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Avocados: the super fruit

Last week I was lucky enough to be asked to try some recipes with Mexican avocadoes. I love avocadoes. I probably eat at least two avocados a day, maybe more. But if you had asked me 20 years ago if I liked avocados I would have said, “I have never tasted one.”

Yes, I am one of those who ate meat and potatoes and a little seasonal fruit most days. Foods like cilantro, avocados, arugula, and anything else that was green, except frozen peas, were probably not high on my list, nor was it served at our supper table.

Then my life became all about food allergies and what the heck was there left to eat. Avocados were on the ‘Can Eat’ list. So I tried one and, well, I loved them. They are so smooth and creamy and I can’t imagine how I had lived without them.

I first tried avocados in a local vegetarian restaurant where they had made them into an avocado and onion salad with lemon juice, uembushi vinegar, olive oil and salt. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

Since that day I have never looked back and every time I go grocery shopping, which is fairly often, I pick up at least six avocados.

My significant other was like me, and when we met a few years ago I tried to get him to eat avocados. He would always say “I don’t really care for them”, and I would say,” have you ever tried them?”

Now he eats more avocados than I do. His favourite way to eat them is sliced on toast or with a chicken sandwich. He also loves them with his eggs on the weekend, or on homemade flax crackers.

My girlfriend always carries an avocado in her purse when she goes out for dinner, just in case there is nothing on the menu that she can eat. She will ask the waitress to bring her some olive oil and lemon and voila she has a healthy snack.

I put sliced avocado into all my salads. Whether it is a green lettuce salad, a cabbage salad or kale salad, avocado always makes it taste so much better.

Avocados are full of healthy fats and help keep the body alkaline, which helps us to keep disease away. Avocados contain nearly 20 vitamins and minerals, folate, and more potassium than a banana. Avocados can help lower cholesterol, so why not pick up a few avocados at your local supermarket.

It is best to buy avocados that are green and firm. You know they are ready to eat when the skin changes from green to almost black and is slightly soft to the touch.

What about avocados for dessert?

Last night I decided to make an avocado pudding.

 

2 avocados
1 banana
5 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup coconut milk

 

Mix all ingredients in a food processor until smooth and enjoy.

I found this a little sweet, but my husband loves sweet things (guess that is why he loves me). If I were making this just for me, I would put in less sweetener, but I have to say the fresh maple syrup that we just picked up at the sugar bush last month makes this a delicious and healthy avocado-banana pudding.

 

Want to try more of Shirley’s recipes? Enter our contest to win her cookbook, Finally…Food I Can Eat.

RECIPE: Celiac friendly smoothie

Living without doesn’t mean going without

By Shirley Plant

For those of you with food allergies or Celiac disease it must sometimes feel like you are living without most of the time. No more dairy, wheat, gluten, eggs, sugar, and the list goes on. Eggs and toast for breakfast are no longer possible and that sugary treat you usually buy yourself mid afternoon to curb your low energy is not an option anymore.

Guess what? Those days of going without are long gone. I am here to tell you there are lots of options now offered in pre-packaged form or to make at home for yourself and your family.

Substitutes are foods that work in place of another food item. Rice milk, almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, or hemp milk are great alternatives for dairy milk. Instead of whole wheat flour in your muffins try using rice, chickpea, millet, almond or chickpea flour, all of which are gluten free.

On cold winter mornings try making hot quinoa or buckwheat cereal topped with nuts, seeds and dried fruit, or scramble some tofu with cut up vegetables instead of scrambled eggs. With summer approaching make healthy vegetable smoothies or sweet potato muffins for quick morning getaways.

Gluten free pastas are now available in grains such as quinoa, corn, amaranth and rice. Topped with your favourite pesto or tomato sauce you will never know it isn’t wheat pasta.

Trying to replace eggs in baking can be tricky as it depends what job the eggs are fulfilling in the recipe. Are they a binder or a leavener, or are they providing moisture? Baking cookies or muffins that call for an egg can be easily substituted with a banana, applesauce or with flaxseed. Simply bring 1 tbsp flaxseed in a cup of water to a boil, cool and then put in the fridge to congeal. If you are trying to replace eggs in a meringue, it’s simply not going to work unless you want to try duck or quail eggs. An egg is an egg after all.

If you are trying to lower your sugar intake, try sweetening with stevia, a plant that has been used for hundreds of years in South America as a sweetener. Fruit works well in muffins and breads instead of white refined sugar.

A little maple syrup, agave or honey works well too, but they are no different than white sugar: they all break down into fructose in the body. You do get some additional properties from them that of course white sugar does not have. Using fruit in baked goods gives you the goodness of the fibre and vitamins in your food instead of just empty calories with white sugar.

Gluten-free diets are all the rage these days, but I urge you to make sure you are in fact Celiac or gluten intolerant before you deny yourself certain foods that are providing you with essential vitamins and minerals.

Try to get back to cooking with fresh ingredients. Perhaps dedicate a day for home baking, cooking and freezing so that you will always have healthy foods on hand for those busy nights.

Try this healthy but decadent recipe. I eat it for breakfast or a snack, or sometimes I freeze it and eat it like ice cream.

Hempseeds contain essential fatty acids which our body needs as well as containing zinc, calcium, iron, Vitamin A, B, magnesium, manganese and fibre. Coconut milk contains healthy or ‘good’ fat, so enjoy.

  • Chocolate Banana Hemp Yogurt
  • ¾ cup shelled hempseeds
  • 3 bananas
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • ¾ cup coconut milk

Mix all ingredients in a food processor for at least 10 minutes to break up the hempseeds. Dish into small containers and freeze or refrigerate for a few hours, or if you are like me you will simply eat it out of the food processor with a very large spoon.

 

 

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

 

5 sad movie scenes guaranteed to make you cry

1. My Girl

Thomas J’s funeral in Vada’s house is the scene that sticks in everyone’s memory from My Girl. After trying so hard to be a grown up, Vada is in a grown up situation watching her best friend’s funeral and wants nothing more than to go back to climbing trees and being a kid.

2. Brokeback Mountain

When Ennis’ daughter leaves his trailer he finds that she’s left her sweater there. He shows his love for her by taking the sweater and putting it in the closet with Jack’s blood stained shirt, the only thing he has left to show from their epic romance. Beside it is a photo of the mountain where they met pinned up. “Jack, I swear…” — Go ahead, try not to cry.

3. The Color Purple

After being raped and impregnated by her father and sent to live with Mister, her abusive “husband” who treats her like a slave, Cellie finds her only small comfort when her sister Nettie comes to live with them and begins to teach her how to read. After Nettie refuses to be raped by Mister once too often he throws her out of the house and attempts to break the bond of sisterhood between the two women. You won’t be able to hold back your tears when Nettie says “nothing but death can keep me from it” letting her sister know that she will love her until the day she dies.

4. The Fox and the Hound

Widow Tweed leaves the fox Tod in the forest. The look of confusion and feeling of abandonment on the animal’s face says more than words ever could.

5. Philadelphia

After winning his legal battle against his former employers Andrew Beckett has lost his battle against AIDS. This heart wrenching scene shows all of his family and loved ones coming to his wake. The laughter of children, hugs and smiles, and old family video of Andrew as a child with the saddest Neil Young song ever can leave the toughest person sobbing.

 

 

 

 

 

You can follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

You can follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

 

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FITNESS: Running with allergies

When the going gets tough

This summer has been a tough one: I got my dream job, I lost my dream job; I spent a month jobless; my mum was in the hospital for a month and I didn’t know if my mum would make it; I went six weeks without getting paid; I developed an allergy to gluten, which I figured out after a lot of vomiting; and my bio-dad threatened to sue me for the second time. All of these things made for a tough month and a half. Now I’m at a new job that I love, working on brands and clients that really excite me, my mum is on the mend and finally home, I’ve got a handle on my allergy, I got my first pay cheque from my shiny new job this week and bio-dad is ignoring me again. So things are on the upswing and I made it out alive and smiling.

The reason I managed to keep smiling was Boyfriend: he declared depression, “not an option.” He told me that I was smart and a new job was just about the corner, he sat with me as I cried about my mother and my fear of losing her, he insisted we only eat at places that were accommodating to my allergies and he applauded my response to my father’s email. When I thought that my life was falling apart he reminded me that things get tough sometimes but that doesn’t mean that we have to wallow in a pile of sadness until it leaks out of our eyes. I’m paraphrasing, but in all honesty he was my rock.

This kind of support is something I’ve never experienced in a relationship. When I didn’t want to talk about my feelings he just sat there until I let it out. Sometimes that meant tears, sometimes that meant grunts and half sentences flowing out of the mouth of a terrified girl. Not once did he turn me away when I needed him.

The day I signed the contract for my new job Boyfriend and I had plans for dinner, which we were going to do at my house, but after hearing my news that immediately changed to, “We’re going to celebrate Wild Shannons.” Because it had probably been four weeks since I had any good news to share with him and good news is always worth celebrating.

Today is the first day of August and summer may be winding down for most people, but for us this month is summer. We’re planning road trips, BBQs, jet-ski races and anything else we can think of. I don’t care what we do though; we could spend the day on the beach or watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix and it wouldn’t matter to me because I’ll be with my best friend.

I can’t find a word that covers all the feelings I have for Boyfriend so I will use the only one I have, the hopeless inept, grateful. I am so incredibly, wildly, amazingly grateful for everything he’s done for me and I hope that we’ve built up enough karma that the rest of this year will only be filled with wonderful things.