Does Santa prefer cookies or avocados?
We've had some rainy days lately and I'm all in favour of this shift in the seasons.
Not sure there is anything more soothing than lying in bed listening to tank rain thunder down on the roof, especially when that early-morning half-light begins to filter through the curtains.
It's the one time I don't really mind being awake at 3am.
This morning wasn't quite so peaceful though. I was lying there, drifting in and out of sleep when I remembered I hadn't moved the Elf on the Shelf.
I reluctantly dragged myself out of bed to find a new spot for him. I am a big fan of Christmas magic, just not really at the crack of dawn!
Still, I'm trying to make the most of this last year when Belle still believes — she's on a knife-edge and I know it won't last much longer.
There's too many bigger children at school, too many elves in boxes in the shops and it's so hard to keep up the pretence when I'm being asked directly and earnestly: “Is Santa really real mummy?”
Losing Santa is a bit of a heartbreaking milestone when you're raising children.
Partly because of the loss of innocence and partly, because you've just lost the biggest bargaining tool of your parenting career.
Nothing stops a kid in their tracks quite like “Santa's watching!”
By far the easiest explanation I've seen for Santa not quite being “real”, is the one that says that although the character of Santa is fictional, the real spirit of Santa lies in all of us.
The gift of giving, the idea of believing in something bigger than ourselves, the magic of planning and surprising — all that's real.
And it's our job to keep the tradition going for all the starry-eyed believers younger than us.
It worked for Chloe, she was so excited to be part of the adult “team” that she forgot to be devastated about the man in the red suit. I hope Belle is just as easy to convince. We'll see!
In the meantime, I'm trying to deflect the question every single time it comes up.
Even if it's first thing in the morning when she appears next to my bed: “Is Santa real mummy? Is he really real?”
That's a great time for “Hmmm? Wow, will you just listen to that rain on the roof?” Deflect, deflect, deflect…..
Of course it hasn't just been raining rain lately.
I'm not sure if it's supposed to be happening, but we've had a bumper crop of avocados recently.
I've forgotten exactly when they're supposed to be in season but we have clients dropping in avocados left, right and centre.
Our kitchen at work is an odd mix of Christmas cookies and avocados. And the avocados are huge!
It took me a while to get to grips with Bermuda avocados because (even more so than others) you have to catch them at exactly the right moment.
They don't go as dark when they are ripe, so you really have to use your touch to figure them out.
If there's still a stalk, it should come out easily and the flesh should give under pressure. They are a little more watery than Haas avocados but a lot more buttery too.
They're amazing, but they can also be really, really big! If you can't use the whole thing, freeze the extra and add a little to your smoothies.
Make sure you scoop out everything right next to the skin — that's where most of the vitamins are!
As they're high in fat, when it comes to serving size how much you should have really depends on your genes (some people do better on a high “good” fat diet than others) and your activity level too.
In general, I would stick with half a regular-sized avocado at a time.
Avocado is rich in good fats, but they have way more omega 6 than omega 3.
Our lack of omega 3 (mainly found in oily fish, walnuts, flax, pumpkin seeds, chia and hemp) is linked to increased chronic disease risk and too much inflammation in general.
But it's not just a lack of omega 3 that's significant, it's the lack of it in comparison to our omega 6.
However, don't let that put you off — you can have your avocado and eat it too, just make sure you have lots and lots of omega 3 as well.
Finally, in case your avocado addiction is as bad as mine, then let me give you some extra feel-good factors.
Avocado is extremely nutrient dense, full of folic acid, B6, vitamin C and vitamin E.
However, it's extra rich in B5 (pantothenic acid) which is great for energy, helps you metabolise fats efficiently, manufactures anti-stress hormones and is great for your brain, nerves, skin and hair!
In addition, the types of fat present are linked to lower levels of LDL cholesterol, lower levels of oxidative stress and less inflammation.
How is that for nutritional prowess?
• Catherine Burns is a fully qualified nutritional therapist trained by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in the UK. For details: www.natural.bm, 236-7511 or, on Facebook, Natural Nutrition Bermuda