BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Mixed Up and Unsatisfied

12 Comments

Whether you’re trying to slim down in a hurry, or just in a hurry, nutrition shakes are extremely popular these days. Precisely calibrated for perfect proportions of fat, carbs, and protein, they take the worry out of what might be the “healthiest” choice on a dubious menu, and are very convenient no matter how many activities you have on your plate. With these powerful drinks sounding like the cure-all to health woes, you might wonder why everyone isn’t guzzling these by the gallon. Well, the reason for reluctance is simple; The best options usually taste as good as chalk mixed into soured milk. Besides, who would really want to forgo so many delicious foods for a substitute that you can’t even chew? Since I’m no diet guru, I certainly can’t give you any further knowledge about the best way to get in shape, but I can tell you how I feel about incorporating such vitamin slurries into a standard lifestyle.

Since I’ve been swamped with work lately, it’s true that my meals have become progressively simpler, lacking proper time to assemble a complex feast. Eating basic fruits, veggies, and beans in their natural state is no problem with me, but snacks are another story. All too often I end up reaching for some sugary granola bars or greasy chips instead of something that might actually keep my focus at 100%. That’s why fortified shakes like Nutiva have begun to sound increasingly enticing, especially with a label that rattles off only organic, natural, and fair trade ingredients. This particular product comes in powder-form, with three different flavors to choose from, but for a little trial run, I was only able to investigate the Chocolate flavor. Delighted to have such an easy reference to less-than-invigorating but delicious shakes in this classic flavor, it would be easy to gauge the success of this healthful beverage.

Straight out of the package, I had high hopes for the dusty brown powder, already smelling strongly of cocoa. Stirring it into a cup of my trusty almond milk, I began to encounter some problems early on. Many dry powders have difficulty producing a smooth, lump-free drink, so I wasn’t surprised that this was an obstacle for Nutiva as well- Accepting that this was the way that most mixes work, I broke out the wire whisk and whipped it good. Working up a good froth, it didn’t take long for all of the bubbles to pop, and after sitting a mere 15 minutes or so to take a few beauty shots for posterity, the mixture had thickened to the viscosity of wet cement. No longer could it support light air bubbles even with the most vigorous stirring, but it certainly wasn’t watery.

Finally taking my first big gulp, it was almost jarring to discover that despite all the good smells it had earlier produced, the shake itself was shockingly bland. Only mildly flavored with something reminiscent of chocolate and not the least bit sweet, it was nothing like I had imagined. I felt like this huge glass before me was like bitter medicine disguised as something supposedly delicious, just like those “grape flavored” chewable tablets that really taste like chemicals and chalk. The grittiness imparted by the flax seeds didn’t help it one bit, either; While it should have felt smooth going down, it tickled my throat and left some residual grit on my teeth.

As unpleasant as it was, I can’t help but wonder if it could still be manipulated into a more palatable state. Perhaps if you were to use a different non-dairy milk, and add more sugar, and a bit more cocoa… But then again, you could just combine those three ingredients alone and end up with something perfectly refreshing. If you’re more interested in the nutrition values it has to offer then it still does have potential… But it’s really not something that suits my tastes, especially at the retail price of over $2.00 per packet.

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Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

12 thoughts on “Mixed Up and Unsatisfied

  1. ovaltine is packed with vitamins. may not be organic, but it’s my fave.

  2. Hannah,
    I tried to lose weight with shakes twice already – none worked. The second time I used Herbal**** shakes for almost 2 months and I did not lose 100g!! I was devastated.

    I got sick of these products and it’s nice to know your opinion about it.

  3. See, this is my problem too. I would be happy to try protein shakes and meal replacements (I still have about 10 pounds to lose) and I have always been too scared to try them for fear they would taste horrible.
    I’m glad to know my fears are founded … so that I don’t waste any of my precious dosh buying it “just to try out”. Thanks!!

    PS. I hope you find something that helps you though!

  4. That’s disappointing. Too bad, because the photo looked good so it was quite a letdown. Thank you for sharing it with us though. No reason why we should all have to waste money on it.

  5. a decent choc milkshake (with a teaspoon of floradix or a vitamin tablet on the side if you want it healthy) works out way cheaper, probably has a similar food value if made with a good quality “milk” and actually tastes nice! blitz a banana into it if you have a blender handy and it will keep you motoring for hours.

    I hate “meal replacement” drinks in case you didn’t notice…..

  6. I had the same problem with shake-type instant meals a while ago. Not only do they taste bland or down-right horrible, they ended up leaving me unsatisfied in the hunger department and lead to more eating, usually of something unhealthy to fill the gap. Now I’ve found quick alternatives to small supercharged meals that leave me feeling great in a full and healthy state.

  7. If you put the powder in your cup first and add 1-2 tablespoons of your liquid and stir it up before adding the rest of your liquid you will get a smoother lump-free mixture. I learned this as a kid when my mom would make us use cocoa powder to make chocolate milk.

    Also, you could try mixing the powder with a sweeter milk like Silk’s Very Vanilla soymilk. That might give you more of the taste you desire. I am very interested in a powdered shake for snacks and quick meals so if you make any progress, please post.

    Also, if you don’t mind a little extra work, I really like the Get up and Go Smoothie from Jae’s blog- http://domesticaffair.blogspot.com/2007/03/get-up-and-go.html.

  8. It’s to bad someone can’t figure this out. There are a lot of people that would be willing to pay for a tasty & quick meal replacement shake. Best of luck to ya

  9. Hey – just wanted to let you know I saw your blog listed under Today’s Hot Blogs when I first logged in. I don’t know what that means by WordPress’s standards but I have to agree that you have a great blog. So congrats about that! ;)

  10. i myself often end up drinking a meal replacement because i am always swamped with work and school and all that. Did you ever try kashi’s powder formula? I usually mix it with soy milk and it actually does nto taste that bad! its too bad that this one had such a disapointing taste.

  11. I recently tried a soy-based chocolate protein drink and was quite disappointed. It didn’t taste at all like chocolate and was also gritty going down. I wish I knew what it was called so that I could warn you against it.

  12. I really like the chocolate or berry hemp powders, blended with water and banana… :)

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