Beautify with Açaí

I’ve been putting açaí in my smoothies and raw desserts for a couple years now and I love it!! It is a wonderful addition. What has me disturbed is that now I am seeing “acai” everywhere and in everything. The ‘issue’ with this is that these companies are using the the acai berry as a marketing tool to lure customers into purchasing and consuming these products and the acai berry is miniscule part of their product. So, I am going to share the health benefits of this amazonian berry and let you in on what to look for and where on the ingredient list it should be in order for you to receive its full benefits!

The açaí berry is a little berry that grows in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil and has been used for centuries by the native people of Brazil for its medicinal properties. It is considered to be a powerhouse for nutrients and antioxidants. It only grows in the tropical regions around the equator, in South America, which means the plant has to have high amounts of protection from the sun’s UV rays, in the form of antioxidants.

A few top health benefits of the açaí berry:

  • High levels of essential fatty acids like Omega-3,6,9 and oleic acid - all of which are great for beautifying your skin and hair

  • Highest known ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity) values of any fruit or veggie - promoting longevity

  • Boosts energy levels

  • Contains 19 different amino acids - needed to build healthy proteins in the body

  • Enhances brain and nerve function

  • Rich in minerals like calcium, phosphorus and vitamins like beta-carotene and vitamin E

  • Improves the function of the immune system

  • Promotes cardiovascular health

Always look for your açaí to be:

  1. Organic - it’s pointless to eat something this powerfully healthy and rejuvenating while at the same time pumping your body with chemicals and toxins

  2. Properly Freeze-dried - when buying açaí berry powder you want it to be freeze-dried within hours of harvest in order for it to retain 30-50% of its original antioxidant levels

  3. Fair-Trade - this certification contributes to the sustainability of the rainforest communities, where the açaí berry is grown, by guaranteeing fair wages and improving the quality of life through better health-care, housing and education

  4. As much açaí berry skin as possible - the nutritional components of the berry are found in the skin

I pick up the Sambazon brand of ‘fresh’ frozen açaí berry from my local health foods store or Whole Foods, but you can also find it at Trader Joe’s. They come in little packets that you can throw into the blender to make a delicious smoothie or you can thaw them and mix it with coconut water.

When buying a ‘juice’ that contains açaí look for it to be the: 1st ingredient or one of the first 3 ingredients - as ingredients are listed in order from highest concentration to lowest. Sambazon makes an açaí berry juice where açaí is the first ingredient. This juice is very sweet because of the added agave syrup, but you can water it down (with purified water) to your liking. I water the juice down by half. (The juice contains 24 grams of sugar, per serving,  which is equal to 6 teaspoons! That’s a lot..)

Chocolate Açaí Bowl

2 packets Sambazon açaí, frozen

1 ripe banana

½ cup organic strawberries

½ cup almond milk

2 tbsp raw cacao powder

1 tbsp shredded coconut

Blend (minus the shredded coconut) until smooth in texture using a high powered blender, like a Vitamix, or a regular blender. Serve and sprinkle the shredded coconut on top. Enjoy!

If you found this post informative please feel free to share it with your friends and if you tried your hand at the Chocolate Açaí Bowl I’d love to hear about how it went!  

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Boost Energy & Rejuvenate your Body with Maca

I first heard about Maca during a presentation on Raw Foods by David Wolfe at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. As a result, I started reading up on superfoods in David Wolfe's book "Superfoods" and I incorporated Maca into my morning smoothies. I immediately noticed that on the days when I would make my smoothies with maca I would feel more focused and energetic. I also noticed that I was calmer, even in the face of the day to day stresses of life. I was handling things much better (which for a 'fiery' Latina is a good thing :)). Noticing the first hand results I started feeding my boyfriend maca too & I started telling my mom about it. Gotta spread the good news right??

What is Maca??

It’s a root that has been cultivated in the high altitudes of the Peruvian Andes for around 2,600 years. It is found in the most barren and inhospitable part of the Andes, which gives the root its character and properties. The ancient warriors of the Amazon jungle domesticated maca and later the warriors of the Inca empire would eat this root before entering battle in order to make them stronger and increase their stamina; after battle these warriors were prohibited from using maca, to protect the women from ‘excessive sexual desires of men’.

Maca has been used, medicinally, in South America to enhance fertility in humans and animals for centuries. Maca is a superfood that is categorized as an adaptogen, ‘which means it has the ability to balance and stabilize the body’s glandular-hormonal system, nervous system, cardiovascular system and musculature.’1 Maca boosts the immune system, increases stamina and energy, increases oxygen in the blood, supports the thyroid, endocrine system and the adrenals and it increases fertility and libido. That’s a lot of information..I know. But what is most important for you to take away from that is that it heals your body on all levels, allowing it to adapt to the stresses of modern life, keeping  you younger and healthier, longer. There is so much more I want to share with you but for the sake of brevity I will tell you this: It is rich in many vitamins and minerals and improves a variety of conditions.

Look for Maca in the following forms:

  • Dried, powdered maca root

  • Dried, powdered maca root capsules

  • Maca varieties are black, yellow, red

  • Dried superfood formulas containing maca

  • Maca chocolate bars, treats and energy bars

  • Liquid maca concentrates

  • Roasted Maca

How to use Maca?

You can use maca in your smoothies, in capsule form, in your favorite tea or nut milk or coffee, even as part of a raw dessert or dish. It is very versatile and is a great emulsifier too. Just be sure to start with small amounts - 1 tablespoon a day is a good start.

Rejuvenating Smoothie

1 cup unsweetened almond milk, organic

1 cup goji purified water (include the berries)**

1 cup blueberries

½ packet organic Açaí, frozen

1 tbsp organic coconut oil

1 tbsp raw maca powder

1 tsp goji berry powder (optional)

1 tsp camu-camu powder (optional)

**Bring purified water to a boil and toss in 2 tbsp of goji berries and allow to cool.

Place ingredients in blender and mix thoroughly. Serve and enjoy!

If you found this information please feel free to share the link with your friends or to ask comment below or ask me any burning Qs! The better informed people are about their health and wellbeing the better a society we can create! Or you can schedule a complimentary, Self-discovery Session with me at


1 - Wolfe, David. Superfoods. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 2009. Print

Why you should get to know Turmeric

There are many roots and spices that have been used for thousands of years, staples of the Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese medicinal practices. Modern science is now verifying what has been known by ancient societies for millenia. One of these is Turmeric. It is a root spice that is used in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking. Turmeric is even used in Latin American cooking! Peruvian cooking uses it in native dishes such as Papa a la Huancaina and Aji de Gallina, two of my favorite dishes! Turmeric is the underground stem of a ginger-like plant. When you find it fresh it looks like a smaller, thinner cousin of the ginger root, only with a bright yellow orange interior. Powdered turmeric is bright yellow.

I love using Turmeric in my cooking. It adds a warm and aromatic flavor. Just be careful not to go overboard with the Turmeric because it can add unwanted bitterness when used in excess.  

Why use Turmeric??

  • Powerful antioxidants - this is especially important considering how many chemicals we are exposed to, our cells and DNA need every bit of protection!

  • Potent anti-inflammatory - prolonged inflammation in the body leads to chronic illnesses, heart disease, arthritis, neurological illnesses etc. Raw turmeric is best for this purpose.

How to use Turmeric??

  1. Raw - in homemade dressings, sprinkling it on vegetables and in your smoothies/juices

  2. Cooked - it is a delicious spice on chicken, fish, beef, tofu, even on brown rice and quinoa. Get creative!

It can even be used topically for a sun-kissed glow but that is for another post! :)

Turmeric Dressing

½ cup extra virgin olive oil, organic

2 organic lemons, juiced and zest

½ avocado, organic

3 garlic cloves, organic

Turmeric root, fresh, thumbnail size

1 tbsp raw honey

Himalayan sea salt, to taste

Blend all ingredients in a blender and enjoy!

Sunny Salmon

1 lb wild coho salmon, fillet

1 organic onion, sliced

4 organic garlic cloves, crushed

1 bunch organic scallions, diced

1 tbsp turmeric powder

1 tbsp himalayan sea salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp organic tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)

2 tbsp organic coconut oil

1 cup purified water

Start by heating the coconut oil in a sautee pan over medium heat. Add the garlic (after letting it stand for 15 minutes to allow all the enzymes to be fully active), onions, scallions with ½ tbsp of sea salt and allow it to cook until the onions are translucent. Add the remaining spices and stir well. Place the salmon in the pan, allow each side to cook for 2-3 minutes and then add water and cover. Allow to cook covered for 10-15 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Enjoy the recipes and feel free to experiment with this delicious spice! Get creative with Turmeric and allow it to infuse your body with its healing energies!

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