Monday, October 27, 2008

Avo, The Cholesterol Fighter

I like avocados, but more importantly - Sam, my co-author and "m8" loves them.

Avocados grow quite abundantly where I live, in fact we've got at least 3 mother trees who all have totally different shaped avocados. One of the trees gives perfectly round avocados about the size of soft balls, the seeds are just a little smaller than a ping pong ball, and the meat is beautifully buttery and smooth. One of our other trees gives long avocados shaped quite like distorted balloons or something of the sort. Avocados grow so well around here that in some places, the fruits are just left for the monkeys and pigs to eat.

Avocado has surprisingly good effects, including helping with weight control!

Here's a little snippet on avocados:
CHOLESTEROL-LOWERING AVOCADO: Healthy Fats, Lower Cholesterol

Avocados are a great source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat—a type of fat that may actually help to raise levels of HDL ("good" cholesterol) while lowering levels of LDL ("bad" cholesterol). And these delectable green orbs pack more of the cholesterol-smashing beta-sitosterol (a beneficial plant-based fat) than any other fruit. Beta-sitosterol reduces the amount of cholesterol absorbed from food. So the combination of beta-sitosterol and monounsaturated fat makes the avocado an excellent cholesterol buster.

Eat some today

Avocado is a bit high in calories. Your best strategy: Use this luscious veggie in place of another high-fat food or condiment.

Get this much

The American Heart Association recommends that you get up to 15 percent of your daily calories from monounsaturated fats like those contained in avocados, but some heart experts recommend an even greater percentage. (In an 1,800-calorie diet, 15 percent translates into 30 grams per day.) FYI: A whole avocado has about 300 calories and 30 g fat.

From: MSN

One of my favorite ways to eat avocado is in salad or in sandwiches. It's especially good with Kimchi:
. (I need to get myself a camera so that I can post some fuuud pix!) Since Kimchi is somewhat a salad/pickle, and contains high amounts of enzymes. Not only that, but it's also got heaps of chili in it, making it a good way to keep off pounds. It's great layered in with sandwiches - be it a nice little burger or just some sort of a tofu crumble or something of the sort. It actually goes real well with avocado, mustard, cheese, pickles, and the other usual ingredients of good sandwiches.

Avocado is an incredibly versatile ingredient to work with, good when salty, sweet, or even spicy. Just don't ever bake it- it turns out horribly bitter, - or at least from my experience that's what has happened!

This avocado tart recipe is another favorite of mine. It's easy and fast to make, and is real enjoyable. The cashew milk blends in real well.

These pre-baked pastry cups filled with a custardlike cream will please your vegan friends. Best served freshly chilled. Cholesterol-free avocados are loaded with potassium, vitamins A and C, and niacin.

1 cup unbleached white flour
2 Tbsp. raw sugar
1/2 tsp. egg replacer powder
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. safflower oil
Water for binding

3/4 cup fresh cashew milk*
1/4 cup raw sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups ripe avocado
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Fresh mint leaves for garnishing

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix the dry pastry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Rub in the oil with your fingertips until evenly crumbly. Carefully add just enough water to make a soft ball of dough.

2. Lightly oil 4 mini tart pans or custard cups, or a standard muffin tray with 6 cups. Divide the pastry into 4-6 pieces depending on the size and choice of pan. On a floured work surface, roll each piece into a circle about 1/8 inch thick.

3. Place the pastry into the pans and mold to fit. Prick the bottoms with a fork. Bake for 20-30 minutes until light golden. Cool and remove the shells from the pans. If you are using custard cups, bake first, then remove the pastry shells from the cups and bake on a tray, bottom side up, for another 5-10 minutes.

4. Prepare the cashew milk as directed below. Blend the cashew milk and the next 4 filling ingredients until smooth. Add the lemon juice and mix. Spoon the filling evenly into the cooled shells and chill briefly. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

Makes 4-6 tarts

*Cashew milk: Blend 1/4 cup raw cashew pieces with 1 cup hot water until smooth. Strain through a fine strainer.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
Calories: 293, Fat 15.3g (138 cal), Carbohydrate 34.7g (139 cal), Protein 3.8g (16 cal)
Added information: Saturated Fat 1.8g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 202mg, Dietary Fiber 2.7g

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