In praise of avocados and Juvenile Diabetes Research

It’s been avocado season for months, in fact, technically the season ends in September, but I’m fortunate to have a good friend with a yet producing avocado tree!  I love them and regularly add avocado to salads and sandwiches, or enjoy mashed—guacamole with nothing in it but the avocado.  A new favorite is avocado with basil, lemon and oregano adding up to a lightened pesto.  I can’t get enough! 

Ninety percent of the nation’s avocado crop is grown in California, but I hear that further east they can be kind of expensive, therefore a bit rare.  A friend told me a funny story about arriving at her parent’s home in New England and presenting them with their first avocado.  She walked into the kitchen to find her mother wielding a knife like a hacksaw, struggling to cut down the middle of the avocado right through the center of the large pit.  My friend then demonstrated effectively scooping the green, buttery fruit from around the obstacle, but by then her mom wasn’t so sure she trusted this strange “alligator pear.”

Now that's a box of avocados!

So this past weekend I drove to my friend Cristin’s and loaded up! She was more than generous in picking enough fruit for a small crowd and I was glad that my avocado procurement amounted to a timely coincidence with an important family project.  Cristin’s daughter Aimee was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes while still in early elementary school.  Now an active Jr. Higher, Aimee (named after my daughter Aimee, by the way) joins her vigilant advocate mom, dad and older sister Madison in fundraising efforts on behalf of Juvenile Diabetes Research.  Saturday friends and family collected to sell some homemade food items, lovely photography, beautiful handmade jewelry and various uniquely crafted items to raise both money and awareness in support of the annual Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF) Los Angeles Walk to be held at Dodger Stadium, November 6th.

This year I hope to be a part of this team effort, supporting not only Aimee, but also other family friends with children in need of a cure.  There are exciting breakthroughs just around the corner, brought to my attention through the JDRF Artificial Pancreas Project. An automated system to disperse insulin based on real-time changes in blood sugar levels is already available in 40 nations around the world, and the JDRF is active before Congress urging the FDA to speed up the delays in getting this lifesaving technology through the maze of regulations.

Team Aimee

Cristin and Aimee

If I’m going to participate in the 5K walk I need to focus on eating well in preparation! Sadly I can’t hoard avocados.  Once ripened, they go quickly, so I’ll be sharing my bounty. And once again, I’m delighted that one of my favorite foods is an arsenal of powerful antioxidants.  High in monounsaturated fat and potassium, the avocado fights high cholesterol and high blood pressure. And the unfortunate bad press that they are high in calories is just not true! Two to three thin slices of delicious ‘cado’ are only 50 calories, 4.5 grams of total fat and 0 grams cholesterol.  Compare that to one slice of cheddar cheese with 114 calories, 9.4 grams total fat and 30 mg cholesterol.  I think I can enjoy one of nature’s wonder foods and not worry at all!

If you know a family touched by Juvenile Diabetes why don’t you get in touch and ask them how you might support their own efforts? And I do urge everyone to consider reading more about the JDRF Artificial Pancreas Project.  It’s a very hopeful time!

…Debra

You might enjoy what you learn here, too:  Avocados & Guacamole | California Avocado Commission.

9 thoughts on “In praise of avocados and Juvenile Diabetes Research

  1. Pingback: Did Actress Halle Berry REVERSES Her Type 1 Diabetes? – Coaching YOU into Sugar Free Living!

  2. Thank you.

    My husband has had Type I diabetes for 43 years. He was diagnosed in high school. We have seen new ways of treating diabetes over the years and the artificial pancreas brings renewed hope. Tom went on to graduate from college, marry, have children and now a grandchild, have a successful business, and lead a productive life. It hasn’t always been easy, Debra, but the efforts of JDRF, and good folks like you, have brought attention and funds to Type I diabetes. Best of luck in your team effort and let Aimee know that there is a bright future out there for her.

    Appreciatively, Penny

    • Penny, You’ve made my day! I know there must indeed have been times when Tom has felt the uphill climb, but what a testament to be able to share so many personal accomplishments along with family blessings. I do appreciate you sharing with us, and I will indeed let Aimee know of your encouragement. Blessings, Debra

  3. Wow! You have both made me think carefully about type 1 diabetes. I know nothing about it but I shall jolly well go and find out more. Good luck in the 5k hike and al the other fundraising initiatives.
    And I adore avocados; just can’t get enough. They’re pricey over here in the UK…

    • You, know Kate, most of what I know about any chronic illness or disease has been learned through the struggle of good friends! One of my oldest childhood friends (now 60) was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was three. I grew up knowing what this looked like for her! Now with two of my daughter’s closest friends having little ones with the illness I’m learning what it looks like 2011. Quite different from my friend Pam’s experience. There are so many more supports for the families, means of insulin delivery and new technology on the horizon. It was such a personal touch to connect with Penny. The blogosphere can feel so surprisingly intimate sometimes! So glad you were interested, too. And much like the pumpkins, I wondered if you had access to avocados! :-) Debra

      • Debra and Kate, I don’t usually comment by mentioning my posts, but, I thought you might want to read the one I did when Ron Santo died last December. Actually, Kate, I think you saw it. Santo’s is an inspiring story and cut to the close with Tom. It might be a source of inspiration to Aimee and to the others you know struggling with Type I diabetes. It is at: lifeonthecutoff.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/ron-santo/ (and forgive me for inserting myself into the conversation).

      • Penny, I am so glad you added this wonderful post to the discussion. I’m really touched by it. The one thing that jumped out at me immediately was drawing attention to how different it is today with all the internet support! Although a college memory for you, it is still so fresh when you describe Tom’s initial reaction upon learning that Ron was also a Type 1. I will most certainly share it, and I really welcome any contribution you make! Thank you! Debra

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