The Avocado Queen Welcomes You

This blog is mostly about raw vegetarian/vegan recipes, many of which incorporate avocados. Since I became a raw/live food vegan several years ago, avocados became an important part of my diet. I'd even say that they are my favorite food, and as it turns out, they are also considered one of the world's healthiest foods. While my primary purpose here is to showcase avocados and how awesome they are, I will also share some recipes that are just plain good raw/live food as well as vegan food.

Most recipes are accompanied by a meditation or reflection - posting as "food for thought."

Wishing you peace, love, joy, and blessings wherever you are in your journey towards health...

All recipes of the Avocado Queen are original creations. In some cases, variations on other recipes have been made and credit of that original source has been given.

All content on this blog is strictly the property of the owner or has been used with permission. If you see a recipe or photo that you like, please contact the owner for permission to share it...more than likely, your request will be honored as long as you agree to give credit to the original source.


Recipe for Calm - Creamy Dill Salad Dressing

Sometimes life can feel like a ravenous storm.  Sometimes the winds of life blow us in an uncertain direction or toss us about like a boat caught in a tempest.  We know these storms's what we feel when we are overcome by stress, agitation, restlessness, nervousness, frustration.

We can find a state of calm by giving ourselves permission to relax and by connecting to the breath.  Stop and breathe; weather the storm by connecting to a peaceful idea and creating calmness from the inside out. 

We know what it feels like to be's those times when we experience a feeling of peacefulness, a feeling of being totally at ease.  By connecting and re-connecting with this feeling, we can create calm, even in life's most stormy situations.

With this recipe, experience calm.  Relax.  Life is good; enjoy it with ease, calmness, and peace. 
Recipe for Calm - Creamy Dill Salad Dressing

Combine in a blender:

  • 2 avocados
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 2 TB fresh lemon juice (half of a small lemon)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 slice of onion
  • 3 TB dill
  • 1 TB nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 2 TB Bragg's Aminos (or nama shoyu)
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Serve on romaine or red leaf lettuce with cherry tomatoes.

Traditionally used as a stomach soother and remedy for insomnia, dill is an herb that is said to have calming properties.  It comes from the old Norse word "dilla" meaning "to lull".


Recipe for Enlightenment - Kale Salad

photograph by Jon-Erik Lido

Being enlightened means discovering the light within, acknowledging it and letting it shine.  So often in our stressful day-to-day lives the light within us becomes obscured by doubt, guilt, blame, fear, and other negative feelings. 

The good news is that our inner light is stronger than all of these things.  When we discover our inner light and let it shine, doubt, guilt, blame, fear, and all negativity disappear.  How then do we get in touch with our light within? 

Experiencing joy, hope, love, connection, peacefulness, and other positive emotions will put us in touch with our true selves, and then we will be able to see and know the light within.  Moreover, we must also acknowledge that it is there and let it shine, not only for ourselves but also for others.  The moments where life feels full of bliss are the moments when we are "enlightened."

There are many ways to experience joy, hope, love, connection, and peacefulness: prayer, meditation, giving/receiving a hug, making/listening to music, yoga, playing on a jungle gym, and of course, preparing and consuming food.

Recipe for Enlightenment - Kale Salad


  • 1 bunch curly green kale - remove stems, wash, and tear into bite size bits  (about 8 cups tightly packed)
  • 3 TB extra virgin olive oil, first cold press
  • 2 TB Bragg's Liquid Aminos or nama shoyu or tamari
  • 2 TB apple cider vinegar, unpasteurized (or half of a lemon juiced)
  • 1 clove of garlic - pressed (or finely chopped)
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • optional garnishing: alfalfa or similar sprouts, shredded carrots, sliced mushrooms, sliced red/yellow/orange bell pepper, sliced avocado

In a large mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, Bragg's (or substitute), apple cider vinegar (or fresh lemon juice), garlic, and cayenne with a whisk.  Then toss in the kale leaves, squeezing and massaging them so that they are well coated and turn a very vibrant green color.  The leaves should wilt down to about half their original size.  Garnish if desired.  Makes about 4 one cup servings.  It will keep well for a day or two in the fridge.

This recipe is about providing physical as well as spiritual nutrition. As you enjoy it, let it carry away toxins and negativity. As a source of green power, let it energize your soul and kindle the light within. Eat with gratitude; experience physical and spiritual nourishment.

This recipe is a quick and easy raw/live food dish.  Many proponents of the raw vegan lifestyle suggest that eating raw/live foods helps us be "light beings"; our bodies and our souls are lighter and we can more easily radiate light.

Kale is an excellent way to get Vitamins A, C, and K into our diets.  Vitamin K helps our bodies reduce inflammation.  Kale is an excellent source of fiber.  Also, kale nourishes our cardiovascular and digestive systems.


Recipe for Fall - Sweet Potato Casserole/Pie

The arrival of fall brings cooler weather, colorful leaves, and lots of delicious root vegetables and hearty greens.  Fall is a traditional time of harvest and abundance, celebrating what has been created throughout the growing season.  It is frequently represented by the color orange, which appears in the harvest moon, changing leaves, and beautiful fall sunsets. 

When I think of the season of fall, I have visions of vibrantly colored leaves.  I think of how warm days brighten my spirit and cool nights bring me peaceful sleep as I am nestled in cozy blankets.  For me, fall brings thoughts of change and the cycle of life.  What does this season mean to you?  What are your personal associations?

Considering these questions, please enjoy the following recipe that incorporates some of fall's most famous foods - sweet potatoes and pecans - as well as fall's most common colors - orange and brown. 

Recipe for Fall - Sweet Potato Casserole/Pie

For the filling:
Combine the following ingredients in a Vita-Mix or high powered blender, blending until smooth:
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes (peeled and chopped into 2 inch cubes)
  • 1 avocado
  • 6 medjool dates, soaked (reserve water for blending)
  • 2 TB raw honey OR maple syrup (preferably grade B)
  • pinch of salt 
  • a few tablespoons of water from the soaked dates to blend
Note: I usually blend the dates, honey, salt avocado, and about 1/3 of the sweet potatoes with a little water first.  Then I blend the next 1/3 of the potatoes until smooth, and finally the last 1/3.

For the crust:
In a food processor, combine until a crumbly, flour-like consistency is reached:
  • 7-8 medjool dates
  • an inch or so of vanilla bean (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cup brazil nuts
  • 1 1/2 cup pecans
  • pinch of salt
N.B. In some smaller food processors, it is best to blend the nuts first then slowly add in the dates.

For a casserole: Sprinkle a layer of crust on the bottom of the container (about half), then pour the sweet potato filling, then top off with another thin layer of crust.
For a pie: Press all of the crust into a pie pan then pour in the filling.  Garnish the top with pecans.

I love that the prominent color of this recipe is orange.  Orange is the color of the second chakra, which is the seat of our creative energy.  In this season characterized by so much orange, perhaps let it remind you to tap into your creativity.  

The season of fall brings dry air which can drain our bodies and skin of essential moisture.  Eating sweet potatoes is a great way to lubricate the body.

Enjoy this hearty recipe as a side dish or dessert.  Let it warm you from the inside.  Revel in the season of fall.  Embrace changes creatively. 


Recipe for Adventure - Pineapple Kiwi Fruit Salad

Adventure.  Perhaps it is a daring journey.  Maybe it is exploration into the unknown.  Or it could be an exotic vacation.

If we choose, we can live life as an adventure.  Helen Keller said "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."  However, sometimes it may seem that only the big or risky or exciting events are adventures or perhaps those events which are least expected.  But, if we wake up each day with the intention of having an adventure, it will come. 

By having a sense of adventure, we can easily take risks to promote personal growth. By welcoming life as an adventure, we can easily meet "our edge" and go beyond it.  Embrace the surprises of life as adventures.  Venture into the unknown and discover something new, something surprising.  An adventurous life is a life rich with wonder and excitement.  Perhaps we don't know where the rabbit hole leads, but we can count on it to be a grand adventure.

Recipe for Adventure - Pineapple Kiwi Fruit Salad
photograph by Jon-Erik Lido
*  2 avocados, cut into cubes
*  2 kiwifruits, peeled and cut into slices
*  1 1/2 cup of pineapple cubes
*  1 tsp cinnamon powder
*  dash of cayenne pepper
*  dash of sea salt

Directions: Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl, coating everything thoroughly with the cinnamon, cayenne, and salt.

With this exotic recipe, take a culinary adventure.  When I created this recipe, I wasn't sure why I thought these fruits would pair well together.  I just decided to try something new.  I was in Florida and it was a hot day; I wanted a cooling fruit salad.  In an attempt to balance the yin and yang of the food, I added cinnamon as a grounding spice.  The result is truly a magnificent adventure of food.

Pineapple and kiwifruit have powerful antioxidant and inflammatory properties that protect against disease (of the heart, colon, and eyes) and promote healthy cellular growth.  Pineapple contains enzymes that aid digestion and provide energy.  Cinnamon is an anti-microbial food and its consumption helps control blood sugar, especially when paired with carboyhydrates.  Read more about the benefits of all these foods on the World's Healthiest Foods web site.


Recipe for "the wisdom of no escape" - Strawberry Pie

There is a Zen story about a man, a tiger, a cliff, and a strawberry.  The story says there was a man being chased through the jungle by a fierce tiger.  Eventually, the man's flight from the tiger brings him to a cliff and he is cornered by the tiger at this precipice.  Deciding to move ahead in an attempt to escape from the tiger, the man grabs a vine and starts to climb down the cliff, which is a great risk for the man. 

While he is dangling there, a mouse comes out of a hole in the rock and starts gnawing on the vine.  Now, clinging to the vine on which a mouse is chewing, he sees a second tiger at the bottom of the cliff.  It seems that being trapped between two tigers in the midst of certain death that the man would panic.

Realizing that he cannot return to the top where one tiger is staring down at him and realizing that if he climbs to the bottom, there is another tiger waiting, he does not panic.  Instead, he takes a breath and notices that growing from the rock is plant producing a single luscious, ripe, red strawberry.  He takes the wild strawberry and eats it, savoring every bite, letting the sweetness of the strawberry fill him, dwelling only in the moment that is now.  It is the best strawberry that the man has ever eaten in his entire life.  What could have easily been a crisis, turns out to be a blessing.

In this moment the man has found what Pema Chodron calls "the wisdom of no escape."

When we let go of the past...when we are neither anxious or apprehensive about the future...when we become aware of what is happening right now, we are practicing the wisdom of no escape.  This is what some refer to as "the power of now"...we have let go of the past--letting go of regret, sorrow, pain, and suffering...we have let go of the future--of expectations, of fear, of stress and concern.  Now we are free and fully aware; we can see the beauty and blessings of the moment in which we are dwelling.  Here we have the ability to create our own reality...finding the strawberry between two tigers.

Recipe for "The Wisdom of No Escape" - Strawberry Pie
Photograph by Jon-Erik Lido

Pie Filling

  • 6 cups of fresh strawberries - slightly more than a pound (Try to get seasonal ones from the farmer's market or pick your own!)
  • 1 avocado
  • 8 soaked dates
  • 1 TB lemon juice
  • 6 TB ground chia seeds (use a coffee grinder or buy them "pre-ground")

In a food processor, first blend the dates, avocado, chia, and lemon juice until smooth.  Then pulse chop 4 cups of strawberries until the mixture is a chunky consistency.  Cut the remaining 2 cups of strawberries into slices or cubes.  Stir 1 cup of chopped strawberries into the mixture, reserving 1 cup for topping.


  • 1 cup walnuts (preferably soaked/dehydrated)
  • 1 cup pecans (preferably soaked/dehydrated)
  • 8-9 dates
  • 3-4 TB raw chocolate powder (optional, but super delicious)
  • dash of sea salt

In a food processor, blend the nuts until there is a light, powdery consistency.  Next slowly blend in the dates and finally add the chocolate powder and sea salt.  Press the mixture into a pie plate.  Pour in the strawberry filling and decorate the top with pieces of strawberries and perhaps a mint leaf for garnish.


Recipe for Celebration - Salsa Verde

Celebrate life.  Celebrate yourself - your accomplishments, the day you were born, the day you got married, the day you graduated, the day you learned how to stand on your head.  Actually, the day, the reason, the time doesn't matter nearly as much as the fact that life is being celebrated. We have all achieved something in our journey.  (As I see it, being born is most certainly an achievement!)  It matters little whether the success we've had seems large or small.  What matters is us...that we honor and celebrate who we are and the gift that we are to the world.

Life is a gift that is always worth celebrating.  Celebration is a way to express honor and gratitude.  In celebrating we give thanks and honor to ourselves and others.  When we celebrate with family and friends, we feel closer to each other as we share our achievements, accomplishments, and other special moments from life's journeys.

Recipe for Celebration - Salsa Verde
Pulse chop the following ingredients in a food processor:
  • 1-2 handfuls of cilantro or parsley (chop first before you add the remaining ingredients)
  • 1 avocado - cut into cubes
  • 4 tomatillos - cut into cubes
  • dash of sea salt
Recipe Notes
1. The recipe above will serve 3-4 people.  Just double or triple the quantities for more servings.
2. The first time I made it, I used parsley (since we did not have cilantro on hand), and it was fabulous!
3. Tomatillos are those little green tomato things, often with an onion-like skin, in the produce section, usually near real tomatoes.  Tomatillos are not tomatoes.  Due to their natural flavor, there is no need to add lime juice to the recipe.
4. You could use tomatoes instead of tomatillos, but then your salsa wouldn't be verde any more.

Celebration calls for special "party foods".  Salsa Verde is perfect for just such an occasion.  Try it with Golden Tortilla Chips, a recipe from Everyday Raw by Matthew Kenney.  The recipe is posted with permission at Wellsphere.

As you prepare this dish, consider what you are celebrating and why.  As you eat it, be present to your celebration, and perhaps even say "cheers" with salsa loaded crackers.


Recipe for Excitement - Ginger Orange Salad Dressing

Let life be exciting.  Take a moment to wake up to the exciting possibilities in life.  Feel energized, revitalized, and renewed.  Remember life as a child?  We were so excited.  We believed in endless possibilities.  And those possibilities were always exciting!

This recipe incorporates a favorite archetypal breakfast beverage - orange juice.  Let the orange juice be a reminder to awaken consciousness...just as so many of us wake up each day, enjoying this energizing beverage.  Ginger is a warming spice.  Let its warmth revitalize and renew the body as well as the soul.

With this recipe for ginger orange salad dressing, make your greens and veggies exciting!  Enjoy salad in a new way, perhaps as you never have before.  With new possibilities, come new and exciting experiences.

Recipe for Excitement - Ginger Orange Salad Dressing

In a blender, combine the following:
2-3 inches of fresh ginger (or more if you're feeling spicy!)
1 clove of garlic
2 TB nama shoyu
1/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (or more to thin the consistency)
1 avocado

Toss the salad dressing with your favorite greens (such as swiss chard, romaine lettuce, or a mix of baby greens) or other veggies.  Experience the excitement in your mouth.  Awaken your consciousness to exciting possibilities in your life.


Recipe for Spring - Romaine Salad with portobello mushrooms and avocados

Spring is a time for rebirth and renewal. The vernal equinox marks the beginning of this season of rebirth and renewal ("vernal" comes from the Latin word "ver" meaning "spring"). When spring arrives, I am reminded that I get to celebrate life and light. One of the best ways to do this is by enjoying simple fresh foods, especially those that are green.

Green is the color of spring, of new life, of new beginnings. Green is the color of the fourth chakra, the heart. So, how perfect it is that romaine lettuce, featured in the recipe, nourishes the heart. With a strong heart, we enjoy a healthy life. The heart is more than the beating organ that pumps our blood, which nourishes our bodies. It is also the seat of the mind/consciousness, at least according to some poets and philosophers. As we strengthen the heart, we find emotional stability, compassion, and forgiveness. When our heart is healthy, we readily discover self-acceptance. When our heart is healthy, we will also have powerful empathy with others and deeper relationships with better communication. When our heart is healthy, we have a healthy mind and a healthy body: animus sanus in corpore sano.

Recipe for Spring - Romaine Salad with marinated mushrooms and avocados

(photograph by Jon-Erik Lido)

Prepare the mushrooms:
Special equipment: food dehydrator

  • 2 portobello mushrooms
  • 2-3 TB first cold-press extra virgin olive oil (preferably organic)
  • 2-3 TB balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TB nama shoyu or tamari
  • Italian seasoning spice blend

Directions: cut the mushrooms length-wise into 1/2 inch strips. Then, whisk together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Toss the strips in this mixture until they have almost fully absorbed all the liquid. Place the strips of mushrooms on a teflex sheet. Sprinkle them with an Italian seasoning spice blend. Dehydrate for about an hour at 110 degrees. (N.B. - If you do not have a dehydrator, you can just let the mushrooms marinate at room temperature for an hour.)

These mushrooms are absolutely delicious. The balsamic vinegar leaves them with a sweet essence and they are very juicy. The inspiration for my recipe came from Everyday Raw by Matthew Kenney.

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 head of fresh, crisp romaine lettuce - leaves torn into pieces
  • fresh or dried oregano - enough to toss throughout the entire salad
  • 1 - 2 avocados - cut into cubes
  • diced tomatoes, if available (I like cherry or grape tomatoes cut in half.)
  • 3-4 TB first cold-press extra virgin olive oil (preferrably organic)
  • 1/2 of a fresh lemon juiced
  • sea salt to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste

Prepare the salad dressing: wisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Then, in a large bowl, toss the dressing with the remaining ingredients -- romaine lettuce leaves, oregano, avocado, and perhaps, tomatoes.

Serve: arrange the mushrooms on the top of the assembled salad. Although, you could serve this salad as a first course or alongside something else, it is certainly filling enough to eat as a main course.

So, with this recipe, celebrate spring! Renew yourself, renew your heart. Let yourself be reborn into a new moment. From there cultivate your awareness; discover compassion and empathy; practice forgiveness; and, through your heart, give to yourself the gift of self-acceptance.  Let this be a new beginning.


Recipe for Harmony - Fresh Spring Rolls

All of us are multi-faceted creatures.  Many of us, including myself, see ourselves as having a different aspects of ourselves: physical/physiological, mental/psychological, social, spiritual/religious, and perhaps even others.  Sometimes it seems that we are out of balance.  When we recognize that we are out of balance, we want to harmonize these different aspects of ourselves.  When we are in harmony with ourselves, we experience life with joy, gratitude, ease, peace and tranquility.

Life is full of obstacles, challenges, and circumstances.  Sometimes it may seem that these obstacles, challenges, and circumstances exist only to block us, impede us, or even destroy us.  Alternatively, we could choose to see these things as an evolutionary force that is actually guiding us to create harmony.  The obstacles, challenges, and circumstances of life may be compelling us to look at something in way that we had not previously seen before.  They may be letting us know that we are out of balance and we should seek to create harmony.  Perhaps, they may even be the harmony that we had previously been seeking.

As we meet obstacles, challenges, and circumstances in life, we get to surrender, embrace, and use them to create harmony.  Just as when we bring all the aspects of ourselves into harmony, certain foods seem to become more delicious and enjoyable when they are brought into harmony.  Eating harmonious foods may give us the energy we need to find and create harmony in our lives.

B.K.S. Iyengar says "When your body, mind and soul are healthy and harmonious, you will bring health and harmony to the world--not by withdrawing from the world but by being a healthy living organ of the body of humanity."

This is a picture of an unrolled spring roll.  The ingredients layered from bottom to top: fresh basil, avocado (sprinkled with Mrs. Dash), sliced cucumber, sliced tomato, shredded carrots, alfalfa sprouts.  (photograph by Patsy Feimster)

Recipe for Harmony - Fresh Spring Rolls

Basic Essential Ingredients:
  • 6-8 tapioca wrappers (not a raw food); rice wrappers will also work
  • 1 avocado sliced length-wise into 6-8 pieces
  • cilantro or basil leaves (even spinach or torn lettuce leaves will work)
  • fresh sprouts (your preference: alfalfa, radish, broccoli)
  • shredded carrots and/or shredded beets
Additional Ingredients (use at least 3 of the following in your rolls)
  • 3-4 sliced baby bella mushrooms or 1 sliced portabella (tossed in nama shoyu, soy sauce)
  • 1/2 bell pepper sliced into long, thin strips
  • thin sliced strips of cucumber
  • thin sliced strips of celery
  • thin slices of Roma tomatoes
  • daikon radish - sliced thin or spiral cut (using a spiral slicer) or shredded
  • zucchini or yellow squash - spiral cut (using a spiral slicer)
Gently dampen one piece of tapioca paper at a time with warm water.  In the center place a few pieces of cilantro or basil (or other leafy green).  On top of that put one slice of avocado.  Then add a small amount of shredded carrots/beets.  Next add any of the three additional veggies of your choice.  Finally add a layer of sprouts.  Fold the bottom and top parts of the tapioca paper in towards each other over top of the veggies so that they almost meet.  Then fold one of the other open sides in towards the middle.  Now keeping the spring roll tight, continue rolling toward the open side until it is totally enclosed.

  • Make sure the stack of veggies isn't too thick; this makes the wrapper difficult to roll, or your wrapper might tear.
  • If the water is too hot or if the tapioca paper gets too wet, it will tear and disintegrate.
  • Assemble on a clean surface or bamboo mat.
  • Purchase the tapioca wrappers at an Asian market if possible; you'll pay less for them and support a local business.

Although this is not recipe is not 100% raw, it is 100% vegan and 100% harmonious.  Putting this recipe together teaches us about creating harmony.  As you layer the different vegetables in the wrapper, you are invited to think about how the indiviual aspects of each ingredient creates a harmonious whole.

Consider yin and the yin yang symbol represents balance and harmony with seemingly contrary everything in the natural world is interconnected and interdependent.  This is the harmony that we get to generate within ourselves and in our world.


Recipe for Love - Divine Chocolate Pudding

Love resides within every living being. 

Although it is there, love is an aspect of life that must be cultivated.   To cultivate love, one place we can start is by loving ourselves.  Self-acceptance, for many of us, can be challenging.  However, by loving and accepting ourselves, without judgment -- who we are and where we are in our life's journey, is a powerful way for us to heal wounds, release pain, find forgiveness, and create a deeper connection with the divine.  Cultivate love by creating an internal conversation that says "I accept who I am.  I love who I am.  I accept where I am on life's journey.  By loving myself, I will continue to grow and be a healthy, whole human being."

Loving ourselves means that we are taking care of ourselves.  We are listening to the wisdom of our bodies.   We treat ourselves kindly.  We let loving-kindness be our guide as we interact with other people and the world which we all share.  As we open up to love, we need to know that we are worthy of love. 

Love is associated with the heart.  So, we can also cultivate love by opening our hearts.  By opening our hearts, we are letting love in, and we are letting love flows outward into the world and is shared with other people.  Only after we have fully created love in ourselves, can we fully love others.  We cannot expect to be fulfilled by others first.  We must start with ourselves.  (It's like being on an airplane and putting on your oxygen mask first, before you help your neighbor.)  We must forgive and heal within ourselves through love and self-acceptance.  For, once we have discovered how to cultivate love in ourselves, we truly know how to create it with others.  Once we have experienced forgiveness and healing of ourselves, we are truly in a powerful place where we can cultivate love in the world and share love unconditionally with others. 

Photograph by Jon-Erik Lido

Recipe for Love

In a blender, combine...
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • meat of 1 young coconut
  • enough coconut water to blend (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 inch of vanilla bean
  • about 1/4 cup of agave (less or more according to taste; I used slightly less)
  • heaping 1/4 cup of raw chocolate powder

Garnish with mint leaves.  Serve alone or with fresh cherries, raspberries, or strawberries.

Chocolate has long been associated with love.  It is the archetypal food of lovers.  As you prepare this recipe, you are invited to do so with an open heart.  Before you eat, consider offering up words of gratitude to the divine and a blessing for ever-present loving-kindness in the world.  Then as you eat it...if you are alone, consider loving yourself, honoring yourself, and accepting yourself without judgment.  If you are with someone, consider how you love each other and accept each other.  Cultivate love, let it grow, share it, give it away.


Recipe for Vitality and Vibrance - Avocado Swiss Chard

Go to the store and purchase Rainbow Swiss Chard.  Get ready to glow, re-energize, and have some fun.

Swiss chard is so colorful - bright, vibrant, and glowing.  It almost seems unnatural for a natural food to radiate the rainbow like this.  Bringing this food into our diet, with its radiant, vibrant, glowing colors, brings out these very qualities in us.  When we let our natural light shine, others sense and see this, and enjoy being around us.  When we feel good, we look good.  We look good when we eat foods rich in nutrients, antioxidants, and enzymes.  Eating vibrant foods puts us on the path to better health and vitality.  Eating live/raw foods rich in enzymes, means we are receiving the maximum energetic function of the food as well as its vitamins and minerals.  Having energy means we truly get to enjoy life, play, and have fun.  Creating vitality and vibrance helps us release stress and combat disease and degeneration.

According to the website of the World's Healthiest Foods, if vegetables received grades just based on nutrients, "swiss chard would be one of the vegetable valedictorians."  It is a great source of fiber, vitamins (including C, E, K, B2, B6, and B1), and minerals.  It promotes healthy lungs, bones, and supports immune function.  It is an excellent source of iron, has anti-inflammatory properties, and supports a healthy cardiovascular system.  

With it's colors, swiss chard is just fun to prepare and eat.  Preparing swiss chard reminds me of coloring with magic markers and the giant box of Crayola crayons that I used when I was a kid.  So, this is more than just food; this is an opportunity to get in touch with our inner child...the one who loves color and fun, who has energy and vitality, who loves to play.

Recipe for Vitality and Vibrance

First prepare the marinade/dressing:
  • 3 TB (preferably first cold press) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 TB raw unpasteurized apple cider vinegar (Bragg's)
  • 1-2 TB nama shoyu (soy sauce)
  • 2 TB raw tahini
  • chipotle seasoning (or Mrs. Dash, or something similar) - to taste
  • chili powder or cayenne pepper - to taste
  • 1 TB nutritional yeast (optional)
Wisk these ingredients together in a large bowl.

Then add:
  • 1 batch of rainbow swiss chard - washed, chopped into bite-size pieces, including stalks.  Toss the chard until coated with the marinade/dressing.

Finally mix in:
  • 1 fresh ripe avocado - cut into cubes 
  • (optional) garnish with raw pistachios.

This recipe is easy to make and takes no more than about 15 minutes.  Its creamy texture is delicious and satisfying.  This is so much more than a normal salad.  This dish is the natural the neon light of food.

The Perfect Avocado

Often the avocados I find at the grocery store are either black and mushy (over-ripe) or very green and firm (unripe).  Sometimes they are black and firm (almost ripe).  Almost never are they perfectly ripe.  I think this is because perfection, especially of this delicate fruit, requires patience.

The perfect avocado is a fruit whose skin has turned black and gives slightly when you press on it.  Once it is open, the meat of the fruit is a glorious green (the only brown part is the pit) and the smell is ripe and lucious.  The meat of the fruit will slice easily with a knife and the pit will pop out if you give it a little squeeze (no knife required for removal).  While sometimes it is easy to get the perfect avocado, most of the time, you will have to practice patience.

Patience must be cultivated through practice.  Living in a world where there is so much immediate gratification, it is easy to forget about patience.  Patience is more than just waiting or even anticipation.  It is cultivating exactly whatever it is you want to create.  Patience is a guiding force for what is possible.  Being patient now means that more is possible later.  In the case of creating a perfect avocado, you will want to select one from the produce section that is slightly green and preferrable still has the stem (a little knob on the top) attached.  An unripe avocado should never be refrigerated, otherwise it will just go bad.  You can facilitate the process of creating a perfectly ripe avocado by putting it in a paper bag or by placing it next to ripening bananas.  A very green avocado might take up to five days to ripen.  An avocado that is black with a little bit of green will take one to three days.  Once the fruit is ripe, put it in the refrigerator and eat within a few days.  Enjoy the fruits of your labor!

So, although you may be able to purchase the perfect avocado (or if you are lucky enough, pluck one from a tree), most of the time you will have to create it.  Creating the perfect avocado requires more than time.  It requires patience of mind, body, and spirit.  As you are cultivating the ripening of your perfect avocado, you are also cultivating patience of mind, body, and spirit. 

When we are patient, it is possible to create glorious things.  We may find that our relationships improve - with other people and with ourselves.  As we are patient with others, we can deepen our listening and understanding of them - their perspective and who they are.  As we are patient with ourselves, we can deepen our awareness of who we are and what we want.  As we are patient with an avocado, we can create the perfect fruit, perfect for eating and nourishing every aspect of ourselves.