I first discovered acai almost ten years ago at a San Diego cafe. It's a Brazilian palm berry that has, appropriately, a berry flavor but with a hint of chocolate.
Besides the fact that acai tastes great, it is very high in antioxidants. Unfortunately, its nutritional benefits have lead to exaggerated claims, such as fat burning scams, where customers sign up for automatic deliveries without a clear way to stop their subscription.
Keep in mind, even though antioxidants help prevent cell damage from oxidation, it's not an elixir. Understanding nutrition is almost like picking a new religion to follow and you have to have faith. Mark Twain said it best:
Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.
So, what's the best way to choose healthy foods? Simple, just look at the nutrition label on the packaging. A balance of the macronutrients, say 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat is a great mix. Especially if the carbs aren't simple (sugars), but rather, fiber, while monounsaturated fats are better than saturated fats.
Sambazon, in San Clemente, was one of the first companies to begin importing acai, about a dozen years ago, in a sustainable way. The key to maintaining acai's antioxidant benefits is to freeze it within an hour of picking. Since it must be kept frozen, it's shipped in dry ice.
Rio Bowl Recipe
My favorite recipe is the simple rio bowl:
A smoothie packet or two of acai.
Half a cup of apple juice (or soy milk).
A handful of granola.
The acai and apple juice are mixed in a blender with three quarters of the banana. It helps to let the smoothie packet sit for a few minutes or 10-15 seconds in the microwave to make it easier to break up into quarters before adding it to the blender.
After blending, simply pour the acai mix into a bowl and add a handful of granola with the sliced up remaining banana quarter.
From this basic bowl, there's no shortage of other toppings that I've tried such as blueberries, coconut, and strawberries.