I started eating Acai in 2001 when I stumbled upon it during a trip to Rio. I immediately fell in love with this strange dark purple slush that they sell at juice bars on every street corner. When I got home to Miami, I started to do research and discovered the incredible nutritional benefits that the berry possesses. It was difficult to find Acai in the U.S., so I couldn’t wait for my next trip to Brazil to get an Acai Bowl.
Acai Bowls in Brazil are delicious but they are high in sugar. It is traditional to blend the Acai with Guarana syrup to sweeten the earthy tasting berry. Typically, you can order granola and banana slices to top off your Acai Bowl. It tastes great and is very addicting. The downside is that it is highly caloric, in part due to all the Guarana syrup that they add to it. Moreover, Acai contains omega-fatty acids (good fats) that are also caloric.
Only recently has Acai Bowls caught on in the U.S. Acai was introduced more as a juice or supplement rather than a food. It has taken several years to transform from an internet weight loss scam product into the incredibly healthy and delicious Acai Bowl being served today in the United States. Acai Bowls in the United States typically use much less sugar than its Brazilian counterpart. The emphasis is on health so sugar is a dirty word for consumers. In addition, Acai Bowls in the U.S. are sold with a variety of creative toppings that are not typically offered in Brazil. In addition to granola, creative Acai vendors offer a variety of healthy toppings such as Chia seeds, hemp seeds, cocoa nibs, goji seeds, coconut flakes and every type of fruit available. Even green Acai Bowls are becoming popular – Acai blended with Kale and/or Spinach. So, look up your local Acai Bowl Cafe and try an Acai Bowl if you haven’t already. Chances are you will get addicted too.
Photo courtesy of The Huffington Post