smoothie is an easy way to get it into your kids, or your, diet. Chlorella is full of chlorophyll and acts as a detoxifier and blood purifier.
  • Bok choy – ridiculously low in calories yet filled with antioxidants and anti-cancer properties
  • Tomatoes – another anti-cancer, high in antioxidants fruit.  Note: don’t store it in the refrigerator; it loses its flavor.
  • Mushrooms – rich in fiber, vitamins, protein and minerals, mushrooms contain compounds called beta-glucans that enhance the immune system through their infection fighting abilities. Best types are: reishi, shitake and maitake.
  • Onions , scallions and leeks – they are high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory. Try to eat one each day.
  • Garlic – it’s anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal. Try to eat some fresh garlic every day. If it isn’t fresh (meaning consumed within about an hour), it’s of no benefit, so cook with it fresh, never from a jar.


  • Turmeric – very high in antioxidants and anticancer properties. It’s 5 times more powerful than vitamins C and E and very anti-inflammatory.
  • Black pepper – helps to improve the availability of the good nutrition coming from the foods you eat with it. Think of it as a nutrient booster.
  • Oregano – high in antioxidants.
  • Cinnamon – has strong anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory abilities.
  • Green tea – more for adults than children, but green teas are rich in powerful antioxidants and it also has anti-cancer properties.

3. Fermented foods – items such as sauerkraut, pickles, kombucha and others contain friendly bacteria that boost your body’s immunity. Not everyone loves the taste of these, but with a little searching you should be able to find a kombucha drink that you and your kids will like. (Personally we enjoy the one with chia seeds, providing an added omega-3 benefit.)

4. Coconut and coconut oil – if you’ve ever heard someone say that saturated fats are always bad for you, they don’t know the truth about coconut oil. It is excellent for thyroid health, and boosts your metabolism, helping you lose weight. It is rich in a fatty acid called lauric acid that converts to monolaurin, an immune booster.

Lauric acid’s immune boosting abilities comes from its ability to alter and weaken the fatty membranes of invading organisms. Basically it’s a “bad guy” killer.

You can cook with coconut oil, put it in smoothies, use the milk instead of cow’s milk or just enjoy the coconut meat itself.

5. Get Those Zzzzs… Is it hard to get your child out of bed in the morning? On the weekends how many hours do they sleep when they don’t have to get up for school? It is well worth the effort to discover how many of hours sleep your child needs (and you too for that matter) in order for them to arise, effortlessly, with great energy and ready to greet the day. It will not only help them be more productive and do better at school, but since the immune system is most active when you are at rest, it will assure that it is as strong and robust as possible.

And one more…. Get Moving! Exercise is beneficial for so many parts of the body, but with increased circulation comes better immune function, so get in a daily habit of exercising with your children. Whether it’s walking or biking to school or a nice romp in the park once they get home, daily exercise will set them and you up for better health overall.

I hope you start implementing these easy dietary changes and reap the benefits of a strong immune system for your children and your entire family. I raised three children who never had a single antibiotic the entire time they were growing up and my husband and I never “got sick” because they did. Sound impossible? I assure you it isn’t if you have a healthy immune system.

Lastly I would be remiss to not mention the negative effects of undiagnosed food sensitivities, leaky gut and underlying factors that can weaken the immune system. If you try the above and are still struggling, definitely let me know. Our destination clinic treats patients from across the country and internationally. We are here to help and you can always reach out to receive a FREE phone consultation. Call us at 408-733-0400.

To your fabulous health,
Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN, CFMP
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Author of “The Gluten Effect”

All my physical problems are reversed!

When I first came to HealthNOW I was, frankly, a mess. I was extremely depressed and moody, was having horrible headaches, and was literally getting the flu every few weeks. I had extreme fatigue and trouble concentrating. I felt like I was going crazy. I was anxious and irritable all the time. I felt sick all the time. All this had been going on for years, getting worse each year until my life was falling apart.

The doctors approached my problems in a logical manner and persisted in handling the various areas I was having trouble with despite my own laxness at times. 

Physical Therapy, Chiropractic and nutritional supplements turned all the symptoms above around. I’m often amazed how much clearer I think. 
My memory is normal again. The moodiness is much more under control. 
I rarely have a headache. (I cause them myself when I do get them by going off my diet and vitamins.)

For me miracles have occurred and I’m very grateful to the doctors for their help. The tests they had me do to find the right supplements and diet were amazing and have changed my life to a higher quality. The diet has worked very well for me and, one learned and refined, contributed to the final change in life and health for me. 

I honestly thought I was too old to reverse the physical problems I had. My energy and vigor for life is way back up.


— S.A.

I am currently free of allergies!

I am writing this letter to thank you for the excellent treatment that I received from your clinic to treat my allergies.

 Since early childhood, I have been suffering from a runny nose, watery, burning eyes and severe sneezing for a major part of the year.
 This resulted in poor work efficiency and poor quality of life.

 These symptoms got worse whenever I traveled or was engaged in outdoor activities such as hiking, etc. 

I had been on drugs to reduce these symptoms for over three years when I heard about your clinic and the drug-free treatment offered here.

I have been on a modified diet prescribed by your clinic for about 4 months now and I have just completed your special 2 month supplementation program. My allergy symptoms reduced rapidly and for the last month I have been completely free from it. I feel great and highly energetic. My quality of life has improved significantly.
 I have lost weight and become trim. 

I am currently free of allergies, even under relatively stressful situations such as traveling, outdoor activities, etc.

 Thank you very much for your wonderful treatment.


Exact Steps to Take to Prevent Colds and Flu

What to Do if You Start to Get a Cold or the Flu

Colds and flu may be common, especially in the winter months, but they are not normal.

Optimally, the doctors of clinical nutrition and naturopathic medicine want to get to the root cause of why our patients get ill. The reason that is our purpose is because we know that a healthy immune system will defend itself successfully against viruses and bacteria. When it doesn’t and the body finds itself ill, that is a red flag to us that we need to enhance the functioning of the immune system and other supportive systems.

While that is occurring however, are there some good tips of what one can do when getting sick seems inevitable? Yes! Read on… It is very important to take fast action the MOMENT you first realize that you are getting ill.

In fact, doing the steps below are a good idea to initiate when others around you are ill and you want to ensure that you don’t get their ‘bug’. I cannot over-stress how important taking immediate action is.

Here are the Steps to Take:

1. Start taking immune boosting supplements:

• A good vitamin C, at a dose of 500 mg per hour is excellent. If you start passing gas or getting loose stools, you’ve taken enough to saturate your tissues for that day. Give it a break for a day or at least several hours, and then start taking the vitamin C again.

Zinc lozenges are beneficial when taken early on. They must be sucked on, not chewed or swallowed whole in order to be effective. High levels of zinc aren’t common in our society, but the sign that you shouldn’t continue the lozenges is a feeling of nausea.

Vitamin D is a strong immune booster and many ‘swear by it’ as a flu prevention supplement. Most Americans have deficient vitamin D levels, so if you haven’t had yours tested recently, let us know and we can assist you. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, so we prefer a liquid vitamin D3 (the most absorbable kind) in a base of olive oil. It’s very easy to take and effective. If your levels are normal, taking a little extra when ill is fine. If you’re quite deficient you could be more likely to get ill, so we can work with you to raise your levels quickly.

Echinacea – there are many forms of this herb. I like a liquid tincture because it is easy to give to all ages and the liquid form seems to act faster.

• Certain herbs such as garlic, ginger, oregano, cloves, turmeric and cinnamon are immune boosters. Cooking with these herbs is beneficial and delicious!

Oregano oil and olive leaf extract are both adept at killing a host of ‘bad guys’ as they have strong natural abilities to kill bacteria, viruses and yeast. They typically are sold in 500 mg capsules and taking two per day is the recommended dose.

2. Hydrate – drink that water! Many people are dehydrated and should get more water on a daily basis, but when you feel you are getting ill it is especially important to drink extra water so that your body can easily flush out toxins.

Warm liquids can feel good when you’re ill because they increase your body’s core temperature, which helps to kill bad organisms. Try to consume one-half your body’s weight in ounces of water daily.

So if you weighted 100 lb you would drink 50 oz in water spread throughout the day.

3. Eat 9 servings of vegetables and fruits, organic preferably. The nutrients in veggies and fruits are beneficial to the immune system. You can make green smoothies or fresh vegetable soup that are light and easy to consume when you’re not feeling great or don’t have much of an appetite.

4. Stop consuming any sugar, this includes artificial sweeteners and alcohol. Sugar feeds bugs and weakens the immune system – ditto for alcohol that puts a stress on an already overtaxed detoxification system.

5. Go to bed early and get extra rest. The immune system works best at night so giving your body an opportunity to heal itself faster by getting extra sleep will help you to recuperate faster.

6. Exercise. Regular exercise is a good immune booster and therefore illness preventer. If you’re already starting to feel sick, only mild exercise is recommended, such as taking a walk if you’re up to it. Any more than that can act as a stressor, something you want to avoid.

7. Hydrogen peroxide drops in the ear. This home remedy has been around for a long time. Three to five drops of 3% hydrogen peroxide (the kind you can find in the drug store) is placed in the ear.

Allow it to bubble for about 5 minutes (you may also feel a mild stinging) and then let the liquid drain into a tissue. Do the same thing for the other ear and re-apply every 2 hours as possible.

The virus is believed to enter through the ear canal, so killing it prevents the spread of symptoms. If you already have body-wide symptoms, it is likely too late for this treatment.

8. Reduce your stress load. Easier said than done, I do realize, but sometimes just ‘deciding’ that you are going to put something on the back burner until you feel better will give you some relief from too many stressful activities.

9. Continue taking your daily multiple, anti-oxidant and fish oil supplement while you’re ill. I consider these foundational nutrition that everyone should take, in most circumstances. My all time favorite multiple/anti-oxidant combination is Optimum Daily Allowance and Body & Vision. They were created by a biochemist who’s a genius and I think they’re truly the best.

What To Do for an Annoying Cough

Nobody likes coughing. It can keep you awake at night when much needed sleep is required. Unfortunately over-the-counter cough syrups and cold medications are not especially effective and can have dangerous side effects.

Try following the protocols below:

When a cough gets too annoying, try making your own natural cough syrup with honey and lemon. Boil a whole organic lemon in enough water to just cover it. Boil for a few minutes. Let the lemon cool, cut it in slices and add it to 3 tbsp of raw honey. Cook on low heat for an hour and then strain it.

Once cooled, you can place it in a jar and store in the refrigerator for a couple of months. The dosage is ½ tsp for a child weighing 25 lb or less, 1 teaspoon for a 50 lb child and 1 tablespoon for adults.

This can be used several times per day as needed.

We Can Help!

I hope you found this helpful. When it comes to getting colds or flu, if your immune system is truly healthy, you shouldn’t have any trouble warding them off. If you find that you tend to get ‘what’s going around’ or frequently get ill, it’s time to find out why. Here at HealthNOW Medical Center we specialize in getting to the root cause of why the immune system is not functioning as it should. Whether it’s you or someone you care about

Do You Have Any of the Above Symptoms?

Whether it’s you or someone you care about, consider contacting us for a FREE CONSULTATION. Call (408) 733-0400 to schedule. Our medical center is located in Sunnyvale, CA. If you are not local to us, our DESTINATION CLINIC treats patients from across the country and internationally. We will help you find the underlying root cause!

To your health,

Dr. Vikki Petersen
IFM Certified Practitioner
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Author of “The Gluten Effect”
Author of eBook: “Gluten Intolerance – What You Don’t Know May Be Killing You!”

NO tiredness, LOTS of energy, NO pains!

I complained that I was exhausted all of the time, my gut hurt most of the time and I had chronically inflamed and painful sinuses, AND the medical profession didn’t have a clue what to do with me as I appeared otherwise ‘healthy’ and they could find no CAUSE for the above problem.

Dr. Petersen said, ‘Be patient and work with us and I promise you that we’ll do everything we can to fix you up and get you feeling healthy again.’ Well, it’s been an adventure!

Our first major discovery was that when I eat gluten in any form my body mounts an immune response and I feel horrible all of the time.

3 months after quitting all gluten my gut quit aching, my tendonitis in my arms cleared up, my enlarged tonsils shrunk away to nothing, my sinuses got 100% better (after 25 years of pain!) and I felt much better.

The doctors never gave up on me, even though I live 2 ½ hours away and couldn’t visit often, they continued to check in on me with ‘How are you doing NOW?’

Well, with the most recent discovery that I am very carbohydrate sensitive, I FINALLY feel HEALTHY again. NO tiredness, LOTS of energy, no pains, no stomach aches, no sinus problems … YEAH!!!!

This note is to say ‘Thank You’… my life is happy and wonderful because I actually feel healthy ALL OF THE TIME!

If you need help with your Health, put yourself in their hands… they CAN help, they WANT to help, they LOVE helping and you’ll feel better… just remember, be patient!

— C.K.

Photographer, Sacramento