Introduction to Juice Plus MLM Compensation Plan
It appears that the belief that a plant-based diet is correlated with a virtuous life is a lot older than I thought it was. In ancient Greece, a group of philosophers called the Pythagoreans, who based their belief systems on the teachings of Pythagoras, he of the Pythagorean Theorem about right triangles, followed a vegetarian diet. Many modern scholars believe that Pythagoras himself and the students he taught during his lifetime ate most kinds of meat, but his followers became known for their plant-based diet, so much so that, until the 19th century “Pythagorean diet” was the only term the English language had for vegetarianism. A curious thing about the Pythagoreans of ancient times is that, in addition to avoiding meat (and, according to some accounts, fish), they also avoided eating beans. According to legend, Pythagoras so vehemently refused to have anything whatsoever to do with beans that he was murdered when his enemies chased him to the edge of a bean garden and, given the choice between crossing the bean garden or facing his attackers, he chose to accept his fate.
A person that more recently saw a correspondence between the plant-based diet and the virtuous mind was James Caleb Jackson, who is most famous for being the inventor of Granula, the first cold breakfast cereal. In fact, the early history of breakfast cereal is tied to a belief that eating grains and other plant-based foods, often to the exclusion of meat, is part of the path to physical and spiritual wellness. In the late 1850s, Jackson, who had previously been restored to health after receiving treatment at a spa, assumed ownership of the Our Home Hygienic Institute, at which over 20,000 patients at one time could seek healing. In the 19th centuries, spas were popular destinations where people went to improve their health by following diets believed to promote healing and by drinking and bathing in the water of the springs around which the spas were built. Under Jackson’s direction, the patients at Our Home Hygienic Institute followed a diet that was free of alcohol, coffee, tea, and red meat, and they abstained from using tobacco products, as well. In 1863, Jackson introduced a breakfast food for the patients at the spa that would be more wholesome than the breakfasts they were used to eating in the city. Instead of bacon and coffee, the patients at Our Home Hygienic Institute breakfasted on Granula, the ancestor of modern breakfast cereals. Granula was a bowl full of hard lumps of Graham flour that had to be soaked overnight before humans could even chew it. (Graham flour, for that matter, had a spiritual dimension to it, as well. Its inventor, Rev. Sylvester Graham, the namesake of the Graham cracker, was a Presbyterian minister who developed Graham flour as an inexpensive and nutritious food for the masses of factory workers who lived in the big cities in the wake of the Industrial Revolution, as who had notoriously poor nutrition. Like Jackson after him, Graham recommended a vegetarian diet and abstinence from alcohol for physical and spiritual health.)
Jackson and some of his contemporaries believed that a diet based on pork, coffee, and alcohol led to poor digestion, which made people more vulnerable to vices ranging from laziness to lust, and that, by contrast, a plant-based diet that improved digestion would help people remain industrious and chaste. The high regard for plant based foods as promoting good morals was prevalent in the Temperance (abstinence from drinking alcohol) and dietary reform movements in the 19th century. Ellen G. White, the founder of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, was influenced by Jackson’s views on nutrition, and the city of Battle Creek, Michigan, where the Seventh-Day Adventist Church had held its founding convention, became once again the site of a sanitarium (a 19th century term for a spa) where an innovation in plant-based foods took place. The name most closely associated with Battle Creek and its spas with their healthy diets is one you will likely recognize: Will Keith Kellogg, the namesake of Kellogg’s cereal. Kellogg was a vegetarian who had learned his plant-based diet from the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. After a first career as a broom salesman, he took over a health resort where he discovered, by accidental, that it is possible to make cereal in the form of flakes, and furthermore, this flaky cereal tastes a lot better than a dense block of pure dietary fiber that you have to soak overnight just to be able to swallow it.
The rest is history. The days when cereal was innocent and had aspirations to high morals are long gone. Today, people concerned about the public good look on breakfast cereal with chagrin, both because of its high sugar content and because, for the better part of 25 years, breakfast cereal was what turned children into consumers of commercial messages.
Breakfast cereal started out with undoubtedly good intentions, but vitamins have a more sinister past. The 13 chemicals that we now know as vitamins were first identified in the early 20th century, and the efforts to determine the amounts in which they are required in order to maintain good health and to ensure that people were getting enough of them in their diets began in earnest during the Second World War. Rumors circulated that the Germans were feeding vitamin supplements to their troops in order to improve their physical energy, strength, and mental alertness. The idea of feeding vitamin supplements, or even foods that naturally contain vitamins, to your children, has always had an element of competition to it. People feed vitamins to their kids so that the vitamin-supplemented kids will be stronger and smarter than those other kids who live on porridge or bacon or whatever else other people’s kids eat. Even now, vitamins are a moral shibboleth, the dirtiest of weapons in the Mommy Wars. On the one side are the saintly Attachment Parenting parents whose well-behaved children have been raised on organic, local foods, and on the other side are the down-to-earth work-at-home moms whose kids have been raised on lots of junk food, perhaps the occasional Flintstones chewable vitamin supplement, and very few pretenses.
Then why have I spent the first half of my Juice Plus+ review recounting the history of breakfast cereal and vitamin supplements? Well, partially it was to give yet another example of how almost anything, no matter its original intent, can be commercialized and divisive in the hands of the wrong people. If you have been reading any of my other reviews on Notebook Crazy, you have probably noticed how what started out as an outraged quest to expose the exaggerations and falsehoods of almost every company in the multilevel marketing (MLM) industry has become a story of a well-intentioned institution gone wrong. You may remember that the first companies to use the direct selling business model, in the way that we use the term today, such as Amway and Avon, sincerely set out to provide economic opportunities for people who did not have them, including, in large part, women. Then things got out of control, and every MLM company started saying that its plankton pills and its fungus coffee would cure every ailment known to man and some that hadn’t even been discovered yet. There are even MLM companies that literally do not sell anything except hope of getting rich. (If, by chance, you are here because you Googled “vegetarian shibboleth”, I invite you to stick around. There are plenty of great surprises waiting for you on the pages of Notebook Crazy. I hope you like rock music.) That is why I want to begin my Juice Plus+ review by expressing my feelings of relief and gratitude that, at least, Juice Plus+ does not do that.
Juice Plus+: The Company and Its Products
The Juice Plus+ product line has been around since 1993, but its parent company is older. National Safety Associates is a Tennessee-based, old school MLM company, originally founded in 1970s. In the old days it distributed other products like water filters and educational toys, but it found success with the Juice Plus+ products. Refreshingly, Juice Plus+ products do not make any outrageous claims about their health benefits, none of this alkaline diet, no guilt trip telling you that the reason your kid is hyper is because he doesn’t drink enough plankton. (To all you noobs who Googled “vegetarian shibboleth” and ended up here on our strange but friendly planet, you think I’m kidding about the plankton, but I’m not. Stick around for a while, and you will see.) The worst thing I can say about the Juice Plus+ products contributing to the nutraceutical hype, that hype that makes me finally understand how Pythagoras must have felt about beans, is that they play on our guilt about not eating enough fruits and vegetables. The core Juice Plus+ products are fruit and vegetable juices in powdered form, to be added to water. They are slightly fortified with vitamins and minerals, but less than your average multivitamin, and perhaps even less than your average supermarket juice. They come in three flavors: Orchard Blend, Garden Blend, and Vineyard Blend. One good thing I can say about Juice Plus+ powdered juices is that they contain very little sugar. That is the thing, and perhaps the only thing, that gives them an advantage over Kool-Aid or Welch’s or Ocean Spray or Donald Duck Orange Juice or V-8 any of those other supermarket juices.
Of course, there are other Juice Plus+ products, too, in addition to the flagship juice powders, but most of them fall under the category of same old same old. There are the chewable supplements. There is the coffee. I even read that, in the old days, they even sold supplements for dogs and cats. Oh, but then you click on a tab on the Juice Plus+ website that says “Tower Garden”, and you find out that the company sells aeroponic gardens. Now that is something you don’t see on every MLM nutraceutical website.
The Juice Plus+ Compensation Plan
The Juice Plus + compensation plan styles itself a virtual franchise, which is one of the more creative euphemisms I have heard in the world of MLM. The company helps Juice Plus+ distributors set up their own Juice Plus+ website. The Juice Plus+ compensation plan is pretty similar to other MLM compensation plans. You can make money off of retail sale of products. You can get commissions buy signing up “preferred customers”, which I can only assume is a euphemism for “autoship”. Interestingly, if you rise through the ranks of the Juice Plus+ compensation plan to reach the level of National Marketing Director, you can even get things like health insurance and tuition reimbursement benefits. But this is MLM, so I imagine it takes some doing to get to the National Marketing Director level, about as much doing as it takes to win enough Chuck E. Cheese tokens that you can redeem them for health insurance.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- It is nice that the grand prize is something people actually need, like health insurance and tuition reimbursement.
- It is really nice that Juice Plus+ does not claim that its juice powders can single-handedly cure cancer.
- That Tower Garden thing really does look cool, and the fact that it helps you grow food means that it is actually a good investment.
- It does not make economic sense for your friends to order Juice Plus+ on autoship. For a fraction of the price, they could just buy a box of Crystal Light and some Flintstones vitamins from Costco.
Like Healthy Headie before it, Juice Plus+ may never have me as a customer (unless I do decide to spring for a Tower Garden), but it does have my respect. There are plenty of other OK tasting, reasonably nutritious juices out there that cost a lot less, but I can think of much worse things than Juice Plus+ products to have piled up in my basement.
I don’t claim to know the secret to good health, but I do know how to make a successful business online. To find out more, schedule a call with me.