July Favourites 2014 | Holistic Lifestyle

July Favourites YouTube thumbnail smaller

Hi guys! It’s that time of the month again when I share all of my monthly obsessions. This month it’s mostly food, but there are a couple of books, a beauty item, a blog and a YouTuber. It’s funny how every month I don’t know if I’ll have enough to talk about in my Favourites video, but somehow the list overflows every single time. I love trying new things and learning every single day, so I guess that’s the reason why.

It also seems to be the best way to never get old: just keep moving and evolving! 🙂

sprouted sunflower seeds

I’ve been obsessed with sprouting lately. Since I got off the Paleo diet, I’ve been looking for ways to neutralize the “bad guys” in grains, seeds, beans and lentils. Soaking would do that, but sprouting is even better because it brings your food to a totally different level. It’s like bringing your food back to life. Literally.

Not only everything becomes much more digestible, but also much more nutritious. It’s a total win. All you need is a strainer like the one in the picture above and some planning because you’ll need 1-3 days for sprouting. I can’t believe I never knew about sprouting until a few months ago. Was I living in a cave? 🙂

By the way, it’s sunflower seeds in the picture above. I used them for my wonderful homemade halva with pumpkin seeds and a bit of honey. What a wonderful healthy homemade dessert!

I’ve so far successfully sprouted sunflower seeds, buckwheat, beans and lentils, but you can sprout much more that that. I’ll be back with a complete guide for you in the future if you’re interested (let me know).

I've grown my own rye sourdough starter!

this is what a good sourdough starter looks like

Please welcome our newest pet! 🙂

I’ve managed to grow my own rye sourdough starter, and it’s so much fun! It’s pretty much like having another pet because I have to feed it, give it love, talk to it, and do so much more. Yeah, maybe not that much. Just kidding. But it needs some attention, and it gives me amazing homemade bread.

When I decided to reintroduce some bread, I knew it had to be homemade, and I didn’t want to use commercial yeast. It had to be rye and made in the traditional way like the bread I grew up on in my country.

homemade sourdough rye breadmaking homemade bread is easy

This was my first try. It didn’t look too good and it took me forever, but it tasted delicious. I had some issues shaping it right, so it turned out flat, but that’s OK. We still loved it.

failed homemade sourdough breadnothing like a frittata with homemade sourdough bread

Frittatas or omelettes never tasted as good without bread. I’m so glad to have it back!

I made a third batch yesterday, and let me tell you, it came out amazing! I added a lot of sunflower seeds, and it tastes just like the bread of my childhood. Rye bread is quite heavy, compacted and doesn’t get as puffy as wheat-based bread, but it’s so much healthier. I wouldn’t trade it for any other bread.

Can you guess? A sourdough bread making tutorial is coming soon!

amaranth pseudo-grain

I’ve been loving amaranth. A lot. It’s a pseudo-grain (like millet and quinoa), it’s nutritious and super versatile. You can use it as a quinoa replacement in recipes or you can make an amazing breakfast “porridge”.

a great alternative breakfast idea with amaranth

I usually add some butter, cinnamon, and occasionally some honey. If I’m feeling fancy (like this morning), I also add coconut flakes, coconut milk and some chia seeds. I might even sprinkle some hemp seeds on top. Delicious and nutritious! It boils in 25 mins, and I always soak it overnight.

tahin - raw sesame paste

I was supposed to mention tahini last month, but I forgot. And honestly, it wasn’t really my Favourite yet. I had immense pressure from Luca (yes, that’s my hubby’s name, I don’t think I’ve ever told you) to include it in my June Favourites, but I didn’t cave in. This month, however, it’s become my No. 1 obsession.

A couple of viewers mentioned (thanks a lot!) that tahini is great added to a salad dressing, and so we tried. It was great!

But it didn’t melt my heart until I tried tahini with a bit of honey. As a dessert. You know, sometimes when you finish eating a meal, you still don’t feel complete, something’s missing, but you don’t want to go and eat an unhealthy dessert. In comes tahini and honey!

I’ve since started eating it alone without honey as well, and its natural bitterness is the best tasting thing in the world. It’s totally an acquired taste, I really didn’t like it much before, but it grew on me.

By the way, sesame seeds are very high in calcium and iron, so here’s another reason to indulge!

Brazil nuts - great source of selenium

I’ve been loving Brazil nuts. One day, I was googling to see which foods contain selenium, and I realized that Brazil nuts are the best plant-based source. All you need is 1-2 Brazil nuts per day, and you get all the selenium that your body requires in a day. That’s quite a good deal for those who don’t eat shellfish regularly (like me).

I usually soak them overnight and then dehydrate them in the oven at 75ºC for around 4-5 hours. If you have a dehydrator, it’s even easier. Or use natural sunlight!

pumpkin seed oil is great for skincare

Time for a beauty favourite! Last month, I read an article about oleic and linoleic acids in oils. Apparently, all the oils I’ve used so far have been high in oleic acid (olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, etc), which could potentially clog pores or at least wouldn’t help melt sebum clogs as much as the ones high in linoleic acid.

Dawn explains things perfectly in her article:

“When our skin is deficient in linoleic acid, our skin’s natural sebum becomes thick and sticky which clogs pores and creates acne. Usually oily congested and acne prone skin’s sebum is predominately composed of oleic acid.  We can create the linoleic acid versus oleic acid balance needed by applying oils high in linoleic acid directly to our skin.  When our skin’s natural sebum is predominately composed of lipids high in linoleic acid we have little to no break outs.”

So I went and bought some pumpkin seed oil because I love the smell, I love pumpkin seeds, it’s very affordable, so I thought why not. I love it! I’ve been using it instead of my usual oil cleansing mixture (olive oil and castor oil). It leaves my skin smoother than ever, and definitely helps melt any clogs better that anything else. So that’s definitely food for thought for anyone struggling with acne or clogs in general.

Other popular oils that are high in linoleic acid are sunflower oil, safflower oil and hempseed oil.


 In July, I read a couple of books, and both were great, but one stood out particularly. It’s really one of the best and most life-changing books I’ve ever read. It’s Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.

All I can say is that it’s like a food preparation bible. Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about traditional nourishing methods of cooking, you’ll find it in this book. It’s eye opening, beautiful, and inspiring. It’s one of the main reasons why I quit the Paleo diet (but that’s a topic for a separate blogpost, I think).

This book is fairly famous, so you might have read it already. But if you haven’t, you MUST get hold of it. It has 700 recipes for any kind of taste, anything from lacto-fermented veggies and fruit to sourdough bread or falafels. It’s amazing!

I generally get e-books because I learned my lesson during our last 2 moves across Europe. But I made an exception for this one. After reading the electronic version, I went ahead and treated myself to a paperback version. It’s something that belongs on every family’s kitchen shelf.

I highly highly recommend it for anyone. You can get it from Amazon here.


My next favourite is another food-related book, but quite different from the previous one. It’s The Modern Ayurvedic Cookbook by Amrita Sondhi. If you’re into Ayurveda, you must get it. If you’re into Indian food, you must get it. If you’re into experimenting with your food, you must get it, too. I’ve been very much into Ayurveda again lately, and, as I’m a huge fan of the Indian cuisine, of course I had to get this book. It has a lot of amazing recipes from all over the world (but mostly India) for different Ayurvedic constitutions.

What I love so much about this book is that all the recipes are really simple and don’t need any exotic impossible-to-find ingredients. Most recipes are vegetarian or vegan, but there are suggestions on how you can turn them into omnivore meals, which makes the book truly versatile.

Last week, I had to cook a dinner for 7 people in 90 minutes. I used 5 recipes from the book, and I succeeded. Everything was delicious, and it was super easy. The guests were impressed! I felt a bit like a domestic goddess.

And then Luca said: “You know, I was looking at the table and I was thinking that every single thing on it is homemade by you, even the bread. Wow.” Could one get a better compliment from their husband? I don’t think so. Needless to say I was proud. Very proud! 🙂

If you’d like to get The Modern Ayurvedic Cookbook for yourself, you can get it from Amazon here. I can’t recommend it enough.

complete Ayurvedic lunch with lots of veggies, chapatis and cilantro chutney

This is just a sample of the kind of Ayurvedic meals we’ve been having. I made some chickpea chapatis, cilantro garlic chutney and black bean dip (all three recipes are from the above book). I also sautéed some pimientos padròn (the little green peppers that are quite bitter). I also added some broccoli and pinto beans. A nice variety with a lot of amazing tastes and lots of nutritional value. I’m in love!

By the way, come and find me on Instagram if you’d like to see updates on what I eat, what I do, and any other personal sides of my life that are difficult to showcase on my YouTube channel or here on the blog.


I know that a lot of my subscribers are already watching Sarah from Holistic Habits, but if you aren’t, you simply have to check her channel out. I started watching her when she was just starting out, and now she’s gone such a long way. She totally deserves it.

To tell the truth, Sarah from Holistic Habits and Kassie from Cloudy Apples were two YouTubers that inspired me to start my own YouTube channel a year ago. I always look up to their videos, get inspired, and hope that one day my videos will be as good as theirs.

Anyway, let’s get back to Holistic Habits. Sarah makes delicious recipe videos, DIY beauty, lifestyle related videos, even some fashion lookbooks. She’s cute, beautiful, and is literally like a ray of sunshine. She also has the thickest and most beautiful hair in the world. Just look at the thickness of her braid in her latest video!

Oh my god, I’m totally jealous. In a good way. 🙂

So if you aren’t subscribed to her yet, please visit her channel and get hooked like I’ve been all this time.


I’ve been reading Minimalist Beauty for a while, but it’s slowly become one of my favourite blogs lately. Remember that article about oleic and linoleic acids in oils? It was from this blog. Dawn writes about minimalist DIY skincare and haircare, decluttering your home, minimalist fashion, and a lot of other similar things that I feel are so close to my heart. My life has also been all about simplifying everything around me, so Minimalist Beauty has been a huge inspiration.

These are all the wonderful things I wanted to share with you this time. I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading, and I hope I’ve inspired you to try something new!

Watch a video version here:

What were your obsessions in July? Have you tried/read any of the things I mentioned?

Lots of love,
Vita xx

Disclaimer: this post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. I only recommend things that I absolutely love myself, and they’ve all been bought with my hard-earned cash.



  1. Ok, so I have been looking into Ayurvedic lifestyle some and I took a test which determined I am Pitta and luckily hubby is to, so following this there are certain foods and oils one needs to utilize and avoid. For example, I can use sunflower, coconut and olive oil, but it is recommended I steer away from others. the same is for foods which might aggravate my dosha. In some respects I think this is true. My husband and I unfortunately love spicy food, but we are to stay away from it. My husband if he eats raw onions mixed in anything he gets heartburn, but he can eat them cooked in moderation and nothing happens. He likes brown rice but he isn’t supposed to eat it according to this method it is supposed to be white. I am still researching this, do you know of this type of diet for one’s dosha?

    • Hi Debs, I’d say take the best out of the Ayurvedic suggestions, but don’t follow it to the T. Ayurveda is all about balancing, not about having foods you can’t eat. It’s just about being aware of what throws you out of balance, and if you do eat something spicy let’s say and get excess Pitta, just eat Pitta pacifying foods for a couple of days to balance out. It makes a lot of sense. However, there’s no need to be fanatical about it. By the way, I’m also predominantly Pitta. However, I also have a lot of Kapha and Vatta. xx

Speak Your Mind