Category Archives: Nutrition

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.

New Beginnings

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” -Mark Twain

I’ve been thinking so much about New Year’s Resolutions…me and the rest of the world, including my 5 year old son. “Hey mom- for that new year thing where I try to do something better, I’m going to do more construction so I can practice because I’m going to be a construction worker when I grow up.”

Sandra Bullock’s New Year’s Resolution is to make better lunches for her three year old son. As un-relatable as the rest of her life might be, most parents can relate to that.

While living in Italy I briefly followed the zone diet to-a-T. I still remember counting out 7 peanuts for a snack on the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica. I will say I had no cravings- some friends were dipping cookies in Nutella and it didn’t remotely appeal to me. But then I wisened up to my surroundings and realized my mind, body and spirit would be much happier if I drank cappuccinos and ate gelato on a regular basis. When in Rome!

But I digress…something valuable stuck with me from reading The Zone- “you’re only as good as your next meal.” In other words, don’t stress over what you’ve just eaten, or how bad your kids snack was this afternoon. You always get another chance. At your next meal or snack, you have the opportunity to make healthful decisions for yourself and your family.

Since we feel we have a fresh start with the new year, ’tis the season to make changes. However the beauty of our lives is that we have fresh starts more than once a year. We receive them with each new month, each new week, each new morning.

“Stars when you shine
You know how I feel
Scent of the pine
You know how I feel

it's a new dawn it's a new day and i'm feeling good

It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life

and I’m Feeling Good.”

Food Focus: Sea Vegetables

In traditional Chinese healing, sea vegetables correspond to the winter season and to the kidneys, adrenal glands, bladder and reproductive organs.

The strengthening, balancing and cleansing properties of sea vegetables are known to help these organs as well as the hair, skin and nails.

Sea vegetables (or seaweeds) provide a large array minerals and vitamins, including calcium, iron and iodine, and can help balance hormone and thyroid levels in the body.

Eating too many processed foods or foods grown in mineral-depleted soil can result in a lack of minerals in the body, leading to cravings for salty or sugary foods. Adding sea vegetables to your food repertoire can help balance your energy levels and alleviate cravings.

My kids love to snack on seaweed out of convenient packets- especially Dulse (has a bit of a jerky texture) and Nori

I also like to add a strip of Kombu to soups to impart extra minerals, and adding a strip while cooking dried beans will make the beans softer and easier to digest (ahem, less gas!)

Citrus Time!

We recently harvested the tangerines we have been watching grow since February. In fact, growing our own tangerines has given me so much more appreciation for all citrus fruits. It takes FOREVER for the fruit to grow and ripen. It’s particularly hard for the little hands in my family not to pick these fruit before they are ready, and it has become a lesson in patience.

post image for citrus time

November through April is the best time to enjoy citrus fruits- colder months are when they are naturally in season.

Before a time when all fruits were available at all times in all seasons at the grocery store, citrus fruits were only available during the winter and they were considered a special treat. My dad remembers how exciting it was to find an orange in his stocking on Christmas morning.

citrus time

One tangerine has 87% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful immune system booster, helps prevent colds, and may prevent recurrent ear infections.

No wonder they are in season during the winter!