When creating and sharing recipes, I usually like to talk about the story behind the recipe, how and why I first made it, what it reminds me of, when I like to eat it etc., but with Earth Day approaching, I wanted to talk about the story behind the ingredients used in recipes. Before going vegan, I rarely wondered about where not only my food, but the products I was using and the clothes I was wearing came from, who they impacted, who made them and under which conditions. Over the years, I became more and more interested in the origins of what I ate every day. It’s crazy to think that most of the time, we have no idea where the food we put in our bodies comes from. The more I found out, the more I had to realize that what I wore, used and ate was often the product of exploitation at some level, sometimes even when it was vegan. So I became more conscious and spent more time choosing the brands I purchased products from. For today’s recipe, I decided to make a smoothie bowl using REBBL’s Maca Mocha Elixir. REBBL is one of the brands I love working with and whose products I personally consume all the time, first and foremost because I love how their elixirs taste, but also because they’re so transparent about how their ingredients are sourced and very vocal about their mission. In this post, I’ll share a smoothie bowl recipe showing some of the ingredients found in the elixir before going into more detail about REBBL’s story and how they source their ingredients.
Smoothie Base Ingredients (makes 2 servings):
1 bottle of REBBL Maca Mocha
1 ripe avocado, seed removed
4 tbsp chia seeds
2 cups frozen cauliflower
1. Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender for about 1-2 minutes until you get a smooth mousse-like consistency and serve in a bowl with your favorite toppings.
Suggestions for modifications:
- To make the smoothie base a little sweeter, replace the frozen cauliflower with two frozen bananas, in which case you can choose to omit the avocado as well.
- If you don’t like cauliflower (even though you can barely taste it) or don’t have any, but don’t want to add fruit, you can use frozen zucchini instead.
- To make it a little less thick, use only 2 tbsp of chia seeds.
Anything your heart desires! Some ideas: fresh berries, dried berries, dark chocolate, cacao nibs, coconut chips, more fresh fruit, nuts, seeds.
The following are some of the main ingredients you’ll find in the product I used as a base for the smoothie bowl recipe listed above, the Maca Mocha Elixir:
(Organic coconut milk, organic coconut sugar, organic cocoa powder, organic maca extract, pink salt)
Rooted in Purpose – The Story behind the ingredients
Not for Sale – How REBBL started
One of the most interesting things about REBBL is how the company was founded. In 2011, a non profit organization aiming to end human trafficking in many areas around the world, Not For Sale, set out to bring economic empowerment to a particularly vulnerable community in the Peruvian Amazon affected by poverty and exploitation. In an attempt to identify a sustainable and innovative solution, the organization’s co-founders, Dave and Mark, invited global thought-leaders in science, tech and law to Montana Circle. From that session, an idea emerged to create a beverage unlike anything on the market that would use ingredients from that area. If the demand for the beverage increased, so would the market for the ingredients included in it, generating sustainable livelihoods and reducing the risk of trafficking and exploitation. Today, part of every REBBL sale (2.5%) goes directly back to Not For Sale and helps fund its projects worldwide. You find out more about some of their projects here (link: https://www.notforsalecampaign.org/our-process/).
Where do the ingredients come from?
In order to create a truly unique, tasty and healthy elixir, REBBL combines ingredients found in the area of the Peruvian Amazon that inspired the company’s beginnings with other organic ingredients sourced in 29 countries around the world (Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Japan, Madagascar, Dominican Republic, Chile, and Ecuador, for instance). In doing so, they are able to generate multidimensional positive impact on both ends of their supply chain. Processing ingredients like coconut flower nectar, cacao pods, whole coconuts, vanilla beans, and whole maca roots requires considerable infrastructures and quality control systems before being crafted into the final elixirs. To be able to combine a variety of ingredients that demand vastly different sourcing, REBBL works with supplier partners who oversee that process and facilitate the supply chain from the grower. What many people may not realize is that this kind of supply model is fairly common in most food related brands and choosing the right supply partners is therefore crucial. For REBBL, transparency is key and the partners must have strong, direct relationships with growers, as well as show active support for the communities where they work. The majority of REBBL’s ingredients originate from smallholder farmers and cooperatives, constantly supporting fair working conditions.
Packaging is another key factors when it comes to sustainability and REBBL is therefore constantly working on improving their system and becoming more and more eco-friendly. Some of the most recent steps include switching from white to brown cardboard boxes, as well as making them lighter-strength. One of the next steps will be working on transitioning from PET (virgin plastic) to rPET (100% post-consumer recalled plastic resin) for all REBBL bottles.
I hope that this post gave you a bit more of an insight into what goes into the products we buy and consume. How can you make sure that what you purchase aligns with your values? Do your own research. Start with the company’s website and read the “about” section. How transparent are they? If you don’t find the information you’re looking for, go one step further and contact their customer service. What we eat doesn’t just affect us, it affects everyone involved in the supply chain and we as consumers have the power to vote with our dollars and help shape a world with fair wages and working conditions for everyone.
Where you can find REBBL: http://rebbl.co/where-to-buy/
Disclaimer: this post is sponsored by REBBL. All opinions expressed are my own and I only work with companies whose products I personally use and believe in.