VitalMeal

TBD Insider — Product Reviews from the Near Future

I was surprised how small and light the nutrition pack was. That was going to be all my “food” for the whole day…plus the stomach fillers I needed to swallow at what would have normally been mealtimes. They tasted fine, like crackers (but no carbs).

Feeding tube was easy to use, only giving me the exact dose my body needed at that moment, and the nutrition packs went into this little holster that I could wear either in the small of my back, under my arm, or just carried nearby. I tried all three, and I liked under the arm when I was wearing a jacket. But this was spring, and as minimal as the holster was, it still made a bulge wherever it was under my knit shirt. Carrying it nearby was fine, but I had to make sure I kept it with my phone. That way I was sure to have it nearby for the signal from the sensor to reach the holster and for me to hear the “feeding time” beep.

The sensor is like a wristband which shoots high-intensity light pulses into your skin intermittently. The lights are under your wrist near, I guess, the best blood vessels for the on-board spectrometer to get a good reading of the light coming back after hitting your bloodstream. (It’s pretty cool in the dark.) They say machine learning magic (actually, deep learning) is behind the little wrist computer’s ability to use this relatively poor signal — has to get through your skin, after all — to accurately analyze your blood’s key nutrition levels and tell the holster to beep for feeding time.

Whenever I heard that beep, I had to suck on the tube, just like a Camelback hydration system for bikers (and it would keep beeping like a seatbelt warning until I did so). The beeps would come at unpredictable times, which the little intro video told me was expected at first until the system normalized my metabolism. And after a few days, the feeding signal was down to a rhythm, beeping every hour or two.

The concentrate that came out of the tube was not bad tasting at all, though I’m told most people put the tube way back on their tongue, so it goes straight down their throat. One flavor tasted like a plain yoghurt smoothie with a faint berry taste — blackberry? — and I liked letting my mouth think it still had a role to play in keeping me alive. Though I bet “VitalMeal Pro” will come out with some kind of catheter feeding solution for the hard-core “vites,” as they call them — yeah, vites sounds dumb to me too. I just want to worry less about eating crap, getting fat, and vascillating between feeling wired and feeling tired all day.

And that’s where VitalMeal really delivered. I feel great…seriously great. Alert all day, never wired, never tired — just like it says in the ad. In fact, I’d swear I had more regular erections, but who’se counting?

The thing most people don’t like about the idea of VitalMeal is that — they say — they don’t want to lose their relationship with food, but at least for me, it has enhanced it. I’m putting all my energy, my considerably higher and consistent energy, into the actual meals I really want to enjoy, like Friday or Saturday night. VitalMeal encourages this, as long as it isn’t more than a meal or two a week. I used Blue Apron last Saturday, and put my whole self into preparing an amazing meal for me and the family…I cooked, yeah. I never, ever did that when slogging through meal selection and prep every day left me with no joy for food at all by the end of the week, but maybe that’s just me.

At any rate, if you want to feel good, think less about daily meals, and spend less on food — yeah, a whole lot less when you consider all those side trips to Starbucks or to the fridge, which you simply don’t feel like doing once VitalMeal kicks in — then try it. Even Mikey would like it. And if you get that reference, you officially qualify for the #I’mNotAMillenial club.


This story is fiction, based on our fevered imagination of products and services that could be delivered to market based on current and emerging know-how — given sufficient resource and intent. Any resemblance to real products, either released or planned, is coincidental.

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