House guacamole

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Does anyone actually know why we celebrate this day? Because I didn't until I Googled it just now. In Mexico, it's a celebration of the Mexican army defeating France in the Battle of Puebla during the French-Mexican war. To Americans, it's a wonderful day that requires the consumption of Mexican food and salty drinks. No matter your reason for celebrating, there's no better way to commemorate this day than with a big bowl of guacamole.

This guac is a favorite in the Larson home, and until I went to write this recipe, we had never measured our ingredients. Around here, guacamole crafting is an art that involves adding a pinch of this and a few dashes of that and adjusting over and over again until it tastes just right. I think I've managed to put concrete terms to the quantities we use to create flavors we love. This guac is just how we like it: limey, salty, with a subtle spicy kick.
Let's take a minute to rave about avocados. One cup of cubed avocado meat contains 40% of your daily fiber, 35% of your daily vitamin K, 30% of your daily folate, 23% of your daily B6, and 20% of your daily potassium needs. They have amazing anti-inflammatory benefits due to high carotenoid content, and these carotenoids (which are fat-soluble) are easily absorbed by the body because of the high fat content of avocados. We know that internal inflammation is linked to many common chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, so keeping inflammation in the body at bay is extremely important.

Many people are skeptical of avocados because they are very high in fat. In fact, they're about 80% fat. In reality, however, avocados can be a very healthy part of any diet. The primary fatty acid in avocados is oleic acid, a monounsaturated, "healthy" fatty acid that may help improve heart health. On another note, you know what else is 80% fat? Bacon. If you needed further proof that fat makes everything delicious, there you go.

Avocado's fiber content is so impressive, I need to repeat this stat: 1 cup contains an amazing 40% of your daily fiber needs! High-fiber diets lead to better digestion, improved blood sugar regulation, and possibly even weight loss due to the lasting satiety gained by fiber-filled foods.

Feel free to enjoy avocados - they're packed with lots of flavor and nutrients. Do remember, though, that one avocado contains about 250 calories. I've counseled avocado lovers who had been trying to lose weight but had trouble because they were eating about 1000 calories daily in avocado alone. It's all about moderation.
House guacamole
Serves 4

4 avocados
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (1-2 limes)
1/3 cup salsa
2 large garlic cloves, minced
5 jalapeno slices, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Halve the avocados and remove the pits. Use a spoon to remove the avocado flesh from the skin and place in a medium bowl. Add the lime juice, salsa, garlic, jalapeno, salt, cumin, and cayenne. Use a fork or a nifty tool like this one to mash the avocado into small pieces and combine all the ingredients together. You can make it as smooth or chunky as you like. Taste and adjust spices and salt as desired.

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