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Lean1 Vanilla Smoothie from Smoothie King

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In early fall, Smoothie King released Lean1 Smoothies with this description:

Burn body fat up to 68 percent faster with Lean1! This great-tasting, high-protein smoothie is known for fighting hunger cravings, plus it helps tone and define muscles. With 27 vitamins and minerals, it also aids in speeding recovery from workouts. Available in Chocolate, Vanilla and Strawberry.

I'm not particularly interested in burning body fat faster (one needs a little padding for winter!), but, as an aspiring endurance athlete, I am keen on expediting workout recovery.

However, after my less-than-stellar experience with the "Zen Chill" smoothie from Berripop, I was reluctant to spend five-plus dollars on a drink that might end up tasting like Satan's bathwater.

The smoothie's ingredients made me even more dubious. All contain some nebulous flavoring called "Lean 1 Vanilla/Chocolate/Strawberry."

"Fake fruit flavoring can be nasty," I thought, "and faux chocolate is just a crime against humanity. But how hard is it to screw up vanilla? Imitation extract ain't so bad."

Say what you want about this line of reasoning, but it led me to a smoothie that was Not Gross. The Lean1 Vanilla smoothie is certainly no milkshake, though its thick and somewhat gritty consistency reminded me of Health Bar Blizzards from Dairy Queen. The flavor was more of a mild (dare I say, natural) mix of banana and vanilla, which for me was far preferable to a bolder syrupy vanilla taste. The third ingredient, almonds, added dept and texture such that both a spoon and straw were necessary for consumption.

The next morning I didn't run faster but felt stronger despite some nagging sniffles and sciatic pain. Lean1 to blame? Further testing required.

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