I’m a Substitute…

Back when I first started this blog, I did a post that talked about one of my favorite juices – Vitamin Water XXX – and how it replaced my soda intake. I still drink a few of these a week and they are part of my regular store purchases.

Vitamin Water XXX
XXX – The only way to go

However, there are times when I go to find this flavor and the particular store I’m at is out of stock. Instead of going into a panic and thinking I have to drink one of the other craptastic flavors, I have decided to see if there’s another brand, a substitute if you will, for my adored Vitamin Water.

Life Water by Sobe

In this mass market of competing beverages, it turns out that Sobe has created a brand called Life Water. They have a plethora of flavors, just like Vitamin Water and are about the same price [about $1.59 if you buy them in single form, or $1.00 each on sale]. There is no exact equivalent to the XXX Acai-Blueberry-Pomegranate Vitamin Water flavor, but there is one that’s close – Pomegranate Cherry, or Zingseng as they call it.

pomegranate cherry

This is the only flavor I have tried so far and I really like it. It’s light, not too sweet and it’s got cherry in it. It’s a really good substitute for my Vitamin Water and I’ve been able to find it in most stores I’ve visited. It’s definitely going to be a flavor I will drink and keep around. I may actually purchase it instead of the Vitamin Water XXX flavor if I want a change.

Tilt 8%

Now onto something alcoholic. It’s been some time since I posted about my love like for Tilt 8%, which is pretty much the only beer-like beverage I will consume. But thanks to the wacky liquor laws here in Utah, you can’t buy this brand here. I must purchase as many as I can during my twice-a-year visit to Mesquite, NV. At only $1.30 a can, it’s a great deal.

old Tilt
The quick solution to getting your buzz on

But something has changed. Thanks to a bunch of worry-warts in elected positions, energy beers such as Tilt have sparked a controversy about mixing caffeine and alcohol, despite the fact that most of these energy beverages complied with all of the regulatory rules. In legalese speak, that means they were forced to change the formula. Now my beloved Tilt 8% contains no caffeine, taurine and guarana. Could this mean a change in taste? I had to know.

Tilt both cans
The can on the left is the new formula – NOTE: contains alcohol – NO SHIT!!

I did a side-by-side comparison, since I still had a couple cans of the original formula left in the fridge. I had to clear the palate between each swig to ensure I wasn’t going to confuse the two. After finishing off both cans [and feeling really good, I might add], I determined that flavor wise, the new formula was a bit sweeter and it had a slight after taste. Not enough to keep me from buying these, but enough to notice something was different. Of course, the caffeine advantage is now gone, so it’s just the 8% alcoholic content doing it’s job [the “get the party started” buzz hasn’t changed, thank goodness]. I’ve got at least 20 cans of this left, so we’ll see how repeated intakes of the new Tilt 8% will prove to be…. *hic*

No Soup For You!

Campbell's tortilla soups
Three soups, all the same, but different labels – very confusing

I’m not much of a canned soup guy. Oh, I’ve eaten my fair share of Cream of Mushroom and Chicken Noodle over the years. And I’ve used them to make things like beef stroganoff and turning ramen noodles into more of a meal. But for the most part, it’s not something I consider an entire meal.

But things change when you find the right brand and style. Campbell’s has these Select soups that are actually not bad. Paired up with a grilled cheese sandwich, this makes a cold night at home at bit more pleasant. Although that pleasant feeling goes out the window when you go to restock the flavor you’ve become attached to and it’s not there.

Case in point: Campbell’s is notorious for changing labels on their top-tier soup brands. Take the above photo. Over the course of 7 weeks, the four grocery stores I frequent had these three different soups. Notice any difference? The can in the middle was the one I had been purchasing until I could no longer find it on the shelf. The can to the left is the one that I found after 20 minutes of pulling soup cans off the shelves. The can on the right is the one I found two weeks ago, after looking for the previous label marked “Mexican Style Chicken Tortilla

WTF Campbell’s… are you trying to deter people from buying your soup? At least the photo used on the left and right cans is similar, which helped. And I’m not against a soup called “Tequila Lime Chicken and Rice“, but confusion is not something I want when looking for a soup.

So what’s the difference between all of them? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. They all taste the same with the same ingredients and flavors. Even the Tequila Lime doesn’t have any lime in it, at least none that I tasted. I now must scout out each one of these the next time I go to purchase soup at the grocery store. Of course, at this point, maybe I should just stick to eating one of my all-time favorite soups – Chili’s Chicken Enchilada soup. See, I can even make a batch of it at home with this recipe I found. Yum! I know what I’m making this weekend.

Chili's Chicken Enchilada soup
The best soup ever!

So now the big question is: did I make you hungry?

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