LiveBlog: Cutting Edge Culinary: California Avocados as a Fat Replacer, Flavor and Color Enhancer, and Nutritional Booster

This post was captured by Denise Fears of AlmasDays

This highly interactive wellness session led by Michelle Dudash, RD, Cordon Bleu-certified chef, media personality and author of Clean Eating for Busy Families  will focus on consumer trends and offer bloggers fresh content ideas to help clear up “good” and “bad” fat misrepresentations using science based nutrition information.

Michelle Dudash, RD

Michelle Dudash, RD

The color, seasoning, texture of the avocados  makes better recipes.  Food and health can go hand in hand.

My blog turned into newspaper column.  I wrote a book talking about clean eating

Also have been on television providing cooking demos including The Chew.

Today we will be talking about nutrition of california avocadoes, show the new way to cut california avocados, the versatility of avocados. I grew up in wisconsin and only knew about guacamole, over time a whole world was opened up about all of the ways avocados could be used in recipes.

Now about food styling, show of hands, who shows food photography on their blog, instagram or twitter? Several raise hands.  I will give tips on making avocados look better and avocados will make food look better. We will have an avocado tasting bar and taste the winning recipe.

We also have with us Emily Schiller,RD; Jan DeLyser, VP Marketing for the California Avocado Commission and Lori Small, Consumer and Nutrition Media contact.

Please raise hands, ask questions and keep the conversation going.

Who’s ready??

IFIC: international food info counsel, has performed a study that says 25% trying to avoid good fats. People are listening to what you all (bloggers) have to say.  Don’t be afraid of fat. Fat replaced with refined carbs and sugar can raise trigliceride level. You want to  replace saturated fats with good fats. Lean beef has low saturated fat, this is linked to raising ldl cholesterol. Most plants are fat free and 75% of fat in avocado are mono-polyunsatured fats.

Coconut oil is a good fat. Seafood and oily fish have omega 3’s (polyunsatuerated fats). When you replace bad fats with good is when heart benefits come into play.

Any questions or comments? none

Moving on:

We don’t eat nutrients, we eat food. We should have a moderate fat diet instead of a fat free diet.

Good fat snacks would be: nuts vs fat free chips; dark chocolate vs ff cookies; balanced nutrient rich calories vs low cal; add oily fish vs only fat free seafood; nuts and seeds vs croutons; plants fats and oily fish vs excessive animal fats; minimally processed fats vs added trans fat; whole grain seeded toast (sprinkled with sea salt and pepper or balsamic) with avocado vs fat free toast with jelly

California avocados are in season now through september (spring –early fall).  If the sticker indicates it is a USA avocado, it is  (probably) from California.

Only 5 thousand small farms in the central and southern valley of California grow avocados and they are all hand picked,

To select, gently squeeze in the palm of your hand, ready to eat fruit will yeild to gentle pressure.

We have our volunteers to demonstrate the nick and peel method:

Jennifer Stevens and Nathan MacDonald

Jennifer Stevens

Jennifer Stevens

Nathan MacDonald

Nathan MacDonald









Poking bruises the fruit. If it is rock hard, place in a paper bag or set on counter for a few days, if they are already soft, add to smoothie or puree.

“Nick and peel” enter at the tip, cut to core and all the way around, turn 45 degrees and cut all the way around so it will be in quarters, pull each quarter from the pit and then slowly peel away skin.

Nick and peel

Nick and peel

The benefits of nick and peel: greater concentration of caratonoids in dark green portion of avocado.

Who is going to try that when you get home? Everyone raises a hand.

When you peel the skin away, the bruises come away from the fruit.

Avocados are on of the few fruits that offer good fats and only have 4.5 grams of fat.

There are nearly 20 different vitamins and minerals.

They are gluten free,cholesterol free and sodium free.

Each serving  is 1/5 of medium, 3 thin slices or 2 T of mashed avocado.  1/2 avocado is ony about 130 cals

They are so versatile. There are so many different ways to use them:


hard boiled eggs, avocado, olive oil, red bell pepper, lemon

mashed on toast,


lox and avocado

add to omelets, burritos, smoothies,

Bookieboo, don’t you make a smoothie?

Bookieboo: Yes! It is Greek yogurt, frozen banana, cocoa powder, peanut butter, 1/4-1/2 avocado, maple syrup, milk and ice.

Michelle:  50% of eating occassions are snacks (hartman group) 1/4 of those are in the afternoon.  A great snack could be:

1/2 avocado split with salsa,

add hot sauce or balsamic glaze

cracker, mashed avocado, balsamic drizzle

cucumber cups slice and scoop the seeds, add mashed avocado

avocados pair very well with tropical fruit and strawberries

mix with infant cereal and apple sauce for baby food

peas mash well with avocados for babies

grilling avocados, slightly firm, cut in 1/2 remove seed, spritz with lemon or lime, brush with oil, place cut side down, grill for 3 minutes, fill or sprinkle with seasoning

avocado desserts:

blueberry muffins, replace butter with avocados: cookies: 1/2 butter, 1/2 avocado, cupcakes: avocado frosting, keylime pie cheesecake, brownies, raw pudding,

Beauty shots with avocados:

make sure you start with a fresh, not overly ripe avocado, opt for slightly under ripe vs unsure; all prep first before cutting into avocado; coat with lemon or lime juice or citrus vodka will prevent oxidation; nick and peel give great control over size of dices an slices

Who is excited to find out the winner of the contest??

The parameters were:

  • Everyday ingredients (items easily found in the store)
  • At least one California Avocado
  • “California Avocados” listed in the recipe ingredients
  • A variety of fruits and/or vegetables
  • An original recipe and photo(s)

We have 3 winners:

2nd place: Kelly Guy with Grilled Avocado Caprese Salad

1st place: Kia Ruiz  with California Avocado Green Chile Gazpacho

Grand prize: Alyssa Curran: Avocado Cream Tarts with Nectarines and Strawberries She challenged herself to do a sweet because She has always used avocados as a savory ingredient and  used as a distraction due to loss in her family.

Congratulations to all of our winners!

Alyssa Curran

Alyssa Curran

Winning Recipe

Winning Recipe


Alyssa Curran, Kia Ruiz and Kelly Guy

Alyssa Curran, Kia Ruiz and Kelly Guy


Take home messages:

California avocados are in season now

They contain good fats

nick and peel method for the most nutrition and the prettiest photos

For recipes visit:

Now you come up and try the nick and peel method and the tasting bar.



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