My biggest reason I never bought an avocado was because I would take it home intending to use it and when I cut it open, it would be bad inside. And let’s face it, they are a little pricey. But are they worth it? Oh yeah, definitely. Since I found the living food lifestyle, I found so much more to do with them AND how to keep them ripe and never throw away another one.
The avocado was discovered by Charles Avocad in 1762, and is botanically a fruit. It is often treated as a vegetable and in some cuisines; this luscious green fruit/vegetable is used in desserts. The cultivation of avocados began over 10,000 years ago. These grew mainly in tropical areas. Some believe even further back! Maybe avocado trees fed the dinosaurs! Now North and Central America lead the world in production, with California, Texas and Florida providing us with different varieties of avocado. If you want to avoid the toxicity and cholesterol of meats, avocados are the substitute for you. They are a great way to transition to a healthier vegetarian or raw food lifestyle.
My first months raw, I ate one avocado a day. I ate it alone, put it in a wrap with other raw veggies, made guacamole or added to my salad. Those three months I lost over 10 pounds. We know enough now that cooked foods, breads, pastas, refined sugars, meats, dairy and processed foods are what is causing a high rate of obesity, not to mention lack of exercise and holding on to old emotional habits and patterns. Avocados and other fruit and plant foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, soluble fiber, active enzymes, proteins, and easily digested fats. They contain 74% water and have no cholesterol.
Let’s first figure out how to pick an avocado. Take some of the fear out of shopping for expensive fruit. If it’s large, it will perish quicker. Bruising inside? Hard to tell, right? Right. Unfortunately. I try to buy them when they are not ripe. Then I refrigerate the whole avocado and take out only when I need them. Allow to ripen on the counter for 1-3 days, depending. In the refrigerator they will not ripen, so good to store there. Depending on the state it comes from will depend on how to choose. Florida avocados will yield to gentle squeezing when ripe. California avocados need one day if they yield to pressure. But, the big thing is….once you cut that luscious fruit/vegetable, the process of ripening ends. At that time you are stuck with it. To store your cut avocado, wrap tightly in saran wrap or in a tight container. Lemon juice may stop the blackening also. Basically, eat the whole thing in one sitting and play it safe.
There are a few ways to cut open an avocado. I like to cut it lengthwise around, twist, open and spear the pit with a knife. If I’m making guacamole, raw chocolate pudding or a smoothie, I just squeeze each half into a bowl. If I’m making a pretty salad or sandwich, I will peel the skin and cut in strips or use one of those handy, dandy plastic avocado cutter outers.
And then there are the benefits of avocados. They are filled with healthy fats, vitamins like A, B-complex, C, H, K and E, beta-carotene and alpha-carotene, plus minerals like magnesium, copper, iron, calcium, potassium and other trace elements. They contain more protein than cow’s milk and provide you with 18 amino acids and 7 fatty acids. When you combine the fats from avocado with nutrients in your other foods like vitamin A, D, E, K, lutien, lycopene and calcium, these vitamins are better and more easily absorbed by your body. You don’t need a lot of avocado for this process. They are high in fat and also give you a good amount of magnesium and fiber.
Just took a little break to eat an avocado. I’m back. How about some recipes? Ok then……
Smoothies are easy. Use half or whole pitted avocado in your blender with about two cups of coconut, rice or almond milk. Add raw cacao for the chocolatey smooth richness. You can sweeten with fruit or agave if needed. These recipes are from Kelly Serbonich and Anna Maria Clement’s Healthful Cuisine Book.
3 cups mashed avocado, 1/2 cup finely diced red onion, 1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper, 1/2 cup shredded carrot, 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, 1-2 cloves pressed garlic, teaspoon ground cumin, 2 Tbl fresh lemon juice, cayenne and Bragg Liq Amino to taste. You can also add kelp granules or sea salt. I like to put something like this into a portobello mushroom soaked in Bragg’s. Yum.
1 avocado, 12 dates(pitted and soaked), 1 cup soak water from dates or coconut water, 1 tsp cinnamon. Blend all the ingredients until smooth and sprinkle the cinnamon on top. You can add banana, mango or carob powder or cacao.
Have fun and experiment. Wishing you healthy eating!