Food memes crack me up, when the male avocado says to the female avocado, “I said, you’re the good kind of fat” I chuckle every time. The avocado meme also reminds me of the wide spread mis-conception that eating “healthy fat” is a great idea. Every day I hear about our patients eating almonds for an afternoon snack, having a cheese stick, spreading avocado on toast and drizzling olive oil on everything. All the while they struggle to lose weight and keep their cholesterol numbers in check. I love avocado toast as much as anyone; it’s beautiful, feels like I’m eating something healthy and offers much satiety. But I don’t do it every day and offering recipes on avocado toast is not so much to promote eating more of it, but to caution against eating too much. The question we each need to consider is, how much “healthy fat” do I actually need before it becomes harmful? So before you dig your spoon in to a jar of coconut oil or decide to try Keto, there is something you should know. But not from me, let’s see what the leading cardiologist in the country, the guy who unclogs arteries through diet rather than surgery, has to say about healthy fats and oils.
“Both the mono unsaturated and saturated fat contained in oils is harmful to the endothelium, the innermost lining of the artery, and that injury is the gateway to vascular disease. It doesn’t matter whether it’s olive oil, corn oil, coconut oil, canola oil, or any other kind. Avoid ALL oil.” –Dr. Esselstyn, Cardiologist, Cleveland Clinic.
Although not included in this particular statement, in his book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, Dr. Esselstyn also recommends eliminating nuts and avocados. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and afflicts more women than men. Dr. Esselstyn is reversing heart disease, saving his patients from bypass surgeries, and extending their life by changing their diet and doing it with astounding success. So what is the radical diet that prevents and reverses the number one killer of women in America? I can tell you what it’s not; it’s not keto, high fat, high protein, more cottage cheese, yogurt and egg whites. The diet of a healthy heart is NOT one high in olive oil and fish, rather it’s a diet high in plants, low in fats and oils. The cumulative effects of a high fat, high protein diet over time is what is damaging to your arteries, leading to cardiovascular disease.
Back to the avocado, because I know you don’t want to give it up, let’s get wise about our individual needs, the health of our arteries and what our actual risk of heart disease might be. Start here, if your cholesterol is 150mg/dL with an HDL of at least 60 mg/dL, there is no plaque on your arteries. Go to your MyChart and see how your numbers compare. Also look back to see what direction those numbers are trending. Are you staying the same, getting better, or worse? If there is no plaque on your arteries and you’re not trending toward heart disease, then indulging in some walnuts and avocado toast for now, if probably fine. The key here is to not get complacent and assume that what you get now is what you will get next year. Be diligent about where your numbers are each year and make dietary changes as needed. Which might include cutting back, or cutting out, what you thought were healthy fats.
New York Style- Avocado Toast
Your fav thick sliced bread, toasted
Small Red onion
1 Roma tomatoes
Red Pepper Flakes or Hot Sauce
Toast bread; mash the avocado in a separate dish. Thinly slice the red onion then dice. Dice the tomato. Spread avocado over toast, press in the diced onions and tomatoes. Use the juice of ½ lime directly over the avocado mash, sprinkle on red pepper flakes or drizzle with hot sauce.
Best Selling Author, and Rejuv’s Body and Wellness Director