Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Product Review: Rev3 Energy Drink

* Top Pick *   Product Information

One of my favorite USANA products is the Rev3 energy drink, which comes in two forms: a can or a powder.

There are lots of energy drinks on the market - almost all of them promise a major buzz, surge of energy, athletic performance, mental edge - so how are you going to decide between them?  Same way you decide on anything - try them all.  So, with that in mind, I have had several over the years.  Here's what I thought based on two factors most people use: taste and energy.

  • Red Bull - nasty taste - cough syrup is an antidote.  Extreme buzz - my head tingles - not in a good way.  Like drinking 8 cups of coffee - jittery.  People must drink this on a dare and then get hooked.
  • Bawls - guarana / berry flavor is tolerable.  My head tingles.  Jittery, irritable.
  • Monster - didn't like the taste, and again, the jitters were noticeable, a bit less than the others.
  • There was another blue one whose name I forget - its taste put them all to shame.  I couldn't drink enough of it to get an energy boost.  Are they all designed to taste that bad?
  • Rev3 cans - Citrus / berry / pomegranate flavor is lightly carbonated and pretty good, though it may take a few sips to adapt.  It's not designed to be sweet, but isn't as tart as grapefruit.   Energy wise, it doesn't cause me jitters unless I chug it or combine with coffee.  I get about 5 hours of steady energy boost from one 12 ounce can, measured in mental focus and physical energy - and no crash later.  From what I understand, the L-Carnitine makes a difference in muscle energy.  [Ingredients]
  • Rev3 Surge (powder) - lemon tea flavor, with an herbal component.  You control the intensity.  Too much water, and it tastes weak.  Too little water, and you'll pucker.  Read the label and you're good - 12-14 ounces of water is perfect - it tastes like lightly sweetened tea with lemon added. For the energy component, I've used these for 10 hour drives with great success.  Start driving around noon, add a Surge Pack to a bottle of water midway through, and for the last 5 hours I'm totally focused, and can still sleep fine that night.  Without that help, after about 8 hours I'm starting to fade.  Anyone who's driven 10-12 hours until nighttime knows you still want mental focus at the end of the trip. [Ingredients]  Did I mention it's 10 calories and naturally sweetened?  Yes, you read that right.  

One of the main reasons Rev3 is, in my mind, superior, is its natural, low glycemic formula.  No artificial sweeteners are needed if you use the right natural sweeteners.  Think about it - the company that makes it uses real, peer reviewed science and very expensive quality testing in its other products, so why would they cut corners on their energy drink?  The combined sources of natural caffeine have a synergistic effect, so you don't need 200 milligrams.  This has been used by professional athletes to gear up for or recover from a race.

For a winter surprise... Believe it or not, if you put either version of Rev3 in a coffee cup and heat it in a microwave for about 30 seconds, it's actually pretty good heated up.  I try not to exceed 170 degrees to avoid damaging the vitamins and other vital components, so if it's too hot to sip, it's probably too hot.

The only downside to Rev3 in cans is the shipping cost.  It adds about 80 cents per can, when shipped 2,000 miles from Utah to Alabama, so it ends up being a little more than a 16 ounce Red Bull.  I'm told there's a possible freight option for orders of 50+ cases (600 cans), so my plan is to find a few retailers in Mobile that want to stock it.  When I tell the retailers that they're authorized for the compensation plan and can make enough commissions to more than pay for the product entirely, I expect a few will be willing to stock it.

If you're a retailer who has control over what you stock, contact me and I'll be happy to send you a sample and discuss how to begin retailing Rev3.  If you know four other retailers, you can even get your product for free with the compensation plan.

If you're an individual who wants to try it or if you want a local store to stock it, email me at markjholmes@usana.com.

Visit the Product Information link at the top of this post to see a summary or to order.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Product Review: Essentials, HealthPak, MyHealthPak

* Top Picks *  [Products linked here]

Today I'll be blogging about several products, because they have a lot in common: Essentials, HealthPak, MyHealthPak.  They are what I believe to be the core nutritional products that everyone should consider taking.  They are substitutes for one another - different combinations with the same goal of comprehensive nutrition.

First, the Essentials.  Comprised of two Mega Antioxidant and Chelated Mineral tablets, taken twice a day (that's 8 pills a day), the Essentials are the core formula that Dr. Myron Wentz used in his research decades ago, and it's the formula that founded USANA - enhanced every few years.  When I first joined USANA in 1996, I was taking the Essentials, and noticed a distinct improvement in my health.  I used to tell people I was 22 going on 45.  I had low energy, depression, hair loss, all kinds of things.  The Essentials didn't magically cure me, but I felt better and my symptoms were reduced.  I actually was told by a doctor that I had the health of a sedentary man in his mid 40s, and it would take years to reverse the damage done by ten Whoppers a week (yes, I'm serious).  That was a wakeup call - I knew I had to change something, but it took years and several setbacks before I would have the epiphany to actually change my habits.  Fast forward to 2009, with glimpses of stress, moves, family crises, horrible eating habits for the first decade.

When I was looking for a solution to my personal health crisis (no, you don't get the details), I remembered my positive experience with the Essentials, but knew I needed to unleash the Kraken on the free radicals I'd allowed to take over.  Enter The HealthPak - USANA's top of the line multi-vitamin product.  It's the Essentials plus an Active Calcium and an Antioxidant Booster with Grapeseed extract, Alpha Lipolic Acid, and as much resveratrol as you'd find in 5 bottles of wine.  Read the science and research as deeply as I have, and you'll see it's truly powerful stuff - in travel-friendly packets instead of bottles. For most of the past 17 months, I've taken the HealthPak and seen a consistent improvement in a lot of health issues that I struggled with for a decade or longer. I used to feel old and weak, but not so much anymore. I used to struggle with physical energy, even to breathe at times, but it's much easier now. I know I'm on the right path.

MyHealthPak: Absolute genius.  Who says, "I want to take the world's best-quality nutritional products and customize them into travel-friendly packets, with my name and custom label?"  Whoever introduced the idea, you rock.  Whoever convinced management to invest bajillions of dollars for the equipment, you rock also.   Now, add in the special pills you can add in - higher, more cost-efficient doses like Proflavanol C200, Visionex DS, and CoQunone 100.  I've created what I call a Zombie Plague Prevention Pack with the Essentials, vitamin D, along with Hepasil DTX and Proflavanol C200 - which use the new Hybrid Nutritional Technology.  That's a whole other blog post.

With HealthPak and MyHealthPak, if a friend gets sick, I can offer to share a few packets along with the nutritional information, which is printed on the box.  The sealed packets make certain that they're avoiding contamination.  When I've shared the HealthPak, in most cases I've had the friend remark how much better they feel and how they're impressed with how fast they recovered - two days instead of a week.  As for me:  I've had one sick day in 17 months. Wait, I was sick?  Yes, I admit it.  I broke my wrist and for a month all but stopped taking my vitamins because I needed two hands to use the pill crusher.  Someone at work got the sniffles, then another, then me. One Saturday I woke up with a familar headache.  I got my wife's help to crush the Essentials, and added 2000 IU of vitamin D.  Repeat twice a day.  Sunday was rough, but I was walking around and making jokes. I took Monday off to be sure I didn't infect coworkers.  I was able to attend meetings by phone and do all of my work, which as a database administrator requires mental focus.  I have no doubt that the nutritional support was connected to my healing.*

This isn't a cure for the common cold.  There isn't a "cure" - there is, however, the immune system.  Let's use a military analogy, because, after all, the immune system is our internal version of the armed forces.  When you send troops into a battle, do you starve them, or do you feed them well and give them tools to do their highly trained job?  I once read that a Navy SEAL's training diet is over 10,000 calories a day.  I'd rather have that guy defending my country with his bare hands than a 90 pound weakling trying to lift a sword.

Give your immune system what it needs to defend you from disease.  As you can see from my experience above, if you stop getting the cold and flu for a year, you haven't cured it - your immune system is just dealing with invaders more effectively.  It's also doing a better job defending you against free radicals that turn cholesterol into arterial plaque and turn healthy cells into cancerous cells.  Cancer and heart disease are not inevitable.  You can do something about them, too - with proper nutrition.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Product Review: Nutrimeal

* Top Pick *  - [Product information link]  [Nutritional Stats Link]

For my first in the series, I'll start with a followup on my Nutrimeal experience linked here.  I've been drinking the meal replacement shakes off and on for 17 months, and my original assessment stands - it is great stuff.  Now that I'm in "maintenance mode", I've also kept off all the weight I lost - almost 30 pounds.  I've tried all the flavors in that time, and here are my thoughts:

  • Vanilla - mild, just enough flavor to notice it.  Great for (possibly designed for) blending with something else like a fruit. 
  • Wild Strawberry - "wild" does not describe intensity.  It's very mild, and like vanilla, blends well with frozen berries.
  • Chocolate - pure heaven.  I've been a chocolate addict since birth, and this tastes like Ovaltine - which might be why it masks the flavor of ground-up HealthPak.  Grape seed extract can be bitter, so it took me some experimenting to find something that works.  This does, every time.
  • Chocolate Whey - It's chocolate and good, but the whey formula kind of threw me for a loop.  I'll stick with the original formula as my first choice.
  • Cappuccino - Not my favorite.  It definitely had a coffee type flavor, but I can see why it an orange were discontinued.
  • Orange - see Cappuccino.  Tasted sort of like orange, but I don't think it hit the target.  

There are so many ways to vary coffee and orange flavors, that they'd have to focus on another company's brand recognition, like Orange Julius or Creamsicle.  The classic three flavors are doing quite well, and I'm happy to have a recipe that allows me to be creative with three base flavors.

As to effectiveness, Nutrimeal never disappoints - the taste is consistent and it's filling, with enough energy to last several hours.  Remember, when choosing a diet plan or meal replacement, you DO want enough calories to last from breakfast until lunch.  That's what they're designed for.  Artificial sweeteners are misleading; you want smart carbs, not zero carbs.  Starve the body and it goes into hibernation mode.  Get carbs too fast, and you have an insulin spike for storage as fat.

I have a regular shipment of chocolate Nutrimeal to take care of breakfast and the occasional lunch.  It's a great hurricane supply, too.  When I had to hunker down for 3 days during Katrina, I got tired of canned meat and PB&J - possibly because they weren't nutritionally complex enough.  I can live on Nutrimeal alone for 5 days if necessary.  I could probably live for 30, with most of my health, but that goes far beyond the intent of the product.

So now to answer the question : "Who needs this?"

  • Anyone looking to lose weight in a healthy way, especially someone looking at a surgical option because "diets" have failed.  Nutrimeal is not a diet.  This is a simple tool that can have a potentially life-changing effect.  For someone looking to a guided diet-style method to lose weight fast, I recommend USANA's RESET program, of which Nutrimeal is a key component.  Trust me, with RESET, you'll lose weight fast and feel a lot better about your hopes in a week.  
  • Anyone in a hurry who might otherwise choose to skip a meal, go for fast food, or grab a snack bar for lunch.  Managers, police, firefighters (though they'll need to add Soyamax for protein), students - the list is endless.  It costs about $3 per serving, less than a mocha at a coffee shop.  I dare you to find a healthy lunch in under 5 minutes for $3 anywhere.
  • Anyone with troubled blood sugar  (i.e. diabetes); note, while I am not qualified to recommend this as a treatment, I will say that it's macro- and micro- nutritionally complex, with a glycemic index of 23.  It's been used in at least one study to demonstrate the effectiveness of low-glycemic eating on metabolic syndrome, a precursor to diabetes.  Next time you go to the doctor, ask if this specific product will help - show the doctor this study and the nutrition stats.
  • Anyone at risk of losing power for 5 days at a time.  It's shelf stable for at least 18 months and a whole lot better than canned chicken.
If you know anyone that meets those criteria, email me: markjholmes@usana.com or browse my website at http://supergeek.usana.com.  If you tell me don't know anyone meeting those criteria, you're not looking hard enough. With a 30 day money back guarantee, it's worth a try.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Product Highlight Series

I thought I'd start a blog series on the various USANA products and my experiences with them.  I can't claim to be unbiased, but I will try to be fair - in a positive light.  I don't believe in focusing on the negatives, so much as finding a way to get a result or solve a problem.  In the last 17 months I've used quite a few USANA products, and I'll summarize: If I were to grade on a scale of 1-10 (10 being best), every product would get a 7 or higher, and every one is in my "would buy again" collection.  They demonstrate that the company's approach to creating a product goes far beyond sales and marketing. 

I'll add a link to each blog entry as they're created.

Products included in this series, in random order:
  • Nutrimeal - all flavors
  • SoyaMax
  • HealthPak
  • MyHealthPak customized vitamin packets, including CoQuinone 30, Ginkgo-PS
  • Essentials
  • Body Rox Active Calcium Chewable
  • Usanimals (customer experience - I'm not a kid and don't live with any)
  • BiOmega
  • OptOmega
  • Pure Rest
  • Vitamin D
  • Digestive Enzyme
  • Probiotic Plus
  • Fibergy - old and new formulas
  • Nutrition / Snack bars - various
  • Rev3 Energy Drink - Cans, Surge Pack, Super Surge Pack
  • Sensé Body Care (shampoo, conditioner, shower gel)
  • Sensé Skin Care (face/upper body: daily cleanser, toner, mask, night renewal, rice bran polisher)
Holy product testers, Batman, that's over 30 products in 17 months?  I've got some blogging to do! I'm sure I'll combine a few like products together for easy comparison.

If you have any questions about any of these, email me at markjholmes@usana.com and I'll include that information.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

New Stuff

USANA recently had their 2010 International Convention. Like every year, it was an awesome, over the top celebration of continuing success. These guys know how to party. They won a Stevie Award for Best Live Event for last year's convention. If you want to get an idea of what a convention looks like, you can find a video on the USANAHealthSciences Youtube channel.

This year, the company announced Nutritional Hybrid Technology, which allows them to combine ingredients previously incompatible in storage into a single tablet, enabling more powerful combinations. Naturally, they released some new products: Proflavanol C100 and C200 for an incredibly powerful dose of grapeseed extract and vitamin C; and a new Digestive/Detox category. This new category includes Hepasil DTX for liver health, as well as Digestive Enzyme and Fibergy Plus fiber supplement (which if you mix with orange juice, you hardly notice its presence). Dr. Myron Wentz, founder and well-respected microbiologist, recommends everyone take Hepasil because the liver is where all of the toxins are filtered out, and it's constantly getting hammered by the environment and food we eat.

Why is detox important? Everyone's heard about environmental toxins like pollution and mercury in tuna, but few consider the impact serious enough for action. For me, the worry's a bit closer. In the Gulf, we've got an epidemic of health concerns brewing and most people don't even know it. The oil “spill” (in which millions of gallons of crude oil gushed out of a well for over two months) has contaminated the sea floor and water in ways we can't measure. People in the Gulf states will be swimming in the water and eating shrimp and oysters from water that will be contaminated with cancer-causing compounds for decades. They won't realize the oxidative stress they're putting on their cells. In some cases, they may get the common cold more often or have general fatigue. In more subtle cases, they'll be oblivious for decades and one day be told they have cancer. What people forget, though, is about 70% of degenerative diseases including cancer are preventable if we take care of ourselves. Most of the people I know can't eat an ultra-healthy, tightly controlled diet every day. We need a boost from supplements to deal with the world outside our cubicles.

Some highlights about vitamin D and supplements in general:
  • Dr. Myron Wentz stated at the 2010 convention that there are over 2,500 studies showing vitamin D is an effective preventer of cancer.
  • Osteoporosis Canada has published new guidelines for vitamin D intake: 400-1000 IU/day for adults under age 50, and 800-2000 IU/day for adults over 50.
    "Supplementation is necessary to obtain adequate levels as dietary intake has minimal impact"
    Hanley DA, Cranney A, Jones G, Whiting SJ, Leslie WD, Cole DEC, Atkinson SA, Josse RG, Feldman S, Kline GA, Rosen C. Vitamin D in adult health and disease: a review and guideline statement from Osteoporosis Canada. 2010. CMAJ 10.1503/cmaj.080663, ePub ahead of print. Retrieved online 14 July 2010. [Link]
  • Participants with the highest levels of vitamin D (more than 50 nmol/L) had a 67 percent lower risk of developing Parkinson's disease than those with the lowest vitamin D levels (less than 25 nmol/L.) Knekt P, et al. Serum Vitamin D and the Risk of Parkinson Disease. 2010. Arch Neurol 67(7):808-11. [Link]
  • A team of researchers from the University of Washington report that daily use of multivitamins over a 10-year period may reduce the risk of death from heart disease by 16%. Am J Epidemiol 2009 Aug 15;170(4):472-83 [Link]
If you'd like to order any of USANA's products, or have questions, just send me an email at journey@markjholmes.com. Visit my website at http://supergeek.usana.com as well.