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Need some additional ways to warm up from the inside?
As much as we would like to be able to, a hot or power yoga class is not at our beck and call 24/7. The following foods not only have warming characteristics identified in traditional Chinese medicine, but many other benefits too….
Ginger: Increases circulation, lowers blood pressure, reduces nausea, improves digestion, anti-inflammatory, lowers cholesterol, increases immunity.
How? Seep in teas (see previous blog post), add to curries, stirfry, juices, add to salad dressings.
Garlic: Lowers cholesterol, increases circulation, decreases risk of developing stomach and colon cancer, supports liver detoxification, increases immunity (antibacterial), reduces blood pressure, feeds the guts good bacteria, supports weight loss.
How? Crush or chop your fresh garlic to get the benefits, add fresh or powdered garlic to curries, soups, stirfry and tea’s. Aged garlic and garlic oil are also beneficial.
Chilli / Cayenne Pepper: Helps clear blocked sinuses, supports weight loss, stimulates the release of endorphins (makes us feel happy), decreases risk of heart attacks and stroke, high in antioxidants.
How? Add to any savoury or sweet dish for an extra kick. Some creative
Ways include chilli guacamole, chilli chai spiced tea (see previous blog
post for recipe), chilli chocolate.
Cinnamon: Regulates blood sugar levels, decreases sugar cravings, anti-inflammatory to help with muscle and joint stiffness as well as menstrual cramping, assists in preventing candida, reduces nausea, eases digestive discomfort, reduces blood pressure.
How? Add to smoothies, curries, tea, sprinkle on topped of chopped fruit
or yoghurt, mix in with nut butters.
Coconut: Reduces risk of heart disease and colon cancer, antimicrobial and antiviral (good for immunity), due to the type of fat coconut is high in it is a preferred energy source rather than being stored as fat in the body (yay).
How? Use coconut oil for cooking or to make dairy free vegan chocolate (or even as a natural moisturiser or lip balm!), use the milk in smoothies, milk and cream in curries and stifry, shredded for smoothies or to top off any meal.
Onion: Cancer protective, improved bone density, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, help relieve asthma and hayfever symptoms, food for healthy gut bacteria, support liver detoxification.
How? Raw in salads, cooked in stirfries and curries, add to any savoury
dish for added flavour.
Pumpkin: Helps lower blood pressure, decreases risk of stroke, reduces muscle cramping, high in beta-carotene (an antioxidant) which reduces the risk of lung and colon cancer as well as rheumatoid arthritis, high fibre to keep you regular, eye sight.
How? Mashed pumpkin instead of potato, roasted and added to salads, curries, pumpkin zoodles, use as a binding agent for frittatas or in baking. Carotenoids in pumpkin need fat for absorption….so don’t forget that dollop of coconut oil, butter, or olive oil!
Want to combine all this goodness into one recipe? Got you covered…
Pumpkin Coconut Curry
Serves 4-6:
1 tsp coconut oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped or crushed
½ tsp cayenne pepper or 1 small chilli finely chopped
20 turns cracked pepper
5 turns pink Himalayan sea salt
1 tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ grey or jap pumpkin (cubed)
1 zucchini (cubed)
1 cup water
270mL full fat coconut milk (I recommend Ayam brand as it has no added preservatives)
½ cup buckwheat kernels
Optional toppings: shredded coconut, pepitas, coriander
Melt oil in a large saucepan. On medium heat sautee onion, garlic, chilli, pepper, salt, turmeric and cinnamon for 2-3 minutes. Add pumpkin, zucchini, water and coconut milk. Bring to the boil, cover, then let simmer until pumpkin is soft (approximately 30-40 minutes). Add buckwheat around 10 minutes prior to taking off heat. Serve with cooked quinoa and top with pepitas, shredded coconut or coriander! Enjoy.

Kula instructor Ashleigh Garnaut has a Bachelor of Health Sciences (BHSc) in Nutritional Medicine from Endeavour College of Natural Health. She is passionate about using food as medicine. Ashleigh takes a holistic approach to health, taking into account diet, lifestyle, and emotional wellbeing.