As Ontario hates me in many ways it chose to spite me as soon as I complained of the lack of internet and now provides it on a regular basis – typically when I’m in the middle of my day’s ride when I don’t want to stop, of course.
Still, it works to my advantage on days like today when I actually end in a city. I’m now in Sault Ste Marie and camped out at the best bike shop in Canada – Vélorution. Not only do they have the standard sets of high end equipment, but they also have a little biking trail on their grounds, a half pipe for BMX-ers and a campground dedicated to touring cyclists, plus their name makes me smile.
Cycling for 7-8 hours a day causes a lot of stress on your body as well as burning enormous amounts of calories, especially when you’re hauling some 25 kilograms or so behind you. As a result, I’ve started paying much more attention to what I’m eating to maximize nutrition and caloric intake while minimizing volume and weight as much as possible. This has lead to a lot of dietary experimenting, including many bar and beverage-form meals. What follows is an open letter to the manufacturer of one such beverage:
To Jim McMahon, president and CEO of PVL Nutrients, or whichever of his secretaries on whom falls the unfortunate duty of reading his mail;
I am currently engaged in a trans-Canada bicycle ride, and as a consequence have put much effort into finding economical and effective means of carrying nutritious, low-volume meals, which led me to purchase a tub of your Veganique Complete Meal Replacement Powder (berry flavour.) I regretted this purchase almost immediately since as far as I’m able to tell the only truthful portions of its lable are that it is both vegan (as far as once can tell from the ingredients list) and it is undisputably a powder.
The directions on the powder keg instruct one to mix the powder with water to produce a beverage, in which form one may supposedly ingest the stuff. I cannot in good faith describe this mixture as a beverage – as far as I’m able to tell, Veganique is largely insoluble even in six times the suggested amount of water no matter whether one shakes or stirs it in, whether it’s mixed in slowly or dumped into the water all at once or whether the water it’s mixed with is hot or cold. Regardless of method, it seems, the combination of your powder with water produces only a sludge with the texture of goat vomit and a corresponding green hue.
As for “Meal Replacement,” while your nutritional information certainly claims impressive values, these assume that the content of your powder can be absorbed by one’s digestive system. As I’m not a chemist, I have no way of being certain, but I have observed that following the consumption of your ‘beverage’ my excrements are of the same consistency and colour noted above, leading me to believe that little of what was taken in actually remained with me.
Furthermore, I have a standing belief that meals should be palatable as well as nutritious, something which your product certainly is not. Your claims of “berry flavour” only hold true if there is some berry I have yet to experience which has a flavour I imagine being akin to a piece of chalk found in the drainpipes of a sewage treatment plant. I foolishly thought, based on my friends’ and my own vegetarian cooking, that ‘vegan’ was almost synonomous with ‘delicious’ – a fallacious mode of thought to be sure, but with the existance of such vegan health supplements as the ReBar, made by For Goodness Sakes, which is both delicious, vegan (if one ignores the traces of egg it may have come into contact with,) nutritious and organic. Their ingredients list includes such oddities in what is essentially a seed-bar as bokchoy, beets and cauliflower, so I imagine a lot of thought and experimentation went into the recipie in order for it to taste as good as it does – you might consider following their example and doing either (preferably both) of those. I can only assume that your Quality Assurance department, if indeed you have one, became so ill after ingesting Veganique that none of them were able to submit a proper report – if that is not the case, only gross negligence can explain the existance of your product on any store’s shelves.
In short, Veganique was so utterly repugnant to my every sense that I was forced to dispose of it as dead weight – I found that I would rather be hungry than consume it, and even my thrifty nature could not convince me to consume the stuff in an attempt to get some return on the money I spent on it. I hope that when it is incinerated the result will be less vile to the environment than its current form is to any human being with functioning senses. I understand that a refund is impossible now that I have nothing to return to you in exchange for it except this letter, but I would enjoy an apology for your having subjected me to such a miserable product. There is no means through which one could sample it before purchasing, else I expect you would see very few sales. Otherwise please do consider what you are producing in the future before any products begin shipping – it could well prevent such a miserable failure as Veganique.