I was psyched.  I was pumped.  I was ready to write.  For several months now I’ve had a growing distaste for a product called “Visalus”, and for those who promote it.  And I was ready to tell the world about it – but, it’s not much fun writing a product review that’s completely biased.

Even Ryan Blair, co-founder of the company, is being coy and vague while defending himself from the onslaught of criticism for this product and the MLM marketing scheme that goes along with it.  See what he has to say here.  If my entire company and reputation were on the line, I think I’d spend more time defending the integrity of my product, and less time talking about “haters”.

The fact is, I have yet to find a single person in my vast network of friends and followers who is willing to defend this product that they are using/selling.  So instead of a balanced assessment, I only have my negative opinion to write about.  That’s no fun.

Let’s run through the basics quickly – I won’t break down each one, others have already done that for me. (That link is just one of many, I’ll be happy to send out lists if anyone is interested.)

Here are the ingredients:

In other words, it’s all artificial, largely GMO, and generally sucks.

 

The first two ingredients are highly processed soy (that’s how you get the “isolate”) and fake fiber.  In other words, this shake is essentially protein powder and Metamucil, but it’s much more expensive.  And on that note, let’s talk value.

The Facebook marketers of this product are screeching that the product is a super value, coming in at only $49.99/mo.  However, this price is only for those signing up for auto-shipments.  In addition, this is the original “sweet cream flavor”.  If you want the additional flavor packages (which, incidentally, include the hunger blockers as well), that’s going to cost you an additional $49.99/mo.

In fact, nothing is quite as it seems when you finally get to a distributor and start ordering.  Your rep told you this would be 50 bucks a month, right?  But the Body by Vi Shape Kit is $124.  The Transformation Kit is $311 and the Transformation Kit with ViPak is a whopping $410… and by the way, these price quotes are apparently the discounted rates.

Couple this with the fact that people worldwide who are using this product are starting to see negative changes in their bodies… from headaches to stomach problems to lowered HDL levels (that’s the GOOD cholesterol, folks), unstable glucose levels, and worse.  I don’t need to insert a link here – a simple Google search will give you all the material you need.

The MLM marketing scheme that Visalus (and other similar companies) use to sell their product is equally disturbing.  Income almost requires distributors to sign up sellers underneath them, lest they end up paying for product that they can’t pass on to customers.  After all, this is a meal replacement program – how long can individuals stay on this, especially at those crazy prices!  There is a lot of chatter about their “ToldUSo” program, which rewards sellers with a BMW quite soon after they reach a certain sales level.

Here’s the problem with the “ToldUSo” program:

1. “U”?  Are you kidding me? Okay, no, seriously,
2. The BMW lease is in YOUR name.  Crappy credit?  Too bad for you.
3. The $600 payment from Visalus toward your BMW LEASE is contingent upon continued sales. You fall behind, you pay the note.

#3 is particularly scary, as sellers who realize that a) their product doesn’t work and/or b) their product is dangerous can’t simply stop selling it.  They must continue to push the product and push people to sign up to sell the product, or they have to come up with a spare $600 for that BMW payment.  If you’re expecting your Visalus rep to be truthful with you about the product THINK AGAIN.  Desperation makes people do crazy things, like assure you that a meal replacement shake tastes like cake (that is, if you buy the extra flavor packets) and makes you lose weight with no hunger and no side effects.  WAKE UP. These people are as bad as heroin dealers.

What also bothers me is the marketing of this product by church leaders using lines like “God wants you to be healthy, try Visalus to lose those extra pounds!”  I’m sorry… WHAT?!  Are you actually insinuating that G-O-D wants me to drink a cake flavored shake twice a day in my vain attempts to get thin quickly instead of oh, I don’t know, eating well and exercising?

Some of my girlfriends…? They sell the craziest crap trying to make a few bucks. It’s not offensive to me when they do.  But church leadership?  Pushing shakes that they have to sell to make their BMW payment?  If these church leaders finally figure out the truth about their product, what decision will they make then?  Go bankrupt absorbing their ongoing investment in Visalus (it’s extremely difficult to cancel those auto-shipments), or lie to their congregation so they can keep the fancy car?  Hmmmmm…..

One final note: your local Visalus rep will tell you that these shakes are great for children.  I sincerely hope you all have enough sense to call that what it is – bullshit.

I’m currently reviewing research on Visalus and similar products.  I’d expected to have my review posted this weekend, but had to postpone because frankly- there is a ton of negative information out there to sift through. Weeding through all of the personal opinion and horror stories has taken a lot of time. 

In essence, this isn’t a product review as much as it is a product warning.  This stuff is being marketed by individuals as being safe, effective, and even good for children.   I don’t think any of those are true, and my aim is to put the ingredients, cost, and MLM marketing methods of these companies under a microscope.  I will try to present both sides of the story, though as of yet I can only find one statement from Visalus leadership in a bogus blog simply stating “we know there are negative reviews out there but our product rocks.”

I’ll also be examining in detail the “God wants you to get healthy by drinking Visalus” marketing ploy, something that I find to be quite disturbing, and the “Told you so” BMW myth. 

So hang in there guys… maybe by next weekend I’ll be ready to unveil. 

So I’m doing this coconut oil thing, which I started after watching a documentary that referenced it several times, and I’m now beginning to read this book about it, and have received several first hand accounts of its benefits as well. I’m not going to go into the many claims regarding coconut oil being good for everything from allergies to viruses to Alzheimer’s – this is only my limited personal experience.

No doubt, it’s scary to begin.  The oil got a bad rap in the 70s and 80s and no one has quite forgotten it.  The research about coconut oil often refers to the “saturated fat myth”, which sounds like someone hit the pipe a little too much and concocted a conspiracy theory in the midst of their fever dreams.

But if it’s true…  We now know that the food pyramid was bought and paid for by the Department of Agriculture.  They couldn’t get a scientist to endorse it until they pulled out the green.

And let’s not forget that our government told us not long ago that trans fats were safer for us than saturated fats… then we found out they’re not.  Then they said vegetable oils were safer.  But we found out those were bad, too.  (They tell us that GMOs are safe too… what will we find out about those 10 years from now?)

So the coconut oil, right.  I’ve been stirring it into my coffee and hot tea, and using it for cooking purposes for about a week.  Here’s what I’ve found:

  • Changing absolutely nothing else, I’ve lost 4 pounds.
  • I have boundless energy – almost too much energy.  I have a high energy level all day, and it’s actually a bit hard to wind down in the evenings before bed.  Actually for the first part of the day, I’m pretty much like a cracked out squirrel.
  • I concentrate better.  I don’t get distracted at work, I’m hyper-organized (even more-so than usual), and I’m virtually flying through my necessary tasks.
  • I’m in a better mood.  I went back to work yesterday after a week off, and I have yet to get stressed or agitated.  I haven’t even face-palmed myself (something I generally do between 4 and 47 times on any given day).

Maybe I’m reaching a bit here, but I’d swear I’m even more coordinated than usual.  (I haven’t run into a wall yet since adding coconut oil to my diet – something I generally do between 3 and 32 times a day.)

I’ve learned not to become too invested in potentials until at least a month has passed, but I must say… forecast looks good right now.

BOOM – coconut!

I’m shopping for a new home and a new car, and I have, perhaps slowly and over the past year or so, found a completely new outlook.  It’s a positive one.

Not to say that I was always negative before.  But certainly, I’ve grown.  Maybe it was turning 30.  Maybe it was figuring out what I wanted from my job, and getting it.  Maybe it was… simply the passing of time.  Like water in a stream, it just keeps flowing, never ceasing, changing the land around it as it flows. Slowly but surely.

New paintings, new passions, new goals, new book… It’s all so shiny.

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