The beauty of an AÇaÍ Bowl.
A few years ago I made my first trip to the beautiful country of Brasil. From the breathtaking city line of São Paulo to the beaches of Rio de Janeiro---it was a country like no other. I have to admit that one of my favorite things, as trivial as it may seem, were the Sucos Bars "juice bars" on almost every corner in Rio. If you know me, you know I LOVE fruit (juices, smoothies, whatever!). When I first arrived, one of the students on our trip asked me very excitedly, "Have you ever had açaí ?!". I gave her a puzzled look as I tried to recall where I had heard that strange word in some context back in the states. She went on to explain that it was a "fruit like ice cream thing" from Brasil and that it was AMAZING. Obviously I had to try it--BOOM it was DA BOMB. So when I took my sister back to Rio a year later, we visited juice cafes every day and picked up açaí with granola or a juice, "sem açucar" (without sugar). These were a great, affordable (yes fresh, local fruit is plentiful and cheap there) refuel as we hiked our way around Rio and up Corcovado (yes we did that...I was wearing TOMS...not a good decision LOL).
What is AÇaÍ ?
Açaí ( ah-sigh-EE) not (Uh-Ky) or (Uh-Sigh) is a superfood berry native to the Amazon. It is said to have one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants and aid in healing. Many researchers say it is immune stimulating, energy boosting, and promotes heart health. It also has an almost perfect essential amino acid complex. Another perk? It tastes AMAZING. In fact, so amazing that it has been on the rise in the United States, especially in the form of Açaí bowls! So I try to make them whenever I can, not just because of their health benefits, but because there's something therapeutic about putting together a gorgeous bowl of raw goodness versus just drinking a smoothie version.
How to make an aÇaÍ bowl.
STEP 1: THE BASE
The first component of an açaí bowl is, of course, açaí. You can't get fresh açaí unless you pick them off the tree in the Amazon yourself (which is definitely on my bucket list). But more and more companies are harvesting and freezing the pulp so we can enjoy it all the way over here in the U.S.A. ! Make sure the product you buy has no additives and is raw (do your research)-- I recommend getting frozen açaí from Nutivo as it contains no soy lecithin or citric acid which brands like Sambazon use. There are also powdered version available! I'll add my "Ello Raw approved ones" soon ;). Now you can mix other items in the base, like local blueberries, strawberries, or banana (frozen or fresh depending on your desired consistency). Blend all of these ingredients together (add a bit of water or raw coconut water for easier blending!) and pour into a bowl! Base complete!
Step 2: The toppings
Now for the creative part! You can pretty much add ANYTHING to the top. Play around with creative ways to arrange your toppings as well! Maybe a row of sliced bananas? Chia seeds? A sprinkle of spirulina? Be CREATIVE.
Step 3: EAT