Nutritious Noshing: Avocados

Hey there!  It’s been a while.

What have you all been up to, since we last chatted?  Do you have your halloween costumes started yet (or probably more likely, finished)?!

I haven’t done halloween since I was in grade seven.  It’s never been a huge thing for me, even when I was little.  And when I was little it was literally only a huge thing because my Dad would buy me a costume, and I got to pick it every year.  I mean come on, if you could dress up as Pocahontas for a day, wouldn’t you get excited?!

Yeah, the whole candy thing was never the draw.  I’ve never been big on candy, and when I was little I pretty much hated chocolate.  I know, crazy right?!  My love of chocolate has only developed since puberty basically, and even then, my chocolate love is limited (see this post).  But it’s deep and dark and true.

So even when I was little, Halloween night would be the draw.  Often I went trick-or-treating with a good friend and her family, and I super looked forward to it, because we’d go to three times the amount of houses, which meant that I could wear my costume for three times as long!  And I’m from Canada right, so by October 31, it’s kind of chilly at night!  This friend’s mom was one of those wrap-my-kids-in-bubble-wrap types, so she’d always force her kids to wear their puffy coats OVERTOP of their costumes, but I wasn’t her kid!  So being as proud of my costume as I always was, I would refuse adamantly to wear my jacket and cover it up!  She wasn’t my Mom, so her hands were kind of tied.  I’d sit in the back seat of the van, teeth chattering, and she’d try to coax me into wearing my winter jacket, and I’d deny being cold until my cheeks were blue (as opposed to my lips, as I’m pretty sure those were probably already blue…).  I won, every year.  I can be determined when I want to be.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

Yeah, so I’d come home with my haul of candy, and my poor mother would set out on the task of going through it and inspecting for tampering.  I was all like, “NOW!” because every kid wants SOME candy on halloween.  And I’d have like two chocolate bars, or something… and that was it.  Seriously.  Maybe, MAYBE, I’d take one or two to school for the next couple of days, but beyond that, the bag of candy went on the bottom shelf of my kitchen cupboard (the one that currently houses my vast array of graters and hand mixer), and it would sit there.  Literally, all year.  We’d go in there the next halloween to put the new bag of candy in, and we’d find the old, full bag pushed to the back.

I think at some point, my parents were all like, “Why don’t we give some of this candy away, or at least not bother to go through all the work of trying to inspect ALL of it for tampering.  I think I was pretty adamant every time about the necessity of keeping it all, and going through every piece.  Even then I was logical.  I mean, I worked hard for that candy!  There was a lot of shivering involved!  Plus, who knew which four candy bars out of the bag of a hundred or more I would want to eat!?  I needed my selection!

Yeah, your choice: logical, or crazy.

Anyways, back to my main point: I haven’t done Halloween for years.  I avoided it like the plague in high school, which is kind of sad now that I look back on it, considering I was on the student council and it was kind of important that we participated in all the school events we put on.  Nevertheless, I always refused to dress up.  The most they ever got out of me was a halfhearted witches hat thrown on strictly during lunch hour and removed the moment the bell rang.

When did the love die?

Probably the moment I realized that I didn’t really enjoy the chocolate enough to shiver for it… or the moment that I started having to pay for my own costume.

Anyways, I had my heart on ignoring it again this year.  Except at my new job, they value that kind of participation once again.  It’s not required to participate, but once I heard that you get a gift certificate just for showing up in costume… I figured maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing (insert winking emoji here).

So yesterday when I went to the city, I set about getting the materials I needed to make my costume.  I agree to participate, but I don’t agree to spend money on a costume.  I mean, do you realize that that money could buy like 2/3 of a cookbook? Or at least 4 or 5 kombucha teas?  Don’t get me started on the PSLs…

Priorities=check.

So I had a strict $15 cap.  And I was doing well, had everything I needed except the last component.  Cue, me walking into Michaels in the afternoon, going to the kids craft section, turning the corner, and…

They’re out of pompoms.

Either everyone has the exact same costume idea as me, or we all found this pin at the same time and were overcome by an intense need to create adorable fuzziness!

Anyways, by this point I was tired, hungry, and just wanted to be done.  So the choice became, spend the money on a whole bunch of little bags of pompoms, or rethink the whole costume after already spending money on the rest of the supplies.

I bit the bullet, spent $25 on tiny bags of pompoms, and bought a half sweet toasted graham cracker soy latte from Starbucks to nurse my sorrows. The struggle was real.

IMG_1810

Speaking of work, I got a huge volume of guacamole for free from work, because the question was literally, “Do you want all of this, or it’s going in the trash?”  And of course it’s an avocado, and not only do I hate wasting food, but I particularly hate wasting GOOD food.  AND, this is like literally the only store-bought guacamole I can eat, as I am allergic to peppers and raw garlic.  Buzzkill.  And looking at the ingredients list, it contains both jalapeños and garlic… I don’t even want to know what they do to it so that I don’t react.  Some things are better left unknown.

So needless to say, I was all like, “Guacamole!  Get in my mouth!”

And 6 months ago, that sentence would never have even crossed my mind.  Progress!

The problem with guacamole is you open the container, and you literally have a maximum 72 hours (if you don’t mind discolouration), but more like 24-48 to eat it.  Unless you have some amazing tips and tricks to keep your guacamole from turning?  If so, TEACH ME YOUR WAYS!

So my week has been full of guacamole, or rather, full of discovering all the things you can do with guacamole.  You know, beyond the tortilla chip route.  Some awesome things I discovered:

Burrito type bowls.  These two were a couple of favourites:

Freekeh Burrito Bowl

Freekeh and black beans, fried together with an egg and sautéed onions, topped with radishes, carrots, spinach, and tomato, greek yogurt, cilantro and guacamole. This one is the overall winner.

Sweet potato burrito bowl

Roasted sweet potato, topped with fried black beans, onions, chard, cheddar cheese, greek yogurt, guacamole, tomato, and cilantro.

The typical quesadilla:

Black beans, 4 year aged white cheddar!, fried onions, spinach and tomato, topped with greek yogurt and guacamole

Black beans, 4 year aged white cheddar!, fried onions, spinach and tomato, topped with greek yogurt and guacamole

And a new concoction that you seriously must try!! Tuna Salad Guacamole Wraps!  SO DELICIOUS! (at this point my aforementioned browning was starting to become an issue… don’t let it distract you from the AWESOMENESS!)

1/2 can tuna, 1/3 c guacamole, a squirt of lime juice, 1/2 green onion (all parts) cut up finely, and 3-4 cherry tomatoes. Mix it all up well and stuff it in a wrap, taco, or sandwich!

1/2 can tuna, 1/3 c guacamole, a squirt of lime juice, 1/2 green onion (all parts) cut up finely, and 3-4 cherry tomatoes. Mix it all up well and stuff it in a wrap, taco, or sandwich!

And after all of this guacamole eating, you’d think I would be begging for a change. Cue my realization: me + avocado = happy, delicious, love.  No guacamole or avocado hate in the picture for me.  Case in point: I went to Costco and bought a three pack yesterday because I had run out of the free stuff… I don’t learn.

Now, those of you who struggle with an eating disorder know that this kind of love is often forbidden.  It’s kind of like Romeo and Juliet, minus the Montagues, Capulets, poison, and overall death scenario.

Okay, maybe that means it’s not like Romeo and Juliet at all…

Point is, it’s forbidden.  Usually this has something to do with the fat content, and associated caloric content. Let’s get real here (according to the USDA):

1/4 of an average avocado clocks in at 80 calories, 1 g protein,   7.37 g fat,

3.4 g  total dietary fibre, 0.33 g sugar

Yeah, man.  That’s not a heck of a lot of avocado.  And for those of you who can do some math, you notice that that means that 83% of the calories in an avocado come from… FAT!

LET’S ALL RUN AWAY SCREAMING! (I think there’s an emoji for that…there’s probably an app for that too)

But wait, before you navigate away from this page, or chastise me for posting calorie counts and being “triggering”, or swear off avocado for life (this would be SAD!  Please don’t…), hear me out!  I post this info to make a point.

In modern society, we live in a fat phobic environment.  We have sworn off all forms of fat, and condemned them all as being “unhealthy”, “disgusting”, “the cause of disease”, “the cause of obesity”, and basically all the equivalent of drinking a vat of grease that they use to fry McDonalds french fries.  It’s easy to see this information about our friend the avocado, and automatically make it taboo.

But let’s get real: is there not a difference between eating an avocado, and scarfing down a whole family size A&W fries?

Side note:  I don’t actually have anything against french fries, and I do in fact believe they equally hold their place in a balanced diet.  Remember guys, no food rules!  It just helps illustrate my point to use an example that easily comes to mind.  Plus, I’m not actually a fan of french fries (unless they’re sweet potato <3!), taste and texture thing, not ED.  BUT, if you are like the vast majority of people that actually enjoy the things, GO FOR IT!  Seriously, don’t deprive yourself!  Everything in moderation is a healthy way to live and eat!

Let’s jump down a little bit on the nutritional label of an avocado and you’ll see what I mean.  Often times, we get a little stuck after we pass through calories.  Or if you get past calories, you get stuck at fat.  And if you get past fat (good job!), you get stuck at one of the other things you feel afraid of, or feel the need to count: protein, carbs, or sugars.  But guys!  THERE’S ANOTHER PART THAT COMES AFTER SUGARS!

Mind blown, I know.

It looks something like this:

1/4 of an average avocado gives you:

6 mg calcium, 15 mg magnesium, 26 mg phosphorus, 244 mg potassium, 41 mcg folate (B9), 10.6 mcg Vitamin K

Not to mention small amounts of other essential nutrients, and some good fat soluble (AKA you actually need that fat in order to utilize them) vitamins E and A (other fat solubles are D and K).

Point:  Avocado is a boss.

But, this is boring! You say.  What does that even mean?

Like I’ve mentioned before, what works wonders for me when I fear a food or a food group is looking at all the positives of that food (see my post on the goodness in cinnamon rolls– it does actually exist!).  Because there is no food that is completely devoid of good things for your body.  Take those babies that chew on dirt or cement (pica)… sometimes that is caused by nutrient deficiency (namely iron and zinc)!

Side note: I don’t mean it’s good to eat cement or dirt.  Pica is a serious disorder that needs medical attention.  My point is, they can get some nutrients even from these things!

So avocados?  What does all of this number and letter jargon actually mean?

The wonder of avocados:

  1. Monounsaturated Fats: Avocados are the only fruits (yes, it’s a fruit!  It has a pit!) that contain monounsaturated fats, which helps to lower LDL cholesterol levels (in simplified terms, although it’s not that simple, “bad cholesterol” levels.
  2. Fibre: Fibre helps not only to keep you regular, but also feeds all the bacteria present in your large intestine that help you to breakdown and utilize the nutrients found in food.  It also helps you to feel full longer, and helps keep your blood sugar levels in check.  So you know all those recipes that combine bananas, and avocados, and chocolate.  Yeah, it’s a good idea for that whole lack of sugar spike thing… plus it kind of tastes awesome.
  3. Fats:  Again, the fat thing!  Like I said, the fat in avocados is necessary to allow you to absorb fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, present not only in the avocado itself but also in whatever you’re eating with your avocado.  Plus it helps you absorb other nutrients associated with the fat-soluble vitamins like the carotenes and lutein.  Plus, fats are necessary to produce sex hormones, maintain the flexibility of your cell membranes, and synthesize cholesterol (cholesterol is not all bad, it’s necessary too!).
  4. Actual Nutrients Present: Manganese, Iron, Magnesium, Alpha Carotene, Lutein, Potassium, B vitamins, Vitamin E: Manganese is necessary for enzymes to perform properly, allowing the use of  vitamin B1, C, and protein. Iron is important for red blood cell production, and thus energy levels, respiratory system, and circulatory system function. Magnesium is necessary for your heart and muscle health, your nervous system, and your stress levels. Alpha Carotene is helpful for inflammation and is a great antioxidant. Lutein is super important for eye health. Potassium is necessary for cardiovascular health (think lowering blood pressure!), and proper nervous system function. B Vitamins (there are too many!), are essential for so many things, not the least of which is immune function.  Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, and is awesome for skin health!

I could go on and on, because avocados contain over 20 vitamins and minerals. 20!  You could write a book!  Actually, I’m sure that’s been done…

So what’s the take home message?

Stick with the avocado love, calories be damned.  Eat your guacamole, and eat it often.  Slice it, dice it, cube it, and throw some lime juice on it!  Keep it in the fridge, covered tightly with plastic wrap once it’s cut, and with the pit in to prevent some browning.(Once again, if anyone has some avocado preserving tips other than lemon/limes, and keeping the pit in, tell me your ways!).

And when ED tells you it’s bad… when he tells you the numbers, when he says to go run it off afterwards, when he says it’s not what you need, when he tells you it’s too much, when he freaks out about the fat…

Think of your heart that’s pumping because of the potassium and magnesium. Because of the avocado.

Think of your skin that is red and rosy thanks to proper circulation from the iron, and glowing and healthy because of the vitamin E. Because of the avocado.

Think of your ability to reproduce and be a woman, because you have enough fats to produce sex hormones.  Because of the avocado.

Think of how you have energy, because of the iron, calories, and overall nutrient content.  YOU DESERVE TO HAVE ENERGY!  FATS AND FOOD AND CALORIES GIVE YOU ENERGY!  THEY ALLOW YOU TO LIVE YOUR LIFE, NOT JUST ADD MASS TO YOU (THEY MIGHT NOT EVEN ADD MASS UNLESS YOU NEED TO ADD IT!). Because of the avocado.

And as you taste that creamy deliciousness, enjoy it.  Because it’s good.  And that’s good enough.

Some serious avocado link love for you, if you want to hop on my bandwagon!  My top 5 avocado recipe loves written by others:

  1. The best smoothie of life.  Seriously my all time favourite! Banana Peanut Butter Green Smoothie via Pastry Affair.  You’ll have seen this guy a plethora of times on my instagram feed.IMG_5818
  2. Cheesy Sweet and Sour Thai Pomegranate Chicken Enchiladas via Half Baked Harvest.  Phew, that’s a mouthful to say. But it’s an even better mouthful to eat.  My version pictured, made up for the pepper thing by subbing in hoisin for the sweet chilli paste, mixed with some curry powder, and spiralized carrots for the red bell pepper.IMG_5663
  3. Autumn Avocado Toast with Gorgonzola, Pears, and Toasted Walnuts via How Sweet Eats.  Yes, it’s just avocado toast… but the combo is awesome!  That, plus avocado, goat cheese, balsamic, and strawberries.  Just saying.4.

4. Simple Roasted Squash via Deliciously Ella.  The avocado puree is to die for.  Literally.

5. Chocolate Avocado Smoothie via Texanerin.  This really is not a smoothie… it’s a pudding.  And it’s delicious topped with coconut chips, and made using dark chocolate almond milk.  Just saying.IMG_1622

Plus you can follow my Pinterest (in particular my avocado board), for more and constantly updated ideas!

I’m done with the plugging now.  I swear.

And of course, this post made me crave avocado.  So here’s a look at some more avocado love from my lunch I’m currently devouring as I hit publish:

Quinoa mixed with tamari, cherry balsamic, pomegranate arils, and green onions, along with roasted sweet potato, spinach, raspberries, pumpkin seeds, goats feta, and 1/4 of a mashed avocado

Quinoa mixed with tamari, cherry balsamic, hemp seeds, pomegranate arils, and green onions, along with roasted sweet potato, spinach, raspberries, pumpkin seeds, goats feta, and 1/4 of a mashed avocado

Information sources:

My own knowledge!

USDA

Nutrition Stripped

Staying Healthy With Nutrition by Elson M Haas, MD

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2 thoughts on “Nutritious Noshing: Avocados

  1. Got me soon hungry! I’ve been having trouble getting to my avocados before they go bad, but I do know 1 trick that might help with the guac: sometimes brushing the top with lemon or lime juice and then storing it in an airtight container can keep it fresh for a couple days. Let me know how it works for you 🙂

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