Free Juice?!? Sign Me Up!

If you ever need participants for a research study, I am a sucker. I take the phrase “curiosity killed the cat” to another level because I am nosy and sign up for research studies to see what they are doing; you add the chance to win a gift card and I am sold. When I got an email about a COVID study where researchers wanted you to collect your blood and mail it to them, I signed up just because I wanted to know how they were going to do that (they mailed you a device to stick to your arm and then you press a button and it stabs you) … and there was a chance to win a gift card. My favorite question on the survey was if I received financial aid. “Duh, do you think I would be entering for the chance to win a gift card if I didn’t?” Collecting my own blood seems a little intense, but nothing compares to the juice study.

Collecting my blood for science

I was in a nutrition class when we had a guest lecturer visit and talk about his previous food research. At the end of the lecture, he promoted a new study he was working on and said that we would get free juice for a month. I love a good glass of juice so this seemed like a lucrative opportunity. FREE JUICE FOR A MONTH?? I will save ones and ones of dollars! Sign me up!

I was accepted to participate and when I found out they were also going to pay me … wow, dreams do come true. I think the goal was to see what happens to your brain as you form a habit, so I had to get an MRI. I went to the MRI center one night after it was closed (a little sketchy now that I think about it). I had never been in a hospital-like setting when there was no one else around but I kind of liked the quiet. I had also never had an MRI before so I was not sure what to expect. Other people told me that they fell asleep or listened to music while getting an MRI, so I was not too worried about it. I changed into a pair of scrubs and got down on the table. The researcher proceeded to strap my head down and stick a tube in my mouth. “Mayhaps I have made a terrible mistake.”

My daily juice bottle

I was sent into the machine where I was shown graphics and then fed different liquids through the tube. Trying to not drown while being fed liquid through a tube in an MRI machine is a skill I can proudly say that I have mastered. That lasted for an hour. The entire time I could not move and never came out of the machine. Thank goodness I am not claustrophobic. After the MRI experience, I was assigned a group and given my juice with one of the graphics I recognized from the MRI. I had to walk to the lab three times a week to pick up my juice. I always had to drink half a bottle in front of them and take a survey about the taste and how I was feeling. At the beginning of the month, I was not a fan of my juice. It was pretty gross. By the end of the month, I would drink my juice and think “Ah, what is this sweet nectar?” I was always pretty excited at the end of the week because when I returned my empty bottles they would hand me $20 (did I just solve recycling??) I did that like clockwork for a month and drank a bottle of juice every single day.

When the end of the month arrived, I had to get another MRI. I knew what to expect this time so I was a little nervous. They explained that the first hour would be exactly like the previous MRI. Then, they would show me two graphics and I would have to press a button to pick which one would give me the sweet juice. That is when I discovered that I had not been drinking the sweet juice. Y’ALL GAVE ME TRASH JUICE FOR A MONTH?? I was a little salty but then they gave me my money and I got over it. I feel like all that trash juice has kept me healthy and probably fought off the germs that entered my body when I licked my fingers in Paris. So, thank you trash juice.

Everyone has told me to never sign up for something like that again. People have even offered to buy my juice so that I don’t do that again, but rest assured, if an interesting study comes along I will continue to sell my body to science.

I would never give you a recipe for trash juice, so if you are of legal drinking age (I am not going to jail for any of y'all) please enjoy this mixed berry sangria (much tastier juice and a lot more fun)!

I want to hear from you! Have you ever participated in a research study? Drop me a note in the comments section!


Mixed Berry Sangria

Mixed Berry Sangria on our balcony


  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries and strawberries)

  • ½ cup raspberry sorbet

  • ½ cup Sprite

  • ½ cup Brut Rosé


  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

  2. Add a drink umbrella to your glass if you want to have even more fun!