Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hiatus: 10/2012

I know that I said on the Twitter feed last week that I would be posting a double review today, but this past week ended up being a lot busier than I thought. I have begun to look into graduate schools again, and in conjunction with a few other projects that I have going on on the side, that is taking up a good bit of my time right now. As I'm sure that I don't really need to emphasize, my grad school search is a very important thing that needs to have most of my attention and energy, and I think that it would best if I suspended as many distractions as possible for the time being. Weekends are really the best time for me to get a lot of school searching done, and having a big review to do right in the middle of everything just eats up more time than I can afford to spend right now.

So, starting today, Drinkable Review will be going on hiatus for the month of October. I need to really get myself focused back on my education, and although I don't necessarily want to stop posting here, I think that I need to take a bit of a break from non-school things and really get my business together over the next several weeks. I will, however, continue to post on Twitter (hopefully with increased frequency to compensate somewhat for the lack of reviews), so if you do follow Drinkable Review on Twitter, keep an eye out for new posts and thoughts about what I'm currently drinking.

Anyway, thank you all in advance for your understanding while I get my school situation worked out, and I look forward to returning to my regular schedule in a month or so. I wish everyone peace and good health in the meantime.

- Hayden

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Uvé Gourmet Weight Loss Beverage

It is not often that I review anything having to do with weight loss. In fact, I think that today marks the first time that I have reviewed any drink that has weight loss as its primary function, so I am glad to say that I will be starting off with a good one. Uvé (pronounced oo-vāy) is a gourmet weight loss beverage that capitalizes on a relatively new weight loss supplement by the scientific name of irvingia gabonensis.

More commonly referred in its commercially available dietary supplement form of Welltrim®iG (or IGOB131®), irvingia gabonensis is an all-natural weight loss supplement that is derived from the fruit of an African tree of the same name. The fruit is a specific type of mango native to certain regions in Africa, and it has been shown in small, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies to result in greater weight loss in human test subjects. I, of course, say "greater" to imply that irvingia gabonensis has not been shown to cause weight loss, as no nutritional supplement truly causes healthy weight loss without additional physical and dietary contribution from the user. When consuming 150mg of irvingia gabonensis twice daily, test subjects demonstrated an increased rate of weight loss over those who were given the control placebo. Although the tests performed so far have been small, and larger tests must be performed before the effects can be considered fully conclusive, the results shown in the limited tests have been promising so far.

Uve gourmet weight loss beverage contains one of the two daily servings of Weltrim®iG (150mg per 12 fl. oz. bottle) needed to fully "activate" the benefits. But this is only one of the ingredients in Uve's weight loss concoction. In addition to each serving of Welltrim®iG, Lifestyle Brands has also thrown into the mix a healthy dose of Capros® Indian gooseberry extract (a patented superfruit antioxidant supplement), ChromeMate® (a supplement that controls blood-sugar levels and helps metabolize fats and carbohydrates), and L-Carnitine (aids in the breakdown of fatty lipids to generate energy) to further aid in the weight loss process. Lifestyle Brands recommends that you drink one bottle of Uvé twice daily for optimum results. Since weight loss takes time and I was only sent three bottles of Uvé, I cannot speak directly to the drink's efficacy, but I can say that I have a hard time imagining this not helping someone with an already proactive attitutude towards weight loss and exercise.

That of which I can speak, however, is the taste. Uvé has done a pretty good job of following through on the "gourmet" side of "gourmet weight loss." Each of the three flavors of Uvé that I was sent was tasty and flavorful in its own right, although in very different ways. The black cherry lemonade was light and crisp like an icy popsicle. The apple pomegranate was an interesting flavor combination that encouraged me to finish the entire bottle rather quickly, despite being just a bit on the syrupy side. And finally, the vaguely titled "superfruit" flavor was fruity and refreshing without being overladen with the typical tart flavor of most common superfruits. Uvé contains only all-natural flavors and sweeteners (a mixture of crystalline fructose and stevia), which keeps the drink low-calorie and non-threatening to your diet. Each of the three flavors made me feel like this is a dietary aid that you will actually enjoy drinking on a regular basis, which is more than can be said for a lot of nutritional supplements.

As I have said, I can not attest directly to Uvé's weight loss functionality, which I suppose is a bit of a shame given the drink's focus on its functionality. Regardless, I do feel comfortable in recommending it to those who are looking for an enjoyable weight loss beverage. It manages to carry a large quantity of [mostly] proven weight loss aids while still tasting great, and if you are in the market for a new and encouraging way to get your daily diet supplements, Uvé is undoubtedly worth a closer look.

Verdict: Recommended

Samples sent courtesy of Lifestyle Brands International

To learn more about Uvé, visit the website at
Or follow Uvé on Facebook or Twitter

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Victoria's Kitchen Almond Water

This is a drink that - although I am ashamed to admit it - I was ready to dislike when I bought it. When I found it on the shelf at World Market, my immediate reaction was to remember my overwhelmingly negative experience so far with coconut water, and foolishly assume for no particular reason that almond water would be similar. I subsequently tried to ignore the drink at first, while at the same time knowing that my always pervasive curiosity would not allow me to leave the store without one. As expected, I did end up purchasing a Victoria's Kitchen Almond Water, and I could not be more happy to say that my hesitation was completely unwarranted.

Thankfully, almond water bears no resemblance at all to the salty strangeness of coconut water. Rather, it is quite the opposite. Victoria's Kitchen Almond Water is made from a minimal amount of all natural ingredients: water, pure cane sugar, natural almond flavor, citric acid, and - according to the label - a lot of love. This simpleness is reflected in the drink's taste, as the very natural almond flavor assumes the forefront of the taste with the same gentle mildness that is so common of most almond-based things. The taste is mild and easy and is sweetened just enough to give the drink a very inviting, "always appropriate" appeal. Even those who are not necessarily fans of almond would do well to give this one a try, as the flavor is so pleasant and unoffensive that I have a difficult time imagining anyone actually disliking this drink.

I wish that there was more to say about Victoria's Kitchen Almond Water, but as a testament to the drink's simplicity, there really isn't. It is just very good. It's light, extremely refreshing, and gets its point across without being overbearing, both in flavor and marketing. There are no unproven health benefits touted on the bottle, and Victoria's Kitchen does not act like the drink will change your life in some dramatic manner like many all-natural beverage companies tend to do. The drink is simply allowed to be what it is: a deliciously unique almond beverage that you really should try at your earliest convenience.

Verdict: Highly recommended

Purchased: World Market [Greenville, SC]
Size: 16 fl. oz. [473mL]
Price Paid: $2.49

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Quick Update

I have been thinking about my update schedule recently, and I have come to the conclusion that updating on Sundays would make a lot more sense for me. That way, I'll have Saturday to finish putting all of the finishing touches on each week's review, rather than trying to squeeze everything in between work days.

As always, thank you again for your continued understanding.

Have a great week, and I will see you here at the end of the weekend with a new review.

- Hayden

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Relax & Sleep

To stick with the same tune of my last post, I have another functional beverage to review today. The gentlemen over at Better Life Beverages have been kind enough to send me several samples of their new relaxation shot: Relax & Sleep. And, as before, I was excited to see if this one would work. After several uses of Relax & Sleep, I think that I can say with confidence that it does.

Although Relax & Sleep is "another" relaxation shot in a rapidly increasing market of anti-energy drinks and non-prescription sleep aid beverages, Better Life Beverages has decided to take a slightly different approach than much of the competition. Rather than utilizing directly neuroactive ingredients such as melatonin and 5-HTP (two ingredients commonly used in these sorts of supplements), Relax & Sleep only contains plant ingredients in its proprietary relaxation formula. Each 4640mg serving  (2 servings per bottle) contains a truly impressive amount of botanical ingredients, several of which include organic violet leaves, English lavender flowers, and organic passion flower leaf. In addition to the completely botanical relaxation tonic, the drink is sweetened with all-natural vegetable glycerin, which, until Relax & Sleep, I had never even heard of before (as a sweetener, at least).

The theme behind Relax & Sleep is clear: all-natural botanical ingredients with as few man-made production processes as possible. I am not one to shy away from the occasional artificial or pharmaceutical ingredient, and in a lot cases I actively support them, but I still always like to see companies that focus heavily on the natural side of things. Balance is key in health and nutrition, and this is an attitude that Better Life Beverages quietly promotes with Relax & Sleep. Rather than denigrating the ingredients lists of the competition and implying that they are "wrong" somehow, Relax & Sleep simply presents itself as what it is: an organic, botanical alternative to the melatonin-laced relaxation shots offered by many other companies. Better Life Beverages also bolsters their peaceful image as a reasonable and legitimate company by offering a solid reasoning behind their formula, rather than relying on the "artificial ingredient panic" that other natural food and beverage companies often try to incite in uninformed consumers when promoting their beverage against similar products.

The primary drive behind Relax & Sleep's formula is to avoid the use of melatonin. Melatonin, as I have mentioned before, is a naturally occurring chemical hormone that is found in most forms of life on earth. In humans, melatonin acts primary as part of the system which regulates the body's sleep-wake cycle. As more melatonin receptors are activated over the course of the day, drowsiness sets in and body temperature is gradually lowered until the central nervous system finally gets the hint and issues the sleep imperative. What melatonin-centric pills and beverages do is temporarily add extra melatonin into the system to activate the appropriate receptors more quickly and therefore provoke the sleep response faster.

While taking melatonin will indeed help the average user go to sleep faster, it does - like most truly effective medicines - have a down side. Because of the excess melatonin in the system, it can take the body longer to "use up" the extra hormones during sleep, often leaving the sleeper feeling groggy and unprepared upon waking, especially if he or she does not sleep long enough. What Relax & Sleep promotes through their plant-based formula, therefore, is a truly restful and peaceful sleep aid. The ingredients are all geared toward soothing the body and promoting rest and relaxation without directly increasing hormone levels in the nervous system. And from what I have experienced of the drink so far, it works very well.

The directions for taking Relax & Sleep as a sleep aid (it can also be taken to promote general calmness or to simply unwind after a long day if so desired) are similar to other drinks of its type: take the shot about 30 minutes before you intend to sleep, and then actually do try to go to sleep when that time rolls around. Learning from previous mistakes with other relaxation shots, I decided to make a point to always follow Relax & Sleep's directions, and each time it has worked like a charm. Although it does not help me feel tired like other drinks have in the past, I was able to go to sleep at the recommended time after each shot, and each time I woke up feeling well-rested and surprisingly ready to get out of bed. This is a rare feeling for me - one that I have experienced of my body's own accord only a few memorable times over the past several years - and as such I feel very comfortable with attributing the results to the drink.

To be honest, I am actually a bit surprised that Relax & Sleep worked for me as well as it did. I have an annoyingly strong neurological resistance to "consciousness-altering" beverages, and as a result most energy and anti-energy drinks that rely on anything less than prescription-grade ingredients (which is effectively all of them) tend to have very little noticeable effect on me. While I was excited to see that Relax & Sleep relied entirely on botanical ingredients, I was worried that it was simply going to have no effect on me and I was going to be left with very little to say about it. This was clearly not the case, however, and I am happy to report that Better Life Beverages has really gotten their formula right. The flavor of the shot does leave something to be desired (it's a sort of odd - not bad, just odd - creamy lemon flavor), and I'm not sure that I'm entirely sold on vegetable glycerin as a sweetener, but for a two-ounce shot this is a very small complaint, especially in light of all the positives.

Overall, I would definitely recommend Relax & Sleep. It may not actually make you tired, so if you have trouble predicting when you will be ready to go to sleep at night, it may be a bit easy to waste these by drinking them too early and then staying awake past the window of optimal effectiveness. But with a bit of thinking ahead (or maybe just a more regular sleep schedule), Relax & Sleep really will help you have a better night.

Verdict: Recommended

Samples sent courtesy of Better Life Beverages

For more information about Relax & Sleep, visit the website
Or follow Relax & Sleep on Facebook or Twitter