Hello spring! Blooms are all around us now and it is amazing how quickly those blooms become their full expression with no resistance, nor hesitation – only a knowing and a trusting.
Spring is commonly known as the season for renewal as well as cleansing – “spring cleaning” anyone? But, how many people take inventory of their internal spring cleaning or rather take conscious inquiry of the blooms that are happening within, but yet are confronted with resistance time and time again?
This week’s edition of CLF offers a Conscious Question to have you begin an inquiry about your own internal spring cleaning. Also included in this edition is one of the most versatile and healthy foods we can offer our bodies- the avocado! In addition to the internal cleansing, I’ve included a minimalists approach to spring cleaning and just for fun, I also included Bea Johnson’s “Learn how you can wear one dress twenty-two different ways” for anyone who is looking to really clean out their closet!
What is within me now that is ready to be expressed? What am I resisting?
Conscious Food: Avocado
If I was stranded on an deserted island and could pick just one food to eat, it would be hands down the avocado! It’s creamy, rich texture is so satisfying. There is something about consuming an avocado that just ‘feels’ right. It is probably because it is jam packed with nutrients for the body, including 20 different vitamins and minerals!
The avocado or (alligator pear) is a unique fruit in that it is high in healthy fats as opposed to carbohydrates which is typically what fruit consists of. There are many kinds of avocados, and the shape (from pear-shaped to round) and colour (from green to black) can vary between them. The most popular type is called Hass avocado.
Avocados are native to Central and South America and have been cultivated in these regions since 8000 B.C. The major commercial producers of avocados today are the United States, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Colombia with California producing 95 percent of all avocados grown in the United States.
Here are just a few reasons why avocados made the list for Conscious Foods:
Reduce Arthritis Symptoms
Avocado’s contains a powerful natural anti-inflammatory agent called polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols. These help to reduce inflammation in your body or even preventing it in the first place! Avocado’s can further reduce inflammation because they are rich in vitamin E and vitamin C, two vitamins that are also antioxidants and we all know antioxidants help to fight against the damage that may occur as a result of chronic inflammation.
Better Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is one of the most common health problems that people experience. One nutrient that plays a critical role in regulating your blood pressure is potassium. In fact, avocados supply you with about 14 percent of the potassium your body requires every day. This is even more than you can get from a banana!
Boost Brain Power
Avocados are a powerful brain food because they contain high amounts of vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids. Both of these nutrients are critical for brain health because they ensure the brain gets the blood it needs to be supplied with nutrients. So, eating avocados essentially makes you smarter and it makes it easier for you to make decisions!
Avocado is Loaded With Heart-Healthy Monounsaturated Fatty Acids
Avocado is a high fat food with 77% of the calories in it derive from fat, making it one of the fattiest plant foods in existence! But before you get scared away, they don’t just contain any fat, the majority of the fat in avocado is oleic acid. Oleic acid has been linked to reduced inflammation and been shown to have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer.
Aids with Weight Loss
Don’t be intimated by the fat content of the avocado because they are rich in fibre and monounsaturated fatty acids. The fibre helps you to experience hunger pangs less often since your body digests it slowly. With the healthy fatty acids, your body does not store them as fat, but as a type of slow-burning energy. This means that you are not going to feel hungry as often, allowing you to not consume as many calories and lose more weight.
Reduce Risk of Certain Cancers
“Avocados have been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers, including cancers of the mouth, skin and prostate,” said Flores. This is “due to the unusual mix of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics.” Furthermore, a 2007 study in the journal Seminars in Cancer Biology found that the phytochemicals in avocados encourage cancer cells to stop growing and die!
Avocados Can Help Your Body Absorb Nutrients
When it comes to nutrients, the total amount of them is not the only thing that matters. We also need to be able to absorb them what we eat. Some nutrients are “fat soluble,” meaning that they need to be combined with fat in order to be utilized. This includes vitamins A, D, E and K as well as antioxidants like carotenoids. Adding avocado or avocado oil to either salad or salsa for example is not only highly nutritious, it can dramatically increase the nutrient value of other plant foods that you are eating!
Provide Protection For The Eyes
Not only do avocados increase antioxidant absorption from other foods, they are also high in antioxidants themselves. This includes nutrients called Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which are incredibly important for eye health. Studies show that these nutrients are linked to a drastically reduced risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
When Selecting Avocados:
If you don’t need them immediately, it’s much better to buy avocados unripe, rather than ones that feel soft in the middle at the store for a couple of reasons. Firstly, you can’t tell how long the avocado has been ripe for. If you bring home avocados that feel ready, they may actually be overripe. Secondly, if an avocado has been on display at the store for so long it has ripened, it’s probably had many fingers squeezing into the middle of it and will be full of brown fingerprints or bruising from falling off the shelf. A much better way is to buy your avocados unripe. Simply place the unripened avocado in a brown paper bag with an apple or banana for two to three days until they begin to ripen. Gently squeeze the avocado without applying your fingertips as this can cause bruising. It’s ripe if it yields to firm gentle pressure. It’s unripe if the if the avocado does not yield to gentle pressure and feels “firm.”
These ‘eye candy’ avocado boats are so easy to make and can really be customized to whatever your individual taste buds enjoy best. Our family loves roasted chickpeas so it only made sense to combine them with the delicious avocado!
Now that the weather is warming up and perhaps some of you are dusting off that barbecue, try grilling your avocados! They taste AMAZING on the grill and add a nice flavour to this recipe too! Simply preheat a grill to medium-high heat, remove the pit of each avocado, brush each avocado half with the lime juice and extra virgin olive oil, place each prepared avocado half (flesh side down) over the hot grill. Cook for about 5-7 minutes or until grill marks appear and the avocado is warm, but not overly mushy. Voila!
Or how about this… Avocado ice cream! If you know how to make a smoothie, you know how to make ice cream…you just need a few more hours for freezing time.
- 2 avocados
- 1 /4 cup raw honey
- 1/ 4 cup full fat coconut milk or other milk (almond milk, hemp milk, raw milk….)
- pinch of sea salt
- squeeze of lime Instructions:
- Peel avocados and scrape out the flesh.
- Place in blender and blend until no longer lumpy.
- Add in the raw honey and coconut milk (milk of choice).
- Blend on medium until you get a nice smooth consistency.
- Take out and freeze for at minimum 2 hours.
***Note to all chocolate lovers out there, you can easily turn this recipe into chocolate ice cream instead by simply adding about 1/2 cup of raw cacoa powder. Not only do you get a satisfying chocolate snack, but you will increase the nutritional profile by adding in some magnesium and iron via cacao!
Minimize your External Spaces to Maximize your Internal Spaces
Taking a minimalist approach or in other words what I like to say: “The less you own, the less that owns you,” subconsciously declutters the mind. When our environments are cluttered so to are our minds. Here are a few simple tricks to get you started cleansing your external world that will ultimately end up cleansing your internal world too.
Take inventory of the organizing ‘helpers’ you already own. Are they just more “stuff” accumulating (e.g., is your footwear swimming around an inefficient shoe rack; is that multi-binder system for recipes too complicated for your regular go-to recipes)? Donate these items to charities or schools, they will be very grateful and so will you.
Only keep what brings you value and or a ‘peaceful’ feeling when you are in the presence of whatever it is. Ask yourself, “Have I used this in the last 6 months?” or, “Do I truly love it?” If both answers are “no,” it’s clutter.
Once you’ve made up your mind to donate, recycle, or keep something, don’t hesitate. Act right away. Postponing action creates piles on the floor or countertops and even more clutter, whereas decluttering in real time keeps your space consistently clear and you will be less likely to hesitate.
Check out how Bea Johnson minimizes her closet by transforming 1 dress into 22 different looks!
Bea Johnson has been an incredible source of inspiration for our family as we downsize and minimize the things we own. She has also been an incredible resource in helping us find ways to drastically reduce our own waste consumption. We set a goal to not create any of garbage in a two week garbage cycle just last month and I am very proud to say that we have been successful with that goal! Now that we know we CAN make this happen, we will continue to reduce our garbage consumption. It’s actually kind of fun and we make it into a game/challenge which helps bring some creativity rather than feeling deprived in the process. Now, reducing the amount of recycling we accumulate is a whole other story!!
If you missed Bea’s episode on the Conscious Living Podcast, check it out here and hopefully you will take away some cool tips and tricks that will inspire you to make your life and planet a little more cleaner.
In Zero Waste Home, Bea Johnson shares the story of how she simplified her life by reducing her waste. Today, Bea, her husband, and their two young sons produce just one quart of garbage a year, and their overall quality of life has changed for the better. They now have more time together, they’ve cut their annual spending by a remarkable 40 percent, and they are healthier than they’ve ever been.
This book shares essential how-to advice, secrets, and insights based on Bea’s experience. She demystifies the process of going Zero Waste with hundreds of easy tips for sustainable living that even the busiest people can integrate: from making your own mustard, to packing kids’ lunches without plastic, to canceling your junk mail, to enjoying the holidays without the guilt associated with overconsumption. Zero Waste Home is a stylish and relatable step-by-step guide that will give you the practical tools to help you improve your health, save money and time, and achieve a brighter future for your family—and the planet!
“Stuff weighs you down. With less stuff — and less waste — life becomes so much easier and more meaningful. The zero waste lifestyle is about having less and living more.”
– Bea Johnson
Have You Heard?
After much contemplation and heart led conversations, I have decided to retire the Conscious Living Podcast and put my time and energy into other Conscious Living projects that are calling me to! To learn more about these projects, keep in touch via Instagram (natashaagrey) as well as HERE, this blog! Interested in raising your consciousness? I know you are or you wouldn’t be reading this? You guys are in for a real treat and I can’t wait for you to experience what is coming up!
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With love and gratitude,