Do you know ALL the avocado benefits? You’re about to. 🙂
It’s no secret how I feel about that petite green gem. So learning that September 16th is National Guacamole Day is like seeing one of my favorite actors win an Oscar — well-deserved!
Avocado is another versatile, healthy fat that I think everyone needs in their diet, but recently, I was asked, “Is there such a thing as too much avocado?” Gasp! (I know!)
So I’ve put together a little guide to all things avo — the pits included — with some alternative ways to enjoy this superfood all Autumn long.
Let’s guac ‘n roll!
How much is too much (delicious) avocado?
Just like with any other food, you need to be aware of how it makes your body feel. I eat one avocado a day, and I don’t have an issue with it. But if you find that you’re regularly experiencing bloat and a sensitive gut, I encourage you to start a food journal (like this one) and sleuth out the culprit of your tummy troubles.
While I think avocado is a queen among fruits, it is what nutritionists call a FODMAP, which stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. Yeah, try saying that a few times fast! Some people have a hard time absorbing these short chain carbohydrates and their resulting sugars into their intestine, and instead, it ferments there and causes uncomfortable digestive issues. If you’re FODMAP-intolerant, you probably also have a little ‘body beef’ with onions, garlic, and apples. Avocado is just so delicious we eat more of it on the regular than onions, so you see its effects more often.
If you have an issue with avocado and just can’t quit it, be sure to limit your portion sizes.
Now that we’ve covered the bad, let’s talk about some perfectly ripe points!
Like coconut oil (which we discussed last week), avocado can actually help you burn more fat. It’s well-rounded enough (no pun intended) to use in both sweet and savory dishes. Most people immediately think of guacamole, especially on such a hallowed holiday as this Sunday ????, but there are lot of alternative uses for this little green monster.
Savory Superfood, Major Health Benefits
Avocado is a worthy substitute for cream cheese and butter — hence the popularity of avocado toast. Hands down, it’s also a great replacement for mayonnaise on sandwiches — either straight up, or if you want to make your own aioli with avocado oil. And don’t forget it can make a delicious creamy salad dressing. I throw an avocado in a blender with garlic, a fresh squeeze of lemon, a dab of Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, water and then salt to taste; it’s amazing, especially with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast to give it a cheesy flavor.
I like avocado in cold soups too. This may seem out-of-the-box, but that’s what this Alternative Autumn is all about! Blend avocado and cucumber with a little vegetable broth, onion and lemon for an easy dish. Check out this Avocado Soup recipe from Chile or this Avocado and Crab Soup.
The Sweeter Side of Avocados
I use avocado in desserts… a lot. It’s a great replacement for the oils, butter and milk in traditional baking recipes. One of my favorite treats is an amazing vegan chocolate mousse — it’s just avocado, raw cacao powder, vanilla extract, a little water and organic maple syrup. It has no sugar or dairy, and once you blend the avocado, its consistency becomes as creamy as pudding! It makes a filling addition to any meal or snack, providing tons of nutritious healthy fat and nearly 20 vitamins and minerals to satisfy any health-conscious sweet tooth.
My friend whips up a mean batch of vegan paleo frosting with similar ingredients but just a little less liquid. You could even make avocado cupcakes to match. If you want something a little fancier, try out this Raw Avocado Lime Tart recipe. It’s unbelievable and also dairy-free, gluten-free, and refined sugar-free.
Freezing avocados is probably the last thing you think of doing, but ice cream is so easy to make with this green goddess! Make a batch with 3 avocados, 3/4 cup coconut milk, 1/4 cup honey, 1 TBSP. lemon juice and a ripe banana (optional). Puree all the ingredients until smooth and put it in the icebox in a freezer-safe container until it’s thick.
Not into ice cream? How about popsicles? Check out this recipe for Vegan Chocolate Fudge Popsicles Recipe with Avocado and Nuts from my friends at Organic Authority. Yum!
Hard Core Avocado Beauty
Unsurprisingly, avocado is great for skin and hair care. With its soft texture, it can easily be incorporated in masks not just for your face, but your whole body. Mix it with some high quality honey and leave it on your skin for 10-15 minutes for an amazing moisturizer. You can also mix it with other things, like yogurt or oatmeal, depending on what your goal is.
In fact, you can make a cool scrub from the pit! Let it dry and grind it up; I break it into small pieces and use a coffee bean grinder until it’s in tiny, gritty pieces. Use half an avocado with the ground-up pit, plus a little sea salt, and you have a perfect exfoliator! It’s great for your feet, but I don’t recommend it on your face, just in case the pit isn’t ground up enough.
I also like to make a deep moisturizing hair mask; it’s just avocado, a banana, olive oil. Massage it into your scalp and leave it on for 15 minutes.
Get double Alternative Autumn action from this DIY shaving cream: Melt equal parts coconut oil and shea butter together. Transfer it into a medium sized bowl and add in 2-3 TBSP olive oil. Let it solidify in the fridge. Then whip the mixture until it’s fluffy, like frosting (it may help to use a hand mixer), and mash in 1/2 avocado. Then transfer the cream to an air-tight container to store until you’re ready to use it in the shower.
Finally, you can use avocado as an alternative makeup remover too, but just the avocado oil (because you never want to waste a good edible avocado!).
Which alternative use are you going to try out first? Do you have a favorite guacamole recipe you’re dying share? You know I love avocado, so hit me up with it in the comments!
LOVE + avocuddles!