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