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Burnout or being overtired is usually a consequence of a long term busyness, overwork, stress or trauma.

First, we run until our batteries are empty. Then, we still run on air on our drive. Next, we run because we are in motion and have got used to it. And then, we run because we have forgotten how to stop.

Finally, we run until there is not only no fuel, but also no inner resources left. What follows then is an experience of collapse. A small one or a big one.

We have run ourselves out.

We may have become indifferent. To ourselves, family or  life.  

We may have encountered a loss. Of a friend, job or house.

We may have developed a physical problem or a serious illness. We may have become obese, got a herniated disc, developed indigestion or migraines or experienced shooting pains in the body. 

We may have become depressed.

And so on.

Exhaustion is the result of pushing the pendulum on one side only. It cannot go forever, though.

There is no quick solution to burnout but teaching yourself how to live in balance. Balance is the key to an optimal well-being.

Food

A substantial part of energy comes from food so eating the right way is essential. What is right, however, is not so obvious.

Many experts want us to believe that their diet is the only solution to optimal health. Multiple testimonials seem to provide the necessary proof of principle. The challenge is that many of the proposals have good arguments in favor, yet they cannot all be true.  One pair of contradictory approaches is the raw food diet vs cooked food diet.

The advocates of the first approach recommend to eat all food in their raw form (uncooked), mainly vegetables, fruits and nuts. Some eat only fruits and nuts. Others include raw eggs, milk and raw meat. The main arguments evolve around eating nutrition-dense, alive and plant-based food.

The advocates of the other approach, e.g. the Chinese cuisine, encourage to eat cooked meals, oftentimes balancing their tastes and energies well. The main arguments evolve around warming up and toning the body.

I experimented with both approaches and found that the extremes were not my solution. While eating plenty raw food is essential, similarly is eating nutritious well cooked dishes such as soups (e.g. traditional Polish soups). 

I have found an optimal balance for myself between the raw and cooked food. The proportions are not fixed but change in relation to the season, country of living, and locally available food.

There are many possibilities to prepare nutritious meals yourself in 10-30min given that you educate yourself how to do it. It is much better to make a simple salad than to eat burgers, chips or ready-to-go meals from supermarkets or fast foods.

Sesame seeds

We need nutrients and minerals but the ones which are organic and natural. Both herbs and seeds are powerful nutrition plants. They can greatly influence health, while being easily added to meals. No hassle, really.

Sesame seeds and, especially, black sesame seeds are my all time favorite for regeneration. Black sesame seeds are also more aromatic than their white counterparts. They have rich, nutty, somewhat sweet flavor. Very deep.

Sesame seeds are full of nutrients and minerals, but black sesame seeds contain much, much more. They may be used to help you recover from serious illnesses and alinements or treat constipation.

The benefits of black sesame seeds are briefly summarized below.  Check the nutritional data here and see also an example biochemical analysis of the hulled sesame seeds there.

  1. Black sesame seeds contain a substantial amount of calcium, more than most other food (per unit weight), easily digestible (after soaking, of course). If you lack calcium or suffer from sweet cravings (which indicate the lack of calcium), sesame seeds is your answer. Not milk or cheese, but black sesame. 
  2. They contain high amounts of copper, manganese, phosphorous, iron and magnesium.
  3. Black sesame seeds contain vitamins B1 and E.
  4. The seeds are protein dense, hence invaluable for all types of protein shakes.
  5. They are high in amino acids, which are building blocks of proteins and play important roles in the metabolism.
  6. The seeds have lignans, including a unique content of sesamin, which are phytoestrogens with antioxidant,  anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Antioxidants are anti-aging and are well-known for combating free radicals in our bodies. In addition, Sesamin also reduces cholesterol. Read more here.

Black sesame seeds act powerfully on many organs in the body. They strengthen the liver and kidneys, as well as heart, spleen and lungs. They act as a general tonic in the body, balancing the endocrine system. This is of course a great feature for those who over-play with their hormonal balance (too much work, too little sleep, too many projects, too much stress, etc).

Black sesame seeds are also very beneficial in all conditions where constipation occurs and deficient body fluids exist. They simply increase the body fluids and help bowel movements, so much needed in case of prolonged stress or exhaustion.

As a bonus, black sesame seeds can regrow your hair from gray to black. I have not checked it yet but I will sure do when the time comes. Or, perhaps, I will not get them as I consume the seeds regularly. 

PRECAUTION:

Avoid sesame seeds in case of diarrhea or watery stools.
Avoid black sesame seeds when you have too much iron. You can still eat white sesame seeds.

Buy sesame seeds

Whole, dried black sesame seeds are available at whole food shops, herbal shops and Asian markets. They can also be bought on EbayAmazon and other online shops.

Prepare sesame seeds 

Sesame seeds contain a high amount of the anti-nutrient phytic acid. Therefore, as any seed, it is necessary for them to be soaked or pan roasted before eating. The best way is to soak them overnight (they need 8h) and lightly pan roast before grinding. Additional grinding makes them more digestible.

Soaking

  • Measure 1 cup of sesame seeds. Rinse it. 
  • Put the sesame seeds into a bowl. Add 2 cups of water.
  • Cover your bowl with a cotton towel or other breathable fabric. Let it stand in room temperature for 4h.
  • Drain the water out of your sesame seeds. Rinse them.
  • Return the seeds to the bowl and add 2 cups of water. Cover the bowl.  Soak it in the room temperature for the next 4h.
  • Drain the water out of your sesame seeds. They are ready to eat.

You can simplify the above procedure by soaking the seeds 8h straight without additional rinsing.

Roasting

Stir-fry the sesames seeds in a dry pan over low heat for approximately 5 minutes or until the heat releases their fragrance. Avoid burning the seeds. You can also roast them in butter or ghee.

How to eat sesame seeds?

You can use sesame seeds in versatile ways. The easiest way is to make a smoothie with them or sprinkle your salads. You can add them to:

  • smoothies 
  • protein drinks or shakes
  • salads
  • sushi or fish 
  • white beans or lightly cooked or raw vegetables
  • rice, millet or buckwheat (it’s a great combination!)
  • poultry
  • desserts

They taste great an they add lots of flavor. This works especially well with food which is somewhat plain in taste such as rice, beans, some fish (e.g. cod). For myself, I can add them to nearly any meal, even buttered onions or sausages. I simply love them!

My sesamy delicious drink:

  • 1 table spoon of black sesame seed (soaked overnight and roasted)
  • some cinnamon
  • 0.5-1 cup of milk (goat is preferred, but any milk will do)

Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend it well. Note that you need a powerful blender to make it a smooth drink. Any blender will suffice, however, if either you are willing to cope with parts of seeds in your drink, or you strain it.

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It is high time to make an effort in the direction of conscious eating. Don’t leave it to chance.

Choose.

You can start simple with black sesame seeds. You will love them.

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Photo courtesy Rick available under Creative Commons on Flickr.

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