Cherie and Dan
Posts tagged ‘Dad’
Cherie and Dan
I grew up surrounded by avocado trees. There were seventy-five of them on our heavenly acre of orchard in Santa Barbara, California. I’m told avocados were my first solid food – and believe me, it was love at first bite! These friendly fat fruits are a mainstay of my diet and belong on the top shelf of any raw pantry. In Dan’s and my new book, Raw Food for Dummies, I cover all sorts of information about avocados as well as some fabulous recipes, two of which are reproduced here. Avocados have so many health benefits; the fact that they’re so delicious is almost a side note to why we should eat them. But – like so much else on our beautiful planet – they make healthy living delicious!
The typical avocado is about 250 calories, 75% of which are fat calories. But wait – almost all of an avocado’s fat is monounsaturated – the kind we need to process the other less desirable kinds. In fact, avocados are proven to decrease LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (helpful cholesterol). Did you know avocados have more potassium than bananas do? And extracts of avocado are being researched as aiding in the reversal of hypertension and diabetes mellitus. And a new study out of Japan suggests that avocados may have an antibacterial component. Avocados are truly amazing. Here is one of my favorite avocado recipes (also featured on page 128 of Raw Food for Dummies, along with easy to follow instructions on how to pit and peel them):
Yield: 2 servings
1 cup orange juice
2 cups stemmed and chopped kale or other dark leafy greens
1 small cucumber, peeled and chopped
1⁄4 cup fresh parsley, basil, or dill weed
1 tablespoon light miso
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1⁄2 teaspoon garlic, crushed (1 clove)
1⁄2 green onion, chopped
1⁄2 avocado, peeled and pitted
Filtered water as needed for desired consistency
1 Combine the orange juice, kale, cucumber, herbs, miso, lemon juice, garlic, and green onion. Blend the mixture until smooth.
2 Add the avocado and blend again — no more than 1 minute — until smooth.
The avocado originates in Mexico, the earliest reference to which dates around 10,000 BC. The avocado tree also has a long history of cultivation in both Central and South America, with an avocado shaped urn found near the pre-Incan city of Chan Chan dating from 900 AD. The domesticated avocado tree we know today is descended from these ancient roots and provides us with this irresistible treat. Beside being a creamy, delicious alternative to dairy foods like sour cream and butter, not to mention making a wonderful base for chocolaty raw treats, the avocado is perhaps best know for its place in south of the border style cuisine. One of my favorite avocado recipes of this sort is Avocado-Pineapple Salsa found in Raw Food for Dummies on page 198:
Yield: 3 servings
1⁄2 cup diced pineapple
2 Roma tomatoes, finely diced
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1⁄4-inch cubes
1⁄2 cup peeled, seeded, and finely diced cucumber
1⁄4 cup packed chopped cilantro
1 green onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons minced red onion
1⁄2 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1 1⁄2 teaspoons lime juice
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 Put all the ingredients into a bowl and stir to mix.
Avocados are so special to me. My history with them is so close to my heart when I remember my childhood and my father’s avocado trees. And I love all the ways I can incorporate them – my first food – into so many delicious raw dishes. Avocados are so satisfying and such a sensual food. They are truly one of the best, most comforting and healthy things we get to keep with us as we embark on our raw journey. Enjoy!
Today I brought some calla lilies into Living Light for the administration staff. They are so dedicated to supporting our students in meeting their goals and making sure they are happy with the programs they choose and I wanted them to know how much I appreciate them. This gift of flowers is particularly meaningful to them, because the flowers are from my Dad’s Garden. He transformed our yard into a flower garden that blooms year round. He wanted to make sure that I always had fresh cut flowers for the students when they arrive at the school.
Dad loved to garden. He lived in the garden city of Santa Barbara all his life and we had an acre of fruits trees with several varieties of avocados, every type of citrus imaginable, varieties of figs, peaches and apricots—just to name a few. He had flowers, too, Birds of paradise and gardenias were my favorites, but fruit was really his thing. After he retired, he used to work in his garden everyday, picking fruit, washing it, and delivering it to a long list of organizations like orphanages, homes for the elderly, schools, juvenile hall and so forth. They loved seeing my Dad, the fruit man. He always had a smile on his face and they all gave him hugs – the only payment he would allow.
When Dad moved here to Fort Bragg in his later years to be near Dan and I, growing flowers for the school became his passion. He worked at least 4 hours every day, 6 days a week, either in our garden or at the Living Light Inn He enjoyed meeting the students who stay there from all over the world, and he delighted in seeing how they enjoyed the garden.
Dad passed away 16 months ago at the age of 91 but his garden will live on and he will certainly live on in the hearts and minds of people who knew and loved him, like our Living Light family. And every time I cut flowers for the school or for our staff I think of him. Thanks, Dad.
As my 65th birthday is approaching, I realize that every day is one less day I have to live. To some that may seem a statement of hopelessness, but to me it is a blessing to really understand this in a positive sense. It means I now recognize the importance of each day that I live. I feel fortunate in that I know my life has had value and that I have made a difference on this planet. This is important to me, so even if this is my last day, I have no regrets. But I want to make the most of the days I have left. And, if I live as long as my Dad (he was strong until 90 and died at 91), I have 25 good years. How many of those years will be great years filled with love and light and how many will just be years of life? No one can know.
I’ve done a lot in 65 years and still have things I want to do. Some of that is on behalf of others and some on my own behalf. I’m not finished producing yet and won’t be happy just traveling to all the places on my bucket list. But I am thinking more about that list. I’ve already done and seen a lot of things I wanted to do and see and most of what is left is traveling/exploring and connection with myself and others. Nothing I would regret if I found out I was going to die tomorrow, but each day is more precious than the last.
It is my new phase and I am grateful that I am having this realization at this time. I don’t know what other people think about when they turn 65, but this is what’s on my mind these days.