Influenster: Slim Fast Bar, Crisps, and Shake VoxBox Review #ItsYourThing #Influenster

DSC_0749

Being part of the Influenster network, allows members to qualify for VoxBoxes. My latest one arrived in late December, which featured an array of Slim Fast branded products. Being the new year we all want to lose weight or at the very least get rid of that holiday poundage brought on by cookies and treats. I gained 6 pounds in the last week of December because I behaved from Thanksgiving to Christmas but once Santa came, he brought treats, candy, chocolates (I’m surprised I did not consume the stocking) and it seems I ate them all between Christmas and New Year’s Eve!

DSC_0750

I’m pretty good at restricting myself and believe with all the advancements in food today, that leaving food as it is, meaning less to zero processing allows us to eat pretty much anything (with portion control) and not suffer the consequences. I eat my weight in salads and I’m not even a fan of most dressings, as I think they tend to drown the freshness out of the produce as it is. I love avocados and find them to be nature’s dressing. They are creamy and never ruin a salad like a fake creamy dressing can. I have those days though where I am in a snacking mood or just running short on time, so I pick the brands I trust carefully. I look for meal replacement or snack products that are not full of fake sweeteners or loaded with sodium. Finding real ingredients is “my thing”, so let’s see how the Slim Fast VoxBox did.

The Slim Fast VoxBox included:

  • SlimFast® Advanced Ready to Drink Shake in Vanilla flavor
  • SlimFast® Advanced Nutrition 100 Calorie Snacks in Sour Cream & Onion Baked Crisps flavor
  • SlimFast® Advanced Nutrition Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Meal Replacement Bars
  • SlimFast® Advanced Nutrition 100 Calorie Snacks Drizzled Crisps in Cinnamon Bun Swirl flavor

 

DSC_0752
First, I tried the items that were easy to munch on and that was the Sour Cream and Onion Baked Crisps to satisfy the salty urges and for the sweet cravings, I tried the Drizzled Crisps in Cinnamon Bun Swirl. First thing I noticed with both bagged products, was the large amount of “dustings” in the bag. I call that the powdery and broken up bits in a bag that barely resemble the whole product you see pictured in the front of the bag. Like the posters for drive-thru burgers, my product did not resemble the picture on the bag. The Sour Cream and Onion crisps had the higher amount of “dustings” that I wondered if I should just use the contents as a batter coating! I taste a pinch-full of what these crisps use to be and the flavor and texture resemble closely to those chips that come in a canister….but more broken up. The odd part was when you ate the product, it tasted good enough to satisfy a chip craving but when you drank water, you had an odd aftertaste that lingered. The taste was not like potato or the sour cream and onion coating, think more milk solids or dry milk and it was what it tasted closely too. Each bag is 100 calories and states it comes with 18 to 20 crisps. I am not kidding when if I say I got 4 whole ones and that is counting the ones that were 3/4 whole. The breakage takes away from the enjoyment and if you get past that, the aftertaste did me in. I did not finish the bag but I figured that means I consumed less calories!

 

DSC_0751

Next, came the Cinnamon Bun Swirl crisps. These were a little more in one piece but the drizzle on top was mostly on the bottom of the bag. The sweetness is not overwhelming and the cinnamon had a nice balance to it. Again, the odd aftertaste was present but you could overlook this one more. The crisps had a pleasant crunch and like some products on the market, these did not leave you with a cotton mouth after you ate them. I could actually see myself picking up a bag if a sweet craving hits me that is overwhelming because a bag is just 100 calories for 20 to 22 crisps. These were also 30% whole in the bag!

 

DSC_0753

SlimFast’s Ready to drink shake that comes in an easy to go bottle. The bottle idea I like because sometimes messing with powder and a scoop can be a pain, but I usually take a bottle water (or almond milk) and just scoop into a shaker bottle when I am on the go. I then combine the ingredients (wet/dry) when I am ready to consume them, so this way I don’t end up with chocolate powder that found it’s way out of a plastic baggy and went poof in my purse! I made sure to try the drink cold from the fridge and upon opening the bottle, the Vanilla scent is not very Vanilla like. I take a sip and the drink is about 4 out of ten when it comes to overall taste and flavor. I have had much better and this drink had an odd thickness to it. I made sure to shake it just in case and the thickness left a film in my mouth that was not very vanilla or real milk tasting, or even a nut milk flavor! It took away from the enjoyment and even with time, I could not get use to it. Being able to get 20 grams of protein on the go is a plus, but when I priced it out, weighed in the flavor/texture and the ingredients, I would still opt for a premium powder mix that is usually higher in protein. I did fix the flavor by adding part of a scoop of powdered Peanut Butter and Chocolate, and that is when I noticed that my PB and Chocolate powder had a better quality of chocolate and real flavor than what the Slim Fast drink.  I then felt I wasted a scoop of the “good stuff” on trying to make the not so good stuff better! I also noticed there is natural and artificial flavors but no where but the title of the drink says Vanilla.  It’s called Vanilla Creme but nowhere is Vanilla listed! I then stopped looking at the ingredients because they made my tummy rumble more.  😦

 

DSC_0754

Last but not least, the bar in Dark Chocolate and Sea salt. This is a meal replacement bar and has 10 grams of protein and 200 calories.  Ninety of those calories come from fat and the protein derives from Soy, not Whey. I look at the list and there are so many other bars on the market with better core ingredients and even protein impact, and with less fat! This bar is super sweet and off in taste, plus costs more than the better bars. The Dark Chocolate has a waxy texture and is of poor quality. I did not go past the one bite because my calories and fat matters. The bar is filled with syrups derived from everything from brown rice, tapioca and simple cane. They added Inulin as a source of fiber, plus Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil to hold it all together. Let me add the above comes before the Cocoa itself and Oats was still listed before the chocolate! They might as well called the flavored Sweet Oats-y. The only positive is that it has Almonds as a first ingredients but I felt they were ruined by the rest!

DSC_0755

 

Final Verdict:

I love the VoxBoxes and Influenster!  I am not so in love with Slim Fast.  I think back and they are a company that his been around a long time but I feel they are always playing catch up and still stuck in the motto of “portion control baggies”.  Most people that are serious about losing weight and/or managing their weight, can portion out an individual serving.  They sell containers to baggies to help you out that serve as a carrying vessel and probably keep the products in more decent shape.  You can use a scale or like I do, I still use a scale but I test myself first to see if I can visually guess-estimate on my own and then verify with the scale.  I notice I usually serve myself a little under the 1 serving a packaging lists.  I can do math, so I don’t need someone doing it for me.  Next, the ingredients used are “old school” but not in a good way.  Cheap sugars, bad oils, artificial flavors and dyes, and poor protein sources is not what I call healthy eating.  Yes, you get less calories but that is barely the entire picture when eating well.  You need good fats, a good source of protein and more to stay energized.  Yes, the Slim Fast products come with vitamins and minerals but again a multi-vitamin can do that for you if that is what you desire!  I looked at the products as a whole and asked myself is this a balanced diet?  Slim Fast does not state just eat our food solely but the 1 meal or 2 real meals you add in a day should not make-up for everything you did not get.  I want energy and I’m not even asking for a boost of it from products, just keep me going in the day.  If I started with a shake, ate a bar for lunch (maybe 1 or 2 crisp snacks) and then ate dinner…..well, when my body is suppose to be winding down is when my body got the better fuel.  Yeah, that did not sit well with me!  Then I saw the price points because convenience comes at a price and Slim Fast was more expensive than the “golden dietary products” on the market.  Um, I’m paying more to eat less better is what entered my head.  Yeah, I prefer paying the bills Santa brought and managing my weight with other products than paying for products that are sub-par both in how they were made and how they came out of a bag!

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Slim Fast and Influenster.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

Kabrita: Goat Milk Yogurt in Mixed Berry, Mango Peach and Banana with Vanilla Bean Review

IMAG2960

When I was accepted to review the Kabrita Yogurt, I had no idea what to expect. I have eaten goat milk based products from cheeses to yogurts, however I was unfamiliar with the brand and their products. A few weeks pass and I receive an enormous boxed filled with goodies to share. The surprising part, was that the product does not require refrigeration, so again this was a new experience for us.

Kabrita USA (Canadian based) is a new company to the North America region and began launching their products in 2014. They are also the first to create and distribute Goat Milk formula and later expanded into making other products. The founders seek to provide non-GMO products and the best quality in ingredients, so they teamed up with a Dutch based company (Hyproca Nutrition B.V.) that has been in the nutrition business for over 70 years! This created Kabrita USA and a wider distribution network that targets people like us who seek a different (higher) level of nutrition. I’m always seeking to expand what I eat and share, so this is a perfect fit for me.

Kabrita has 3 different yogurts that require zero refrigeration to remain stable, however made with zero preservatives. Once you open the container, you should consume the product within 24 hours. Yup, it’s this natural!

Retail Price Point: $1.79 per pouch or you can purchase a box for $9.99, which contains 6 pouches. Some flavors come in 12-packs for $19.99 too.

IMAG2962-1

Mixed Berry:

The Mixed Berry Flavor was the overall favorite. You get that tang that yogurt has but that goat milk tends to intensify too. The sweetness of the berries make a perfect combination! The product is creamy and you don’t get a lot of the pear and apple notes, but you do first taste a burst of raspberries (you can even see the seeds in the puree). The pear and apple tend to just help deliver more sweetness, so even though that puree is listed first, you are not cheated in the final product because you do taste berries and lots of them.

IMAG2961

Ingredients (as listed on the website): WHOLE GOAT YOGURT (CULTURED PASTEURIZED WHOLE GOAT MILK), PEAR PUREE, ORGANIC APPLE PUREE CONCENTRATE, RASPBERRY PUREE, BLUEBERRY PUREE,STRAWBERRY PUREE, CHICORY ROOT EXTRACT (FIBER), ACAI JUICE, ACEROLA CHERRY PUREE (VITAMIN C), PECTIN,ORGANIC LEMON JUICE CONCENTRATE, MIXED TOCOPHEROLS (VITAMIN E), VITAMIN D3.

IMAG2964-1

Mango Peach:

This yogurt starts with Mango as the first ingredient in the puree and you indeed taste Mango! The peach is so subtle that it may just help create a better final texture of the product (smoothness) but no one was able to pick up the actual peach flavors because it was all Mango that could be picked up. You again have the apple and pear concentrate to sweeten the product and even Cherry puree but you would not know unless you flipped the package to see. Yes, that is how Mango-y this one is. I also felt the sweetness of all the other ingredients tended to overwhelm my palette and the goat milk base just did not seem to pair up as well. We opened other pouches from other boxes to compare differences (they all tasted a like) but this was voted as least favorite.

IMAG2963

Ingredients (as listed on the website): WHOLE GOAT YOGURT (CULTURED PASTEURIZED WHOLE GOAT MILK), PEAR PUREE, MANGO PUREE, ORGANIC APPLE PUREE CONCENTRATE, PEACH PUREE, CHICORY ROOT EXTRACT (FIBER), ACEROLA CHERRY PUREE (VITAMIN C),PECTIN, ORGANIC LEMON JUICE CONCENTRATE, MIXED TOCOPHEROLS (VITAMIN E), VITAMIN D3.

IMAG0002-1 (1)

Banana with Vanilla Bean:
This was a hit and we expected this one to be rated number one but after you have the Mixed Berry, this one was rated two. The banana is so creamy and goes perfectly with the goat milk and the tang tends to be more present, as the banana is not as sweet (not over ripe in taste). This may be from the lemon added to probably keep the color of the product appealing but that natural citrus acid really aids in keeping the banana neutral enough that you can still enjoy the milk’s flavor.

IMAG2965

Ingredients (as listed on the website): ORGANIC BANANA PUREE, WHOLE GOAT YOGURT (CULTURED PASTEURIZED WHOLE GOAT MILK), PEAR PUREE,CHICORY ROOT EXTRACT (FIBER), ACEROLA CHERRY PUREE (VITAMIN C), MADAGASCAR VANILLA BEAN, PECTIN,ORGANIC LEMON JUICE CONCENTRATE, MIXED TOCOPHEROLS (VITAMIN E), VITAMIN D3.

I have always been high on goat’s milk and even sheep’s milk. I just love the products they are used in and I find the flavors more appealing. Yogurts start blending in flavors and taste, with so many flooding the market today. You have Icelandic ones (i.e. Siggi) that are almost like a treat because they are so thick in texture and low in sugars. Noosa, an Australian style one is my go-to because the flavors are unique (i.e. Strawberry Rhubarb) and it’s light enough to enjoy in the morning but thick enough to bake with! All are made with cow’s milk as a base and that is not bad but when you have the same base, it takes a lot for the product to be made all it’s own and stand out. Kabrita stands out with goat milk and it’s not like anything you have every tasted. The benefits of this dairy product, is that goat milk enzymes are easier to digest and softer on the stomach. This is what makes the product great for toddlers to adults! You also don’t get cheated in the nutritional value and who doesn’t want to eat differently now and then? Kabrita filled that niche where a new base brings new flavors and shakes the yogurt boredom wide awake!

Connect with Kabrita USA and their products at:

 

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Kabrita USA.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Swaggable: The Honest Kitchen FORCE Dehydrated Dog Food

DSCN4021

Our mutt is the type of dog that finds the cheapest toys the most fun to play with but when it comes to food, she is offended by the oddest of things. Actually gives me that face questioning if I am serious about her eating something she is particularly not fond of (at that second) and then comes the waiting game. I try to wait until she eats it and she waits until something else (better) is served. I have seen this dog eat a Flaming Hot Cheeto (extra hot edition), so she does not convince me she has some kind of “refined” palette after she ate that! I also find her liking raw carrots one day and not the next, so this is her plan to drive me crazy. I don’t appreciate how she acted like they were radiated and left me a exploded carrot by her dish as a sign of protest!

In comes Force, a dehydrated whole foods product by The Honest Kitchen. First thing that catches me eye, it states “Human Grade” on the package. Okay, I’m not even sure everything I eat is such a grade so this definitely is the dog one upping me! The flavor sounds more like a dish you order, Free-Range Chicken with Vegetables and Fruit (grain-free). Makes my all-beef hot dog I had for dinner not so special now, even though I opted for spicy brown mustard 🙂 You have other details like a Guaranteed Analysis disclosure, which let’s you know the crude protein, fat, fiber to even caloric count. The food is made in an FDA inspected facility! So, this is all good but does the Cheeto Bandit approve?

DSCN4022

Simple Preparation:
I added Organic Low-Sodium beef broth I had left over from making stuffing to the dehydrated food. Think instant oatmeal for dogs when preparing this dish for your pet. The food actually smells like chicken and contains potatoes, celery, sweet potato, apples, organic alfalfa to even organic flax seed and herbs like basil and rosemary. You mix the package with 1/3 of a cup of warm water (foo-foo broth in my case), wait about 5 minutes and serve. The food absorbs the liquid and you do not even need to stir, so no need to walk in with the “dog’s spoon” that must be put in the dishwasher ASAP.

Mutt Approved:
I did the above and served it. The pooch inspected and sniffed and then wagged. If she wags while eating and looks back but continues eating, that means it’s a “Yay”. If she sniffs, looks back and then comes over and looks at your hands to see if you got anything else to offer the Dog Goddess, it’s a “Nay”. The goddess approved and I did not get my paws checked for other offerings. She ate it all and cleaned her bowl better than my dishwasher cleans that last glass in the corner!

DSCN3368

I thought the idea of making my own wet food for my dog would be……well, icky but this is not only a Honest Kitchen product but a clean one. It’s simple and easier than making a cup of soup in the microwave, and that means no microwave is needed and no mixing required. She loved it and the ingredients are remarkable. Force loves their furry consumers more than some companies like us humans! You can also opt to serve the product alone or as a topper for their kibble, so you can skip on adding any liquid. I also like that 10 pounds of Force food makes 40 pounds of fresh food! Force products are also GMO free, Gluten free and produced in the USA by a family owned and operated business.

Connect with Force at:

DSCN4023

I received the above product from Swaggable and Force, free of charge. I am not obligated in providing positive/favorable feedback, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the brand and/or it’s products, which may differ from yours.

%d bloggers like this: