Drink to Health: Zero Gravity Nutrition
Shakes and teas in new Millcreek beverage shop offer nutritious meal replacements with great taste
I kept an open mind while visiting Zero Gravity Nutrition for the first time. The new shake and tea shop in Millcreek serves up health and I'm more of a "tons of sugar and butter and fat" consumer. I entered the healthy establishment at noon on a Friday. There were customers already enjoying beverages with a steady stream of post-gym dwellers quickly entering and exiting with to-go drinks. A friendly girl working the counter greeted me, asking if this was my first time visiting. I said yes and introduced myself, and then owner Tia Carlos took over. Carlos explained the premise of Zero Gravity Nutrition — to offer a positive environment and nutritious community where visitors can consume Herbalife products in an individual size. They sell a three-part drink system of shakes (there are tons of flavors), teas, and aloe. The shakes replace meals and are generally less than 250 calories each. The tea is the next step and is said to burn 80-100 calories while also providing an energy boost. Finally, the aloe shot promotes digestion and aids nutrient absorption. Nutrition and energy aside, I wanted to get down to the taste.
First, I was presented with the Caramel Frappe shake. Each sip registered in my brain as, "This is a Starbucks Frappuccino." So if you're down with Frappuccinos I would definitely recommend. Being less than 250 calories, it certainly saves calories over a Starbucks treat and I assume it's a much better meal replacement. Plus, there's no caffeine. For your caffeine fix try the tea that is the next step of the system. I didn't try the tea because I'm pregnant and avoiding caffeine but I plan on trying the tea, which can be iced or hot, as soon as I re-introduce caffeine into my repertoire.
My second shake underwhelmed despite being called Birthday Cake. It kind of tasted like if you made a cake and accidentally rinsed the batter bowl before you were done licking it, and then decided to eat the rinsed batter anyway. Watered-down cake batter taste aside, the shake contained crunchy parts, sported a light purple hue, and was topped off with sprinkles. So, just like making a cake at home and posting it for all your fans and haters, drink this one for the 'gram and post a #nofilter pic to show off that you and your drink are fit and pretty.
Next, I consumed the Banana Caramel Shake. This meal replacer had an overall pleasing flavor. In my short experience with Zero Gravity's flavors, shakes containing caramel were taste winners. On top of the caramel deliciousness, the banana flavor tasted genuine and not like a fake candy banana (no offense, Runts and banana popsicles). The caramel, banana, and finely chopped ice perfectly complemented each other, achieving an overall desirable consistency.
For my digestive health, I sampled a shot of Mandarin Aloe. Typically, the aloe shot would be added in the tea, but since I wasn't having the tea, I tried the aloe solo. I remembered one time I thought I'd be healthy and tried an aloe drink from a fancy grocery store. It was foul. Carlos could sense my hesitation and said, "You don't have to drink that." I declared, "No, I need to." I pumped myself up, convincing my brain that with all of my TMI-to-share pregnancy digestive issues I've been experiencing, anything that might improve digestion was worth trying. I downed the clear and slightly thicker than water shot. It was not gross AT ALL. It was basically flavored water. I couldn't say for sure if I was experiencing a miracle from heaven or if the aloe juice/smoothie combo truly settled well with my pregnant belly but I didn't feel my usual heartburn/acid reflux after consuming. In other words, I was sold. (Side note: I returned later to Zero Gravity and had another aloe shot and shake with the same results — no acid reflux or heartburn. Dream come true for my worn-out pregnant body.)
Before I left, I received one last shake. "This is the Beefcake Shake," Carlos proclaimed. I felt my face contort from the name. It was brown and all I could think of was roast beef ground up with milk and ice. She quickly explained the shake contained oats, pb2 (powdered peanut butter), and three types of chocolate. My brow stopped sweating and I took a sip. This shake trumped the others in flavor and contained more protein than the others I tried. Again, the flavors were a compliment to each other without overwhelming or tasting artificial. The oats improved the overall texture adding thickness and substance. I thanked Carlos for providing me with lunch and left the store feeling happy.
I would definitely recommend trying out Zero Gravity Nutrition — the prices are equal to a Starbucks drink but add the value of nutrition, the super-friendly customer service, and the fact that everything I drank settled nicely with my extra sensitive acid reflux and we've got a winner. Plus, if you have to eat, it tastes pretty good for something that has about ¼ of the calories of a single donut. Visit them at 4447 West Ridge Road in Millcreek Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Marie Turko is no stranger to sweet, less health-conscious treats. Find her further journeys online at donut-diaries.com