Saturday, January 7, 2012

Thomasin's Test Kitchen: Laborade Edition

While I was laboring with Ilse (I know, I know. I haven't posted the birth story yet. I'm working on it. Promise), my doula made sure I stayed hydrated and energized by giving me sips of various drinks including lots of water, an almond butter-berry smoothie, and--perhaps most refreshing of all-- laborade. I was planning on posting this review of laborade recipes, oh, five months ago. But you know time... So, here we go, five months later than planned but hopefully still interesting.

The idea behind laborade is that it provides quick calories to provide the laboring woman an energy boost (fruit juice and sweetener), prevents dehydration (liquid and salt), calms your stomach (baking soda), and helps muscles relax (calcium & magnesium). Keeping the drink slightly sour can be helpful to increase saliva production and avoid a dry mouth.

I'd planned on testing several different laborade variations before I had the baby and then making a batch of my favorite while I was in early labor. But because I am a terrible procrastinator, I didn't test any recipes beforehand. And then labor started and I was more focused on laboring itself than I was on making beverages.

Thankfully, when my in-laws came to pick up my firstborn, my mother-in-law kindly made a batch of this first recipe. The lemon and honey mixture reminded me the hot water/lemon/honey mixtures my parents had us children drink if we were ill when we were young. Turned out to be very soothing to me, having that familiar taste during the hard work of having a baby. Comforting.

     Lemony Laborade from

  • 1 quart water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1-2 calcium tablets, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
          Blend/mix well. Chill

I then made this second recipe about a week after Ilse was born and found I liked it even more than the first, which surprises me since I'm not an apple juice person (Hot cider = happy Yes, please! Cold apple juice = indifferent Thanks, no). But using the apple juice as a laborade base was delicious.

     Apple Juice Laborade  from
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups apple juice
  • 2 crushed calcium tablets
  • 1-2 fresh-squeezed lemons
  • salt to taste
  • honey to taste
          Blend/mix well. Chill

Of course, the internet is full of other laborade recipes I still mean to try.  This one sounds particularly interesting because of the molasses (I love molasses):

     Molasses and Lemon (or Vinegar) Laborade
  • 1 qt pure water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (could substitute apple cider vinegar)
  • 2 Tbsp raw honey
          Blend/mix well. Chill

Kimarie of The Cardomom's Pod makes gallon-size batches of laborade for her children (kind of a homemade Gatorade). Her recipe uses lime juice for taste:

      Lemon-Lime Laborade
  • 1 cup lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
  • 2 Tbs lime juice (can omit, but is the key to great taste)
  • 2/3 - 1 cup sugar (or 1/3 to 1/2 cup honey)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • water to make 1 gallon
          Blend/mix well. Chill

And these last two sound interesting because they use different fruit juices than most laborade recipes. The first uses pineapple, orange, and apricot (yum!) and the second is Bloody Mary -ish with its tomato juice/tamari mix. I could see either one sustaining a laboring mom.

     Apricot/Pineapple/Orange Laborade  from
  •  1/2 cup apricot nector
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 1/4 tsp sea salt
          Blend/mix well. Chill

     Tomato Juice Laborade  from
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 dashes tamari
  • juice of 1/2 lime
          Blend/mix well. Chill

Perhaps you've tried a laborade variation yourself? Care to share the recipe and your review? I'd love to hear it!


goyisherebbe July 18, 2013 at 8:09 AM  

I have just heard about Laborade as a drink to prepare for a fast as well. Anyone who has used it for that is invited to tell me about it.

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