Sunday, December 22, 2013

GoodBelly Probiotics - The 12 Day Challenge and More!

GoodBelly manufactures probiotic drinks and shots that can help you maintain a healthy digestive system, which complements immunity. Probiotics are bacteria (small, living organisms) that are considered beneficial to body; they inhabit the small intestine and directly influence the body's natural balance. Probiotics have been implemented in preventing indigestion, gas, cramps, diarrhea, UTIs, certain types of cancer, and irritable bowl syndrome. GoodBelly uses a specific strain of probiotics known as  Lactobacillus plantarum 299v (LP299V® for short). According to GoodBelly:

"LP299V®, the probiotic in GoodBelly, is a well-studied probiotic originally used by Swedish gastroenterologists to help their patients recover more quickly from surgery. In addition to the research trials suggesting its efficacy, it has been used by millions of people of all ages for over 15 years with no adverse side effects beyond these occasional 'adjustment' symptoms."

It is important to consider the specific strain of bacteria when choosing probiotiocs -- GoodBelly assures its customers that LP299V is a strain that can bypass the acidity of the stomach in order to exert its beneficial effects on the small intestine.  

GoodBelly is vegan, dairy-free, and soy-free, and is safe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. It is also safe for children. Being that GoodBelly is safe for so many different food allergies, I think that it is a good alternative to other natural drinks, if you are looking for the digestive system boost as well. GoodBelly can be consumed in any quantity at any time of day -- unlike other supplements that have a suggested dose, you can't have too much of GoodBelly. You can drink it as if it were juice, or you can just have a little once or twice a really is completely up to you! The more probiotics, the better for your system.  

Here are some of the other products that GoodBelly offers which were not highlighted in this review:
  • Family Sized Quart - Carrot Ginger
  • Family Sized Quart - Pomegranate Blackberry
  • Family Sized Quart - Blueberry Acai
  • Family Sized Quart - Pink Grapefruit
  • Family Sized Quart - Coconut Water
  • Family Sized Quart - Tropical Green
  • Family Sized Quart - Tropical Orange
  • Organic BigShot50 (Super-charged with 50 billion live and active probiotic cultures per serving at time of manufacture)
  • GoodBelly+ - Mango
  • GoodBelly+ - Pomegranate Blackberry
  • Gluten Free Carrot Ginger
  • Gluten Free Coconut Water
  • Gluten Free Tropical Orange
  • Gluten Free Pink Grapefruit

I reached out to GoodBelly several months back (I have been terrible about completing my reviews due to school and my state of craziness, but I'm taking this vacation to get back on board) about trying their 12 Day Challenge, which I had heard many good things about. What's the 12 Day Challenge? It's a way to find out how GoodBelly can benefit your digestive system and diet in general. I received vouchers redeemable for free products, but the 12 Day Challenge typically gives customers discounted coupons towards a 12-day supply of GoodBelly. The process is simple! Just sign up, receive the coupons by email, ask questions if you need to throughout the 12 days, report back, and receive another coupon on the 12th day. This is a great way to "test the waters" -- you can try any variety of GoodBelly products to see how your body responds and how you enjoy the flavors. The best part? If you don't love it (and you will), you can get your money refunded within two months of your purchase. You have nothing to lose! I think that everyone should email GoodBelly and take them up on this wonderful offer. I know that I often stray away from investing in products that I'm not sure I will end up liking, and I think this is a process many companies could really benefit from. 
First of all, I had an extremely hard time selecting my twelve day supply. I actually received enough vouchers for more than a twelve day supply, so I was also able to share GoodBelly with my boyfriend, who only had good things to say as well. We ended up selecting the GoodBelly+ Blueberry Acai and Strawberry, the GoodBelly StraightShot, and the Mango and Cranberry Watermelon Family-Sized Quarts. We were so pleased that GoodBelly was this generous. They offer such a great array of flavors, so make sure to check different stores if you decide to purchase their products, because one store probably will not carry the full supply. 

GoodBelly Family-Sized Quart Drinks

These drinks contain 20 billion probiotic cultures per 8oz. serving, with a total of 4 servings per quart. They come in the following flavors: Blueberry Acai, Cranberry Watermelon, Mango, Pomegranate Blackberry, Tropical Green, Tropical Orange, Pink Grapefruit, Carrot Ginger and Probiotic-Infused Coconut Water. They are USDA certified organic (except the gluten-free options). GoodBelly recommends the Family-Sized Quart Drinks for juice lovers who are looking for that added boost to their digestive system. They suggest at least an 8oz. serving per day.


This product comes in a 4-pack and also contains 20 billion probiotic Colony Forming Units (CFUs) per 2.7 oz serving, in addition to a daily multivitamin (9 essentials!) with calcium. These little drinks come in a variety of four flavors: Blueberry Acai, Pomegranate Blackberry, Mango, and Strawberry. GoodBelly recommends them for people who aren't huge juice-drinkers, or for people that need extra vitamins, especially those who don't like to take pills. These are perfect for me, not because I don't like juice, but because this is the tastiest vitamin I've ever had!

GoodBelly Straightshot

 The Straightshot is a dairy-free, lightly flavored oatmilk probiotic drink. It also contains 20 billion probiotic cultures per serving, with no additional sugar. This product comes in a four-pack and also is organic, as well as dairy and soy-free. It is only 30 calories per serving, and comes in a four-pack. GoodBelly suggests consuming one 2.7 oz. shot per day. Straightshot is great for anyone that likes the simplistic, no-sugar added side of things.

I contacted GoodBelly not only because I had heard good things about their company, but also because my digestive system has always been a little "off", without me going into unnecessary detail. I may have a bit of an intolerance to certain foods that I just won't admit to myself, namely coffee and other things that are very acidic. I often find myself with a stomachache if I eat too many processed or fast foods, but unfortunately my schedule has almost forced me to do so in the past few months. We do cook healthy occasionally, but sometimes when I am in the midst of a big exam, it is just easier to order a pizza and wings. I have been paying for this by having to take Tums; my stomach just becomes very unsettled and I often get nauseous. I feel a lot better and less bloated when I eat a larger portion of fruits and vegetables. However, since I knew my diet would be suffering, I thought it would be great to test GoodBelly -- maybe this is what I needed to finally put myself in balance.

Just as I was in the middle of my 12-day Challenge, we touched on the topic of certain bacteria and so-called "normal flora" occupying our stomach and small intestine during one of my classes. I learned about some pretty profound studies linking a lack of "good" bacteria in the stomach and other digestive organs (from too many antibiotics, illness, etc) to conditions such as obesity and colon cancer. There were studies done on rats that removed much of this good bacteria, causing the rats to become morbidly obese. Around this time of year, I know that people get sick often and are taking too many antibiotics; we are killing off a lot of these bacteria that our system needs. It give me a whole new respect for the importance of maintaining an adequate flora. Probiotics are an important addition for so many reasons!

I was really pleased with the results of my 12-day challenge. I started myself off with the Mango and the Cranberry Watermelon Quarts. The flavors were eamazing! I expected it to taste "overly healthy", or to somehow be able to taste the probiotics, but I was wrong. These drinks both tasted like a thick, smoothie-textured juice; if I hadn't been sharing with my boyfriend, I would have probably had the whole carton in two days. I would drink these on their own, or put them in a base for a smoothie with cut-up fruit (or vegetables) and some ice. I actually really preferred GoodBelly's Quart-Sized drinks to many of the major, sugar-filled drink blends that are out on the market right now. These will definitely be an addition to my apartment in the future. It is nice to know that you are getting such a health boost from something that tastes so good...there is no reason to compromise anything with GoodBelly!

I was a little more wary of the Straightshot, though I chose it for variety purposes. I wanted to try to give each product a solid review, and to see which I would like to purchase the most in the future. I thought the Straightshot would be exactly what the name implied -- something that I take as a shot just to get it down. Not the case! I thought the flavor of the Straightshot was very unique, and I actually found myself wanting more when it was gone. The same thing went for the GoodBelly+ Blueberry Acai and Strawberry flavors. These quick little drinks were great, because they also provided me with the vitamins that I am desperately lacking. I think the Strawberry was my favorite, but it was very close. I can't find anything bad to say about ANY of the GoodBelly products that I would tried. They have the flavor down, the benefits, and even the packaging! The tops of the GoodBelly+ containers are cute smiley faces, which would probably encourage your children to drink them if you packed one in their lunchbox. On a side note, remember to shake your GoodBelly products so you don't end up with "grit" at the bottom.

My stomach felt great after taking the 12-day Challenge -- I think that I will make this into a year long challenge instead. I know that GoodBelly now has a permanent place in my fridge, and it is a product that I would have never thought would taste so good or have such an effect on my stomachaches and cramps. I'm sure that it will only get better over time. Every one is different in terms of digestive health, but I really feel that this is a product that is worth checking out if you have any of the symptoms that I listed above, or if you just want a cup of something new and flavorful for lunch.

If you're interested in purchasing GoodBelly, they have a store locator on their website. Some of the major retailers that sell their products include: Hannaford, Wegman's, Whole Foods, Mother Earth Market, The Fresh Market, Kroger, Earth Fare Natural Foods, Chamberlins, etc. GoodBelly is available nationwide, and usually can be found near the yogurt or dairy section, despite not containing dairy. 

Interested in learning more about Good Belly and their products? Check out the links below:


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