In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), with postpartum preparation and recovery, it is highly encouraged for pregnant women to begin consuming dates or date tea in the several weeks leading up to labor and birth, and in the weeks following baby’s birth. The idea behind this is that dates have some enzyme in them that is supposed to help the uterus and make for an easier, smoother and less painful labor, not to mention an easier recovery. This has become generally widespread that now, even western cultures are embracing this, particularly in the midwifery and doula communities.
While I did purchase some traditional Chinese herbs and different types of dried dates for postpartum healing teas to make, I also purchased some medjool dates from Trader Joe’s the other day to make midday smoothies sweetened with dates and banana. The combination that seems to be quite the winner, which tasted like dessert at first sip, was this:
1 C nut milk (I used the Trader Joe’s macadamia nut/almond/cashew milk combo)
2 medjool dates, chopped and soaked
1 sliced frozen ripe banana
1 Tbsp unsweetened cacao or cocoa powder
1 Tbsp almond butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 ice cubes
1 tsp chia seeds
I blended it twice since dates sometimes resist being blended. And when I took the first sip, I nearly gasped at how good it was. It doesn’t taste like a “healthy” smoothie. Instead, it tastes like an indulgent, guilty pleasure smoothie that you have behind closed doors. I can’t believe this was my first time really using dates in smoothies. It seems to be a very common way for the health-conscious to add sweetness to desserts without actually adding refined sugar. If all TCM was like this, then pretty much every postpartum mama would embrace Chinese medicine.