Un Momento Da Non Dimenticare Mai

After receiving a number of requests from my Italian family and friends, my mom translated this article for all to read!

L’effetto Sorpresa

Il 2 giugno 2016, è successa la sorpresa dell’anno. L’opportunità di una vita. Un momento da non dimenticare mai.

Con due dei miei fratelli, abbiamo deciso di venire in aereo, dal Canada e dagli Stati Uniti, fino in Italia, e fare una sorpresa ai nostri nonni, durante la celebrazione del loro sessantesimo di matrimonio. Parenti, zii, zie, mamma, papà, sorella e amici di famiglia erano all’oscuro di tutto. Solo gli altri due fratelli lo sapevano. Meno orecchie, più grande e sicura la sorpresa!

La Sorpresa Per il Sessantesimo di Matrimonio

Siamo arrivati un paio di giorni prima, abbastanza per assestarci con il cambio d’ora. Il giorno dell’anniversario ci siamo intrufolati nella sala del rinfresco dove un po’ alla volta entravano gli invitati. I primi sono stati mamma e sorella maggiore, e questo è stato un momento memorabile, lo shock sui loro visi, le lacrime di gioia e il cuore che batteva a cento all’ora dall’emozione mentre ci abbracciavamo. Papà, in genere imperturbabile, stavolta è stato parecchio colpito dalla sorpresa. E la nonna, ammutolita come se avesse visto dei fantasmi: nel suo discorso ufficiale ci ha chiamato i 3 re magi!

Che giornata mitica è stata, e continuerà a ripetersi nella mente e nei pensieri di tutti noi nei giorni a venire.

Riunione di Famiglia

Inutile dire che questo evento è servito anche a farci riunire come famiglia. Visto che siamo in 8 e sparsi per il mondo, ritrovarci è qualcosa di molto speciale. Abbiamo passato i giorni seguenti a parlare, a ridere, ad aggiornarci, e a fare una bella scorpacciata di delizioso cibo italiano.

Non c’è niente di più prezioso della famiglia. E’ lì che la vita ha inizio, e senz’altro è uno dei valori più grandi della vita. Nei momenti difficili, la famiglia ti sta vicino.

Non è facile vivere lontani e senz’altro ne sentiamo la mancanza. Sono però onorata di appartenere a una di quelle famiglie che godono di ogni giorno, minuto e secondo trascorso insieme. Siamo tutti molto diversi e a volte non condividiamo le stesse idee, ma il tempo che passiamo insieme è come l’oro.

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La famiglia: come i rami di un albero, cresciamo in direzioni diverse, ma la radice è unica. (anonimo)

xx Lara

My Sister, My Hero!

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When I first started blogging I wanted to be extremely private, I wanted my articles to motivate, inspire, educate, and to be an encouragement to whoever fancied taking the time to read what I had to say in the first place.

I am a friendly person, but I’m also very shy, sentimental, and private.

Because of that, I was certain I didn’t want to be one of those blogs who gives you regular updates on their personal lives, or delve into private affairs!

To this day, I still have the same fundamental goal in mind.

However, I believe that motivation, inspiration, education, and encouragement doesn’t only come from text-books, or from research. It comes from real life events, personal stories from the heart, experiences from the very core of our existence. There is a reassurance somehow in knowing that you’re not alone, that you’re not the only one in your current struggle, or that you’re only human!

And this leads me to today’s post.

My sister, my hero!

My sister has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, and is, as I am beginning to write this post, going through surgery.

She is a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a strong and very brave woman. I don’t think anything can prepare you for information like that, but she was solid, positive, and courageous upon hearing this news.

I felt many emotions the day she went for her last biopsy – the day it was confirmed to her that she did in fact, have breast cancer. To be honest, I felt silly for being so overwhelmed by my own present worries and insignificant concerns, things that I wasn’t happy with, or wished could be better. For her, this news was the beginning of worry, concern, and decision-making.

P.S I’m pleased to say the surgery went well and she’s in recovery, and is definitely showing this cancer who is boss!

To All The Strong Women

I have very close friends and tribal-soul-sisters that are cancer survivors, or are surviving a chronic illness. Who prove to me that there is nothing you can’t survive if you have the will power and positive outlook to overcome what seems to be the impossible. Who put faith before fear, strength before weakness, humility before pride.

To all you ladies out there, sisters, tribal sisters…you are all my hero’s and influence me on a daily basis to think bigger than my current state! Who know what struggle truly is, and what miracles can be.

It takes strong women like you, to be an encouragement to many, even through your most difficult moments. And I am humbled.

To My Sister

I love you sis. I know no matter what, you’re going to beat this. You’re an amazing person, a kind soul. You’re my hero and inspiration, and are stronger than ever! You will come out victorious – a survivor to all those other women out there who are hearing this very same news for a first time.

“You only know how strong you are, when being strong is your only choice.” – Bob Marley

xx Lara

My Penguin And I

marriageI had the pleasure of being at my grandparents 60th Anniversary in Italy a couple of weeks back, and it was beautiful!

Marriage and relationships aren’t always easy, and as with anything good in life, a healthy marriage takes work, and is in essence, the backbone of the house. The honey moon stage in most marriages has a shelf-life, with familiarity creeping in, a growing family, a change of job, this can all put pressure on a relationship, and add troubles to what started out strong.

A healthy marriage doesn’t mean a plateau of emotions, or the absence of arguing and disagreement.  The up’s and down’s can be a roller coaster ride, to say the least, but it’s what makes a marriage stronger. All marriages go through rough patches, some don’t survive long enough, others see it through till death do part.

5 Tips For a Healthy Marriage

I love and treasure my husband through our good times and our bad times. I know our tough times stem from fundamental personality differences – which can get in the way! But I also know that we have something good, something solid, something worth fighting for. It sometimes takes putting things on the back burner, choosing to overlook things, or by making some healthy compromises.

While doing some research into golden advice for a healthy marriage, I came across a few juicy tidbits. Here are a few points that stood out to me:

1. Acknowledge the little things – It’s easy to forget that you were once “man and wife” before earning the title of “mom and dad.” Make it a habit to jump into his or her arms after not seeing each other all day, filling each other with kisses and words of love, instead of jumping to the troubles of the day. Arrange a little date night at home – a special meal just for the two of you while the kids watch a movie in the room.

2. Be mindful of your words – Say thank you for the little things that go unnoticed. Forget the things that went wrong, or were forgotten – they don’t need undesired attention. Tell your significant other she’s beautiful, and she’ll be beautiful. Tell him he’s smart, and he’ll be smart. Tell them how much you appreciate the jobs he/she does, and they’ll do the job even better. Tell her she world to you, and she’ll make your world a better place. Make kindness a priority!

3. Accept that not all problems are solvable Sometimes learning to walk away from a heated discussion, or difference in personality is the smart option. Accepting that certain things about your partner will never change, and there is no point wasting time and patience trying to change them. Instead choosing to move on to what you find as common ground or similar interests will help you overlook a problem or realize it’s not a deal breaker.

4.Take care of your appearance – So much is involved in the courting stages, plenty of time is spent exercising, and working on appearances, so one can look and feel attractive. This often is not the case once the honey moon period passes, or sometimes after having children. The ease of letting go can seem very enticing, and easy to fall into. But exercise and paying attention to your appearance is crucial in a healthy marriage. Exercise also releases tension and stress – one of the main culprits of discord in a relationship.

5. Don’t keep score –  Marriage requires a lot of give and take, and it’s never fair to tally up scores. “I did this, so you need to do that.” Tit for tat is childish and counter productive. A better thing to keep score of is the positive things your partner does – and then thank them for doing it.

To My Penguin:

(My hubby and I started using this term long since we first got together. Penguins are for life – and so are we, or at least we’ll try our best to be.)

As time goes by, we get a little older, a little less patient, a little less tolerant of each others shortcomings. The “little people” in our life sometimes take preference to the once “man and wife” we used to be. But if there is one thing I know, it’s that no matter what life may bring our way, I feel honored to share it with you.  I promise to work my best at this marriage so that our grandchildren can witness our 60th Anniversary, the same way I just witnessed my grandparents 60th.

I love you.

xx Lara

“You don’t love someone because they’re perfect, you love them in spite of the fact they’re not.” – Jodi Picoult

Feed Your Skin – Love Water

#infusedwaterSummer has begun, and I can already feel the potential damage it could impose on my skin.

I do love basking in the warmth of summer, and catching a few healthy rays of sun for a maximum of 15 minutes per day. But what I don’t want to see is leather skin that is dry and withered. After all, leathery skin will not help my anti-ageing quest!

There are a few steps I can take to avoid looking like a shriveled up prune. Top priority for this gal here!

Protect Your Skin

Protecting your skin comes in more ways than one.

Sunscreen – Some swear by lathering on the 50 SPF sunscreen from head to toe, any time you step out of your house. I personally have a slightly controversial approach to sunscreen, and the other damaging effects this chemical filled product does to the skin. Each to their own though! However, I do apply about a 15 SPF to my face and chest if I’m out for a few hours by the pool, and yes, I wear a hat here in hot Texas! For boat trips, and long day’s on the beach, I would also apply it to my whole body.

Healthy eating habits – Eating a well-balanced diet of juicy and nourishing nutrients, and plenty skin protecting foods will help the skin protect itself from harsh elements. Chocolate offers natural skin protection – just don’t be fooled by the sugary type…that will only send you on a trip to the dentist. Opt for a dark chocolate instead.

What to avoid –  Avoid or minimize drinks that could dehydrate you such as coffee, alcohol, and tea, etc.

One thing is certain on my personal quest for luscious skin – which I will have to put into place effective immediately, and that is to make water my best friend.

If You’re Thirsty Then You Are Already Dehydrated

This is true – thirst equals current dehydration. The idea is to avoid getting to the part where you’re thirsty, and in desperate need of water. It can be tricky at times when busy with jobs at hand, it’s easy forget to drink water. The moment we feel thirst, this is when our body tells us it’s dehydrated.

Learn To Love Water

The best way to keep hydrated is to drink water. And what’s better than water for ultimate absorption? Yes, infused water!

I do love water and drink copious amount of it at times. But there are times when I too forget, or get a bit bored of drinking it. I’m not really a juice or soda girl, unless it’s freshly squeezed juice, or bubbly water.

My kids and I are on a mission to love water and enjoy it. We’ve bought a few fun cups that have a way to infuse fruit into it. It’s nothing fancy, but it does make water a lot less boring. It’s all about doing what works, and getting into it, being obsessed with making new flavor combinations. We put in whatever fruit we have, a slither of lemon, some blueberries, strawberries, a tea bag, chia seeds (that’s a protein shake right there), a cinnamon stick, a piece of ginger, some watermelon.

We typically just put it in our cup first thing in the morning and top it up with water throughout the day. You can also buy jugs especially for infusions, or big water bottes to carry to work. They’re for purchase everywhere these day.

Your Skin Is On You

Summer is a great time to enjoy cocktails, beer, a few glasses of bubbly, and plenty of iced-coffee. Nothing feels better than a cold beer on a hot day, or after working in the garden. My favorite! That’s all good and well, but keeping it in balance with plenty of water is on you.

At the end of the day, drinking water will not only protect your body, but will feed your skin, allowing you to look like a sun-kissed goddess all summer.

You are in charge of how your skin looks.

Drinking plenty of healthy infused concoctions will definitely put the fun back into drinking water, and will keep your skin hydrated and glowing!

What are some fun way’s you have found that works to help you drink more water? Please post comments below…I would love to know!

xx Lara

A Moment Never to be Forgotten

The Element of Surprise

The 2nd of June 2016, brought the surprise of the year. An opportunity of a lifetime. A moment never to be forgotten.

Two of my brothers and I decided to fly from Canada, and the U.S, all the way to Italy, to surprise our grandparents on their 60th Anniversary. Of course, this was an opportunity to surprise the whole family.  The relatives, uncles, aunts, mom, dad, sister, and friends of the family – the only ones in the know were our other 2 brothers. We figured the fewer that knew, the more the surprise!

The 60th Anniversary Surprise

We arrived a day or two before. Just enough to nurse a day of jet lag. On the day of the anniversary we snuck into the refreshment room where one by one each person attending started trickling in. Our mother and sister, were the first faces to walk in – and this is the priceless moment – the look of shock, filled with a teary eye of joy, felt by a pounding heart of excitement as we jumped to hug each other. Dad has always been cool as a cucumber, but he too was touched by the surprise. And Nonna (grandma), she looked like she saw a friendly ghost. In her speech she mentioned we were the 3 kings!

Oh, what an amazing and epic day that was, and will continue to be replayed in our thoughts and minds for day’s to come. Thanks to our others half’s for taking on the job of homestead, enabling us to make this monumental surprise.

The Family Reunion

 

Needless to say this event was doubled up with a family reunion. For a family of 8 to get together from all parts of the world was something to be treasured – and organised. We spent the next few day’s, talking, laughing, catching up on stories, and filled our bellies with delicious Italian food.

There really is nothing like family. Family is where life begins, and one of the most important things in life. Family stands beside you when times are tough.

It’s hard not living near family and you definitely feel the absence when reunited. I’m blessed to say that I have one of those families that enjoy each day, each minute, each second, spent together. We’re all very different in our own way, and do disagree from time to time, but overall time spent together is pure gold.

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Family, like branches on a tree, we may grow in different directions, but our roots remain as one. –Anonymous

xx Lara

Friends For Life

Friendship

I love travelling the world, experiencing a new life, new surroundings, new work, food, people, shops, nature. Travelling offers a plethora of new beginnings, and is good for the soul and helpful to the body. I wouldn’t change my wanderlust life for the world. I feel lucky and blessed to live the life I live.

Lonely Moments

As with anything amazing there is always a downside. The loss of friendships –not so much a loss of friendship, but rather the sad distance of being physically separated from the touch, scent, or warmth of that special person. Tears inevitably flow at times from the separation anxiety, or the absence of the all-important reassurance of knowing you can meet anytime for a quick coffee and casual chat. When life is tough you know there is a shoulder to cry on, or a gentle listening ear, or simply that they will be there to offer you a few words of comfort…to make you feel important. The absence of a close friend is a hard thing to face when moving to a new country.

New Beginning’s

It’s not all doom and gloom though, as a new dawn arises so do the possibilities of finding new friends. The world is full of like-minded souls ready for paths to meet and start new friendships with. It’s not about having many friends it’s about finding the right friends. And friends are important in life. They keep you feeling safe, settled, and comforted when you are a long way from “home”.

I remember a few years back when my husband and I were looking for a house. The sales agent that was showing us this particular house –for some strange reason –said that this wouldn’t be the house for me as it didn’t have loads of neighbors around to whom I could go out and chat with. He got me thinking to myself, “Hang on, you don’t know me. I’m not the kind of person that needs to be surrounded by busy bodies who want to gossip and chat about what that person up the street is doing. Not that that’s a bad thing, it’s just not what’s important to me. All I need is a real friend. Someone that I feel a connection with. It’s not about how many friends I can have. Just the right ones. And if they happen to be on my street all the better!”

What Does A Friend Mean To You?

I’ve learned a lot about friendships in my recent years –call it maturity or a sudden appreciation for true friendship. I’ve learned that with some it takes years to find common ground with or to even truly get to know. With some you think you know them until suddenly you realise all too soon that you totally misjudged them, their character, and maybe being friends with them will be a bad idea –toxic!  With others I’ve found an immediate bonding with that no distance, nor time, could ever change the connection between us. It could be years between seeing them with only a few words of communication in between, but once reunited the kindred spirits come together as if there were never time or distance. This is true friendship.

Travelling and Friendship

What I have found fascinating in my years of  travelling is the fact that I have friends all over the place who I can reconnect with or who can connect me with good friends of theirs. I find it comforting knowing I’m not entirely alone in a new country, and I embrace the possibilities of making new memories with new like-minded people –always keeping those I hold dear who are far away in my thoughts and close to my heart.

Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive. And it is only by this meeting, that a new world is born. – Anais Nin

xx Lara

Alla Mia Mamma – Happy Mother’s Day

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Cara mamma,

If I could go back in time to when I was young, and thank you for everything you did for me everyday, I would. The 9 months you carried me while I was busy training for the olympics inside your belly making you uncomfortable, and giving you heart burn. The sleepless nights when I was born. The sleepless nights that continued throughout the years! The times you held me when I was sick with my crazy high fevers –the worry and responsibility you felt for me to get better.  The way you saved me so many dentist trips by introducing me to healthy eating. The way you never spoiled me with things, instead taught me how to play and played with me. The way you taught me to be kind and care for others. How you taught me that it was better to give than to receive.

There were so many things you gave up for me selflessly that I could never thank you enough for. Without you I wouldn’t be the person I am today. If I could go back and take away all the things I said to you in childish anger, or teenage rage, I would. The hard times I gave you as a teenager? If I could have only realised then that you were just looking out for me –wanting what was best for me.

It was only when I entered motherhood myself that I started to fully comprehend what it was all about. It’s the best thing I’ve done in my life and I wouldn’t change it for the world. But it is hard. It has day’s of pure joy, and day’s of sorrow, frustration, and worry. It has crazy long hours. It’s a job so often taken for granted. But you keep me going knowing that you’ve done it so I can too.

Even though we live on opposite sides of the world there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of you, your strength, your kindness, and your youthful spirit. You are my superhero, my role model, my friend, my influence in life, you will forever be, the very best.

Ti voglio tanto bene, cara mamma!

“A mother holds her child’s hand for a little while, but holds their heart forever.”

Happy Mothers day!

xx Lara

 

Embracing Your Changing Beauty

DSC_0995Beauty Standards In Society

To all you ladies out there who feel like today’s beauty standards in society are haunting your dreams or making you feel like its survival of the prettiest. I hear you and I feel you! Self-image is very important and we seem to have standards for ourselves that allow or don’t allow us to accept the skin we’re in.

I’ll be the first to admit that I set myself a very high standard for the level of fitness and health I WANT my body to be in. Accepting its never-ending-changes feels sometimes like a big lump in my throat, and very uncomfortable to swallow.

When did I give permission for all this white hair to make its home on my head?Hello! You should be charged rent. And those sneaky little wrinkles on my face? I’m certain they should be charged with permanent residency, effective immediately? That extra bit of post pregnancy belly chub I can’t shake? Or that mother who just stepped out without a stitch of make up, looking like a goddess in rags. Why is it I get to look like a zombie with the single absence of mascara? Hmm, I don’t know.

And then we have the small little health issues that start creeping in with age.

What is age though? And what makes one start feeling old and lacking in beauty confidence?

Acceptance of Self-Image

Finding peace and acceptance with our body is probably the reason why we start aging in the first place. It seems the more I start worrying and obsessing with my body the older I start to look and the less fun life seems to be.

Okay, just for the record, I’m not thinking about my body and my looks all the time. I am actually quite happy to age as naturally as possible –but I’m only human, so on a bad day the ageing effects do start to bum me out just like any other woman!

Yes, it’s important to have standards and to care for our body staying healthy and strong –this way it keeps us in good form as we get older and helps us age gracefully. But, obsessing never helps. The more negative we see in ourselves the more negative we’ll look in our minds. But instead if we choose to embrace our ever changing body on a daily basis, our opinions about ourselves will start to change making us look confidently gorgeous!

How To Redefine Your Definition of Beauty

Society keeps setting the bar so high for us women these days, we’re afraid of aging, afraid of getting too heavy or too thin. Truth is we can’t please the constant trends or deny the fact that our body is getting older/changing. We have to embrace ourselves, love our curves, our edges, all our perfect imperfections. (Even John Legend knows how to love our perfect imperfections, ladies!)

We have to be comfortable in our own skin, proud of our unique gorgeous self, celebrate our femininity on a daily basis, treat ourselves once in a while to something decadent and fabulous, realize that we are special and priceless and can’t be duplicated from a magazine.

This is how we redefine our definition of beauty and learn to accept and embrace the changes of our body that is out of our control!

You are you, and you are beautiful!

Lara xx

“People often say that, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that YOU are the beholder. This empowers us to find beauty in places where others have not dared to look, including inside ourselves.” — Salma Hayek

Raw For A Week

#rawfoodcleanseLast week my husband and I decided on a week-long raw food cleanse. It left us feeling squeaky clean, energized, lighter, and boosted our bond together. Here is why and how we did it.

Why Cleanse?

Why were we looking for a cleanse? Well, many individuals would argue the futility of cleanses, fasting, detoxes, and so on. I’ve watched and researched numerous studies in relation to the final outcome of detoxing and the scientific benefits or lack of benefits on the body. At the end of the day, any change in diet is going to show results and benefit in one way or another.

These days our bodies are taking a hit from food choices we make. Some day’s we drink a few too many caffeinated drinks from being exhausted or over-worked, it gives us the temporary buzz we need to make it through that tough day. At some point we all forget to drink those all important 2 litres of water, leaving our body slightly dehydrated. Then there is the evenings where we just want to relax and forget the troubles of the day so we sit down for 1 glass of wine which turns into several. Sweets and fast food starts creeping in a bit faster too as we stop caring about what we eat due to busy daily demands.

All of this is okay to an extent…but is it? Are we getting sick more often, or is there a bigger sickness lurking out there in our distant future?

Dedicating a week to a cleanse will help our mind and body detox, allowing us to get back on the straight and narrow with healthy food choices, and will help replenish our systems depleted nutrient stock.

Why Raw?

Eating raw has big benefits as we’re not killing any of the powerful vitamins and enzymes in our food by overheating or overcooking. With that said, science has shown the benefits of heating some vegetables as they release added nutrients  from gentle heating such as steaming. They also make some foods easier for the body to digest. But that is for a different post altogether!

No cleanse is easy as change is hard, but if we make the rules it gives us the dedication to do it. We decided to do a raw food cleanse this time as our main goal was to alkalize our body. Most of us have very high acidic bodies from eating meat, drinking coffee and tea, etc. The body can’t get sick from an alkaline body which is why we chose this to be the emphasis of our cleanse.

Foods Off The List Were:

  • coffee
  • alcohol
  • dairy
  • meat
  • gluten (except for soaked oats. We make the rules, remember!:-))

Foods On The List:

  • water
  • lemon juice
  • raw vegetables (most can be eaten raw)
  • fruit
  • juices
  • smoothies
  • raw nuts
  • sprouts

We added a few other extra’s to help with a good “clear-out” and boost our metabolism and antioxidant intake:

  • cayenne pepper capsules (we sprinkled it on food but also put it in capsules for ease of use)
  • 1 laxative tea a day or every other day
  • oregano (very high in antioxidant so we sprinkled it on everything)
  • fresh turmeric (they look like very orange ginger. We added this to our juices)
  • fresh horse radish (powerful tasting. We added this also to our juices)
  • wheat grass (need I explain!This does require a special juicer for ultimate extraction, but we still went ahead and chucked it into our juice machine)
  • cinnamon
  • fresh ginger

How We Laid It Out

When embarking on any cleanse, fast, diet, or anything for that matter, preparation is imperative. Getting things lined up helps make your life easier and helps to stick to the plan.

Breakfast:

  • For breakfast we had either a smoothie with an added organic and plant-based protein powder. Or we had soaked oats done the previous night, and added fresh blueberries, cinnamon, and maple syrup.

Mid morning booster/”coffee”– juice:

  • Our booster was a fresh and very powerful juice. To keep it simple I would prepare 2 day’s worth at a time, minimizing the dreaded task of washing that juicer out everyday.

Lunch:

  • I usually enjoy a nice salad for lunch so this wasn’t too much of a change. But I made them extra antioxidant with cayenne pepper and oregano, and added a bit more onion, garlic and plenty of avocado! Yum!

Mid afternoon snack:

  • Fruit and nuts kept us going and helped fill us up.

Dinner:

  • For dinner I tried making denser salads adding plenty of nuts, seeds, and starchy vegetables.

Before sleep:

  • Time for a herbal tea or laxative tea!

What We Gained From This Week

Not only did we feel squeaky clean on the inside, but our skin also got an extra glow from all those vitamins, water and lack of dehydrating ingredients.

We felt our relationship got tighter as we went through this journey together, laughing through the ups and downs of the cleanse.

I regained my creativity and love for making fresh salads, and keeping the focus of meals around them.

We made the habit of adding at least 2 fresh juices a week to our diet.

I got some extra practice and insight with meat-free meal idea’s.

Our first “normal” meal was a nice piece of grilled tuna, with plenty of grilled asparagus, accompanied with a mango and coriander relish, and fresh guacamole. Man did it taste good!

xx Lara

All About The Avocado

avocadoOne of the things I like best about being back in a sunny climate is that I get to have an abundance of creamy tasty avocados in my diet. I’m in heaven! I used to always buy them in Ireland but they just didn’t taste the same– by the time they were “ripe” they were almost rotten yet hard? I still ate them as they’re so good for you, and I was grateful to even be able to find them there in the first place, seeing it’s hardly the climate for them.

Persea Americana

If you’ve ever seen an avocado tree you may be as fascinated as I am with their beauty. Those big tall tree’s with their long branches dangling these drops of gorgeous green velvety fruit called  “Persea Americana,” or what we call avocado.

I remember once when living in South Africa we went on holiday to Durban. The place we stayed at had this huge avocado tree just loaded with huge fruit that was falling off ripe and ready to be eaten. I’ll admit I couldn’t stand to see all the fruit going to waste on the ground– there was just so much of it– that I packed a good 10 avocados in my carry on to eat back at home in Capetown. My poor husband, he thought I’d lost it:-)

Avocados & Potassium

According to the USDA Nutrient Database  around 100 grams (3.5 oz) of avocado has about 485 mg of potassium — scoring higher than the very staple banana which has 422 mg. We need potassium in our diet to help protect heart from high blood pressure, to avoid muscle cramps and fatigue, dizzy spells etc. The recommended daily allowance is for potassium is  4,700 mg. With just 1 average avocado containing 975 mg you’re well on your way.

Why You Should Be Eating Avocado Oil

Avocados are high in fat, but they’re loaded with good heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. The majority of this fat is oleic acid, found also in one of my favorite oils, olive oil.

Olive oil is a staple in my diet I pour it on my food for flavor and added texture, or on my salads. I’ve only really started using avocado oil as a staple but I find it doesn’t really have much flavor so I usually combine it together with olive oil in my salads (totally optional to mix of course).

One of the main reasons to add oil to your salads is not just for flavor but to help your body absorb the nutrients in your plant foods. “Oil soluble” vitamins such as A,D,E, and K all need oil to help our body absorb them. The same goes for antioxidants and carotenoids.

Avocado is also an excellent choice for cooking as it has a high smoke point and is resistant to high-heat oxidation.

Avocado For The Skin

Avocado oil is high in vitamin E and Vitamin D making this a perfect oil to add to your skin care. It’s humectant properties add extra value to dry skin, mature and ageing skin, and even works as a good after sun oil adding moisture back to the skin. It leaves the skin feeling silky, luscious, and adds shine to dull skin. Avocados can also be used in a facial mask as well as in a hair oil.

You Either Love It Or Hate It

I haven’t really met anyone yet that doesn’t like avocados, except kids! My eldest daughter grew up in South Africa where they were in abundance. I found them to be perfect baby food. She didn’t like them initially though as I tried scooping it straight out of the skin. She would gag from the dense texture of them and refused to eat them plain. I decided to mash them up with banana and pear and that seemed to go down much better. She loves them now every which way. Strangely my younger two prefer eating them in slices rather than mashed in a guacamole. They too gagged a bit when first trying them out.

Texture is so important for children when trying out foods. I try to serve it to them in a variety of ways this way eliminating creating an unintended picky eater.

All this talk about avocado and I’m ready for my avocado salad!

xx Lara