Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Avocado—The What?!

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The first word that you probably think of whenever you hear the word “avocado” is most likely “guacamole”

And if you’re like me, you rarely saw avocados when you were growing up in any other location than the local Mexican restaurant.

 

Since avocados and Mexican food always seem to go hand in hand, then it is no shock to learn that the avocado is believed to have first originated in the state of Puebla, Mexico, where archaeologists have discovered avocado pits lodged in caves dating back to at least 10,000 B.C.

 

Today Mexico remains the largest avocado-growing country in the world, but avocados have also become an important cash crop for California, since having first been introduced from Mexico to California in the 19th century. Over 95% of all United States avocado production takes place in Southern California…60% in San Diego County alone.

 

Avocados have become a superfood of choice for many who are overhauling their eating habits.

Their unique appearance, taste, and health benefits have moved avocados from being a novelty food item once used only in guacamole, to now being a staple ingredient on many family grocery lists and an important ingredient…in everything from avocado toast at breakfast to avocado mousse for dessert.

 

Avocados are available in many varieties, but most of the avocados found in your local market will be ‘Hass’ avocados, the most common cultivar of avocado. It is this Hass cultivar that currently account for 80% of all avocados cultivated in the world in any given year.

All ‘Hass’ trees are descended from a single “mother tree” raised by a mail carrier named Rudolph Hass, of La Habra Heights, California. Hass patented the productive tree in 1935, and the “mother tree” finally died of root rot and had to be cut down in September, 2002.

These Hass avocados are the typical avocados that are medium-sized ovals with black, pebbly skin.

The flesh of these avocados is green and not particularly sweet. They have a distinct and subtle flavor, and a smooth texture. These avocados can be used in making both savory and sweet dishes.

 

So here are a few points about choosing and storing this new addition to my Grocery IQ app…

1.It is not necessary to buy organic. Avocado already has a very thick skin that protects it from any pesticides.

2.  Do not refrigerate avocados as soon as you get them home from the store. Most of the avocados that you find at the local market have been picked while still unripe, and will require another four or five days to ripen. Once the avocado is actually ripe, it will yield to gentle pressure when held in the palm of the hand and squeezed.

Some supermarkets sell fully-ripe avocados. These avocados have been treated with synthetic ethylene gas in a “ripening room,” a practice that has now become an industry standard, since first being pioneered in the 1980s by Gil Henry, a farmer from Escondido, California, after watching hidden footage films from a hidden supermarket camera which showed shoppers repeatedly squeezing hard, unripe avocados, putting them “back in the bin,” and moving on without making a purchase. (Sorry, but doesn’t that count as part of the “food processing” that so many of us are trying to avoid right now?!)

3.  If you want your avocados to ripen faster, then place them in a paper bag along with an apple or banana. This will expose the avocados to the ethylene gas that they need to fully ripen.

4.  After using part of an avocado, the rest of the avocado may be stored in the refrigerator for future use.

5.  Add lime or lemon juice to keep them “pretty” after peeling, especially if serving as part of a buffet. The flesh of the avocado is prone to enzymatically browning when being exposed to air.

6.  Propagating Your Own…Remove the pit from a ripe, unrefrigerated avocado fruit. Stab the pit with three or four toothpicks, about one-third of the way up from the flat end. Place the pit with the toothpicks attached in a jar of water. Four to six weeks later, you should start seeing roots and a sprout. Plant the pit in a pot of soil once the stem has grown a few inches. Keep watering it every few days, and eventually you may end up having a very large avocado tree…or another something to keep a “resident four year old” entertained at least.

 

 

    • that adding avocado to a meal helps further carotenoid absorption. (9)…To promote a healthy, shining complexion, simply rub the inside of an
  • avocado peel on your skin and use…Mix in some therapeutic essential oils and you can easily make a cost-effective lotion instead of pouring out money for that store-bought stuff filled with irritating chemicals!
  • Avocado can also be used to make homemade hair masks to replenish, moisture and add shine….4. Cancer Prevention…Several studies have surfaced recently touting
  • avocado as a cancer-fighting food. The Journal of Nutrition and Cancer published the results of a study, for instance, claiming that the phytochemicals in
  • avocados are so powerful that they could prevent the use of chemotherapy in people with oral cancer! (10)…Researchers from Ohio State University are taking this theory one step further and attempting to figure out exactly how this phenomenon happens. A preliminary study published in 2011 suggests that the specific phytonutrient combination within each
  • avocado may hold the key to its anticancer effects. (11) Research suggests that phytochemicals extracted from
  • avocados help induce cell cycle arrest, inhibit growth, and induce apoptosis in precancerous and cancer cell lines. (12) Studies indicate that
  • avocado phytochemicals extracted with 50 percent methanol help in proliferation of human lymphocyte cells and decrease chromosomal changes….Another reason that
  • avocados are being linked to reduced risks for both cancer and diabetes is their MUFAs. These have been shown to offer better protection against chronic diseases compared to other types of fatty acids because of their ability to lower inflammation. (13) Beta-sitosterol is also highly protective of the prostate and linked to better immune function and lower prostate cancer risk, while carotenoid antioxidants are beneficial for preventing skin cancer — making eating
  • avocados a great way to fight skin cancer with food. (14)…

 

  • avocado benefits for weight loss! (16)…6. Better Digestive Health…As you now know,
  • avocados are one of the best fruit sources of fiber. Depending on the size of the
  • avocado, one whole fruit has between 11–17 grams of fiber! That’s more than nearly any other fruit and most servings of vegetables, grains and beans too.
    High-fiber foods are important for anyone with digestive tract issue because fiber helps shift the balance of bacteria in the gut, increasing healthy bacteria while decreasing the unhealthy bacteria that can be the root of some digestive disorders. Fiber also helps add bulk to stool, makes it easier to go to the bathroom, and helps pull waste and toxins through the intestines and colon….Fats are also essential for digestion and nutrient absorption because they nourish the lining of the gut. A low-fat diet can result in constipation or symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is a fluctuating disorder of the gastrointestinal tract characterized by abdominal pain and change in bowel habits….. Protection from Insulin Resistance and Diabetes…According to a large group of studies, weight maintenance with a MUFA-rich diet improves fasting insulin levels in insulin-resistant subjects. Ingestion of a MUFA-dense food (such as

 

  • Avocado Recipes…Mango
  • Avocado Salsa
  • Avocado Bison Burger
  • Avocado Soup…Chocolate
  • Avocado Mousse
  • Avocado Pizza.
  • avocados with nearly any meal or snack — even as a burger topping at your neighborhood BBQ. One pilot study with research supported by the Hass
  • Avocado Board and conducted by researchers at UCLA found that adding half of an
  • avocado to a 90 percent lean burger may cut down on compounds that lead to inflammation, which could, in turn, be associated with heart disease. The study was conducted on 11 healthy males ages 18-35, and while further research is needed on other individuals, the results of this pilot test are promising. Compared to eating a burger by itself, topping it with half of a fresh Hass
  • avocado adds not only great flavor and texture, but could also add beneficial anti-inflammatory responses during digestion. Score!…You can get inventive, if you’ve got culinary inclinations, too: A halved and pitted
  • avocado topped with an egg, sprinkled with chives and a little sea salt, and baked for about 15 minutes is an easy way to impress friends when you’re stumped about what to bring to potluck brunch. Adding
  • avocado to a smoothie with other nutrient-rich foods or fruits can be a great post-workout snack, or a healthful way to start the day. For dinner,
  • avocado and tomato salad (or, let’s be honest, adding
  • avocado to just about any salad) with a little balsamic vinegar is a tasty treat that’s also diet-friendly….So, there you go: There’s a lot more to this simple, mighty superfruit than you might have previously thought — so go ahead and order that side of guac.Image
  • Avocados are the darling of the produce section. They’re the go-to ingredient for guacamole dips at parties. And they’re also turning up in everything from salads and wraps to smoothies and even brownies. So what, exactly, makes this pear-
  • avocado is popular in vegetarian cuisine as a substitute for meats in sandwiches and salads because of its high fat content….Generally,
  • avocaa chips (left)….It is used as the base for the Mexican dip known as guacamole,[4] as well as a spread on corn tortillas or toast, served with spices….In the Philippines, Brazil, Indonesia, Vietnam, and southern India (especially the coastal Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka region),
  • avocados are frequently used for milkshakes and occasionally added to ice cream and other desserts. In Brazil, Vietnam, the Philippines[54] and Indonesia, a dessert drink is made with sugar, milk or water, and pureed
  • avocado. Chocolate syrup is sometimes added. In Morocco, a similar chilled
  • avocado and milk drink is sweetened with confectioner’s sugar and hinted with orange flower water….In Ethiopia,
  • avocados are made into juice by mixing them with sugar and milk or water, usually served with Vimto and a slice of lemon. It is also common to serve layered multiple fruit juices in a glass (locally called Spris) made of avocados, mangoes, bananas, guavas, and papayas.
  • Avocados are also used to make salads.
  • Avocados in savory dishes, often seen as exotic, are a relative novelty in Portuguese-speaking countries, such as Brazil, where the traditional preparation is mashed with sugar and lime, and eaten as a dessert or snack. This contrasts with Spanish-speaking countries such as Chile, Mexico, or Argentina, where the opposite is true and sweet preparations are rare….Sliced
  • avocado…In Australia and New Zealand, it is commonly served in sandwiches, sushi, on toast, or with chicken. In Ghana, it is often eaten alone in sliced bread as a sandwich. In Sri Lanka, well-ripened flesh, thoroughly mashed with sugar and milk, or treacle (a syrup made from the nectar of a particular palm flower) is a popular dessert. In Haiti, it is often consumed with cassava or regular bread for breakfast.
    In Mexico and Central America,
  • avocados are served mixed with white rice, in soups, salads, or on the side of chicken and meat. In Peru, they are consumed with tequeños as mayonnaise, served as a side dish with parrillas, used in salads and sandwiches, or as a whole dish when filled with tuna, shrimp, or chicken. In Chile, it is used as a puree-like sauce with chicken, hamburgers, and hot dogs; and in slices for celery or lettuce salads. The Chilean version of Caesar salad contains large slices of mature
  • avocado. In Kenya and Nigeria, the
  • avocado is often eaten as a fruit eaten alone or mixed with other fruits in a fruit salad, or as part of a vegetable salad.
  • Avocado is a primary ingredient in
  • avocado soup.
  • Avocado slices are frequently added to hamburgers, tortas, hot dogs, and carne asada.
  • Avocado can be combined with eggs (in scrambled eggs, tortillas, or omelettes), and is a key ingredient in California rolls and other makizushi (“maki”, or rolled sushi).
    In the United Kingdom, the
  • avocado became available during the 1960s when introduced by Sainsbury’s under the name ‘
  • avocado pear’.[22]…Unusual avocado variety from Cebu, Philippines…

*****

  • Avocado Body Scrub…Avocado Body Scrub–Bold Sky
  • Avocado Deep Conditioner..Ingredients…one half mashed ripe avocado, one egg, a couple of drops of peppermint essential oil, 2Tbsp olive oil…Benefits…adds shine…can help restore luster to your hair…rich in vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids…will smooth and moisturize your locks without weighing down fine hair
  • Avocado Face Mask…1/2 of a mashed ripe avocado, 2Tbsp honey… Benefits.. extremely hydrating…Best for…all skin types, especially dry skinreduce the risk of heart disease
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Getting Healthy

Cannery Row

Processed foods are much more than Mighty Kids Meals from McDonald’s, and definitely includes foods that you probably would never have ever even considered “processed food.”

A processed food is any food item that has been altered from its natural state, through any “processing method,” regardless of how small that change might have actually been—including canning, freezing, refrigeration, dehydration.

In fact, every food item you currently have—-every food item in your pantry, fridge, and freezer—and every food item that is boxed, bagged, canned or jarred—and every food  item that has a list of ingredients somewhere on the package is indeed a “processed food.”

If a food not as it is found right from the vine, bush, tree, or whatever else God Himself may have put in on, then that food is considered a “processed food.”

If you do happen to find any single-ingredient food item that has been ground or put into a jar with no added chemicals, that food item is a “real food.” Anything else that you find as you clear out your fridge, freezer, and pantry should probably be making its way to a trashcan about now…

Like “What Not to Wear” when they come in and clear out and dump most of that poor victim’s clothes into the big metal trashcan, we’re doing the same thing here…except the name of this show is “What Not to Eat”…and perhaps could also be called “Hoarders” if you’re anything like me.

Processed foods are not “real foods,” and should never replace those “real” foods, drinks, dishes and meals that we all know really do belong on our plates and that we all really should be eating.

 

 

The NOVA Classification System

The NOVA classification system, developed by Brazilian academic Carlos Augusto Monteiro, organized foods into the following four categories…

1.  Unprocessed or minimally processed foods…such as fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, fish, and milk.products that are pre-prepped for convenient use – including chopped veggies and roasted nuts

2.  Processed culinary ingredients—such as table sugar, oil, and salt

3.  Processed foods—such as tuna, beans, tomatoes—that have been processed in order to lock-in nutrients and flavors at their peak

4.  “Ultra-processed foods—such as frozen and pre-made meals, frozen pizzas and microwavable entrees, breakfast cereals, soda, instant soups and pre-packaged crackers, chips, and cookies—that have been chemically processed and made solely from refined ingredients and artificial substance

 

 

So what’s wrong with “processed food”?

It is this fourth category of processed foods that we should concern ourselves most with, and the first category of food products that we probably all need to eliminate from our diets.

These foods are packed full of things that none of our bodies need—such as synthetic additives, preservatives, artificial colors, emulsifiers, sugar and artificial sweeteners, fat, and salt.

Back when I was in my early twenties, I constantly ate ice. I remember laughing when people would tell me that I should stop eating ice because I would end up losing the top back tooth where I first bit down on a huge chunk of ice and my lowest back tooth on the opposite side where I bit down on that ice next. Guess what, they were right?!?! Twenty years later, I ended up having to have those two teeth removed.

I refuse to take that chance of not listening to the people twenty years older than me telling me to make the changes that I need to now in order to save my overall health. Losing two teeth when you’re forty because you failed to listen to what people were telling you back when you were twenty, is a whole lot different than losing your overall health and well-being when you’re sixty because you failed to listen to what people were telling you back when you were forty.

Right now, I am going to focus on removing this “worst category” of processed foods from what my family eats. Eliminating this category will hopefully help prevent us from having to face many more of the biggest health problems in America—such as type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, hypertension, stroke, coronary heart disease, and cancer.

About 90% of the money that Americans spend on food is spent on processed items…(gee, would that other 10% be spent on eating out…that’s actually “processed food” too)…

Basically, over half of what the average American eats in any given day fall into this last category…(we should all be so proud of ourselves, right(?!))….

 

We would all be so much better off if we could all simply eliminate two foods in particular off of our weekly grocery lists—soda, and

Soda…Soda, coke, “pop,” whatever the heck you call it in your neck of the weeds…oops, I mean woods…Regardless what you may call whatever might be in that cup that isn’t filled with water or sweet tea or lemonade or juice or beer or Kool-Aid…the fact is that the stuff in that other red Solo cup is one of America’s worst enemies. Mass-produced soda contains 35 grams of sugar per 12-ounce can. Mass-produced soda and sweetened “fruit drinks that contain less than 5% juice combined contribute to 40% of the US intake of “added sugar,”…the amount of sugar Americans consume which is over what actually should be consumed.

Mass-produced soda derives 100% of its total calories from sugar. Mass-produced soda contains 140 calories per serving. Being that one can of mass-produced soda actually contains two servings, a typical woman limiting herself to a 1400-calorie-per-day diet only needs to drink five cans of Dr. Pepper to meet her calorie demands for the day…no food allowed?!

Another food that should be eliminated from our American diet altogether is “pre-packaged cakes, cookies and pies.” It’s way too easy to eat entirely way too much of these foods without even realizing how much you have actually eaten.

Having our grandmother bake us awesome-tasting cakes, cookies, and pies and send them to us in a care package is one thing.

Having food scientists “engineer” us awesome-tasting cakes, cookies, and pies…and then offer them to us in creative packaging in quite another.

Our grandmother baked such foods for us and put them in packages because they loved us.

Food scientists engineer such foods for us and put them in packages because they simply want to take our money.