Roasted Courgette (Zucchini) with Turmeric and Fennel

There's an abundance of courgettes (zuchinnis) growing in our garden right now, which is such a joy! We're growing 2 types, one of which is the Tromboncino variety .... the most delicious variety of courgette we've ever tried. The garden looks so beautiful this time of year, full of green and yellow shades and buzzing with bees. Growing your own food is rewarding on so many levels.

With all the courgettes around, we've been trying to find some different ways to enjoy preparing this vegetable. This recipe is one of our favourites, and although it's very simple, the flavours are delicious and it makes a great side dish to so many meals. If you've read our blog before, you'll know that we love turmeric and try to add it to our food whenever possible! We've also added fennel seeds for a burst of flavour, plus they are great for the digestive system. We love to serve this with curry or dhal, but it would be delicious with a risotto, stew or mixed into a fresh salad bowl.

Roasted Courgette Turmeric Fennel
Roasted Courgette Turmeric Fennel

Ingredients (serves 3-4 as a side dish)
3-4 medium courgettes (zucchinis)
1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
1 tablespoon of organic olive oil
fresh pepper and salt to taste

Method 
1. Grease a large baking tray and pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6. 
2. Cut the courgettes in half, long ways. If the courgette has a lot of seeds in the middle, scoop these out with a spoon. Some varieties have more seeds than others. 
3. Cut the courgette into small cubes and place onto the baking tray. Pour over the olive oil, spreading evenly. Add the turmeric, fennel seeds, salt & pepper, mixing well with your hands. 
4. Bake for around 20-25 minutes. We like to leave them with a little bite. 
5. Serve and enjoy! 

Roasted Courgette Turmeric Fennel

What's your favourite way to prepare courgette/zucchini? We'd love to hear from you! 

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Keeping Healthy as a Vegan (or Non-Vegan)

Veganism is such a hot topic at the moment. There are strong opinions coming from all angles and it can sometimes feel hard to find reliable information that isn't fuelled by judgement or anger. No matter what your opinion, the vast majority of us desire health and vibrancy in our lives. We are all so unique and this looks so different for every person. One size does not fit all. But whatever our choices are, it's important to take the time to check in with our bodies and how we're feeling. Do you feel energised by food? Or do you feel endlessly tired and sluggish? 

Personally, we stopped eating all animal products around 2 years ago for a variety of reasons; for our health, the environment, ethics and more. It's been a hugely positive journey for both of us and I can't say that I've been tempted to change during that time. However, we recognise the importance in being mindful about what we eat and being intuitive about what feels good. Eating plant based doesn't always translate to eating healthily. You can still serve up junk food at every meal and label it as 'vegan'. So rather than focusing on labels such as 'vegan', 'keto', 'paleo' etc, I think it's crucial to observe how you feel eating certain foods and see each meal as an opportunity to nourish your body and express gratitude. 

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โ€œBe good to yourself. If you don't take care of your body, where will you live?โ€ - Kobi Yamada

Our bodies communicate with us daily in so many ways. From our skin, to our eliminative system and energy levels. If we become deficient in certain vitamins or our body is off balance, this can show up in a variety of ways - tiredness, dull skin, acne, hormonal issues, poor digestion and more.

If you're a vegan (or non vegan!) that feels consistently tired and you notice some imbalances in your body, then it's so important to look at your diet to see how you can create harmony in the body again. A great way to to do this is by having a blood panel test done, which tests for specific vitamin and nutrient levels to find any deficiencies. For all our readers based in USA, Health Labs offers a 'Vegan Wellness Panel Test' which checks for the 11 most common deficiencies. If you're vegan and want to make sure you're supporting your body the best you can, then it's such a great resource to consider.

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These are some of the 11 vitamins/nutrients that Health Labs test for, why they're important and how you can incorporate these more in your life with plant power, herbs or supplements...

IRON
Iron deficiency is a growing problem for many women - vegan or non-vegan. When consuming plant-based sources of iron, combine them with Vitamin C when possible to help absorption. Good sources of iron are:
Nettles (no.1 tip for iron is daily nettle infusions!), blackstrap molasses, dark leafy greens, organic spirulina, cacao, quinoa, buckwheat, black beans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, avocado. 

Herbs- Nettle, parsley, dandelion, yellow dock. 

CALCIUM  
A hugely important nutrient for bone health. Good sources of calcium are:
dark leafy greens (collard, mustard, kale), organic tempeh, tahini, broccoli, figs, black strap molasses, organic almonds, chia seeds. 

Herbs - nettles, horsetail, oat straw, alfalfa.


ZINC
Zinc is such an important nutrient to support our immune system, regulate hormones and metabolising carbohydrates. Good sources of zinc are:
Black beans, chickpeas, lentils, organic tempeh, oats pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, cashew nuts, quinoa, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, wild rice, shiitake mushrooms, flaxseeds, asparagus, cardamom. 

Herbs: oat straw dill, rosemary, sage, chervil


B12
B12 is a complicated issue for those eating plant based, as unlike all the other vitamins/minerals, it's extremely difficult for us to obtain the amount we need from a natural food source.  However, our bodies our capable of creating B12 if we have optimal digestion. In the past, we absorbed B12 from fresh spring water and from the soil, but now that so many pesticides are used to cultivate our food, it's very difficult to find natural sources. Even those who absorb B12 from animal products may only be doing so because the farm animal they are consuming was supplemented with B12 when it was alive. This article is highly recommended if you wish to learn more. 

We supplement with a liquid B12. This is our favourite product in the UK, and we have heard excellent reviews of this brand in the USA & rest of the world. 

FOLIC ACID
Folic acid, or folate, is a B vitamin that assists the body in creating red blood cells and repairing DNA. It's especially important in pregnancy, as it helps the foetus develop. Good sources of Folate are:
organic spinach, broccoli, asparagus, lentils, black beans, pinto beans, avocado, beetroot, romaine lettuce, papaya.

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More Helpful Resources


'Vegan done right' with Dr Stephen Cabral - Melissa Ambrosini Podcast
This podcast episode is so informative and helpful, diving deep into common deficiencies for vegans and how we can help to avoid this through diet, Ayurveda and lifestyle.  Cannot recommend this enough!  

Health 101
An amazing website full of so many eye opening articles. The article on B-12 deficiency is incredibly interesting and is such an important thing to get educated about. 

Health Labs  (US) 
As we mentioned above, the Vegan Nutritional Maintenance Panel is such an effective way to ensure that you are receiving enough nutrients from your food. The test reveals any deficiencies you may have, so that you can address them and adjust what you're eating. They also offer other tests for food allergies. 
Use the code 'PutumayoKitchen' to receive a 25% discount on tests. 

Cerascreen (UK & Europe)
A test centre based in Europe, offering deficiency tests. 

Our Favourite Nutrition Books
  See our 'Essential Book' list for some recommended nutrition books that can help you on your journey! 
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Have you ever considered testing for vitamin deficiencies? We'd love to hear how you keep healthy eating a plant based diet. 

If you enjoyed this article or found it helpful, please share it! 

Thank you to Health Labs for supporting this article. 

Raw Turmeric Flaxseed Crackers

We've been dreaming of buying a dehydrator for years, so we finally invested in one a few months ago. It's been so fun to have a whole new food gadget to play with, especially during the recent heatwave when we've been craving lighter, fresher foods. These golden crackers are without a doubt our best raw creation so far. They're crispy, delicious and so nutritiously dense due to all the seeds and veggies they contain. We made a huge batch that have lasted us a few weeks, and they are incredible with hummus, avocado, this cashew cheese or so many other toppings! 

Turmeric Flaxseed Raw Crackers

As well as being a beautiful golden colour, flaxseeds are also full of nutrition. We love to eat them every day as they have so many benefits! They are a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids and lignans, which can help balance hormones and improve digestion. They are also high in fibre and are a good source of plant-based protein. Soaking the seeds overnight really aids the digestion process and helps remove enzyme inhibitors.

 If you don't have a dehydrator, you could still make these crackers but cook them on a very low heat in the oven, until crispy. 

Turmeric Flaxseed Raw Crackers
Turmeric Flaxseed Raw Crackers

Ingredients
1 cup of flaxseeds (golden or brown)
1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup of chia seeds
1 cup of chopped vegetables (we use carrot, celery and sweet potato)
1 teaspoon of good quality salt
1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
optional extras: garlic powder, celery salt, cayenne pepper, paprika, onion powder. 

Method
1. Place the flaxseeds, chia, and sunflower/pumpkin seeds in 3 separate bowls. Fill each bowl with water until the ingredients are covered (roughly 1 cup of water per bowl). Allow to soak for 6+ hours. The chia and flaxseeds should absorb the water to form a gel consistency. Rinse and drain the sunflower and pumpkin seeds. 
2. In a food processor combine the vegetables, spices and sunflower/pumpkin seeds. Stir in the chia and flaxseed gels until well combined. 
3. Spread the mixture in an even and thin layer onto the dehydrator sheets. Score the crackers into the size you prefer using a sharp knife. 
4. Set your dehydrator on 45-50 degrees, and dehydrate for around 8-9 hours. After this time, peel the dehydrator sheets off and flip over the crackers. Dehydrate for another 8-9 hours until dry and crispy. 
5. Store In an airtight container so they remain crispy for longer! 

Turmeric Flaxseed Raw Crackers
Turmeric Flaxseed Raw Crackers

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