Brazil’s Secret Smoothie: Açai Na Tigela

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Brazil is on the map this summer as they are hosting the World Cup so I thought it would be appropriate to write about Brazil’s finest dish: Açai na Tigela. Okay, that is totally my opinion, but that’s because it is delicious! I made this decision after spending a few months in Brazil’s northeastern parts. After discovering this smoothie, I ate one a day. I wanted to eat four.

You have got to really love smoothies to make this one so if you are not ready to take smoothies to the next level, do not read any further. This is for the die hards, the smoothie fanatics, for those of you who would eat smoothies for breakfast, lunch and dinner if it were legal and/or socially acceptable.

This is the real deal. It’s glory in a bowl and will fulfill you from head to toe. It’s got power and vigor. It’ll sustain you for the day and energize you for life. It’ll give you superpowers. Seriously. Plus it contains aphrodisiacs. ¡Hola señor! That’s Spanish, but you know what I mean.

The Açai berry (pronounced a-sigh-EE) is considered a superfood and a powerhouse in the berry family. It’s basically edible gold. But let’s not go crazy on these guys and eat them all day, every day. They come from the Amazon – not exactly local, ya know?

Açai Na Tigela: Recipe

This smoothie is made of an Açai blend topped with granola, banana, nuts, seeds, and honey. Yum yum. It is quite possibly the most incredible thing you’ll ever lay your eyes on. Brazilians love this stuff.

Açai na Tigela means Açai in a Bowl so please, for the love of Brazil, do not drink this smoothie out of a cup or on the go. It needs to be respected for its beauty and appreciated for its bounty. This dish is always served in a bowl and eaten with a spoon. Always.

Ingredients:

  • 100g Açai pulp (I used a brand called Sambazon)
  • 1 handful mixed frozen berries
  • 1 Banana
  • ½ Cup Almond/Soy/Rice milk

**Toppings: **

  • 1/3 Cup granola
  • 1 Chopped Banana
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp of your favorite nuts/seeds

Directions:

Pour the smoothie in a bowl (it should be a thick consistency) then add the toppings and enjoy!



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Help Your Skin Glow With This Tasty Chocolate Treat Recipe

The smell of just about any chocolate is enough to get me invigorated and peppy, and so finding this healthy, yet still-delicious superfood recipe made me want to jump for joy! I definitely need a little chocolate indulgence now and then, and you probably do, too. The good news is this recipe for a tasty chocolate bark will not only get your taste buds singing, but it will also give your skin a healthy glow and your heart a healthy boost!

It’s all thanks to these stellar ingredients:

Dark Chocolate

There are so many great things dark chocolate (with the right type and in the correct proportions!) can do for us, but we’ll stick to just a few. Flavanols, which are plant compounds naturally found in the cocoa bean, help promote blood flow and dilate vessels. This action helps to deliver nutrients throughout the body, including the skin.

A study found that cocoa flavanols protect the skin from ultraviolet damage, increase blood flow to the skin, increase density and thickness of the skin, decrease water loss, and improve the overall appearance of the skin. It’s also good for your heart health; studies show that eating a small amount of dark chocolate two or three times each week can help lower your blood pressure. Dark chocolate improves blood flow and may help prevent the formation of blood clots.

Eating dark chocolate may also prevent arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). It can even make you happy! Dark chocolate also contains several chemical compounds that have a positive effect on your mood and cognitive health. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), the same chemical your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love (this explains so much). PEA encourages your brain to release endorphins.

It’s also got several important vitamins and minerals:

  • Potassium
  • Copper
  • Magnesium
  • Iron

Chia Seeds

We’ve covered chia seeds before as a trendy health food, but there’s a lot to this seed’s story. There is a lot of buzz around chia’s weight loss power. Chia’s stabilizing effect on blood sugar also fights insulin resistance which can be tied to an increase in belly fat. This type of resistance can also be harmful to your overall health. Chia seeds are packed with soluble fiber and are high in antioxidants, calcium, iron, manganese, and phosphorous.

A unique property of chia seeds is the ability to hold up to 12 times its weight in water. Soaked for 30 mins, the seeds will form a gel-like substance. Researches believe this gel reaction also occurs in the stomach, forming a barrier, which means carbohydrates are broken down slowly. This makes the seeds popular among endurance athletes and also diabetics, who want a slow-release energy source, as well as for extra hydration.

Good Fatty Nuts

Nuts are a great source of healthy, unsaturated fats. It’s thought that the “good” fats in nuts — both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats — lower bad cholesterol levels. They also have omega-3 fatty acids in abundance, which are a healthy form of fatty acids that seem to help your heart by, among other things, preventing dangerous heart rhythms that can lead to heart attacks. Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in many kinds of fish, but nuts are one of the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids. All nuts also contain fiber, which helps lower your cholesterol, help you feel fuller, and is thought to play a role in preventing diabetes. Add in nuts’ supply of Vitamin E, plant sterols, and l-arginine, and your heart will stay pumping at maximum efficiency!

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces 70% cocoa bittersweet dark chocolate
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • ½ cup toasted walnut pieces
  • ½ cup toasted pecan pieces
  • ½ cup toasted almond slices
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

Directions:

  1. Combine chocolate and coffee, place over a double boiler, heating on a low flame while stirring until chocolate is 3/4 melted.
  2. Remove from heat and stir until smooth.
  3. Mix in the toasted nuts and chia seeds.
  4. Spread mixture on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and chill until mixture sets, about 30 minutes.
  5. Break into pieces and serve. Enjoy!
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