In a large soup pot place the pumpkin, carrots, onion, garlic, peeled and roughly chopped.
Add butter, oil and salt and cook on medium for about 20 minutes, stirring often, until liquid evaporated and pumpkin softening. You will see vegetables starting to brown and it will smell fantastic! Add the cannelloni beans and coconut cream and about 1.5 litres water (or chicken/vegetable stock) until soup pot 3/4 full. Bring to the boil, turn to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes until vegetables are soft. Blend with a stick blender, blender or food processor.
Variation: to add a little more Thai flavour, a large knob of fresh ginger, a couple of sticks of lemongrass and 1 Tbsp ground cumin can be added at the beginning with the vegetables, and fresh coriander at the end to serve.
“Birdseed” blend: pepitas, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, black and/or white sesame seeds, nigella seeds, bukinis – optional (activated, dehydrated buckwheat groats). Make this mix or similar up in a large batch and store pre-mixed in an airtight container. Sprinkle over salads, soups, vegetables or use in smoothies.
Preheat oven to 200oC. Cut vegetables into mouthful-sized chunks and toss with enough oil, sea salt and spice blend in a large mixing bowl to coat each piece nicely, but not too wet with oil or too much spice. Roast in oven for 40 minutes or until nicely browned and crisping a little. Serve in a large platter sprinkled with birdseed mix (optional).
This vibrant juice has a plethora of healthful, immune boosting properties beneficial for our health as the weather is (finally!) turning. Phytochemicals or phytonutrients - active biochemical compounds found in plant foods such as polyphenols (colour-giving compounds) and flavonoids, play many positive roles in the body, such as protecting against inflammation and viral infections and possibly even protects our skin from free radical damage, reducing the signs of external “rusting” or ageing.
We all know that oranges contain high levels of vitamin C great for boosting the immune system, protecting our cells by neutralizing free radicals however they are also rich in citrus limonoids (phytonutrients) proven to help fight various cancers including that of the skin, lung, breast, stomach, colon and liver. Regular consumption of orange juice also helps prevent kidney diseases and kidney stones.
Carrots and oranges are both rich in carotenoid compounds (giving them their orange colour), which are converted to vitamin A in our bodies, helping with clear vision and preventing macular degeneration. Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant further protecting cells from damage.
Lemons and oranges both contain valuable electrolyte minerals like potassium and sodium, regulating heart rhythm and creating a hydrated and healthy internal cellular environment. Although citrus fruits are acidic they leave an alkaline “ash” or residue once digested and therefore have an alkalizing effect in the body.
The health benefits of ginger cannot be stressed enough. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer agent and although spicy is soothing to the gut. It improves the absorption and assimilation of essential nutrients, strengthens immunity and helps maintain normal blood circulation. Turmeric also contains bioactive compounds with powerful medicinal qualities. The curcuminoids in this medicinal herb contain powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Although juices are an amazing and efficient way of packing a nutritional punch, be aware of how much fruit you are consuming. For all the health benefits, it is very important not to maintain high blood insulin levels throughout the day that can be created by the simple sugar molecules, mainly fructose, found in fruits. I always make sure my juices contain at least as much vegetables as fruit, and generally only one serve of fruit per juice (lemons and limes not included). Only consume 2 serves of fruit per day.
Ancient Chinese medical principles are still relevant and can be applied to us today. During the winter months some of these age-old beliefs and practices include to eat warming foods, allowing the body to rest more, laughing with friends and family, drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated during the cold, often dry and windy months, using the “defense is best” principle of wellness and keeping your neck warm.
Keeping your neck warm and covered is essential for good health in Chinese medicine as the skin on the back and sides of the neck is seen as an extension of the lungs. The acupuncture points here are the “Wind Points”, reflecting the concept that wind in direct contact with the neck, head and shoulders may affect the body’s ability to defend against disease, especially lung illnesses. So by covering your neck when you brave the cold during winter is a method of protecting yourself from these harsh environmental influences.