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Healthy eating: Susan Jane White on sexy convenience food

Do you remember the day you promised your doctor that you'd eat more plant-based foods in 2011? And when I say plant-based foods, that's food made from plants, not in plants. How's that new regime going for you?

OK, let's be honest. If, like me, you work long hours and have little time to shop, it can be tricky to prepare a nutritious leafy meal. That's why avocados are so snazzy. These pear-shaped treats are handy, dead tasty and small enough for your glove compartment. They require absolutely no cooking and are found in every supermarket and most corner stores across the country. Now that's what I call convenience food. So here's a way to keep your heart -- and your doctor -- happy. Instead of reaching for that sugar-laden yogurt and pre-packed dodgy sambo, grab an avocado instead.

Please don't be fooled into thinking that avocados are off-limits because of their fat content. The oleic fats found in avocados help lower 'bad' LDL cholesterol and boost 'good' HDL cholesterol. They also contain a useful compound called beta-sitosterol, which can help reduce the number of nocturnal trips your hubbie takes to the bathroom. Sound familiar? And for the felines among you, here's some more good news: the avocado is one of nature's best anti-ageing formulas. Rich in vitamin E, phytochemicals and antioxidants, these luxuriant fruits are one of Kylie Minogue's top nibbles. No wonder she looks so amazing.

The folic acid in avocados is thought to boost histamine production, which is apparently necessary for optimal orgasms in men and women. Whether this is true or not, its sumptuous and slightly perfumed flesh is enough to dizzy the senses. In fact, Catholics weren't allowed to eat avocados when the Spanish conquistadors brought them back to Europe in the 16th Century. They evoked pleasures of the flesh at a time when contraception was not available! And the Aztec people of South America -- the same cunning chaps who invented hot chocolate -- called the avocado plant the Ahuacatl, or "testicle tree". That's how sure they were that avocados help increase male sexcitement.

Skinny Gal's Mousse

It may seem odd, but avocados and chocolate are quite the couple. They get on better than Silvio Berlusconi and a 17-year-old topless model. That's because the oleic fat in avocados enhances the depth and richness of cacao. Using avocado is remarkably healthier than cream and butter, and much tastier in my opinion. Find cashew-nut butter in gourmet and health-food stores, and even in some Tesco stores.

You will need:

2 tablespoons raw agave or maple syrup

1 small ripe avocado

2 teaspoons tamari (a wheat-free soy sauce)

3 tablespoons cocoa powder or raw cacao powder

Pinch of cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon cashew nut butter

1 small red chilli, thinly sliced, to garnish

Pulse all your ingredients -- except the red chilli garnish -- together with a hand-held blender. It's best chilled for 30 minutes before wolfing it down, but excitement may override your sensibilities. No shame in that.

Serve in petite wine glasses and kiss with freshly sliced red chilli, if you have it. This mousse is unbelievably tasty after a long day at work. You'll quickly feel the chilli pelt through your veins and your chest swell. And then it's straight to the bedroom for a quick . . . homage to the mighty Aztecs.


See www.susanjanewhite.com

Sunday Indo Life Magazine