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child hand on mouth

Children need Omega-3 for every stage of their development. It boosts their brains, strengthens their immune systems and lifts their mood. It is also claimed to improve behaviour, reduce anxiety and helps to improve language. Sounds too good to be true – yet scientific research continues to show impressive results.

BUT HOW DO YOU ENSURE YOUR KIDS ARE GETTING ENOUGH??

Well as a parent, we’re told to feed our children oily fish twice a week, but this is easier said than done. It certainly doesn’t happen in this house anyway and very often you will find that kids like to eat plain foods with most baulking at the sight and smell of fish. So how do we sneak these essential Omega 3 fatty oils into their bodies? A supplement is the simple answer.

Both James and myself take Eskimo-3. James takes his Eskimo Kids right off the spoon but I have been giving it to him since he was one so he really doesn’t know any different. Many of my friends however struggle to get their kids to take it off the spoon so here are some clever ways of hiding it in food:

Eskimo-3 Kids is available in two flavours – Zingy Orange and Tutti Fruity. While Tutti Frutti is a favourite of many due to a bubble gum flavour, orange is ideal if you need to disguise it into food or drink. Due to a very mild orange flavour, Eskimo-3 Kids orange can be disguised in many ways:

HERE’S MY 11 WAYS TO OMEGA HEAVEN

1. Blend it – Make smoothies, why don’t you put Eskimo-3 Kids into the Smoothie too!

2. Mix it into a yoghurt

3. Mix into fruit juices e.g. apple, orange, pear

4. Put it into porridge with fruit

5. Drizzle fish oil on steamed, sautéed, or roasted veggies

6. Mix it into a sorbet, or even ice cream

7. Drizzle it on bread, before spreading peanut butter

8. Drizzle it on bread, before spreading mashed banana

9. Drizzle into mash potato or vegetables.

10. Mix it with apple sauce

11. Add Eskimo-3 Kids into Protein Balls mixture

Eskimo-3 kids is one of the purest fish oils available today and has been on the Market for more than 20 years. Extracted from the flesh of the fish and not the liver, it goes beyond the strictest laws to ensure you get a fresh and stable oil, free from contaminants and heavy metals like mercury; therefore “as clean as nature intended.”

As a mum and nutritional coach I know that James needs more than just a multivitamin to support his health. A child’s brain and nervous system have different fatty acid requirements whilst growing and the great thing about Eskimo-3 Kids is that it has been specifically formulated to combine natural fish oil with natural plant oils, providing a balance of omega-3, -6 and -9 that reflects these needs. Omega fatty acids are ideal support for our kids health, brain function and all-round ability, helping them to achieve their full potential at school too!

eskimo kids

Available in Health Food Stores and selected Pharmacies nationwide.

childhood-obesity-causes-b4nuvubw

It seems like every paper or magazine we pick up these days the word obesity is there. It’s hard to ignore but at the same time it’s written about so much we’ve become immune to it. We are so bombarded with bad news and negative articles about our lifestyle and health that we seem to have sunk into a mass state of denial.

We put so much faith in our government to provide for us when we get ill. Most of our doctors treat the symptoms and not the root causes. It’s a vicious cycle that causes us to eat, drink and be merry which in turn causes us to feel lethargic, depressed and gain weight.

There is no magic pill for obesity and we need to understand that feeding our kids processed food from infancy has a chronic impact negatively on their health. Most babies are being weaned on food devoid of nutrients. Packaged convenience foods may seem a cheaper option that saves time but long-term the shortcuts will only turn into chronic illness and medical bills. If you look at the ingredients used in these foods I guarantee you there are words you can’t recognize and sometimes can’t even pronounce. We should only ever eat anything natural and fresh and I think we all know that the list of E numbers and additives we see certainly don’t grow in the ground or come from an animal or a tree.

As a parent it seems a constant and daily battle trying to feed our kids healthy food. Temptations and marketing are simply everywhere. James gets up in the morning and before I have even dressed him he asks for jellies and after school as soon as he’s in the car he wants a treat because he’s been good during the day. I absolutely have to take responsibility here as sometimes I give in because I’m tired which very simply makes me too lazy to do the right thing.

I’m making changes slowly now, as we all know that making dramatic changes and denying ourselves everything never works. I have gone back to what my grandmother used to do when we were kids and have made Friday nights our party night. I’m trying to make food more interesting and getting James involved in the cooking process.

The immediate changes I have noticed are in his sleep and behavior. He’s much more focused when he’s not loaded up with processed food. He actually answers me when I call him. Our kids are not supposed to have more than 5grams of sugar a day and there is 10grams in one tiny petit filous. James was eating three or four of these a night which turned into a game of chasing at bedtime. His concentration during storytime was simply not there and it felt like sitting beside a kid with ants in his pants!

Now don’t get me wrong I’m human and believe me all I’m doing is my best but I’m hoping that by slowly making changes to his diet I can try to cut down the processed sugars that are causing such dramatic behavioural differences.

My rule of thumb is to try and stay away from packets. Stick to fresh food as much as possible. Choose wholegrain breads, nuts, seeds and berries. James loves eggs or porridge for breakfast now and I always cook with coconut oil. I’m still learning but there are lots of choices out there, you just have to step out of your comfort zone. We are creatures of habit but I promise you when you start to feel better in your self, have more energy and start to sleep better you won’t look back. I still have my take away’s but I do notice a dramatic difference in how I feel when I eat them.

Try and keep a food diary for both yourself and your family. You’ll be shocked at how we lie to ourselves. You’ll also start to notice patterns with mood and behaviours and soon you’ll be able to pinpoint certain foods and choices that cause us to feel bloated, tired and irritable.

One thing is for sure if we eat badly now we’ll pay later and as Dr Joel Furman says “The whiter the bread, the sooner you’re dead but the more you eat green, the more you get lean.”

nutribulletA couple of weeks ago I was sick of feeling sick and tired. Now, I have a ridiculous schedule and recently returned to college and of course my most important and favourite job as a mum of a toddler can be tiring too.

I’ve been juicing for years and have heard people raving about the Nutribullet so i decided to bite the bullet and see what all the fuss is about.

AMAZING is the only word I have to describe it for so many reasons. If you are time poor like me its fantastic as you simply just rinse in it record time with no fuss.

I also feel satisfied and full after my smoothies and the nutribullet allows me to add my spirulina, chia seeds, cacao nibs and much more. This means I’m getting really important nutrients like Omega 3 and my B Vitamins which are really important for your health and wellbeing. You are also getting the fiber with your nutribullet which helps to keep you regular.

I had a few disasters when i started out as I didn’t follow any recipes but now I’m having a blast! In this one I added:

A handful of spinach

1/4 cucumber

A handful of blueberries

A mixture of various seeds (you can buy mixed seeds) with goji berries and cacao nibs

1 full small avocado

2/3 frozen banana

cold water to the max line

It was creamy with a slight nutty/chocolatey taste and i feel full and fab!

On a more serious note though I have more energy since I have started drinking these smoothies. My cravings for sugar have gone down and i’ve reduced my coffee consumption dramatically. I’ll keep you posted on how I’m going in a few weeks.

Ali xxxx

 

 

Why-do-we-need-vitamin-D-infographic

Coming into the winter months can be really hard for a lot of people. The days are shorter, some people start to feel a little sad and it’s also the dreaded flu season. One of the things we do have control over however is making sure we are getting the nutrients we need and eating a good diet. There are a few keys supplements I take especially during the winter. Being a busy mum can mean we skip meals and generally focus on the kids instead of ourselves but like I always say its incredibly important you become a little selfish and mind yourself as a happy and healthy mum equals a happy and healthy family.

I take a chewable Vitamin C which I call the cold killer. I actually keep them in the car. Quest does a good one with added bioflavonoids. The benefits of vitamin C include protecting the immune system, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling!!

If you’ve ever been to one of my shows you will also hear me talk about the sunshine vitamin. Vitamin D is essential for healthy bone development and is really important especially during pregnancy, for new mums, babies and toddlers.

Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium. Therefore if your baby doesn’t have enough it won’t absorb enough calcium from the milk it’s being fed enabling you baby to build strong teeth and bones. They do advise you now in the hospital to give your baby Vitamin D for the first twelve months at least. Also always remember that during pregnancy the baby will take what it needs from you and if you are lacking in vitamin D already during pregnancy it will be worse.

As we see less and less sunshine coming into the winter months here there’s no prizes for guessing why we don’t have enough of it in Ireland. Some studies are suggesting that the overuse of sun cream is also responsible for the growing numbers of cases of vitamin D deficiency. You don’t need to tan or burn your skin to get vitamin D. You only need to expose your skin for around half the time it takes for your skin to turn pink and begin to burn. How much vitamin D is produced from sunlight depends on the time of day, where you live in the world and the color of your skin.

The link between vitamin D and strong healthy bones was made many years ago when doctors realized that sunlight, which allows you to produce vitamin D, or taking cod liver oil, which contains vitamin D, helped to prevent a bone condition called rickets in children. Rickets is a defective mineralization of bones due to deficiency or impaired metabolism of vitamin D and is rearing its ugly head in recent years with the number of cases here in Ireland on the rise.

Recent research however is now showing that vitamin D may be important in preventing and treating a number of serious long term health problems and it is really important for the Maintenance of Healthy Bones & Teeth, Immune System and Muscle Function. It’s also really important for brain development.

There is an amazing website www.vitamindcouncil.org that is dedicated to research and information about Vitamin D. Dr John J Cannell founded it to educate the public on the importance of sun exposure and vitamin D and you will find all the answers to any queries you might have right there.

One of the most interesting new research studies they have done has found that vitamin D supplementation in pregnant mothers and subsequently in their newborn infants, together, may reduce the risk of developing acute respiratory infections.

Acute respiratory infections (ARIs) refer to any infection in either the upper or lower airways. ARIs are common in children under the age of five with an average of 3 to 6 cases per year and with our damp weather our babies can be prone to respitory infections.

Vitamin D receptors in both the immune and respiratory system indicate a direct role for vitamin D in these systems. This is vitamin D could play an even more important role during pregnancy and infancy in regards to the development of a healthy immune and respiratory system.

About 40% of people are deficient in Vitamin D and those most at risk are old people, babies and pregnant mums. Some of the symptoms of deficiency are vague and can include tiredness and general aches and pains. Some people may not have any symptoms at all. Check with your GP if you feel you have a deficiency and you can also get a blood test done to check. Both James and myself take a supplement, as I know for sure we don’t get enough sunlight.

James chia bia

I’m always looking for easier ways to slip healthy habits into my life. As parenting is a constant cycle of guilt as well I’m always worried if James is getting enough nutrients and a well balanced diet. I’m self-employed and always running from one place to the next. (Violins please) I try to eat as healthy as I can but I skip meals and then eat junk in the evening because I’m so tired and want an instant fix.

 

There are a few changes that I have introduced which have had an enormous effect on our diet, mood and behavior. We now sit at the table each morning for breakfast instead of switching on the TV and handing James a bowl of cereal in an effort to keep him quiet while I run around like a headless chicken achieving very little other than making myself stressed and starting the day off saying “quick Mummy’s in a rush”. When your three year old says “Mummy you’re always in a rush” you know you have got to make changes.

It’s been fascinating to find out how appalling I am with time management. James is up at 6AM so what on earth was I doing with my time. Then I realize (like its news to me) that I’m on Facebook and Twitter. Yes I said it.. First thing I do is pick up my IPhone and scroll down my timeline to see what random people who I haven’t spoke to for 10 years are doing!! Now I do it when I’m in bed at night. Big difference I hear you say but I can justify anything to myself and now I am spending quality time with James in the morning and we’re both having a good breakfast. As I pat myself on the back for thinking I have figured out something unique, amazing and wonderful my friend who’s a mother of 3 announces she has always done that and couldn’t believe I used to sit James in front of the TV and give him breakfast. I won’t be telling her that I still do it at the weekends then!!

 

As you can see from the picture James is clutching his favourite food. It’s called Chis Bia and we have mixed it into cereal, salads, yogurts and shakes for well over a year now. If I baked I would also put it into the delicious cakes I would make. Chia Seed is great for your Heart, Mind & Body. If you’ve heard of Flax, Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds you have to meet Chia, as Patrick Holford says it’s ‘The best all-rounder’

Dr. Wayne Coates rediscovered Chia seed, an ancient food of the Aztecs, in 1991 after it had disappeared from common knowledge over 500 years ago. In 2009, Irish company Chia Bia began bringing Chia products to the European market, and last year, Chia Bia expanded into Malaysia, Canada and the United States.

Chia originates in Mexico and South America where the Aztecs and Mayans had long known the benefits of eating Chia. It was so valued that it was offered to their gods in ceremonies, was used as currency and was also used for wounds, upset stomachs, body odour, prostate problems, sore throats and many other illnesses.

Chia is a complete food, which contains the highest plant source of omega-3 with soluble and insoluble fibre, protein and antioxidants to help get your heart, mind and body in shape. The main health benefits associated with Chia Bia include; reduced blood pressure, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and improved concentration and energy levels. Chia Bia can also help promote weight loss as the seeds can absorb 12 times their weight in water; this results in a gel forming in the stomach that slows the absorption of carbohydrates and leaves you feeling fuller for longer helping you avoid the 3pm slump!

Its also tasteless so really great for fussy kids. James calls it “Bia Bia” and loves the routine of mixing it in and feeling like a “big boy”. The levels of Omega 3 are also very high and as a sufferer of depression this is an essential part of my diet. As oily fish can have high mercury levels this is also a far safer option.

Chia Bia Bags small €4.95, Large €9.95 med