Why acai will rock your tastebuds (and your health)

Way too many antioxidants for one photo.

Way too many antioxidants for one photo.

Like so many superfoods, acai has been somewhat hijacked by the marketing arms of companies who are trying to convince us that their sugary processed products are actually good for us, which means it is sometimes regarded with a fair dose of suspicion. You see the word ‘acai’ plastered all over the packaging of things like sorbet, smoothies and biscuits. My experience of these products has been that in most, if not all, cases the amount of acai is a) negligible and b) irrelevant because the product is so full of other junk that I can’t see how you’d get any benefits from eating it.

Anyway, less processed-food ranting and more acai loving! Acai (which is a berry that is found in the Amazon) has earned its spot in the superfoods hall of fame because of its off-the-chart antioxidant levels (500% more than the humble blueberry). And we all know how important antioxidants are because who doesn’t want to protect themselves against those pesky free radicals?!

Acai is very good for your heart because it is thought to help lower cholesterol levels and it improves blood circulation. It’s also a good source of fibre and it helps keep your digestive system on track through its powerful detoxification abilities. The other main benefits of acai are that it helps keep you looking young (thanks to our friends, the antioxidants) and it gives you sustained energy. It’s clever little berry, that acai!

You can find acai at any good health store or online, and it comes in a couple of different forms, with the most common two being powder and frozen blocks. Both options make great additions to your smoothies but if you’re looking for a way to create a healthy, nutrient-packed dessert, then the frozen blocks are your ticket to guilt-free treats. You can use them to make acai bowls, which will (as the title of this post says) rock your tastebuds and your health.

The Ingredients (makes two serves)

  • Two bricks of frozen acai
  • A handful of frozen mixed berries
  • 1/2 an apple
  • Some chopped fresh strawberries
  • 1 tsp. Manuka honey
  • 1/4 cup of chopped almonds
  • Three tbsp. of hemp or chia seeds
  • A little bit of apple juice or coconut water so you can blend everything together

The Process

In a blender, whizz up all of the ingredients except the fresh strawberries, almonds and chia seeds. Just add the apple juice (or coconut water) a little at a time to make sure your mixture doesn’t end up too runny, then scoop it into two bowls.

All you need to do now is sprinkle on your hemp or chia seeds, the almonds and strawberries. Serve immediately and enjoy at any time of the day – yes, this is so good for you that it can be eaten for breakfast.

Dessert for breakfast? It doesn’t get much better than that!

Laura

My blueberry and hemp seed super smoothie

Such pretty colours!

Such pretty colours!

That I love green smoothies will come as no surprise to those who have spent any amount of time with me; however, there is enough space in my life (or blender) for many other types of smoothies too. I mean, who am I to turn down the veritable smorgasbord of amazing fruit, superfoods and crunchy seeds that Mother Nature has given us!

It was Dad’s birthday on Sunday so I headed back up to the country to celebrate with him, my sister and Mum. Before leaving Melbourne, I loaded up my car with a heap of fresh organic produce from my favourite grocer so I could make smoothies and juices while I was away. Dad has a Champion juicer, so I always take advantage of having access to it while I’m visiting and make lots of green juices. I don’t currently have a juicer so it’s a novelty to be able to use one but, you guys, guess what? I’M GETTING A JUICER! Yes, I know I didn’t need to shout but I am so excited! It should arrive in a fortnight and I can’t wait for its shiny new goodness to be in my kitchen. If you never see me again, it’s because I drowned in an ocean of juice. I’ll make sure I post some delicious juice recipes here first though.

Anyway, back to my smoothie story. So, I didn’t arrive until late on Friday night, which meant that come Saturday I was feeling a bit sleepy and needed a pick-me-up. I hunted through my stack of goodies and pulled out some frozen blueberries, almond milk and hemp seeds. I then raided the kitchen and found an avocado, a few strawberries and some chia seeds.

The Ingredients*

So much goodness in one photo!

So much goodness in one photo!

  • 1 cup of frozen blueberries
  • 3 strawberries
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • tbsp. of chia seeds
  • 1/2 a cup of hemp seeds
  • Enough almond milk to cover everything once it’s in the blender (‘enough’ is a measurement, right?!)

* Makes one large glass

The Process

Waiting to be blitzed up.

Waiting to be blitzed up (featuring the Champion juicer in the background).

That heading is a bit deceiving, right? It promises in-depth steps when the reality of it is that I just dumped everything in the blender and turned up the dial. So, erm, just do that, OK?

The Finished Product

Purple love.

Purple love.

Chuck in some more strawberries because they look pretty and sprinkle on some more hemp seeds because, well, do you really need me to explain why (hint: they are crazy delicious) and Bob’s your uncle. Or something.

Enjoy, kids!

Laura

Colostrum: my go-to-energy source and immune booster

My now-not-so-secret super power.

My now-not-so-secret super power.

You have probably started to notice a bit of a theme that runs through thislittlegreenpocket: I’m a total energy fiend. This addiction has manifested itself in many ways over the years, with varying results. Before I dived headfirst into the wellness world, I used sugar-laden energy drinks as my crutch. Sure, they gave me a quick (if somewhat jittery and unnerving) boost, but they didn’t provide sustained energy and came packaged up with a whole host of icky side effects.

These days, I turn to a range of clean and healthy options to make sure I’m firing on all cylinders. It’s so important to me that I keep my energy levels up so that I can get through everything I want to in a day without feeling like I’m running on empty. My 100% works-every-time superfood/super-energy-giver/lifesaver is colostrum.

Colostrum is the very first food a mammal mother gives her baby when it is born, which means it is chock full of everything needed to give the newborn the best start at life and therefore it gives the immune system a very powerful boost. It is often considered to be the first milk and it can be present for up to two weeks (depending on the mammal). From a supplement perspective though, you want to look for one that was collected within the first six hours of birth (this collection is sometimes called the first milking). After this point, the level of bioactive material drops substantially (click here for a list of what is in first-milking colostrum), meaning that it becomes less powerful.

You also want to make sure the company you buy it from is obtaining the colostrum in a sustainable and ethical manner. I get mine from David Wolfe’s Longevity Warehouse because I agree their values. In the wild, cows produce too much colostrum as an insurance policy. The farm that the Longevity Warehouse source their colostrum from makes sure their cows are happy and safe, which means the excess colostrum can be collected for human consumption without fear of shortchanging the calf.

I use colostrum in all sorts of things. If I’m making a raw dessert, I will throw in a tablespoon of it (I suppose you could use when baking too but I’m not sure how it would react to heat). I also add it to my smoothies or just mix it up with some water and gulp it down if I’m in a rush. I sometimes mix it into my porridge or stir it through some natural yoghurt. It has a mild slightly sweet flavour, so you can add it to pretty much anything and not really notice it.

Of all the superfoods I have discovered so far, colostrum is definitely one of my favourites for its versatility and its effectiveness.

If you are looking for a long-lasting, immune-building supplement, colostrum just might be for you.

Laura