Sesame is the Matt Damon of seeds – quiet, shy and underappreciated
yet unquestionably tasty.
In Hinduism, the sesame seed stands for immortality. Eyebrows
sufficiently raised? Wait until you taste the halva recipe below.
Notions of everlasting life might come from the sesame’s stash of
lignans. These are a group of plant-based chemical compounds
associated with fighting cancer. Or perhaps such fancy can be
attributed to its bank of B vitamins? This is the vitamin responsible
for recharging batteries, massaging frayed nerves and mending
marriages. Not bad for half a cent per gram, and notably less than a
There’s a nice whack of omega oils to keep madam’s skin feverishly
soft, and zinc to boost libido. Take a bow Mother Nature!
Sesame also contains a fair dose of plant-based protein, without the
side serving of cholesterol. In fact, studies from Yale suggest that
sesame seeds could help reduce the risk of arteriosclerotic lesions
(that’s Doctor speak for sticky arteries) and high blood pressure.
If you’re worried about acquiring dodgy hips later in life, brittle
bones or treacherous dance moves, then jack-up your calcium foods.
These include tinned salmon and sarnies, chickpeas, broccoli, figs,
sesame seeds, tahini, almonds, hazelnuts and green leafy veg.
We know that good bone health is intimately linked to what we eat. Dr
Marilyn Glenville, specialist in women’s health, is dubious about
dairy’s monopoly on ‘calcium’ in our diet. Why, Glenville asks, is our
rate of osteoporosis much higher than Japan’s rate? (where they don’t
even eat dairy?) A good question, worthy of further head-scratching.
Glenville is not alone. New York Times best-selling author, Dr Joel
Fuhrman, doesn’t rate dairy at all. Fuhrman’s medical research and
experience as a GP has entirely reversed his thinking about dairy.
So lets explore alternative sources of calcium, without having to
mourn our cheese board. Lucky for us, this sesame halva is a great place to
3 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
up to 1/2 cup maple syrup or raw local honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon sea salt flakes
300-340g jar of light tahini (this is just 100% sesame butter)
About 10 roasted almonds / hazelnuts
4 dried figs, diced**
On a very gentle heat, slowly melt the coconut oil. Remove from heat, and stir in maple, vanilla and salt.
With a fork, beat through the tahini, nuts and figs. Smash a few roasted hazelnuts to tickle the top.
Scoop the halva mix into a small rectangular container lined with cling film. Freeze for 5 hours, remove cling, wrap in parchment, and store it there until the munchies come calling.
Expect the block to give 32 portions. And euphoria.
** just swap out the figs for whatever you fancy, like pomegranate and pistachio, coffee beans and raw caca nibs, vanilla and popped quinoa for kids. Make it your own!
Taking the hell out of healthy.
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