Friday, September 19, 2008

Viva Avocado!

As much as I love eating avocados today, it's hard to imagine that I didn't taste my first one until I was well into my twenties. I grew up in a small town in a small New England state. Our foods of choice leaned more toward clam cakes and chowder than tacos and enchiladas. Avocado? I hadn't a clue what one was.
And don't even get me going about guacomole. Guaca...huh?


I understand that the avocado existed when I was growing up Back East, and they may even have been available at the local grocery store where my mother shopped. But mom never purchased one, never brought one of those green-skinned babies home. Believe it or not, I did not know WHAT an avocado WAS until I relocated to sunny California in the mid-80's. And even then, I wasn't sure what to do with one or how to eat it.

Today, avocados seem more popular and prevalent in everyday cuisine. In most restaurants you can find them chopped atop salads, sliced in between sandwiches, and, in its most popular form, as guacamole, that amazing green nacho-chip-dipping-taste-sensation.

While your mouth is watering, consider these interesting facts about the avocado:

* a member of the berry family, avocado is a fruit, not vegetable
* the Aztecs named it after the word, ahuacatl, which meant "testicle," because of its shape
* they have been around since 900 A.D.
* they have been grown in North America since 1856
* also known as the alligator pear, Jamaicans call them pears

(for more fascinating information about the avocado, visit this site)

Most of you by now have tasted avocados, but if you still are like I was, back in the day, you should give them a try. You don't know what you are missing. But do you know the best way to cut one open? Here's a video that will help:



Hey, next time you have that chip loaded with guac, happily remind yourself that besides enjoying a delicious snack, you are also getting:

* 10 grams of dietary fiber
* more potassium than one banana
* vitamins E and B
* 10 grams of the good fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated)

RED FLAG!

While very healthy for you, avocados are also high in calories and fats. The good news: these are the good fats--monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. These are heart-healthy fats and help lower LDL (bad cholesterol).

The bad news, for those counting calories or watching their weight, is that an average size avocado has around 300 calories--so tread carefully. I know that I can eat one all by myself, diced, with a sprinkle of sea salt.
Try it! In moderation.

It's hard to imagine that I spent half my life deprived of the succulent taste of avocado. Maybe that's why I've spent the last twenty-five years eating more than my share, trying to make up for lost time.

You should too!

Always remember that you can watch hundreds of self-help videos about health and nutrition, and any number of other topics, at livelife365.com.

Until next time...

peace,

Mike

42 comments:

Polly said...

I am going to shock you now. My father brought home an avocado pear for me when I was in my early teens and suffering from a dreadful head cold. I had heard of them, never tried one and so with anticipation - the fruit was washed cut in half and the stone removed and I began to eat it.
Yuck, yuck, yuck .... what a let down, what a shock. Not an ounce of sweetness - more like a cross between a bar of soap and a marrow.
To this day - and I have tried others since - thinking that I surely must have got it wrong - I truly cannot see why people purchase them and what people see in them. Not only do I not like them but the cost of them in Britain for those that do like them is silly for you could purchase a bag of apples or pears or even a bag of currants for one Avocado pear!
Apologies Mike but you'll not convince me any differently. :)

Ms. O. D. said...

i love the avocado! especially in a sushi roll :) i didnt know it was a fruit, always thought it was a vegetable :) you're making me hungry eating that avocado!

Eric S. said...

I like avocados on my salads, and of course as guacamole. They do need to be seasoned though to give a little more taste. Just the plain old avocado, is just that, plain, bland, so so, which ever descriptive you chose. Good post those, it was fun to read, and watch.

Lux said...

Elaine here: So *that's how you get the insides out nicely. I always make the biggest mess and end up with it all over my fingers! Thanks!

The Fitness Diva said...

I'm eating an avocado RIGHT NOW!!!
So, this post is really funny to me! lol.
It's actually half an avocado on top of a Cobb salad minus the blue cheese and salad dressing, with pickled red peppers and mushrooms on top of mesclun greens. Yum! (I sprinkle a wee bit of salt on my avocados for flavor...otherwise, it's bland city)

Anyway, yes, while they're good, I try not to go overboard with the avos, because they're pretty much all fat (even though it's the good fat).
When I'm trying to get my ab and arm muscles to show, the extra fat is a big no no! ;)

Take care!

Jerese Irese said...

I like to eat, actually drink avocado, i like it shake with ice! great post Mr. mike have a nice weekend!

your "Health Assistant" said...

I love avocado but I'm getting fed up with eating it sliced and then put on cream cheese and crackers. Does anyone know any other tasty ways to eat it?

lala said...

Oh my goodness, I love avocados! I'll eat them with and on and in between just about everything. I love them on my Morning Star veggie burgers! I eat them on turkey sandwiches and in salads. They are even great in a southwestern chicken and rice soup. Mmmm, yummy!

A. said...

Polly, think of it as savoury not like other fruit. I like it with some salt and lemon juice, or sliced in a salad with a good dressing, or with prawns. And it must be properly ripe. But yes, they are expensive in northern Europe.

Mike Foster said...

polly--I think when one hears them called pears they automatically think "sweet," which is not the case with this fruit. Maybe the California Haas variety is better, but the cost for you may not be worth the effort...

ms. o.d.--I watched that video and was amazed at what a pig I was...oink...

eric--glad you liked it, eric. Try one with just sea salt and let me know what you think...

lux (Elaine)--the key is also making sure the fruit is just ripe, not too soft or too hard...good luck next time!

diva (sorry about the entrecard)--that salad sounds fantastic, and, you are so right, even good fat can get ya...

jerese--wow, never tried it in a shake, may have to...or maybe not...

health assistant--as I've said, they are great with just sea salt, or mash them into a guac

lala--that veggie burger is sounding better and better right now

a.--great advice; savory not sweet, far from a pear...


Please note that I had a slight technical problem with my other site regarding my Entrecard, but it is back to normal now. Thanks for our patience and understanding.


peace,

Mike

My Blog Says said...

I like Avocado very much. They are very common here in africa and very cheap as well. Here, you could buy one for as small as the price for 10 sugar cubes.

Here, we don't give it very much importance than considering it a mere fruit. People here don't prepare it as much as i have learnt it is being done in the west. We just use it when taking some "dry" or "floury" stuff like bread, boiled yams, boiled cassava :)...

Jena Isle said...

Avocados are great for shakes and ice creams. You'll have to mix them with sugar and milk. They taste awesome in this concoction.
I like this avocado dessert.

I am wondering if you grow your own avocado because they're easy to cultivate. Just plant one big seed in your backyard and watch how it grows so easily.

Thanks for a good and informative post. Cheers.

PaulsHealthBlog.com said...

My first thought when I read your post was, "My wife is gonna love this!"

She absolutely LOVES avocado as well as homemade avocado!

And the fact that it is good fat is all the more better.

PaulsHealthBlog.com said...

That last comment was supposed to say "homemade guacomole", not "homemade avocado."

Can't edit comments on Blogger. Sheesh!

clockworkpink2 said...

Thanks for the tutorial on how to cut these things up! I am from a small New England town as well and just bought my first avacado a few days ago. Now I'll know how to cut it up, I can't wait to find out what it tastes like!

GO! Smell the flowers said...

Great article & us flowers love your blog! Another Avocado tip, to stop it turning brown in the fridge is to keep the stone in the mix...

Make room for the chips!

GO! Smell the flowers

Dyan Garris said...

LOL! Didn't know it was a "testicle." Thought it was a "womb." Great post.

betchai said...

i love avocadoes, but coming from the Philippines, we eat our avocadoes as desert :) We make it a smoothie with milk and sugar, yes, I know, fats, then we add more calories from milk and sugar :)

When I first got in here, I realized Americans prepare avocados differently. At first, I hesitated to try, for I want my sweet avocado :) but later, I've learned to eat avocados in almost anything, plain, as guacamole, salsa, or sandwich.

And if in the Philippines, avocadoes are very cheap, here, it is really not that expensive, but it just surprised me that apples, oranges and grapes are cheaper than avocado. But anyway, I love avocados, no matter how it is prepared.

Faisal Admar said...

Viva Avocado! :)

I never try avocado. After reading this post and watch the video I'm surely will get it soon.

Btw, by putting some sea salt on it is it good for our health? We are suppose to eat half of a paracetamol tablet of salt each day. Of course we use salt in our cooking too... do
t you think it's too much if we add some on it too? Correct me if I'm wrong :)

Take care.
Fresh Lemongrass Apoptosis Cancer!

Debo Hobo said...

My favorite is Avocado Smoothie, yummy.

MamaFlo said...

I love Avocados but then again I live in San Antonio and Tex-Mex just isn't the same without Avocado.

Jennifer said...

I remember being introduced to the avocado when I was in third grade (this was in Maryland). It was very exotic and a bit bizarre. I'd never eaten anything with that taste and texture. It took me a long time, but I have come to love it.

Avocado goes well with sprouts and muenster cheese on whole wheat bread. Yum!

Natural Health said...

polly you're not alone... although they are good in terms of nutrition, but i still think that avocado taste yucky...

Mike Foster said...

my blog says--cheap sounds good; sometimes they are over two bucks each

jena isle--I have GOT to try avocada as a dessert--never have...yet

paul--gotta love Blogger...and glad to help make the wife happy...a good thing!

clockworkpink2--hope you like it, happy to be of service, but don't cut yourself

gosmelltheflowers--great tip, and by stone, you mean pit, right?

dyan--funny, huh? Those Aztecs!

betchai--sweet, savory, ya can't NOT love this fruit (see natural health and polly)

faisal--give it a try, man. And sea salt is considered better for you than table salt

debo hobo--sounds like a plan

mamaflo--tex-mex is great. Out here in California, we eat a lot with Mexican food...and I love Mexican food!

jennifer--that is a sandwich after my own heart

natural health--guess, for some, it's either love or hate with the avocado...


peace,

Mike

Faisal Admar said...

Now I'm confuse. What is the different between table salt and sea salt? I have only 1 type of salt at home.

Anna said...

Our friends learned that the avocado must be black before using in guacamole, otherwise it takes like particle board!

I grew up in Southern Cal and though I wasn't as fond of avocados then, I sure love them now!

Debbie said...

mmm, avocado. I love em in roll ups, just with some salt, in a salad, sliced as a side dish, I just love em!

Brandi Magill said...

Oh how I love the avocado! Did you know it is also known as the chocolate of fruits to many, I'm sure you can see why! That reminds me I need to make a trip to the store tomorrow to pick some up, yummy:~)

Brandi Magill said...

PS. My fav recipe is diced avocado with some halved cherry tomatoes topped with walnuts, apple cider vinegar and of course the salt and pepper to taste. You should try it!

Rick Vaughn said...

Mike,

You made a pretty strong sales pitch but I still think I would go with the clam cakes and chowder. I understand though California will do that to a person.

Mike Foster said...

faisal--most table salt has been processed; sea salt is not, it is salt in its natural form. There are pros and cons debating the value of one versus the other, I prefer sea salt because I'm a natural kind of guy. I suggest further research is needed for you to make your best decision, but if regular table salt is all that's available for you, don't worry, it's still okay...just don't overdo it...

anna--never heard of using black ones; check out how beautifully green the one I cut open in the video is, and I can tell ya it tasted awesome!

debbie--I love 'em too!

brandi--that recipe sounds great, and I can understand why the avocado is known as the chocolate of fruits--it melts in your mouth!

rick--you sound like you have a New Englander's soul...


peace,

mike

Just Smart Living said...

Thanks for pointing out all the good about my favorite fruit, particularly as it relates to the "good fats" My Sunday trip to the market is a failure if there are no ripe avocados!

Eric and Flynn said...

I followed the link from Lux's blog. I knew how to take the stone out,(We call the pip a stone in the UK)but not the best way to get the flesh out without getting in a mess. I like it sliced with sliced tomatoes fresh from the greenhouse, and maybe some mozarella cheese sliced with plenty of black pepper and a little salt, and drizzled with olive oil. Delicious! It's good sliced in a bacon sandwich too.

Puglette said...

Hi there,
As a California child I ate more than my fair share of avocados. I just love them! I am however, always shocked to see people smack a knife into the pit while holding the avocado half in there hands. That is sooooo dangerous! Especially if you do this in front of children. My father showed me the best technique when I was young. Just take the tip of your knife and prod the pit from the bogger end of the fruit and pop the pit out! Try this sometime, it's a much safer method!

Alexander Morentin said...

I love avocados.

I eat at least one every day of the year.
I don't worry about the fat because I eat a healthy whole foods diet.
I like to mash up the avocados and mix it with the hottest homemade salsa ever. :)

I like to use carrot and celery sticks to dip in the avocado.
It's a healthier alternative to chips.
Thanks Mike.
Have a great day. :)

Mike Foster said...

just smart living: good fats are a good thing...

eric and flynn: my mouth watered as I read that...except for the bacon part (I'm a vegetarian)

puglette: I like your method better, will try it next time

alexander: you know what they say...an avocado a day...is delicious!!



peace,

mike

JD Lusan said...

I love avodaco! Unlike you I ahve been eating it since I was a little kid. It was one of those vegetables back home in Jamaica that was pretty common to eat with dinner.

Veggie Hater said...

I am a veggie hater but I do like avocados. I have some good substitutes that I use for veggies tho!

Anonymous said...

I recently bought an avocado and when I cut it in half and started to pull the fruit away from the inside of the peel I noticed that large parts of the inside of the peel were red (ranging from sort of a dull red to a more bright red) and that in some places the red-ness had transfered onto that outermost layer of fruit (but not any further into the fruit). My question is two-fold for anyone who can answer it: 1) What is that red stuff and 2) Is it still ok to eat an avocado if I find red stuff inside?

Bryan said...

Oh how much i love it! They are my favorite! I love it more when it is mixed with cream milk to go on a salad like dish. Yummy!

Geek of the Dead said...

I feel bad for folks like Polly, who probably will never taste a real good piece of avocado (or similar) because I grew up in California, they have fresh tomatoes and the like... taste a tomato fresh from the vine, sun warmed... its crazy. but here in Nevada, people dont really get fresh veggies or fruits and my girlfriend used to hate tomatoes because everything here was basically orange or pink... anyway, off on a tangent, I would like for everyone to be able to try it as fresh and as ripe as possible before they hate it forever.

amandaflowerful said...

Great article! Thanks Mike! I bought the avocado yesterday and yet to eat it. After 30 years, this will be my first time eating the avocado. Silly me.. :p