I was telling a friend about the salad I’d made the night before using some beautiful avocados when she said: ” I love avocados but they’re banned from the list of foods I can eat. My slimming club categorizes avocados as sins because of their high fat content, along with olive oil.” The thought of an avocado being a guilty pleasure made me laugh but then I did wonder why there is still so much confusion about certain healthy foods. Censoring natural foods like avocado and olives because of their fat content seems outdated, now that our understanding of “good ” and “bad” fats has progressed from simply looking at the calorific values of foods, to knowing that certain fats are a necessity. According to NHS Eating guidelines : “Fat is a source of energy (as well as vitamins) and provides essential fatty acids that the body can’t make itself. BEST FATS:
- Monounsaturated fats in natural and fresh products such as olive oil, avocados, oily fish, nuts and seeds.
- Saturated fats in meat, dairy products, biscuits and cakes.
- Transfats in meat, dairy and products using hydrogenated vegetable oils.”
So by all means cut out calories by ditching the “bad and the ugly” but why deprive your body of the “good” natural fats that are available in delicious foods like avocados? Instead of oil, the slimming club advises its members to use cooking sprays. The ingredients on the back of the bottle I looked at included:
- Olive oil (53%), water, alcohol, sunflower lecithin as an emulsifier, natural flavouring, xanthum gum as a thickening agent.
I had to check what lecithin and xanthum gum were and found that:
- lecithin is “a food additive used to keep certain ingredients from separating out.” (Source: WebMD.com)
- xanthan gum-a food additive used in low-fat dressings which takes its name from the strain of bacteria responsible for the black rot which appears on cauliflowers and broccoli. The bacteria forms a slimy substance which acts as a natural stabiliser or thickener.” (Wikipedia)
I also found out that these sprays use propellant gases to get the oil out of the bottle (either butane, isobutane or propane.) All the ingredients have been classified as safe by the Food Standards Agency so I am not saying that cooking sprays are bad for you, only that if you compare all that has been added to a natural product to make it palatable, why not just stick to the real thing? The ingredients summary on the back of my bottle of olive oil simply says: “Superior category of olive oil obtained directly from olives and solely by mechanical means. Blend of olive oils of European Union origin.” I didn’t need to check out the meaning of any of those words! And finally the recipe for the salad that sparked off the subject of today’s post. I decided to call it Holy Moly Salad, in keeping with today’s post. 🙂
Holy Moly Salad
Prep to Plate: Prep: 30 minutes Cooking time :20 minutes Difficulty: Ingredients: (4 portions)
- 150g farro di cocco or spelt (quick cook variety)
- 1 small red onion or salad onions (finely sliced)
- 100g cherry tomatoes (halved)
- 1/2 red pepper
- 1/2 avocado
- olive oil
- lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon)
- 6-8 walnut halves
- salt and pepper
To make salad:
- Cook the farro according to instructions and allow to cool.
- Wash and slice the rest of ingredients and add to grains.
- Make dressing by adding walnuts to olive oil and chopping in a food processor
- Add lemon juice and seasoning.
- Add to salad and mix well
It’s quick and easy to make but the flavours do improve with keeping if you have any left over for the next day.
Did you know that :
- the avocado is known as a superfood as it’s rich in antioxidants and other cancer- fighting properties?
- recent research has revealed that adding avocado to a salad helps the body’s ability to absorb two major carotenoid antioxidants (Lycopene and beta carotene)?
- the average avocado only has 12.5mg of fat and 235 calories?
- it is the only fruit which has monounsaturated fat which helps lower cholesterol?
- it is full of vitamins and nutrients such as vitamins C and K as well as folate?
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