Category Archives: Prenatal

Dates For a Faster Labor

Looking for ways to have a quicker labor? Try eating dates! I recently found this study showing that eating 6 dates per day in the last 4 weeks of pregnancy has a significant impact on a woman in labor.

In the trial, women who ate 6 dates per day were compared to women who ate none. The women who ate the dates:

  • Were more dilated upon admission to the hospital than those who had none
  • Were more likely to have intact membranes (meaning their water had not broken) upon hospital admission. (This is significant if you know what it’s like to labor before your water has broken compared to after. That cushion makes a difference!)
  • Went into labor spontaneously (date consumers-96% versus non date consumers- 79%)
  • Had a lower need for Pitocin use

If all of the above is not enough to convince you to try eating 6 dates a day in the last 4 weeks of pregnancy, the women who did not eat dates labored for 6 and a half hours LONGER than those who ate the dates. That sold me.

Dates are high in fiber, iron, potassium, b vitamins- especially b6 which helps with pregnancy related nausea, vitamin K, calcium, manganese, copper, and magnesium.

Here is an easy way to get your 6 dates per day!

faster labor recipe

Banana Date Smoothie


  • 6 pitted raw dates
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 cups organic milk or alternative milk
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds or cashews
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 3 or 4 ice cubes
  • optional- 1/2 to 1 tablespoon chia seeds (for those brain building omega 3s!)

Combine all ingredients in a powerful blender and blend until smooth.

Pour in a tall glass and enjoy!



How To Increase Iron Absorption

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Your body needs iron for many reasons-
•It’s essential for making the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to other cells
•It’s an important component of collagen (which helps our skin stay soft and supple) and many enzymes
•It helps you maintain a healthy immune system

And during pregnancy, you need a lot more iron because-
•During pregnancy you have almost 50 percent more blood than usual, so you need more iron to make more blood
•You need extra iron for your growing baby and placenta
•Iron-deficiency anemia during pregnancy is associated with preterm delivery and low birth weight.

There are multiple ways to alter foods to meet iron intake, or get more iron in your diet.

Here are two really great ways.

One of the best ways to increase iron intake is by cooking and baking in cast iron pans. When you cook food in cast iron pans, the food absorbs iron from the pan.

Another good tip is to consume foods high in vitamin C such as oranges, bell peppers and strawberries at the same time that you consume foods high in iron such as dried apricots, egg yolks and lentils.

The vitamin C helps your body absorb the iron.

Ch-Ch-Ch Chia!

Remember the fabulous informercial from the 90s (or was it 80s?) for the Chia Pet? I’m here to put that jingle back into your head.

Next time you’re at your natural food store, pick up a package of chia seeds. They are jam packed with anti-oxidants, omega 3s, and fiber, and lots of other vitamins and minerals. These nutritional powerhouses are just as beneficial as flax seeds if not better, because they don’t need to be ground to be digested.

Sprinkle some on your morning cereal, in yogurt, smoothies, on salads, or just eat them by the spoonfuls!

FYI: I had no idea, but you can still buy Chia Pets! I think I’m going to get one for my toddler- It’s so fun to watch him plant seeds, water them, wait patiently, and see the grass grow. I’m pretty sure he needs the Chia Dinosaur:

Strawberry Spinach Salad

With the bounty from our adventure yesterday, we were in need of some ideas on how to use our red ripe strawberries.  (Will I ever be able to think again without lines from children’s books popping into my head?  Considering the amount my son asks me to read to him, probably not.)

But I digress…

Since it’s spring, and I couldn’t find any recipes I liked for a spinach salad using strawberries, I decided to create my own.

Strawberry Spinach Salad


  • about 5 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 1 to 2 cups strawberries, sliced
  • 1 cucumber, sliced and quartered
  • 1 tomato chopped
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed really well
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 cup alfalfa sprouts
  • 1 tbsp fresh chives chopped
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds

for the dressing:

  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • hard cheese for grating on top- I used a raw gouda


Combine all of the ingredients for the salad in a huge salad bowl, and toss well.

To make the dressing,  stir the balsamic vinegar and honey together in a bowl.  Slowly add the olive oil into the mixture while whisking continuously. Season with salt and pepper.  Drizzle the dressing over the salad just before serving, then grate the desired amount of cheese on top.

fresh spring salad

It was delicious!

I didn’t want my son to be overwhelmed with the salad, so I assembled the beans, avocado, cucumber, strawberries, almonds and alfalfa sprouts on a plate for him before I made the salad, and he ate every last bit of it!


While feasting on sauerkraut today during lunch, my 2 year old exclaimed, “I love sowlerkowt!!!”  I told him- “I’m so glad you do.  Mommy ate tons and tons of sauerkraut when you were in Mommy’s tummy.”  He replied, “Oh, yeah, I remember.”  I said, “You do?  What was it like in Mommy’s tummy?”  He thought for a few seconds, then said, “It was dark.”  I said, “yes, I’m sure it was- what else was it like?”  He said, “FLOWERS!”

Aaah  the joys of hearing my son speak are endless.  Everything that comes out of his mouth these days is entertaining in some way.  Especially when I told him not to look at the sun and he said, “It’s not the sun Mommy, ACTUALLY it’s an egg yolk.” And yesterday when he told me, “It’s really IMPORTANT for me to cross the street without holding your hand.”

Oh, right.  What was I thinking?

But back to the kraut.  Fermented vegetables of any kind are really important during pregnancy and breastfeeding, since they contain enzymes and probiotics that help digest food and eliminate wastes.  This is a huge plus when the hormones of pregnancy slow down digestion.

They also help build up friendly bacteria in the intestines.   During the first trimester the vegetables also help alleviate morning sickness.  That must be why many pregnant women stereotypically crave pickles, and I ate sauerkraut straight out of the jar during my last pregnancy.

Cultured and fermented foods include unpasteurized miso, naturally fermented vegetable pickles and sauerkraut and yogurt.

Another intriguing fact is that studies show that sauerkraut and other cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, etc., when eaten by women during pregnancy can prevent the babies from developing certain types of childhood cancer, and from lung cancer later in life.

This time around, I’m making my own sauerkraut with the copious amounts of cabbage I’m receiving in my weekly CSA share.

Here is a great and very easy sauerkraut recipe from Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats.

Homemade Sauerkraut

A one-cup serving of sauerkraut has:

  • 4 grams of fiber
  • 35% DV vitamin C
  • 102% DV vitamin K
  • 12% DV Iron
  • Plus vitamin B6, folate, calcium, potassium, and copper

Enjoy! Don’t forget to feed it to your kids too- they might also love sowlerkowt!