Awake Since Wednesday – Jamba Juice Acai Supercharger

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.

Just kidding.

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.

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  • Anonymous

    You wanna talk scary? The Power size of Peanut Butter Moo’d is almost 1300 calories (1290 to be exact)!!! That’s almost the entire recommended daily caloric intake for ONE day for a small person.

    Even if you take it down a size, it’s still 880 calories. That is FRIGHTENING.

  • Xericx

    Dude, but the Peanut Butter Moo’d is AWESOME.

    A peanut butter based smoothie…our ancestors would have been proud.

  • sarah

    that really is scary. wouldn’t it just taste better to eat like 25 reese’s peanut butter cups with a glass of milk?!?! lol!

  • sarah

    oh yeah, and with all those calories, you could eat TWO quarter pounders with cheese and still have to do less time on the treadmill. lol!

  • Xericx

    But Peanuts are Healthy!!!!

  • sarah

    omg!

    lol!!

    you should get together with the guy who was in line with me asking about added sugar since he’s living the low carb life style. ;)

    peanuts are totally low carb. lol!

  • Helen (AugustusGloop)

    Hehe. Great piece Sarah. And I totally agree about the current obsession with juice. They’re all over Sydney now and driving me crazy.

    I feel like saying to these people, why don’t you just eat 6 oranges, 4 apples and half a pineapple? Oh, you mean you’d prefer to discard the fibre and suck up just the sucrose instead… that way you can preserve energy so you can consume more! Sheesh…

  • Xericx

    Its not even the juices it is as much the weird herbal drinks that are sprouting up left and right. That and the energy drinks….yuck.

    At least these smoothies taste good, which is more than I can say about Kombuchu drink.

  • David

    I get my acai berry pure at whole foods and mix it with unsweetened soy milk. It’s acquired taste, but has very little sugar and tons of stuff that’s good for you.

  • sarah

    wow! i had no idea you could actually buy acai in a market…what do they look like?

  • David

    They come in frozen packets and are already mushed into a pulp so I have no idea what the berry actually looks like. They are in the frozen fruit section and are packaged by Sambazon. They make a pure (with no ingredients added). I add this to soy milk and eat with granola or add to yogurt. The original has sugar and other stuff added and I eat these frozen kind of like popsicles. They also have another berry from the amazon that is orange that I haven’t tried. I figure it’s going to extend my life by about 10-20 years. I think it tastes kind of chocolatey, but most people I’ve had try it just hate it.

  • mipmup

    i make my own smoothies at home. anyone know how to calculate the sugar content? [i just use peach juice, frozen pineapple, frozen strawberries and frozen mangoes and add the following supplements: protein powder, lecithin, flax seed oil and floridix.] now i’m scared.

  • sarah

    mipmup – when i want to get really depressed about the fat and sugar content (lol!) of foods, i use this tool:

    http://www.ag.uiuc.edu/~food-lab/nat/

    you just type in food items, anything from simple ingredients like an apple to even things like Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, and then add the “amount,” and it will search and calculate the nutritional information for you.

  • slykobe

    It’s interesting that they use theophylline. Theophylline was commonly used for asthma and bronchospasm. It is still used today, but usually not as 1st line agents. Sarah, you are right, it is a mild stimulant and is chemically similar to caffeine. I wonder how much of it is actually in the smoothies? Too much of it can actually cause serious side effects.

  • sarah

    dr. sly – thank you for the info on theophylline! but i don’t think jamba juice puts straight theophylline in their smoothies – i believe it is a “naturally” occurring chemical in the acai berries.

    well, whatever it is, now that i know it can potentially have bad side effects, i think i am even MORE addicted – LOL (isn’t it weird how people are attracted to evil?!??!)

  • Anonymous

    the rule of 72 is compound interest.

    if you devide the interest you are getting on something, like a bank account or bond, into 72, it tell you how many years to double your money.

    i.e. 8% interest will double your investment in 9 years. . .9% in 8 years, 10% in 7.2 years, etc. etc.

  • Anonymous

    As far as addictions go, the acai berry isnt all that bad. Its actually been named the number one superfood, replacing blueberries.The acai berry contains the same antioxidant phytonutrients as blueberries, anthocyanins, except in FAR greater amounts. Blueberries have been shown to deliver 38% more anthocyanins (antioxidants) than red wine. The acai berry has been shown to be an antioxidant 33 times more powerful than red wine and 5 times more powerful than ginko biloba (which is really incredible). The antioxidants fight off the free radicals (molecules in your body that are missing an electron and damage other cells in order to gain an electron to stabalize) which are known to cause such diseases as cancer. It has amino acids, which is unheard of in fruits and vegetables in North America. It has the protein content of an egg, the essential fatty acids of olive oil and is rich in the A and B vitamins.
    It’s grown in the amazon and can range in size from a blueberry to a grape. Most companies, jamba juice included, work hard to preserve the rainforest so it poses no threat to the precious ecosystem.
    By introducing the acai berry into your system, even if you consider yourself to be a healthy person, you will definitely see the postive effects of a balanced nutrition. It increases your energy and mental clarity as well as possessing anti-aging effects.
    Just thought I’d let you know because I actually work at Jamba Juice. I was researching online to find out more about it when I came across your blog. There have been other claims made like it clears skin or increases metabolism but they dont have much scientific backing. Personally, I have the Acai Eye Opener everyday. It may seem like a better alternative for you because it’s just acai juice, soymilk, strawberries, bananas and I add blueberries. There is less refined sugar because there is no sherbert, sorbert, or frozen yogurt in it. Its not on the menu but if you ask one of the team members at jamba juice, they should be able to make it for you, no problem.
    Hope I could at least help make you feel better about your addiction because I am too and I wouldnt want to be addicted to anything else!

  • sarah

    financial anonymous: my dad will thank you.

    acai loving anonymous: i am going to go to jamaba juice and ask them for the acai eye opener AND a “white gummi bear.” i feel super special knowing all the “secret” items :)

  • Michelle

    Oh please people…I work at Jamba and I’m all about healthy eating. I usually don’t eat things that have a large amount of calories from fat or saturated fat. If you don’t want all those calories, try the enlightened smoothies. In my opinion, they are the best ones anyways. The Strawberry Nirvana in a Sixteen ounce only has 160 calories and 29 grams of sugar. And to let you know, the sugar in these smoothies are NATURAL sugar, from fruit. It’s not the same kind of sugar you intake when you eat a candy bar. That is just processed junk. I’d say about 70% of the people that come into Jamba on a daily basis live a healthy lifestyle. They order the Sixteen size after they work out at the gym. The products we use at Jamba are natural, which is a MUCH healthier alternative to Starbucks or a DQ Shake. If you want to complain, complain to McDonalds and all the greasy food joints. They are the ones making everyone fat.

  • Anonymous

    Jerryjuice

    I’m beggining to wonder how those new line of drinks called boba milk teas size up to the nutritional values of jamba juices

  • Anonymous

    the latest craze is “MonaVie” with acai and 18 other highly nutrition fruits. they use organic whole fruits, so you get the pulp, seeds, everything – therefore fiber. it’s so well designed that merely drinking 2 ounces in the morning, and 2 at night give you the nutritional value of 5+ fruits, without the over the top calories of a smoothie. i just started a blog as i learn more about MonaVie call acaihealth.blogspot.com. my energy is up, and sustained throughout the day (especially the afternoon even though my shot is in the morning), and I sleep MUCH better than I used to. they do NOT add caffeine or other stimulants – it’s pretty much the perfect food – at least it has been for me, and I’ve been drinking it for 3 months

  • Anonymous

    There’s nothing wrong with some natural sugar, and I think there’s a lot wrong with a low carb diet. Smoothies do have a lot of carbs and calories, but much less if you get them without the ice cream/yogurt/sherbet/sorbet. I love the Acai Eye Opener, which does not have a frozen sugary dairy-based filler. However, I have had trouble getting them to make it, so I order the Supercharger and have them sub out the sherbet and blueberries for bananas and more strawberries. Jamba will make your drink however you want it, so have them change it to be healthier. Also, peanut butter is very healthy, despite being high in fat, so try to include nuts in your diet. See a nutritionist if you are unsure about your diet, but don’t just avoid carbs because you heard they are bad.

  • Jamba Employee

    just so you know (and im in high school) there are 2 differnt types of sugars…glucose and fructose. the sugar that fruit have (fruit…the thing thats in smoothies)can be easily processed and used by the body as energy. so even if ur living a low-carb lifestyle you can still drink the all fruit smoothies and not have to worry about it. my friend has a disease called lupis im not sure if your familiar with this but its an auto-immune disease, he is required to eat only natural foods, he also cant eat wheat, sugar, other grains, and some specific others….but he can still enjoy an all-fruit smoothie because the natural sugar is good for his body unlike the processed stuff in things such as a big mac or other unhealthy choices. i just wanted to respond to this message and say even tho jamba has some unhealthy smoothies (i work there) most all of there smoothies are better for you than any other fast food choice…and if you care that much about it…MAKE AND GROW UR OWN FOOD!!

  • Barbwired

    I worked at Jamba and from the previous comments by employees, I completely disagree. Most of the nutrients are strained during process of being made (blending); i.e. FIBER. I got in trouble for telling a vegan customer which boosts contain shellfish extract(They’ve changed them since I worked there). The smoothies are only “healthy” if you replace it with an entire meal. The wheatgrass is not wholly healthy because you’re supposed to drink juiced wheatgrass within four days of it’s growth. The wheatgrass we held was for up to two weeks in the “cleanest store” in the Northern California region. All the fruits are frozen for god knows how long, all juice containers contained no ingredient label. The “healthy” bread options they sell are high in calories, sodium, and lack any real nutrients. This was the worst place i’ve ever worked because it’s such bullshit – total CEO making incredible amounts of money while smoothies slangers make m/w promoting a false mantra.

  • Fred

    Hi
    I am new to this type of “community” I wanted to say that I have had some serious health problems lately. So I have been reading a lot of health related stuff and there is a lot it out here on the web.

    I am a little confused about Jamba, would it be good for me or not?

    I will give that “MonaVie” drink a try it sounds good. I have found an all natural no sugar drink with Acai and it claims to be the most power antioxidant drink on the planet.

    I don’t know if it’s the most powerful or not but it taste great and makes a great smoothie. The name is “Purple” that it …. just Purple.

    Their web site is http://www.drinkpurple.com and they have free samples but I know that GNC and Whalgreens carries it.

  • the real

    perhaps when you said 72, you meant rule #62–which is “don’t take yourself too seriously.”
    let me know if you are interested in the history–i’ll be happy to email it.
    :)

  • acai berry diet

    acai berries are amazing!

  • Anonymous

    “The products we use at Jamba are natural, which is a MUCH healthier alternative to Starbucks or a DQ Shake. If you want to complain, complain to McDonalds and all the greasy food joints. They are the ones making everyone fat.”

    No, the people who choose to eat at those places are making themselves fat.

  • Weight loss

    the acai berry is a caloric drink (due the high lipase tenor), with high fiber tenor, anthocyanin and other micro-nutrients. It is considered one of the most nutritional antioxidant rich berries from the jungles of the rainforest.

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