Thursday, June 18, 2009

The acai drama

Most fads come and go while a handful outlast their lifespan until they morph into a lifestyle. That's precisely been the Acai saga. A hitherto little known fruit, purple in color, shaped like most berries and containing less pulp than a grape, has suddenly become what cell phones are to most of us... the 'absolutely cant live without it' thing.

It’s a hard-to-miss fad. If you're an Oprah fan, you probably religiously drink the acai juice. If you're a Rachel Ray fan, you probably religiously drink the acai juice. If you are the organic green tea drinking types, you probably religiously drink the acai juice.

For those of you who've managed to be blissfully unaware of it, its the wonder fruit from the Amazon jungle of Brazil with a zillion proven benefits from increased energy levels to improved digestion to detoxification to antioxidant to heart health improver to cholesterol reducer to what not. Its most commonly marketed as a weight loss product though.

This isn't a research document so here's the fun part. If you live online and have a wondering eye, you've seen ads. The internet is full of acai berry scams. Generally taking what people say at face value and not being too cynical in life, I fell prey to one of the scams and ordered a free bottle of acai pills. Little did I know it came with a fine print of an order every month for 80 bucks for the rest of the year. Luckily I caught the scam in time only to realize that there was no customer service number to call to cancel or no address to write to. After days of struggling with it (and canceling my credit card in the process), I finally was able to get out of the damn trap.

Just because I got out of a scam, it didn't mean I was able to subside the urge to try the wonder fruit. When you want to try something bad enough, life always give you an opportunity. Mine came in the form of a colleague who'd newly become a dealer of the acai pyramid scheme (too complicated to explain). Sure enough, I ordered a bottle expecting something in the packing of a typical juice box you see in grocery stores. Oh no no no. What I got was something with glossy literature that came in a fancy wine like bottle. It was a blend of pure acai, pure and original, mixed with 12 other fruits using some technology that made 2 ounces of that liquid equivalent to 10 servings of fruit a day. I just had to try it. Don't ask me how much I paid for it but it sells for $40 and lasts a week. I got it, chilled it and finally tasted it. I couldn't believe it. It could have tasted like anything... anything literally... but it ended up tasting like cough syrup. I still have $35 worth of that juice in my refrigerator. May be it's the brand I tried. Who knows.

They say you end up bumping into something you want to avoid the most. It’s so true. I still see it everywhere but thankfully the adventorous feeling has gone missing. What can I say, I guess it's just not for me.

Perhaps when I go to Brazil one day and go berry picking.


Kusha said...

So what do u plan to do with the $35 worth of juice? ;)

Pari said...

Who knows... ideas?

Bindu Nayar said...

I agree Acai is rich in antioxidants but the way it is promoted is overrated...

Vaishali said...

Agreed!! This whole Acai thing is amazing.. Were we even supposed to survive so far without it??

Pari said...

@ Bindu - yes it's all good but seriously overrated and so hard to get your hands on the real thing.

@ Resh - lol apparently thats why the brazilians are a hot lot whereas us desis look like bafoons ;)