The Rio 2016 Olympic Games have commenced! To get into the spirit of the Olympics, I am sharing this açaí bowl recipe this week that will fuel you like an Olympic athlete! I must warn you that once I had my first açaí bowl, I was immediately hooked. I found myself running to 3 Natives Juice Bar next to my work almost everyday to get one. 3 Natives makes the most best açaí bowls out of all the SoFlo juice bars. My habit quickly started to hinder my bank account at the price of $9.50 per bowl of goodness.
I discovered that Publix and Whole Foods both carry organic Sambazon Açaí Packs, and started making my own superfood bowls. Making them myself was just as delicious and more economical. It also gave me the power to control the calorie count of my bowl, resulting in a gold medal for me!
The açaí berry is from the açaí palm grown along the northern region of South America. In Brazil it’s typically served in smoothies, juices or in a bowl called açaí na tigela (transl: açaí in the bowl… creative I know). In the bowl, the fruit is served as a frozen pulp sometimes infused with guarana syrup (the relative to the coffee bean that’s in Red Bull). The açaí is then topped with granola, tapioca, fruit, or all of the above.
Açaí bowls are most popularly served in kiosks and juice bars near the beaches of Brazil, catering to the surfer and health-nut crowd. They gained popularity in the United States via surfing hubs such as Hawaii and California. If you look up #acaibowl on Instagram, you will find there are individuals dedicated to crafting these delicious bowls beautifully.
The açaí berry’s deep purple color is indicative of its antioxidant properties. Due to this, it is frequently used in cosmetic products. These berries are high in iron, calcium, fiber and vitamin A although low in calories, which is why they are thought to aid in weight loss.
The legend behind the açaí berry is interesting, as “açaí ” means “the crying berry.” An Amazon legend states that there was once a tribe suffering from drought, and its leader, Cheif Itaki claimed that the tribe was too large and could not be fed because of famine. He stated that all newborn babies had to be sacrificed to control the size of the tribe. He discovered that his daughter, Iaca (açaí spelled backwards), was pregnant and ordered her baby to be sacrificed the same as the rest of the tribe. Iaca cried for days from heartache from her baby’s death. On the third day of tears, she heard the cry of her deceased baby in a hut. She went inside the hut to find an açaí palm. She clung to the palm’s trunk and cried herself to death. Chief Itaki came to find his daughter, lying dead under the palm tree. She was smiling and looking up into the tree, as followed her gaze he found purple berries hanging from the tree. He fed the berries to his tribe, curing their hunger and saving the tribe. Chief Itaki was celebrated for the rest of his life, as his daughter and granddaughter were sacrificed to benefit the rest of the tribe.
Let it be known, that this bowl recipe will not bring you tears but only bring smiles because it is so tasty. Enjoy after your daily workout, or while watching the Olympic games this week. (Take note that it’s topped with red, white and blue to show USA pride!)
Rio 2016 Açaí Bowl
A superfood packed açaí breakfast bowl to experience the taste of Brazil with American pride.
Credit: This recipe is adapted from the Sambazon açaí bowl recipe.
- 1 Sambazon unsweetened açaí packet, frozen
- 1 apple banana (or 1/2 regular banana), frozen
- 1 tsp. maca powder
- 1/4 cup vanilla sweetened almond milk
- 1 tbsp. smooth peanut butter
- 1/8 cup blueberries
- 2 strawberries, sliced
- 1/4 cup granola
- 1 tbsp. raw cacao nibs
- 1 tbsp. shredded coconut
- Run frozen açaí packet under hot water for 10 minutes.
- Combine açaí , banana, maca powder and almond milk in NutriBullet and blend until thoroughly combined. (This should have the texture of soft serve yogurt)
- Spread peanut butter in the bottom of a bowl.
- Place frozen açaí mixture on top of peanut butter in bowl, then top with berries, granola, cacao nips and coconut. Have fun being decorative and enjoy!