As a Brazilian native, Açai (a berry derived from the Açai palm tree, native to South/Central Ame
rica) is something I grew up with and began eating since I can remember. Before the hype of “Açai Bowls” started, with all different kinds of fruits blended together, the original Açai bowl has always been a blend of Açai puree and Guaraná (another berry) topped with granola, banana and honey.
But what is all the hype about? Why are so many products now infused with it and does the fruit actually have more health benefits than other berries?
Although Açai does have several health benefits, there really is no scientific back up as of yet, that shows it has “more health benefits than other berries”.
Let’s break down all the health junkery.
Most of the fats in Açai berries are unsaturated. These include omega-3s, 6s, and 9s, such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and oleic acid (helps reduce inflammation). They also contain palmitic acid, a saturated fat found in the fruits of palm trees. Palmitic acid is the most common fat in humans and animals, making up 20 to 30% of the fat in our bodies. Some of these include anthocyanins, polyphenols, and vitamins A, C, and E. When compared to antioxidant-rich blueberries, Açai berries have more protein, calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C. They’re also lower in sugar than blueberries.
So, with just a little nutritional information on Açai berries, we can see that it is a potent fruit. After eating Açai bowls every morning for almost 2 years now, I can safely conclude that this lifestyle choice has definitely improved my overall energy levels. Before adopting this food choice, I experienced a lot of ups and downs with my energy levels throughout the day. I began my day feeling good and as the day progressed, my energy levels dropped. Every day I'd begin noticing that I'd get extremely tired at about 1-3pm in the afternoon. I'd want to stop working and actually close my eyes and take a nap. After feeling like this for so many months, I realized it was in part, due to my eating choices.
For most of us, eating carbs in the morning is “typical”. The problem with this is that most carbs are just another form of sugar and when our bodies notice the excess in carbs (sugar), the liver begins to convert it into fat (glycogen) because it can only store so much sugar. This creates an imbalance in our insulin levels and thus our energy levels too, as there is a sudden rush of energy and soon after it dies once its being converted to fat. Repeating this cycle over years and years, the cells become insulin resistant, they aren't able to shuttle the sugar from the blood into the cells as efficiently, and so you aren't able to remove it from the blood. At a certain point, this becomes type 2 diabetes and the injection of additional insulin becomes necessary to reduce blood sugar.
I’ve definitely felt a tremendous difference in my health and overall energy levels throughout the day since implementing this new eating habit and I couldn’t recommend it enough!*
*Disclaimer: if you are someone who exercises a lot or has trouble keeping your weight to a minimum, this might not be for you. I’m currently training for a Marathon and am having to supplement my diet with a lot more carbs in the morning such as oatmeal, which is a great choice if you are someone that needs/desires to eat carbs in the morning! The point here is we want to eat more complex carbs than simple carbs. Here’s more information on both.
RECIPE (serves 1 person)
3-4 individual packs of pure acai (these are frozen packs that can be found either at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s)
1 tsp/Açai pack: Almond butter
1 tbsp/Açai pack: Ghee Butter
1 tbsp/Açai: Chia Seeds
1 tbsp/Açai: Coconut Shreds
1 tsp/Açai: Maca Powder
2-3 tbsp: Hemp Powder (you can add however much you want. Sometimes I don’t even add it in! It can taste a little sour, so be careful how much you add)
¾ of a cup: Almond Milk (I gauge how much almond milk I add in, it all depends on the consistency you prefer and also what type of blender you have. Some blender like VitaMix are great and blends really well, other blenders requires a lot more liquid. This Acai bowl is meant to have a thicker consistency than usual).
Toppings (to individual preference):
Unsweetened Cacao Nibs
I’d love to know if you tried this recipe out by tagging us @pathtobecoming. Also! I suggest you try this out for 2 weeks straight to see the real “benefits/changes” that it may bring for you/your health.