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Avocado -- the fruit that would make butter and meat obsolete

If you love fatty, creamy, hearty foods and want to avoid the cholesterol and toxicity of meat and dairy, anchor your diet with avocado!

by David Klein

From Living Nutrition Magazine vol. 11  Living Nutrition Publications.

This article may not be reused in any way without written permission from the author.

Avocado is more than just a tasty treat to be enjoyed in guacamole--it makes a hearty satisfying meal when eaten alone, in salads, and in other dishes. Most people who transition from a standard American diet to a vegan diet with avocado, nuts and seeds don’t miss the animal foods because raw vegan plant fat is so satisfying as well as more nutritious than cooked fatty animal foods! In hundreds of thousands of cases, people who’ve adopted a vegan diet of predominantly raw foods with minimal or no cooked starches as part of a healthful lifestyle (including regular exercise and adequate sleep), have lost excess weight, overcome illness, gained new vitality, and avoided the killer diseases which now plague our meat, bread, dairy, and junk-food eating society. The fresh vitamins, active enzymes, organic minerals, soluble fiber, high water content, and easily digested fats and proteins in avocados and other fruit and plant foods can help transform any sluggish, overweight meat eater into a slimmer and more dynamic person. Some of the leanest people I know eat the most avocados! Cooked foods such as bread, pasta, meat, dairy and junk foods are the villains that can keep an avocado eater from losing excess fat.

If your goal is to reduce your consumption or transition completely off of meat and dairy, avocado may be the perfect way to satisfy your natural cravings for creamy nourishment. Dr. William Esser writes in his Dictionary of Natural Foods:

“The avocado is one of the most valuable foods which nature has given man. For those concerned about eliminating meat from their diet, this offers not merely a “substitute,” but a food which is much superior in value for human maintenance. It is rich in protein and fat and comparatively higher than any other fruits in these elements. The fat is more digestible than animal fats.”

Avocado is also known as the “alligator pear” because of the rough skin on some varieties. In the 17th and 18th centuries the fruit was also commonly known as “butter pear.” In tropical Central America, avocado trees have been growing wild for thousands of years, providing natives with a rich food. The Aztecs called the tree Ahuacatl. Marauding Spanish armies changed this to abocado or avocado, the now common English name.

According to the Little Green Avocado Book, there is strong evidence that avocado trees flourished 50 million years ago in what is now California, and avocados might have provided food for dinosaurs.

Today’s avocados are derived from three natural races. The Mexican type (semi-tropical) produces small fruits, 6 to 10 ounces having glossy purple, paper-thin skin when ripe. The Guatemalan type (subtropical) yields medium pear-shaped fruits which are first green, turning purple-black or coppery-purple when ripe, with a typically tough shell. The West Indian type (tropical) produces enormous, smooth, round, glossy green fruits as up to 2 pounds in weight. In the United States, 95 percent of the commercially grown avocados come from California, with small percentages coming from Florida, Louisiana, Texas and Hawaii. The California Rare Fruit Growers Fruit Facts, Volume One, reports that avocados grow well in valley and coastal California, as far north as Cape Mendocino and Red Bluff. Hybrid forms of all types are grown.

Avocado growing is relatively new in the United States. They are available year round. The harvest time depends on the variety. The Hass, the best known commercial variety, is a hybrid of the Mexican and the Guatemalan types and is picked from January into fall depending on where it is grown.

The Little Green Avocado Book also reports that avocado trees are large evergreens of the laurel family, and there are about 400 commercial varieties of avocado. Some are: Bacon, Ettinger, Fuerte, Gwen, Hass, Nabal, Pinkerton, Reed and Zutano. Mexican types ripen in 6 to 8 months from bloom, Guatemalan types 12 to 18 months.

There are wide differences in the flavors of individual avocados, ranging from salty, to nutty, to sweet, with shades in between. If a fruit has been picked too early it may be watery and unpalatable. If picked too late, some varieties develop a rancid flavor. If a Bacon avocado tastes like bacon, it is rancid. If an avocado has dark flesh (rot), compost it and/or salvage the good parts.

At some farmers markets and produce stores, one can occasionally find “Cukes” (also known as "Cocktail" or "Finger" avocados), seedless, pickle-shaped avocado fruits which result from improperly pollinated flowers. One can also occasionally find miniature avocados which have thin, black edible skin and an anise flavor (the Mexicola is one variety)--these make a delightful treat!

Julie Frink, Curator for the Avocado Variety Collection, University of California Research Station at Irvine, California, writes:

“I have nearly 20 varieties growing in my yard and the Hass variety is always one of the best. Some of the green varieties sold in stores have given a bad name to some really fine green skinned fruits. The most inferior tasting avocados have either been picked when too immature or they are poor quality pollinator varieties to begin with. One of our favorites is the round, green Reed. A perfect Reed on Labor Day is a most fantastic treat! So often these wonderful fall avocados are picked and sold in the spring when they are watery and tasteless. The green, elongated pear shaped Pinkerton can be fantastic if allowed to stay on the tree until full maturity but will be rubbery and tasteless if picked too soon.”

The Little Green Avocado Book also states that an acre of avocado trees can yield more food than an acre of any other tree crop. Imagine the ecological implications--a perfectly healthful “meaty” food which requires 1/200th or less of the acreage needed by the cattle industry for a comparable yield in pounds, posing no pollution problems--and no carnage! Worried about mad cow disease?--eat raw avocados, seeds and nuts and stay sane and mentally keen!

Avocados are bursting with nutrients--vitamins, A, B-complex, C, E, H, K, and folic acid, plus the minerals magnesium, copper, iron, calcium, potassium and many other trace elements. Avocados provide all of the essential amino acids (those that must be provided by our diet), with 18 amino acids in all, plus 7 fatty acids, including Omega 3 and 6. Avocados contain more protein than cow’s milk, about 2% per edible portion. Since rapidly growing nursing infants obtain no more than 2% protein from mother’s milk, we can safely assume that children and adults do not regularly require foods richer in protein than avocado. Our bodies recycle approximately 80% of our protein; cooked protein is denatured and largely unusable, thus our protein need is far lower than what is taught by conventional dietetics. A small avocado will provide more usable protein then a huge steak because cooked protein in meat is deranged and mostly unavailable to our liver, the organ which makes all of our body’s protein. There is clear evidence from many sources that cooked fatty and high-protein foods are the prime culprit in our country’s high rate of cancer, as well as in colitis, Crohn’s disease and many other diseases. (I instantly healed up from a long illness, ulcerative colitis, seventeen years ago after I stopped eating meat and adopted a properly combined low-fat vegan diet of mostly raw fruits and vegetables, and I have since helped over 1,000 people recover from similar illnesses.) Ripe, raw organically grown avocados are naturally pure and furnish all of the elements we need to build the highest quality protein in our bodies.

The water content of avocado by weight averages 74%. Because avocado is a ripe, watery, enzymatically-alive fruit, it ranks as the most easily digested rich source of fats and proteins in whole food form. The ripening action of the sun “predigests” complex proteins into simple, easily digested amino acids. The fat content (by weight) varies from 7 to 26 % according to the variety, averaging 15%. Approximately 63% of the fat in avocados is monounsaturated, 20% is polyunsaturated and 17% is saturated. Avocados are the perfect source of dietary fat--appetizing in their raw state, digestible, and pure. Another plus is that avocados have no cholesterol.

Avocado is an alkalinizing food, i.e., the mineral end products of metabolism have an alkalinizing effect in the blood and other bodily fluids. Because the human body works to maintain a slightly alkaline pH, an alkalinizing diet is the most healthful way of eating. Meat, dairy and most raw nuts create acidity in the body--excess eating of these causes the leaching of alkalinizing calcium from our bones to buffer the acidity, leading to osteoporosis. Dr. Douglas Graham states:

“Current bone density testing has verified loss of calcium from the bones after the consumption of just one meat meal. A similar meal containing the same amount of protein from plants results in no calcium loss. Fruit and vegetable proteins, which supply the complete spectrum of human nutrients, must be considered superior to animal protein which are deficient or missing many of our essential nutrients such as fiber, vitamin C and a host of phytonutrients and antioxidants.”

Avocado eaters who eat a healthful vegan diet typically experience more lustrous hair, softer, smoother skin, more pliable nails, fewer joint problems, slimmer belly, less body odor, improved mental function and enhanced libido. Upon giving up animal meat and dairy, switching to a diet of 75% to 100% raw vegan foods with enzymatically-alive “plant meat,” and adopting a healthful lifestyle, a multitude of people have reaped amazing health benefits and joyous vitality.


How to eat avocado

* The Natural Way -- Using your claws (fingernails), peel off the skin. The skin of a naturally ripened avocado will easily spiral off in one to three pieces. Try this: slide a whole nude avocado through your lips and eat it slowly. There is no more sensual eating experience!

* The Modern Way -- Using a knife, slice an avocado along the north-south or east-west axis, then remove the pit. The halves can be sliced into smaller segments. The skin can then be peeled off, or you can scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Eat plain as a snack or scoop the flesh into a bowl or onto a salad.

* Avocado generally requires approximately one and a half to two hours in the stomach to be digested. It digests well if the eater is relaxed, hungry, energetic, has an empty stomach and follows proper food combining guidelines. If one eats avocado when tired, one may fall asleep.

* For optimum digestion, eat avocado alone or with any non-sweet-non-starchy fruit or any non-starchy vegetable food. Eating avocado with leafy greens, celery and/or cucumber will enhance the digestive process as additional digestive enzymes are secreted. People with weak digestion will generally experience enhanced digestion when eating avocado with non-starchy salads as opposed to eating avocado alone.

* Avoid eating avocado with or within 20 minutes of eating sweet fruit or drinking sweet fruit juice. The combination of little bit of lemon or grapefruit juice with avocado tends to digest well for most people.

* Wait at least 3 hours after eating avocado before eating sweet fruit.

* Do not eat avocado with any other kind of oily, fatty or high-protein food such as seeds, nuts, coconut, olives, yogurt, cream, cheese or meat. Wait several hours between eating these foods, although the ideal is 24 hours. It takes several hours to digest and utilize any kind of heavy/oily food, and the body can only digest one at a time

* Some people become sluggish and do not function well when eating heavy foods in the morning; it might be best to eat avocado mid-day and after.

* Avoid eating avocado if you are experiencing acid reflux, indigestion, sore throat, inflammation or fever.

* Overeating avocados can lead to sluggishness, hyper-acid stomach, and skin outbreaks.

* The quantity of avocados that is healthful for you is a function of your taste preferences and digestion. Generally, one a day, three to six days per week is a good baseline. For best results, tune in to your body’s senses and observe your energy levels, digestion and elimination.


Avocado Preparation Ideas

* Mash avocado (“avo butter”) into baked potatoes.
* Smear “avo butter” over steamed vegetables.
* Dollop warmed “avo butter” over hot air popped corn.
* Spread “avo butter” on whole grain bread and soft corn tortillas
* Dip baked corn chips into a avo halves, or a bowl of avo pulp.

All Raw:
* Halve and pit avocado then scoop (or “dip”) celery, carrot, broccoli,
bell pepper pieces in and eat as a snack
* Add to salads--there’s your dressing!
* Mix with chopped bell pepper, tomato, celery, lemon juice, etc. for
guacamole or salsa.
* Party time: slice into spears or chunks, insert toothpicks, and serve
as hors d’oeuvres. (Who needs cholesterol and fat laden cheese!?)
* Make veggie “handwiches” or “veggie roll-ups”--place chopped veggies,
sprouts, tomatoes and avocado chunks on lettuce, or kale or cabbage
leaves, fold them over or roll them up, and enjoy.
* Add to processed vegetables--veggie slaw, veggie loafs, veggie cakes
and cookies.
* Mix into veggie and sprout soups--blend in to make a creamy texture,
or serve “chunky style.”
* Make dressings--avo-carrot juice, avo-tomato-celery (add a little
lemon or grapefruit juice and/or herbs to taste).
* “Avo butter”--smear a halved avocado over freshly shucked corn on the cob
* “Avo butter”--spread avocado on Essene (sprouted grain) crackers.
* Stuff avocado and veggies into cored bell peppers (whole or halved)
and serve as a “handwich” or other entree.

Note: avocado and starchy foods (e.g., potatoes, bread, grains, corn,
old carrots) make a “fair” food combination--for optimal digestion, do
not combine avocado and starchy foods.


Some extraordinary avocado uses

* House plants. Stick toothpicks in the sides of avocado pits and set them on the top of a water-filled glass. A plant will sprout forth which can be transplanted into a pot after a few weeks. On the Avocado Information Web Site, University of California, Cooperative Extension, Dr. Mary Lu Arpaia and Dr. Ben Faber report:

“It is possible to grow an avocado from seed, just don't let it dry out. Be aware that the seed is the result of cross-pollination so the resulting tree will be different from the tree the fruit came from. For example, if you plant the seed from a Hass avocado, the resulting tree will be a cross between a Hass and something else... it will NOT be a Hass! Also, keep in mind that avocados planted from seed take anywhere from 5 to 13 years+ before they flower and produce fruit. When I start an avocado from seed I usually take it right from the fruit, I cut about 1/4" off the tip of the seed with a sharp knife, and place the seed in a pot with potting soil with just the flat/cut top of the seed showing above the soil. Keep it moist and wait...(time to germinate varies).”

* Hand cream. If you have chapped hands or want to prevent chapping in the winter, rub in some avocado.

* Shaving cream. Smear it on!

* Sunburn relief. It may not block any of the sun but it will help keep your skin moist.

* Foot and hand massage. With your partner, share the luxury of a relaxing massage. If you both have sex in mind, don’t stop at the hands and feet!


Avocado **vs.** Animal Meat

watery and fiber-rich, non-consiptating ** low water, no fiber constipating

has all essential amino acids ** amino acids denatured by cooking

no cholesterol ** high in cholesterol

takes 2 to 4 hours to digest, normally will not putrefy ** takes 12 to 24 hours to digest, normally putrefies, poisoning our blood, tissues and brain

no parasites, pathogens or tumors ** incidences of parasites, pathogens and tumors range from rare to common

not inoculated with any chemicals ** typically inoculated with antibiotics, medicines and hormones

water-rich and non-allergenic ** bloody and laden with allergenic proteins

does not need cooking or any preparation other than peeling ** if eaten raw, the parasite-pathogen risk increases; when cooked the fats become carcinogenic, the proteins coagulate, and the heat-deaminated minerals become embedded as arterial and bowel plaque leading to atherosclerosis, heart disease, Alzeimer’s, etc.

100% healthful ** a major health hazard with links to cancer, colitis, diabetes, obesity and many other diseases

alkalinizing ** acidifying

the fuel required to digest avocado and other fruity fats is less than half of that required to digest meats, and digestion time is dramatically lower as well ** takes approximately 50% of body’s energy and as much as three days to digest and clean up the toxins from its decomposition in the gut and the immune system response to the toxic proteins and grease which enter the blood

100% ecologically sound ** ecologically destructive, requiring up to 200 times the acreage and over 10 times the quantity of water to produce one pound of food (approximately 220 gallons of water per pound of avocado vs. 2,400 gallons water per pound of beef); grazing causes soil erosion and in some countries deforestation; liquid, solid and gaseous animal wastes pollute the atmosphere, land and waterways.


Some avocado myths & facts

1. It’s a vegetable.

Fact: It’s actually an oily berry--a fruit.

2. It’s high in cholesterol.

Fact: It has no cholesterol. Only animal foods have cholesterol.

3. It’s high in fat.

Fact: By weight, avocados average 30% easily digestible oily fatty acids and approximately 70% water.

4. Its saturated fat content is dangerous.

Fact: Only about 2.5% of the edible portion of avocado is saturated fat, and unheated saturated fat from live plant foods is non-toxic.

5. It’s fattening.

Fact: It is the cooked starches, meat, dairy and processed sugar in people’s diets that feed their fat cells. Most active people who consume avocados as part high raw food vegan diet have no problem losing excess fat and staying lean.

6. It is a tree ripened fruit.

Fact: The avocado doesn't soften on the tree. After dropping or picking it must be allowed to soften for 4 to 17 days depending on the variety and ambient temperature and humidity.

7. It is best to ripen it in a bag.

Fact: Not necessary. Keep your weekly supply of avocados on your kitchen table, counter or somewhere else in plain sight. Pinch the tops and bottoms each morning and when they yield to pressure on both ends they are ripe. Refrigerate the ones you are not ready to eat.

9. It can’t be refrigerated.

Fact: Yes it can. Wrap ripe avocado in plastic or keep it in a plastic bag or container. If it is refrigerated for too long some spoiling may result. Remove unripened avocado from the refrigerator 2 or 3 days before you intend to eat them.

10. Keep the seed in to keep the guacamole from turning black.

Fact: That is an old wives tale! Wrap it in plastic to keep oxidation at bay.


Arpaia, Dr. Mary Lu and Faber, Dr. Ben. “Answers to Questions.” Avocado
Information Web Site, University of California, Cooperative Extension.
California Avocado Commission.
California Rare Fruit Growers Inc. “Fruit Facts, Volume One.” Fullerton,
CA: Fullerton Arboretum, CSUF,1992
The Committee on Diet, Nutrition and Cancer. “Diet, Nutrition and
Cancer.” Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1982
Doeser, Linda. “The Little Green Avocado Book.” New York, NY: St.
Martin’s Press, 1981
Esser, Dr. William. “Dictionary of Natural Foods.” Bridgeport, CT:
Natural Hygiene Press, 1972
Ford Heritage. “Composition and Facts About Foods.” Pomeroy, WA: Health
Research, 1971
Fry, T. C., Vetrano, Dr. Vivian V., et. al. “The Life Science Health
System.” Austin, TX: Life Science Institute, 1986
Robbins, John. “The Diet Revolution.” Berkeley, CA: Conari Press, 2001
Shelton, Dr. Herbert M. “Food Combining Made Easy.” San Antonio, TX:
Willow Publishing, Inc., 1982
USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 13, November,
Wai. “New Substances In Prepared Food.”

Editor’s note: Special thanks go to Dr. Douglas Graham and Julie Frink for contributing to this article.


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