How Three Hot Surfer Dudes Basically Invented the “Acai Bowl”

Acai Bowls Courtesy Sambazon

Trends come and go as frequently in food as they do in fashion. One day paleo’s the thing, then nutritionists are warning that a diet high in red meat and low in whole grains may lead the cancer. Experts tell us to shovel kale into our mouths by the metric ton, then we find out there are potentially lethal metals in it. But one little fruit that’s evaded the boom bust cycles of trends is the acai berry. It’s been on the radar for a while; Absolut even created an acai-flavored vodka back in 2010. Of course that’s not the healthiest way to consume this nutritionally-packed berry; that honor would go to the acai bowl, a smoothie made from the berry and other fruits topped with granola and banana slices. This was introduced to the States from Sambazon, a company producing and supplying ample amounts of acai-flavored products, from bowls to smoothies to juices.

We asked two of the founders of Sambazon, Ryan Black and Jeremy Black, about how they got into the acai business, why people should be eating acai bowls, and other uses for acai, like making jewelry.

How did you first learn about the acai berry?

Ryan Black: After an afternoon surf in Porto de Galinhas in the northeast of Brazil, my local friends took me to a little beach shack called Chiquita Bacana where I experienced my first acai bowl with bananas and granola. It was refreshing and energizing!

Jeremy Black: My brother and our good friend Skanda went to Brazil to celebrate the new millennium and while there they started eating acai every day—by the end of their trip they were inspired to start Sambazon to bring acai to the world.


What made you want to go into a business together?

Ryan Black: I always looked up to my brother’s intuition and integrity which are great qualities in a business partner. When Ed and I started the business we were fresh out of college and Jeremy was already a successful businessman so we poached him!

Jeremy Black: We felt like we could change the world by starting a business the follows a triple bottom line (social, environmental and financial).



 Sambazon founders Ryan Black, Ed Skanda and Jeremy Black, courtesy Sambazon


Why do you think people should be eating acai bowls?

Ryan Black: acai is a fantastic source of whole food vegan nutrition with plant-based omega fat, fiber and antioxidants, three things that help your body run clean and healthy. Plus as a light meal it fills you up but doesn’t weigh you down. And if it is from Sambazon it directly protects Amazon biodiversity and supports Fair Trade certified, small family farmers.

Jeremy Black: They are good for you, they taste amazing, and they make you feel a lot better than most foods you eat.  That’s why they became so popular on the beaches of Brazil with athletes like surfers, volleyball players and jiu jitsu fighters.


What are some of the health benefits of acai?

Jeremy Black: Powerful antioxidants, like in blueberries, healthy omegas, like in olive oil, and low sugar. Antioxidants help fight free radicals which lead to premature aging. Good fats are important for blood and brain health.


How would you describe the flavor for the uninitiated?

Jeremy Black: Red wine and chocolate.



Acai Bowls courtesy Sambazon 


What are some other uses for acai?

Jeremy Black: Like any fruit it can be used a million ways from juices and smoothies to ice creams and other desserts, savory sauces for cooking, supplement powders, energy drinks (our Amazon Energy is the best one out there if you haven’t tried it), beers (eel River), spirits (Veev, Çedilla), facial serums (Pangea Organics makes a great one), and the seeds make beautiful bracelets and necklaces.


What are some small changes people can make to their habits for a healthier lifestyle?

Jeremy Black: Understand that every purchase you make supports a business, and gives that business an order make more of what you just consumed. Basically you “vote with your dollar” every day. You eat a chicken from a factory farm, that farm will keep producing chickens in the grotesque ways you may have seen in movies like Food Inc. or Baraka. Your dollar is driving what’s happening in the world, so understand where your food, clothing and other resources are coming from and how they are affecting the people and the environment to produce what you consume. Be conscious about your capitalism.

Ryan Black: And eat an acai bowl or smoothie instead of a big lunch or dinner 🙂



Top 5 Ways to Werq Your Body and Mind and What to Wear: The Detox Diaries

Working out is so much easier in the summer. I wish it weren’t true, but it is. For me, it has nothing to do with bikinis or beaches, so I can’t entirely explain the phenomenon. Alas, it persists. Fall means getting creative to keep it interesting.

Here are the best solutions I’ve discovered to fix such a quandary:

  1. Look fly as f.
  2. Pick really kick-ass instructors and studios.
  3. Mix it up.

Post fashion week, I got mine handed to me in a variety of ways in a variety of neighborhoods and an even larger variety of outfits (thankful for that last one!).


FullSizeRender 2

Pilates is no joke, and SpringTone, the latest class down on Duane Street, will make sure you’re damn clear on that. Alycea is the realest-deal, she’s trained everyone from Madonna to Claire Danes, and somehow manages to teach in a style I can only describe as 50% militant trainer, 50% maternal encouragement.

What to Wear:


I kept it chic for my TriBeCa workouts in Alala, which I am just as glad to wear on the street anyway.


305-fitness-fun-dance-workout-ny_0232 copy

Named for Miami’s area code and started by 24-year-old firecracker Sadie Kurzban, 305 is deceptively difficult. Instructor Jess Evans could out-dance the Energizer Bunny.

What to Wear:  

zara terez

Photo by my sister, Aliza Spruch-Feiner, who is as unhappy to take it as I am to have volunteered myself to model fitness gear 😉 

Since I love the “Make Sweat Sexy” tagline, I opted for a class-tank and appropriately-bright Zara Terez leggings via Exhale, which might just contain the best variety of workout clothes in town.


nesh booty 1

During the initial week of the detox I carved out Exhale’s Central Park South location as a second home. Sakara oatmeal in tow, I pulsed from Core Fusion Barre to Deep Detox at the spa which is not so much a spa treatment as a second workout. This treatment is recommended both after a barre class and as part of a series (though I only did one), and I’d liken it to nothing I’ve ever experienced before, short of maybe electric stimulation in physical therapy.

deep detox

At the conclusion of my treatment, I was told I’d it was like I had done the equivalent of 648 crunches. K, cool, thanks!

What to Wear: Head-to-toe Nesh, an outfit that got lots of compliments in and out of downward dog.


crunch disq

I’m pretty sure I could try a different workout in NYC everyday for the next year and still have some options. TRANSFORMER WITH DISQ (available at Crunch gyms) is one of the less typical. It was developed as a tool to add resistance to essentially anything, anywhere, but for your average person, it makes more sense kept in a gym setting. Strapped on your ankles and hips, classic moves like mountain-climbers become that much harder when sporting a DISQ system. But you can’t help but smile when with every move; you feel like a robot/marionette.

What to Wear:

disq robot

Capitalizing on that robot-thang for a photo-op

Comfy sneaks and high-socks are key, so as to prevent friction between your skin and the ankle straps. Mine are Asics, as are my crops.


emily f s

As soon as I thought about detoxing the body, I knew a mental detox was necessary too. Somewhat surprisingly, meditation has not been boutique-ified in the same way yoga has and since I didn’t have time to join a monastery I was thrilled to meet Emily Fletcher, who I’ve since dubbed NYC’s queen of accessible meditation. Fletcher speaks with the mixed enthusiasm of a former-Broadway-actress and calm of a very seasoned meditator. I enrolled in her online course, ZivaMind and changed my habits (and brain chemistry) in eight days. But nothing compares to the serenity of Fletcher’s small in-person space, which I also visited for an extra sesh.


Proudest new posession

What to Wear:

spiritual ganster 2

It was pretty obvious that Spiritual Gangster was the way to go to get zen.

Now That New York Fashion Week Is Over… The Detox Diaries, Part 1

Fashion week isn’t all the glitz and glamour Instagram would have you believe. After over a week of an exhausting schedule of shows, presentations, and (required) parties, followed by late nights of writing about it all, hoping my sentences were coherent, I realized that only one thing could follow NYFW. And for me, it was not LFW (though, kudos to all the editors across the pond for your stamina). It’s time to detox.

Step 1: SPIN

Detox unofficially began on Thursday night when I finally made it back to SoulCycle. I’d been resorting to awkward tweets about how much I missed spinning, and sweating it out was a wonderful $34 gift-to-self.

Step 2: YOGA (in cute clothes)

I’ve wanted to attend a Wanderlust yoga festival for years (fashion people and wellness are like PB Almond Butter + J) so when Wanderlust 108 in Prospect Park was announced a few months ago, I jumped at the chance to go.

It wasn’t the sunny-yoga-in-the-park I’d hoped for, but my friend and I did our best–even if our best was sitting on Manduka yoga mats (the best in the ‘biz) and eating protein bars. In the spirit of Fashion Week, I intentionally picked chic workout clothes (and we’re not talking Lululemon). Detoxing means a lot of sweating it out–(or at least, it will). And for this occasion, I picked a very chic (IMHO) get-up of mesh-accented Alala gear.

I’m detoxing, I can do what I want.

photo 2


The next step of a detox, naturally, is to cleanse. So that’s what I did today. I liked to imagine the toxins leaving my body as little cartoon bubbles saying things like “this one is made from the rarest Japanese silk” and “this one will retail for $3000,” making room for filling my body instead with chia seeds and kale.

Sure, fashion people tend towards the healthy side, but during FW one’s food choices are determined by two simple factors: time, and proximity. For me this meant large amounts of yummy Sugarfina champagne gummy bears, some very ill-advised Seamless orders, and (thankfully) as much Smartwater from the tents as I could stuff in my bag. My meals were irregular at best and nonexistent at worst. My nutritionist said things like: “We’ll work on this when you return to a normal schedule.”

I’ve never been the girl to hit 7 p.m. and flippantly say, “I forgot to eat today!” and as such my grab-and-go picks are often craving-prompted. So, for me, wanting to cleanse did not mean wanting to starve. I turned to a recent discovery, LuliTonix by Lianna Sugarman who creates the best blends, not juices, and cleanses in this already green juice heavy town.


I’ve done one other straight juice cleanse from a popular juice chain which shall go unnamed. I finished by juice #5 and wound up eating a three-course dinner. I’m happy to say today was not like that! It’s now 9 p.m. as I write  and I have only had liquids today! Unlike the green juices denounced by many nutritionists, LuliTonix is blended and not cold-pressed, allowing for satiating fibers to stay in tact. The email prepping me for the arrival of the cleanse read: “This is NOT a cleanse during which you will feel lethargic…Our blends are designed with amazing ingredients that work synergistically to rebuild and nourish as they cleans. You will have plenty of energy, and will be supplied with everything your body needs to be the badass you are. So sure–CrossFit, Barry’s Bootcamp, Back-to Back Soul Survivor rides. Knock yourself out! Or just rest. That’s good too.”

This is just day one! More to come on detoxing–cleansing your body, (tired feet, muscles, and more), your mind after having no time to think about much besides trend forecasts, and more.


Cancer Cases Expected To Soar by 2035

Do you know someone who’s had cancer? The disease is undoubtedly a serious problem in this country — it accounts for one in four deaths in America. Over 1.7 million people will be diagnosed with some sort of cancer in 2014, and 585,000 are expected to die from the disease. And, while scientific advances have helped save millions of lives, the future of cancer is looking bleaker than ever.

A new report from the World Health Organization predicts a worldwide “human disaster” as the number of new cancer cases soars from 14 million to 24 million by 2035.

Read the full story on Refinery29 here. 

In Defense Of Cold Showers

Here in America, it’s hard to avoid the term “cold shower” as a euphemism for unpleasantness, disappointment, or complete sexual shutdown. Seeing a notice from the super that there’ll be no hot water tomorrow sends tenants into a rage. Indeed, you might be forgiven for thinking only psychopaths took cold showers. But ‘tis the sweltering season to embrace this very acquired taste.

I can remember vividly the first time I let myself love the cold shower: in college, I traveled to a rural spot in Bolivia. All the airline layovers and bus rides over bumpy dirt roads equated to a 36-hour trip. I can’t explain just how greasy I was when we finally arrived at the monastery in a remote village where we were staying. I was so excited to wash that I barely heeded the warning that hot water what not part of the plumbing situation there. I let the cold water shock me awake and pulverize 18 distinct layers of dried sweat, and I’d never felt better.

Now, when summer rolls around, a cold shower (or two) is the order of the day. Three seconds of initial discomfort? A small price to pay for refreshment when you live on the top floor of a building with a black tar roof. And the alternative—stepping out of a steamy shower and instantly beginning to perspire once more—leaves much to be desired. With a little practice, you’ll even start to appreciate your goosebumps. Personally, at this point, I might be ready to move onto ice baths.    

Follow Miles on Twitter here

Give It Up For Crackers

The foundation for some of our best appetizers has gone unsung too long. And the best of the best stands alone as a snack. On a plate or straight from the box, crackers are goddamn excellent. If some crumbs or an entire piece fall on the floor, let the dog get it. It won’t hurt them; it’s just a cracker.

The cracker will not be disrespected, either. Try the saltine challenge—fully consume six saltines in under a minute, with no water. Sound easy? IT’S NEVER BEEN DONE. Saltines demand you slow the hell down and savor the dry, crisp, crunchy conveyance of salt into your mouth. Though saltines are even better when you dunk them in tomato soup (okay, any kind of soup). Also recommended for this purpose: oyster crackers (always crumble them) and Stoned Wheat Thins. The latter is especially good when the eater happens to be stoned.

Right now it’s a bit of a flavored-cracker binge I’m on. Carr’s table water crackers with cracked pepper are fantastic, but I don’t have the waistline or budget required to load those bad boys up with cheese. So the Triscuit with cracked pepper and olive oil is going it solo. A package of the Kame crackers really hits the spot, too—either regular sesame or, ideally, black sesame with soy sauce.

I know, you’ll tell me I can’t just eat crackers. I need vitamins, I’ll get scurvy, etc. Fine. Maybe I’d rather not survive if doing so requires me to branch out beyond the world of crackers. To whoever finds me dead under a mountain of half-full boxes of crackers, don’t even think about eating those crackers. They’re mine.

BlackBook Tracks #15: It Gets Crisp

Hello, how are you today? Good? Good. Here are the vibes for this week. Insert that quote from The Great Gatsby about fall here.

Grizzly Bear – “Yet Again”

In the new video for “Yet Again,” dreams turn into a discordant nightmare for a young figure skater. It’s a good match for this highlight from recently-released Shields.

Efterklang – “The Ghost”

With the recent release of Piramida, Danish band Efterklang has crafted one of the most nuanced, accomplished records of the year. “The Ghost” is a quietly majestic highlight.

Frightened Rabbit – “State Hospital”

Good news if you want to feel sad, because there’s new music from Frightened Rabbit! The mournful Scotsmen have just put out a new EP, also entitled State Hospital, which should prove sufficient for those grumpycat.jpg days.

Citizens! – “True Romance”

London’s Citizens! are gearing up for the stateside release of their debut LP Here We Are, and they’re paving the way with this sexy new video for “True Romance.” If you can pay attention to anything besides the pretty people making out, there’s a tight, magnetic pop song in there, too.

Total War – “xxx HATE xxx” (Is Tropical remix)

This Parisian duo’s impeccably titled letter of self loathing was already an excellent bite of lo-fi synth-pop. Then, pals Is Tropical showed up to make it more danceable. It’s a win-win situation, even when you think you’re a loser.

Ice Choir – “Teletrips”

Kurt Feldman of the Pains Of Being Pure At Heart takes the sounds of the ’80s and propels them into the present, with the kind of semi-detached delivery that a name like Ice Choir implies. Soft as snow, but warm inside.


Sensual, dangerous.

Crystal Castles – “Wrath Of God”

Two years ago, I went to a Crystal Castles show and then promptly hit a brick wall with my car. If that’s not a sign of a powerhouse act, then I don’t know what is. (Or I could just be a terrible driver.) Anyways, the Canadian duo’s set to release its third album later this fall, and this first single shows a surprisingly tranquil angle of their paranoiac electronics.

Azealia Banks – “Luxury”

It seems like there’s a new Azealia Banks video dropping every other week, but why not? Tumblr needs new gifs and it keeps her momentum going while we wait for her official album. “Luxury,” from the Fantasea mixtape, shows a subtler side of Ms. Banks.

BlackBook Tracks #4: There Are No More Original 4th of July Puns

Yesterday was the Fourth of July, sure, but why not carry on the party through the rest of the week? Let’s hear it for a five-day weekend, everyone! With that in mind, here’s a loosely patriotic playlist to pair with your upcoming weekend’s woeful lack of a fireworks display.

Primal Scream – “Country Girl”

Sure, Primal Scream are Scottish, but their take on Americana still sounds pretty good.

The Hold Steady – “Atlantic City” (Bruce Springsteen cover)

The Brooklyn band looks to Jersey in this spirited take on the Boss.

The Black Keys – “Dearest” (Buddy Holly cover)

Dan Auerbach may not sound as charming as Buddy Holly, but the Black Keys’ offering was a highlight of last year’s Rave On covers collection.

The Apache Relay – “State Trooper” (Bruce Springsteen cover)

This Springsteen cover from rising Nashvillians the Apache Relay starts off minimalist and slowly builds, showcasing Michael Ford, Jr.’s earnest vocals.

Yelawolf – “Made In The USA” (ft. Priscilla Renea)

According to my sources, Yelawolf is popular abroad because the Alabama rapper is seen as being really good at representing America. Exhibit A.

These United States – “Let The River In”

The band name alone says it all, but this cut from These United States’ self-titled new album will hold up well while you’re throwing some burgers on the grill tomorrow.

Vampire Weekend – “I’m Going Down” (Bruce Springsteen cover)

Vampire Weekend delivered this mellow rendition of the Springsteen classic on their 2010 live EP.

LCD Soundsystem – “North American Scum”

For those of us who have complicated relationships with being American.

Kid Cudi, Best Coast, and Rostam Batmanglij – “All Summer”

While this isn’t an ode to California, it’s a little more inclusive and will sound great while you’re swimming/barbecuing/bald eagle-watching.


It’s called “USA Boys,” so it must be them

Today In New Electro: Simian Mobile Disco, Kindness, HEALTH

Not the electronic music type? You might think that, but take a listen to any of these songs, all of which hit the web today, and you might soon find yourself a convert. 

Unpatterns, the new album from London’s Simian Mobile Disco—the project of James Ford and Jas Shaw—which will be released tomorrow but is streaming now at Spin. The chilly, hypnotic collection of songs, nine in all, is a reminder of why sometimes even rockers have to break out their glowsticks.

The cinematic tracks are made for a lot more than toe-tapping—there’s full-on desk dancing happening here—but lack any sort of overly Oakenfoldian raveyness.

Also out today is a new video from Kindness, the electro project from Brit Adam Bainbridge that’s hitting New York this week. The clip, for the song “House,” features Brainbridge showing a pretty adorable kid how to make the song. It’s more abstract and highfalutin than your average video, but with a song so undeniably catchy, that’s forgivable.

Maybe because the song is made to score a video game, Max Payne 3, “Tears,” a new song from HEALTH, has a more electronic sound than we expect from the California rockers. “The closest example of what we would go for is like a Brian Eno record, where it just feels really good and there are long pauses between songs and you feel this whole mood,” HEALTH’s John Famiglietti said about the soundtrack. And while it might not make us any better at video games—which have gotten a lot harder since Legend of Zelda—it certainly makes us want to try.