Ahh…vocado

Be honest, what do you think of when you hear “avocado?”

Avocado

Were you thinking . . . guacamole?  It’s ok…this is normal.

MYTHS & STEREOTYPES

If it’s possible to stereotype a superfood, I think we’ve done it with avocados. We’ve pretty much limited their potential to guacamole. Avocado is to guac like Daniel Radcliffe is to Harry Potter. He’ll never have another identity. He will always be the floppy haired Boy Who Lived, flying around on his broomstick, fighting off evil wizards with his wand.

But, back to the avocados. Avocados are truly one of the healthiest foods on the planet.

Now, you may have heard that avocados are high in fat, especially for a fruit. While it’s true  that avocados have 20-30 grams of healthy fat, it should NOT deter you from eating them. Hear me out.

Avocados contain healthy poly- and mono-unsaturated fats that are essential to our daily lives. These fats put the AHHH in avocado.

I realize that we, as Americans, have been bombarded by advertising gimmicks and bad nutritional advising (think that ever-changing USDA Food Pyramid…I mean My Plate…whatever they call it these days).

All these low-fat, no-fat foods have popped up in the last few decades and yet we are getting more obese by the second! Many nutritionists believe that this epidemic can be partly attributed to the LACK of fat in our diets (replaced with less filling, more addictive starches and sugars). We’ve been brainwashed to believe that fat is bad, but actually, we NEED fat for energy, cell vitality, and overall health.

(I know this is hard to digest, so don’t just take my word for it — read what MSNBC and Men’s Health magazine have to say)

NUTRITIONAL HIGHLIGHTS

Avocados are high in the following:

  • Super-fats! - Particularly mono- and poly-unsaturated fats, like those found in olive oil and nuts. Notably high in oleic acid (an omega-9 fatty acid) and beta-sitosterol (blocks cholesterol absorption)
  • Antioxidants Lutein & Zeaxanthin - Important carotenoids that support healthy eyes
  • Fiber - 11-17 grams per avocado
  • Protein - highest content of any fruit
  • Vitamins & Minerals - Great source of potassium (more than a banana!), folate, and vitamin A (beta carotene)

INFLAMMATION RATING:  + 181

Avocado is a moderately anti-inflammatory food, helping reduce tissue and joint inflammation, chronic pain, and the ill-effects of inflammatory diseases.

HOW TO EAT

Avocados are a versatile superfood! If you’re an avocado aficionado, eat them halved, with a spoon.

Or, use them as a salad garnish; roll in sandwiches, wraps; chop on burgers or in fajitas/tacos; mix with breakfast eggs; dice on as a pizza topping; stir into soups, dips, and spreads; purée in healthy smoothies. And, wait for it . . . craft within your desserts. It might sound crazy, the creamy consistency and light flavor of avocados pairs well with chocolate and makes them a great counterpart or substitute for dairy: think avocado ice cream, chocolate dessert shakes, chocolate-avocado pudding. Brazilian and Filipino cultures have used avocados in desserts for centuries.

(See avocado.org and the dessert recipe below for ideas)

BUYING & STORING

When a fresh avocado is picked, it takes between 7 and 10 days to ripen. If you’re not lucky enough to have avocado trees nearby and/or you’re “picking” yours from the supermarket, choose a dark green avocado that’s starting to soften on the ends — one that is neither mushy nor hard.

Keeping avocados in the refrigerator will slow down the ripening process. Putting them in a paper bag (with a ripe apple) will speed up the ripening process. Once cut open, avocados ripen quickly, forming a brown layer on top (like bananas). Store cut avocados in an airtight container or a bag with the air squeezed out. You can always use a spoon to skim off the top brown layer and enjoy the green below!

AVOCADO CHOCOLATE PUDDING

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe avocados

  • 6 TBS cocoa powder

  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk (chocolate if you can!)

  • ¼ cup of Just Like Sugar or Truvia

  • Optional: chopped chocolate chunks

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Whip the almond or coconut milk and the sweetener in a mixing bowl.

  2. Peel and pit the avocados.

  3. Blend the avocados and cocoa powder in a blender until smooth.

  4. Fold the chocolate avocado mix into the coconut and enjoy!

  5. Top with pieces of chocolate if desired.

Makes 6 servings

(ADAPTED FROM ONE OF MY FAVORITE GLUTEN-FREE, LOW-CARB BLOGS - MARIA’S NUTRITIOUS AND DELICIOUS JOURNAL)