Avocados for weight loss and beauty

We have been told to avoid the avocado because of its “high caloric and fat content”.
Aside from being very high in fiber, avocados provide essential nutrients such as A, B-complex, C, E, H, K, and folic acid, plus the minerals magnesium, copper, iron, calcium, potassium and many other trace elements. They also provide all of the essential amino acids our bodies need plus 7 fatty acids, including Omega 3 and 6.

Avocados contain more protein than cow’s milk.
Avocados contribute nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are thought to help prevent many chronic diseases.
In place of other heavier animal fats, avocados can be a satisfying addition to a low-calorie, healthy diet. Avocados can actually help you LOSE weight!
The Aztecs used the avocado as a sex stimulant, and archeologists have found the avocado seed buried with Peruvian mummies dating to 750B.C.
Early Americans called it the alligator pear, because they could not pronounce the Spanish word for avocado, ‘aguacate’.
European sailors called it “Midshipman’s Butter,” because they liked to spread a rich, guacamole-like substance on biscuits.
There are eight varieties of avocado grown in the US, but the Haas variety remains the most popular. It’s hard, textured skin makes it easier to ship and when it turns dark consumers can be sure it is ripe.
From San Luis Obispo to San Diego California is the largest growers of U.S. consumed avocados. San Diego County calls itself the “avocado capital” of the world. You may find a few in Florida but 95 percent are from CA.

In his book The Sunfood Diet Success System, David Wolfe, founder of Sunfood Nutrition writes about avocado oil being closely related to our skins natural oil. As a veteran professional beauty consultant I have used avocados and avocado oil for dry hair and skin treatments on many clients. You will often see cosmetic products claiming the use of avocado oil as their miracle cure. Hey, there’s a produce stand or grocery store near by, why not just use fresh, unprocessed avocados for the overwhelming health benefits in side and out!

I use avocados in many recipes ranging from chocolate mousse and cupcake frosting to wraps, spreads, dips and dressings. Any day of the week you can find avocados in my kitchen. I’ve even been known to take them on the go with me and enjoy them with lemon pepper as a nutritional mid day snack.

Purchase avocados unripe and let it ripen at room temperature. When the narrower tip (blossom end) is soft to the touch, it is ready to eat and it should be eaten promptly. They will not ripen in cold.

Here’s my quick and easy guacamole ‘go-to’ recipe. I often have my 4 year old son mash the avocado and stir in the seasonings. You can vary it according to your tastes and mood.

Ingredients
4 to 5 large avocados
2 fresh limes
1 medium white onion, diced (or onion powder or dried onion for flavor if you don’t have fresh)
3/4 cup cilantro, chopped finely
1 large tomato, ripe but firm, diced
1 fresh jalapeno, finely chopped (optional)
dash cumin
pinch sea salt

Mash avocados in a bowl. I enjoy the chunks of fresh avocado so I lightly smash them rather than make them creamy.
squeeze in 1 lime. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. If needed squeeze in the second lime. Adjust to your taste.
Hint; if you save the seed and put it in the bowl your guacamole will stay fresh longer while stored in airtight container.

Oh, and by the way, those crispy amazing chips are home made and RAW! 🙂

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Living gluten-free, vegan chocolate chip cookies

Yep, that’s right! These are RAW, gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, sugar-free and packed full of childhood memories!
Home made chocolate chip cookies have to be one of the most popular childhood cookie treats. I can remember the days when as kids we would try to sneak into the kitchen and steal a chocolate chip cookie. I swear my father could hear the lid on the cookie jar from all the way across the house! Those were his favorite cookies too, after all!


Melting chocolate chips, MMM!

Living Raw Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 C. ground Almonds or Cashews (I use half almond pulp from nut milk and half ground cashews)
1/4 to 1/3 C. Coconut Oil, softened
1/3 C. Agave nectar
4 Medjool dates, made into date paste using coconut water or filtered water
2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 Tablespoon Coconut Butter, melted
1 Tablespoon Maca powder
hand-full of cacao nibs or chocolate chunks (*make your own chocolate chunks, see below)
(optional) chopped walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts
HINT: if you want a chewier, more ‘baked’ texture you can add ground oat groat flour to your recipe. Just add as you mix until you achieve the desired consistency.

In food processor fitted with ‘S’ blade mix all ingredients except chocolate (or cacao nibs) and walnuts.
If you do not have a food processor just mix in a large bowl making sure that all ingredients get well blended.
Add chocolate chunks and walnuts or pecans.
Drop by spoonfulls onto Teflex sheet. Dehydrate at 105 degrees 4-6 hours or until you get desired texture. If you allow them to stay in a bit longer you can get a “cooked” texture, crispy on the outside and soft, chewy in the center.
Somehow I seem to be able to eat them before they even get dehydrated… cookie dough anyone? 😉

*Quick and easy Chocolate Chunks (raw, living chocolate!)
Equal parts melted coconut oil and cacao powder, add agave to taste and a pinch of sea salt. You can also use carob powder. Whisk together, pour mixture into a flat dish and chill in freezer until hardened. You can break or chop hardened chocolate into chunks. Be careful, this could become habit forming!

Vegan, Gluten-Free Hemp Brownies!

This recipe is so much fun and you won’t believe it’s gluten-free. The best part? Egg-free, dairy-free, sugar-free and INCREDIBLY delicious!

Intensely chocolatey Vegan Hemp Brownies!

Gluten-free, Vegan Hemp Brownies

1 C. All purpose Gluten-Free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1/3 C. Cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
1/4 C. Hemp Protein powder
1/3 C. Coconut Oil
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
3/4 C. Maple Syrup or 1/2 C. Agave nectar
1 Tbsp. ground flax seed + 2 or 3 Tbsp warm water (mix together in separate dish)
2 teaspoons gluten-free Vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. You can add cacao nibs or chopped nuts such as walnuts or hazelnuts if you like. I also like a touch of peppermint extract for peppermint brownies.
Pour into 8 x 8 glass dish coated with coconut oil. Bake at 350 for 20 min.
I could barely wait for them to cool before…

Gluten-free? What does that mean?

Gluten-free living. What is that?

First we need to understand gluten and it’s intolerance. Gluten is a protein found in the endosperm of grain. Gluten containing foods includes wheat, spelt, tricale, kamut, rye, barley, oats (although, not actually a gluten protein, but almost always cut on the same equipment cutting wheat so is taboo for people with gluten intolerance.) The stored proteins of maize and rice are sometimes called gluten, but their proteins differ from wheat gluten by lacking gliadin.

Although wheat supplies much of the world’s dietary protein and food supply, as much as 0.5% to 1% of the population of the United States has Celiac disease, a condition which results from an adverse immune system response to gluten. The manifestations of Celiac disease range from no symptoms to malabsorption of nutrients with involvement of multiple organ systems. The only effective treatment is a lifelong gluten-free diet.

Gluten can affect your gut, your skin, and your brain.  Celiac disease, a genetic disorder, along with the myriad symptoms that can be experienced throughout your gastro-intestinal tract in response to gluten.  It also includes many other symptoms that do not stem from your gut.  These include brain and behavior disorders, irritability and tiredness, skin problems, muscular aches and pains and joint problems.

1 in 1331 Americans are effected by Celiac disease. Symptoms of celiac disease can range from the classic features, such as diarrhea, weight loss, and malnutrition, to latent symptoms such as isolated nutrient deficiencies but no gastrointestinal symptoms.

Because of the broad range of symptoms celiac disease presents, it can be difficult to diagnose. The symptoms can range from mild weakness, bone pain, and aphthous stomatitis to chronic diarrhea, abdominal bloating, and progressive weight loss. If a person with the disorder continues to eat gluten, studies have shown that he or she will increase their chances of gastrointestinal cancer by a factor of 40 to 100 times that of the normal population. Further, gastrointestinal carcinoma or lymphoma develops in up to 15 percent of patients with untreated or refractory Celiac disease. It is therefore imperative that the disease is quickly and properly diagnosed so it can be treated as soon as possible.

The only acceptable treatment for celiac disease is strict adherence to a 100% gluten-free diet for life. An adherence to a gluten-free diet can prevent almost all complications caused by the disease. This is a difficult task as there are many hidden sources of gluten found in the ingredients of many processed foods.

It is not uncommon for people with Celiac disease to have trouble digesting dairy as well as gluten. Often times when someone who has a gluten intolerance or Celiac disease their digestive system can react to other proteins as if there is an intolerance or allergy present. This is because after ingesting gluten a person with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance the gut is damaged and will no longer be able to properly break down other proteins that normally would not be a problem.

People with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance realize they can not live in a gluten-free bubble. It sometimes seems that everyone around them is happily enjoying breads, pastas and cakes made with wheat and other gluten containing items while they are omitted from the party.

There are lists of gluten containing ingredients here. If you are one of those who also avoids dairy there are many hidden places and names for cow’s milk protein. Here is a list of dairy containing ingredients.

There IS a difference between having an allergy and having an intolerance to gluten containing foods. You can read more about it at celiac.com here.