I’m running on little to no sleep… Mister Two, bless his poor little tummy, threw up all night. It got me thinking about natural stomach flu remedies and why we don’t do the “BRAT” diet anymore.
Let’s just be real. Stomach bugs suck… but not just for the kiddo. They suck for mama too. Cleaning up puke is the actual worst.
I snuggled up with two of my littles last night because their daddy was out of town. Exhausted, we piled in at 8:30 and hit snooze. Three hours later, I woke up to little man puking.
And I have to tell you about it ’cause these were special circumstances and special puke. Purple sweet potato puke that had turned a lovely shade of fuchsia. Like, the kind of color I might paint my lips with if it wasn’t puke.
But it gets worse. The puke (almost all of it) landed primarily on my seven-year-old’s head. It wasn’t just a little bit. And it was… chunky.
We’d also had boiled eggs with our dinner. Y’know how dyed Easter eggs take on various hues… we had purple sweet potato dyed egg whites, only regurgitated, and in brother’s hair. (You’re welcome for an awesome and natural Easter egg dye idea come spring!)
Brother was not impressed with being woken up to a head full up puke… and awful as it was, I can’t write about it now without laughing. Awful as it was in the moment, I couldn’t stop laughing. Cue death stares from seven-year-old. Not funny mom.
So I cleaned it up and prayed the pretty puke would come out of my new quilt. And cleaned and prayed again when he puked again three hours later.
I think motherhood can be summed up as 50% feeling sorry for the kid who puked and 50% feeling sorry for yourself because you have to clean it up.
Thankfully, after some work this morning, everything came clean (seriously thankful for this amazing deep-cleaning, natural laundry detergent and this totally natural laundry odor remover. Puke smell no more!).
Now that everything’s clean and Mister Two isn’t throwing up, I thought I’d share my favorite natural stomach flu remedies and how we handle the pukies around here.
First, why we don’t do the BRAT diet
The BRAT diet stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast, and it’s suggested to give kids who have the stomach flu.
We don’t do the BRAT diet because it doesn’t offer a whole lot of nutrition or gut-healing needed to get over a stomach bug. That, and we generally don’t eat grains, so two out of the four components of the BRAT diet are out.
Instead, we focus on gut-healing foods and supplements to help tummies recover quickly without sacrificing nutrition.
Natural stomach flu remedies
Try these stomach flu remedies next time your little one is sick for quicker healing and better long-term gut health.
1. Meat stock- a gentler version of bone broth, meat stock is cooked with plenty of meat and gelatinous bits still on the bones, and for a shorter period, resulting in a digestion-healing comfort food. It’s high in gelatin and amino acids needed to heal and soothe the gut-lining while the immune system works to defeat the invaders causing sickness.
Use this recipe for poached chicken to make my favorite gentle chicken stock, which is a great base for soups or to drink alone with some real salt for a super nourishing and healing elixir.
2. Homemade electrolyte drink- vomiting and diarrhea result in loss of electrolytes, or minerals, due to the loss of fluids. Make your own easy electrolyte drink, which your kids will love, to help replace needed nutrients during sickness. To make a homemade electrolyte drink, combine:
- 1/2- 1 cup fresh-pressed orange juice
- 16 oz raw coconut water (try this one)
- 1/4-1/2 tsp. magnesium powder (this one is flavorless and formulated with high-quality ingredients)
- squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- dash of real salt
- optional- 1-2 tbsp. raw honey, for flavor and extra enzymes
3. Herbal stomach flu remedies- herbal remedies are always my go-to, regardless of what kind of sickness we’re battling. A few, in particular, are good for helping when a stomach bug hits.
- peppermint- a great stomach flu remedy for little ones, peppermint is both tasty and effective. It’s perfect as a tea because you can easily sweeten it with a little raw honey, or it tastes good on its own. Try this one.
- ginger- known for easing stomach pain, as well as inflammation, ginger is another great option for tea. You can make a tea from freshly chopped ginger, or pre-made ginger tea bags like these. I also love using ginger extract, which is excellent for treating nausea and vomiting. It also soothes muscles spams and strengthens the immune system.
- fennel- like ginger, fennel is antispasmodic, making it a good choice for stomach spasms that contribute to vomiting and diarrhea. It can also help to kill intestinal parasites, which are sometimes at the root of a stomach bug. Try this tea.
- licorice- super soothing to the stomach lining, licorice can be helpful when the stomach flu hits. Licorice has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiulcer, antifungal, and antithrombotic properties, and, best of all, it has a naturally sweet taste, making it a good option to serve up to little ones with upset tummies. Try this tea.
This Tummy Comfort tea, with peppermint, chamomile, and lemon balm is also a great option for little ones experiencing tummy troubles.
4. Take a gentle but effective probiotic- when you’ve got a stomach flu, odds are the bacterial content of your gut are out of whack. Balance your gut gently but effectively by using a therapeutic probiotic. This one is carefully crafted to be free of allergens, and is highly concentrated so you can take very small amounts and get big results. Best of all, it’s safe for the whole family.
In addition to a good probiotic, make sure to get in probiotic foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, and kefir.
5. The “B” and the “A”- The BRAT diet isn’t all bad. The reason bananas and applesauce are included in the diet are because they contain resistant starch and pectin, two substances that feed good bacteria in your gut.
Try a banana pudding made with coconut milk to replace electrolytes (bananas are high in potassium, a mineral lost during periods of vomiting and diarrhea), or this homemade applesauce recipe from Wellness Mama, with extra vitamin C added for more immune-boosting power.
Thanks so much for this post. All 3 of my kids and my husband are sick. He always wants what his mom gave him: ginger ale and crackers. Trying your protocol this time and it seems to be working.
My daughter, who is almost 12, hasn’t had a stomach virus since just after her first birthday. But she has one this weekend. So I was looking for some additional ideas for her. She only has diarrhea and a fever. No vomiting, thank goodness. But yeah, I had the 3:30am wake up with her having woken up in distress and having to clean diarrhea up from the carpet in her bedroom, the bathroom floor (which wasn’t a big deal), and her pj bottoms. I would have been tempted to just throw out the pj bottoms, but they were ones she had sewn herself fairly recently. So they are rather new and she is rather attached to them. So around 4am, I was washing the nastiness out of them in the laundry room and them letting them soak with some disinfectant! BLECH!!! I was surprised to find magnesium as a remedy (electrolyte drink) for for a stomach virus, since magnesium generally encourages the bowels to move, and vitamin C can also lead to diarrhea. So I definitely won’t be doing those, but it is interesting they have worked for your family. I generally have meat broth in the house, but was running low. So I whipped up another batch as soon as the virus hit, which was on a Friday afternoon. When I make broth, I add fresh ginger and turmeric to the cooking pot. So I did want to suggest that. And then we do a prescription probiotic anyhow, and bananas, applesauce, and rice. Rice is about the only grain we eat on any regular basis, after having done 4+ years of GAPS. But that rice is also well soaked and rinsed. So broth today with the boiled chicken and a bit of rice (not too much, like maybe 2 tablespoons of pre-cooked rice added in).