By Terri Smith –
In my last article, I mentioned that I was ruining my own immune system worrying about that of Amadeus. I was mostly joking, but it turns out it was much truer than I imagined.
I was ridiculously sick for all of December. I had three different illnesses during Christmas month (and I am rarely really sick) beginning with a weird combination of things that the doctor explained as, “Your immune system has just pretty much shut down for some reason.” It was terrible and I found myself puzzling over what the heck was wrong with me since I thought I was pretty healthy, eating well, and getting lots of sleep.
I know there are many factors that led to all this illness. I was not actually eating as well as I thought I was, and let’s face it: it’s been a stressful year overall for most people around here, but I think one of the biggest reasons I was so run down was worry over Amadeus.
As you may remember, I had been doing a ton of research on how to help Amadeus build up his immune system. I read articles, joined goat forums, and talked to my veterinarian friends, my holistic health friends, and my ranching friends. I received a lot of advice. Tons of it. Much of it conflicting. I don’t know how mothers of human kids manage. I can barely deal with not knowing what to do to help a goat, never mind how I would feel about a child. No matter what I decide to do to help Amadeus, someone will be sure that I should have done something else. And the worst part is, I agree with all of them! Everyone who means well has sound reasoning and caring advice. How to decide what to do!?
Ironically, it was my own illness, caused by Amadeus-stress, that has helped me to help him. After receiving a diagnosis of: “your immune system has just pretty much shut down for some reason,” I started researching the most important vitamins for a healthy immune system. There are many, of course, but the vitamins I repeatedly found listed as the top three to supplement were: beta-carotene (vitamin A), vitamin C, and vitamin E. This was wonderful news. Among Amadeus’ favourite foods are carrots (vitamin A), rosehips (vitamin C), and sunflower seeds and flax meal (vitamin E). He now gets a bowl of all of these every morning for breakfast, and he has an even lovelier coat, shining eyes, and a playfulness he’d been missing for awhile.
I was also advised so often that both of us would benefit from kelp that I went to the health food store and bought a bag of kelp powder. It turns out that we both hate kelp powder. We’re trying. For him, I can hollow out a few rosehips and funnel the powder into them and he will eat them most of the time. But so far, I have not been able to fool myself in the same way!
Terri Smith is a non-certified organic vegetable farmer in the Cariboo. She is passionate about writing, art, goats, and feeding good food to good people. She believes in following your heart, living your dreams, and taking care of the planet.