Leading level 2 of the Spark! cleanse for 10 days had really inspired me to go beyond my usual seasoning routine to find new ways of jazzing up my veggies and grains. While my usual go-to’s of lemon juice, olive oil, and sea salt are certainly tasty, after 10 days of them, you start craving some variety in your condiments…

This week, while perusing the oil and vinegar section of my local health food store, I spied a bottle of avocado oil and decided to give it a go. The flavor, not surprisingly, is that of very ripe avocados! At first I found the taste almost a bit pungent (like an avocado that had been sitting out on your counter for too long). But when I tried it again, mixed with lemon juice and sea salt (for a salad dressing), it imparted a creaminess that I really enjoyed. When I ran out of my olive oil (I’ve used so much on this cleanse!!), I lightly sautéed my veggies and shrimp in the avocado oil and found its mild flavor to be a nice addition.

A lovely health benefit of avocado oil is that it has been shown to help reduce cholesterol and boost heart health (much like olive oil). It’s high in vitamin E, and studies show that adding healthy fats, like avocado oil, to our daily diets actually help us lose fat in our bodies!

Try it drizzled over a baked sweet potato (like I did for lunch this week – delish!), on top of whole grains, used as a salad dressing base, or to gently sauté your veggies or fish (avocado oil does well up to medium-high heat, but the quality of the oil begins to degrade if you cook it in temperatures higher than that.)

Like coconut oil, it can also be used to soothe dry skin and hair.

As in choosing any oil, look for cold-pressed and organic, if available.