As usual, those were some amazing comments on my last post. I love writing about veganism on my blog. I always get such incredibly insightful and honest feedback! For those of you who missed this post, please go back and check it out: I was thrilled with the level of conversation.
So I had a long recipe post planned for y’all, but it’s been a long and hard day, so you’re getting a product review instead. Months ago, Matt over at Miessence—a company that produces high quality vegan, organic body, skin, and haircare products—offered me a few samples of supplements. Namely, he wrote to see whether or not I was interested in three supplements:
1) An antioxidant “superfood” powder called Berry Radical
2) A wholefood probiotic powder called Inliven
3) A liquid probiotic (gluten-free) called Fast Track
Well sure, I said. I’m not in the habit of turning down free, high-quality probiotics—though for the record, I don’t take a regular probiotic supplement unless I’m traveling or my stomach is feeling off. (I did take probiotics religiously for a period of time in which I was “healing” my IBS, and I think they helped me tremendously. And I’ve written about probiotics and enzymes in this post.)
Matt went above and beyond the call of any man offering a blogger a sample product. When I posed questions to him about the products, he responded instantaneously and kindly. My main question was this: As I understand it, most probiotic bacteria is killed in the stomach, due to its very acidic environment. This is why enteric coated probiotics are popular. So I wondered how the liquid probiotic, Fast Track, could withstand such a low pH? Matt wrote back,
Thanks for your question, a very good one at that! I am not the best at describing how Fast Tract works as a probiotic, I use the In-Liven product myself – which is formulated in a way that ensures that lactic
acid in the stomach does not “kill” off the good bacteria (lactic acid is formed when bacteria are fighting each other). This is done through providing a food source (superfood) for the bacteria, whilst also allowing the good bacteria to establish themselves in the digestive tract. Also, the bacteria strains have been established through rigourous “breeding”, using extreme cold and extreme heat to use the
most resistant strains of the bacteria. Fast Tract is to be used as a precursor to transitioning to In-Liven, to allow the gut to have a baseload of good bacteria who can handle the predigested gluten.
Something also to keep in mind is that the products are certified organic, completely raw and unprocessed (well, they are predigested over 30 days, fermented somewhat). The use of enteric coatings is to protect the contents of the pills, my basic research into these coatings highlights that they use chemical based coatings predominantly.
I thought this was a great, if confusing answer! Not because Matt articulated himself poorly, but because I’m still not 100% sure how probiotic bacteria withstand the stomach pH. And vegetarian, chemical coating to ensure efficacy in a pill still strikes me as smarter than a liquid supplement that won’t have its intended effect. If any med or science folks in the audience have further insight to offer, do please share!
In any case, I was really impressed with the due diligence that Matt gave my queries, and with his attitude in general. I get the sense that Miessence is an honest and solid company.
As for the products, I enjoyed them quite a bit! The enliven tastes just like Kombucha. This was good, in that it’s a taste I like, and bad, in that I wanted to drink it like a beverage, rather than take it by the teaspoon and as a supplement, which is of course how I was instructed.
The InLiven is tasteless and easy to put in smoothies, soups, and nut cheeses! I tried it all three ways – I even made a batch of my raw “goat cheese” with it – and it worked nicely in the fermentation process.
Did I notice a difference in my digestive health? Well no, not really. I’m happy to say that, at this point in life, my digestion works like a well oiled machine, and I these probiotics had no impact to speak of. But perhaps they would make a big difference for someone who has digestive irregularity or trouble; in any case, I think they’re as worthy as any other probiotic of a trial! As for the Berry Radical antioxidant powder, it made a fun and tasty addition to my summer berry smoothies. Here was my favorite concoction:
I used the Berry Radical:
…and I also used a packed of Sambazon’s original acai pulp. Acai—along with goji berries and mulberries and maca and lots of other “super” foods—tends to elicit my teasing. But putting aside for a moment it’s purported health benefits, I really do like the way it tastes, and so I purchase these guys sometimes:
And sometimes, I even use terms like “superfoods” with a straight face. Like now.
Gena’s Berry Antioxidant Superfood Smoothie (serves 1)
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 pack Sambazon “original Rio blend” acai
1/2 frozen banana
1 tbsp Miessence Berry Radical antioxidant powder
1/2 cup nut milk
2 tbsp cacao nibs (I used Navitas naturals)
Ice as needed
Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender till smooth. I prefer my smoothies to resemble ice cream, rather than liquids, so this will be thick, but you can of course add more nut milk as needed! I topped mine with a little raw granola, too – this brand, which I find at my health food store and quite like!
It’s a delicious and decadent mix, made chocolatey by the cacao and the acai (which has a chocolate overtone). I suggest you try it soon!
Thanks so much, Matt, for giving me a chance to sample the goods. I may be ambivalent about many kinds of supplements, but I do admire what you’re doing, and have no doubt that your products can and will benefit many.
Switching gears completely for a moment, were any other NYC kids at Cakeshop with me last night, seeing Tennis perform? They were impressive, even in the tiny and sweaty space. For those of you who weren’t there, I present you with my music pick of the week. Listen now, thank me later.