Avocados are technically a fruit, but (like tomatoes) are often classed as a vegetable. My boyfriend Phillip thinks we should just call them "guacamoles"--maybe this would solve the classification problem. Avocados are an excellent food to incorporate into an athletic diet, because they... (get ready)
- are a great source of monounsaturated fat, easily burned for energy and which aids in the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients,
- contain more than twice the potassium of the average banana (1),
- have a thick skin which protects them from pesticides (I had not considered this one but it makes perfect sense!) (1),
- and can decrease the body's inflammatory response. The Huff Post article by Dr. Joseph Mercola which I've linked here suggests avocados have potential to improve "vascular function and heart health" and cites an intriguing if "small UCLA-led pilot study [which] found that eating one-half of a fresh medium Hass avocado with a hamburger (made with 90 percent lean beef) significantly inhibited the production of the inflammatory compound Interleukin-6 (IL-6) compared to eating a burger without fresh avocado" (1).
However, if you don't want to take my word or a doctor's for the benefits of avocados, I know you will listen to this endorsement on the California Avocados webpage by 4-time Olympic backstroke swimming champion Lenny Krayzelburg (2).
Below are my favorite ways to eat avocados! When selecting avocados at the grocery store, aim for ones with more black than green color which give slightly when you press on them.
1. Avocado on toast.
Why is this so simple yet so good? Is it because I had it first in London, the place that makes everything better? My first "avocado on toast" experience was at Moosh, an awesome smoothie place and overall healthy eatery close to the Fulham Tube station. (Go if you're close. Then send me a pic. I will be slightly jealous but enjoy vicariously experiencing your joy.) Moosh used a medium-sliced grainy bread with seeds on the crust for their "avocado on toast," and included pepper sprinkled over the avocado...but the real kicker: a lime wedge was included for you to squeeze over your meal. I can only assume the lime juice addition to be a British thing since Pret-A-Manger also sells mango slices in a cup with a lime wedge (which, by the way, is also brilliant). The lime juice and pepper additions are key and make ordinary toast and a vegetable (or fruit, whatever) pretty spectacular.
Yes, I definitely got "avocado on toast" from Moosh multiple times and took photos of this multiple times so I could best approximate this item (not that it's hard to make) when I got back home. Then, when I went back to London in Sept. 2013 for the World Aquathlon Championships, I made Phillip come with me too since all need to have the original avocado on toast.
Thank goodness for my Ninja, because otherwise I would never make this item. Also thank goodness for my boyfriend who usually uses the Ninja to make this item.
Disclaimer: the below recipe is slightly approximate, as we (or, Phillip) usually add items to the Ninja as we go, after evaluating blender contents for correct ratios of ingredients. (I never said I was an expert chef, but this is why I'm advocating things like "avocado on toast.")
Another disclaimer: one avocado goes a long way!! Before you go chopping up five of them, see how far you can get on one or two.
Combine in Ninja: one avocado, one large tomato, one jalapeno or substitute another type of pepper depending upon how bold you are, dash of black pepper, approx. one tbsp. of lime juice (or, just toss the skinned lime half right in there), and optional but recommended packet of guacamole mix. While that last ingredient may sound sketchy, it's really just a bunch of helpful spices--we've used this one from Whole Foods and it's great! By the way, the lime juice also keeps your guacamole from turning unpleasant colors if you eat leftovers the next day!
Note: you probably want to not go crazy with the blending of the Ninja so your guacamole is a little chunky. The last time we made guacamole, I stepped in at the last minute to hold down the Ninja top, bringing this more to a "pulverize" rather than "pulse" function. Phillip was not pleased but it was very good anyway; below, I am pictured with my overly fluffy yet still delicious guacamole. Pictured next is guacamole on one of my favorite fish plates; Lenny Krayzelburg would be proud.
Ta da! That's it!
(1). Mercola, Joseph. "The Many Health Benefits of Avocados." Huffington Post: Huffington Post Healthy Living. 19 February 2013. Web. 24 August 2014. For more of Dr. Mercola's Huff Post articles, click here.