I first heard of using a plain avocado as a simple and healthy salad dressing last summer but didn’t give it much thought. I was deep into a series of experiments in making my own salad dressing and had no shortage of delicious toppings for my greens.
Now I am purposefully adding more healthy fat into my diet, so I decided to give it a try.
why healthy fats are so important
The reason I am incorporating more healthy fats is because they are protective of the thyroid, as well as being crucial for almost all of the body systems. If you have a sluggish thyroid, which I suspect I have, it is especially important, since a certain amount of essential fatty acids is required for hormonal production.
In my case, I believe that my thyroid needs some love because I abused it for so long with
an unhealthy diet, chronic stress, and yo-yo dieting. I haven’t been tested for hypothyroidism, but I have an overwhelming majority of the symptoms of it, which I talk about here.
The good news is, that God has provided everything we need for a healthy life and body in fruits, vegetables, whole grains (NOT processed white flour, but WHOLE grains) nuts, and seeds. If we incorporate more of those things into our diets and eliminate or limit everything else, the healthier and happier we will be, and the more energy we will have to do all of the things that make life enjoyable.
Even though I have been following a plant-based diet for almost a year now, I haven’t always focused on eating the most nutritious foods; instead, I just avoided sweets and animal products and I am still struggling with weight gain and fatigue, among other things. I know there must be a reason for this, so I have set out to discover why as well as what I can do to fix it.
I’ve been reading the book The End of Dieting: How to Live for Life by Joel Fuhrman, and it has inspired me to keep going and to be patient with my body and to let it heal. These things can take time, but great nutrition is the answer and the cure for many common ailments, so it is worth it to stick to it! I also recommend Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live as well.
I have found that there are many possible reasons for my low-thyroid symptoms, such as a vitamin deficiency; not consuming enough healthy fats; not having enough good bacteria in the intestines, resulting in the thyroid hormones not being absorbed by the body; a gluten sensitivity; an autoimmune disease, where the body’s immune system attacks itself, causing an allergic reaction.
I eliminated gluten completely for a whole month, in case I could be gluten sensitive, but have noticed no change at all after adding it back this weekend, so I am almost certainly not experiencing any sensitivity to it. I will still stay away from all foods made with processed white flour because it is devoid of any nutrition and is a source of empty calories, but I will not be avoiding grains any longer.
The good news is, that God has provided everything we need for a healthy life and body in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
So, although I have damaged my hormones and my metabolism through unhealthy living, the body can rebuild itself and heal itself with superior nutrition, thank God! I am increasing my consumption of greens, beans, nuts, and seeds. I have been taking a few supplements and being more intentional about including whole-food sources of some certain nutrients. I will continue to keep you up to date on what is working and what isn’t.
It has been one month since I have been intentional about using nutrition to heal my hormones, and things are getting better: I am sleeping much better now, without laying awake for hours during the night; I am experiencing more energy than before; AND I lost 3 pounds–which is the first time the scale has actually gone down instead of up for months! I expect more good things in the months to come!
whole foods vs. oils
Today I want to talk about some ways I am incorporating healthy fats into my diet. Since early summer, I have avoided most fats, eating only one serving of healthy fats a day. For some people, that is enough and if they eat much more than that, they gain weight. But all bodies are different and there is no one-size-fits-all ratio, so I’m going to increase my fat intake to a slightly higher, but still healthy level and not be obsessed with it.
So, I am aiming for two servings a day. I will still avoid all processed oils, which are high in calories and very quick to digest, meaning they are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream before they can be used properly. The body then stores it a body fat, which we do not want. Also, extracting the oils causes some loss of nutrients, no matter the process.
I instead choose to eat whole food sources of healthy fat: avocados instead of avocado oil, coconut instead of coconut oil, olives instead of olive oil, etc. The whole foods take much longer to digest, meaning the body can more efficiently utilize them for energy, etc. and when they are being used, they are not being stored!
My two servings of fat are usually a half of an avocado and either about a half-cup of raw nuts (cashews, almonds, pistachios) or 2-3 Brazil nuts every day. I have been reading on some of the amazing health benefits of ground flaxseed, so I take 1 tablespoon a day of that also. It is a very good source of omega-3s, so I sprinkle it on oatmeal, smoothies, or salads.
So for the salad, it’s simple but oh-so-delicious! I hate even calling it a recipe because it’s so easy, but here goes!
avocado smash salad
(makes one giant serving or two smaller ones)
- Wash your hands.
- Make a large salad. ( I like to keep it simple, with only two or three toppings, like green peppers, onions, carrots, tomatoes. I used to add every vegetable I had to my salads, and while delicious, it took a long time to prepare and even longer to eat!)
- Put half of an avocado on top.
- Sprinkle it with some salt and pepper.
- Mash it into the lettuce with your hands.
- Wash your hands again.
- Eat your delicious salad.
And, here is another recipe, in case you have a phobia of getting your hands dirty: 🙂
southwest avocado dressing
In a tiny blender, mix:
- ½ an avocado
- 2-3 T. salsa
- 1 t. lime juice
- ¼ t. taco seasoning, optional
Blend, then pour over your greens. Stir. Enjoy your delicious salad.
Here is another tasty avocado salad dressing recipe: Avocado Cilantro Lime dressing
Have a great week!
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