Five Reasons To See A Physiotherapist After An Injury - Physio Direct NZ

Five Reasons To See A Physiotherapist After An Injury

There is no doubt that the human body can be very resilient. Short of regenerating new limbs, our bodies are capable of recovering from large amounts of damage, including broken bones. With this in mind, many people are happy to let nature take it’s course following an injury, thinking that seeing a physiotherapist will only act to speed up already healing tissues.

The speed of recovery, however, is only one measure of healing and despite our bodies’ incredible capacity for repair; injury repair can be less than straightforward. Here are a few things about injury healing you may not have been aware of.

1. Scar Tissue is more likely to form without treatment.

Scar tissue can cause ongoing pain and stiffness in skin, muscles and ligaments. Physiotherapy can prevent excessive scarring from forming through advice regarding movement, massage and other hands-on treatment.

2. Your ability to sense the position of your body, known as proprioception, is often damaged after an injury and can be retrained.

Impaired proprioception is a major factor in re-injury. If you’ve ever heard someone say “my knee/ankle/shoulder still doesn’t feel 100%” then this could be why. The good news is that with a specific exercise program, proprioception can be improved and recovered.

3. Once healing has finished, your body may not be exactly the same as before.

Following an injury, ligaments may be lax, joints may be stiffer and muscles are almost always weaker. While the pain may be gone, there might still be factors that need to be addressed to prevent more complicated issues in the future.

4. You may have picked up some bad habits while waiting for the injury to heal.

While in pain, we often change the way we do things, this can lead to the development of poor movement patterns and muscle imbalances. Even though the pain has gone, these new patterns can remain and create further problems down the road.

5. Injuries don’t always heal completely.

On rare occasions, injuries may not be able to heal completely on their own. The most serious example of this is a fracture that cannot heal if the bone is not kept still enough. Other factors that may prevent an injury from healing include poor circulation, diabetes, insufficient care of the injury and poor nutrition.

Your physiotherapist can assess your injury and develop a treatment plan that will both restore you to the best possible function and prevent further injuries. None of the information in this article is a replacement for proper medical advice. Always see a medical professional for advice on your individual injury. 

What Is Chronic Ankle Instability? - Physio Direct NZ

What Is Chronic Ankle Instability?

Chronic ankle instability, as the name implies, is a chronic condition of instability affecting the ankle and it’s surrounding structures. It usually develops after a severe ankle sprain. However, some people are born with less stable ankles; these individuals are generally extra flexible throughout their bodies. Approximately 20% of ankle sprains lead to chronic ankle instability due to the resulting changes in ligament support, strength, postural control, muscle reaction time and sensation. 

What are the symptoms?

As well as being more susceptible to ankle sprains, people with chronic ankle instability may notice they are extra cautious during high-intensity activities, if running on uneven surfaces or when changing directions quickly. They may experience a sense of weakness or frequent ‘giving way’ when weight-bearing.

What are the causes?

The primary causes of this condition are ligament laxity, decreased muscle strength of the muscles surrounding the ankle and reduced proprioception. 

Following an ankle sprain, ligaments can be stretched and slightly weaker; in severe cases, they have torn altogether, leaving the ankle structurally weaker. Without full rehabilitation, the surrounding muscles also become weaker, and studies have shown that balance and sensation of the ankle can also be reduced. This means that the ankle is more likely to be injured again, creating a vicious cycle leading to further instability.

How can physiotherapy help?

Physiotherapy treatment for chronic ankle instability focuses on improving strength, control and balance with a variety of techniques. This approach can significantly improve ankle stability and reduce the risk of future sprains. Physiotherapists can help patients to regain confidence and get back to their best performance. 

In some cases, orthotic braces for support can be used. However, this can lead to dependence and further loss of strength and control if used unnecessarily. In cases of extreme ligament laxity or if physiotherapy fails, surgery to repair the damaged ligaments is considered. This is usually combined with a full physiotherapy rehabilitation program for greatest success.

If you don’t feel 100% confident with your ankle, come and have a chat with one of our physiotherapists to see if we can help improve your ankle stability. None of the information in this article is a replacement for proper medical advice. Always see a medical professional for advice on your individual injury. 

Avocado Chocolate Mousse - Physio Direct NZ

Avocado Chocolate Mousse


2 Large Avocados

1/2 cup Cacao Powder

1/2 cup Coconut Milk

1/2 cup Honey

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

1/2 tsp ground chilli

1 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Cardamom

Fresh Blueberries

Fresh Mint

  1. Peel and pit avocados and scoop flesh into a bowl.
  2. Add cacao powder, coconut milk, vanilla, chilli, cardamom, cinnamon and honey and combine ingredients.
  3. Using either a cake mixer or food processer, blend ingredients until smooth and slightly fluffy.
  4. Put into small containers, sprinkle with berries and coconut. Allow to chill for at least 20 minutes.

Serve chilled with coconut cream.

Common Myths Around MRI and Back Pain - Physio Direct NZ

Common Myths Around MRI and Back Pain

If you’ve been unlucky enough to suffer from chronic or ongoing back pain, chances are that at some stage, you’ve had other investigations to capture what is happening inside your spine. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an incredible technology that can provide essential insights into tissues that otherwise can’t be seen.

Unfortunately, there are some common misconceptions around what that information means, which can sometimes be unhelpful and even harmful to recovery. Here are a few things you might not realize that can help you understand your MRI:

Not all tissues show up on every scan.

Muscle, fascia, or other irritable tissues may not show up on your scan, meaning you may experience a lot of pain but have a completely normal scan. Not all parts of your anatomy will show up from every scan’s perspective and some tissue changes might only be evident in certain postures.

Age-related changes are normal and may not be related to your pain.

Results such as arthritis, disc bulges, and small tears can be concerning. However, it’s helpful to note that people who have no painful symptoms can have similar, if not more, age-related changes, and these signs may not be related to your pain at all.

Severe pain may not be related to severe changes on MRI.

Pain is a complex experience, influenced by multiple factors including the sensitivity of the tissues involved, what the brain believes about the pain and what it means, and how long it has been present. MRI is helpful for ruling out severe pathology such as infection, fracture, or malignancy; however, it is not always an accurate guide to the source of symptoms. The results of an MRI should always be taken into account as a small part of a bigger clinical picture when guiding treatment.

Talk to your physiotherapist for advice on any imaging results you have and what they might mean for your treatment and prognosis. None of the information in this article is a replacement for professional medical advice. Always consult a medical professional for advice on your condition.

Fibula Fractures - Physio Direct NZ

Fibula Fractures

What are they?

The lower part of the leg, from the knee down to the ankle, consists of two long bones that sit side by side: the thicker Tibia and the thinner Fibula. The bones are joined together by thick fibrous connective tissue called a “syndesmosis” and are firmly adhered to each other with just a small amount of movement between them, allowing for a small amount of rotation of the ankle.

A fracture of the fibula occurs when the bony tissue is disrupted or broken. It is a common injury and can occur at any part of the bone, depending on the mechanism of injury or the state of the bone.

How does it happen?

A fracture of any bone can occur when the force applied to any point exceeds the strength of the tissue at that point. However, as with all fractures, there are common patterns that are seen based on structural points of weakness in the bone and common patterns of movement. A few common ways that the fibula is broken are;

Blunt force:

If something hits the bone hard enough, it will break on impact. This could include being hit by a ball hard enough or being hit by a car, as this is the site where a car’s bumper would reach. Impacts like this that have enough force will often break both the Tibia and the Fibula at the same time. Skiing accidents where skis hit something suddenly or get stuck can also cause the bones to break at the level of the ski boots.

Ankle Sprain:

When it comes to the fibula, the most common reason for the bone to be broken is during a severe ankle sprain. The ligaments that attach the outside of the foot to the fibula are so strong that when you twist your ankle badly enough, sometimes it is the bone that breaks. This is one of the most commonly missed injuries, partly because the fibula is not a weight-bearing bone. This means that after the initial pain and swelling have subsided, you can still walk on your foot without pain stopping you. It is important to have any severe ankle sprains imaged by X-ray to rule out any fibula fractures.

What are the symptoms?

In some cases, the symptoms of a fibula fracture will be unmistakable, with severe pain. Sometimes the skin will be broken and there will be bleeding. If the bone has been moved from its usual position, there will be a deformity under the skin. For smaller, displaced fractures, there will be pain over the bony aspects and a constant, deep pain that is worse when weight-bearing.

What is the treatment?

Physiotherapists are often the first to notice fractures caused by ankle sprains. Once a fracture has been confirmed, your medical team will decide on the best course of action to allow the bones to heal. This might include surgery to pin the bones together, casting or the use of a moon boot. Following a period of immobilisation, your physiotherapist can help you rehabilitate the surrounding tissues. This will include muscle strengthening, joint mobilisation, balance and control retraining, and a stretching program.None of the information in this article is a replacement for proper medical advice. Always seek medical professional advice for your condition.

Roasted Almonds with Dates and Rosemary - Physio Direct NZ

Roasted Almonds with Dates and Rosemary


200g Whole Almonds

2 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary

100g Medjool Dates

100g Goats or Feta Cheese

1 Clove of Garlic

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice

Salt and Pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a baking tray with baking paper. Spread dates over baking tray and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes.
  2. Add almonds to the baking tray; add a crushed clove of garlic and a sprig of rosemary. Continue baking for a further 10 minutes until almonds are toasted but not burnt.
  3. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Add goat’s cheese and drizzle with lemon juice before serving.

Garnish with rosemary and serve as a delicious starter or snack.

Tips For Exercising When You Have Pain - Physio Direct NZ

Tips For Exercising When You Have Pain

One of the most challenging aspects of living with an injury or chronic pain is how it can quickly impact your exercise routine. If you have been working towards a fitness or weight goal, this can be extremely demoralising. Here are a few tips that can help to keep you on track while you recover. Staying as active as possible during this time can mean you’re in the best position to reach your goals again once your injury has healed.

1. Try a new activity.

When injury strikes, it can be tempting to stop exercising altogether and rest while you recover. An injury can be frustrating, but it can also be an opportunity to try out a different sport. If you’re a runner with an ankle injury, you can keep up your fitness by swimming instead. Cycling can be an excellent option for people for dealing with knee pain, and if you’re a swimmer with shoulder pain, maybe switch to running for a while. Check with your physiotherapist for some ideas to keep you moving.

2. Exercise within your limits.

If you’re getting pain at 5km, this doesn’t always mean you should give up running altogether. Your physiotherapist can help you monitor your symptoms carefully and plan an exercise routine that keeps your fitness up while reducing symptom flare-ups. Staying as active as possible throughout your recovery can also mean that you a better placed to get back to your best performance once symptoms reside

3. Take the opportunity to improve your footwear and equipment.

Injury and pain can be a great prompt to look at your equipment and technique . For example, with hip and knee pain, the type of shoes you wear can have a significant difference. Often pain has more than once cause, with technique and equipment more often than not having a substantial impact on the stress placed on your body. Your physiotherapist is an excellent source of advice in this area, don’t hesitate to ask for an assessment.

4. Take to the water

Hydrotherapy has long been used to help patients with joint pain or muscle weakness exercise. The water helps reduce joint stress and provide extra sensory input that can reduce pain. Exercising in water can be especially helpful for sufferers of chronic pain or those who have pain with weight-bearing. Speak to your physio for a hydrotherapy program if you’re not sure how to approach exercise in water. Our physiotherapists are happy to discuss your condition with you and share their tips to help you stay pain-free. None of the information in this article is a replacement for proper medical advice. Always see a medical professional for advice on your condition

Frozen Shoulder - Physio Direct NZ

Frozen Shoulder

What is frozen shoulder?

Frozen Shoulder (also known as Adhesive Capsulitis) is a condition that affects the shoulder joint with no apparent (idiopathic) cause. It is characterised by severe pain and stiffness of the shoulder. The shoulder capsule thickens due to lack of synovial fluid, which leads to tightness and stiffness. Frozen shoulder occurs most frequently between the ages of 40-60 years old and affects more women than men.

How does it happen?

The cause of Frozen Shoulder is still unknown, however some risk factors have been identified that increase your chances of developing the condition including diabetes mellitus, stroke, shoulder injuries and immobilisation.

The hallmark sign of Frozen Shoulder is being unable to move your shoulder even with the help of other people. This is particularly noticeable when moving the arm away from the body. Physicians may ask you to undergo investigations such as X-ray and MRI, however frozen shoulder doesn’t tend to show up on imaging.

What are the symptoms?

Frozen Shoulder has three stages:

1. Freezing (Painful stage) – lasts from six weeks to nine months; patient has a slow onset of pain (usually pain at rest), and the shoulder starts to experience limitation of motion

2. Frozen (Adhesive stage) – lasts from four to six months; pain begins to diminish (the shoulder is still usually painful with movement), of the shoulder getting stiffer, and activities of daily living are affected).

3. Thawing (Recovery stage) – last six months to two years; shoulder’s normal range of motion is slowly returning to normal

How can physiotherapy help?

Though Frozen Shoulder is a self-limiting condition, an important part of physiotherapy management is the prevention of related neck and shoulder issues secondary to the original problem. As you can imagine, frozen shoulder can be extremely debilitating and many adaptations occur in the surrounding musculature. Physiotherapy also acts to reduce pain throughout phases one and two, while restoring joint movement as the joint moves through the painful phase. This is done through a variety of treatments, including heat, stretching, joint mobilisation, range of motion exercises to improve shoulder’s motion and resistance exercise to strengthen, you will also be given a home exercise program. Recovery time varies with every patient. If you’re working hard to regain your normal shoulder function, you’ll be rewarded with a faster recovery.

Medical management includes medications and corticosteroids, joint manipulation while under anaesthetic and/or surgery, however at this point nothing has come close to providing a consistent and simple cure.

None of the information in this newsletter is a replacement for proper medical advice. Always see a medical professional for advice on your individual condition.

Vegan Cashew Cheesecakes - Physio Direct NZ

Vegan Cashew Cheesecakes



2/3 cup Pitted Dates 

1 cup Almonds

1 tbsp. Coconut Oil 

pinch of Salt 


1 1⁄2 cups of Cashew Nuts 

Juice of 1 large Lemon 

1/3 cup of Coconut Oil

1⁄2 cup Coconut Milk 

1⁄2 cup of Maple Syrup 

Raspberry Coulis 

  1. Boil some water and soak cashew nuts for 15 minutes until soft. Strain excess water and set nuts aside. 
  2. Add the dates to a blender and mix into small pieces and place in a small bowl. Next, add almonds and process into a very small meal. Add dates, coconut oil and salt into the almond meal and blend ingredients on high speed until a soft dough is formed. 
  3. Grease a muffin tin, and press the cheesecake base into the bottom of the muffin tin. Use a small glass to smooth out the base. Place this tin in the freezer when preparing the filling. 
  4. Add cashew nuts, lemon juice, coconut oil, coconut milk and maple syrup to a blender and mix until a smooth paste is created. Pour filling on top of the bases in the muffin tin. 
  5. Swirl raspberry coulis on top of the filling and place in a freezer to set, allow 2-3 hours for the cheesecake to set. 

Garnish with mint and add extra coulis when ready to serve. 

Surprising Skills That Improve With Age - Physio Direct NZ

Surprising Skills That Improve With Age

Many of us associate ageing with a decline of skills and quality of life. However, the truth is not as black and white as this. While certain skills and functions do tend to suffer as we age, surprisingly there are many abilities that actually improve as we grow older.

Some studies have shown that happiness is U-shaped, proving that the mid-life crisis is real, with the ages between 40-60 holding the highest amount of stress and responsibility for adults. It seems that happiness increases steadily after this period, with the average 80 year old reporting themselves to be as happy as the average 20 year old.

There is also evidence that your beliefs about ageing can act as a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you are positive about ageing, then your experience will be more positive than if you have negative beliefs about it.

It’s not only good news about your mental health though. Studies have also shown that while your short-term memory might decline, other skills such as creativity can actually increase. One of the biggest reasons for a decline in skill and function is the disuse that comes with retirement from work. Keeping active and mentally stimulated can be enough to keep your skills up to speed.

It has also been shown that confidence grows in both genders as we age. Making decisions becomes  easier as we know ourselves better and have a wealth of experience to draw on when a tricky situation arises.

Certain physical skills such as strength and agility might decline, however it seems that other aspects of physical ability might increase, including endurance. There are many triathletes who are in their 70s, 80s, and unbelievably even in their 90s. In the absence of any serious disability, it might be the case that age is an excuse rather than an actual hindrance to being active.

Verbal ability and vocabulary are also skills that improve as we age, which may explain why crosswords are so popular with the elderly. Making the most of your abilities at every age is important, so try not to let age be a barrier to trying new things and keeping active.

Physiotherapists are dedicated to helping people stay active at any age and can help you with achieving your goals. Speak to your physiotherapist for more information.

Focus on Calf Tears - Physio Direct NZ

Focus on Calf Tears

What are they?

The calf muscles refer to a group of muscles at the back of the lower leg that act to point the foot away from the body and play an important role in walking and running. A tear or strain of these muscles occurs when some or all of the muscle fibres are torn or stretched. This is a common injury that can affect anyone from athletes to those with a more relaxed lifestyle.

How do they happen?

Calf tears are often caused by sudden, forceful movements or overuse of the calf muscles, leading to the rupture or strain of muscle fibers. Common mechanisms of injury are a quick take off during a sports match or simply going for a long walk when not accustomed. Factors that may increase the risk of a calf tear are previous calf tears that have not been fully rehabilitated, tight and weak calf muscles, poor balance and ill fitting footwear.

What are the symptoms?

Typical symptoms of a calf tear are sharp pain over the site of the tear, especially with movement, swelling, bruising, and difficulty walking or standing. The severity of the injury can range from mild muscle strain to a complete tear, which will determine the appropriate treatment approach.

How can physiotherapy help?

The first step in managing calf tears is accurate diagnosis by a medical professional, who is able to rule out other conditions that might mimic a calf tear. They can determine the extent of the damage and create personalised treatment plans based on the patient’s specific needs. This ensures that the rehabilitation process addresses the root cause of the injury, leading to better outcomes.

Reducing pain and inflammation is important in the first one to two days following the injury. The muscle may need support during this time, depending on the severity. Over time as the swelling and inflammation subsides, your physiotherapist will help to address any factors that contributed to the injury such as muscle weakness or imbalance. Calf tears often lead to stiffness and limited range of motion in the affected leg.

Physiotherapists implement targeted stretching and range of motion exercises to restore flexibility and prevent the formation of scar tissue that may impede recovery. Gradually, the patient can regain the ability to move the calf muscle without pain or discomfort.

Rehabilitation past this point will progressively challenge the calf muscles without causing further damage. Strengthening these muscles not only aids in the healing process but also reduces the risk of future calf tears.

Proprioception, the body’s ability to sense its position in space, is crucial for balance and coordination. Physiotherapy includes specialised exercises that enhance proprioception and balance, reducing the likelihood of re-inury. This aspect of rehabilitation is especially important for athletes and active individuals who need to return to high-intensity activities safely.

None of the information in this article is a replacement for proper medical advice. Always see a medical professional for advice on your individual condition.

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio - Physio Direct NZ

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio


400g Spaghetti

4-6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (you can adjust the amount based on your heat preference)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Salt and pepper to taste

  • Cook the Spaghetti: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain the spaghetti, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water. Set aside.
  • Prepare the Garlic and Chili Oil: Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-low heat while the pasta is cooking. Add the thinly sliced garlic and red pepper flakes to the skillet. Cook gently until the garlic turns golden, and the oil becomes infused with the chilli and garlic flavours. Be careful not to burn the garlic, as it can become bitter.
  • Combine Pasta and Sauce: Add the cooked and drained spaghetti directly into the skillet with the garlic and chilli oil. Toss the pasta gently to coat it evenly with the oil and flavours. 
  • Season and Garnish: Season the dish with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Stir in the chopped parsley and half of the grated Parmesan cheese.

Serve and garnish with parsley and parmesan.

Tips For Optimal Stretching Results - Physio Direct NZ

Tips For Optimal Stretching Results

How do you stretch properly?

While there are many benefits to be gained from effective stretching, employing an improper technique can actually result in injury. Here are some tips and guidelines for you to follow when stretching:

·Warm up first with an activity such as walking (at least 5 -10 minutes).

·Stretches should be pain-free. You should only feel tension or a tight feeling when stretching. If you feel a sharp pain, this means you’re stretching too far and should relax a little.

·Don’t hold your breath while stretching; keep breathing to ensure the muscle tissues remain oxygenated during the stretch.

·Stretch both sides. But, if one muscle is tighter than the other, focus on it more until they’re both in the same range.

·Avoid bouncing at the end of the stretch because it may lead to injury.

·Hold stretches for 20-30 seconds, if not longer. A 10 second stretch is not always enough to achieve a lasting effect.

·Repeat the stretch 3-5 times with intermittent rest periods in between.

·Make sure your body is aligned properly and observe good posture.

When to Stretch?

Traditionally, stretching has been encouraged before and after any kind of physical activity. However, recent studies show that there is no discerning difference between whether you stretch before exercise/sports or not, both-in terms of performance and injury prevention. In some cases, researchers say that it’s okay to omit the pre-event stretch since the post-event stretch is much more beneficial.

Some of our everyday postures and activities can lead to certain muscles becoming tight while the others sit in a lengthened position. These habitual postures that lead to muscle imbalances then become more and more difficult to correct over time. Many therapists will suggest that stretching all muscles generically isn’t as beneficial as identifying which of your muscles are abnormally tight and developing a targeted stretching regime. Talk to your physiotherapist for advice regarding the best stretching program for your body type, posture and activity levels.

Focus on Metatarsalgia - Physio Direct NZ

Focus on Metatarsalgia

What is Metatarsalgia?

Metatarsalgia is a medical term used to describe pain that occurs in the ball of the foot. This occurs due to rubbing of the long bones of the foot, called metatarsals, causing inflammation. Build-up of inflammation in the ball of the foot compresses the small nerves that run between the toes and along the foot. Inflammation and compression of these small nerves is painful.

The pain can involve one or more joints of the foot including the big toe, second toe and third toe. It is unlikely to include the fourth or fifth joints. On occasion, the pain may involve the entire foot, or larger parts of the foot. The pain or symptoms may be made worse when bearing weight through the foot, such as walking or running. In severe cases, just standing or even wearing tight footwear can affect the foot.

How does it happen?

Metatarsalgia can be caused by a number of things. An abrupt change in the posturing of the lower back or pelvis may alter the way the foot is loaded, and cause rubbing of the long bones. Altered loading of the foot may also be caused by arthritic conditions that affect the knees, hips or pelvis.

Unavoidable factors, which may lead to the development of metatarsalgia, include increased age, and the physical shape of the foot and toe. As your body ages, the ligaments of the foot may loosen or weaken. Therefore, the bones of the foot move differently leading to altered positioning and loading of the foot.

Avoidable factors, which may lead to the development of metatarsalgia, include wearing inappropriately fitting footwear, and the type of exercise performed. Metatarsalgia is more highly associated with high-impact-type exercise such as running or gymnastics.

How can Physio help?

Your physio will determine the cause of the metatarsalgia pain and assist you with adapting your posture or improving the loading pattern of your foot. You may be advised to unload the foot by reducing or stopping exercise, changing the shoe you wear, or strengthening certain muscles in your legs.

Electrotherapeutic modalities such as icing, ultrasound or interferential therapy may be of assistance to reduce pain and inflammation in the beginning stages of treatment as well.

None of the information in this article is a replacement for proper medical advice. Always see a medical professional for advice on your condition.

Creamy Tomato and Basil Soup - Physio Direct NZ

Creamy Tomato and Basil Soup


1 can of whole peeled tomatoes

1 small onion, diced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 cups of vegetable or chicken broth

1/2 cup of coconut cream

1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 teaspoon of cumin

1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. To begin, sauté diced onions and minced garlic in olive oil until they’re soft. Then, add in a can of whole peeled tomatoes with their juice and some vegetable or chicken broth. Let the mixture simmer for about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking up the tomatoes with a spoon.
  2. Once the soup has cooled a bit, use an immersion blender or a regular blender to puree it until it’s smooth. Return the soup to the pot and stir in the coconut cream and some freshly chopped basil.
  3. For a bit of heat, add some cumin, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper to the soup, adjusting the amount of cayenne to your desired level of spiciness. Let the soup cook over low heat for another 5-10 minutes until it’s creamy and heated through.
  4. Finally, season the soup with salt and pepper to taste and serve hot with your favourite bread or croutons.

Serves 4