Woohoo! I've discovered how to add a few little tick boxes at the bottom of each post, to enable readers to record their reactions. Do please use them. I think I've identified the four most likely responses ...

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

A bit about Ambronite

You will recall that I was impressed by how polite Valerie Vlasenko, from Ambronite, had been when she asked me if I'd like to trial their product; and that I said yes I would - but it didn't arrive in time for me to take it to Scotland with me on my October expedition (see "Another Interesting e-mail exchange"). It did, however, arrive shortly after I got back; and I promised to do a short write-up.

What I received was a box containing a large green translucent plastic flask, with a screw top and a drinking cap, and ten sachets of "Ambronite" - described variously as a "Drinkable Supermeal" and a "Nutritional Shake Mix". The sachets are a rather stunning green colour. Each weighs 4.2 oz (120g), and has a fairly short shelf life (these samples arrived in October 2015, and have a Best Before date of 31/05/2016). The instructions couldn't be simpler: 1. Add cold water (550ml / 18.5 fl oz) 2. Add Ambronite 3. Shake 4. Get refueled. There are diagrams for those who cannot follow such straightforward instructions without. They are, perhaps, a little superfluous (although not as superfluous as the pictorial instructions you sometimes see on hot air hand dryers in public facilities ... )

So what do you get in your sachet? According to the "Nutrition Facts" on the back of the sachet, each sachet is a serving, and contains:

500 Calories (of which 160 from fat)
18g fat (28% of daily value, based on a 2,000 calorie diet) - being 2g saturated fat (10%), 9g polyunsaturated fat and 7g monounsaturated fat
no cholesterol
1180 mg Potassium (34% )
330mg Sodium (14%)
54g total carbohydrate (18%0 including 13g dietary fibre (52%) and 5g of sugars
30g of protein (60%)

There is then a long list of vitamins and minerals: Vitamin A (25%), Vitamin C (80%), Calcium (25%), Iron (30%), Vitamin D (45%), Vitamin E (20%), Vitamin K (75%), Thiamin (70%), Riboflavin (35%), Niacin (50%), Vitamin B6 (30%), Folate (35%), Vitamin B12 (45%), Biotin (10%), Pantothenic Acid (25%), Phosphorus (40%), Iodine (70%), Magnesium (40%), Zinc (40%), Selenium (25%), Copper (25%) Manganese (140%). Again, these percentages appear to relate to the recommended daily amount for somebody on a 2,000 calorie daily diet.

All of this is derived from the following ingredients: Organic whole grain oats, organic almonds, organic brown rice protein, organic coconut, organic apple, organic lucuma, organic flax see, rice bran, organic stinging nettle leaf, nutritional yeast, bilberry, black currant, mineral salt, organic chlorella, organic spirulina, brazil nut, organic spinach, sea-buckthorn berry. The allergens listed are tree nuts (almond, coconut and brazil nut); and it is mixed in a facility that handles wheat, soy and milk. So fine for me, but probably not for a full-on coeliac.

So much for what's in it. What's it like? I made up a sachet, following the instructions exactly. 1. Add cold water to the flask (550 ml). I turned on the kitchen tap, and held the flask under it. I looked for the 550 ml marker which would show me when I had added enough water ... and there wasn't one! OK, so in the kitchen it was easy enough to find a measuring jug and measure out 550ml of cold water. But on a remote hillside? I'm certainly not going to carry a measuring jug in my rucksack! However, when I had put in 550ml of water and added the Ambronite from the sachet, it came just about to the lip of the flask with the top unscrewed; so if you add the Ambronite and the water in the opposite order, you can judge it with a reasonable degree of accuracy as the flask is the right size. Having added the Ambronite to my water, I screwed the top back on the flask and gave it a good shake. Now I know that the flask is designed with a drinking cap, but I wanted to know what it looked like, so I poured some into a glass and had a good look at it.

Ambronite does not LOOK at all appealing - and I can see why they give you a dark green flask to make it up and drink it from. It is a grey sludge, slightly sloppier than wet cement. And how does it taste? Well, pretty much like one of those cheap mueslis they serve for breakfast in downmarket guesthouses, where the predominant flavor is that of rolled oats; and this is perhaps unsurprising given that the first ingredient listed is oats. It is not unpleasant; but I do not think I should find myself looking forward to my next dose if I were to carry it on expedition and have it every day. I found the flavour was definitely improved by adding a teaspoon of manuka honey; but I do not see myself wanting to carry a jar of manuka honey in my rucksack any more than I wish to carry a measuring jug! It is a little bit gritty in the mouth, and left me wanting to follow it up with a glass of water. This is no bad thing, perhaps, when engaged in strenuous activity and needing to keep up hydration levels.

So will I use up the rest of the sample? Most definitely. I shall take a couple of sachets with me on my next inter-Challenge expedition; and I shall aim to use the remainder on the 2016 Challenge (before they reach their Best before date!). I shall then report back further on whether or not I decide that I shall be buying some more in future. For the moment I really don't know which way I will go on that. The calorie-to-weigh ratio, at 500 calories off 120g of pack weight, is a little disappointing; and it is then necessary to carry the green mixing flask as well, which adds a further 130g to the load. However, if I find myself arriving at my pitch for the night thinking "I could just do with another fix of Ambronite" then - well - that will be your answer.

I also have this strange feeling that the mixing flask may just find itself pressed into service as a cocktail shaker at the Challenge cocktail party, too. See you there ... slainte!

No comments:

Post a Comment