There is much talk about omega-3 fatty acids, but what is all the fuss really about?

Along with omega-6 fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acids are vital for humans to function healthfully. They are known as essential fatty acids, and they contribute largely towards maintaining the structure and function of our bodies cells. They help us absorb vitamins and minerals, promote nerve function, aid in the production of hormones and not only prevent, but treat disease.

omega-3 fatty acidsOur bodies can not naturally produce these essential fatty acids, and unfortunately mainstream Western thinking largely deems all fat to be bad for our health (even though it’s now been proven that there are good fats we need).

If you are among the many who are not consuming enough omega-3s through diet alone, you might want to consider taking a good quality supplement such as OmegaBrite. After an independent study conducted at Ohio State University, OmegaBrite became the first omega-3 clinically shown to reduce stress in a normal population.

Not all omegas are created equal

Omega-6s are found plentifully in grain based oils and lots of enriched processed foods. While we need both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, most westerners consume far too much omega-6 and not nearly enough omega-3.

Our diet has massively evolved over the last few centuries, and it’s knocked our nutrient sources and ratios out of whack. Back in ancient times, it was thought that they would consume a 1:1 diet of omega-3s to omega-6s. Nowadays the average person consumes a diet consisting of twenty to thirty times more omega-6 than they do omega-3.

This adaptation has occurred too fast for our bodies to adjust, and is believed to be a huge factor in causing many ailments including inflammation, arthritis, skin disorders and depression. As with all vitamins and minerals, the best way to give ourselves a boost is to eat more foods containing them.

omega-3 fatty acidsFive foods that will naturally boost your omega-3 fatty acids

Mackerel: not only is this oily fish a great source of Omega-3, it’s also rich in vitamin D, protein and selenium. It’s said to help our chances against cardiovascular disease and certain cancers, as well as age-related vision loss and dementia.

Walnuts: these crinkly nuts have always been seen as brain foods, which makes sense, given how much they look alike. As well as their omega-3 benefits, walnuts contain vitamins C and B6 as well as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and folate. They also contain minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc.

Chia seeds: these tiny black seeds come from the Salvia Hispanica plant, a relation to mint, which grows natively in South America. Chia seeds were a staple for the Aztecs and Mayans, and have shot to fame in recent years for their ability to provide sustainable energy. They’re small but mighty, and in addition to omega-3 they contain calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, potassium and vitamins B1, B2 and B3.

Flaxseed: is high in dietary fibre, but low in carbs and high in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B1, magnesium, phosphorus and selenium. Flaxseed helps to make our skin and hair healthy, and can lower cholesterol. Flaxseed are naturally gluten free and rich in antioxidants. They support digestive health, and could assist us with preventing certain types of cancer.

Egg yolks: I could personally talk about the multiple benefits of eating eggs all day long. As long as they come from a quality source, eggs are an incredibly versatile wonder food. Egg yolks are easy to digest and contain vitamins A, D, E, K and B12, along with omega-3.

This fantastically detailed article by functional health guru Dr. Josh Axe details the top 15 foods we should be eating to boost our omega-3 intake.

omega-3 fatty acidsAbout OmegaBrite 

OmegaBrite is an extremely pure 90% Omega-3 Supplement, physician formulated by a Harvard trained psychiatrist to promote cardiac and joint health and an overall positive mood. OmegaBrite’s unique EPA:DHA ratio 7:1 is available in an easy to swallow 500mg gelcap that delivers powerful anti-inflammatory effects and promotes overall better health, as well as improving cognitive clarity.

Produced using Good Manufacturing Processes (GMP), each batch of OmegaBrite is third party tested before, during and after production to guarantee quality and purity. Each gelcap is manufactured using nitrogen blanketing to prevent oxidation, resulting in an odour free, no aftertaste capsule.

For more information on pharmaceutical grade omega-3 supplementation, and comprehensive research sources, head over to OmegaBrite.com.

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**Disclaimer: this is a collaborative piece, click here for my full disclosure policy.**

Three years ago I created my paleo flatbread recipe, and I’d say it’s been made at least a hundred times since. My little crew love to use it as the base for pizza, which is always a fun meal as it involves the whole family. Mumsnet came to our house to film us making our perfect paleo pizza, and we had a blast!

The base is ridiculously easy to make, and is super tasty. The two main ingredients are arrowroot and coconut flour. Arrowroot is a non-grain resistant starch said to help lower blood sugar levels, which is always a win in my book. It also costs a fraction of the price of nuts, which are my other go-to flour substitution. Coconut flour has many health benefits and compliments the arrowroot perfectly. Check out this article for more info.

Perfect paleo pizza – full recipe 

Ingredients for the base (super yummy on its own as a flatbread):
1 cup ground arrowroot
1/3c coconut flour
1/3c fat of choice
1/3c water
1 egg
1 clove garlic, chopped finely or crushed
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp mixed herbs
1/2 tsp sea salt

Other ingredients:
Tomato puree or pesto
Favourite cheese
Favourite toppings

perfect paleo pizza

Method:
– preheat oven to 200C and line a baking tray with parchment paper

– in a small saucepan put the fat (I like using leftover dripping from roast lamb), vinegar, garlic and water. Heat gently until it’s all liquefied

– while that is heating, put the arrowroot, salt and herbs into a large bowl and stir

– make a well in the centre and crack the egg in it, then pour in the warm fat mixture and give everything a good stir to form a sticky dough

– add the coconut flour and mix well to form a ball

– then start putting it onto the baking tray, either as one large bread or several small ones if you have little helpers like I do

– remove from the oven and spread over your tomato puree or pesto

– add your toppings and cheese

– cook for another 5 mins and serve immediately

Hey Sad Mama,

I see you. I hear you. You are not alone, truly you aren’t.

They say it’s good to talk, that a problem shared is a problem halved. They say we need to get out of our heads and put our mental health problems out there for all to see. They say we should tell anybody who cares about our feelings. That we should put them on the table and be explicit.

Trouble is, the advice is getting a bit confusing. Unless we have people we can wholeheartedly rely on to help pull us out of our deep dark holes, we can shout and scream all we want. When our cries fall on deaf ears, it doesn’t really make a difference, does it?

sad mamaWhich is why I’m writing you this, Sad Mama

In the midst of the darkness it’s so very hard, to think positively and try and focus on all the little good bits throughout the day. To simply drown out the noise and ignore the chaos erupting around us. Multiple times daily, often hourly. To look past the negatives and see the tiny little glimmers of hope. To concentrate on that elusive pot of gold (which might or might not be) waiting at the end of the rainbow.

When before our eyes there is destruction. When all our best efforts go to waste and might as well have been chucked down the toilet. When we see the sadness from our hearts reflected in our children’s eyes.

‘Tough times’ doesn’t even come close to describing our daily existence, does it?

Then there is the fight. The constant fight for access to services and education and hell, a diagnosis in the first bloody place. The fight for others, our so-called friends and so-called family to believe our children are more than spoilt little brats.

The fight is endless. The fight is real.

So hear me now, Sad Mama

Get off your phone and out of your head. Lock yourself in the bathroom if you have to. Put some music on, dance like no-one is watching and sing at the top of your voice. It’ll lift your spirits so high, you’ll feel like you’re about to start flying.

Then go and look in the mirror and repeat after me:

“I love my kids. I am doing my best. I am trying at all costs to give them a childhood they don’t spend a lifetime having to recover from.”

Life is a perpetual roller coaster, but even in the midst of desperation there are smiles to be found. Even when sleep is non existent and hope feels pointless.

Yes indeed, I’m writing this note just as much for myself as I have done for you. For I know, better than most that hard times pass. We will manage to summon the strength to carry on from somewhere. We always do.

Big love,

Reneé ❤️

kids love pesto

What a treat: Head Chef and owner of Cafe Murano Angela Hartnett and fellow celebrity chef Rachel Allen

It’s not every day I get invited to eat in the private dining room of a gorgeous restaurant. Or have my food cooked by a celebrity chef, while another celebrity chef tells me all about her latest partnership. Last Tuesday I found myself at the stunning Cafe Murano, and the memories from the meal will last a very long time.

They did themselves proud with our delicious feast to celebrate the launch of the new Sacla’ cookbook La Famiglia. Drawing on the family owned business’s Italian origins, Sacla’ have joined forces with Rachel Allen to bring you quick and easy recipes the whole family will enjoy.

Do your kids love pesto?

Sacla’ have been selling pesto in the UK since 1990, back when there was no pasta sauce isle in the supermarket. Nowadays they have a gorgeous range catering for everyone on the foodie spectrum. It’s not just the classic green stuff either. Sacla’ have over a dozen pesto’s to chose from and their current mission is to get more families enjoying it.

If you asked me to describe a jar of Sacla’ pesto in three words I would choose wholesome, versatile and convenient. I’m not usually a fan of jarred food, but there are no nasties to be found here. Being paleo, we don’t eat a huge amount of pasta in my house, but my kids love pesto as a dipping sauce. I certainly prefer them to smother their food in pesto rather than ketchup, as it’s so much more nutritious.

My lovely friend Rebecca who blogs at Glutarama is running a Sacla’ giveaway, so head over to her blog to win lots of goodies.

La Famiglia: The Family Book of Pesto

I’m sure most parents will agree, there is little more disheartening than slaving away over a meal only for the children to turn their noses up at it! With a few jars of Sacla’ stashed in your cupboard, great tasting food is never far away. Who can argue with clean plates and happy kids?

kids love pesto

My new favourite snack: sundried tomato pesto on the end of raw veggies

La Famiglia is practical, compact and has been written in conjunction with celebrity chef, Rachel Allen. It’s packed full of quick, healthy and (most importantly!) super tasty dishes for all the family. Rachel’s baked tomato and basil omelette is my personal favourite. Closely followed by pesto fish fingers, and sweet potato burgers.

A few paleo ideas if your kids love pesto  

I’ve become rather partial to pesto on the end of raw veggies, eaten as you’d eat houmous. I can’t get enough of British asparagus at the moment. Hubby likes it with raw mushrooms, and the kids love it as a dip for their chips and roasted veggies.

Add a jar of pesto to a big pot of chopped veggies and meat. Pour over some fresh stock and cook on a low heat for five hours. This makes a ridiculously easy and delicious one pot casserole (also works in a slow cooker). I’ve experimented with lamb shanks, chicken thighs and pork belly so far. They were all absolutely scrumptious.

Courgetti and classic basil pesto is always a winner. I tried to remember the first time I ate courgette ribbons, and am pretty sure it was around 1997, a long time ago. Nowadays of course it’s been given a much trendier name and is a firm fave with low-carbers because it’s so damn tasty. I’ve got three strong courgette plants growing in my garden as we speak, so am hoping for them to provide many meals over the late summer and autumn.

Pesto makes a wonderful marinade for any piece of fish, and most meat. Then serve on a bed of buttery greens and mash.

It’s just fabulous instead of tomato puree for home made pizza. I use my arrowroot and coconut flour flat bread instead of wheat based dough.

kids love pesto

The gorgeous new Sacla’ cookbook La Famiglia, written in partnership with Rachel Allen

To keep up to date on pesto related news, check out the Sacla’ website and their social channels by clicking on the links below

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**This is a collaborative piece, click here for my full disclosure policy.**

The title of this blog started out “Why The Greatest Showman Turned Me into an Emotional Wreck!” Whilst I could wax lyrical about the beautiful portrayal of diversity and overcoming adversity, I feel that’s been done to death on the interwebs. Not that it isn’t those things, it very much is, but I blubbed my way through the two hours at the cinema for a multitude of reasons. The film resonated with me on so many more levels than I was expecting. Ultimately, it’s left me asking myself: will I ever be enough?

I was late to the party for The Greatest Showman, and only saw it this weekend. It’s not an exaggeration to say I cried my way through the entire thing. Last time a film got to me like this was twenty years ago, when I watched Sleepers. I was hungover which is always a recipe for trouble when it comes to setting off unexpected emotions. Those were the days before therapy. Before facing up to my demons and addressing the elephant who’d been sitting in the corner far too long.

The Greatest ShowmanFor those of you who are new around here, I’m the survivor of a dysfunctional childhood

I moved house a lot as a kid, and was always the new girl – aka an easy target for bullies. I was sexually abused from the ages of eight to ten, and emotionally abused too many times to recall. I left home after a punch in the face when I was fifteen years old. I made my way into adulthood with fifty pounds in my pocket and zero education. I slept on people’s floors for the first few months, until I met my first boyfriend. His parents kindly took me in, and I lived with them until things went pear shaped a few months later.

Jobs and homes came and went in those first two years. It’s a blur if I’m honest, I’m sure I’ve blocked most of it out. I worked for some very grubby men. People who only employed under aged girls to work in their shops. Mostly so they could get us drunk and take advantage. I consider escaping their advances one of my biggest achievements from those days.

A stroke of luck came when I moved into a lovely house share at seventeen. I had a job in a department store, and new friends who were not complete losers. Far from it actually, and two of them are still a huge part of my life to this day. When I was almost nineteen I managed to blag a temp job at a big financial house in the City. The two weeks turned into a month, then three, then a permanent job, then better jobs. Those were the days when nobody bothered checking your credentials. Now I’d have to have a degree just to walk through the door.

Can you see where I’m going here?

There were many lines from The Greatest Showman that set off the lump in my throat. This is the one that’s been playing in my head like a broken record:

“My father was treated like dirt. I was treated like dirt. My children will not be treated like dirt.”

People sometimes question my motives for doing everything I do for my kids. I’ve been accused of trying to give them a perfect childhood. Oh how wrong you are! I’ve never aimed for perfection. All I want is for my kids to never EVER be treated the way I’ve been treated.

I want them to instinctively respect themselves enough to never be taken advantage of. To formulate their own ideas about the world and not be too easily influenced. To have enough confidence to tell people to keep their small minded opinions to themselves. I never want them to be so desperate for work they have to compromise their safety. I never want them to be so close to homelessness they have to sleep on someone’s floor.

The Greatest Showman Unless you have been in that position yourself you will never understand what it’s like. I might live a life of privilege now, in comparison to too many, but I have been a piece of meat. A piece of dirt. I have had people look at me like I am completely worthless. Those scars run so deep, I wonder whether they will ever truly fade.

Which leads me once again to ask the question, will I ever be enough?

I’ve come a long way from where I began. I started facing my demons after my first mental breakdown at the ripe age of 22, thanks to an absolutely incredible counsellor. I embarked on this long old road I’m still on – the path to authenticity. Cutting out the BS – the fake friends and toxic family. I have great friends, an amazing husband, and have been (hashtag!) blessed with three little humans. Yet some days I am so incredibly lonely it feels like I might drown under the overwhelmingly enormous weight of it all.

When the hurt pulses through your core, just keeping your head above water can be a monumental achievement. I used to think I had it all sussed out. It was so simple. Work hard, reap the rewards. Then along came three children. Severe sleep deprivation. Autism. Home education forced upon us. And now? Well, now I wonder how the hell I could possibly be enough.

I’ve taken some serious knocks this year. People I thought would be around forever have disappeared. Seems everyone loves your honesty and no nonsense approach to life, until you point something out to them. Oh the irony.

Each time I have to pick myself up and dust myself off it gets harder 

I concluded recently that my mental health goes through cycles. Even when the rollercoaster is on a down, some days I still manage to ace life. On others, even when there are plenty of ups to be had, it’s as if a happiness gremlin has snatched away all my smiles. How can I expect my littlees to laugh if I’m not able to?

Self-esteem has been too low of late, so I’ve invested a lot of energy in getting my novel up to submission standard. It’s given me a focus outside of the grind. Something to feel proud of. I’ve needed it, desperately. My daily yoga and weekly four hour slots of respite just haven’t been cutting the mustard.

There’s so much to say, but ultimately we will always be judged on our actions rather than our words. So, I’m taking a big deep breath and putting on my positive pants. First round of would-be agent emails have just been sent. Wish me luck!

“When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me”

Mental health is a precarious thing isn’t it? I’ve dragged myself out of many quagmires over the years, and will no doubt need to pull myself out of many more in the future. Why? Because I’m a human, and us humans are imperfect and flawed. I know I’ll f**k up at some point, and that’s ok. 95% of the time I make good decisions and am entirely dedicated to my family and friends. I think I’ve finally (at the ripe old age of 38 and three quarters) made peace with the odd 5% here and there. ♥️ If there’s one change I’ve been successfully working towards over the last few years, it’s not beating myself up over that 5%. Self-flagellation gets us nowhere, but can have the ability to grind us into the ground, rendering us useless. ♥️ This life can be such a stressful one, but the smallest things can have the biggest impact day to day. Taking a few extra minutes in the shower to breathe deeply or sitting with the kids and doing a jigsaw puzzle or some colouring makes all the difference to my mood when it’s all got a bit too much. Not to mention my beloved yoga snacks (see the video from Monday two posts down on the grid) and diffusing essential oils. Hubby said the other day “it smells like a pilates studio in here!” ♥️ Amid taking care of everyone else, it’s vital to look after ourselves, but I know so many people who don’t. As hard as it is to process at the time, when things come on top it happens for a reason. It’s nature’s way of telling us that we need to stand back and reevaluate what’s important. And believe me when I tell you, that nothing, absolutely NOTHING is more important than our mental health. So embrace that hard time and those pesky emotions, because the other side of this is going to feel so damn good. . . . . . #mentalhealthmatters #mentalhealthmonth #mentalhealthwarriors #thereforher #wednesdayvibes #yogasnacks #essentialoilswork #takecareofyou #mummytries #freefromgang #fearlesslyauthenticblogger

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