Organique Acai Premium Blend is the most concentrated acai juice in the market. Growing in the jungle of Amazon are acai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee), the tallest palm trees growing up to 80 feet tall and with pinnate leaves that are about three meters long. Named after the Brazilian Portuguese adaptation of the Tupian word “iwaca’i” which means “fruit that cries and expels water,” these palm trees are often cultivated for their fruits and hearts. Endemic to Brazil, Trinidad and northern South America, the palm trees thrives where the sunlight and shadows meet, usually on the margins of the forest, along the rivers and streams and through the canopy of trees. The palm trees are very useful. Their leaves can be used to create hats, mats, baskets, and brooms as well as roof thatch for houses. Because they are pest resistant, woods from the trunk are best for building construction. The hearts, meanwhile, are a delicacy. Good source of polyunsaturated and saturated fatty acids, the seeds can be gound to make livestock food. But it is the grape-like fruits that most are interested with. The fruits are a major diet component of the Brazilian people living in the Amazon, more than 40 percent of their total food intake. A staple food, fresh acai is often describe as somehow tarty and quite earthy. The fruits are shelled, separating the inedible seed from the pulp and purple skin. People would often bring acai with them while fishing in the river, sprinkling it with toasted cassava. Through the years, there has been a growing global demand for the acai berries. In a blink of an eye, the unassuming berry become a global superfood. In recent years, it has taken the world by storm and becomes the much-hyped food. It has now reached the Philippine shore through Organique Acai Premium Blend. From Left: Cory Quirino, Cathy Salimbangon, Regine Tolentino during the launch of Organique Acai Premium Blend. A registered nurse, Cathy Salimbangon worked in Geriatrics in the US and Canada for several years. She saw how healthy lifestyle can make a good impact on one’s body. In 2009, she and her husband Elton, who worked in a nutraceuticals industry, launched Organique Acai Premium Blend. Among those available in the market, their product has the highest concentration of acai. It also has the USDA Organic Seal, which means that the product is about 95 percent organic, implying that it is free from synthetic additives such as pesticides and fertilizers and not processed using industrial solvents, irradiation or genetic engineering. “We believe it is the king of superfoods. Acai berry is rich in antioxidants which combats cell damage. It is basically a cellular approach. Our cells are being attacked by free radicals from the pollutants around us, antioxidants help repair them,” relates Cathy. It was a claim backed by the National Institutes of Health report: “Acai contains chemicals that are antioxidants. Antioxidants are thought to protect body cells from the damaging effects of chemical reactions with oxygen (oxidation). According to some research, acai has more antioxidant content than cranberry, raspberry, blackberry, strawberry, or blueberry.” In another study, laboratory test showed that a powdered preparation of acai may contains 533.9 calories, 52.2g carbohydrates, 8.1g protein and 32.5g total fat. The fat content consists of oleic acid, palmitic acid and linoleic acid. The carbohydrates include 44.2g dietary fiber. Regine Tolentino shares her experience in drinking Acai berry juice. She tells about taking acai juice when she has hangover. “The pulp and skin of acai fruit are rich in anthocyanins (ACNs), proanthocyanidins (PACs) and fatty acids. It is marketed as a dietary supplement for lowering cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, allergies, and for cancer treatment. In vitro and in vivo studies have shown that acai has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, pro-apoptotic, antitumorigenic, and athero-protective effects. An acai extract inhibited beta-amyloid inhibition, which suggests it may also have neuroprotective activity. Further, nasal acai polysaccharides were found to potentiate innate immunity against pulmonary infections in mice; and oral administration of acai extracts prevented the development of exercise intolerance, cardiac hypertrophy and dysfunction in rats with myocardial infarction. Some laboratory studies suggest acai may reduce cholesterol, prevent diseases of the heart and blood vessels, and cause programmed cell death in leukemia cells. Due to its antioxidant effects, acai may interfere with the actions of certain chemotherapy drugs. Consumption of contaminated acai fruit with insects carrying Trypanosoma cruzii, a protozoan that causes Chagas disease, resulted in 178 cases of acute disease. However, studies in humans are needed to confirm these effects. While proponents claim many health benefits of acai, research on acai berries is limited, and health claims haven’t been proved.” (Source: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center) Just to be sure, check with your doctor before consuming, especially for people taking medications for high cholesterol or diabetes and those with kidney disease, as large amounts of acai might affect the management of these conditions. Also, it is best to let your doctor know that you are taking acai if you’re scheduled to have a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test. Very large doses of acai might affect the results of MRI scans. But don’t worry. Acai is practically safe to consume, as long as you are not allergic to it. It can be eaten raw, in tablet form, in beverages (juices, smoothies, energy drink) or in other food products (jelly, ice cream). With Organique Acai Premium Blend, you can drink it as it is. (Cathy recommends 30 to 60ml per day, depending on the health conditions of the person). Or you can try and combine it with other food. Here are some recipes you can try: GRILLED CHICKEN WRAP with mayo garlic and Acai Berry sauce (Recipe by Chef Tenten Casasola) INGREDIENTS: 6 large pieces chicken breast 1 bunch lettuce 1 piece cucumber 4 pieces tomato 2 pieces onion 6 pieces tortilla wrap 4 pieces garlic olive oil For the sauce: 1 cup mayo (you can also use sour cream) ¼ cup Acai Berry Juice 2 pieces garlic cilantro lemon juice, to taste salt and pepper, to taste PREPARATION: Wash and prepare the vegetables. Cut the cucumbers (with skin) to julienne. Quarter the tomatoes and remove the seeds. Then slice the quartered tomatoes into strips. Slice the onions thinly. PROCEDURE: In a bowl, add chicken breast, oil and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside for at least 5 mins. Grill the chicken breast until tender. Slice the grilled chicken into one-inch thick strips. In a separate (smaller) bowl, add the ingredients for the sauce. Season to taste and set aside. To assemble the wrap: Spread the sauce evenly over the tortilla wrap. Layer the vegetables and chicken. Roll the tortilla wrap tightly. Cut in half. Makes 6 servings. AMERICAN SALAD with Acai Berry Vinaigrette (Recipe by Elaine Grace Gatdula, RND) INGREDIENTS: For Olive Oil Preparation: ½ cup olive oil (pomace) 1 tbsp garlic, minced 2 tsp rosemary For Dressing: 2/3 cup Acai Berry Juice ¼ cup apple cider vinegar 2 tbsp corn syrup For Salad: 450grams romaine lettuce 2 pieces medium-sized apple, sliced 2 pieces carrots, julienned ½ cup croutons ¼ cup pili nuts, crushed (you can use other kinds of nuts) PROCEDURE: Heat olive oil in a pan. Saute garlic and rosemary until brown. Remove the garlic and rosemary out using a strainer. Let the olive oil cool. In a bowl, combine Acai Berry Juice, apple cider vinegar, corn syrup and olive oil. Mix them well until smooth. Transfer the mixture in a container and keep inside the chiller. In a salad bowl, mix lettuce, apples and carrots. Top the salad with croutons and pili nuts. Serve with acai berry vinaigrette on the side. Or you can drizzle the vinaigrette on the salad before serving. Makes 5 servings. GRILLED TILAPIA with mango and Acai Berry salsa INGREDIENTS 2 pieces tilapia fillet For marinade: 1/3 cup olive oil 2 tbsp Acai Berry Juice 1 tbsp parsley, minced 1 tbsp garlic, minced 1 tsp basil ½ tsp salt 1 tsp pepper For salsa: 1 piece large ripe mango, diced 1 piece red bell pepper, diced 2 tbsp onion, minced 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped 2 tbsp lime juice 1 tbsp Acai Berry Juice salt and pepper to taste PROCEDURE: Mix all the ingredients for the marinade. Pour the marinade to the tilapia fillet. Marinate in the refrigerator for an hour. Prepare the salsa. Combine all the ingredients for the salsa (mango, red bell pepper, onion, cilantro, lime juice, Acai Berry Juice, salt and pepper) in a bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Grill the tilapia over medium-high heat in an outdoor griller. Lightly oil the grate to keep the tilapia from sticking. Cook well. Serve the fillet with the salsa on top. Makes 2 servings. ACAI BERRY SMOOTHIE INGREDIENTS: 200 grams strawberry 200 grams grapes 1 cup Acai Berry Juice 1 cup yogurt 3 cups ice ½ cup corn syrup (you can also use honey or sugar) PROCEDURE: Mix all the ingredients in a blender. Set aside some strawberries and grapes for garnishing. Blend until smooth. Add water if necessary. You can make this by batches. Pour the mixture in glasses. Garnish with slice grapes and strawberries.
This is a bit of a different post than what I usually put up, aka talking about writing and books…BUT I wanted to include different topics in my blog including a health section..soo lately I’ve been watching a lot of videos by Essena ONeill, and feeling very inspired to get more fit and healthy ( for those of you who don’t know of her, she is basically this amazing Australian 18 year old teenage girl who encourages people to start eating clean and going vegan.) Now, I’m not vegan haha. I am very much a meat eater. Although I don’t go overboard with eating meat, and I certainly try to eat healthier smaller portions of meat, and making sure I eat meat that doesn’t have a lot of fat on it. There are probably two reasons I can think of why people go vegan: 1. Animal cruelty. This industry can be very cruel to animals, and very inhumane. I’ve seen a few videos that show how brutal they treat animals and it’s enough to make me cry. Which is why I make sure that I am buying my meat from a place I can trust. I only buy my eggs cage-free, and I’m actually lucky here, because in Australia, a lot of people know how to treat animals, and there is more respect I think than in other countries. It’s also a health issue as well. Many countries, and third-world ones especially don’t properly look after their animals, and this can spread diseases. 2. They like the health benefits of clean eating. Plant-based eating is very good for you, and it also gives you a lot of energy if you can do it properly. Of course, you need a lot of substitutes in your diet though. Instead of drinking full cream cow’s milk, people opt to go for almond milk, or soy. And instead of meat, they will go for lentil patties, as an example. In regards to myself, I try to live a balanced lifestyle and diet. I can’t say I could ever give up meat. I think that my body needs that protein, but I do think I should take it in moderation. If I cut back on eating meat throughout the week, and focus on drinking soups instead, or having vegetable stirfrys, or noodles, then I can have a balance of good fats. I am also cutting back on eating stuff with preservatives in it, and eating too much sugar(Although I never was really a sugar addict) The amount of sugar and nasty stuff found in food these days in supermarkets is appalling! So I encourage people to check the labels of food. I’ve even opted to choose dark chocolate over milk chocolate. Not that it was a hard choice I have always loved dark chocolate more! It makes me feel less guilty eating it 😉 Milk chocolate is worse for you, because of the amount of dairy in it, and sugars, whereas dark chocolate has more cocoa beans in it, which is actually healthy for you if eaten in moderation. Basically: Snacks are healthy if eaten in moderation! Just like the food pyramid they taught you in school. You should always have heaps of bread (preferably wholemeal or grains) and pasta, then fruit and vegetables than, milk and cheese, then it goes meats and fish, and then oils and sweets. I have always remembered this and stuck by it. I am in love with fruit and vegetables anyway so it’s definitely not hard for me! I was even nicknamed a fruit bat as a kid XD Yesterday I went to the health store though to kickstart this new health routine I am trying. The health store is called alnatura, and it’s great because you can buy what you need in bulk, and you can weigh what you want on the scales and only pay for what amount you need. So I grabbed a few wonderful products from their store, and ending up getting this lovely arrangement! (Which I presented quite attractively, as I am trying to do more product photography) It consists of: *shredded coconut *chia seeds *acai berry powder mix *quinoa *dark chocolate covered coffee beans *Tilley charcoal soap (made in Australia) The soap is amazing, you can double it as an all over body soap and face that helps clear up your skin, and as a shampoo + conditioner! It stops that yucky shampoo buildup you get! And with these lovely products I bought, I made my first ever acai berry bowl tonight and this is how it turned out! I basically mixed in frozen banana, frozen berries, the powder, almond milk, chia seeds all in a blender, then topped it with fruit! Verdict: It was delicious, and refreshing, and it was very filling! ( Perfect to eat in Summer too. I made this in Winter, and its probably too cold for this season at the moment, but I am going to make them a lot when it gets warmer.) Definitely encourage everyone to try making this for their next breakfast! Suggest some other healthy recipes below too if you have any! Also, here is the link to Essena’s Youtube, packed full of vegan recipes and healthy tips. She also posts amazingly inspiring videos. Go check her out! Essena Oneill
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