I receive dozens of product review requests every week. 99% of them, I reject outright. These may be awesome products, but for me to even consider reviewing a product it must be something that I already use or have been wanting to try, and I usually get offers for products that I do not use or that I do not think that you guys would care anything about.
I also have trouble writing reviews unless I feel strongly about the product. It is generally pretty hard for me to get past “It works.”
A couple of months ago, I was on a Facebook page that had reviewed the Body by Vi 90 Day Challenge (which utilizes protein shakes made by the company Visalus) asking the admin there her opinion. One of the distributors of the shakes, Courtney James, chimed in on our conversation and offered to send me some of the shake mix to review. I agreed for a couple of reasons -- the meal plan that I was following regularly utilizes protein shakes as both meal replacement and as supplement, (see the plan that I have been following in this post: "Crap. It Works.") and I had heard really great things about the shakes -- how well they work, how great they taste, how easy it was to order, etc.
About a month ago, I received my bag of shake mix. As eager as I was to try them, what I was doing was still working well. I wanted my review of them to be based purely upon their merit, and not how well they worked with what I was already doing. So I waited until my weight loss had sort of stalled to even open the mailer that the shake had come in. When I opened the packet a couple of weeks ago, I was disappointed almost immediately. They are made from Soy based protein. Now, for the general population, Soy is an awesome and healthy source of protein. However, I cannot eat Soy. In case you didn't know, I have a thyroid problem. Soy is not a good idea for people with thyroid issues because it is a goiteragenic -- it can cause a goiter if you have thyroid problems, and if your thyroid problem IS a goiter, it can cause it to grow. Rapidly. I quickly sent an email to Courtney who had sent me the shakes asking for her to let me know if she had any problem with my husband being the one to actually use them and I would still write the review. When I didn't get any objections, (and after I had convinced my husband to be my guinea pig), we proceeded.
My husband had actually been off of our plan for a few days as he was out of town, and not home where he could easily follow our plan. He had gained a little weight back by travelling and eating WAY off plan. It was the perfect time to try the shakes. Although I could not consume the Soy based shakes, I did taste each of the ones that we made so that I could honestly tell you that THEY ARE AWESOME. They taste amazing -- you will think that you are cheating on your diet because they are THAT good. The letter that the Courtney sent in the mailer, called this sweet cream flavored mix "The shake mix that tastes like a cake mix" and it definitely lives up to that name. She also sent me a few flavor packs with added nutrients and benefits (things like energy boosters, cardio care, etc.) that you can add to change up the flavor. Courtney had also sent me an email with several great recipes for ways to change up the shakes by adding things like fresh fruits and juices. My favorite recipe (big shock) was the Cafe Latte that used cold coffee. I REALLY wanted to drink the whole thing, but my reaction to Soy kept me from indulging in more than a couple of sips.
The shakes are 90 calories each, 12 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber, one gram of fat, and full of vitamins and minerals (just in the mix, before adding the liquid of your choice). You can make them with water or with skim milk, (water for a snack, milk as a meal). One thing that really impressed me about the shakes was that they are safe to give to kids over 4 years old -- I would not feel comfortable giving my kids a lot of the popular grocery store brand "diet" shakes, I would definitely let my kids have these. Once you add 8-12 ounces of skim milk, the calorie count goes up to 170 (still very low) and the protein shoots up to 20 grams (very high).
shake's price, I also found that the flavor packets that add the additional benefits, and "Hunger Blockers" that you can add into your shake cost quite a bit extra. However, I will say that my husband felt that any Hunger Blockers were unnecessary as he didn't feel hungry.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this product, (providing of course that you don't have a Soy allergy or thyroid issues). The price is very reasonable (especially on auto-ship), and if Courtney James is any indication, your rep will be extremely supportive and helpful. If you have any questions for her, or if you want to place your own order, you can contact her directly at 604-628-7804, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or just go directly to the website www.vigirl.ca. She also has her own Facebook page as well where she is documenting her own 90-Day Challenge Journey -- http://www.facebook.com/cc90daychallenge
Courtney also sent me the following info from Visalus about the Soy that they use in their shakes. My endocrinologist has told me that his advice is to avoid ALL Soy, but I wanted to include it for you guys because you should talk to your own doctor and follow his or her advice specific for your circumstances.
There is a lot of misinformation and confusion about soy in the marketplace today. In countries where consumption of soy is high (like Japan) the populations are healthier and have fewer health issues than in America today. So we know that there is misinformation, and facts being taken out of context.Of the concerns over soy, there are a few common ones. First, is referring to raw soybeans, that can contain a form of phytic acid that can block certain minerals absorption. However, that is based on massive consumption quantities, and of the raw soybean and only occurs in those animals that lack the digestive enzyme phytase. It is only an issue for people who consume those foods to get minerals in their diet, and in massive quantities. The issue is in developing countries, and may have a genetic basis as well because they are lacking the digestive enzyme (which can be supplemented and therefore alleviate the concern). It is not an issue for our products because of how we process the ingredients.The second common concern with soy are due to some of the components of soy, particularly the isoflavones genistein and dadzein which can affect and inhibit thyroid peroxidase which is necessary for the production of T3 and T4. Thus there is some evidence that it could lead to thyroid enlargement (Goiter) . Our soy has been processed to remove the isoflavones, so this is not an issue.A third common concern about soy is the effect it may have on estrogen levels in the body. This is again due to the isoflavones, which we have had removed. So this is a non-worry. We should note that many menopausal women do supplement with isoflavones, as it has been shown to help them experience fewer side effects of menopause.Lastly, our Soy is not genetically modified (it is non-GMO). Many people worry about genetically modified soy, and if any of the ingredients got altered in the breeding process. We use the most natural form we can get, that has not been genetically modified.Why use soy? It is a complete protein, it is easily digested, and with adequate soy in the diet it can help reduce c-reactive protein (an signal of inflammation and heart disease) in the body, along with cholesterol.c.james