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The True Health Benefits of Acai Berry

March 30th, 2009 by amy

The popular acai berry is believed by many experts to be a nutritional powerhouse but it is important to separate the true benefits of this remarkable fruit from the overly aggressive health claims that are so prevalent on the internet today. The fact is that the acai berry is loaded with many nutrients but its main benefit is its unusually high level of antioxidants.

The acai berry contains a wide array of nutrients including B vitamins, minerals, all the essential amino acids, and Omega3, 6 and 9 fatty acids. But its the berry’s high level of antioxidants which has caused the excitement. The free radical theory of aging holds that antioxidants reduce the damaging effects of free radicals in the human body and by doing so we increase our chances of better overall health and longevity.

The acai berry, which grows only in the Amazon rainforest region of Brazil, is said have a higher level of antioxidants than any other fruit, including blueberries. It has twice the antioxidant value of blueberries and ten times that of red grapes.

For much of the past year the internet has flooded with many unsubstantiated health claims about acai. The fruit has been presented in advertisements as a magic weight loss substance and as a cure-all for a variety of diseases. But the truth is that there have not been any studies done to investigate whether or not acai has any influence on weight loss or any other disease, except one well publicized in-vitro study for one particular type of cancer. But studies on actual human beings just don’t exist yet so all of these health claims are unfortunately just hype.

That being said many people report increased energy from taking acai on a regular basis. And if that increased energy leads to less couch potato time and more activity, such as walking and other forms of activity, that can only be a good thing for our health.

So take acai for its extraordinary nutritional value and maybe to increase your energy but beware of overly aggressive health claims.

Chaz Sanderson is public relations director for, an international distributor of organic freeze-dried acai berry products

Music - it does a body good

February 20th, 2009 by amy

Will your unborn child master spatial relations and quantum physics as a toddler because you played a little Mozart in utero?  While that particular question still hasn’t been definitively answered in the medical community, music does have proven benefits to mom, and certainly won’t harm the baby - and it’s free!

A recent randomized clinical trial out of Taiwan showed that mothers-to-be who listened to music were less likely to be stressed, depressed, or anxious about their pregnancy.  As we all know, stress can cause health problems and interrupt sleep.  Lullabies, classical music, nature sounds and children’s music were provided to the mothers-to-be in the study.  Interestingly, these genres were chosen because of the 60-80 beats per minute tempo, similar to that of the human heart.

So, next time you are feeling a bit anxious or stressed and the to-do list has gotten too long - turn up the volume and enjoy some tunes.  For added relaxation, add a mocktail or some at-home spa treatments!

It should be noted that this study was performed on a group of women who had not been diagnosed with or treated for depression so results may vary for this group.  Please consult a physician if there are any questions or concerns. Read the full study.

Exercising with a toddler

January 9th, 2009 by amy

I don’t know about you, but my dedicated exercise time went out the window once I had my baby.  I kept making the usual will be easier once he sleeps through the night, or when he’s napping better, or when he’s 18 and no longer living at home.  Right now, that precious nap-time feels like the only time I can fold laundry, start dinner, and oh yeah, blog. Hmm. So I went in search of some creative ways to exercise with your toddler, in addition to the great resources and mommy/me exercise classes (Stroller Strides, Baby Boot Camp) we’ve mentioned here before.

If your toddler is anything like mine and the others I know, they love to be chased.  So put on your playclothes, walk to the park, and run around until you both collapse in giggles and exhaustion.  An added bonus?  Insure your toddler is worn out so that precious nap-time needed to keep up with household activities is guaranteed.

Try a nature walk, either with stroller or backpack if you’re feeling ambitious!  For extra incentive, plan a weekly meet up with a girlfriend and walk together with your kids - chances are you’ll walk longer and faster. Or try a new location once a week, the change in scenery is not only good for your body, but also for your motivation.

If you are more of the gym-rat type or just need to exercise on your own for both mental and physical well-being, take advantage of the child-care services most health clubs offer now, or work out a child-care swap or co-op with a fellow mom or two so you can each get in 2 workouts a week.

You’re a mom, so by very nature every day is an act of creativity (especially the rainy days) so flex that creative muscle to keep yourself well this year.

“No Butts about it” Giveaway

January 5th, 2009 by lucy

I don’t know about you, but my long list of excuses and “buts” is growing as fast as my butt is this winter.  Too much holiday candy, turkey and hot chocolate and not enough exercise.  Between the dark, short, cold days… the rain/snow, and the colds, we all need a little motivation to get moving again, stay healthy and keep glowing.  How about over $300 worth of inspiration to get you motivated with the New Years Resolutions? 

First up is this amazing Bootcamp for Butts box from Mama Mio.  The tagline is “a butt lift in a box - a complete skincare and exercise system to lift your butt in 30 days”!!  Doesn’t that sound great?!  Now considering we’ll be drawing this Jan 31st and they’ll ship it directly to you.. that means you could be buttless by mid March!  All three of the yummy creams - the body buff, the shrink to fit, and the tummy toner are “for today’s supermama”.. so yes they’re perfect for new and expecting moms.  My favorite part?  They smell great and have the words “zap cellulite” and “zap crepey skin” right on the funky bottles!   Value = $160

Next, for all the exercising you’re going to be doing, don’t you need some new styly work out clothes?  Thanks to Jakfish, you could be wearing this fantastic new innovative hoody.  Not only does it have all the necessary bits and pieces - four way stretch, wind-resistant, Polartec keep-your-skin-dry-fabric… but get this… it has side zips for when the belly expands.  It comes in snazzy blue or black and you get to pick your size from the kind folks at Jakfish.  Value = $90

So, now for the actual exercise bit?  Can’t decide whether to try yoga or pilates as your New Years Resolution?  How about both.   We’re also giving away the Stott Pilates Prenatal and Post-Natal Pilates DVDs (Value = $30) and the Prenatal Vinyasa Yoga (and Short Forms) DVDs from Jennifer Wolfe (Value = $32).  

How do you enter to win?  Leave us a comment here with your favorite tip for making and keeping New Years Resolutions - especially those that are health and wellness focused (aren’t they all?).  We’ll let the lucky winner know shortly after Jan 31st (open to US residents only).

Like to increase your odds of winning?  Please follow us on twitter, tweet about the contest, blog about the contest, or just make us laugh.

A Very Berry Holiday

December 26th, 2008 by amy

Sometimes the best gifts DO come in small packages. The acai (pronounced “ah-sigh-ee”) berry is a tiny berry that grows in the Amazon Rainforest of Brazil.  It’s recently been making grand appearances here in the US - touted as a superfood with nutritional benefits for everything from weight loss to sex life.  I’ve been digging into its history a bit because my husband has been drinking a shot of acai juice each morning and he swears its helping his arthritic hip.

The acai berry does impress - its  packed with an amazing amount of free-radical fighting antioxidants and is considered to have the best overall nutritional value of any fruit on earth.  Wow!  That’s right, even more than my son’s favorite, the “bebe” (that’s blueberry to those of you over the age of 2).

Here’s the “short list” of benefits from

  • Support the immune system
  • Aid in weight loss
  • Improve digestion
  • Reduce pain and soreness
  • Promote healthy sleep
  • Increase energy & stamina
  • Increase libido
  • Fight cancer & disease
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Fight aging & inflammation
  • Protect against heart disease

The down-side?  The acai berry is hard to transport and spoils easily, so unless you live in the Amazon rainforest…you’ll be seeing more of this berry though in juices and supplements, so just be on the lookout for the largest percentage of actual acai berry as a key ingredient.

While it turns out that the values attributed to the superfood aren’t so far from the truth, but its not magic either - it needs to be combined with general wellness and healthy living habits to be effective.  We’re still searching for the miracle pill that lets you sit all day, eat whatever you want, and live to be 102.

Why do mommies go green?

December 2nd, 2008 by Glow Mama

Not Green with Envy.. and Not Just for St Patricks Day.. but why are perfectly good, normal, everday mommies turning eco-friendly faster than they turned to reality tv?

Could it be to save money?  Who doesn’t want to help the budget these days by changing lightbulbs, making the home more energy efficient and using public transport (or even better, biking) instead of running the SUV.

Could it be to be healthier?  Buying locally grown, organic fruits & veggies and wooden toys reduces the risk of exposure to harmful pesticides, chemicals and plastics.  

Could it be to teach lessons of responsibility to our kids?  Recycling, growing our own veggies and borrowing books from the library are not only fun but educational.

Could it be to ensure there’s a planet around for this next generation we’re creating?  Eating only sustainable fish, preserving the equitorial rainforests and protecting the world’s fresh water supply really will make a difference in the lives of our children and grandchildren.

Or maybe it’s just trendy? 

What do you think?

Glow’s Maternity Wellness Causes

November 25th, 2008 by lucy

In less than a week we’re going to close the polls and finalize our choice for which maternity wellness cause to support for the following year… and it occurred to me yesterday as I was helping hand out Thanksgiving dinner food bags at the Homeless Prenatal Program in San Francisco (yes each of the 300+ bags included a bottle of Glow Mama)… that we were being biased.  What about the other two fantastic organizations?

The Coalition for Improving Maternity Services is a fantastic joint effort of more than 26 organizational members, from Lamaze to Birthing From Within, who band together to promote a wellness model of maternity care.  Through evidence-based alternatives they focus on mother/baby/family friendly wellness to avoid the high-cost screening, diagnosis and treatment programs.  There are many ways to both give to them (donating, becoming an advocate, etc) and benefit from them (ie downloading their “ten questions to ask before having a baby” pdf).

Family Care International has spent the last 20 years making pregnancy and childbirth safer around the world.  They work in countries like Bolivia, Kenya and Niger to ensure the women there have access to quality maternal and newborn health care, as well as helping women and girls prevent and manage unintended pregnancies.   Donating just $60 will buy equipment for two clinics in Africa to screen pregnant women for high blood pressure.

So please cast your vote (in the grey box in our sidebar) and help us decide this Thanksgiving.  Need inspiration?  Below are the poll results so far.   Need more inspriation still?  As our way of saying thanks for helping us give, if you leave a comment on our November Thanks Giving-Away post telling us you voted, we’ll enter you in to win the big pile of goodies.  And if you blab about our thanksgiving efforts to others (blog, twitter, twittermoms, facebook), we’ll enter you again and again.  

The pregnancy glow…that itches?

November 21st, 2008 by amy

While plenty of pregnant women experience the legendary pregnancy glow with to-die-for skin to match their lustrous nails and thick hair, some of us may find that the beautiful skin we’d been looking forward as a pregnancy perk didn’t quite work out as planned.

While the correlation is still unclear, some women experience flare-ups in eczema during pregnancy.  Eczema is a general term for a variety of skin conditions characterized by red inflamed skin and an itch that won’t stop, which is why it has been dubbed “the itch that rashes”.  It is chronic and relapsing, and is very common in newborns and young children -  approximately 10 to 20 percent of the worlds population is affected at some point during childhood.

Some of us, myself included, are “lucky” enough to have this condition follow us through adulthood and need to learn to control flare-ups through watching the triggers. Since eczema is thought to be an abnormal reaction to irritants, there are lots of steps one can take to try and control outbreaks.

So take a break from itching (keep those fingernails short so you don’t break the skin!) and keep reading for some tips on how to keep eczema in check:

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize Leave the light fruity concoctions at the door - I’ve found that the thick, unscented, natural creams (characterized by their thickness over lotion) work the best.  Even better, if you and your bedmate can stand it, moisturize and wear cotton gloves overnight to soak it all in.

Hydrate! Drink up - that is, if what you’re drinking is water, Glow Mama or other hydrating beverage.  All those other vices (coffee, soda, alcohol) won’t do the trick.

Be Gentle Advice I often give my toddler is also relevant here. Steer clear of harsh soaps, detergents and chemical cleansers.

Reduce Stress I know, this one is easier said then done, but especially if you are pregnant, try to slow down - take a prenatal yoga or pilates class, or go for a nice long walk to keep yourself calm.

Stay comfortable Try to steer clear extreme temperature changes and avoid really long, hot showers, which are drying to the skin - and then repeat tip #1 - moisturize!

Finding Safer Children’s Products

November 20th, 2008 by mindfulmomma

Most Moms I meet tell me the issue of toxicity in everyday products didn’t really surface for them until they had a child.  With all the bad press about BPA and other dangerous chemicals in our environment these days, it’s easy to get scared about trying to raise a child in this toxic world.  Sometimes you need a little more information to help you feel grounded and to come up with an action plan.

Healthy legacy That’s why I was so please to come across the new-to-me brochure from Healthy (with help from the IATP) that gives you the ‘readers digest’ version of toxicity issues and explains why children are even more vulnerable than adults.  The Guide To Safer Children’s Products also includes a copy-and-clip guide to safer plastics and a well-compiled list of safer products for kids including baby bottles and sippy cups, utensils and dishes, pacifiers and teethers, food and breastmilk containers & formula and food products.

If you’re itching to do a little more reading or to get the cutting edge scoop on toxicity research and product news, check out these other fabulous resources:

  • HCHW book Healthy Child Healthy World - A non-profit eductation and advocacy group dedicated to protecting the health and well-being of children from environmental exposures.  They have a fabulous blog that will keep you up to date on the latest news and a book that should be on every parent’s bookshelf. 
  • The Zrecs Guide to Safer Children’s Products - A well-researched, searchable guide to children’s products that focuses on keeping toxic chemicals out of our kids and is updated frequently.
  • The Smart Mama - This blog about taking “Simple Steps to Non-Toxic Kids” is written by one very smart mama!  She is right on top of the latest news and information on environmental health and has a book on the topic coming out next summer.

Keeping informed about environmental toxins is one of the best things we can do for our kids!

Need more folic acid?

November 19th, 2008 by Glow Mama

Whether you’re big Hell’s Kitchen fans or not, it is good to know that the ‘07 winner (after personally being touched by preterm deliveries and birth defects with his own children), Rahman “Rock” Harper, has teamed up with March of Dimes to be their celebrity chef for an upcoming event. 

Click here to read his Crispy Sautéed Branzino with “rice and peas” and savory spinach recipe - especially high in folic acid.  Be warned though… it doesn’t look slap-it-in-the-microwave-simple… and it doesn’t contain any Glow Mama!  Maybe you’d like to try some Rock… sir?!

Do the charities have to miss out this Thanksgiving?

November 18th, 2008 by Glow Mama

Just because the purse is empty and the budget is super tight this holiday season it does not mean we have an excuse to stop giving.  Glow Mama went in search of things we could give that did not involve our moola/cash/dough/money.

Time - yes that’s an easy one.  Volunteering at the local Feeding America Foodbank to hand out Thanksgiving dinners, or at the Habitat for Humanity group near you won’t cost a thing (except maybe blisters and sore feet).  Both sites have a locator on their website so you can enter you zip code and start giving.

Gently used items - Didn’t you want to clean out the wardrobe to start the new year afresh anyway?  Now’s a good time to donate your pre-loved clothes to Goodwill (you can arrange a pickup if you’d like to save on gas too) or a local woman’s shelter like the Bay Area Crisis Nursery, your un-used cellphones to the Washington Area Womens Foundation (who will send you a postage paid envelope) and even your old glasses to New Eyes for the Needy.

Your breastmilk - Not suitable for everyone, but for those of us with unused pumped milk in the freezer, don’t throw it out when you need room for the turkey leftovers… give it to either the Breast Milk Project for the babies in Africa, or Mother’s Milk Bank for needy babies closer to home. 

Any other suggestions for dollar-free giving? 

Have you entered our Thanks Giving Away?

Twitter-tummy and blogger-butt

November 17th, 2008 by Glow Mama

Forget the baby-fat, the Modern Mom’s new worst enemies are now twitter-tummy, blogger-butt and facebook-fanny.   What can we do to combat the sags? 

1.  Enforce screen breaks.  By making sure our fingers, eyeballs and mouse hand are not the only parts of our body that move for hours, we’ll help our circulation, muscles, eye-sight, nervous and digestive systems… not to mention our creativity.  Remember when the movie theatres had intermissions?  What about a blogging-break (sans the skittles and popcorn)?  Check the mail, grab a drink, throw in another load of laundry?  

2.   Stretch.  How about moving the printer and phone to the other side of the room or at least a good obliques stretch away from the computer?   Two minutes of stretching our backs, arms, neck and shoulders every half hour is really the least we can do for our bodies.

3.   No online eating.  In the same way that eating in front of the TV makes us eat more and feel less full, so must snacking in front of Twitter surely?  And besides, there’s the whole crumbs in the keyboard, grease on the mouse issues to deal with too. 

Any other suggestions?  Spread the word on twitter to help fight Twitter-tummy.

The Good Bugs

November 14th, 2008 by amy

Yes, they do exist, and they are now better known as Probiotics. Ah, the latest buzzword.  On The Today Show. in the grocery store, in baby food. But what exactly are they? And how are they good for me?  We’re here to help you explore probiotics.

What it stands for: Probiotics means “For Life”

What are they: Good bacteria that (when combined with diet & exercise) help to keep your digestive system healthy

How are they helpful? The potential benefits are many, and may include relief from Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Colitis, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, improving mineral absorption, the list goes on.

Are they a trend? Yes, of course, but unlike last year’s leggings, they are a good one!  And one recommended by the World Health Organization.

What form do they come in and where can I find them? You can find probiotics in food (such as yogurt) or as a dietary supplement at local pharmacies and health food stores.  Since the microorganism is live, they are typically kept in a refrigerated section. 

Interested in learning more about Probiotics?

Mommies with Migraines

November 10th, 2008 by lucy

As a  mom who spends about 1/3 of her days under the cloud of a migraine… it’s a subject I continue to research.   I wasn’t surprised to hear that the 30million migraine sufferers in America cost employers over $13Billion a year in lost work productivity (and that doesn’t include us momtreprenuers)… and I know from experience that no migraine medication is officially safe during pregnancy and nursing… but I was surprised to hear two of the latest suggested treatments… BOTOX and a scary gun-like device!

Apparently “migraine patients who received Botox had fewer days with headaches compared with those who got dummy injections” according to two studies funded by drugmaker Allergan.  And the transcranial magnetic stimulator, a “hairdryer-sized device that creates a magnetic pulse that, when held against the back of a patient’s head”, interrupts the electrical activity during a migraine’s aura.  Weird sounding science?  Yes.  Would a desparate migraine sufferer try almost any alien contraption to ease the pain?  Yes. 

I also found this great article that talks about “headache hygiene” with the common sense suggestion that a healthy lifestyle of proper eating, exercise, sleep and stress-reducing activities (yoga, meditation) can reduce the onset of migraines.  It even mentions we need sufficient “hydration to alleviate tension” - yeah for Glow Mama!

Here is another great article on Pregnancy and Migraines, with some facts on the hormones, drug info (no, there are no migraine prevention drugs listed in the American ABCDX system category A, ie. safe for pregnancy), and some helpful home remedies.   I esp. like the massage suggestion.   

Another tidbit… According to our local Pharmaca expert, the natural plant extract Feverfew (commonly used to treat/prevent migraines) is NOT recommended during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Surviving the holiday season

November 8th, 2008 by Glow Mama

Are you staring down the barrel of the impending holiday season as a non-drinking, exhausted new mom or mom-to-be?  Are you dreading the parties, schmoozing and office party shenanigans now that you’re off the booze and supposedly a responsible adult?  Here’s a couple of survival tips for the holiday parties from those of us who’ve been there..

1) Look glamorous and you’ll feel better.   If the budget can stretch to one of the new gorgeous dresses for the big of bellied (or nursing mamas) then yippee.  If not, how about mulit-tasking a rejuvinateing face mask while you map-quest the directions, trying a new cute up-do (or for the super-exhuasted… a hat), or digging out the sparkly eyeshadow, the old favorite perfume and earrings.   Not only will you look hot, but feel a bit sexier too… its probably the look that got you into this motherhood prediciment in the first place though so be careful.


2) Do some smart substitution.  Yes we’re afraid it’s time to start switching mocktails for cocktails, flats for heels and the route to the hospital for the directions to the after-hours club.  You might also need to readjust your cellphone these holidays… time to replace the drunk-dialing speeddial spots with your mother’s, your OB-GYN’s and your Pediatrican’s. 

3) Be prepared.  This holiday season you have a new list of things to look forward to… waking up without a hangover, showing friends/co-workers the embarrassing drunken photos you took of them, and not finding a photocopy of your butt pinned to the office supply room wall.   And while you may also need to be prepared to leave the party early this year… the bump/baby may just be the excuse you’ve been longing for.