Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Raw Chocolate Chia Energy Balls: A Recipe for Women in Labor to Boost Oxytocin Levels



Raw Chocolate Chia Energy Balls
Makes about 12 servings
    * 1 1/2 cups pitted dates
    * 1/3 cup raw unsweetened cocoa powder
    * 1/3 cup whole chia seeds
    * 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
    * 1 cup raw almonds
    * Coconut flour or flakes for coating, optional

1. Place dates in bowl of food processor; purée until thick paste forms. Add cocoa powder, chia seeds, and vanilla and almond extracts, if using. Pulse until all ingredients are combined. Add almonds; pulse until nuts are finely chopped and well distributed through date mixture.

2. Spread a large sheet of wax paper on work surface, and dust with coconut flour or flakes, if using.

3. Pinch off small pieces of the date/nut "dough" and roll them into balls.  Serve as is or roll them in coconut flour or flakes to coat and prevent sticking. 

4.  Chill to solidify and store in the refrigerator until serving.

The Benefits of Raw Consuming Chocolate in Labor:
A steady flow of the important hormone, oxytocin, is critical for having a healthy labor that progresses at a normal rate.   Most women are familiar with the role of oxytocin in labor and are already aware that massage, aromatherapy and other comfort measures increase oxytocin levels.  But did you know that there is also a food that naturally increases oxytocin levels?  That food is raw (meaning unroasted) CHOCOLATE!

Raw chocolate enhances serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin hormones.  It also contains significant quantities of tryptophan, a powerful mood-enhancing nutrient.  Aside from its oxytocin and mood-enhancing properties, raw chocoloate has a uniquely high mineral content that benefits laboring women.  Raw chocolate happens to be the richest food source of magnesium:  Magnesium improves the flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrients throuughout the body, increasing energy levels.  It also has a general relaxant effect on all muscles in the body, which is generally considered to be beneficial during labor.

The Magic of Chia Seeds:

The chia is a flowering plant with botanical name, Salvia hispanica.  In the pre-Columbian times, chia plant was cultivated by the Aztecs of this region.  The Aztecs called it, "the running seed" because it was traditionally eaten to prepare people for running long distances.   The "running seeds'" or chia seeds' unique properties have now been well-studied and confirmed by modern nutritional science.  In fact, currently, chia seeds are being used by athletes to improve their stamina, endurance, and energy levels.  They are also known to sharpen focus, reduce inflammation, and increase nerve and muscle reactions.  The seed acts like a sponge when added to water and soak up 7 to 9 times their weight, allowing those who consume them to remain hydrated for longer periods of time.  As labor and childbirth require endurance, high energy, and hydration levels comparable to that of an athletic event, the properties of chia seed translate into a perfect labor food as well!

Raw chocolate and chia seeds eaten in combination create a powerful, mood and energy-elevating food that couldn't be more ideal for the physically and emotionally demanding process of childbirth.  The following recipe is delicious and contains both.



Resources:

Superfoods:  The Food and Medicine of the Future, David     Wolfe
The Magic of Chia:  The Revival of an Ancient Wonderfood, James F. Sheer
The Vegetarian Times, www.vegetariantimes.com

 

3 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for this great recipe. I made some today and my Vitamix struggled with this and got over heated. Next time I will grind up the almonds separately and then just add them to the mixture. I ended up adding almond milk because my blender just wouldn't mix it as it was too thick and heavy. I cant want to eat these during my birth at home. :)

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    1. You're very welcome, and best wishes for your upcoming home birth! I wish you a magical experience. I can tell you that used these during my daughter's birth in June in the first stage of labor and found they were the perfect thing. During active labor, I found that celery-apple-kale-lemon juice helped tremendously for energy/hydration when solid foods were no longer appropriate. Again, all the best to you as you prepare.

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  2. This recipe is VERY good! I had to add agave nectar to bind my mix together better, the dates weren't enough and I have a small food processor so I couldn't fit everything in at once.

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