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How important is good hydration? Mar 10 2008 12:00 AM
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by lucy

 

pregnanthydration.jpgSo important in fact, that our recent article on keeping hydrated with Glow Mama was posted on the American Pregnancy Association website.  Here's what our resident pre and post natal nutrition expert Julie says...

Good hydration is extremely important for a healthy pregnancy and postpartum period. Water flushes waste products from the cells and aids in liver and kidney function for both mom and the baby. During pregnancy, water is also needed for the body's expansion as mom's blood volume increases significantly. Insufficient water intake can be a factor in constipation, preterm labor, and miscarriage, and even slight dehydration can cause or contribute to fatigue. Proper hydration is also important for adequate breast milk production and flow.

Most women know about the need for proper hydration during pregnancy, but many do not get adequate fluid intake. Some women do not like drinking water; others say they are not generally thirsty. Additionally, women are often unaware that some beverages are actually dehydrating.

Read the whole article

The Dish on Fish Mar 08 2008 8:07 AM
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by doctormama

 

wildsalmon.jpgIn all of my pregnancies, the taste, the smell, even just the thought of cooked fish could send me right into gagfests.   No worries, I thought, I don't want to expose my baby to all that mercury anyway.    And, not to mention, our oceans and fish supplies are suffering due to bad fishing practices, so no need to contribute to that environmental quagmire.

But then the news came out that pregnant mamas who eat fish have smarter more coordinated babies (a Harvard study in June 2005 and a British study in Feb 2007), and I had reason to revisit the fish issue.  Or at least find a way to get those potent omega -3 fatty acids in me and my in utero baby and my young children's developing brains!

What about just taking fish oil supplements and not have to think about it?  Unfortunately, there is no way (yet) of knowing that there is no mercury in them and/or that they are coming from eco-friendly sources.  Give it a few years and some regulation getting involved and that will probably be a great option.

So back to the fish.  From my research I knew that mercury is truly bad news and has seriously detrimental effects on young nervous systems in particular.  Not worth rolling that dice.  I also had tacked up in my kitchen the Environmental Defense Fund's "eco-worst" list of fish to avoid if you care about our planet.  So where was I to find fish that was safe to eat, that I could swallow without puking and that I could eat without feeling guilty?

My list had dwindled down to: wild salmon, pacific halibut, and yellowfin tuna, caught in US waters.

Fast forward to a recent date night with my husband when we visited our favorite sushi bar.  As we settled in, the sushi chef asked, "How's the sushi baby?"  Two years later, he still remembers me for eating sushi right through the ninth month of my last pregnancy.   And I'm not talking just California rolls, girls, I mean the real deal sashimi.  Sushi?!?!? I hear you scream, but it's RAW!!!  Yes.  And a food borne illness in pregnancy should be avoided at all costs.  With names like Listeria, Salmonella, Shigella, better to leave them on an exotic baby name list, as my girlfriend suggested,  than have them wreaking havoc on your GI system.  So why would I risk it?  Well, they do it in Japan and the reason is that if you are eating the freshest of the best, as I was, you can eliminate your risk.  I trusted my sushi source; he would rather die than have someone be sick from his sushi.  And in over 20 years of eating there, no one I know ever has been.

And so with that assurance, I gorged on high grade sushi, which never has a fishy smell so I never once gagged.  The result?  My little "sushi baby" - is one smart whippersnapper, if I do say so myself, who happens to love eating raw fish too.

Milk Money Mar 05 2008 11:37 AM
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by mindfulmomma

 
Where does your milk dollar go?  Do you buck up for organic?  Go rBGH-free?  Regular?  Raw?  Non/Low/Full-Fat?  Heck, there's even a brand that supports my kid's school.  WAY too many choices - for what should be one of the (few) simple buying decisions at the grocery.

I personally buy organic some of the time (when it's on sale or I have a coupon) but almost always hormone-free.  Thing is, depending on what store I go to (and I frequent many) there are different brands available that make my choices more complicated.

ORGANIC

I'm often tempted by store brand organic milk because it's less expensive.  But have you heard about the Horizon/Aurora Organic boycott?   The Organic Consumer's Association is leading the charge to boycott this company (owned by Dean Foods) because they have been pushing the limits on organic standards by using factory farm feedlots where the animals have little or no access to pasture.

So, if you care about maintaining organic standards, then consider passing on not only the Horizon Organic brand but the private label brands that use the same supplier.  As far as I know, these brands include:  Costco's "Kirkland Signature," Target's "Archer Farm", Walmart's "Great Value", Safeway's "O" organics brand, Publix's "High Meadows,"Giant's "Natures Promise," and Wild Oats' organic milk.

Milk3.jpgTrader Joe's and Whole Foods "365' brand of organic milk appear to be OK.  Let's hope so anyway! (and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about any of this)

If you want to get into some heavy details, check out the Cornucopia Institute's research project on Maintaining the Integrity of Organic Milk.  If not, just enjoy their great graphic illustration of the situation!

 

rBGH-FREE

I want to keep this as simple as possible.... rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone) is given to cows to increase their milk production.  It is bad for:

  • COWS - because it can lead to chronic mastitis (if you've ever breast fed, you know what that means and why you don't EVER want to have it!). And because of the risk of infection, herds are treated with lots of antibiotics.
  • PEOPLE - because the resulting milk has high levels of Insulin-like Growth Hormone (IGF-1). Research has shown that elevated levels of IGF-1 is linked to an increased risk of breast, colorectal and prostrate cancer.

Use of rBGH is banned in Canada and the European Union.  It's allowed here in the U.S. but the movement to stop using it is getting bigger by the day.  All Trader Joe's milk (organic and non) is rBGH-free.  Starbucks offers rBGH-free milk in all their U.S. stores and is working toward a complete switch.  Kroger is officially rBGH-free in the West and their switch will be nationwide by Feb. 2008.   

Fortunately, rBGH-free milk is easy to find and while you do pay a premium, it is not as spendy as organic.  A good compromise if you ask me.   

OTHER OPTIONS

Most people I know buy 1% or skim.  I buy 2% because it's what I grew up with and what my family likes.  My son had a pediatrician who gave me a hard time about switching to skim.  I switched doctors instead.  I'm not an expert, but I'm not afraid of a little bit of fat.

Anyone out there a raw milk fan?  I've never tried it but I know there are people who think it is MUCH healthier than pasteurized milk.  You can learn more from the Campaign for Real Milk (a project of the Weston A. Price foundation).    

Supporting your School?  Here in Minnesota, I try to buy Kemps Select brand (rBGH-free) because saving the cap means money for Drew's school.  Just one more thing to think about in the complicated process of feeding your family... 

Fabulous Folic and Fantastic Fiber – how far we've come Feb 21 2008 8:23 AM
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by Glow Mama

 
Did you know that it wasn't until 1997 that grains started being fortified with folic acid? And that doing so has contributed to a 26% decline in neural tube birth defects (disorders in an infant's spine and brain)? - impressive don't you think!   The March of Dimes has also uncovered a sad stat though - that only 12% of women know that they should be consuming at least 400mg of folic acid before pregnancy, made folicandfiber.jpgscarier by the stat that 50% of American pregnancies are unplanned. 

What are they doing about it? - launching a new "folic acid for a healthy pregnancy" seal for bread products that have over 40mg of folic acid. 

What are we doing about it?  - continuing to be champions for pregnancy and women's general wellness education... and telling everyone that each bottle of Glow Mama has 100mg of folic acid. 

It also wasn't until ten years ago that the first official health claim was approved - that oat fiber, as part of a heart-healthy diet can reduce the risk of heart disease.   A recent review published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine has verified that the fiber in oats lowers both total and LDL cholesterol, and that the phenols they contain have antioxidant properties.  While Glow Mama doesn't contain fiber derived from oats (can you imagine what that would be like to drink?)  it does contain lots of natural fiber derived from veggies - 4grams of it per bottle to be exact.  That's 16% of your daily recommended fiber intake, or the equivalent to eating a bowl of porridge. 


Kiwis - the facts on the fuzzy brown fruit Feb 17 2008 12:00 AM
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by lucy

 

 kiwi.jpg

A lot of people are curious about the kiwi and why we chose to make Glow Mama from real kiwifruit juice.  So, while I'm not a kiwifruit expert, grower, salesperson or spokesperson... I am a fan, and I'd like for them to have their 15 minutes in the spotlight.  So here are some of the facts, straight from the California Kiwifruit Commission.  

Check out the folic acid, fiber and vitamin C levels in particular - great for us moms and moms-to-be!

Did you know kiwifruit has the highest level of Vitamin C? Kiwifruit has almost twice the Vitamin C of an orange. A serving of kiwifruit (two medium) provides about 230% of the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance. Vitamin C aids in wound healing, iron absorption and maintains bones, blood vessels and teeth.

Did you know kiwifruit outranks bananas as the top low-sodium, high potassium fruit? A serving of kiwifruit contains an average of 20% more potassium than a banana. Potassium is an important mineral that controls heart activity and works with sodium to maintain fluid balance in the body.

Did you know kiwifruit is a good low-fat source of Vitamin E? A serving of kiwifruit has some 10% of the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance. Kiwifruit actually has twice the Vitamin E of an avocado, but has only 60% of the avocado's calories. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant and may reduce the risk of heart disease and some forms of cancer.

Did you know there are few foods equal to kiwifruit in folic acid? Kiwifruit provides 10% of the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance of folic acid, or folate. Folic acid is essential to the reproduction and formation of red blood cells. Lack of folic acid can contribute to some problems of anemia and it is especially important for expectant mothers to protect against birth defects.

Did you know kiwifruit is especially rich in lutein? Kiwifruit ranked higher than spinach and all other fruits and vegetables, except yellow corn, for its lutein content. Lutein is aniStock_000003027558XSmall.jpg antioxidant that may decrease the risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration.

Did you know kiwifruit is an excellent source of dietary fiber? Kiwifruit provides both soluble and insoluble forms of fiber (16% USRDA), providing more than a serving of bran flakes and four times that of a cup of chopped celery. Soluble fiber appears to play a protective role in heart disease and diabetes, while insoluble fiber aids in prevention of constipation, diverticulosis, hemorrhoids and some forms of cancer.

Did you know all the other rich minerals that are in kiwifruit? Besides potassium, there are four minerals contained in kiwifruit which have a nutrient density of one or more. These are: calcium (RDA of 5.5%); Iron (RDA, 4%); Magnesium (RDA, 6%) and Copper (RDA, 8%). In addition, kiwifruit is an unusual supplier of some new researched trace minerals including Manganese, essential to the enzymes involved in the body's use of protein and food energy, and Chromium, known to be a key factor in regulating the heartbeat and the body's use of carbohydrates.

Did you know kiwifruit promotes heart health? Enjoying just a couple of kiwifruit each day can significantly lower your risk for blood clots (platelet aggregation reduction 18%) and reduce the amount of fats (15% reduction of triglycerides) in your blood.

Did you know kiwifruit protects against Cancer and aids in DNA repair? Eating kiwifruit daily can provide substantial protection against DNA damage that can trigger cancer and, more significantly, greatly speeds the repair of DNA damage.

Did you know kiwifruit is the most nutrient dense fruit? A study conducted by Dr. Paul Lachance of Rutgers University evaluated the nutritional value of fruits to determine-ounce for ounce-which provide the most nutrition. The study found that out of the 27 most commonly consumed fruits; kiwifruit is the most nutrient dense.

California Kiwifruit Commission

Homemade Cleaning Products - A Baby Step Feb 13 2008 12:30 PM
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by mindfulmomma

 
I've been wanting to start making some of my own household cleaning products for some time now.  It looks so easy, it's better for the environment, saves money, a no brainer, huh? 

Thing is, a person like me is always thinking way too big - as in 'I need to buy every possible ingredient, read every source of information and experiment like crazy before I write a post about

this topic.'  Aaaah, but I caught myself - and this time I'm taking baby steps. 

No, I don't have the borax or the soap flakes or the washing soda yet.  But I do have ingredients that I already have in my house:  baking soda, vinegar and some essential oils.

I whipped up a simple sink scrub that made my stainless steel kitchen sink shine and left the whole kitchen smelling fresh.  Oh, and the 'volcano' action you get when you mix the baking soda and vinegar is a fun little science experiment for the kiddos - so get them in on the action!

1/4 cup baking soda

1/4 cup white vinegar

3-5 drops of essential oil (those with antibacterial properties include lavender, lemon, lime, orange, sandalwood, cypress, chamomile, rosemary, thyme, lemongrass and others)

auracacia.jpgI used an essential oil blend from Aura Cacia.  I love their Essential Solutions blends because I don't have to buy a bunch of individual oils.  They create the blends for various effects:  Creative Juice is energizing, Pep Talk is refreshing, Chill Pill is soothing and Mellow Mix (the one that I use) is calming with lavender, lemon, sandalwood, roman chamomile, petitgrain and neroli oils.  It smells SO good! 

I also made a garbage pail freshener using the same essential oil blend.  Just fill a spray bottle with water, add 8-12 drops of essential oil and viola - you're armed and ready to overcome the stench of a stinky pail - without filling the air with toxic chemicals.

Watch out, I just might try some more!  I'll keep you posted as I work my way through the book The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegel-Maier.  It's got some great tips and over 100 recipes for anyone inclined to DIY.

A Healthy Response to a Year of Toy Recalls Feb 06 2008 8:46 AM
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by mindfulmomma

 

No doubt about it, there's been a LOT of press about toy recalls in the past year.  As parents are scrambling to figure out what's safe and what's not, some new websites have popped up to help.  Here are a few:

healthytoys.jpg

HealthyToys.org is a consumer action guide to toxic chemicals in toys.  They test toys for five key elements that indicate the presence of chemicals that are linked to long-term negative health effects. Those five elements are:

  • Lead - a heavy metal used as a stabilizer in PVC and as pigment in paints and coatings.
  • Mercury - used in inks, adhesives, and in forming polyurethanes. 
  • Cadmium - a heavy metal used in PVC and in many paints and coatings.  
  • Chlorine - associated with the use of PVC - polyvinyl chloride.
  • Arsenic - a heavy metal used as a wood preservative and in the production of fertilizers and insecticides.

Use their product search guide to search by name, by brand or by type of toy.  You can even request that a specific toy be tested, although they seem to have a long waiting list. 

Each product gets an overall hazard rating (High, Med or Low) based on the levels of the 5 elements.  However, they do make it a point to say that their rating is NOT a specific measure of chemical exposure or health risk.   It is simply a relative measure of the level of the chemical on the toy's surface.

We've got a tub full of plastic fruit in our house...all either from hand-me-downs or garage sales...so I was very concerned when I found a rating for plastic fruit that looked similar to some of mine (although mine is made in Malasia, not China).  It was rated HIGH overall, due to very high levels of lead and cadmium.  So, what should I do with my big tub of fruit? Since we're beyond the 'everything in the mouth' stage around here, my gut says we're OK, but honestly....this is tricky stuff.

notinmycart.jpg

 

 

 

 

The Consumer's Union (the publisher of Consumer Reports) has a website called Not In My Cart that is kind of a one-stop shop for information about recalls.  It's got toys and other household products (and even some food) all in one spot.  It's updated daily with the latest recalls.  Photos of each product are included which makes it easy to tell right away whether or not the recall is something you've got in your house.

The mission of Not In My Cart is not only to provide consumers with an easy way to keep track of recalls but also to facilitate ACTION.  In fact, they're calling 2008 the Year for Reform (2007 was the year of the recall).  The website's TAKE ACTION page has a form letter for you to fill out and send to your members of Congress urging them to stop unsafe imports.  It just takes a minute, so I urge you to do it!

MyThings.gif

 

 

MyThings is an interesting concept.  It's mainly an organizational tool - to help you keep track of your receipts, warranties and insurance documents.  But they've added a new service called MyThings Recall Alert in response to the flood of toy recalls going on these days.

It's very simple:  Make a list of the things you own.  Then, if something is recalled in the future, they will let you know by email.  The service is free - all you need to do is register with your email address.  I just might try this - that is if I remember to keep track of the UPC codes....


Birthways Birth and Parenting Resource Center Feb 04 2008 12:00 AM
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by lucy

 

birthways2.gifThis past Saturday I had the pleasure of sharing Glow Mama with a wonderful group of women at the Grand Opening of Birthways' Birth and Parenting Resource Center. 

You must check out the small but incredible room down the back of Waddle and Swaddle (1677 Shattuck Ave in Berkeley) - its packed to the ceiling with magazines, books, DVDs, a computer and of course the contact details and reviews of loads of local doulas and midwives.  And the mural is equally as cool - did she really do that freehand straight on the wall?  I'll definitely be making a special trip back again IF we ever get around to #2 (no questions or pressure please - one and a startup is enough for now).

Anyway, congrats Rebecca and Birthways team.  I did enjoy Henci Goers talk on Avoiding an Unnecessary Cesarean (despite being horrified and dumbfounded by the stats).  See you all again at the Easy Bay Baby Fair in March if not before!birthways1.jpg

 

Glass Baby Bottles - A Safer Choice? Jan 30 2008 10:29 AM
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by mindfulmomma

 
babybottledad.jpgGlass and babies.  Doesn't sound like a safe combination to me.  But glass baby bottles have been making quite the comeback lately. 

That's because there's been a lot of bad press about plastic baby bottles.  Many of them are

made from polycarbonate plastic (the clear, hard type as opposed to the cloudy, more pliable type) which contains a chemical called Bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA.

Numerous studies, including a 2007 study of baby bottles by Environment California have shown that BPA can leach out of bottles and into whatever liquid they contain.  The problem is magnified when liquid is heated in the bottle - a pretty common occurrence with baby bottles, I'd say.  The big concern is that very low doses of BPA can lead to some pretty big health problems like breast cancer, diabetes, early puberty and infertility. 

There are so many people clamoring for glass baby bottles that I've heard they can be hard to find.  But it looks like they are available on Amazon if you can't find them locally.  Evenflo, Dr. Browns and BornFree are some of the brands available.

But still, glass and babies???  Their sudden movements could potentially send a bottle flying...and shattering.  And toddlers?  You never know what they might do!  Fortunately, for every problem, there is a creative solution.  Here are a few:

  • etsybottlecosy.jpgSiliskins - A silicone sleeve or 'skin' that slides easily over a glass bottle. They come in pretty colors but are translucent so you can still read the measurements on the bottle.
  • Wee go - Another protective, silicone sleeve that's easy for baby to grip.
  • A handmade bottle cosy - this one's made from recycled cotton sweaters and old buttons, I found it on Etsy!

If glass still doesn't work for you - don't worry - BPA-free plastic bottles are also available.  BornFree and Green to Grow are a couple brands that come to mind.

What makes you glow? Jan 29 2008 9:30 AM
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by Glow Mama

 

glowingbody.jpg We've just been sitting here brainstorming about our favorite things that make us smile and glow, so we thought we'd open the question up to everyone....

What makes you shine?  What gives you your inner glow?

 We'll keep adding to our list, but so far we have:


facial.jpg

 

  • A sleeping baby (especially our own)
  • Random but sincere compliments
  • Great facials
  • Bakesale Betty's banana bread
  • The knowledge that you married the right person

 

 


 

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