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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Warming Curried Pumpkin-Apple soup

Pumpkin is loaded with health benefits! It’s full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. It is high in vitamin A and antioxidants, (alpha and beta-carotenes), it’s a good source of vitamins C, K, and E, and lots of important minerals, including magnesium, potassium, and iron. It’s as good for the skin also! Along with being loaded with enzymes and anti-oxidants, pumpkin is moisturizing to the skin and also soothes irritated skin due to it’s high zinc content.
Mix it with fresh papaya or honey and treat your skin to a 5 to 15 minute mask. I actually grind dehydrated papaya seeds with pumpkin seeds in a coffee grinder and add to my facial cleanser for dry, dehydrated winter skin.

I thought about all the wonderful pumpkin recipes we have been experimenting with since harvesting our pumpkins. Bread, cookies, smoothies, pie and pumpkin cheesecake, of course. We’ve tried it almost every way for a sweet, nutritious treat but what about a main course? It’s cold out! I want comfort food!
Here is a family-winning recipe (not an easy thing to do in MY family!). I made a double batch and it was devoured almost instantly!
This soup is so easy to make it left me wondering if that was really all there was to this recipe. The entire thing only took me 25-30 minutes including prep.

Warming Vegan Curried Pumpkin Soup

Warming Vegan Curried Pumpkin Soup

1 medium fresh pumpkin – seeded, peeled, chopped. (the easiest way to peel is cut into large chunks first, then use a vegetable peeler on smaller, easy to handle chunks.)
1 can Coconut milk OR 1 fresh young Thai Coconut, including meat and water
1-2 Apples, chopped
Fresh Ginger to taste, chopped or grated
1/2 teasp. White Pepper
1/2 teasp. Poultry seasoning

1 teasp. Curry powder,
1/2 teasp. Tumeric
1-2 cloves Fresh Garlic, chopped, grated or pressed
Agave to taste
pinch Sea Sal
t

In Vita Mix or food processor add pumpkin and some of the coconut water. Blend till smooth. Add apple, ginger, garlic and blend well. Follow by adding spices then a touch of agave if you like your curry sweetened a bit. (I used a LOT of fresh ginger which added a bit of a punch so the little sweetness of the agave was a nice compliment.
After blending well, leave Vita-Mix running long enough to “heat” the soup. (If you are using a food processor, you will need to transfer to a blender to get the smooth consistency. If you do not have a food processor, cut the chunks of pumpkin smaller and do small batches at a time. Add coconut water as you go for blending.

Pour into bowls or mugs and garnish with fresh chopped green onion, red bell pepper or fresh ‘chiffonade’ chopped spinach leaves.
Enjoy!

*This recipe would also be delicious over rice. I’m going to try it with sprouted quinoa.

The best ever quick & easy gluten-free pancakes!

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These are the easiest and best gluten-free pancakes I have ever made! I’ve tried them all, believe me. I quit making them from scratch because it seemed like they were all too heavy, glue-like, flavorless, sticky or just plain lacking in nutrition.
This recipe is quick, easy, nutritious and best of all DE-LISH!
You will not need a ton of water to wash these down. After eating a huge plate full I still have the energy to face the day!

I adapted this recipe from our local PCC (co-op grocery) newsletter. (recipe by Marie Donadio) There are a few things I changed for my own personal tastes.

Prep time 10-15 minutes!

Ingredients

2 C. Quinoa flour
2 Tbsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Baking soda

Mix all dry ing. together with whisk in bowl and set aside.

1/2 C. RAW Cashews, soaked 2-3 hours and rinsed well, drained. (be sure to rinse well as raw nuts have an enzyme inhibitor which can make digesting them difficult and lead to stomach pain. Simply soaking and rinsing cures this problem!)
2 C. Filtered Water
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract (gluten-free, alcohol-free)
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Agave, Honey or Maple Syrup (more to taste as quinoa tends to be a bit less sweet than other flours.)
pinch Sea Salt
Blend all ingredients together in blender two or three times until mixture has a smooth, milky, frothy consistency. You may need to pause to scrape the blades to make sure there are no nut pieces.
(you are essentially making cashew milk!)
Pour liquids over dry ingredients and whisk until no lumps and well blended. If your batter is too thick you can add a touch of water as needed.
I use COCONUT OIL on my cast iron griddle as it is healthy, light and add a super delicious flavor!
We added fresh organic blueberries and spread warm coconut butter and real maple syrup on top! YUM-MY!!

*for variations add shredded or dices apples and cinnamon or fresh fruit. Add flaxseeds into the blender with the cashews for added nutrition.
*For heavier more buckwheat type pancakes simply substitute 1 Cup of the quinoa flour with Buckwheat flour and use 2 TBSP. of baking powder.

For easy ‘whip cream’ to top fruit you can simply blend cashews, macadamia nuts or fresh young Thai coconut meat with coconut water and agave to taste in your blender until smooth and creamy. (If you do not have coconut water you can use a touch of nut milk or water and sweeten with agave, honey or maple syrup.)