Diet shake working, but what the heck is inside it?

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by Jamie Brazil, Portland
Her blog
Author of Prince Charming, Inc.

This summer I lost fifteen pounds using a meal replacement powder.  The diet part wasn’t effortless, but it wasn’t too hard either.  However, listening to my husband complain every time I hauled out the blender to mix up another shake was a test of our marriage.

There were moments, listening to his strangled howl of “not the choco-seaweed surprise”, that I wondered if the weight loss was worth it.   Every time I spooned out the mix he’d be throwing open the doors and windows.  Apparently, my special diet drink stinks up the house like a fish market, which is how “choco-seaweed surprise” became part of our daily vocabulary.

And I say surprise because, depending what was in the fridge or pantry, the fish smell ranged from mild to gag-o-rific.  The more stuff thrown into the shake, the better the odor control (like maybe only one door flung open).  Raspberries, coconut, and chocolate syrup were especially good cover ups.  Wait, chocolate syrup?  This doesn’t sound like a diet.

Well, something had to offset the health benefits of all the acai, goji berries, camu-camu, quinoa, wheatgrass, more wheatgrass, maca root, sacha inchi, blue-green algae, Kamut Grass, spinach powder, flax, pea fiber, and… drum roll please … Chlorella.

Chlorella, a.k.a. algae.

ALGAE (not seaweed, but seaweed-ish all the same).

It’s one of the main ingredients.

What’s more, the fine print on the back of the package reads: Athletes and anyone subject to banned substances testing should consult with their physician and athletic organization.

Where did I find such a product?  Mind you, I didn’t buy just one bag, I bought five!  At a moving sale, of course.

Now, before I go further I want to qualify this post with the fact that I don’t normally go around buying food at garage sales.  That’s gross, right?  But five sealed bags of a meal replacement program (expiry date July 2013) for five bucks?  I figured why not.  When I got home I immediately did a web search for any product warnings and was shocked to find out:

1. how much this stuff sells for online

2. product users unanimously swear by the chocolate mix over the other less-paletable flavors. (Really, there are WORSE flavors than fishmonger’s choco-seaweed surprise???)

Fast forward to July.  After swilling my way through the first bag, my husband was pleased with my slimmed-down figure.  Though he swears he can smell the chlorella in his sleep, despite my best efforts of airing out the house daily.   Is it my breath?  Is it oozing out of my pores?  Is the choco-seaweed surprise about to become a “banned substance” around the house?

Fast forward to September.  After another five pound weight loss, my husband has started, as he says, “choking down the choco-slime.”  He’s losing weight now, too.  At least we’ll both smell like chlorella.

Three bags to go!