Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Move Over Energy Bars, It's Time to Relax

Just as the 'energy' food and drink industry continues to expand with bars, shots, gels, drops and candies, relaxation is taking on a whole new meaning. It seems that these days, with our busy lives and constantly being on the go, it's hard to find time or the ability to relax after a caffeine, taurine, guarana and ginseng-filled day.

As a result, some people figured that if we can take just about anything to amp up our energy levels for 5 hours, 8 hours or whatever the claims may be, why not offer the same sort of promises when it comes to relaxation? And so were born relaxation drinks. Now, we can welcome into the world some fudgey 'relaxation brownies'.

As the antithesis to red bull, slow cow and similar drinks have been increasing in popularity, especially in the states. According to the website, slow cow is a "relaxation beverage that helps in the improvement of concentration, memory and learning capacity without causing sleepiness." The active ingredients include L-Theanine for relaxation, and improvement in the brain’s capacity to concentrate, learn, memorize as well as increasing cerebral levels of dopamine, which boosts feelings of pleasure. In addition, it contains chamomile to help combat insomnia, passiflora for relaxation, and finally Valerian, Linden and Hops to reduce nervousness. It also contains sodium and potassium, so it's sort of like a sugar-free version of Gatorade to help replenish your electrolytes, especially after a workout.

While Slow Cow contains no calories, you can bet that these new s0-called "relaxation brownies" certainly do. With names such as "Lazy cakes", these treats work along the same principle, except you get to enjoy a chocolatey dessert, perhaps before hitting the sack after a long day. Similar to drinks like Slow Cow, Lazy Cakes contain Valerian root in addition to rose hips and melatonin to help "let your problems melt away". These bad boys aren't meant to be used to improve memory and concentration, they're pretty much meant to do the opposite.

In case you don't know, melatonin is a compound that is naturally produced in the body that helps you fall asleep. It is also a commonly prescribed over the counter remedy for sleeplessness and jet-lag; take enough and you may actually slow your breathing to dangerous levels. According to the Lazy Cakes website, this product may "cause excessive use of the word "Dude"". And no, they don't contain any other special ingredients not listed on the label (as far as we know!).

Unfortunately (or maybe not), Lazy cakes are currently only available in the U.S. Actually, I think you can get just about anything in America! In any case, as this industry is up and coming, I don't doubt we'll be seeing plenty of copycats and new products being offered on the market to help our high-stress society chill out and focus. What do you think is next?