Açaí – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly – Part 2
Where were we?
So in Part 1, we talked about how awesome açaí can be. Great source of antioxidants, good for the Amazon – what’s not to like?
I mean, if you want to make yourself hungry, just go scrolling through pinterest to look at the “açaí bowl” phenomenon. This is how açaí first became popular, outside the jungle. Mixed with yogurt, granola, and honey or other fruits – this is a delicious, nutrition-packed, and often quite healthy food-tavaganza.
Like anything though, you need to look closely at what goes into it.
What’s in my açaí besides açaí ?
Peaceful Fruits make an açaí fruit snack – so açaí is the main ingredient and all the lesser ingredients are still also fruit.
A lot of “açaí bowls” or “açaí smoothies” don’t hold to that though. While I’m definitely not saying it’s not worth it to add a “super shot” or whatever to your smoothie or yogurt, you should double check that you are actually getting real, actual açaí!
That’s because not all “açaí puree” is the same. Too many companies add fillers like soy lecithin or worse – and who needs that? Even if they just mix it with 80% apple juice, you might want to know that before you spend an extra $ on it.
And some açaí is definitely not produced in sustainable, ethical ways like we talked about in Part 1.
So let’s take a closer look at…
The Bad and the Ugly of Açaí
With anything, it’s important to know the basics about what you are eating. Orange pop (that’s soda if you are reading this outside Ohio), orange juice, and orange drink are different things – we all know this. The same goes for the different forms of açaí.
Açaí comes primarily in powders, pills, and purees. A puree is just a thick juice – it’s what you get when you mash up acai berries in the Amazon like we do.
Pills and powders can come in a lot of different ways and are generally found in supplements in the pharmacy or “health and well-being section” of the store. Now there is nothing wrong with them, though I prefer to get my fruit in fruit form, but it’s important to recognize that pills and powders should not always be equated to food.
A lot of these supplements claim to be a miracle cure that shrinks some aspects of your body, expands other parts, and prolongs life. Now, yes, açaí is a great source of antioxidants like we discussed in the earlier post, but there is also a lot of hype and absolutely no evidence that açaí can melt away belly fat or whatever. We all wish, but nope – it’s a super food, not a silver bullet.
And, in my opinion, the stuff that makes it so super of a food almost HAS to diminish the farther from the original you get – nitrogen-sprayed, encapsulated, super processed powder? Probably lost some of Mother Nature’s goodness. Distilled down to ‘natural flavors from açaí concentrate” – probably some of the natural nutrition got left out, don’t you think?
So just make sure you know what you are buying so you can make an informed decision.
And, definitely, there is nothing wrong with chocolate covered açaí, or other products that contain the fruit in highly processed forms (well…some things. But could be worse. We can still be friends) – just be aware you aren’t actually eating the berry – you are, more than likely, eating a highly processed glob of thing with some purple color and a dab of açaí flavor.
The Bottom Line
Super is as super does. We love açaí and to us, the closer you can get it to the tree the more we love it. That’s all it comes down to. We wish people wouldn’t over hype because that risks giving a super berry a bad name, but hey – it’s definitely a fruit worth getting excited for.
Açaí has been described as the most important plant species in the Amazon, because it is a renewable resource that can provide a sustainable livelihood for indigenous people without damaging the rainforest. In fact, when managed properly, it can help conserve virgin rainforest and reforest damaged areas (which is why Peaceful Fruits got started, fyi.)
Add the deliciousness and nutritiousness of the real fruit itself – poured over your yogurt with honey or slow dried into a snack (my bias is showing here I guess) – that’s pretty darn super in our book!
-Margo, Peaceful Fruits Marketing Intern