An Avo a Day

In an ongoing effort to keep doctors (even the guapo ones) and hospitals away, I’ve renewed my righteous campaign to eat healthfully every day. Toward that end, I’m planning to eat an avocado a day from now on. Apples are nice, of course, but avos are in another league altogether. They’re considered one of the world’s wonder foods, with more goodness wrapped up in their leathery skins than just about anything.

I’d list for you their nutritional value – all twenty-plus unpronounceable polysyllabic words describing their healthy contents – but your eyes would glaze over. Just trust me. Or Google it. You’ll be impressed. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find another food that offers as much healthfulness in such a small, handy package.

Yes, I know avocados are costly now – not just in the U.S. but also here in Mexico, land of avocados. But as my mom would always say, “It’s better to pay the grocer than the doctor.” Good, healthy food is invariably cheaper than medicine. The other day for lunch, for example, I bought a small, ripe Hass avocado at my local tienda (mom-and-pop grocery store) here in San Miguel de Allende for 20 pesos, or about $1 US. Well worth it, I’d say.

Yesterday I went to a larger mercado (market) and bought five good-size avocados for the days ahead for 100 pesos ($5 US). The young woman there explained to me that the price per kilo used to be 80 pesos ($4 US), but is now 120 pesos ($6 US). When I asked why the price hike, she said, “No hay” (there is no), meaning, I assumed, there is a shortage right now. (For a fuller explanation for the price rise here and in the U.S., go to: .)

My near-future supply

When I lived in Africa and taught health and nutrition as a Peace Corps volunteer in the rainforest of Gabon, I sometimes thought of myself as the Johnnie-Bonnie Appleseed of avocado trees. In the two years I was there, I started dozens of avocado seedlings from pits and gave them to whomever was interested, to plant on their own plot of land.

“Just think,” I’d enthuse to the recipients, “in ten years you’ll have your own avocado harvest! Healthy fruit to feed your family – for free!” That was twenty-five years ago, and I often wonder whether my prophecy came true.

Mexico, as I’ve said, is the land of avocados. Mexico is the world’s largest producer of the crop, supplying about 45 percent of the international avocado market. According to my recent research, avocados are said to have originated in Mexico’s west-central state of Michoacán roughly 10,000 years ago. And here’s a fascinating little tidbit from Wikipedia too:

“The word avocado comes from the Spanish aguacate, which in turn comes from the Nahuatl word āhuacatl, derived from the proto-Aztecan *pa:wa word  meaning testicle. The modern English name comes from a rendering of the Spanish aguacate as avogato.”

A ripe and ready, creamy, yummy avo

For those who may be timid about attacking an avocado (and I know from my years of experience as a cooking instructor that there are some who feel this way), here are some helpful tips:

If you don’t need them right away, buy your avocados green, firm, and unblemished; and allow them to ripen at room temperature, preferably in an open bowl on your kitchen counter, for a few days. When ripe, their skin will be dark and they will have some “give” when gently pressed within your hand.

With a sharp knife, carefully cut the ripe avocado in half, lengthwise, and twist it apart. Thwack the blade of the knife into the pit to twist and pull it out. Once your avocados are ripe – and before you cut them open – they can be refrigerated for a few days before using.

And here are a few ideas for super-easy avocado eating:

  • Generously slather some toast with the buttery ripe avocado flesh and sprinkle with salt. Many people call this breakfast.
  • Fill the cavity of the avocado half with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with salt. You can call this your side salad.
  • Mash the ripe avocado in a small bowl, add some bottled salsa verde (I use Herdez brand), and mix well. Call this your guagamole and serve it with tortilla chips.

So perhaps you’d like to join me in eating more healthfully in the coming months by adding an avocado to your daily diet? And maybe even go one step further and paint a still life of your own beautiful, healthful avocados, just for the joy of it?


26 thoughts on “An Avo a Day”

  1. l love avocados too! I just cut it in half; take out the pit; and eat whole in my hand. Love your reference to Nahuatl: “comes from the Nahuatl word āhuacatl, meaning testicle.”

  2. I certainly praise your approach to healthy eating. My formula is somewhat different in that I recently consumed a pastrami on rye ( seedless) with hot mustard; onion rings; and a large root beer. As long as I perceived this meal as an avocado, I felt healthy. Love and good wishes .

  3. Oh, the avocado. Nature’s perfect food. I incorporate them into my eating every day as well – and why not? They are still pretty inexpensive here, and somehow taste fresher and nuttier than those we enjoyed in the US. I try to buy them in various stages of ripeness – because when they ripen to perfection, you had better eat them immediately. Lately, sliced avocados and mangoes are a favorite, with a spritz of lime.

  4. Love your praise of avocados. I had always thought of them
    as a luxury, but now knowing their health value I will invest in them to invest in me!

  5. A few months ago I read a suggestion for preserving these gems once ripened, by soaking them in a bowl of water in the fridge. It works beautifully, keeping them from dehydrating or getting brown spots.

  6. Thank you, Bonnie, for this reminder that I have a couple of avocados ripening in a basket on my kitchen counter.

    And for the etymology of the word itself. Very nice.

    Loved your still life—it’s way better than the photo!

    One more recipe suggestion: Cube avocado and tomato then add salt. Halve sections of the little Halo oranges and add to avocado-tomato mix. Toss all in lemon juice and add a bit of black pepper if you like it. I sometimes serve it over a bed of arugula but not necessarily. Muy healthy y sabrosisimo!

    And last, thank you again for showing me your method of making guacamole. I have made it that way many times since I visited you in March. And I want to make sure people know it’s Herdez’s green sauce, because they also make a red one, which I can’t imagine would be as good.

    You must be feeling better!

  7. I love avocados, Bonnie and agree with you–an avocado a day is much better than going to the doctor. Your water-color rendering of a bowl of avocados is lovely. I’m a former painter, mostly in oil and acrylic, but love water colors. You’re attempting and conquering one of the most difficult painting mediums. Keep practicing! and eating avocados so you won’t have any more of those emergency health issues. Buena suerte y buen provecho!

    1. Thank you for this, dear Sher! Yes, the two go hand in hand, don’t they? Good food feeds the body, and art feeds the soul. I feel so fortunate to have access to both. I hope you are well, BB

  8. Dear Bon,

    I’m with your mom on this one. Eating healthy is the best favor a person can do her or himself. One dollar each is about what they cost here. You inspire me to eat more of them, however, the next time I whack one in half I will endeavor to forget the root word’s original meaning.


    1. Ha! Paul, dear, the last part of your comment made me smile. 🙂 And, yes, my mom Lee was a health nut before it became fashionable. When she was diagnosed with brain cancer, they gave her only six months to live; but her body kept on going for two more years because she was so healthy!

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