One berry I never heard of until I was going through my health transformation was acai. I was aware of other berries but didn’t really consume any of them. Since educating myself and taking action to live healthy I now consume berries daily. The acai berry is commonly used in bowls and juices. If you have been to a smoothie or juice bar you have probably seen them offered…they seem to be the trendy thing to eat. Why so? I did a bit of research leading up to this past weekend.
Saturday I hosted a Healthy Giraffe Event at the condo with the acai berry as the theme. Since acai bowls have become so popular I wanted to provide some education and then make the bowls. To set the foundation about the acai berry, I like the context I found in a blog by the Mayo Clinic, “the acai (ah-sigh-EE) berry is a grape-like fruit harvested from acai palm trees, which are native to the rain forests of South America. Like other berries, acai berries contain antioxidants and fiber.”
Fiber is very important to our diet as I went into depth in my recent blog, The Focus Should Be On Fiber. Antioxidants help protect our body’s cells from getting damaged so the more we consume the better. Plant-based foods on average contain 64 times more antioxidants than meat, eggs, fish or dairy.
After everyone gathered at the event, we watched a short video from Dr. Michael Greger via nutritionfacts.org titled, Clinical Studies on Acai Berries. We learned the acai berry has one of the highest measurements of antioxidants of any food. Studies were shared demonstrating it’s impact on fighting cancer, pain reduction, improvement on range of motion, weight control, stabilizing blood sugar levels, and overall immune system health.
From there we went to work. We had supplies ready to make two different types of acai bowls, mixed berry and chocolate. Ingredients available for us included:
- Frozen Acai Berry (unsweetened)
- Almond Milk (unsweetened vanilla)
- Frozen berries
- Frozen bananas
- Chocolate Protein Powder
- Hemp, Chia, and flax seeds
- Granola – a few varieties
- Fresh strawberries, blueberries and bananas
I had the recipe printed to demo the berry version so we started with that. Taste tests concluded that one hit the mark in a positive way. For a chocolate version, I offered to experiment from anything I had tried in the past. We substituted the frozen berries with additional frozen bananas, used cacao and Vega chocolate protein powder. It was a major hit and I enjoyed that version more than any I had made with a chocolate flavor myself…love experimenting!
From there we transitioned to Game Night. I put together a game on health facts and facilitated via Family Feud style. As I was putting the game together I found a recent video with Family Feud host, Steve Harvey, on how going plant-based has impacted his life. This brief video clip from his show, The Steve Harvey Show, is highly entertaining as he hosts Marco Borges and they discuss how a plant-based diet can impact your life…you will laugh guaranteed!
Game Night went over well again. We learned, laughed, yelled and I survived another night of being game show host.
I’m attaching my recipe for the berry version of the acai bowl we made here. If you are out in the Tampa Bay area I have found the following establishments to have good acai bowl offerings:
- Karma Juice Bar & Eatery (Clearwater and St. Pete)
- Good Vibes Juice Company (Dunedin and Clearwater)
- Grain and Berry (Palm Harbor and West Chase)
- Clean Juice (Tampa)
- Fit2Run Fitness Bar (International Plaza Tampa)
The April road trip to a local restaurant with healthy options will be announced shortly. Stay tuned…
– Add Health to Your Life