All Articles Tagged "health and wellness"
Most of us feel off track without our cell phones constantly connected to us, so it only makes sense to keep healthy living apps on your mobile device to keep you on track with your wellness goals. There are countless health and wellness apps — many of them free– for you to choose from whether you have an iPhone, Android, etc. With so little time on your schedule, it’s a lifesaver to be able to access apps for a quick workout or to log your food intake for the day. So check this app list below to see which you should download next to make your life simpler.
While there’s a plethora of products geared to the millions of women who get pregnant every year, there’s a surprisingly low number of items created with a holistic approach. Latham Thomas founded Mama Glow to fill that void. A holistic lifestyle hub for women to explore their creativity, Thomas released a new book last month, also called Mama Glow, on pregnancy and wellness.
Alicia Keys, Tonya Lewis Lee, Veronica Webb, Rebecca Walker, and Karyn Parsons have all endorsed the book, which includes tips to help reduce stress, covers birth plans, labor coaches, and midwives, has recipes for homemade pampering treats like coffee sugar scrub, and even includes a postpartum wellness plan. Maybe the Duchess of Cambridge could use a copy?
We talked to Thomas about how every pregnant woman can get her Mama Glow on.
Madame Noire: What made you want to launch Mama Glow?
Latham Thomas: Mama Glow is a movement born out of necessity. I saw a gap in hip holistic lifestyle and pregnancy market and I wanted to put the “hot mama glow” back into women’s health. I wanted to offer women a safe haven to explore nutrition, yoga, and birth doula services all under one roof, and create a platform for maternal advocacy while doing so. Mama Glow was born. I was pregnant with my son and wanted to provide services that I thought should have been readily available to me during that precious time.
MN: How did you fund the startup?
LT: I started Mama Glow with my own money. I don’t wait for anything. I am a single mother and know a lot of moms probably feel daunted by finding the resources to fund their dreams. But the truth is when you really commit to that mission, the connections, resources, money, and angels come in to help facilitate your goals. Keep the faith; God is my business partner.
MN: What were some of the obstacles you faced with starting Mama Glow?
LT: My biggest challenge is time management, still. I want to do it all and there are a mere 24 hours in a day. I have support luckily.
MN: Tell us about the book?
LT: Mama Glow is a comprehensive go-to guide for a balanced lifestyle that will have you looking and feeling your most radiant for the next nine months and beyond. It’s divided into sections — In the Kitchen, On The Mat, and In Your Life — that address food, movement, and self-care practices to get your glow on.
MN: Do you feel African-American moms are overlooked as a market?
LT: I think we collectively have not claimed our health as a priority. Statistically black women suffer disproportionately from cancers [like] breast and ovarian, diabetes, heart disease, [and] obesity. The market caters to what people decide is of relevance. If we don’t spend our money on health-related products and services they won’t be directly marketed towards us.
MN: What do you think are some of the major concerns for African-American moms?
LT: I think health concerns are a risk for our community and what I typically see across the board are fibroid tumors, which I address in Mama Glow. I offer a cleanse program to get your body baby-ready. This is something we need to think about. Stress and poor diet are major factors for reproductive challenges.
MN: Any new developments for Mama Glow?
LT: We have a new partnership with Morgan Stanley so will be launching two exciting new iterations of our Mama Glow initiatives — The Mama Glow Icon Gala and The Mama Glow Film Festival — for 2013. I will launch a consumer products division and develop some TV opportunities.
MN: What is your favorite thing about being an African-American mom?
LT: I am born of a legacy of strong women. We all are. I love being Fulano’s mama. When my son climbs into bed to cuddle in the middle of the night, I’m reminded that even though he’s 4 foot 6” tall, he is still a little boy and will always be my little angel.
And for more on the topic of maternal health and pregnancy, check out a recent story Madame Noire Business published here.
Saving Money But Losing Weight: How A Few Groupon Coupons Helped Me Get Off The Couch And Get Healthy
I used to be all about the gym, fitness, healthy eating and all that comes with it. I have a closet full of workout gear and a cupboard full of water containers to prove it. I had a personal trainer who I would curse at weekly while she whittled me into fit and toned fabulosity.
Then, life happened.
I had to have surgery. Then there was the eight weeks of recovery, and getting back into the swing of things and back to work. Soon, the gym would be just a place I would donate money to and pass on my daily travels. Finding my way back to the gym (as in, back inside and not looking in from the outside) became harder and harder the longer I stayed away.
The truth is, I miss the fit and fabulous me. I miss having boundless energy and the constant desire to work out. I miss my trainer and our pretend love-hate relationship (I truly appreciated her). I even miss those 10 flights of stairs she made me run almost every week.
Realizing it was time for something new, I asked around for recommendations of gyms in my area and fitness classes that would be affordable. I got a lot of recommendations from friends, but then I realized there was an option I had been overlooking all this time. Groupon, the online shopaholic’s paradise, not only had great deals for clothes, jewelry, food and trips, but gym membership and fitness classes, too. My brain was pre-wired to look for restaurant Groupons, so I naturally overlooked any that could help me work off the food I was stuffing in my face thanks to their deals.
On a recent visit to Groupon.com, I found a sweet deal on a kickboxing class one of my girlfriends had told me about. The gym was offering a 10-class package for less than half the price of one month’s membership. I clicked the ‘buy’ button with the quickness on that one.
Then I found a deal on a trial membership to one of the hottest (literally) yoga studios in the area. I had heard a lot about Bikram yoga, and wanted to try it. However, I wasn’t about to fork out a full membership fee for something new that I didn’t know if I would like. The trial package was perfect; it offered just enough classes to see if I’d like it, and it was within my budget. Click! Sold!
There was a dirt-cheap Groupon for a freestyle fitness class I had heard about. For about the price of a fast food value meal, I could get 10 one-hour freestyle fitness/dance classes at one of the premiere studios in the area. Reviews I read about the class were overwhelmingly positive. It wasn’t Zumba, but it sounded just as fun. Click!
I’m just starting to use my fitness Groupons now, but I’ve mapped out a plan to use them all over the next three months and I’m excited about finally getting back in the gym, losing the pounds and living healthy once again. While I’m starting to feel a little lighter, at least my wallet isn’t. This isn’t in any way an advertisement for Groupon because Lord knows they’re not paying me for my shared opinions, but I’m grateful for the types of classes I’ve been exposed to thanks to the classes they offer. Without a Groupon, you would never find me in Bikram yoga. Without the deals I’ve found, I would barely be motivated to try kickboxing, but the deals have helped me to get enthusiastic about staying fit once again. The variety of the classes I have to choose from will keep things interesting, no doubt, and I’m looking forward to getting reacquainted with the fit and fab me. It’s only a matter of time.
Guess what? It’s girls night and you finally get to put on that hot black dress that hugs your body in all the best places. You look in the mirror and you got that perfect coke bottle figure…until you look down and you realize those legs don’t look like coke bottle at all. They look more like cottage cheese! So what do you do if you feel self-conscious about it? Well, on a positive note, 70% of cellulite is caused by lifestyle, and 30% of it is genetic. So there is something you can do about it! Here’s how:
Brush your skin
This is probably one of the cheapest ways to get rid of cellulite. Buy a skin or body brush, and brush your legs everyday. The most effective way is to do it before you shower everyday and you can get one of these brushes for only 6-8 dollars.
Avoid Alcohol and Cigarettes
Sorry ladies, no more going out for drinks or having that glass of wine after dinner. Too much alcohol and smoking puts excess pressure on your body’s lymphatic system, which is the system that controls cellulite.
Seaweed bath Oil
Okay, this one seems a little unconventional, but it’s definitely worth a shot right? Seaweed contains many nutrients, amino acids and oils that help to give the skin nourishment which helps gives it a silky smooth look. Having a Seaweed oil bath should be done at least three times a week to be effective.
This probably the most obvious solution that least wants to be heard, but let’s face it, exercise is always good for the body. One of the simplest ways to improve the look of cellulite is walking. It should be done for at least about an hour six days a week. If that seems like too much, try to incorporate it into getting your errands done. If that’s not what you prefer, you could also try yoga, but it is the more difficult of the two.
If cardio and aerobics are not for you, here’s one aspect of exercise you can choose. First off, any sort of squats will improve the look of your legs by making them more firm and toned. However, wall squats are specifically targeted to the muscles behind your thighs. A wall squat consists of leaning against the wall, and sitting on an imaginary chair.
Eat more leafy greens and fruit
Yum! Sounds great doesn’t it? Well no, to some people it actually sounds gross, but unfortunately it’s one of the best ways to have great skin. Unfortunately, one of the biggest causes of cellulite is an unhealthy diet. This is because cellulite is built from water, toxins and fat cells that build up under the skin. So naturally, eating less fatty foods and more organic foods will decrease the amount of fat cells and toxins in your body.
This one is for some of you looking for a short-term fix. Brands like Nivea have created creams that can change the look of your cellulite but not necessarily improve the amount of cellulite you have. This means that the moment you stop using the cream, it will likely revert back to the original appearance. This is why you should try the other options ahead of this one…
By now most Americans have either seen or heard of Dr. Ian Smith. He’s appeared as a medical contributor on various TV programs, the latest being The Rachael Ray Show” He hosts the nationally syndicated radio show “HealthWatch” on American Urban Radio News. And he doles out medical and diet advice to the stars on VH1′s Celebrity Fit Club.
Besides the broadcast exposure, Smith has authored several best-selling books including The Fat Smash Diet, Extreme Fat Smash Diet and The 4 Day Diet. And he has just completed SHRED: The Revolutionary Diet.
Recently, we talked with Dr. Smith about his career, health and wellness.
MadameNoire: Why did you write SHRED: The Revolutionary Diet?
Ian Smith: I had been working with just a few friends who called me up and were frustrated because they had tried everything, but couldn’t break through their weight-loss plateau. They wanted me to come up with a program specifically for them that would get them shedding pounds again. So, I created SHRED: The Revolutionary Diet. All of them were losing lots of weight on the program. I held it in reserve for some time, then decided to tweet some of it to my followers on Twitter to give them a weight-loss boost. So many people were losing so much weight that my publisher and I decided to publish the book and make it available to everyone this December.
MN: You have had several bestsellers. Why is writing a book a good business move?
IS: I never really looked at it as a business move. My motives were to help people and to continue to do what I have been doing for some time. Being a member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, I travel the country speaking about fitness and nutrition and other health issues. So this was really an extension of that. However, dieting is a big business and it is one that unfortunately is not going away. People spend billions of dollars each year on dieting programs, services and products. People like me want dieting to be a shrinking business instead of one that’s growing.
MN: What are the three biggest diet mistakes people make?
IS: 1) Unrealistic expectations. People want to lose too much weight too fast. They set unrealistic goals and when they don’t meet these goals they get upset and frustrated and leave a program that is probably good for them in the long run.
2) Obsession with the scale. People want to weigh themselves every day to see if they are losing weight. Once a week is enough.
3) Starting too early. Weight loss is a journey and often it’s difficult. Too many start a program at the wrong time and when they are not ready or in the best position to succeed. Start when you’re ready and when you have control of your food and exercise environment.
A federal housing program, Moving to Opportunity, was launched in the 1990s with a twofold goal — give low-income families better access to education and income by moving them into mixed-income neighborhoods and study the effects of that move on the 2,000 participating moms and their kids.
According to The Wall Street Journal, while the financial and educational fortunes of these families didn’t really change, there was a marked improvement in their health.
“Participants had significantly lower rates of diabetes, extreme obesity, anxiety and stress than those who stayed behind. They were also much happier with their lives overall—something researchers said was particularly important,” the story says.
The story points out that while racial segregation has decreased in recent times, economic segregation has not, creating an “increase in poverty concentration” that’s having averse effects on the people who live in these disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Critics argue that the amount of money given to families to move to these new neighborhoods wasn’t enough to have an impact on the other factors being tested. Moreover, they were moved to neighborhoods where the poverty level was still at one-third. In their previous neighborhoods, poverty levels reached one-half.
“Nearly three-quarters of the families who signed up for the program said they had done so to get away from violence in dangerous neighborhoods,” The New York Times reports. In both an interesting and shocking twist, the study also found that the good feeling was higher in neighborhoods that were more racially segregated when compared to those that were integrated.
The significance of the findings aren’t lost on Barbara Samuels, an ACLU lawyer quoted in the WSJ story, who says the “hopelessness, of being literally almost physically oppressed by your surroundings” is common. Certainly, someone who’s worried and depressed, then encircled by those same feelings of desperation is going to experience a negative effect on their physical and mental health.
The New York City Board of Health today passed Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed soda ban, prohibiting the sale of sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces. The ban will go into effect March 2013 and will impact restaurants, food trucks, movie theaters and lots of other places where these large drinks are typically sold.
The ban passed eight to zero (there was an abstention, a vacancy and an absence) despite opposition from the large sugary drink companies themselves and many voters. All of the voting board members said they took the opposition into account, but felt they had to act in the face of sky-high obesity rates.
The black community has been hit hard by this epidemic. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health, “African American women have the highest rates of being overweight or obese compared to other groups in the U.S. About four out of five African American women are overweight or obese.”
Many question whether this will really have an impact on the issue it’s trying to tackle. Earlier this month, filmmaker Byron Hurt led a discussion about obesity and weight-related disease after a screening of his documentary Soul Food Junkies. The film takes a closer look at Byron’s dad who died of pancreatic cancer but, before that, spent his life eating unhealthy soul food. In the post-viewing discussion about diet and health, the soda ban, and the widespread skepticism of the policy among African-Americans, came up.
“Panelist and author Marc Lamont Hill answered that Americans have a healthy distrust of government. Mr. Hill continued by saying that government bans are often ineffective as ‘the government does not invest in providing people with a healthier alternative,’” The Wall Street Journal reports.
This is a valid point. You can put all the laws in place that you want. If there’s no alternative, people will keep doing what they’re doing. There’s no rule against buying multiple small sodas. The whole point of the ban goes out the window.
Right now, it just sounds like the government’s overstepping, getting in people’s personal business where it doesn’t belong. If the city can also come up with ways to make healthier drink options more affordable and accessible, then feelings about the government’s intentions could shift. Part of the problem is food policy, which drives up the cost of healthy food. That’s an issue that goes above and beyond what the city can do. But there have been rumblings about adding drinking fountains around the city, a great option. Make refillable water bottles widely available for free, and you might have more people drinking water instead of soda.
What do you think of the soda ban?
Did you suddenly look up to find that it’s August?
It’s funny that not too long ago, many women were eager to greet the summer with a fresh stack of summer reads they hoped would accompany them on a beachside hammock. Now, as the air starts to cool and hint at autumn and the onslaught of back-to-school commercials pipe through the television, the middle of August beckons with an even more disheartening revelation: you haven’t had a summer vacation.
Summer’s the easy season, a time for sunny adventures in an exotic locale or a road trip with girlfriends. But at a reported average of $1,180 per person, a relaxing vacation can come with unwarranted financial stress. Did an unexpected car repair eat into you vacation savings? Don’t think you can scrape together airfare before Labor Day hits? Were you caught in a harried work schedule during June and July? Though your cruise ship dreams may have fallen short this summer, you haven’t missed the boat. You don’t always have to vacate to have a vacation; a staycation (a period of time where you relax at home) in your neck of the woods might be what you need to recharge, regroup, and recalibrate your senses. Here are some hints for finding some R & R right where you are:
Disconnect – If you inform your boss that there’s no cell phone service on the high seas or of the exorbitant cell phone roaming fees in Rome, he shouldn’t expect you to be available via text or e-mail. And you shouldn’t be – you’re on vacation. The same rule applies to a staycation. Just as you’d do miles away from the office, unplug from the responsibilities of work. Let your boss know you’ll be unavailable. Resist the urge to check e-mail or to swing by your nearby office one afternoon to “check in.” A simple “I’ll respond to e-mail messages upon my return” should suffice for your automatic out-of-office reply to senders, no matter how close you are to home.
Be A Tourist in Your Town – Been meaning to check out the observatory deck on the local skyscraper? Never had the time to eat at the famous hole-in-the-wall on the outskirts of town? A staycation is the perfect opportunity to explore your city with fresh eyes. Why not grab a tourist guide and appreciate the sights you may have taken for granted as resident? Walk at a tourist’s pace downtown, look up at the height of the buildings, take pictures at all the landmarks. Instead of stomping across the bridge, stop to marvel at the gleam of the river below you. Pack a picnic for the rolling meadows or go for a hike on the trail that’s only a few miles away from you that thousands may travel long distances just to see.
Take a Spa Weekend at a Local Hotel – Scour travel websites to find deals on spa getaway packages at a nearby inn. Pack a small bag and stay the night to make the luxury last. Check out the services offered by local massage and cosmetology schools, too. You can find professional-quality treatments and rubdowns for prices that won’t dent your pocketbook.
Camp Out in Your Own Backyard – Erect a tent and fire up the grill for some s’mores . Enjoying the great outdoors in your own backyard makes for a great late-summer’s night retreat with friends or a romantic romp with your honey.
Pamper Yourself and Your Place – Hire a cleaning crew to handle your weekend chores. Have them freshen your sheets, fluff your pillows, and light candles on the tables before they leave. The collection of take-out menus stacked in the kitchen drawer? Put them to good use this weekend and have your meals prepared and brought to your front door. Bring the spa to you, too: many spas offer mobile massage services that will come to your home.
The idea is to find space where, at once, you can decompress and make new discoveries without taking a major hit in your wallet. Stay in town and take it easy.
More on Madame Noire!
- Where Are They Now? 11 Of The Most Rachet, Lovable and Controversial Black Folks From “The Real World”
- Ask a Very Smart Brotha: He Got Someone Else Pregnant But Says He Wants to Be With Me
- So,You Acted a Fool, Now What? 6 Ways to Move Past Your Spazz Out
- I’m Your Woman, Not Your Nanny: The Difference Between Supporting and Enabling a Lazy Man
- Why I Prefer the Company of Men Over Women
- Don’t Mess With Her! 6 of Aretha Franklin’s Most Diva-ish Moments
- They Said What Now!? 7 Songs That Don’t Mean What You Think They Do…
A new grocery store in Austin, in.gredients, is selling all of its goods the eco-friendly way: without packaging.
We’re not just talking about loose potatoes and peppers. The way this works is you bring your containers from home, they fill them up with with your items, you eat the items and then bring your containers back to the store on your next shopping trip. If you don’t bring your own containers, they’ll provide you with recyclable and compostable containers. The few items that come packaged are meats and dairy (which is required by local law) and eggs.
In.gredients is striving to create a zero-waste, locally-sourced, healthier way of eating. In addition to be package-free, they rely on area farmers for their inventory. Eating locally and going organic are definitely trends right now as people try to find ways to eat better and be kinder to the environment. However, price is always a concern. After all, there was a good reason why Whole Foods was nicknamed “Whole paycheck.” But even that market has tried to bring prices down.
“Bottom line, buying in bulk eliminates the cost of packaging and allows the buyer to allocate exact amounts of in.gredients to recipes / buy only how much they need – making even traditionally expensive items more approachable. We care about lowering the cost barrier to healthy, local foods, and want to make good food accessible to everyone,” in.gredients writes on its FAQ page.
With the severe drought covering a good chunk of the country, prices are expected to go up. With that in mind, many shoppers will likely opt for a lower-cost option that will keep the fridge filled and bypass items that, though a little healthier and better for the environment, will deplete their budgets.
At stores where you do find packaging, there are efforts to make the packaging more useful. Tests using a “stoplight-style color-coding system” aim to give the important dietary information in a clear and easy way. A study conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital found that the simple system coupled with greater accessibility resulted in the consumption of healthier foods. The results were equally strong among blacks, whites and Latinos.
So are you shopping with eco-friendly, organic purpose? Or are you most concerned with sticking to your grocery budget? If in.gredients came to your neighborhood, would you grab some empty containers and head on down?
More on Madame Noire Business!
- The Number of Black-Owned Businesses, and the Need for Resources, Is Growing
- Are You Pinning? Pintrest for Individuals, Small Businesses, and Big Brands
- Women, Minority Businesses Face an Added Burden of Proof
- Are Black Businesses Suffering From an Undeserved Rep for Bad Customer Service?
- How to Tackle Office Enemies
- Here are the Five Highest Paying Jobs You Don’t Need a Bachelor’s Degree to Do
We all know that eating lots of fruits and veggies is healthy for our bodies. But can it also be healthy for our wallets?
When grapefruit juice interacts with certain drugs, it has been found to increase the potency of those drugs. Recently, doctors found that could also be true for drugs being used to treat cancer.
“It’s important not to see this as a new cure for cancer,” Dr. Jerry Avorn, chief of the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, told ABC News. “But rather, it’s a very interesting way of using a known food-drug interaction as a means of getting better drug levels into cancer patients.”
Doctors using a transplant drug, sirolimus, on cancer patients found the level of that drug dramatically increased by 350 percent when coupled with grapefruit juice. The dosage was untouched. Not only does this keep side effects at bay, it also reduces the cost of these drugs.
“We’re talking about cutting those costs by a half to a third,” the lead researcher, Dr. Ezra Cohen, said.
Grapefruit juice isn’t the only food out there shown to have healthy qualities. Other foods found to have serious health benefits are Omega-3 rich seafood like wild salmon and sardines, antioxidant-rich blueberries, and broccoli. And eating in season is a good way to keep the doctor away.
And, of course, saving on the time and expense of health care is a good thing. This interesting article from Slate digs deeper into what the term “health care cost” really means. With health care costs eating away at the savings accounts of Americans old and young, determining how much is at stake when we get sick is critical. But recent findings showing that about half of Americans die with barely any assets and wealthier people are healthier people should drive you to add some healthy foods to your grocery shopping list.