Shaken, not stirred

Every trainer I have spoken to in recent times, even before I began the BFL challenge, has said the same thing to me: getting on top of your physical goals all starts in the kitchen. What you put into your body will determine not only how it looks, but also how it performs. Easy to say, not so easy to follow. Especially when you are surrounded with culinary temptation on nearly every supermarket shelf and in every fast food outlet with their bright and shiny signage.

The BFL program dictates that you need to eat 6 times a day. Each “meal” that you have must be composed of a portion of protein and a portion of carbohydrates. For two of your daily meals you need to add a portion of vegetables, like greens or squashes and things that you wouldn’t ordinarily seek out when you visit a restaurant or supermarket. A portion is the size of your clenched fist or the palm of your hand, depending on the food type. There is a BFL list of the types of carbs and proteins you need to be eating and this is where it gets difficult. I certainly don’t want to be eating things like baked potatoes or chicken breasts for breakfast, nor do I want to be separating egg yolks from the albumen either (egg yolk is baaaaad on BFL), so I have to find something that is not only easy to prepare but is also conveniently available. A really good couple of options for breakfast that I have been alternating between are a bowl of regular oats (has both protein and carbs) or a slice of whole wheat toast with a smear of natural peanut butter (no margarine, also baaaaaad).

I’ve also been getting by with the assistance of nutrition shakes, or what they call meal replacements on the BFL program. As I mentioned in my first post in this series, Body For Life produce their own highly regarded supplements in the form of EAS products, namely Myoplex shakes and nutrition bars. Each time you have one of these you’re taking up a meal slot on your daily eating program, which is great, otherwise you’d never get out of the kitchen much. Unfortunately EAS products are not available where I live, so I had to seek out an alternative. I found the Ultimate Sports Nutrition (USN) brand in quite a few outlets. They also make meal replacement shakes which come in a powdered form, which they call Muscle Fuel SRS. These are supposed to give you the nutritional equivalent of your portion of carbs and protein in a normal meal.

I bought two 1kg bags of this stuff, one chocolate and one strawberry. At first I was really enjoying the strawberry shakes and was kind of tolerating the chocolate ones, but then in the past week or so the strawberry product has become nearly impossible to dissolve in water or milk. I have tried using a blender and a normal hand held shaker, but it still leaves undissolved globules of powder in the shake. The chocolate one works fine with minimal shaking. I wrote to USN about this and their response is totally unsatisfactory. This is what they had to say:

Hi Dallas

Thank you for your continued support and patience during this surrounding your product query.

The retention stock of the product was pulled and taken to the labs for testing.
After extensive testing of the product, these were the findings from the QC and Product Development Department.

Please note that as per our policy at USN, we cannot replace a product that is neither expired or a defected product.

The product has been tested in the labs as well as on a number of individuals and has been found to be standards for a product of its nature. The USN Muscle Fuel was found to be up to standard, it mixed 100%, it was smooth, the taste profile was fine and there were no lumps found in the product.

As this is thus an individualised response as there have been no other complaints on the product, we can unfortunately not replace the stock.

Should you have any other enquiries, please feel free to contact me.

Regards,

USN

Now call me selective, but if I am spending over R128 on 1kg of product and that product does not perform as I expect it to, AND this is the kind of response I get from the company that manufactures it, there’s only one thing left for me to do: find another product. It’s really poor form for them to have not even bothered to take a look at my product, not the stuff they still have in their warehouse. But I guess this is the modern way of doing business. It’s not about pleasing the customer these days, it’s all about getting his or her money, regardless of how you do it.

Here’s a few pics showing the problem with the undissolved powder. Click to enlarge.

Freshly made shake after a sip Floaties