Have you tried the much touted acai berry? It has been raved about for its impressive nutritional profile and for its ability to encourage weight loss. Despite the abundant positive press, I had yet to give it a try. The Sambazon company offers a full line of acai juice drinks, smoothies and frozen fruit products all with non-GMO, USDA organic, vegan and gluten-free labels. From their website, I learned their drinks come in ten different flavors and blends. I was only able to find the original flavor in my local health food store, but I imagine larger markets will carry a wider selection.
Although I enjoyed the drink, I found it too thick and too sweet for regular drinking, but when I used it as the base of a slushie, I loved it! Beyond the product, what really impressed me, is the vision, mission and practices of the company. Sambazon, whose name comes from the Sustainable Management of the Brazilian AmAZON, is thoroughly dedicated to socially and ecologically sustainable development in the Brazilian rainforest while bringing acai nutrition to the rest of the world. According to their literature, they support two million acres of Amazon Rainforest and over 10,000 family farmers with their berry harvesting and juice making operation. Their products are certified Organic as well as Fair-Trade.
Sambazon juice (which is not exactly pure acai juice, but a juice drink consisting of acai puree, water, agave, lime juice, natural flavors, soy lecithin, citric acid, and fruit and vegetables juice for color) straight from the bottle was thicker than I would have liked. I would love to see the juices packaged in glass, as I picked up on the plastic aroma when drinking out of the bottle, and would prefer to move away from plastic packaging whenever possible. The Acai Original was much sweeter than I think is necessary (or enjoyable). I poured my next bottle over ice, to test it chilled and to see how it reacted to a little watering down. I liked it better. Still finding it thicker than I would like, I realized it was ideal smoothie/slushie/sorbet material. A chilled nutrient-dense tropical berry refresher can be the perfect companion on a hot and humid afternoon, of which, I imagine, there are many in Brazil.
In a blender, such as a Vitamix, blend 1 banana, 1 bottle of Sambazon Acai Original, 1/2 teaspoon bee pollen, 5 tablespoons pineapple juice concentrate, 1 single package (or 2 tablespoons) of chia seeds and about 15 ice cubes. Add vitamin supplements, if you wish (I added 2,000 IU of vitamin D and 2 probiotic capsules). Run the blender until all the ingredients are mixed and the ice cubes have turned to slush. An incredibly nutrient-filled, tasty and refreshing beverage awaits you.
Acai is celebrated for its high concentration of antioxidants (particularly anthocyanin, which the deep purple color would suggest), fiber and essential fatty acids. The Tropical Plant Database finds acai to be nutritious, but not quite the standout we have been led to believe. Acai contains up to 4% protein, 25% sugar and trace amounts of calcium, phosphorous, iron, sulphur, vitamins B1, A and E.
A bottle of Sambazon juice contains 10.5 fluid ounces. The serving size and corresponding nutrition facts, however, are for a serving size of 8 ounces. Something to be aware of if you are checking the label for calorie or sugar counts. Make sure to add roughly a third more to the numbers if you consume a bottle.
To visit Sambazon online, there’s the company website and their facebook page (including a $1.50 off coupon) and in California, there are now two Sambazon Cafes along the Pacific Coast Highway. Built according to strict ecological design guidelines, the company’s commitment to doing business sustainably continues. Pull up a chair to a long table (made from reclaimed wood and metal), slide your spoon into a typical Amazonian “acai bowl” of fruit and granola, and allow the rush of nutrients and tropical flavors to sink in.
Or, bring the taste of Brazil to you! Post a comment below, and one lucky winner (US residents only) will receive three free product vouchers (coupons) plus one of these beautiful wooden bowl and spoon sets (a $45 value). A random drawing will be held on June 30, 2013.
Have you tried acai? Did you like it? Any particular products or recipes you would recommend?
Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet Blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product. For more information about Moms Meet, go to http://www.greenmomsmeet.com or join the social media conversation using #momsmeet.