How did we end up here?
After a year of a global health crisis and delving deep into skincare rabbit holes, online shopping hauls, anti-racism reading lists, and doom scrolling late into the night, we're all so tired. And where do we turn when in need of genuine wellness advice? Instagram, of course.
Celebrity wellness companies are infamously terrible and based on pseudo-science, but what about MANTRA Labs?
Founded by Jared Padalecki (the tall one in CW's Supernatural, the tall one in CW's Walker, and the tall one in Gilmore Girls) and Paul Janowitz, MANTRA Labs is a "nutrition solution" to modern lifestyles that too often sacrifice mental and physical health for the sake of productivity and accolades.
The Austin-based company currently offers three "functional drink powders": RISE, GO, and REST. The three formulas are said to "deliver clean, science-driven, chrono-nutrition to support your body + mind for total health, all day, every day."
Skeptical me: So...it's a drink powder?
The three powders are technically dietary supplements. According to their website, "MANTRA Labs is a comprehensive suite of clean, great-tasting and biorhythm-matched products in a simple on-the-go system to fuel and optimize your body + mind all day, every day. MANTRA Labs is built on the 3 core principles of Total Health: MOVEMENT | REST | COMMUNITY."
Confused me: I dig all the EXCITEMENT. Also, what the hell is "chrono-nutrition" and "biorhythm?" I have an English degree, not a fancy scientist certificate!
As much as "chrono-nutrition" sounds like a health factor you have to be rich, white, and bored to care about, it turns out to be a real thing – sort of. Simply put, it's the notion that what you eat should be informed by when you eat. Biorhythms basically refers to the way your body's 24-hour internal clock gives you varying levels of energy, focus, and even medical symptoms, usually in accordance with your natural circadian rhythm.
Sure, the people who study the human body don't universally agree on the significance of biorhythms and chrono-nutrition, but we'll cut them some slack since the human body is a tricky, chaotic flesh prison.
So I went ahead and ordered MANTRA Lab's drink powders. (I mean, I've survived months of drinking Soylent, so I can't abuse my insides much more than that). NOTE: I'm also one of those fragile people with both lactose and gluten intolerance, which pretty much means my insides are made of swallowed toothpicks and old bubblegum. Luckily, all three supplements are gluten and lactose free (also vegan).
GO (tropical berry-flavored) is designed to help you stay "strong all day with smooth energy, focus and no crash," and it's targeted to help that mid-afternoon, post-lunch slump.
REST (lemon chamomile-flavored) is meant to help you "recover every night like never before to strengthen immunity, improve mood and support optimal health." I believe this is under the assumption that you're completing intense workouts on a regular basis and need to recover your strength for your next impressive work out the next day...Sure, I guess there are people who do that.
MANTRA Lab's drink powders Rise, Go, and Rest
Personally, I wanted to try the RISE powder right away, because it's wintertime and if you're like me (a depressive with comorbid disorders who's working from home in a pandemic), then every morning you awake glued to your bed by a variety of physical, mental, and spiritual ailments, and it's starting to affect your mood.
Also, I f**king LOVE citrus. RISE is citrus coconut-flavored, so I'd be willing to drink it even if I found this in a public trash can.
MANTRA Labs says, "RISE with an amazing health boost to start every day right. Get focused and power up with nootropics, oceanic electrolyte hydration, caffeine-free energy, immune boosting antioxidants and 100% RDA of key vitamins to help you perform better and feel fully alive."
Too good to be true? "0 Calories. 0 Sugar. Organically Sweetened." Maybe, definitely. The instructions on MANTRA's website are to simply "mix with 12-24 ounces of water for desired taste." In a slight discrepancy, the actual product says to mix with 8 ounces of cold water, but I like all my drink mixes a little extra powdery, so I wasn't bothered.
Of course, you can also mix these supplement powders into smoothies, but smoothies are for health-conscious people who don't need energy powders at 4:30 PM, so that didn't apply to me.
It dissolved okay. As I said, I like a little silt texture with my weird dietary supplements, so I was into it. This is a very high tech gif of me executing the instructions:
My first impression? "Holy s**t, this doesn't taste bad!" Imagine melting together an orange Sour Patch Kid with an Orange Creme Saver hard candy (remember those, '90s kids? Weren't those bomb?!). If this were a $4 juice at Starbucks, I'd talk a lot of sh*t about it being overpriced while buying it everyday on my way to work. It's genuinely a good flavor.
Does it "work?"
As an intense coffee addict who's only recently weaned myself off my two cups a day minimum, RISE didn't greatly affect me. Of course, dietary supplements don't do much of anything the first time (depending on your nutrition, absorption rates, any pre-existing conditions, medications, etc.).
With that being said, I definitely felt something...a quiver of energy, if you will. I got up from my desk and started a load of laundry. I wrote this article. I messaged a friend about Doctor Who.
Would I have accomplished any of those amazing feats without MANTRA Lab's RISE dietary supplement? Perhaps not.
Possible downsides are: A) Like all dietary supplements, it won't affect you for a while...if at all. All dietary supplements have risks, and you should do your research and consult with a health professional before regularly taking them. B) You can't choose any other flavor. If you want to GO, then you're GO-ing with tropical berry, and that's it. C) The value. If you want to give these a shot and take enough to actually notice benefits, you'd have to be able and willing to invest more than what you'd typically spend in the vitamin aisle at CVS.
But then again, the pharmacy doesn't have "nutrition solutions" for your biorhythmic chrono-nutritional needs. Note that the FDA doesn't confirm that MANTRA Lab offers those benefits, either — mostly because the FDA generally doesn't approve of dietary supplements at all.
But the FDA also doesn't approve of eating an entire bag of kettle popcorn for dinner, so clearly they can't tell me what to do.
I still look forward to trying GO and REST, but since I took my RISE at 4:30 PM (and felt calmly but noticeably alert until midnight), I'll save GO for another day, so as not to spontaneously combust (each packet also advises not to consume more than two servings in one day).
But see for yourself. You can follow MANTRA Labs on Instagram and visit their website to try individual packets for $2.50 or purchase bundles from $60 to $160.
Buy your own here (we'd offer you a discount code, but unfortunately this is non-sponsored...because I only discovered this product while thirstily scrolling for pictures of Jared Padalecki on Instagram – THERE, I FINALLY SAID IT!)