Acai: Superfruit or super scam?

Antioxidants, have you heard of them? Of course you have. They’re talked about relentlessly in the media, and as a beauty editor, I too bang on about them almost daily.

But, like any buzzword that makes its way into the language of everyday consumers, its only a matter of time before some quick thinking marketing cowboy comes along wanting to make a quick buck. Unfortunately for us, this now means that the organic, natural and health food markets are being inundated with clever new quick-fixes that we all the need to get our hands on if we want to be healthier, age slower and run faster.

The latest ingredient mixed up in all this mess is Acai (pronounced Ass-ah-hee) and is credited to preventing cancer and helping you ‘drop 2 dress sizes in 2 weeks’ as one ad promises. Known as a superfruit, Acai is believed to hold strong antioxidant properties, and while I’m not denying these statistics, I am questioning how big a part marketing plays here.

According to ORACValues.com, an online antioxidant datasbase, Acai has less than half the antioxidant value of spices such as cloves and cinnamon. Interesting, right? Too right. As a fruit (there’s debate over whether it’s a berry or not), the Acai holds an antioxidant score of 102,700 μ mol TE/100g, while cloves are recorded at having an anitoxidant level of 314,446 μ mol TE/100g. That’s about three times the level, if you’re wondering.

After quizzing my local organic store about the fruit, and asking if they supplied it, I was told that finding a reputable supplier of the product is actually very hard. You see, Happies, Acai tastes like dirt, so to make it more palatable many suppliers stretch it with banana. This dilutes the power of the fruit, and basically makes a mockery of the whole industry. You think you’re buying ‘pure’ Acai, but really, you’re buying a watered down version that’s jammed with banana to make it taste better.

Now, I’m not saying all Acai is like this, but what I am saying is that as consumers we need to make sure we don’t fall into the slippery palms of those marketing genuises and believe everything we read and make smart purchasing decisions when it comes to what we put in our mouths.

That said, there is one great positive of the Acai boom and that’s for the residents of the Amazon jungle, where the fruit is harvested. Since Orpah and Dr Oz raved about the stuff, they have seen a rapid increase in demand, allowing them to make good profits from the sale of their purple little fruit. And for that, I’d be happy to slip off a few palms every now and then. Wouldn’t you?

Tell me Happies…

Have you tried Acai?

Do you believe the hype?

Do you think it’s a marketing sham?

Sunday Best: Lettuce Cup Sandwiches

After a weekend packed with BBQs, picnics and what some would consider, too much bread, there’s nothing better than wrapping your lips around a bulky poached chicken sanga without the bread. Sound like a contradiction? Perhaps it is, but with these tasty lettuce cup sandwiches, you really don’t feel like you’re missing out on the good stuff.

Packed with delicately poached organic chicken, alfalfa sprouts, grated carrot, spinach, avocado, homemade hummus, a touch of smoky BBQ sauce and topped off with a crunchy, broken up piece of that infamous sprouted bread, there really is no need for a big fat b’roll after all.

Obviously, Sunday’s are our day of chicken paired with lots of vegies, with our famous open chicken sandwiches also making the line up at least twice a month, but it’s this here lettuce cup delight that has evolved over time, beginning as a lettuce cup fajita, and now, into this.

I cannot begin to tell you how tasty these are. The succulent chicken breast stands tall against the backdrop of greenery. The crunch from the lettuce and the sprouted bread adds texture, while the hummus, avocado and smokey BBQ sauce all add juiciness. Yes, they’re a delight and something I would highy recommend you try. If not this, the lettuce cup fajitas are a must, too. Simply replace your wraps with a crunchy piece of iceberg lettuce and you’re ready to roll.

But back to the meal at hand. If you’re wanting to share the love, here’s what you need to do…

1. Grab an iceberg lettuce and gently tear away the top few leaves to make the cups.

2. At the bottom of the ‘cup’, add a dollop of hummus and some avocado before piling in the vegies. Anything that’s in your fridge will work, but I prefer grated carrot, alfalfa sprouts, red onion and baby spinach.

3. Now, add some smokey BBQ sauce and top the ‘cup’ off with your freshly poached chicken. Add some more crunch and a little more bulk to the meal with a piece of toasted sprouted bread crumbled up on top. If you can’t get the sprouted bread, top it off with some chia seeds instead.

So tell me Happies…

What do you think of this meal?

Are you a lettuce cup fan?

Have you tried chia seeds?

Stay Happy,

Yx

Hey Flatty, You’re Phat

Let’s just make this clear from the get-go. I said Flat and Phat and when you put the two words together you get Phat Flats, or Flat Phats, but it’s the former that I’m going to tell you about today. If you’re interested.

You see, the delightful Phat Flats is, in fact, an Australia-made and designed gift card company who are based in Tasmania and are about the most awesome things I’ve seen since those banana protectors that stop your ‘nana from getting squished. Have you seen them? They’re almost too practical for words, but we’ll leave them for another post.

Phat Flats, on the other hand, we’ll talk about right now. They are the handy word of graphic designer and illustrator, Cathy McAuliffe, whose ability to make chairs look pretty puts other arty types to shame. The best part is they’re blank inside, so there’s not a hint of cheesy text anywhere, plus, each card is printed on premium environmental paper sourced from forests using sustainable practices. I like that.

My personal favourites are, quite conveniently, the Christmas ones. I mean, if this reindeer card doesn’t get The Grinch smiling, I don’t know what will.

It’s not all about the cards though. The House of Phat also does canvas prints, wrapping papers and a delightful selection of hand-made cookies. No, that’s a lie. They generally just stick to paper things, but the hey, I’m not complaining.

Check them out online, if you like. I definitely would.

Tell me…

Are you a card giver?

Do you like the look of these fun papery treats?

Thank You Cherry Much

Next time you’re snaking your way around the aisles of Harris Farm or your local organic fruit shop, STOP AT THE CHERRIES. Seriously, you must.

Normally bypassed for a more in-season or affordable option, that tasty little ball of red goodness is begging to be eaten. Begging! According to a new scientific report by exercise physiologist and nutritionist, Kathleen Alleaume, our mate cherry is a serious contender for ‘Superfruit’ status.

The study revealed that the phytonutrients found in cherries can reduce heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes and even nix gout and arthritis pain. Nuts, I know. But it’s not just these phytonutrients that are a winner, cherries are packed with antioxidants, too. Move over strawberries and blueberries, the cherry is moving on in and it’s one seriously tasty little number.

Comparing the antioxidants found in said superfruits, the cherry comes in at equal second place with the blackberry, with blueberries still leading the charge. Strawberries and raspberries are in the mix, too. Just in case you’re wondering.

For me, the humble cherry is always a winner for Christmas, and I just found this gluten-free option on Gluten-Free Girl’s website that sounds too delicious for words. Add a dollop of ice-cream to that and you get taste AND serious health benefits in one very big bowl. Winner!

 

Tell me…

Are you a fan of the cherry?

What’s your favourite superfruit?

What about your favourite way to eat cherries? Any recipe ideas?

Three of a Kind

Sometimes it’s easier to say things, than to write them. This is often the case with me, anyway. Being the ever-so-chatty person that I am, it’s often much more fun and natural to just speak what I’m thinking.

So today, let’s get chatting with my first installment of ‘Three of a Kind’, a video about three of the best of whatever the weekly topic may be. Today, it’s all about feel-good books I’ve read this year. Enjoy!

Tell me…

Have you read any of these books?

Do you want to?

What are your feel-good books?