Let’s talk about word associations.
When we hear the word “fat,” we automatically lump it into a category of foods that will ruin our health and fitness goals. We forget that our bodies NEED fat – it protects our internal organs, lubricates our joints, and comprises more than half of our brains! Fat also gives foods flavor and makes us feel satiated – it’s no wonder that the foods we crave are high in fat. JoJo said earlier this week that fat is not the enemy! And it isn’t. We just forget that not all fats are created equal.
Think of it this way: saturated fats are solid at room temperature, while mono- and poly-unsaturated fats are fluid. Which fats do you think are better hanging out in your blood stream? Obviously, some saturated fat is part of a balanced diet – and we shouldn’t swear it off completely. If you are trying to limit saturated fats, try incorporating more monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids in their place. For example, introduce cooking with olive or canola oil instead of butter or try your hand at making salmon burgers instead of hamburgers occasionally. (Note that we should try to avoid trans fatty acids and hydrogenated oils, as these are found in highly processed foods and are linked to heart disease.) Cooking with new or different ingredients can be fun AND delicious.
Speaking of trying something new, I bet when most of us think about avocados, we imagine guacamole. Today’s recipe breaks the avocado stereotype and makes it the star of a chocolate dessert. This fruit is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and one serving also has more potassium than a banana! Its mild flavor and creamy texture make it perfect base for a mousse. So, next time you’re eyeing that almost-overripe avocado thinking it’s about to be taco night again, consider the possibilities!
Chocolate Avocado Mousse
Makes about 3 servings
4 ounces dark chocolate (I used 72% cacao), melted*
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 medium ripe avocado
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla
¼ teaspoon orange extract
Pinch sea salt
*Either microwave chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl or use a double-boiler method by placing a heat-safe bowl in a pan of hot water. Avoid melting the chocolate over direct heat, as it can seize and lose its consistency.
Stir almond milk into melted chocolate until mixed and smooth. Set mixture aside to cool for several minutes. Meanwhile, pit and peel the avocado, scooping the flesh into a food processer. Add the vanilla and orange extracts and salt, cover and blend until creamy. Fold in cooled chocolate mixture and mix on high for 30 seconds or until completely combined. Spoon into dessert cups and refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.
You could also freeze this into popsicles either using molds or by pouring the mixture into an ice cube tray and inserting sticks.
If you do not have a food processer or good blender, combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and blend with a hand mixer until smooth.
So, that’s it for this week. Have a great and safe weekend!
Until next time, remember that… there are no excuses when it comes to your health!