Vitality Health & Fitness https://www.vitalityhealth-fitness.co.uk Vitality Health & Fitness give you a unique fitness experience Sun, 06 Sep 2020 19:22:28 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.3 HOW TO MAKE MILK KEFIR https://www.vitalityhealth-fitness.co.uk/2019/11/20/how-to-make-milk-kefir/ https://www.vitalityhealth-fitness.co.uk/2019/11/20/how-to-make-milk-kefir/#respond Wed, 20 Nov 2019 11:47:34 +0000 https://www.vitalityhealth-fitness.co.uk/?p=4957

HOW TO MAKE MILK KEFIR

Utensils you will need – most of which can be found in a Milk Kefir Starter Kit;

• A glass jar

• A non-metal stirring utensil

• A breathable cover for the jar such as paper towel

• A band to secure the cover to the jar like a rubber band

• A fine mesh plastic sieve for straining the kefir grains from the finished kefir

Ingredients for Making Milk Kefir:

• 1-2 teaspoons active milk kefir grains

• Cow or goat milk

INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING MILK KEFIR

1 Transfer the active kefir grains into a glass jar and add 2- 4 cups of fresh milk.

2 Cover with a paper towel secured by a rubber band.

3 Place in a warm spot, 68°-85°F, to culture.

4 Culture until milk is slightly thickened and aroma is pleasant. This generally takes 24 hours, but can take less time in warmer temperatures, so keep an eye on your grains.

5 After the milk changes texture and culturing is complete,separate the kefir gains from the finished kefir by straining with a plastic sieve.

6 Wash the grains with fresh water

7 Place the kefir grains in a clean glass jar with a new batch of milk.

8 Store the finished kefir in the refrigerator or use immediately.

Resting Your Milk Kefir Grains

If you ever reach a point where you need to take a break from making milk kefir, simply put the glass jar with the grains and milk into the refrigerator, cover and leave until you are ready to use them again.

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GUT HEALTH AND HORMONES https://www.vitalityhealth-fitness.co.uk/2019/11/08/our-hormones-help-dictate-everything/ https://www.vitalityhealth-fitness.co.uk/2019/11/08/our-hormones-help-dictate-everything/#respond Fri, 08 Nov 2019 14:18:24 +0000 http://www.vitalityhealth-fitness.co.uk/?p=4505

Men, women, children, and teenagers, we all have hormones and lots of them.  Although frequently associated with the reproductive system, hormones are chemical messengers that control major functions all over our body. Created in the endocrine glands (like the pancreas, thyroid, ovaries, and testes), our hormones help dictate everything from our hunger and sleep to our blood sugar and mood.

When in balance, our hormones can keep us feeling our best, ready to tackle each and every day with vitality. But, even small imbalances in this delicate system can cause our entire body to go haywire, leaving us feeling depleted and out of sorts.

There is a lot of information around about gut health and the immune system and how important it is to keep the right balance of good and bad bacteria.  This is true but the good news is that new research indicates that taking care of your gut health can be the key to maintaining hormonal balance throughout your body.

What’s the Gut Got to Do with It?

Your gut is home to trillions of bacteria, most of whom are working very hard on your behalf to support your health on many different fronts. When taking into account the number of cells in our body, we are only 10% human! The other 90% is called our micro-biome and is made up of all the microbes living in and on our body.

The beneficial bacteria in our micro-biome called probiotics work with our own bodily systems to help maintain our blood sugar levels already within a normal range, support our immune system and moods, and even help to keep our metabolism healthy. With a hand in so many of our body’s functions, it’s no wonder that our beneficial microbes interact with our hormones as well.

Although researchers are discovering more each day about how our friendly flora impact our hormones, we do know that these tiny heroes can help metabolise and recycle hormones in our body, which can help us navigate all of life’s stages with clarity and health.

Friendly Flora and Your Hormones

Our body’s endocrine system produces more than 50 hormones, many of which have a major impact on our health and well-being. The relationship between our microbes and these hormones can support our health in a variety of important ways:

Encourage Relaxation 

  • Cortisol: Often called the “stress hormone,” cortisol is released during times of stress and has a hand in our blood sugar levels, metabolism, and even our ability to form memories. The good news is that our friendly flora can work to reduce levels of cortisol in the body, helping you maintain a sense of calm and peace. In one study, students preparing for a large exam who consumed a probiotic-rich beverage for eight weeks had lower levels of cortisol.

Maintain Your Mood 

  • Estrogen: While men do have small amounts, estrogen is primarily a female hormone associated with puberty, the menstrual cycle, bone health, and mood. Its made primarily by your ovaries. It then circulates through your body to your uterus and breasts and other organs, until it reaches your liver where it’s inactivated. Inactivated estrogen is then sent to the intestine where it is supposed to stay inactivated so it can exit the body through the stool. That is normal, healthy estrogen metabolism. When certain intestinal bacteria are present, something very different happens. Unfriendly bacteria make an enzyme called beta glucuronidase, which re-activates oestrogen in your gut. That is impaired estrogen metabolism. Too much estrogen can make periods heavier.  It also contributes to the long-term risk of conditions such as uterine fibroids and breast cancer. By supporting a healthy digestion, beneficial flora help the body to keep excess estrogen out of circulation. Lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria can also decrease activity of Beta-glucoronidase, the enzyme that enables estrogen to be reabsorbed.

Keep You Feeling Energetic 

  • Insulin: The pancreas secretes insulin, which allows our cells to absorb glucose from our blood to be used for energy. Studies indicate that probiotics like Lactobacillus reuteri can support healthy insulin levels—just four weeks of supplementation with this mighty microbe can lead to a 49% increase in insulin secretion.

Support a Moderate Appetite 

  • Leptin: Our body’s fat cells make leptin, a hormone that helps determine how full we feel and signals our brain when it’s time to stop eating. Unfortunately, we can become resistant to this satiety hormone, making our brain think we need to keep filling up, leading to challenges with maintaining a healthy weight and other health issues. Friendly flora in our gut can increase our body’s sensitivity to leptin, so our brain gets the message to stop eating when we are full.

Encourage Restful Sleep 

  • Melatonin: Melatonin, the “sleep” hormone, signals the body when it’s time to rest in response to diminishing light at the end of the day, but we need the amino acid 

  • tryptophan to convert serotonin (the “happy” chemical) into melatonin. By impacting our body’s levels of tryptophan, beneficial bacteria can help to support healthy levels of this sleepy hormone in the body.

Let You Love 

Oxytocin: In women, oxytocin (the “cuddle” hormone) signals contractions during labor, promotes lactation, and helps to trigger the bond between mother and baby. In men, oxytocin affects testosterone production and may even intensify feelings of love and attachment. Fortunately, our helpful bacteria can help increase levels of oxytocin in the body.

Maintain Your Libido 

  • Testosterone: Produced in both men and women, testosterone enhances libido, stimulates the body’s production of new blood cells, and triggers puberty and development of male characteristics in men. Now, research shows that beneficial bacteria can help increase testosterone levels.

Support Blood Sugar Levels Already Within a Normal Range

  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D isn’t a vitamin at all, but a hormone responsible for helping the body absorb calcium, balancing blood sugar, and regulating adrenaline and serotonin.

It’s clear that our friendly gut flora play a starring role in keeping our hormone levels in optimal balance. So, how do we properly support our magnificent micro-biome so our bacteria can return the favour? Here are three simple steps to get you started:

1.First and foremost, take a daily, multi strain, high quality probiotic supplement to help maintain your population of beneficial bacteria. Or make your own Kefir

2. Revamp your diet. Probiotics need loads of fibres found in many whole, plant-based foods—to thrive. Our standard diets are often full of refined and processed foods, it can wreak havoc on your gut flora—and your hormones may follow suit. Also,  because it’s hard to get enough prebiotic from food alone, include an organic prebiotic powder supplement to care for your microbes.

3. Stay away from things that deplete your micro-biome, like stress, antibiotics in food and in medicine, antibacterial cleaners and processed foods.

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SWEET POTATO BROWNIES https://www.vitalityhealth-fitness.co.uk/2019/11/12/sweet-potato-brownies/ https://www.vitalityhealth-fitness.co.uk/2019/11/12/sweet-potato-brownies/#respond Tue, 12 Nov 2019 11:32:55 +0000 http://www.vitalityhealth-fitness.co.uk/?p=3919

These brownies have consistently been amazing. Great snack with great ingredients.

Method

1. heat oven 180c

2, Peel, cube and steam potatoes.  Perfectly soft. Aprox. 20mins

3. Blend with the pitted dates until smooth.

4. Put remaining ingredients in blender and blend well.

5. place in a lined baking tray and cook for 20-30mins.

Allow to cool completely. You can eat as they are for put the topping on.

6. Topping- Melt the coconut oil and mix in the honey and cocoa power. Pour over brownies and put in the fridge.

INGREDIENTS:

Ingredient

Amount

2 med sweet  potatoes

2

600g

medjool dates

14

—-

ground almonds

80

g

buckwheat/brown rice flour

4

tbsp

cocoa powder

1

—-

pinch salt

 

 

Topping

 

 

raw honey or maple syrup

4

tbsp

raw cocoa powder (topping)

4/5

tbsp

vanilla (optional)

1

tsp

coconut oil

4

tbsp

Coconut butter

50

g

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HEALTHY ROCKY ROAD BITES https://www.vitalityhealth-fitness.co.uk/2019/11/10/healthy-rocky-road-bites/ https://www.vitalityhealth-fitness.co.uk/2019/11/10/healthy-rocky-road-bites/#respond Sun, 10 Nov 2019 15:19:05 +0000 https://www.vitalityhealth-fitness.co.uk/?p=4849

 Ingredients:

For the

– 2 cups of medjool dates (360g)

– 1 cup of pumpkin seeds (180g)

– 3 tablespoons of maple syrup/honey

– 1/2 a cup of raisins (100g)

– 1 cup of ground almonds (160g)

– 1/2 of a cup of buckwheat groats (150g)

– 1/2 a cup of melted coconut oil (100g)

– 3 tablespoons of raw cacao powder

– 2 tablespoons of almond butter

– 1/4 Cup of Gogi berries / chopped dried fruit  (optional)

– 1/4 Cup Raw Cacao nibs (optional)

– 1/4 Cup Sunflower seeds (Optional)

Method: 

Preheat the oven on 180C.

Once the oven is hot, pour the buckwheat into a baking dish and bake for 10 minutes.

Place the cacao oil over a double boil and heat until fully melted.

Pour the pumpkin seeds into a food processor and blitz until they’re fully ground down.

Then pit the dates and add them to the food processor along with the almond butter, ground almonds, maple syrup/honey, cacao powder and cacao butter. Blitz the ingredients together until they form a really smooth and sticky consistency.

Pour the mixture into a large bowl with the raisins and toasted buckwheat and mix well. As an optional exra you can add any other dried fruit, nuts, seeds or my favourite is raw cacao nibs.

Line a baking dish with baking paper, pour the mixture into the baking dish and pat down with a spatula. The mixture can be pretty sticky so make sure you compress the mixture down well into all the corners. Freeze for about an hour.

Take the mixture out of the freezer and cut into about 12 chunks. Place the squares in freezer storage container and help yourself every time you need a swwet treat!  

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GREEN SMOOTHIES https://www.vitalityhealth-fitness.co.uk/2019/01/23/green-smoothies/ https://www.vitalityhealth-fitness.co.uk/2019/01/23/green-smoothies/#respond Wed, 23 Jan 2019 10:39:05 +0000 http://www.vitalityhealth-fitness.co.uk/?p=1

BENEFITS OF GREEN SMOOTHIES

Blended green smoothies are a simple and delicious way of accessing the healing properties of greens. 

Greens provide protein in the form of individual amino acids. These amino acids are easier for the body to utilise than complex proteins. A variety of greens can supply all the protein we need to sustain each of our unique bodies.

One litre of green smoothie contains approximately twelve to eighteen grams of fibre, depending on the water content and the type of fruit used.

Greens are a major source of chlorophyll; it is difficult to find a better way of consuming chlorophyll than drinking green smoothies. With the high oxygen content in chlorophyll and the high mineral content in green plants, greens are the most alkalising food that exists on our planet. By including green smoothies in our diet, we can keep our bodies alkaline and healthy. 

To maintain a good alkaline pH balance in the body consuming large quantities of dark leafy greens, approximately one to two bunches a day is an easy way to achieve this. 

In preparation for the Greens Cleanse – Try and Green Smoothie for breakfast every day:

Replace your usual breakfast with a green juice or smoothie. On an empty stomach, the juice makes its way through to the intestines in minutes. While you will give your digestive system a break from the hard work of digesting solid food in the morning, you will  also infuse your body with a huge flush of vital nutrients and minerals. Your first meal of solid food should be lunch @ 12. This creates a mini juice fast of eighteen hours or more each day, from dinner until lunch the following day. Even though you do not consume solid food until lunch or later, you will not  experience low blood sugar, hunger pangs, or any of the other symptoms one would expect from skipping a solid breakfast in favour of a low-calorie green smoothie. Make sure that every day rotate the greens you use to avoid a build up of alkaloids.  

Some of out favourite  Green Smoothie recipes:

Here are a few recipe ideas but green smoothies are fun to experiment with and  the most important thing is that you enjoy them! Most recipes will make enough for 2 servings and can be stored in the fridge for 1-2 days in an airtight container. Blend  all the ingredients together until smooth. By adding chopped fruit once it has been blended you can eat it with a spoon rather than drinking it and it seems more filling!! 

Helena’s Basic Green Smoothie

  • 1 banana
  • 1 pear
  • A large handful of fresh spinach 
  • Half small avocado
  • A large handful of romaine lettuce
  • 2 large slices of courgette
  • 250 ml water
  • 200ml of crushed ice

‘In a hurry’ Green Smoothie

  • 1 cup Waitrose Frozen smoothie mix – spinach, kiwi, mango
  • 1 cup Waitrose Frozen Spinach
  • 150ml almond milk / coconut milk

Green Zing Smoothie

  • 1 kiwi
  • 1 cup pineapple cubes
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon 
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • A large handful of kale/ spinach
  • 6 fresh basil leaves
  • A handful of rocket
  • 2 large slices of cucumber
  • 250 ml water
  • 200ml of crushed ice
  • 1 tsp wheatgrass and spirulina

Creamy Green Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 banana and 2 dates
  • A large handful of fresh spinach
  • Half small avocado
  • 1tbs almond butter/ almonds
  • 1tbs pumpkin seeds
  • 1tsp flax seeds
  • 1tsp acai powder
  • 150 ml almond milk/coconut milk
  • 100ml cold water
  • 200ml of crushed ice

Immunity Booster

  • 2 cups of  Organic Spinach
  • 1 cup water or coconut water
  • 2 orages
  • 1 cup of pomegranate seeds
  • 2 bananas

Tropical Smoothie

  • 2 cups of coconut water
  • 1 cup of pineapple
  • 1 cup of organic kale
  • 1 banana 
  • 1 cup of Pak choi or romaine lettuce

Easy Smoothie

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 banana
  • 1 apple
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 cup of spinach or pea shoots 
  • 1 to 2 cups of water depending how thick you want it. 

You can also peel and freeze the bananas.  Mix with coconut water and you will get a banana ice cream.   You can do this with frozen berries too.   The frozen mango is yummy. 

 

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RAW CACAO PROTEIN POWER BALLS https://www.vitalityhealth-fitness.co.uk/2019/01/10/raw-cacao-protein-power-balls/ https://www.vitalityhealth-fitness.co.uk/2019/01/10/raw-cacao-protein-power-balls/#respond Thu, 10 Jan 2019 10:05:55 +0000 http://www.vitalityhealth-fitness.co.uk/?p=3855

These are a sweet but healthy treat  which will keep your  energy levels up even after a workout They’re wonderfully sweet thanks to the dates, while the cacao makes them amazingly chocolaty and then the almonds, almond butter, coconut oil and chia seeds give you all the goodness you need to stay energised.

Method

  1. Start by putting the almonds in a food processor and whiz for about 30 seconds, until they’re nicely crushed.

  2. Soak the dates for 5 minutes in boiling water. Then drain them and place with all the other ingredients and 2 tablespoons of water, into the food processor and blend again until everything has mixed together perfectly and it’s all nice and sticky.

  3. Add the dried fruit and/ or protein powder of you wish

  4. Roll the mixture into balls the size of a large marbles

  5. While the balls are still sticky roll them in a topping of your choice or a combination e.g. 10 rolled in Chia seeds and 10 rolled in desicated coconut or raw cacao.

  6. Place the balls in the freezer for an hour to set, then store in an airtight container in the fridge. 

    Ingredients

    Amount

    Almonds other nuts crushed

    200

    g

    Pitted dates

    400

    g

    Raw Cacao

    2

    tbsp

    Almond butter

    2

    tbsp

    OPTIONAL

     

     

    Cranberries  or rains chopped finely

    100

    g

    Protein Powder

    2

    tbsp

    FOR COATING (choose on of following

     

     

    Chopped nuts

    1

    cup

    Chia seeds

    2

    tbsp

    Raw cacao

    1

    tsp

    Desicated coconut

    1

    tsp

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CARAMEL SQUARES https://www.vitalityhealth-fitness.co.uk/2019/02/15/caramel-squares/ https://www.vitalityhealth-fitness.co.uk/2019/02/15/caramel-squares/#respond Fri, 15 Feb 2019 11:23:18 +0000 http://www.vitalityhealth-fitness.co.uk/?p=3907

These are one of my favourite healthy sweet treats which are vegan, and made almost completely from raw natural ingredients. Yum!

METHOD:

BASE

Put almonds and pecans in blender to make a grainy flour. Add dates and almond butter and blend again until mixture becomes sticky. Transfer to baking tin lined with parchment. 31 x21x6cm.

Press firmly with spatula. Put in freezer for 20mins.

CARAMEL LAYER

Put all ingredients into the food processor with 120ml of water then blend until smooth and creamy then pour onto base layer. Put in freezer of 30-40 mins.

CHOCOLATE LAYER

Melt cocoa butter on very low heat with almond butter. Then blend in food processors with other ingredients until smooth.  If the caramel is solid put chocolate layer on top and freeze for 2 hours.

 

Take it out and leave in room temperature for 15mins and then cut into slices.

INGREDIENTS:

BASE

150g almonds

125g pecans

400g medjool dates pitted

2 TBL almond butter

CARAMEL LAYER

400g medjool dates pitted

6 heaped table spoon almond butter

2 Table spoons raw honey or raw maple syrup

1 tsp coconut oil

CHOCOLATE LAYER

100g cocoa butter raw

1 TBL almond butter

150g pitted medjool dates

2 TBL raw cocoa powder

2-4 TBL raw honey (optional)

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RAW PAD THAI https://www.vitalityhealth-fitness.co.uk/2019/04/09/raw-pad-thai/ https://www.vitalityhealth-fitness.co.uk/2019/04/09/raw-pad-thai/#respond Tue, 09 Apr 2019 10:00:48 +0000 http://www.vitalityhealth-fitness.co.uk/?p=3887

This raw pad thai takes little time to make and the rawness ensures food retains its nutritional value. This dish also has massive amounts of flavour.

Method – Serves 2 as main dish

  1. Spiralise the courgette, carrot, peppers. Put all the spiralised vegetables into a large serving bowl.

  2. Chop the sugar snaps and slice the spring onions into small pieces and add them to the bowl of the spiralised vegetables.

  3. Put the coconut milk, tahini, lime juice, tamari, sesame oil into a bowl and mix together until it makes a creamy texture.

  4. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and mix together.

  5. To finish of sprinkle the sesame seeds on top to serve.

Ingredient Amount
Courgette

1

Carrot

1

Red Pepper

1

Yellow Pepper

1

Sugar Snaps

100g

Bean Sprouts

200g

Spring onions

2

Coconut milk

100ml

 

Tahini

1 tbsp

Lime

1 1/2

Tamari

1tbsp

Sesame oil

2tbsp

Sesame seeds

3tsp

Method

  1. Spiralise the courgette, carrot, peppers. Put all the spiralised vegetables into a large serving bowl.

  2. Chop the sugar snaps and slice the spring onions into small pieces and add them to the bowl of the spiralised vegetables.

  3. Put the coconut milk, tahini, lime juice, tamari, sesame oil into a bowl and mix together until it makes a creamy texture.

  4. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and mix together.

  5. To finish of sprinkle the sesame seeds on top to serve.

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FETA AND VEGETABLE STUFFED MUSHROOMS https://www.vitalityhealth-fitness.co.uk/2019/05/10/feta-and-vegetable-stuffed-mushrooms/ https://www.vitalityhealth-fitness.co.uk/2019/05/10/feta-and-vegetable-stuffed-mushrooms/#respond Fri, 10 May 2019 09:50:23 +0000 http://www.vitalityhealth-fitness.co.uk/?p=3876

Theses stuffed mushrooms are delicious healthy vegetarian meal. They are ideally  served with a fresh green salad or could be made as a starter for a dinner party.

Method

  1. First of all start by cooking the coconut oil the onion and garlic in a frying pan.

  2. Once the onion is golden brown, add the diced pepper pepper, chopped tomato, sundries tomatoes and leave to cook on a low heat for about 5 mins, add the spinach and leave to cook of a further 10 mins.

  3. Take of the heat and  stir in the bread crumbs and feta.

  4. Pre heat the oven to 200°c.

  5. Take out the stalk of the mushrooms and lay them out on a baking tray.

  6. Add the filling to the mushrooms and sprinkle some parmesan on the top.

  7. Place in the oven and leave to cook for about 15 mins.

  8. Once cooked serve with a salad or fresh green vegetables

    Ingredients

    Amount

    Portobello mushrooms

    4

    —-

    1 onion diced

    1

    —-

    1 red Pepper  diced

    1

    —-

    crushed garlic cloves

    2

    —-

    Coconut oil

    1

    tbsp

    1 large tomato

    1

    —-

    Sun dried tomatoes

    30

    g

    Basil (fresh or dried)

    1

    tbsp

    Wholemeal bread crumbs

    1 slice

    —-

    Feta

    150

    g

    Parmesan grated

    1

    tbsp

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TUMERIC AND VEGETABLE COCUNUT CURRY https://www.vitalityhealth-fitness.co.uk/2019/07/20/tumeric-and-vegetable-cocunut-curry/ https://www.vitalityhealth-fitness.co.uk/2019/07/20/tumeric-and-vegetable-cocunut-curry/#respond Sat, 20 Jul 2019 09:39:27 +0000 http://www.vitalityhealth-fitness.co.uk/?p=3865

This vegetable coconut curry is perfect for a family meal or a vegetarian dinner party with some friends. It can be served with wild rice or cauliflower rice and a green salad.

Method

  1. Heat the coconut oil in the frying pan.

  2. Add the onion, ginger, garlic and chillies to the frying pan.

  3. Once the onion is golden brown add the courgette, red pepper, aubergine and cauliflower.

  4. Stir fry the vegetables for 5minutes and then mix in the tumeric and ground coriander.

  5. Next stir the coconut milk, tamari and palm sugar. Leave to simmer for about 30 mins. Five mins before serving stir in the fresh herbs.

  6. When the curry is cooked, serve with brown or wild  rice and a green salad.

Ingredient Quantity
Coconut oil

1

tsp
Onion, finely chopped

1

—-
Ginger finely chopped

1

tsp
Garlic crushed

1

tsp
Chilli pepper or 1tsp dried chilli flakes

1

—-
Mushrooms

330

g
Ground Coriander

1

tsp
Tumeric

2

tsp
Courgette,

1

 
Red pepper

1

—-
Aubergine

1

—-
Cauliflower

1/2

 
Coconut milk

400

g
Palm Sugar

1

tsp
Tamari

1

tbsp
Fresh coriander

1/2

cup
Fresh Basil

1/2

cup

Method

  1. Heat the coconut oil in the frying pan.

  2. Add the onion, ginger, garlic and chillies to the frying pan.

  3. Once the onion is golden brown add the courgette, red pepper, aubergine and cauliflower.

  4. Stir fry the vegetables for 5minutes and then mix in the tumeric and ground coriander.

  5. Next stir the coconut milk, tamari and palm sugar. Leave to simmer for about 30 mins. Five mins before serving stir in the fresh herbs.

  6. When the curry is cooked, serve with brown or wild  rice and a green salad.

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