"I'll have a California roll please, oh, and hold the avocado," I sheepishly ordered. "You don't eat avocado?" he blurted, at a decibel level that made me a bit uncomfortable. "Ummm no," I lied. "But the flavor adds SO much to the roll. It's rich, creamy, nutty and..." "It's a texture thing," I interrupted. "Not into the mushy stuff." Finally he dropped it. I was with my dear foodie friend Asi, out to share one of our favorite meals, sushi, and catch up. It had been a while since I'd seen Asi so it made sense he didn't remember that I used to eat avocado. I used to be all about them. In fact, I grew up with an avocado tree in my back yard that graciously gifted us avocados the size of my head. Entire summer meals centered around guacamole. But not anymore. I was deep in the throws of low fat mania, desperate to be "skinny" and not about to let one fatty avocado morsel pass my lips. Asi's overt infatuation with our beautifully twiggy waitress didn't help either. "There's no way in hell I'm eating avocado now!!", I thought.
My low fat days were a crazy time of trying to attain thinness (whatever that meant) and be a good diet soldier following each new craze with obsessive zeal. Looking back, it was really pure insanity. Eating processed, sugar laden fat free foods instead an actual whole fruit??? (Quick FYI, avocado is a fruit.) Just ridiculous! The 90's fat free thinking truly took a toll on our collective psyche. I still have clients asking me, "Are avocados really ok to eat?" YES YES YES. They were always OK to eat. It was just our whacked out desire for good health or the perfect body that allowed us to listen to poorly sourced nutrition and media advice, rather than our own bodies.
Besides being fantastically yummy, avocados are quite good for us. What, you say? Creamy, fatty, indulgent and good for me?? Sign me up! They are loaded with vitamins K, B and C and rich in omega 3 fatty acids. To be honest, a nightly fight can be viewed in our dining room as Gray and I battle it out for the chunks of avocado in our salad. Needless to say, I am always the winner. The trick is knowing that avocado, being heavier than the other salad ingredients, falls to the bottom. Lift up a few lettuce leaves and there they are! Cubed, dressed, and ready to be devoured.
Here are 7 great ways to get avocados into your diet. Just remember, go for local over Chilean and Mexican grown.
1. Salad dressing- mix mashed avocado with olive oil, lime/lemon, cumin, sea salt, fresh cilantro and thin with a little water.
2. Vegan mayonnaise- mix mashed avocado with olive oil, a splash of white wine vinegar, fresh dill, and sea salt and put on any sandwich.
3. A topping for everything- I put avocado over most things including lentil salad, cabbage slaw and sun dried tomato pilaf.
4. Chocolate mousse-blend avocado, honey/maple syrup, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract until smooth. Let it chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours and enjoy!
5. Cookies/Quick Bread recipes- Add 1/2 cup of mashed avocado to a favorite cookie or quick bread recipe.
6. Avocado seaweed salad- combine 1 avocado with 1/2 cup soaked arame or wakame and toss with green onion, cucumber, sesame oil, brown rice vinegar, and tamari.
7. Smoothie - add avocado to any smoothie for an added rich and creamy flavor.