I've never avoided it. I think some of the earliest conversations I had with DD about death were related to food. "That's beef. It's meat from a cow. The cow has to be dead and cooked first though." etc.
We saw a dead bird the other day and she was fascinated. She LOVES animals, and I thought she might be a bit upset...but she just had a good look at it. I told her not to touch it or lean too close, but that was all. She just watched it for a while, then asked whether it had eyes. I told her that its eyes had been eaten - probably by ants or maggots. She was fine with that...spent the afternoon talking about how/when/why she was going to die though :P