Thursday, July 25, 2019

**REVIEW** Miracle Berry Anyone?

So I had been hearing so much about the Miracle Berry that I just had to go ahead and try it in some form. Apparently, I came to the party late. Really late. Let's do a little background first.

The Miracle Berry comes from the Synsepalum dulcificum plant. Say that fast just once and I'll dance at your wedding. This is what the plant and berry look like:


The story goes that West Africans would eat the berry to make certain foods more palatable. And, of course, once an outsider saw this, the found a way to make money from it.

Now that the berry has become trendy, people are using them in freeze-dried or tablet forms to have "flavor-tripping parties". The fresh berry is supposed to give the best effects but has such a poor shelf life that the freeze-dried and tablet format is most popular. Also, you need a really healthy bank account to afford the actual berries. You can buy a plant and wait a couple of years for it to bear the fruit.

The flavor-tripping part comes in because, after eating the berry and coating your tongue with it, sour things become sweet. Lemons and limes taste as if sugar has been added, hot sauces become honey-hot (or so I hear), and naturally sweet fruits become even sweeter. That is for the flavor trippers who will move on to the next trend mentioned on social media. For some people though, the Miracle Berry has a more useful quality.

Some cancer patients and other folks who have a loss of taste (and appetite) may benefit from using the berry. Apparently, it not only tricks the tastebuds but also heightens their ability. I hope I said that correctly. For other people - say, those who need to cut back on sugar intake for weight loss or other more potentially serious reasons - the berry is pretty useful. I fall into this latter category. How many menopausal women in their late 50s don't? Ten women. That's how many. Trust me. There are already cookbooks featuring the berry, like The Miracle Berry Diet Cookbook by Homaro Cantu. People jumped on the trend before it even got a good start. Just like with any other trend that has come around so far, there are no miracle diets no matter what people say. All (non-surgical) weight loss requires some measure of discipline.

Anyway, I have been suffering through a routine of having a glass of lemon water in the morning and before bedtime. For some reason, it helps settle my nervous stomach. And, supposedly, it helps with weight loss. Supposedly...  It's going on 3 weeks and while I think the drink helps me feel better, it's been a struggle. So I got some of these freeze-dried berries to try out.

Only brand I've tried so far, but I like it
I have to say that I am surprised at how pricey the berries (in any form) can be. I chose this particular item mainly because it was a 2-pack for the same price as other 1-pack deals. It seems to be common for the berries to be sold in halves in and quantities of 10 or 20 halves. Tablets seem to cost more but I will be trying some of those also.

It's suggested that the berries work best and have a longer effect if you cleanse your palate beforehand. I went all out and re-brushed my teeth and rinsed with a lot of warm water before taking the first berry. Remember, the berries are halved so I used one half just to see how well it would work

The red outer skin you can spit out. The rest can be swallowed.

First thing I did was set out my tasting cups. I had my mixture of 1 part lemon to 1/2 part water in one cup. In the next cup, I had a capful of straight lemon juice (bottled concentrate). The third cup was a capful of straight apple cider vinegar. The last cup was a capful each of lemon juice, lime juice, ACV, and a teaspoon of raw honey stirred in.

The berry half softens really quickly with saliva and is easy to move around on the tongue. I had planned to swish the pulp for a really long time to increase the effect but... Nah. The berry quickly begins to melt away and is gone in less than 20 or 30 seconds. There is a little bit of residue of the skin or shell but I just swallowed that.

I was surprised that the berry wasn't super sweet itself. Maybe that's because it's freeze-dried and melts away so fast?

First, I tasted the lemon water mix. And... I will be doggone if it wasn't kind of nice. There was a tangy bite to it, but it was just sweet enough that I liked it. Next up, I worked up the nerve to try the straight lemon juice. Guess what? This tasted even better than the lemon water. I think that the tangier or more sour the drink, the better the Miracle Berry works. The cup of the ACV was my warning. Yes, it was sweet and pleasant - on the tongue - but as soon as the fumes hit my throat, my eyes watered. As I mentioned, just because you're tricking your tastebuds, you're still ingesting acidic stuff. I was careful to just sip some of the final mixture. Again, because this was a lot more sour and acidic, the berry seemed to go into overdrive. Still, I had that mild throat burn with the lemon, lime, and vinegar. The honey did not help that at all.

So, yeah, you can have fun with sour stuff, but only until it hits your throat. Apparently, swallowing the berry pulp didn't help coat that area enough.

I am not a lover of very spicy things so the best I could do was to try some Frank's hot sauce. I tapped a little from my finger to the center of my tongue and... Hot damn! It was still too spicy!. However, there was a tinge of weird sweetness. It was sort of what I imagine a really spicy honey sauce to taste like. I'm not a fan. I only eat a mild hot sauce when I have cheese or some other dairy to pair it with.

Of course, one of the things I do wish I could enjoy is black coffee. I do alright with a really good black coffee, but it's rare that I make a cup so well that I can stand it without creamer and sweetener. Sadly, the Miracle Berry does nothing for cutting the bitter taste of black coffee. Nothing at all. Too bad. If I could do black coffee, I could lose weight like nobody's business. I can almost live on nothing but coffee. Unfortunately, my coffee is just one half a calorie away from being a full-on dessert. On the other hand, I did find that the Miracle Berry helped boost the sweetening power of the Monk Fruit I sometimes use in my coffee. I will have to experiment with mixing up my own milk, vanilla extract, and Monk Fruit creamer to use with the Miracle Berry. That could be my way out of always using the calorie-heavy flavored creamers I so love. I'm talking about you, Sweet Italian and Vanilla Caramel coffee creamers!

Now here is where I can tell you that the effects of the berry only lasted just around 15 or 16 minutes that first time. I know because when I took another sip of the lemon juice that had just been so nice, I made a face that I would not want to be photographed. The tart was back.

I took another half berry so that I could taste test a few more things. I tried a sweet pepper and it was SO good. Yum. It wasn't so much sweet as it was highly flavorful. Red grapes and red cherries were so sweet that I almost couldn't stand it. It's as if they hyper-sweet took away from the overall taste of the fruits.

Cranberry juice is another of those things that we women try to drink on a regular basis. Again, I struggle with drinking it. With the berry, the juice was still tangy-on-the-verge-of-sour but so mellowed that it was pleasant.

So I can say that I like the berry best for the way it changes the taste of really sour things. I wasn't crazy about the way it made sweet fruits taste. It changed the core flavor somehow. The cherry wasn't just super sweet, it also lost some of its flavor, if that makes sense. The grapes just became too over-sweet.

The one thing I didn't have on hand to try is goat cheese (which is supposed to flavor-trip to tasting like a cheesecake) and greek yogurt. I can't wait until I restock on groceries. Just imagine going for a week eating and drinking nothing but greek yogurt, lemon water, and salad with raisins or grapes.

I have read about some people who used Miracle Berry to detox from sugar for a couple of weeks.I have seen a lot of articles like this one talking about various benefits of using the berries. Just ditching sugar is on my list of goals. Also, I like the idea of being able to substitute the berry's effects for using artificial sweeteners. So far, I haven't heard anything negative about the Miracle Berry. I'm sure if I look hard enough I can find something but, for now, I think I will like having some of the fruit around all the time.

When I get the Miracle Berry tablets, I hope to try more items - especially the yogurt and goat cheese. Come to think of it, I wonder how yummy some goat milk creamer would taste in my coffee after eating a berry? Hmmm...

I will be sure to update if I get a chance to review other brands of the Miracle Berry.


This used to be one of my favorite work-out songs.