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Points for the planet, and your health!

April 8th, 2009 by amy

Baby Boot Camp is serious about making families and planet healthier. April 22 is Earth Day and we’re finishing off our Mother Love Fitness Challenge by encouraging students to increase their environmental awareness and engagement through a friendly competition of do-gooding. Find a location near you and join the Challenge!

Keep reading for some great suggestions on how to make a difference.   Let us know how many points you rack up!

April Competition for Planet Points

1 point for each environmentally-friendly action.

Examples: Change one light bulb to a CFC bulb = 1 point; Bring reusable bags to grocery store = 1 point; Bring a travel mug to your local coffee shop for your next cup of coffee = 1 point
These steps help reduce our environmental impact by reducing energy, water and fuel usage and they save you money!

  • Install compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) when your older incandescent bulbs burn out.
  • Turn off water while you brush your teeth.
  • Don’t leave water running while washing dishes.
  • Wash clothes in cold or warm water rather than hot.
  • Change your air filters regularly to make your AC/furnace more efficient.
  • Take your own reusable bags to grocery store.
  • Only run dishwasher when it’s full.
  • Go paperless—sign-up for online services (banking, billing, etc.)
  • Recycle household items — donate to Goodwill, Salvation Army or other charity (and get a tax deduction!)
  • Sign-up for a Freecycle.org Yahoo group in your area to give away items not accepted by Goodwill.
  • Repair leaky faucets.
  • Recycle waste – If you don’t already, contact your local city or county disposal agency for info. and containers.
  • Unplug appliances and electronics when you’re not using them. Or, use a “smart” power strip that senses when appliances are off and cuts “phantom” or “vampire” energy use.
  • Buy in bulk, especially snacks, and package in reusable containers. We recommend Snack-Traps or Munchie Mugs for on-the-go use).
  • Recycle plastic grocery/dry cleaning bags — most grocery stores have bins at the entrance
  • Lower the thermostat on your water heater to 120 degrees.
  • Set your refrigerator temperature at 36 to 38 and your freezer at 0 to 5 degrees.
  • Keep your thermostat at 68 degrees in winter and 78 degrees in summer.
  • Leave grass clippings on the yard—they decompose and return nutrients to the soil.
  • Use cloth napkins instead of paper ones.
  • Swap maternity and kids products with friends instead of buying new. The average cost of raising a kid to the age of 2 can top $13,430.
  • Make your own coffee or tea at home using organic and/or fair trade coffee — use reusable travel mug.
  • Choose tap water — Don’t buy bottled water.

5 points for every healthy family/healthy earth action.

Examples: Walk to the store = 5 points; Plant a tree with your children = 5 points; Purchase free range poultry and eggs, coffee and chocolate that is grown and harvested using sustainable methods, buy local at your farmer’s market = 5 points each

These tips will increase the health and wellbeing of your family AND help to improve our environment.

  • Eat vegetarian 2 nights a week (your heart and the ozone will thank you)
  • Use natural/household cleaners or better yet, make your own out of vinegar, baking soda, borax, lemon juice, etc. Recipes can be found at: www.HealthyChild.org. Check out the 5 Basic Cleaning Tools in your home.
  • Walk to Baby Boot Camp class
  • Attend a Baby Boot Camp class — 5 pts for each class. Gyms use a lot of energy and water!
  • Generously and regularly apply sunscreen. We recommend KINeSYS Performance Sunscreen because their products are carbon neutral, the packaging is made of 100% recyclable materials and KINeSYS is a proud signer of The Compact for Safe Cosmetics.
  • Eat your leftovers (you don’t really need delivery pizza, do you?)
  • Plant your own vegetable/herb garden — no matter how small it is!
  • Control pests in your home without toxic chemicals.
  • Try natural lawn care.
  • Kill weeds without herbicides.
  • Choose soaps and cleansers that are pure/biodegradable and break down completely. Avoid soaps with synthetic scents or colors.
  • Walk/bike to places rather than drive when you can.
  • Buy organic. If you’re watching your budget (and who isn’t these days!), choose organic products where your family will see the most health benefits, such as dairy products. Here are 10 Fruits & Vegetables to Buy Organic.
  • Improve air quality inside and out – plant draught-resistant trees/plants, get indoor plants
  • Buy local products to reduce your carbon footprint — buy produce at farmers’ markets or via cooperatives. Find something near you at LocalHarvest.org.
  • Eat low on the food chain (e.g. vegetables, legumes, fungi, etc.)
  • Follow daily tips on Healthy Child’s Earth Month calendar (5 pts for each day!).
  • Use safe bottles. Many baby and adult water bottles are made from plastic that contains the toxin bisphenol A (BPA). Opt for BPA-free bottles to avoid toxins in the body and in the environment. Read the Beginning of the End for BPA.
25 points for supporting your team and finishing the Challenge!

Your Baby Boot Camp owner/instructor will choose an event (e.g. 5K run, trash pickup, Earth Day Event, etc.) to celebrate your achievements during Baby Boot Camp’s Mother Love Fitness Challenge. You can claim 25 Planet Points if you participate!

Donation Planet Points: 2 ways to make a difference

1. Make a donation to nationally-beneficial 501(c)(3) nonprofit: Healthy Child: Healthy World (www.healthychild.org/). Support Healthy Child Healthy World’s work to protect children’s health, environmental sustainability and healthy communities. Once you donate online, you will receive a confirmation e-mail that includes your tax-deductible receipt. Get your friends, family members, co-workers and neighbors to donate and claim those points too! You’ll earn 1 point for every dollar you raise/donate.

2. Purchase a Healthy Child ‘Naturally Healthy’ onesie and/or swaddle blanket and help create a healthier world for children. Enviro-friendly retailer Maple Grace, will donate 100% of all proceeds from every butterfly onesie and swaddle blanket set purchase to Healthy Child Healthy World. Both the onesie and swaddle blankets are made of 100% organic cotton. The onesie features eco-friendly, non-toxic silk screening and the swaddle blankets are colored with low impact dyes free of PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride) and heavy metals.

Claim the points equal to purchase price of onesie/blanket (ranges from $15 to $42 — so if you buy a $15 onesie you earn 15 Donation Planet Points).

Beauty Tips for New Moms

April 6th, 2009 by amy

Sleepless nights and hormonal havoc can leave new moms feeling dull and less-than-radiant. Toss in the adjustment to your post-baby body and it’s natural to feel extra-sensitive about your appearance. We know that between feedings and diaper changes even squeezing in a daily shower is hard, so here are some tips to help you feel your best and look your best in the first weeks after baby is born.

Stay Hydrated

Nursing moms should drink at least 64 oz of fluids throughout the day. Make it easier by sharing a drink with baby! Before you sit down to nurse, be sure to put a glass of water, herbal tea, juice, or a nutritional drink like Glow Mama at your favorite nursing spot.

Snack Well, Snack Often

You may be anxious to lose weight, but in the fourth trimester your body still requires more than 500 extra calories a day. Keep cut vegetables, fruit, cheese and crackers, nuts, yogurt, cottage cheese, bean dips, and hard boiled eggs on hand for easy-to-grab, healthy snacks.

Replenish Your Nutrients

Pregnancy might be over, but your body is still hard at work now that you’re nursing. Even with prenatal vitamins, growing a baby may deplete the body’s stores of nutrients. Ask your health care provider to make a recommendation for a postpartum vitamin. Specially formulated to support hormone rebalancing and replace lost nutrients like calcium, postpartum vitamins also help you stay energized.

Keep Your Pregnancy Glow

Fatigue shows in your face, but even sleep-deprived new moms can glow with a little help from Youth Glow Omega Face Complex. This marvelous facial oil is infused with organic citrus and nut oils to add warmth to your skin as it moisturizes.

Treat Your Eyes and Lips

If a shower is hard to come by, make up is near impossible! Focus on your eyes and lips with just a few steps. First, fight dark circles and puffiness with twice daily treatments of Eye Brightening Cream or Organic Cucumber Eye Gel. Gently blend a touch of concealer under your lower lid. Finally, add a dab of lip gloss, or even some of your nipple cream, to bring a quick shine to your smile.

From the moms at Maternitique, an online maternity store offering carefully screened natural products that are good for moms and safe for babies. Motherhood is beautiful.

Glow Mama Giveaway! April Showers

April 4th, 2009 by amy

But instead of May flowers, these showers are here to party!  Baby showers, that is.  Or rather, as we like to think of them - mama showers!  If you are a regular Glow Blogs reader, you know that we are focused on maternal wellness and that we believe that a healthy and happy mama leads to happy healthy babies (not to mention husbands!).

So this month, we have another fabulous set of giveaway products to shower one lucky winner. And this shower is for the mama. Bring on the rain!

Market Sling by Serena & Lily Yes, technically this is to carry the baby, but its most definitely for mama with these gorgeous designs and sleek look - and what new mama doesn’t want to feel sleek? A $129 value and worth every penny! Check out all the gorgeous color options.  Size and color are Mama’s Choice.

Glow Mama Mocktail Kit - What’s a mama shower without a mocktail to make it complete?  But don’t take our word for it, use our mocktail kit and make your favorite recipe, or create your own and send it our way, we’d love to feature it!  Retail value of $39.95.

That’s what I call a shower - $175+ in giveaway value!  Like what you see here?  Request a Serena & Lily free catalog, or learn more about Glow Mama.

Be In To Win

Share with us your most creative mama shower idea (and we don’t mean guess-the-baby-food game!), tell us your opinion on showers for second children, or make us laugh.

Get an extra entry for tweeting, following us on twitter, or becoming a facebook fan!

Kiwi Klips

April 2nd, 2009 by amy

Rose from The Lemonade Stand tried Glow Mama this week.

If I’d known about Glow Mama back then I would have been stoked! Light and fruity without being too sweet like juice and specially formulated for pregnant women or nursing moms - it would have been the perfect drink for me!

Rose also likes the sample packs, light taste and low calories.  Rose’s top suggestion?  Bigger bottles!  We’ll keep that in mind!

and Autum loves that Glow is

a great complement to your prenatal vitamins. It’s also a great drink for the mom on the go with a crisp and refreshing taste.

Congratulations Fourth Trimester Winner!

April 1st, 2009 by amy

Drum roll please…March’s giveaway winner is…Julie @afterthestork and Calm Before the Stork.  You gotta love that name!  Julie - your jiggly belly will have help this month from our sponsors!  Baby Boot Camp kick-start program and gear, Maternitique and the Stretchmark Minimizing Creme (review coming soon!) and Bravado Designs Essential Nursing Tank.

Julie wants to know

How long is the 4th Trimester? Mine seems to have lasted 15 months!

I’m right there with you, Julie.  And her biggest surprise?

how jiggly my post-baby belly is, even though I’m back to my pre-pregnancy weight.

Now THAT’S something the Glow Mamas can relate to!  Enjoy your giveaway prizes Julie, and let us know what you think of our sponsor packages once you’ve been booted, pampered and dressed in a new tank.

Don’t forget to check back in the next few days to enter our April giveaway, we promise it’s worth it!

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 AcaiBerry-Products.com, an international distributor of organic freeze-dried acai berry products

Lights out for Earth Hour

March 28th, 2009 by amy

Lights Out! Join us in turning out your lights for 60 minutes from 8:30-9:30 pm on March 28.  Last year 50 million people worldwide participated in Earth Hour to make a positive statement against climate change and wasteful energy consumption.World Wildlife Fund is asking individuals, businesses, governments and organizations around the world to turn off their lights for one hour -- Earth Hour – to make a global statement of concern about climate change and to demonstrate their commitment to finding solutions.

Pregnancy: The Forgotten Awkward Phase

March 27th, 2009 by amy

By: Amy Myers, DivineCaroline

Weeks fifteen and sixteen are what I like to call the puberty of my pregnancy. I’m in an awkward phase. Much like a twelve year old with gangly limbs and weirdo hair, I look … well … strange.

The belly is there. I know it, my husband knows it, and now strangers know it. I just think the strangers are a bit confused as to what the belly actually consists of. It might be baby, might be fat, might be a wadded up blanket. No one knows for sure, mostly because I am dressed like a blind person. A blind person who reached into her crazy, overweight sister’s closet.

I mostly blame the size of the clothes. Too large for my regular pants, I’ve been climbing into my tent-sized maternity jeans, which are super comfy. And super big. So big in fact I could smuggle food for six in front of my stomach.

This brings me to the pouch. The dreaded span of stretchy fabric that reaches across the waist allowing for adjustable comfort for all stages of pregnancy. While a great idea and very handy in preventing bankruptcy due to skyrocketing denim demands, not the best for shirts that don’t extend half way down to your knees. Now, the geniuses that run Baby Momma Clothes Inc. have a solution. Pregnant lady tops.

Pregnant lady tops come in three basic styles. The first are the adorable, hippy, flowy tops with empire waistlines. They are made of cotton/hemp/some other natural fiber. I have several of these and adore them. I had to buy mediums because my breasts have grown to gigantic proportions and are only supposed to get bigger. I don’t fit in them with full luscious capacity now, but will someday. When I grow up.

The second kind is the office friendly, button down, tied in the back number. Some have ruffles, some have stripes, some are dolled up with pleats, but all scream “What? I can still run the Scottsdale office/get you the McKenzie brief/land the Happy Time Baby account!” I have many of these, but again, not the greatest fit due to expectant breasts that have yet to materialize.

The third top is a hybrid of the two. These are the tops that are flowy but also have a tie so you can wear them for as long as you like. They are by far the most practical and most flattering.

Want to read the rest of this article? You can find this and other witty and informative articles just for you over at a new social community for expecting parents, Barefoot and Pregnant.  Oh, and did we mention you can find Glow Mama there too? More about B&P soon!

Content provided by DivineCaroline.com as feature on Barefoot & Pregnant, a community for expecting parents.

Kiwi Klips

March 26th, 2009 by amy

So, when you are pregnant you aren’t suppose to drink soda…or coffee…or most teas…or juice since it is high in sugar…so ummm what the H are you suppose to drink?

Victoria captures exactly Lucy’s feeling during her first pregnancy, and the reason for the “birth” of Glow Mama!  In case you haven’t been following - Lucy’s now expecting with #2, affectionately known as Glow Bump around here. So what does Victoria think of Glow?

Ok, so what makes Glow Mama special?  It is a healthy alternative to many of the other drinks that you would probably be consuming and it tastes better than water…way better!

Eating for two

March 24th, 2009 by amy

While pregnant, you may feel the urge to eat for two - admit it, even three! And while you may not need that second helping of baked ziti or the extra large fro-yo, you DO need to be drinking for two. And we mean water and mocktails, not those other sugary, caffeine-laden or alcoholic drinks.

So when do you really have the excuse to go back for seconds?  Just wait until that bundle of joy has actually arrived!  Breastfeeding moms need 500 extra calories per day to keep up with the physical demands of breastfeeeding.  Each time you sit down to breastfeed, grab a glass of water - don’t worry, the balance of breastfeeding and being able to sip simultaneously comes with practice!

So try to eat a balanced (if bigger!) diet and keep up with those prenatal vitamins!  And quench that thirst with water, or of course, some Glow Mama!  Keeping hydrated is key to the production of milk, and try increasing your intake of foods believed to stimulate or increase milk production including apricots, asparagus, green beans, carrots, sweet potatoes, peas, pecans, and leafy greens.

The pre- in prenatal vitamins

March 20th, 2009 by amy

Planning is key, especially when you are deciding to start a family or try for another child.  So while you look at budgets and birthdates, make sure you are taking care of yourself, and preparing your body for the journey. Recent research provides evidence that you should ideally start taking prenatal vitamins three months prior to conception to reap the benefits those horse pills provide.

What Are the Benefits?

Most traditional adult multivitamins (even those formulated for women) don’t contain enough of the key ingredients for women trying to conceive - namely - folic acid, calcium, and iron.

Folic Acid -  daily dose of 400 micrograms (mcg) ir recommended starting at least a month before you begin trying to get pregnant and at least 600 mcg a day once you know you’re pregnant.

Calcium - The amount of calcium you need during pregnancy is about 1,000 mg per day — the same amount you need when you’re not pregnant.  Your baby needs some of the calcium from your bones, so you need to make sure its being replaced to prevent osteoporosis.

Iron - Avoid iron-deficiency anemia during pregnancy, you should consume 27 milligrams (mg) of iron per day, 50 percent more than you need when you’re not pregnant.  Your body is making a lot more blood to support both of you!

Why So Early?

Prenatal vitamins help prevent neural tube defects and the neural tube (which develop into the brain & spinal cord) develops very early on in pregnancy - in the first month - before you may even know you are pregnant!  You should then continue to take them throughout your pregnancy and in most cases, while breastfeeding as well.

Most prenatal vitamins are available OTC, though you should check with your doctor in case he or she has specific brand recommendations for you.  And  don’t forget that Glow Mama provides many of the key prenatal vitamin sources (and that all important fiber!) in an easy-to-swallow form endorsed by the APA!  Read more of the APA’s recommendations for pre-conception.

Kiwi Klips

March 19th, 2009 by amy

Hear Lucy and Amy’s Chatterbox BlogTalkRadio interview this week, and read Christie’s review.  Christie was generous enough to even share some with a pregnant friend of hers who thought

“It’s really good and doesn’t leave you thirsty like most fruit drinks. I stayed hydrated and is a great alternative to water when you want a little flavor.”

And Samantha of As They Grow Up had a chance to sample some Glow Mama this week.

For me, drinking water, which I normally love, became a chore as I really wanted something with a little bit of flavor. Glow Mama, a low calorie drink made with kiwi, is a great alternative to sugary juices.

Did we mention she’s also giving some away?

Kiss Me I’m Pregnant! (this St. Patrick’s Day)

March 17th, 2009 by amy

Ingredients:

3 oz Glow Mama

3 oz lime juice

3 oz sparkling lemonade

2-3 drops of natural green food coloring (optional)

Instructions:

Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker and mix thoroughly (the stronger you shake the more like beer it will look).  Pour into a chilled beer glass and people will think you’re celebrating St Patty’s day with a pint of good Irish lager.  Little do they know you’re actually getting your good hydration, with vitamins and fiber instead.  Enjoy your hangover free morning the next day!

Kiwi Klips

March 12th, 2009 by amy

Preppymama is pregnant, and looking to cut back on both her sugar intake and caffeine - Glow Mama to the rescue!

And yes, it tastes good!

It is light. Refreshing. A nice alternative to tea and juice. I’m a huge iced tea drinker and I have had to seriously cut back and switch to decaf.

You can also find Glow Mama articles featured on Barefoot & Pregnant this week!

Lose Your Mummy Tummy

March 11th, 2009 by amy

The term “working out” is appropriate for exercising because it really is work! Being a new mom is also a demanding workout, and your exercise program must adjust to these big changes in your body and your life.

Needless to say, pregnancy takes its toll on the body, especially on your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. Your abdomninal muscles stretch and seperate (diastasis recti) as the growing uterus weakens the support system for both your back and your organs, causing lower back problems and the “mummy tummy.” The pelvic floor musicales are weakened during pregnancy by the combined weight of you uterus and fetus on them. Although you will want to wait at least six weeks after giving birth before resuming any high impact aerobic exercise or running, you can begin to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles within days of giving birth. In fact, a great time to do these exercises is while you are feeding your baby.

Abdominals
My suggested technique for abdominal exercise focuses on the innermost abdominal muscles called the transverse abdominals. This muscle is attached to the outermost abdominal muscle called the rectus abdominis. The action of the transverse muscles is forwards and backwards. It’s the muscle used in beathing. So every time the transverse muscle goes back towards the spine it brings the recti muscle back with it, shortening and strengthening the recti muscle at the middle of the muscle and making the separation of the recti muscle smaller. Bringing the transverse muscle back towards the spine is the foundation of a series of exercises I’ve dubbed the “Tupler Technique,” one of which, is the Elevator.

The Elevator
If you are doing this exercise while feeding your baby, sit in a chair with a seat that is the length of your thighs and buttocks. The seat cushion should be firm but comfortable. If there are armrests, they should be slightly higher than the bottoms of your bent elbows so your shoulders don’t droop. Sit with your buttocks touching the back of the chair, which, ideally, should support your spine. If your chair doesn’t fit just right, you might want to place a pillow at your lowers back. A low footstool can also be used to maintain that comfortable L-position. Also, place enough cushions on your lap so that your baby is high enough that you don’t have to bend forward to feed her. If you are doing these exercises without your baby, sit cross-legged on the floor, with your back against the wall and your shoulders lined up with your hips.

First, imagine the transverse muscle moving out and in, forward and backward, as if it were a sideways elevator. Think of your belly button as the engine that moves that elevator. Put both hands on your belly. Take a “belly breath” by taking air in through the nose and expanding your belly as far as it can go. At this position your belly button is at the “first floor.” Exhale slowly and power your elevator to your spine. As your belly moves back toward your spine, imagine your ribs coming together. Hold there for 30 counts. Count out loud so you don’t stop breathing. This is the fifth floor. Now, bring your belly button even further back: Imagine you are bringing it out the back of your spine (sixth floor). Think of it as just a little squeeze or tightening. Count as you do five of these squeezes. End with a full belly breath. Do 10 sets every day. It may sound like a lot, but keep in mind that you can do a set in a minute or two, even while you’re breast or bottle feeding.

Pelvic Floor Muscles
After you do an Elevator for your abdominals, you can do a Kegel exercise for your pelvic floor muscles. To begin, sit comfortably with your legs apart and your back supported against a wall or chair. Bring your transverse to the fifth floor and hold it there as you engage your pelvic floor muscles (called the PC muscle, it’s what you engage to stop flow of urine mid-stream). Hold both the PC muscle and the transverse muscle as tight as you can while you count to 10. Then relax both muscles. A good way to relax the pelvic floor muscles is to imagine it opening up like a flower. After each 10-second hold, do 10 quick squeezes/releases. Work up to doing 20 of these 10-second hold-and-squeeze releases five times per day. If you are having difficulty holding in your PC muscle for 10 seconds at a time, start with a five-second hold, or do the Kegel exercise with your legs up on the wall and your back on the floor.

Thank you to the team at Baby Boot Camp and Julie Tupler for the permission to reprint this article.

— Julie Tupler, RN, is a certified fitness instructor and childbirth educator. She is the author of “Lose Your Mummy Tummy” “Perseus, 2005) and “Maternal Fitness” (Simon & Schuster, 1996; new edition this year). She offers prenatal & postpartum workouts at her New York City Maternal Fitness Center.

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