Back in my college days (Alright! Waaaaaay back, sheesh), I used to frequent a smoothie/juice bar on the edge of the Berkeley campus called Fresh Blend. I was enamored of smoothies, and somehow Fresh Blend had successfully manipulated by brain into thinking that an 800 calorie sippable dessert was actually a healthy meal. *eh* It didn’t really matter back then. I had a teenage metabolism.
Happy little independent Fresh Blend was later replaced by that McSmoothiebucks, Jamba Juice, and that probably had something to do with my quiet proclamation that I would never smoothie (v.) again. That and the final realization that yes, these healthy smoothies were sweet sugar missiles exploding into speed bumps all over my aging metabolism.
But after *mumble mumble* years (I shan’t reveal how long it’s been since college!), I have finally caved in and made a visit to Jamba Juice. I had to; it was free. The front of this giant postcard was their trademark lime green and tang graphics. The back of the postcard said “free.” Is it really free? No strings?
We’d see about that.
Even though Jamba Juice is but two blocks from my house, I drove there. So what? They are two very long blocks ;) That’s gasolina, and with fuel costs rivaling the going price for soup dumplings from Din Tai Fung on the black market, well, so far, my free Jamba Juice is costing me a hefty $0.50. At least the parking’s free – but only for the first 20 minutes.
Either the manager at my local outlet has surrendered all control to the rebel teenage employees, or Jamba’s recent corporate mantra of “Get positively charged!” requires extremely energizing music because MotleyACGuns and DC was blasting at barely legal decibels. It charged me alright, but not positively. Two Excedrin to eradicate the headache from the chaos, $0.50.
Jamba Juice has quite an extensive selection of smoothies and juices, but unfortunately, if you’re not a regular, then trying to navigate a menu that’s posted on a wall 15 feet behind the counter is rather difficult. With contact lenses, you can read the names, but without a telescope to read the descriptions, you wouldn’t be able to decide between Strawberry Nirvana and Strawberries Wild. They are different, you see. Or don’t see. Trying to figure out what to order, and how the boosts fit in, and what the hell a shot of wheatgrass is, it's all enough to send me into (massage) therapy for at least three sessions. At $80 an hour, my free Jamba Juice now costs $240. I’ll give myself a discount and just go with the one massage, then. $81 total, if you’re counting. $82 if you know exactly what a Femme Boost is.
It’s really just the energy drinks I had to focus on though, since that’s what the coupon was for. Jamba’s energy schtick is that they provide with you natural sources of energy. The emphasis is on natural energy, which makes me think it conjures chi all by itself once it’s in my body, but really, the energy comes from caffeine. Correct me if I’m mistaken, isn’t caffeine natural anyway? And last I heard, coffee has caffeine. Coffee beans grow on plants, too.
A Matcha Green Tea Shot, Turbo Tropic, Matcha Green Tea Smoothie, and the Acai Supercharger. I was here for a smoothies, so I ruled out the Matcha Green Tea shot that’s mixed with soy milk. I can make that at home, for God’s sake. The superfruit, acai, contains the guarana, which supplies natural caffeine. It also contains a mild stimulant called theophylline that doesn’t sound very natural to me, it sure sounds like it could do a number on my brain. I ordered it. And then I got all kinds of crazy and asked for an Energy Boost, too. That’s B vitamins, ginseng, ginkgo biloba, rhodiola (what-the-who-di-la?) and guarana. That’s a lot of guarana.
I haven’t slept since Wednesday.
But seriously, I drank the Acai Supercharger, with soymilk, raspberry sherbet, strawberries, blueberries, and ice, at about 3:00 in the afternoon, and basically stayed awake with no trouble for 12 hours. I didn’t even feel sleepy until 3 am. Scary. A nice little relaxer to get me to sleep? Let’s just say I put five on it - $5.
The funny thing is, the Acai Supercharger, with 40 mg of caffeine, is still lower in caffeine than a single 8 ounce cup of brewed coffee, which has 135 mg of caffeine. For what it’s worth, Red Bull has 80 mg, one cup of Haagen Dazs Coffee Ice Cream has 58 mg, and a Diet Coke has 47 mg. Wait, what? Diet Coke only has 47 mg of caffeine? I feel so cheated. Incidentally, those two Excedrin taken earlier for the heavy metal migraine – 130 mg caffeine. But back to the powerful 40 mg of caffeine in the Supercharger (and just so you know, I just typed this blog entry in 54 seconds)...
Up until 3 am? I got it. Sugar rush.
Do people even realize how much sugar a smoothie contains? I don’t think they all do. Two people in front of me, the guy asked if they added sugar to the smoothies because he’s living a low-carb lifestyle. I almost fell over. Frozen yogurt has sugar. So does sherbet. Even if you take those manufactured items out, has he not ever heard of fructose? Paging Dr. Agatston. You have an ignorant patient on line two.
And all that sugar is what accounts for the whopping 570 calories in single 24 ounce Acai Supercharger. That’s more than the 510 calorie quarter pounder with cheese at my least favorite burger joint. An Acai Supercharger is a good, solid hour of 6.0 mph in my Nikes. Since I prefer not to fill my lungs with LA exhaust fumes whilst inhaling fast and deep, let’s add $39 for my monthly membership to 24 Hour Sweatness.
My Dad used to tell me a lot of things when I was little, but at 6, or even the wise, mature age of 7, I couldn’t really apply any of it to my life. I just sort of tucked those gems away in my brain, and only now do they re-surface as I “Aha! So that’s what the Captain meant about time and tide don’t wait for white elephants and gift horses!” Some of the things I’ll never understand, like I still have no clue what the Rule of 72 is (if you know, an explanation would be greatly appreciated).
But one of the things the Captain repeats even now is that there is that there
is no such thing as a free lunch. He was right. My free Jamba Juice actually cost me $125. And hatefully, I am addicted because they actually taste pretty good. So that $125 doesn’t even include all future purchases of Acai Superchargers to feed my addiction. Otherwise it’ll be another $500 for rehab.
Great. Thanks for the “freebie,” Jamba Juice.