May 18, 2017


Eating Dates during Pregnancy

The date fruit is the product of the date palm, a tree native to Northern Africa and the Middle East. There is a wide variety of dates including the better-known Medjool and Deglet Noor. Each variety is unique in size, sweetness, flavor, and texture. Containing at least 15 minerals such as potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc, 23 types of amino acids, vitamins, carbohydrates, protein, 14 types of fatty acids, dietary fiber and a lot more, these sweet little fruits are a nutritional powerhouse
[International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 2003]

A study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology  concludes that eating 6 dates daily during the last four weeks of pregnancy “significantly reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labor, and produced a more favorable, but non-significant, delivery outcome”.  Some significant findings:
·       Cervical dilation was significantly greater in the date-eating mamas upon arrival at the hospital
·       83% of mothers who consumed dates had their membranes intact upon admission at the hospital 
·       96% of the women who ate dates went into labor on their own
·       Use of Pitocin (synthetic Oxytocin) was significantly lower in women who consumed dates (28%), compared with the non-date fruit mothers (47%)
·       The latent phase of the first stage of labor was almost 7 hours shorter in the date-eating mothers compared with the non-date fruit eaters (510 min vs 906 min). Not bad for eating a few dates!


May 03, 2017

Malevolent Female Spirits...or are they????

In the Varaha Puran the demonic female powers emanating from Camunda want food and are given delivering women and newborns.  In the realm of myth and ritual, “food” is not simply what people eat at mealtime: it also signifies ritual offerings made to the gods and the ancestors.  I would locate the significance of “food”—especially infants and parturient women as tasty, sweet-smelling food for the malevolent female powers in the realm of cultic tension between belief systems.  The primacy of, and ritual obligations to a masculine deity, or Vedic practice is in conflict with worship of the feminine—and this conflict would be exaggerated at the time of childbearing.  It is the mythic context, the stories relating sources of power and the gender of divinities that give meaning to ritual performances.  So it is logical that the Sanskritization of the all-powerful, multi-valent goddess involved the elaboration of a female demonic pantheon.
                  In the narrative of Kartikeya, as related in the Mahabharata, the Matrkas are the six sages’ wives who have been unjustly accused of having been Kartikeya’s real mothers and consequently divorced by their husbands for being adulterous.  The Matrkas then persuade Kartikeya to become their adopted son.  He agrees and they also make two more requests.  “The first is to be recognized and worshiped as great goddesses throughout the world.  The second request is to live off the children of men because they themselves have been divorced and therefore cheated of the possibility of having their own children.” (David Kinsley, p 152)