The easiest sweet avocado breakfast recipe on National Avocado Day

Considering my last Instagram post, it’s no secret that I’m obsessed with avocados.  Like, really obsessed.  So imagine the thrill of opening National Day Calendar to find that today is National Avocado Day…basically Christmas morning.  It’s a nutritionist’s dream.  Prep yourself for all the avocado content you’ll find in the online nutrition world today.  Call off work, kids.

Business first.  Why do I recommend that almost all my clients eat avocados regularly?  Let me count the ways…
  • Heart health: Yay, MUFA’s, yay!  (Monounsaturated fatty acids)
  • Weight loss: Blood-sugar & insulin stabilization, discourages abdominal fat
  • Antioxidant action: Boo, cancer, boo.
  • Vitamin content: A, E, K (fat-solubles) and B, C (water-solubles)
  • Multiple trace minerals.  Did you know that 1 avocado has as much potassium as 2 bananas?!
  • Digestive health: Yes, I’m talking about poo & bacteria.  Welcome to my world.
  • Skin, eye, hair health:  Cue cat calls.
  • Hormone balance: Depression, mood disorders, fertility

Now why do I personally looooove avocados?  Well I don’t discriminate when it comes to cravings.  Both sweet AND salty cravings are my constant companions, and avocados push my buttons in all the right ways.  When I left my parents’ home at age 14 to go off to boarding school, I was surprised to learn that most Americans eat avocados in a “salty” way…in salads, as guacamole, on sandwiches.  I was thrilled because this expanded my avocado horizon.  I come from a Filipino home where we ate avocados in “sweet” ways.
My favorite and easiest dish is one I often have for breakfast even though it’s called a dessert.  I asked my mom what the tagalog word is for this dish, and she said, “It’s basically an avocado shake, but it’s not.”  On the island my mom is from, few families could afford blenders or had access to fresh milk, so they simply scooped the avocado meat into a bowl, poured in canned evaporated milk, and sprinkled white sugar over the whole lot.  I’ve had this traditional version, and, holy guacamole, it’s delish.  But to work this into my own kitchen, I make some healthy swaps for the refined white sugar and dairy.
I know “sweet” avocado sounds strange to most Americans, but give it a shot.  Being able to use avocados with a whole new flavor palate is a GAME CHANGER.

Matamis na abocado (Avocado "dessert")
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Filipino
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 serving
 
This is my rendition of the Filipino avocado dessert. Traditionally, evaporated milk and white sugar are used.
Ingredients
  • ½ avocado
  • 1 cup nut milk
  • drizzle of maple syrup (No-sugar alternative: Stevia can just as easily be used)
Instructions
  1. Cut avocado in half, and use the half without the pit. The other half can be saved for later. Keeping the pit in gives the saved half a longer life.
  2. Scoop out spoonfuls of avocado into a bowl. I use a teaspoon because I like little bite-sized pieces.
  3. Drizzle your desired amount of maple syrup over the avocado.
  4. Finish by pouring the nut milk over the dish.
  5. Optional: I like to chill my dish for about 30 minutes. Others add ice cubes. Whatever makes you purr.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 bowl Calories: 203.65 Fat: 13.5 Saturated fat: 1.68 Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 21.3 Sugar: 12.4 Sodium: 187.9 Fiber: 5.4 Protein: 2.6 Cholesterol: 0
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Favorite recipes: April 2016

As I mentioned in my last post, Grocery haul: when I don’t have time to meal plan, life happens, and sometimes you just have to wing it. But as I learn to prioritize self care, I’m finding out that squirreling away 30 minutes every week to map out a meal plan and grocery list pays off BIG TIME. I save money — I stay true to my nutrition values — I feel accomplished.

When I first committed to cooking for myself (nearly) everyday, I’ll admit that it was a time-consuming endeavor to find recipes that appealed to me and that were within my cooking comfort zone. I would Google an ingredient that was on my mind and endlessly sift through recipes. I wasted so much time. On top of that, I would choose an elaborate meal for each and every day; I was exhausted. After months of failures (and successes!), I’m prepared to share a few tips that I wish I’d stumbled across earlier in my journey:

  1. Start a recipe binder (or folder or box or whatever).  I’ve been printing out each recipe I try and adding it to a binder I keep in my kitchen.  If I make any changes to the recipe, I write it on the page.  If I hate it, I toss it.  Well…I recycle it.  So after doing this for several weeks, I had a binder full of recipes I love.
  2. Repeat your favorite recipe from the week before.  This serves three purposes:  1) You become comfortable with the recipe.  Eventually, it will be one of those meals you can cook on-the-fly.  2) While it’s fresh in your mind, you have the opportunity to make all the changes you were thinking about while eating your first try.  3) This cuts down on the “planning burden.”  Been there; done that!
  3. READ THE COMMENTS.  In all probability, other readers have test driven the recipes before you, and so many people are generous enough to share what worked for them and what didn’t.  You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.  Read the comments at the bottom of each recipe post, and you’ll find out how to adjust if you’re cooking a 12-serving meal for two, if you have a food sensitivity, or if you want to know how to appeal to a picky eater.
  4. Reinvent your leftovers.  This is a big one for me, especially since I’m on such a tight budget right now.  Food waste is money in the trash.  I often double-up the recipe so I can use part or all of the meal for tomorrow.  Example:  One-Pot Enchiladas.  The next day, I take those wonderful enchilada innards, throw them in a bowl, top it with a fried egg & guac, and that’s breakfast, ladies & gents.

With all that said, here are a few of my favorite recipes from the past month.  All have earned a permanent spot in my recipe binder.

Bibimbap by Korean Basing

They don’t have gosari where I shop, so I often replace this ingredient with shiitake mushrooms.  I also like to add a drizzle of Sriracha at the end.

Baby Carrot Soup from myrecipes.com

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My boyfriend LOVED this.  He doesn’t even like soup.  This one probably goes on my Top 10 Favorite Recipes list that I don’t even have.  Does anyone know if this would be good to can?

Chocolate Mousse by Vegan Magic

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This is another one that has really blown my mind.  I have an insatiable sweet tooth.  This is a staple desert recipe for anyone who is working to eat more (good) fat, minimize carbs & sugar, or simply transition to a whole-foods diet.  The recipe calls to sweeten with dates, but I often get lazy about this and sweeten with some maple syrup.  That’s the beauty of this recipe: As long as you have the coconut cream, you can switch out the other ingredients.  My favorite combo = coconut cream + cinnamon + maple syrup + vanilla extract.  Have mercy.

As I say time and time again, be easy with yourself.  Don’t stress over finding a different recipe for every day.  Don’t worry if you can’t come up with your own original recipes.  Others make a living doing it.  Celebrate their talent by enjoying their work.  And remember, it gets so much easier when you have your go-to recipes.

Any favorite recipes you’ve discovered this month?  Let me know; I’d love to have a go at it!

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Grocery haul: when I don’t have time to meal plan

Those of you who know me can vouch for my Type A personality; I love to meal plan, make lists, cross of completed tasks…the works. It’s not always a reasonable way to live, as I found out this week.

I often get the question, “So what do I do when I don’t have time to meal plan?” The answer is not in the Arby’s drive-through (dat beef & cheddar, doh). Just wing it. Be confident in your nutrition values. I like to shop according to these basic principals:

– Whole foods, whole foods, whole foods
– Grass-fed, free-range animal products
– Organic, natural, blah blah blah (when I can afford it)
– Relax; anything is better than fast food.

When life gets busy, just do your best. Be gentle with yourself. Trust what you’ve learned during your health journey. There will be weeks when you can be mindful of your macronutrient ratios or choose foods based on more specific nutritional goals, but if this weeks isn’t one of ’em, everything will be okay. You will surprise yourself.

I literally just purged my grocery bags onto my kitchen counter to give you a peek into my unplanned trip to the local co-op market. (Sorry for the bad pic; the lighting was so weird.)

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Few of my faves:

Alvarado Street Bakery’s Sprouted Wheat Bagels. I tend to lean towards a low-carb diet, but I LOVE bagels. I love them so much that I know I’ll be tempted to swing by Panera during a busy week if I don’t plan ahead for my cravings.
– Avocados. I eat guac with EVERYTHING.
– Turmeric root. There are so many reasons to add turmeric to your diet. I’m upping my intake to support my memory & joint health. My favorite way: Steeping turmeric & ginger roots in water + milk + black pepper + cinnamon + vanilla extract.

How do you handle your busiest weeks?

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Pleasure to meet you, friends.

I’ve been anticipating this post for months now and am finally blessed with the circumstances to follow my dreams. Let’s start on October 9th when I resigned from the job I’ve had since 2008; it’s been my only “real job” since college. I won’t go into too much detail about what I did, but I will say that it was a major negative contributing factor to my stress level, anxiety, social and family life, happiness, and health. I began to hate my life and came to the awful realization that none of my daily actions were leading me towards what I have in mind for myself. Two weeks after my resignation, I said goodbye to my career and hello to the unknown.

So, what now? I’m enrolled as a full-time student working towards a Masters in Nutrition and Integrative Health, and I’m so psyched about it. If there’s any interest, I’d be happy to share more about my coursework because it is and will continue to be part of my journey over the next two years. You see, my two-year career goal is to earn my Masters degree, pass my Board certification to become a Certified Nutrition Specialist, and open my very own integrative health practice.

Now let’s back up to the present and start talking about how bemindfulandhappy.com comes into play by talking about my short term goals.  This gets into the uncomfortable nitty gritty of my current self and my ideal self. I’m just going to lay it out.

This is me NOW:

  • I’m unhealthy.
  • I’ve lost touch with nature and movement.
  • I suffer from moderate depression and anxiety.
  • I’m a psychosomatic insomniac.
  • I’ve lost the ability to be present in everything that I do.

This is my IDEAL self:

  • I eat not only for enjoyment and convenience; I eat to thrive.  I’ve been on a paleo kick for the past two years, and while I’m still very much in that camp, I’d like to shift my focus to whole foods.  How can I maintain the integrity of the whole food while still enjoying the rich flavors I love so much?  How can I use food to heal my body and mind?
  • My lungs are filled with fresh air.  My skin is kissed by the sun and tickled by the breeze.  I slide into bed at night with not only a tired mind but a well-used body.
  • I’m happy and at peace.  I wake up in the morning with anticipation.  I’m prepared to face the stressors, disappointments, relationships, and beauty of the day.
  • Bedtime is the sweet ending to my day.  The bedroom is dark and quiet.  My mind slows down without any unnatural encouragement.  Maybe, just maybe, I’ll slip into my dreams before my boyfriend does (so unlikely).
  • I am present in every moment.  I allow myself to feel pain when it comes.  I embrace and savor happiness.  I put down my cell phone.  I enjoy even the mundane life of a “housegirlfriend” and student.

I’d like to use bemindfulandhappy.com in two ways: as a memoir of my journey to wherever it is I’m going and as the start of my career as a healer.  The first use is self-explanatory, so let me explain the second.

I’m seeking certification as a Certified Nutrition Specialist to establish legitimacy in the healthcare industry.  I also hope to make my services accessible to those who can’t pay for out-of-pocket appointments by accepting insurance reimbursement.  I will be eligible to sit for my boards in 2017, but until then, I’d like to start a dialog with my peers and interested internet friends about health, happiness, and science.

Things to look forward to at bemindfulandhappy.com:

  • Musings on my developing models of health, wellness, disease, and illness
  • Product reviews
  • Suggested reads, watches, tastes, and listenings
  • Recipe reviews, suggestions, and modifications
  • Pleas for help with things I’m really bad at: gardening, baking, tons of stuff really
  • Requests?

I’ve been looking forward to joining the health blogging movement for years now.  I already feel like part of the family as a reader and am ready to start sharing my own voice.  Pleasure to meet you!

Find me on Instagram @elosogigi and on Twitter @bemindfulhappy

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