What’s Not Healthy about Mauritius Curry?

Video Summary here, but more details in writing below:

So many vibrant colors, veggies and healthy spices go into these beautiful curries! Unfortunately many health benefits are lost into a brown mush. Why?

It really boils down to how it’s cooked, the type of oil used, and what it’s served with.

Here’s why the curries are not performing at their best health wise:

1. Destroyed Nutrients

Not only does high heat render the good oils rancid, but high heat also destroys the nutrients. The nutrients in curries are quite healthy, so keep them safe by cooking on low heat.

2. Served with a pile of rice

And I mean a HEAPING pile of rice. That’s one way to put on weight. Keep the serving size to one fist. Or even better, replace the rice with as many vegetables as you can on the side. If you need some carbs, sweet potatoes are a good substitute as they don’t raise your blood sugar as much as rice.

3. Unhealthy Oils

Good Oils. Bad Oils. Controversial Oils.

Healthy Oils

Not all oil is bad.  Good oils form part of healthy fats. Your body needs them to absorb nutrients, protect the heart & help you to feel full.

At one point of time, I was avoiding all fat, thinking it will make me fat. I was sicker than ever and had a big belly. Your body needs fat, but good fats!

So, which oil is good? Well, oils high in mono-unsaturated fats (more stable oils) like extra virgin olive oil (cold pressed) is best for cooking. It also lowers risk for disease, and lengthens your life.  And yes, it’s safe to cook with olive oil as long as on low heat, suggesting at or below 175°C or 350°F. Yes, it takes longer, but it’s actually more delicious.

Bad Oils

The oils often used in curries are FAR from pure healthy fats. Soybean, vegetable, corn, sunflower, palm, canola oils, margarine and shortenings are on the naughty list. Why?

They are heated at a very high heat often before they are sold in stores. OR toxic chemicals are used in production. Even reheating can make it worse.  All of this changes the profile to unhealthy. Unhealthy fats increase inflammation, cholesterol, & disease risk.

However, some people process the above bad fats (mostly polyunsaturated omega-6’s) better than others. Some  process saturated fats (below) better than others. That’s the reason why I often factor DNA in my practice to personalized health advice. One’s genetic profile can help explain which fats you should use in moderation, if any. Check it out here. 

Controversial Oils

What about oils high in saturated fat like coconut oil, butter, and ghee? Given these summaries of randomized controlled trials, I would much rather have my food cooked in these saturated fats than the bad fats mentioned above. Using the bad fats instead of saturated fats actually trended toward increased risk of death from all causes.

Final Tip

Even if you’re not at home, you can still eat healthy. I bring my preferred oil to restaurants and ask them to cook on low heat. Crazy, but healthy and more delicious!

You can still absolutely get a tasty dish cooking with healthy oils on low heat.  Here’s a new curry dish to try! In my coaching programs you will receive healthy recipes that use local ingredients. Click on this link to learn more.

HealthUp Everyone! 🙂

Curried Lentil and Pumpkin Soup

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healthy curry
Yields4 Servings
Prep Time15 minsCook Time30 minsTotal Time45 mins
INGREDIENTS
 3 cups vegetable stock (i.e. 3 cups water and bouillon cube)
 2 tbsp Tbsp olive oil
 1 onion, finely chopped
 2 cloves garlic, crushed
 2 teaspoons curry powder*
 1 cup dried red lentils
 500 g (2 cups) butternut pumpkin, peeled, seeds removed, and chopped
 Dash of salt & pepper
 2 cups spinach or other leafy greens
 handful of chopped cashews
 1 cup cooked quinoa, optional
 1 cup cooked beans, optional
 1 handful of coriander/cilantro, optional
DIRECTIONS
1

Prepare vegetable stock

2

Heat oil in a large saucepan over low heat

3

Add onion and garlic, cooking for 4 to 5 minutes until soft

4

Stir in curry powder and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.

5

Add lentils, pumpkin, and stock. Stir until well-combined. Bring to a boil. If adding cooked beans or quinoa, add more water, so soup thickness is to your liking

6

Cook, partially covered, for about 20 minutes, stirring regularly until pumpkin is just tender.

7

During the last 3-5 minutes of cooking, add the spinach or greens – allowing it to lightly wilt into the curry.

8

If you like, add chopped cashews and cilantro to the top for color, flavor, and crunch.

Ingredients

INGREDIENTS
 3 cups vegetable stock (i.e. 3 cups water and bouillon cube)
 2 tbsp Tbsp olive oil
 1 onion, finely chopped
 2 cloves garlic, crushed
 2 teaspoons curry powder*
 1 cup dried red lentils
 500 g (2 cups) butternut pumpkin, peeled, seeds removed, and chopped
 Dash of salt & pepper
 2 cups spinach or other leafy greens
 handful of chopped cashews
 1 cup cooked quinoa, optional
 1 cup cooked beans, optional
 1 handful of coriander/cilantro, optional

Directions

DIRECTIONS
1

Prepare vegetable stock

2

Heat oil in a large saucepan over low heat

3

Add onion and garlic, cooking for 4 to 5 minutes until soft

4

Stir in curry powder and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.

5

Add lentils, pumpkin, and stock. Stir until well-combined. Bring to a boil. If adding cooked beans or quinoa, add more water, so soup thickness is to your liking

6

Cook, partially covered, for about 20 minutes, stirring regularly until pumpkin is just tender.

7

During the last 3-5 minutes of cooking, add the spinach or greens – allowing it to lightly wilt into the curry.

8

If you like, add chopped cashews and cilantro to the top for color, flavor, and crunch.

Pumpkin & Green Lentil Curry

*If you don’t want spicy, add cumin & turmeric powder, or use the spice below!

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