Making Life Delicious!

Archive for February, 2013

Avocado Love

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):Vitality Soup

Vitality Soup

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:

Avocado-Pineapple Salsa-7450Avocado-Pineapple Salsa

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 mycherie and fred 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!

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Touring in the Raw

collageI’m so excited about the way this year is shaping up for Dan and me.  Our new book Raw Food for Dummies has been so well received by the raw community, not to mention a curious public.  I’m so proud of this accomplishment!  So now, of course, I want to share it with everyone – and that means a tour!  Dan and I will be doing lots of traveling this year – putting into practice Chapter 19 in the book: “Eating Raw on the Go”.

Many people who are new to raw feel intimidated by eating out.  But that’s not necessary.  Part of RawRocksthe fun of travel is experiencing different places and people – things you’re sure to miss if you insist upon eating self prepared raw meals in your hotel room.  These days, it’s easy to find vegetarian, if not vegan, options when eating out.  And you can make it even easier with the help of online resources like Yelp or Happy Cow.  If you still can’t seem to find anything specific, remember – just about every restaurant has a salad on the menu and often has yummy raw appetizers like guacamole, which could be ordered with veggie sticks rather than chips.  Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.  Chefs are used to tailoring their menu items to allow for food allergies, etc.  Cutting up a few vegetables shouldn’t be an issue.

kale chipsOf course, most of the places Dan and I are going on our tour this year are pretty raw friendly.  For example, our first stop is the Raw Living Expo in Sedona, Arizona where I’ll be giving the keynote address.  Obviously we won’t have any trouble eating raw there.  But – no matter how wonderfully raw your destination might be, traveling is unpredictable.  To be prepared for delays and other unplanned events, Dan and I like to bring portable snacks along.  These raw treats will tide us over between destinations if need be.  One of our favorites is flavored kale chips.  These high energy snacks are so delicious and satisfying – they make the perfect snack on the go.  There are lots of prepackaged varieties commercially available today in lots of delicious flavors.  But – you can make your own.  I’ve included a great recipe for Nacho Cheese Kale Chips on page 272 of Raw Food for Dummies.  Enjoy – and happy raw travels!

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