I’ve been on an avocado kick lately and, although eggs & avo will always be a perfect pair, this orange-chocolate love affair is a close runner-up. I can’t seem to get enough of this dynamic duo. Creamy chocolate orange pudding, chocolate-orange cashew tarts (coming out in April’s newsletter!), homemade orange chocolate bark and so on… You get the gist.
I was craving something sweet yet creamy and my mind went straight to pudding, which is out of character for me. I’m typically not one to reach for sweets; more of a salty gal, myself. Nevertheless, staring deep into the refrigerator (as if a dessert were to magically appear) a bag of avocados caught my eye. I had tossed them in there the previous day to help slow the ripening process. My mind instantly thought of the velvety chocolate-avocado tart recipe that I had released in a ‘newsletter exclusive’ email. And to the right were the oranges. Ta-daah.
It doesn’t get much more fool proof than this recipe. It’s a ‘combine all ingredients and blend’ type recipe. My favourite kind. You’re in control of how chocolatey, orange’y, sweet, creamy, etc. you want it. I was in it for the creaminess, so I added coconut cream to the mix; a choice I don’t regret.
I’m a huge supporter of avocados for their high nutritional profile. They’re are packed with nutrients, fibre and heart-healthy fats. Although, time and time again I hear people say they’re avoiding them because of their fat content; that mainstream diet companies recommend only 1/4 or 1/8th of an avocado. Like, what does that even mean! And how could someone quarter an avo AND THEN halve that quarter. Talk about self
deprivation control. Fats don’t make you fat; poor carbohydrate choices do.
FATS: Where We Went Wrong
Sadly, the diet world has given fats a bad rap and people have shied away from them as a result. Why? I’ll give it to you short ‘n sweet. In the 1950’s, there was a scientist named Ancel Keys who hypothesized that fats were the key link to cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Onward he went on a worldwide mission to prove that societies who consumed higher concentrations of fat also had higher rates of CVD. He visited 22 countries and recorded the data for each one. Seems like a pretty solid, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, his results didn’t turn out as well as he had hoped. Of the 22 countries visited, Keys hand-picked 7 that favoured his hypothesis and discarded the remaining 15 countries. Those 7 countries were then plugged into a graph, which, you guessed it, resulted in a nice linear correlation between fat intake and CVD. BOOM. Results were published for the world see. Alas, the brith of the anti-fat craze and millions of ‘health’ products were thrown onto the supermarket shelves. One of those being margarine; a tub of hydrogenated vegetable oil that is one molecule off from being plastic. Let that one sink in for a moment and wonder how that plays a role in heart disease. Ever since then, health conscious people around the world have been recoiling from the big, bad fat monster. What they weren’t aware of was that the real ‘monster’ in the closet was the same thing that was causing them to pack on the weight in the first place.
You see, when you remove a component from a food, you need to replace it with something else. Fat tastes good. That’s why we like creamy dishes, fried foods, etc. It’s the fat content and it needed to be replaced with something equally enticing. In the case of fat, it was replaced by sugar. So not only are you removing a healthy ingredient, you’re replacing it with an ingredient that will put your body into nutrient-debt. It takes more nutrients for your body to digest and metabolize sugar than the amount of ‘nutrients’ IN sugar. So you’re actually losing nutrients just by eating sugar. Where’s the sense in that? Well, when it comes to making money, sometimes sense can fall by the wayside. Think of all the money to be made from selling a weight-loss product that advertises using the SAME WORD used to describe an excess of body weight – FAT. In a society that uses the word ‘fat’ to describe an overweight individual, it makes sense why some would avoid eating it.
Where Ancel Keys went wrong was when he grouped ALL fats together in the same boat. Not all fats are created equal. Short-chained fatty acids found in grass-fed butter or coconut oil are readily burned for fuel and are not stored in the body. Margarine, however, are long-chained fatty acids and are not readily burned, but are instead stored. The longer the chain, the harder it is for your body to break it down. In the case of animal products, butter would be the shortest chain whereas red meat the longest.
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which is a fat with at least one double bond within the fat molecule, are less stable than saturated fats (animal products). Hemp oil, olive oil, flax oil, etc. are examples of healthy mono/polyunsaturated fats. The more double bonds a fatty acid chain has, the more susceptible it is to rancidity. What causes oils to go rancid? Light – Air – Heat. This is why oils should be kept in a dark-stained glass bottle and stored in cool darkness. Flax oil oil starts going rancid within 15 minutes of being left out! This is why it is strongly urged to store your flax/hemp oil in the fridge and whole/milled flax/hemp seeds in the freezer. It’s also why it is recommended that, in the case of flax, to avoid buying them from stores that sell products in bulk. That huge tub of flax is just sitting there day-in-day-out exposed to light, air and heat. It’s best to buy flax from your nearest health food store/section and store it in your freezer.
Fats are needed to absorb fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamin A, D, E and K. Without fats, those precious nutrients run right through you. They’re also needed for proper hormone production, which is a HUGE one for all the ladies out there. Avoiding healthy fats is a sure way to send your hormones for a ride. Our brain and heart run on fats. Every single cell in your body consists of a phospholipid membrane. The word ‘lipid’ means fat! It surrounds each cell of our body. It acts as a barrier that separates what’s inside and outside of the cell. Fat is needed to protect the cell and for cell growth and development. That’s why fat is the great for skin health. Avocados, nuts, seeds, hemp, flax, etc. These are all foods with a high concentration of healthy fats that promote a beautiful vibrant skin tone. I think what I’m trying to say is EAT MORE HEALTHY FATS. Put down the fat-free products laden with sugar and choose to nourish your body with whole fats like walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, coconut, AVOCADO PUDDING. Which leads me to my recipe. 🙂
As previously mentioned, this Creamy Orange Chocolate Pudding takes 10 minutes to make and will keep fresh in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- 4 avocados
- 1/4 cup maple butter
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/4 cup raw cacao powder
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/2 - 1 tbsp orange zest
- 1/3 cup full fat coconut milk
- pinch sea salt
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving
- For the coconut cream, place a can of coconut milk upside down in the fridge overnight or for at least a couple hours. Remove from fridge and turn right side up. Open the can. The coconut cream will have separated from the coconut water. Discard coconut water (or use it in a smoothie!) and scoop out the solid coconut cream for this recipe.
- Store pudding in airtight container for up to 5 days