Monday, October 17, 2011

The Avocado - I Thought They Were Just Delicious!

Whether you are eating a WF, DF, GF, SF, Vegetarian or Vegan diet because of allergies, health related or philosophical reasons, it can be a bit challenging at times.  I find it easiest to concentrate on all of the foods I can have, those that enhance my health and make me feel more vibrant!

While writing the introduction to my cookbook, I did a lot of thinking about the foods I think are the most important ones to add to your weekly shopping list.  It was so enlightening to do a bit of research and learn something new or be reminded about why I chose to be a Naturopath and a Biological Medicine doc!  Hippocrates had it right when he penned, "Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food."

So I've decided over the next several weeks to sprinkle in a few of the most interesting food facts I found during my research to uncover my top 30 OMG! Nutritional All-Stars.  I hope that you will feel as inspired by these foods as I am!

I'm always so inspired by food!  Just walking down the produce isles or strolling through a farmers market often leads to over buying just thinking of the possibilities!  From the fresh, bright smells of the citrus fruits, to the perfume of the berries, peaches and cherries, and the vibrant colors of the greens, tomatoes, bell peppers and eggplants, I am often awe struck by the variety, the beauty and the aromas!

If I didn't know what was waiting for me below their leathery covering, I would never even think about purchasing an avocado - for heaven's sake they are often called alligator pears - could there be a less appealing name?  But if you read this except from my book, you may change your mind about the unattractive little alligator pear . . .

"At first glance no one would ever guess that avocados held such a treasure trove of health benefits in the luscious, creamy flesh below that rather unappealing leathery exterior! Long avoided by many for their high fat content, this misunderstood fruit is now considered a champion in the fight against cardiovascular disease (including cholesterol issues), cancer, arthritis and nervous system disorders.

It seems that the combination of oleic acids, fiber, polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols (PFA’s are generally only found in sea vegetables) and spectacular array of carotenoids are so unique that scientists are puzzled by their findings.  And that the avocados mix of fat soluble carotenoids, which mostly lie in the dark green outer coating that lies just below the leathery skin, when combined with the unique fats in the flesh, deliver anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits that are relatively unparalleled!  In fact avocados have the unique ability to protect healthy cells from oxidation while increasing the oxidation levels in cancer cells which leads them to a quick self destruction (apoptosis).  That makes avocados one of the OMG! All-Stars of this category!"

Be certain that your avocados are just slightly under-ripe when you purchase them so they will make it home without bruises.  Let them stand for a day or two at room temperature and then it's "Avocado Time"!!!

Remember when using the smooth, creamy flesh to include that dark green outer layer that sometimes tries to cling to the skin.  That's where the some of the most important carotenoids are located.  If it does cling to the skin just scrape it out with a spoon.

Now make your favorite guacamole or add a few slices to garnish an omelette, a bowl of chili, or some of my Sweet Potato Hash.   Or simply toss with some lemon and add to a simple green salad or some roasted tomatoes for a quick side dish!

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