One of my husband and I's favorite favorite whole foods is avocado! We slice it up, mash it up, and put it on just about everything! Avocado can make a great addition to almost any meal, and is touted for its many health benefits:
- Add to your morning smoothie, to amp up the smooth and creamy texture
- Slice it and add it to just about any salad for a dose of healthy fat
- Mash it up and make guacamole to dip veggies and chips in
- Spread it on a slice of toast or add to a sandwich or wrap
- Massage into your scalp for a great deep conditioning treatment
- Buy the oil form to rub on your skin for an extremely moisturized body
Avocados are rich in healthy fats. Who would've thought...A healthy fat?! Good news! Yes, there are "healthy" and "unhealthy" fats. Incorporating fat into our diet can aid our bodies in better absorbing other vital nutrients in foods, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K. Avocados can also help reduce total cholesterol, by improving your "good," HDL-cholesterol, and lowering your "bad," LDL-cholesterol, as well as slowing the development of heart disease.
Alkalinity is another thing the avocado has going for it. The pH scale goes from 1-14, 1 being highly acidic, 7 being neutral, and 14 being highly alkaline. We want to strive to keep our bodies in a slightly alkaline state, a little above 7. If we are too acidic, it can causes inflammation inside our bodies, which exhibits itself in many unwanted forms, from acne, to acid reflux, to heart disease. Eat an avocado for an alkalinity boost that will help your hair, skin, and nails to grow and glow!
As with any food, though, there can be too much of a good thing. Limit your intake of avocado if you already consume a diet high in other fats. One avocado typically contains about 230 calories! Dusty and I like to split one over lunch, or whip up a quick batch of guacamole and make it last for a couple of days in the refrigerator.
Vote with your dollar!
Remember when it used to be a big deal when it was "avocado season" and you could get it on your Subway?! Now Chipotle cranks out batches of guac that take 48 avocados to whip up…multiple times a day! Enter the health nuts. In 2012, the American obsession with super foods and the relatively new concept of "good fats" versus "bad fats" drove avocados to superstar status. Avocado demand spiked 34 percent in 2012, with yet another 10 percent increase in demand for 2013, says Mike Lew, of Bon Appétit.
I say Power to the People! I have always been a firm believer in leading by example, and a key component to that mantra is voting with your dollar. While much of our country is in a healthcare crisis, there is becoming a greater amount of awareness about health. Health starts with what we put into our bodies! If the demand for avocados, and other healthy foods keeps increasing, then suppliers will continue to supply supply supply! Prices will also begin to fall! So if you want to see more healthy options in your local supermarket, keep buying what makes your body feel good, and you will continue to see it more widely available.
The same goes for organic produce, the higher the demand, the more there will be. Which brings me to one last fun fact before I share the recipe: Avocados are actually on the Clean 15 list, meaning that they contain some of the lowest pesticide residues. So if you can't find an organic avocado, don't sweat it, apparently the pests just don't like waiting around for an avocado to ripen! Must be because they don't realize just how incredibly delicious they are. Let's keep it that way! :) (Keep your eyes peeled for my future post on the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15, so you can better navigate the produce section!)
ERIN & DUSTY'S BASIC, HOLY GUACAMOLE! RECIPE
When selecting an avocado at the grocery store, you want to pick one that is barely soft when you apply pressure, and super dark green in color. Many times the store will only have green hard avocados in stock. Then you simply need to let them sit out on your countertop for a day or two, or to speed up ripening place in a paper bag with a fruit like an apple or a tomato and close it up. Both give off a high amount of ethylene gas, that will cause the avocado to ripen quickly. You can also use this trick to ripen bananas! One trick that I've learned, is if the stem of the avocado "pops" off easily, then it's good to go!
- 2-3 ripe avocados
- 1/2 lime
- 1 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro (or a few pinches of dried)
- salt + pepper to taste
- need heat? add in a dash of crushed red pepper or cayenne red pepper
- Slice each avocado in half and remove the pits.
- Scoop out the avocado flesh and discard the skin.
- Add to a bowl with other ingredients and mash with a fork.
- Enjoy with just about anything!
- The best way I've found to store leftover guacamole is to put it in a tupperware and cover it with a piece of saran wrap that is pressed down directly on top of it to reduce any exposure to air. (The citrus from the lime also helps to preserve). Place it in the refrigerator and eat within a couple of days.
- You can also add in other ingredients such as onion, garlic, and tomato, but this recipe is just as delicious and takes no time at all to make! Enjoy!