Homemade Açaí Bowls: Join the Craze!

There are so many healthy meals and snacks we like to make, but our homemade açaí bowls might be our favorite! We initially got hooked on açaí when we ate our first açaí bowl at Haleiwa Bowls on the North Shore of Oahu. If you’ve never tried açaí before, the taste reminds us of a mix between blueberry, cranberry and pomegranate with a hint of tartness to it.

Fun Fact: Harvesting açaí berries are no easy task. Massive açaí palm trees can grow over 60 feet, making the task of retrieving these fruit difficult and potentially dangerous.

Açaí berries are native to Central and South America, pre-dominantly in Brazil. These berries are considered a “superfood” because of its abundance of health and nutritional benefits. In comparison to other fruits, açaí berries are relatively low in fat and sugars. Açaí also contains anthocyanins that give the berries and their deep purple appearance and act as an antioxidant in the body. Antioxidants play a vital role in neutralizing free radicals that damage cells and can lead to a number of systemic conditions such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc. For comparison, açaí berries contain three times the amount of antioxidants compared to blueberries. Additionally a high amount of fatty acids such as Omega-3s and Omega-6s can be found in these berries. Omega-3s can help to lower cholesterol and your risk of heart disease.

Nutritional breakdown:

Açaí portion only (Serves 2) – Calories: 240, Carbs: 20g, Fats: 0g, Proteins: 2g
*Additional calories should be considered based on toppings added

Ingredients:

2 packets of Sambazon Acai
0.5 cup Kirkland Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
0.5 cup 100% apple juice
A handful of frozen mixed berries
1 frozen banana

Topping options:

Fresh cut fruit
Peanut butter
Almond butter
Honey
Maple syrup
Coconut flakes
Hemp seeds
Chia seeds
Granola

Steps:

1) Run the frozen acai packets under warm water for a couple of seconds
2) Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse
3) Add more almond milk or apple juice to get the desired texture
4) Add toppings and enjoy!

Notes:

A food processor is necessary for this making this açaí bowl. In my experience, even a good blender can’t produce the desired consistency.

We hope you’re able to join the açaí craze and add your favorite toppings to the mix! Let us know some of your favorite açaí places or tag us in your homemade açaí bowls!

Disclaimer: We are not nutritionists. All of our information is based on experience, working with personal trainers, research and background knowledge from our education in the health field. Make sure to work with a nutritionist when deciding what foods and nutrients are best for your goals and overall health.

-Colin & Lisa

Oatmeal: Making Gains with Grains

Oatmeal has been a staple of our diet as long as we can remember. I know many of you are thinking how boring and bland oatmeal typically is, but there are actually a lot of ways to enjoy it. We will be experimenting with some oatmeal-based recipes and we will keep you guys updated!

We like to think of oatmeal as a blank canvas that you can use you to really stretch your creativity and preferences when it comes to healthy eating. Our favorite thing about oatmeal is that it’s easy to make, packed with nutrients and keeps you full.

Oats are a great source of soluble fiber – leading to slower digestion and suppressing your appetite (keeping you fuller, longer)! After eating oatmeal, I don’t have the “post-breakfast hangryness” and it gives me the energy to get through the day until my next meal.

The beta-glucan fibers in oats have been shown to lower cholesterol which in turn can reduce your risk of heart disease (the leading cause of death worldwide). Oats have a relatively low glycemic index and promising results have also been shown to lower and stabilize blood sugar levels. Many people diagnosed with diabetes have been making oats a mainstay of their diet, but it’s best to work with a nutritionist to see what will work best for you.

One of the most important benefits of oats is the amount of protein contained. As most of you know, protein is vital building block of muscles, bones, blood, cartilage and skin. Proteins also helps your body repair muscle tissue and act as enzymes to aid in digestion.

When looking at the macronutrients, you will find that oats contain a relatively large portion of carbohydrates. But don’t let carbs be your enemy. Remember that they are necessary to fuel every cell in your body from your brain, heart, muscles, etc. This is not the same as fake processed “bad carbs” that don’t have the same nutrients that oats do.

Fun fact: Oats are rich in biotin, a vitamin important for healthy hair, nails and skin.

We added PEScience Protein 4 Oats Apple Cinnamon, liquid egg whites, almond milk, diced apples, blueberries, cinnamon and honey to our oatmeal. We use the PEScience Protein 4 Oats because it adds additional protein, made specifically for oatmeal, mixes easily and most importantly – tastes great! We have a variety of PEScience products (pre-workout, proteins, BCAAs, etc.) that we’ll talk about in a future blog. Adding liquid egg whites is another great way for some extra protein. Using almond milk in place of regular milk is a great alternative because it is lower in calories, free of saturated fat and lactose free (a win for those of you who are lactose intolerant)! We threw in some apples and blueberries because of the added nutrients along with giving our meal a crunch and variation in texture. The honey gives the oatmeal that touch of sweetness. We use organic raw honey, but any type will do.

Ingredients:
1 serving (1/4 cup) of PEScience Protein 4 Oats Apple Cinnamon
1/2 cup of oats
1/4 cup of Kirkland Signature Egg Whites
Kirkland unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Diced apples
Blueberries
Cinnamon
Honey

Nutritional Breakdown:
Calories: 470 Carbs: 73g Fats: 7g Proteins: 32g

Steps:
1) Heat water
2) Pour oats in a bowl
3) Pour hot water just enough to cover the oats
4) Let sit for a few minutes until oats cook
5) In the meantime, dice up apples and sprinkle cinnamon on them
6) Stir Protein 4 Oats into cooked oatmeal (Note: Only add the protein to cooked oatmeal, do not add protein before cooking the oats)
7) Add almond milk in small amounts to the desired texture
8) Add apples and blueberries
9) Drizzle with honey
10) Enjoy!

If you’ve given up on oatmeal, give it a try again and make sure to mix it up and try different varieties. The combinations really are limitless. Let us know what you like to add to your oatmeal, so we can try it too!

Disclaimer: We are not nutritionists. All of our information is based on experience, working with personal trainers, research and background knowledge from our education in the health field. Make sure to work with a nutritionist when deciding what foods and nutrients are best for your goals and overall health.

Date Night

We have been making these bite sized snacks made with dates, apricots, oats, cocoa powder, peanut butter, coconut flakes and maple syrup for quite a while as a quick and easy snack to provide ample nutrients and bring with you if you’re on the go!

Dates have an abundance of nutritional benefits due to the number of nutrients and vitamins they contain. Dates are high in dietary fiber which are beneficial for your digestive health (especially if you’re prone to constipation – no one wants that) and assist in controlling blood sugar levels. They also contain vitamin A (maintains healthy skin and mucous membranes) and vitamin K (blood coagulant that helps metabolize bones). Dates contain pigments called carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin that play a role in the health of the retinal tissue in your eyes. I always recommend patients to include these carotenoids in their diet when they have a strong family history or are already diagnosed with Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).

Fun fact: Certain studies have shown that dates may promote natural labor when consumed during the last few weeks of pregnancy. The theory is that compounds in dates mimic oxytocin, a hormone that causes labor contractions during childbirth. More studies are needed on the affects of dates and childbirth, but may be worth a shot if you’re past your due date.

Apricots are another fruit that have health benefits. They are high in dietary fiber, vitamin A and C along with antioxidants.

Oats are something we eat quite often, whether it’s in oatmeal or sprinkled on some greek yogurt (providing a variety of textures). Oats are a great source of fiber, similar to that of dates. Compared to other grains, oats contain more soluble fiber, leading to slower digestion and suppression of appetite (keeps you fuller, longer)! Most of the fiber in oats are called beta-glucans. Beta-glucans are unique in that they have been found to lower cholesterol, reducing your risk of heart disease (the leading cause of death worldwide). With type 2 diabetes being on the rise, oats have been studied to see if their beta-glucans can assist in lowering blood sugar levels. More studies need to be done, but the results have been overall promising. This would be a great natural way to assist diabetics with their nutrition and controlling their blood sugar levels. If you’re looking for a source of protein, oats are also your friend.

Fun fact: Oats are naturally gluten-free. However, if you have celiacs or a gluten sensitivity, make sure the oats are labeled “pure” or “gluten-free” due to possible contamination with other wheats.

Nutritional Breakdown (Approximate)
Makes ~ 15 balls
Per ball – Calories: 57, Carbs: 13g, Fats: 2g, Proteins: 2.5g

Ingredients:
10 pitted dates
10 apricots (Sunsweet Mediterranean brand, okay to substitute)
1/2 cup of oats
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp maple syrup
unsweetened coconut flakes

Recipe:
1) Put dates, apricots, oats, cocoa powder and peanut butter in food processor until all ingredients blend together
2) Add maple syrup and run food processor again
3) Scoop out mixture and roll in coconut flakes
4) Refrigerate and enjoy!
5) Store in air tight container in fridge if you keeping for later

Side notes:
– Adjust ingredients to your liking
– Possible substitutes:

  • Almond butter/cashew butter in place of peanut butter
  • Honey instead of maple syrup
  • Cocoa powder in place of cinnamon
  • Oats in place of coconut flakes

Quadruple Chocolate Chip Brownie Cookies

Quadruple chocolate chip brownie cookies… One of our favorite pick me up snacks! Made with Ghiradelli triple chocolate premium brownie mix and mini M&M’s. If you’re looking for a soft, chewy cookie packed with mouth-watering chocolatey goodness, this is the cookie for you! We’ve made this cookie for many of our friends and it is a crowd pleaser. The recipe is incredibly easy to make, even if it’s your first time baking. We’ll post a mix of our favorite sweet tooth deserts and healthy alternatives that will satisfy your taste buds! Here’s the nutrition breakdown for our quadruple chocolate chip brownie cookie.

Nutritional Breakdown (Approximate):
1 batch yields approximately 23 cookies
Per cookie – Calories: 105, Carbs: 20g, Fat: 3g, Protein: 1g

Ingredients:
1 package of Ghiradelli Premium Triple Chocolate Brownie Mix
Mini M&M’s
1 egg
1/3 cup of vegetable oil
2 tbsp water

Recipe
1) Pre-heat oven to 375 °F
2) Combine brownie mix, egg, vegetable oil and water
3) Line cookie sheet with parchment paper (we prefer parchment paper over our silicone baking mats to get the right texture and a crispy bottom – because who doesn’t love crispy bottoms?)
4) Use an ice cream scooper to scoop out the mix and place the balls approximately 2 inches apart from each other (we use the ice cream scooper for sizing consistency).
5) Place mini M&M’s onto the cookie balls
6) Once the oven has completed pre-heating, place the tray in the middle rack of the oven
7) Bake at 375 °F for 9 minutes
8) Takes cookies out of the oven and let them rest for 10 minutes
9) Enjoy the ooey gooey chocolatey goodness!