Avocados…heavenly green ovals

I arrived home for the holidays to an enormous basket of Avocados…of course, it’s California. We love our Avocados here. For some reason I have never loved them, but I know how amazing they are for you, and if someone chops one up for me to eat with a salad, or creates a killer guacamole dip for me to dress my vegetables or crackers in, then I’m all for it. Whether you love em, like em, or hate em, here are some of the nutrition facts and health benefits of these lovely green ovals.

Nutritional Profile: Avocados are a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamins C, K, folate, and B6. Half an avocado has 160 calories, 15 grams of heart-healthy unsaturated fat, and only 2 grams saturated fat. One globe contains more than one-third daily value of vitamin C, and more than half the day’s requirements of vitamin K.

My thoughts: This food is what I call a twofer in the health food world. You are getting protein and fiber in one. Okay, now that I think about it, this is really a multifer. You get protein, fiber, essential fats your body needs for optimal functioning (i.e., contains omega 3’s that boost levels of HDL, which ultimately protects your heart and helps prevent diabetes), and oh so much more. Like what you ask? Well, this food is also high in carotenoids…what the hell does that mean? Yeah, I wondered the same thing, when it comes down to it, foods high in carotenoids deliver quality vitamin A to your body, thereby protecting eye health, enhance functioning of the immune system, AND promoting healthy functioning of the reproductive system (i.e., they protect your unborn baby). What else? Well they are also anti-inflammatory, meaning they help prevent or mitigate against both osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis. Okay, one last thing, these green ovals also protect against heart disease. But remember, like most healthy fats, a little goes a long way. How much is necessary? Personally, I could eat a whole one of these in one sitting, but all you really need is ¼ to ½ of a medium sized avocado or about ½ a cup. Oh no! So what do you do if you eat more than that? Don’t freak out, enjoy the wonderful food, and maybe go light on the olive oil that day, or just eat a few less nuts.

For more on Avocado’s click here for a fun article highlighting facts you probably didn’t know about this superhero of fruits (yes, technically it’s a fruit!). For those of you short on time, here’s the list of facts:

  1. An Avocado Is A Fruit, And More Specifically A Berry
  2. An Avocado Has More Potassium Than A Banana
  3. They’ll Ripen More Quickly With A Banana Or An Apple Around
  4. Avocados Are One Of A Few High-Protein Fruits
  5. You Can Swap Them Into Baked Goods Recipes For Butter
  6. You Don’t Have To Eat Them To Reap Their Benefits

And I’m out,
Peace sign
Ida

My undergraduate personal essay…not much has changed

I was looking through old files on my computer the other day, and came across one of my application essays for undergrad. Turns out my mission and passion for healthy eating isn’t very new. Honestly, I completely forgot about writing this, and am slightly embarrassed that I never quite got around to accomplishing the goals and plans I highlighted in this essay, but I guess it’s better late than never? This was written about seven years ago…

Almost every day I turn on the television to hear about the newest diet secret or most recent study about anorexia or obesity. I became interested in this subject a few years ago when a close friend of mine wanted to lose a few pounds, but unfortunately succumbed to anorexia. I began researching topics related to eating disorders, health, and nutrition in my free time. The most interesting thing I discovered was how many people are unaware of the short and long term health effects associated with the foods they eat. Many people are eating the wrong foods or given false information about what healthy eating really entails.

I decided to put together my research and love for food to create a business targeted towards educating the public about healthy eating and providing them with a variety of nutritional options. This year I was approached several times by my peers for dietary advice. Their avid interest and curiosity surprised me, so I collected facts, added my thoughts, and accumulated everything into a journal. Eventually, I would like to publish this information to help spread knowledge and awareness.

As a college student I have successfully avoided gaining excess weight or the dreaded “freshman fifteen.” Maintaining a healthy diet was not a challenge for me because I am aware of which foods are nutritious and which are not. It is easy to make smart food choices once you know the facts, but for many this lack of knowledge is the problem. This issue influenced me to open a restaurant that not only offers various healthy meal options, but also educates the customers. The menu would show the customer health benefits and interesting nutrition facts about the meal they order. Additionally, I would implement the same concept in cafeterias across elementary schools and colleges to influence children and young adults to acquire healthy food habits.

I enjoy experimenting with original, innovative ways to cook my meals in what I call the “healthy way.” I am always looking for a challenge, so in my house we have created a weekly cooking challenge. My friends choose a meal, snack, or dessert they are craving, and I recreate it the “healthy way.” One of my favorite substitutes when baking is using nonfat yogurt instead of oil. I plan to create a website in which users submit a food and learn how to prepare the meal using healthy alternatives.

I shared my plan with a co-worker, and currently we are putting together marketing tactics and strategies to help turn my ideas into a reality. I believe this school will provide me with the tools and business skills needed to implement my ideas, and help change the way people eat today.

And I’m out,
Peace sign
Ida

The 3 A’s – Awareness, Access, and Availability

My mission: Change the way people think about food.

My inspiration: I suppose the best way to explain this is that it is a result of personal experience. I know how I feel when I eat and live well, whether that’s through food, exercise, pursuing my goals and ambitions, or doing my best to focus on the present moment. My inspiration is also an extension of my frustrations with three major inhibitors of HEAlthy EATing (or what I call HEATing). What are those 3 inhibitors? They are lack of Awareness, Access, and Availability.

  • Awareness – knowing about what you eat, from the nutritional profile to the resulting health benefits
  • Access – being able to obtain nutrient rich foods easily and readily; it should be just as easy to get a bag of vegetables as a bag of chips
  • Availability – this is all about supply and demand; nutrient rich foods should not only be sold, but available in appropriate quantities

Here’s an example to put things in context. Ignoring cost for a moment, let’s discuss eating out. People often think eating out = unhealthy. I eat out most of the time, and find that I actually eat better when I eat out, BUT my ability to do so requires 3 things, and guess what those 3 things are…yup they are the 3 inhibitors or 3 A’s – Awareness, Access, & Availability. To illustrate, if you don’t know what it is in the food you eat (Awareness), you don’t know what the most nutritious option is for you to order, and hence eating out becomes a dangerous place to consume food. Now, let’s say you are aware, but you are at the airport, and limited in your options (Access) and the one place you do find with something relatively health is out of the product (Availability). Well then, it is going to be quite difficult for one to eat a healthy, nutrient rich meal. Make sense?

I find that I can usually find something decent to eat even when my access and availability are scarce. It’s definitely not simple, but my high awareness makes it easier. For this reason I believe awareness is by far the most important part of HEATing.

And I’m out,
Peace sign
Ida