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Health benefits of sesame seeds

Raw sesame seeds are one of my favorites because of few things- well first of all they’re tasty, cheap and usually easy to get. Their nutritional value is really good- they contain lots of protein and minerals like calcium (more than in milk! And you can easily make sesame milk from them at home), manganese, zinc (all necessary for healthy bones) and copper. They are rich in iron and magnesium and contain a lot of B-group vitamins.
You can buy hulled sesame seeds which are white and not raw, if you’re searching for raw version go for creamy/brownish (see images) or black not hulled sesame seeds. Have in mind that hulled sesame seeds don’t last so long as the whole seeds and usually are more bitter.

Sesame seed oil is said to be the best oil in Ayurveda and daily sesame oil self-massage is said to balance Vata. As I’m myself mainly Vata (if you’re new to Ayurvedic dosha system- google “dosha system”, it’s very interesting and knowing your type allows you to care better for your body) I tried this in practice with really positive results- massages with sesame oil balance the dry skin, calm the nervous system and increase the quality of sleep. This practice is especially good during the winter as sesame oil has heating effect. Sesame oil also makes a really good mask for hair- keep it through the night about once a week.

Home made sesame halva

Raw sesame chalva

This is again a really simplistic recipe for a healthy snack that you can always keep in your fridge. My husband loves original halva, which is full of sugar, so I try to have this at home as a healthier alternative :)

You will need:

450 ml (around two cups) raw, unhulled sesame seeds

a pinch of pink Himalayan salt

around 2 Tbsp raw honey (adjust according to your desired sweetness, 2 Tbsp are still not very sweet)

a 1/3 tsp of ground cardamon

1-2 Tbsp cacao/cocoa powder

Making of raw sesame halva by Lina Skukauske Preparation:

Put the sesame seeds in dry high speed blender with no water. If you don’t have a high speed blender you can use a coffee grinder instead- then you will need to make more batches, but it will work as well. Blend/grind the seeds until it blends- after few seconds they tend to release oil and your blender simply gets stuck. Put the blended mass into a big bowl, add the honey, salt and cardamon powder, mix well. Taste and see if you need more sweetness or more salt (you should feel a subtle hint of saltiness). When you’re done with tasting check the consistency- if you take a piece of the mass and press between your fingers it should stick. Take a shallow plastic form and put the mass in it, use your fingers to press it to the bottom of the dish while you achieve about 1-1,5 cm thickness. Dust it with cocoa or raw cacao powder and again press the powder to the top using your fingers, splitting cocoa powder evenly through the whole surface. You’re done :) I usually put the halva to the fridge and eat it after few hours, it cuts easier after some cooling.
Raw sesame halvablog collage by Lina Skukauske

If you have any questions please let me know and if you tried this- leave a comment bellow :)

With love and inspiration,

Lina

P.S. if you found this information helpful- please share it with your friends!

  • Coming from the Middle East, my husband is also a halva fanatic (he’s the one who introduced it to me). I love that you made this healthier by removing the sugar. It’s on my must make list.ReplyCancel

    • Hi Lynn,

      Thank you! Just one suggestion- add more honey if you’re trying to serve this for someone who is traditional halva’s fanatic, I personally don’t like it too sweet, but for “transition” I think it’s better make it sweeter :)ReplyCancel

  • Thanks to you and this post I discovered the Ayurvedic dosha system and I realized how bad I was treating my body over the past few years.
    I found out that my mainly dosha is Vata (as yours), but I was doing exactly the opposite which, of course, resulted with health problems.
    Now, I made a decision to keep my Vata in balance and take better care of my body and soul.
    Thank you once again and may I say, it’s a wonderful idea that you decided to start a blog. It’s wonderful having you here!

    IvanaReplyCancel

    • Hi Ivana,

      I’m so happy to hear that it was helpful to you! There are many interesting things in Ayurveda. Good luck exploring and of course I congratulate you on the so important decision to take better care of your body and soul :)

      LinaReplyCancel

  • Labai gražu bei nuostabi idėja pasigaminti halvą. Nesu taip pat mėgėja per saldžių saldumynų, šį rašausi išbandyti! :) Ačiū!ReplyCancel

  • It is actually a great and useful piece of info.
    I am happy that you simply shared this useful info with
    us. Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.ReplyCancel

walk in the forest
Have you ever tried hugging trees? I have to admit- I did and I love doing that! Even if we put away all the esoteric stuff about exchanging energies with each other there is something so lighthearted and simply positive about spontaneous hug to a tree- it always makes me feel like a child- happy, grateful and so small next to the tall, old tree. If you haven’t done any tree-hugging, well, that’s a pity, but as they say- learn new thing everyday ;) It really makes you relax and not take yourself too seriously and that’s always a good thing.

When I moved to Munich last February I was so excited to see Munich’s “winter”. Of all seasons spring is definitely my favorite one and here there was no winter as we know it in Lithuania (around half a year of cold, dark, grayish “sleeping season”). All locals told me it was not a regular year, but this year it’s the same, it’s just the beginning of January and there are already some fresh grasses, lots of singing birds and some days it’s so warm that it doesn’t feel like winter at all… So whenever I have an opportunity I try to go out and spend some time in nature. To take a walk and get some sunlight (my cats are the best teachers at this), read a book on a bench outdoors, hug some trees or later in spring- to gather some wild edible plants… I find nature to be a great source of inspiration and it can also be incredible healer and teacher if we choose to notice and listen to its subtle lessons. Who else can teach us better about abundance, divine order, living in ever-changing cycles, collaboration and so many other topics?…

Nature also has a tremendous ability to harmonize the body and mind if you choose to spend quality time outdoors. By quality time I mean being present and fully absorbing what’s around you. Sounds, scents, all the little details- soft, green carpet of moss when you walk in the forest or small water droplets that hang on the branches after rain… Having a direct contact with the earth, like walking barefoot or laying on the ground creates even stronger harmonizing effect. If you have something particular that is weighting you down you can always do a simple meditation when you walk barefoot or lay on the ground: breathe slowly and with each out-breath imagine that everything that you want to remove from you goes straight to the ground through your feet (or your back if you’re laying) and with each in-breath new, healing energy comes into your body.  Notice how you feel.

Here are few images from our walk in the nearby forest this weekend (+music for the mood) :walk in the foresttree huggingforest magicwalk in the forestforest magic  And for inspiration I want to share with you few ideas how to spend more time in nature:

1) Go for a walk/jog. Take your dog/child/friend with you, they will be happy ;)

2) Go wild foraging (I’ll make a separate post on that later in spring)

3) Take a good book and go read it outside, on the bench, or take a blanket and some snacks and make a mini picnic for yourself

4) Gather your friends and make a huge picnic- imagine sunny weather, shared laughter and yummy food…

5) Do yoga/meditate outside

6) If you do any kind of creative hobbies like knitting, painting, sewing etc- if it’s possible take them outside. You can do the same things but in much more relaxed way when you’re sitting in a nice place outdoors :)

7) Take your camera and photograph the beauty of current season. Tell stories, share them with your friends. Learn new ways to see the world around you.

8) Feed wild birds :)

9) Go hiking

10) Go camping, with friends or with your loved one

11) Have a garden and work in it

12) Choose a national park or other beautiful nature spot and go explore it. Traveling doesn’t have to be only to far away and expensive places to see new things and enjoy our time

13) Pick wild flowers and make bouquets to decorate your home

14) Try some active outdoors sports- go swimming, diving or gather your friends and go canoeing (by the way, Lithuania is wonderful for this with it’s plenty of beautiful lakes and rivers and really affordable prices, so if you will ever be there definitely try it), try speleology… Challenge yourself by reaching your new limits :)

 

And what about those who work full time, are super busy and think they can’t spend hours relaxing outdoors, even on weekends?

Well, if you make something a priority, you will find a way.

You can:

1) Instead of going to your job with car/public transport go by foot or by bike. If it’s too far away you can always go out of public transport few stops earlier and take a short walk to your office;

2) Use your lunch time to eat outside. For example I remember when we lived in Vilnius old town and my husband was working nearby our home and we used to meet for a short picnic for lunch on a beautiful hill with the view to the old town. It used to be a really nice break in the day :) Don’t have a beautiful hill with the view to old town nearby? It could be something as simple as a bench in a small park.

3) Can you minimize time for TV, internet or other unproductive activities and instead spend at least half an hour outdoors? In the worst case, take your FB with you in your phone and check it outdoors, at least you will get some fresh air ;)

I think that being in nature is one of the quickest, most available and very powerful, yet so underrated ways to heal yourself from stress and negativity. What do you think? Do you spend time outdoors? What is your favorite way to do it? I would love to hear your great ideas in the comments bellow :)

With love and inspiration,

Lina

 

sprouted buckwheat

How to sprout buckwheat

Those who know me and Ignas often joke that we could eat only buckwheat and be happy about it- sprouted and sweet,  sprouted and salty mixed with salads, cooked and salty with roasted vegetables, buckwheat flour pancakes etc. … To be honest- we do love it and eat a lot of it and today I wanna write about raw sprouted buckwheat.

Why buckwheat?

To begin with I want to clarify that buckwheat is not a grain, technically it’s a seed and actually a very versatile and nutritious one. It’s common “grain” to eat in Russia, Eastern European countries, China and some other countries. Buckwheats are high in proteins and are one of a few plant-based sources of all essential amino acids, so it’s a good food to eat if you’re vegan or vegetarian. Because they are actually not related to wheat, buckwheats are also gluten-free. Even cooked buckwheat are considered health food, but what I like even more is raw and sprouted version of them, which is still full of enzymes and even more nutritious. You can buy buckwheat in many health stores, from organic farmers or (depending on your location) in simple supermarkets. At home we buy high quantities (25kg) of raw buckwheat from organic producer in Lithuania because we really eat a lot of it and it’s much much cheaper to buy in bulk.

How to sprout buckwheat?

Actually quite easily :) What you need for that is to buy raw, not roasted buckwheat. Roasted ones are brown to dark brown in color while raw are in cream/greenish color (see image above). Roasted buckwheat are sold already heated and obviously won’t sprout. As with many raw foods you will need some additional waiting time for your food to be ready: take your buckwheat and rinse it, then soak it in cold water for around 3-4 hours. If the temperature is cold (around 20 degrees Celsius or less) it can stay overnight, but buckwheat is not the best food to soak long.  After soaking carefully rinse them again, they tend to created starchy/slippery fluid when soaked, so rinse for few minutes until it’s gone. Then put your buckwheat into a big sieve and a bowl under it for excess water to drip. Actually IKEA has a just perfect kit for that as you see in the image above- both bowl and sieve are from there. This sieve is very strong and that makes it easy to wash it after parts of buckwheat get stuck in the holes- this can get a little annoying with normal sieves, so I was really happy to find this buckwheat-perfect sieve in IKEA :)
Keep your sprouting buckwheat in the sieve and bowl for anything from a day to 4 days (it’s a matter of taste- the longer you sprout them the more they taste as sprouts and not grains), I prefer 1-2 days. Rinse them each evening and morning. If you see that you have too much of them and won’t be able to eat quickly- after rinsing keep them in the fridge, this make the sprouting process much slower.

 

Sprouted buckwheat with Greek youghurt

Sweet sprouted buckwheat

This is common breakfast in our home- ridiculously easy to make before the work, tasty, healthy and very filling. What you will need:

1) Raw sprouted buckwheat, imagine that you use them instead of cereal so add similar amount;

2) Organic Greek yoghurt

3) Soft, if available fresh dates, 3-5, adjust for preferred sweetness

4) Cinnamon powder

5) Cacao powder or cacao nibs (optional)

6) Dried raisins. Check that they would be high quality, they rarely are just raisins, read your labels :) When I first started reading food labels I was shocked… Now when I live in Germany it’s a little bit better than in Lithuania, but still there so many weird additives in seemingly simple food…


If you do more portions at once you can blend the dates with cinnamon into “sauce” with a small amount of water in high-speed blender. Otherwise just cut them in pieces, put the buckwheat, yoghurt in bowl and top it with the dates, raisins and nuts and cacao powder or nibs.

Variation II

1) Raw sprouted buckwheat, imagine that you use them instead of cereal so add similar amount;

2) Organic yoghurt, around 5 big spoons

3) 1-2 bananas, cut in pieces

4) Bee polen, around 1 tsp

5) Cashew/almond/hazel nuts, cut in pieces;

6) Raw honey as sweetener

7) Ignas likes to add bee bread to this (it’s very nutritious product, again having all essential amino acids, but not so easy to get. It’s easy to get in Lithuania, so we usually have it at home)

Again assemble everything as you would do with your morning cereals.

Variation III

1) Raw sprouted buckwheat, imagine that you use them instead of cereal so add similar amount;

2) 1/2-1 cup of fresh strawberries, cut in halves

3) Raw honey as sweetener (use agave or maple syrup if you prefer vegan version)

4) 1 tsp of organic cold pressed coconut oil

5) A dash of ground cinnamon or some vanilla seeds

Simply assemble everything in a bowl. This is very light version suitable for a snack on hot summer day.

I just wrote few of the variations I like, but you can mix it with anything you want, sprouted buckwheat don’t have too strong taste so they are easy to pair with many things. Some time later I’ll write the salty versions as well.

If you tried it or have any questions- leave a comment below :) And if you found this info useful- please share it with your friends :)

Sweet sprouted buckwheat

Sweet sprouted buckwheat

Sweet sprouted buckwheat

 

 

Home made oat milk

Home made oat milk

Somehow when people think about healthy living or vegetarian diet they often think that it is expensive, difficult and time consuming. That even if they would like to, they CAN’T do it. I know it’s not truth (you can do whatever you really want in life) and I want to change that misconception. So I thought that what would be a better way to do it than sharing the recipe (it’s so simple, that I can hardly call it a recipe) that I use almost daily.  My daily dairy-free, plant-based cocoa drink. Besides soaking your seeds/nuts/grains that you will use in the evening before, all it takes is 5 minutes and you end up with a lot of tasty, healthy and affordable plant based milk which you can afterwards season according to your taste. Of course you can buy various plant milks at many health stores, but it’s often more expensive and often they are not so healthy as you would think- as most of the things you buy ready-made they are produced to last really long, so full of ingredients that you would rather not use.

So what can you use to make plant milk yourself?

Some of more common options are:

Oats -I use hulled, raw oats as you see in image (those of you also based in Germany- “Alnatura” oats taste really good) but rolled oats are also a possibility, but you get a different in taste and nutritional value (most of the rolled oats are not raw) drink. Not hulled raw oats are too bitter;

Sesame seeds (better to use raw, not hulled seeds- they are richer in taste, a bit darker in color than white hulled seeds and more nutritious )

Hazelnuts;

Almonds;

And in Lithuania we usually make poppy seed milk at Christmas Eve, I love that, too :)

It’s possible to use some other nuts and seeds as well, but these are my favorites.

I’m not the biggest fan of soy milk- yes, it’s tasty, vegan, you can buy it everywhere, but the more I read about soy the more negative aspects I find in it- links to infertility and hormone issues, most of soy is GMO… When there are so many other options for plant based milk that are definitely good for me I try to minimize the use of soy.

For spices:

And then you can season the milk to your preferences- my favorite option is a teaspoon or less of raw honey and some cocoa powder (you can also use raw cacao powder if you want). In the image above I made oat milk with chai spices- this was also vegan as I used dates instead of honey (agave or maple syrup is also an option). So in this case you will need few dates as a sweetener and a big pinch (see image) cinnamon, cardamon and fennel in powdered form. If you like anise, you can add that one as well, I lived in Denmark for few years and they like it there A LOT and I’m not the biggest fan of it so I usually avoid it :) Adding sweetener and vanilla seeds is a good option, too.

Preparation:

Choose what you will make your plant milk from. Add around a half of cup of those seeds/grains/nuts in a bowl with water to cover them, soak for around 4 hours or overnight. Rinse them and put in high speed blender. Add 3-4 cups of water, your spices and sweetener of choice and blend for around 40 seconds. If you like me don’t like cold drinks during the cold season, then blend it longer until your drink gets warm. Don’t overdo it if your goal is to have it raw and to keep all nutrients. Then you need to sift it through a sieve or what I find even better- through a cheese cloth in order to keep only the liquid. And that’s basically it, you wash your blender and sieve/cheese cloth and in 5 minutes you have your tasty home-made plant milk which you can drink as it is or use in cooking :)

Flowers in the mountains by Lina Skukauskė

I believe that life is full of beauty and I would even dare to say, magic. It’s all hidden and interwoven in seemingly simple everyday life- the serendipities we experience, the creative ideas that hits in most unexpected moment, in the cycles and laws of nature and our life, in life-changing connections we make with people who we hadn’t known yesterday… I made one those connections few years ago with a person who now is my husband.  This wonderful “accident” that we met in one vegan event (although we weren’t vegans and we’re not vegans now) in cold autumn day allowed me to finally have somebody in my life that’s similarly (and complimentary) crazy and curious and driven to experiment with life. Some days I feel as we’re two (quite big) children exploring areas that interest us, playing and discovering new things and then changing our lives according to our findings.

I was always an optimistic person, but at some point in my life I made one of those experiments- a conscious decision to really focus on the positive side of things and see how that will change my life. Yes I know and fully understand that life is not always just happiness and lightness, but I also know that for you personally your life is what you focus on. And when we focus on something, we create more of that. So I made this decision to intentionally filter to what I give my precious time and energy in this lifetime (do I really need to watch that horror movie? Do I need to spend time with that constantly complaining person? Will I feel better and inspired to create after watching the news?) and also filter what I share with others and think how this affects them. And though I am aware of many problems in our world (economical, political, environmental etc.) I believe that the better way is to change people’s focus– from hating the old and feeling small and miserable to focusing on passionately building the new, on creating what they believe in and what will be a better alternative.  As I love to write and tell inspiring stories with my images I decided to start this personal blog for those same reasons- to do my part in changing people’s focus. Sharing beauty, inspiration and positive ideas.

The topics I will write about here will probably be as various as are my interests:

Vegetarian/raw foods and in general healthy living;

Creativity;

Building business based on your unique passions and talents;

Love, relationships and expressing femininity;

Spirituality;

Personal development;

The magic of everyday life- anything from new ideas and insights to travel stories and morning walks in the forest and mountains (I find nature to be one of the most fascinating things in life)

We share our home with two cornish rex cats and they might also show up in this blog quite a lot, so I included their image as well for a proper introduction :))

So welcome, and let’s connect and change the world into a more positive and happy place to live :)

Mountain storieschia seeds puddingUs in Italymy cornish rex catsButterfly on my finger