|Do get your heaviest pan and do 50 squats
|Don’t rule out coconut
|Do choose a good butter, oil or ghee
|Don't use Fry Light (for curry)
|Do buy the best meat you can afford
|Don't use low fat yogurt
|Do get picky with veg
|Don't go without sugar if the recipe calls for it
|Do scratch cook for physical and mental health
Don't choose naan over poppadoms
1. Get your heaviest pan and do 50 squats
Because diet is just one half of the health equation our first tip is to incorporate a little exercise into your curry cooking regime - especially squats.
Squats are an awesome exercise and experts agree you can safely do bodyweight squats daily.
Empty pots only please :)
Tip: Associate your kitchen with an opportunity to exercise. Washing something up? Tense that core. Getting a pot out of a cupboard? Turn it into 10 squats. The behaviour change could be life changing.
We're recommending squats because the science says they're the ultimate calorie burner. Recent research suggests squats may even boost cognitive function too.
Brain boosting exercise: “As you squat and your head moves up and down, blood flow to the brain speeds and slows dramatically. These changes in the rate of blood flow can produce brain benefits as oxygen to brain tissue increases and molecules that stimulate new neurons and cells are released.”
Damian Bailey, Professor of Physiology and Biochemistry at the University of South Wales in Cardiff.
Summary: Incorporating 50 pot squats into your curry cook could result in a happier bum, tum and brain.
How many squats do you need to do to burn off your Boom curry?
As a rough guide 4 minutes of squats (25 squats per minute) will burn ~32 calories.
Calories per serving
Approx # of squats
Approx minutes of squats
Tikka Tarka Masala*
Ayubowan Sri Lankan*
Lady Naga Vindaloo
Mellow Moroccan tagine
* The curry kits topping the calorie count have one thing in common - they come with coconut.
Before the slimmers amongst you rule out these curries on health grounds, we suggest you read on!
2. Do choose a good butter, oil or ghee
Using a good quality oil, ghee or butter when cooking is probably the single best thing you can do to improve your health (other than squats, weight lifting, ice baths and saunas etc).
We used to recommend rape seed oil as it has a high smoking point but we’ve read it’s often heavily processed. We’re not bashing all rape seed oils but we’re just saying choose carefully.
The more we learn on this subject the more we recommend the Happy Butter Ghee Company for curry cooking (and they’re not paying us to say this).
This is the best guide we’ve found to choosing oils and fats to cook with. We hope Holistic Nutritionist Riyana Rupani doesn't mind us quoting it verbatim.
Breaking down the best butters, oils and fats for your curry
Great butter and oil options
- Raw butter and Ghee - do check out Happy Butter Ghee Company
- Tallow from grass-fed cows, bison, and lamb - we’ve not cooked with this but hear good things about Ossa
- Lard from pasture-raised pigs - we've not tried this but pigs tend to make tasty produce
- Single-source organic extra virgin olive oil - okay with curries but sometimes flavour can be overpowering (fine with Rendang and Tagine kits)
- Organic coconut Oils - like olive oil can impart a strong taste
- Organic cold-pressed sesame oil, and nut oils - we’ve not tried with Boom!
- Avocado oil
- Organic cocoa butter
Good butter and oil options
- Cultured butter (made from organic pasteurised milk) - we’re using butter more in our curries now after a customer tip off - he adds at the beginning and a knob at the end
- Conventionally produced extra virgin olive oil
- Refined coconut oil
- Refined avocado oil
Acceptable butter and oil options
- Conventional butter
- Light olive oil (make sure it's not mixed with rapeseed or other vegetable oils)
- peanut oil
Limit or avoid these oils
- Corn oil
- Soybean oil
- Rape seed oil
- Other vegetable oils
3. Do buy the best meat you can afford
If you’re using meat, buy the best quality you can afford. Don’t mistake expensive cuts with quality either. Curry is designed for cheap cuts and for preserving meat which makes it perfect for recycling left over Sunday roasts.
4. Do get picky with veg
You may have heard in the news the problem with herbicides entering our food chain. A small CDC study of 2,300 Americans found traces of Glyphosate (an ingredient found in weed killer) in 80% of the urine samples tested 🤢.
Sainsburys have published a balanced article on the subject, 'The 12 foods you should buy organic', pointing out pesticide levels in all foods are tightly controlled.
‘We have one of the safest and best regulated food supplies in the world. You don’t have to eat organic to eat well.’
Professor Carol Wagstaff of the Food and Nutritional Sciences department at the University of Reading points out.
The dirty dozen
This is PAN UK’s list of foods found to have the highest levels of pesticide residues:
- Lemons and limes
- Pre-packed salads
- Peaches and nectarines
- Chilli peppers
- Beans in the pod
The clean 15
The foods that contained low-to-no residues, even when non-organic are below with curry compatible food emboldened.
- Corn on the cob
- Sweet Potatoes
- Broad Beans
5. Do scratch cook for physical and mental health
The main ingredient in a typical Korma Jar is cream and water. This probably explains why jars of curry sauce are so cheap. A benefit of using a kit over a jar is that you're in control of the sugar, salt and amount of cream you add.
We don't want to come across anti-jar, we're just pro cooking curries from scratch and cooking with fresh natural ingredients.
Boom don't need to add preservatives because our kits contain dry ingredients. Dehydration is an ancient food preservation technology. As soon as you introduce wet ingredients you are providing a natural breeding ground for bacteria which is why so many wet sauces need to contain preservatives of some kind.
1. Don’t rule out coconut for a healthy curry
In our search for a healthy curry we’re going to stick our neck out and say don’t rule out coconut. This may fly in the face of many slimmer's guides but hear us out!
Yes, coconut is calorie dense and has high levels of saturated fat that you need to be aware of. The British Heart Foundation advises people to reduce the amount of saturated fats they eat.
However, many people don't realise that you need both none saturated and saturated fats for a healthy diet. Coconut is a great source of saturated fat and is also really high in fibre and packed with essential minerals.
For our complete coconut curry low down check out our article on coconut taste health, syn values for slimming world members.
Coconut is high in fibre - really high
Amazing fibre trivia: There is three times more fibre in desiccated coconut than prunes. That means Boom’s Korma, Tikka, Sri Lankan and Rendang curries have as much fibre as a bowl of prunes.
The 30g of coconut in Boom’s coconutty kits contains the same amount of fibre as a 100g of prunes (what’s 3.33g between friends). Our coconut is packed in sachets without Sulphur Dioxide (a preservative agent).
Desiccated coconut is 21% fibre - that’s 6.3g of pure dietary fibre in your curry.
Coconut is packed with minerals
Coconut is a superfood packed with minerals - 100g provides an adult with the following recommended daily intake of these essential minerals for health:
- 90% manganese (not to be confused with magnesium)
- 55% copper
- 22% selenium
- 23% phosphorous
- 26% iron
- 9% zinc
- 33% potassium
2. Don’t use Frylight when cooking curries
We've nothing against the contents as you can get different types of Fry Light oil. Our beef is with the volume of oil you'll end up cooking with (or lack of).
If you want to get the flavours out of your spices and into your curry you need fat or oil. The flavours locked inside your herbs and spices are soluble in fat - our opinion is that heating them in a misty film of Fy Light isn't giving you or them the best chance to shine.
If you're really on a health kick and want to cut down on oils you could try slow cooking your curries without any oil- we've not tried this but we'd hope the natural fats in your meat may slowly take on the flavours locked up in your spices.
3. Don't use low fat yogurt in curry
It brings an unwelcome tangy flavour to your curry.
Always go for cream in a Korma and good quality natural yoghurt in a Tikka.
If you insist you can just about get away with a full-fat natural or greek yoghurt in a Korma. There are obvious calorie benefits by choosing yoghurt. Namely, for the slimming world syn counters, choosing yoghurt over cream frees up syns for a beer with your curry.
I'm in the cream over yoghurt korma camp. But also the beer with your curry over no beer camp. My advice for the syn counters is to choose yoghurt and beer.
Make it a good quality full fat yoghurt, and a good beer. Personally I'd pair Yeo Valley (power to the West Country!) natural yoghurt - 1 syn per Korma portion with Duration Brewery’s ‘Sweeping Coast West Coast Pale’ 4.8% 8 Syns per 440ml can.
4. Don't go without sugar if the recipe calls for it
If you're scratch cooking curry more often than not you'll need to add some sugar.
Most curries need a bit of sweetness to balance and elevate the "earthier spices".
The only Boom kit we feel holds it own without sugar is our Sri Lankan.
Sugar alternatives seem to be quite trendy but there's no significant health benefit to be gained from any of the pricier alternatives.
To get the required sweetness you need sucrose, fructose or glucose so it's a case of picking your poison.
We wouldn't recommend sweeteners and think table sugar ain't all that broke so why bother fixing.
My mum still gives me expensive Cornish honey in my Christmas stocking (I'm in my forties 😂) and I'd much rather enjoy that on toast or with yoghurt than lose it in a curry.
Honey and coconut palm sugar have more vitamins and minerals than table sugar but you're adding such a small amounts that it's not worth worrying about. It's like taking a Pedalo or a rubber dinghy into a nutrient port that can comfortably moor ferries and battleships.
5. Don't choose naan over popadoms
A quick shout out to our favourite readily available naan bread from the Clay Oven Bakery. Some shop bought naan breads taste like bicycle seats, but these hand stretched naans are decent.
Sadly this post is about health and thanks to some analysis performed by the boffins at Foodstruct.com we're able to set the record straight and confirm that Popadoms beat Naans 6:3 on vitamins and 7:1 on minerals.