A simple tool for monitoring beanstalk queues. Requires a bit of work to get running.
Well, it’s been a fortnight. How’m I doing?
Well, badly, on one level. I’ve eaten a fair number non-Huel meals. I think I’ve only had five or six days where I lived entirely on Huel (meaning: 2000 calories worth of Huel consumed, plus maybe a biscuit or two). I’ve been out for meals with with friends a fair bit and I will not be the fucking weirdo drinking his sludge while everyone else eats real food. I’ve also had a friend’s birthday party at a craft beer pub, and the beer festival on Friday, so my less-alcohol thing isn’t doing terribly well, either.
I’ve gotten through a bit more than two bags of Huel. I’m adjusting to it. I bought a blender, which improves the texture no end, to the point where I’d say it was non=optional – shaking to mix just doesn’t cut it. The biggest help was the discovery that adding a banana and some cinnamon to it *massively* improves the taste, to the point where I quite enjoy it. Probably means I’m in danger of banana poisoning. Strawberries are another good additive, as are peaches. I tried using raspberries yesterday, something in the artificial sweetener in Huel does not go well with them. Still better than plain Huel up front, but the aftertaste with raspberries was very artificial – more so than with regular Huel. I’ve got a mix of blue and blackberries lined up next, as you’ll see in the photo above. Overall it’s turned out that I’m eating more fruit in addition to the Huel, so I’ve cut back so I’m only eating five portions of Huel a day, or three if I’m out for food in the evening.
Effects wise: Had a couple of nights where I found I was going to bed early, because I was tired. But I was up and feeling well-rested at 6:30 the following morning. I might actually just have been tired. Had some headaches the first day on all-Huel, but was fine the following day. Otherwise, I feel relatively normal, aside from some salt cravings the first few days. I suspect I might have stronger cravings for real food if I wasn’t eating out every few days. I’m finding myself hungry at odd intervals, because the calorie size in each meal isn’t what I’m used to, and I’m having to put a bit of mental effort into correctly spacing out my drinks, and not snacking over-much.
I’ve lost a small amount of weight. I’d probably have lost a bit more if it weren’t for the beer and those meals out with friends. Still within a pretty sensible range, something you’d expect with a balanced diet, and consuming slightly less calories that I have been while keeping up the same amount of exercise.
Honestly, I think the biggest difference I’m noting is what a daily step on the scales does for one’s awareness of what one is eating. On the one hand, it’s not an intrinsically unhealthy habit, tracking one’s weight, but I can absolutely see how it might be. The thought “what will eating this burger do to my weight tomorrow?” honestly crossed by mind the other night. Not, I will say, in a “oh god, I shouldn’t do this” way, I hasten to add, more in a “this will be interesting to learn” way. But I can see how one might go from one to the other. And I’ll be amused to watch any weight loss I might have managed from
At the moment, my overall impression is reasonably positive, particularly with the addition of fruit, and given that this supply is almost certainly going to last me more than a month, it’s certainly something I’d consider adopting as a replacement for breakfast and lunch when this trial is done, and then eating real food in the evenings. I’m going to try and force myself to consume nothing at all but Huel-with-fruit this week, just to see how I feel about it then…
Don’t panic, I’m not going to write about this every day, just when I have something to note. So it’ll naturally front-load a bit, as I work out my routine, and what works for me.
So I actually wound up eating two meals of Huel yesterday, rather than my planned one. I didn’t have anything else in the house for lunch, and couldn’t leave the house to buy anything for various reasons. Huel recommend a 3 scoop (they give you a handy scoop for measuring) batch of Huel for a “good sized sandwich” type lunch of 450 calories or so. I had trouble drinking it.
Some of that was my fault – I added water to the powder and shook it, rather than adding the powder to water and shaking it. Turns out that order makes a big different to the texture – my lunch was really lumpy, which is not a phrase to fill anyone with delight, no matter what they’re eating. Huel, in their defence, are clear about this on their website.
But preparation errors aside, consuming 3 scoops in a sitting left me feeling a bit bloated. I’m thinking I’ll have to go with a 2-scoop drink every 2 hours or so, rather than 4 3-scoop meals a day. That’ll net me about 1800 calories from Huel, which leaves room for coffees, and blending some of the Huel with fruit to improve the taste. (I’m stress again that I’m not calorie counting, but I do need to know how much I’m consuming so I’m not grossly over- or under- eating.)
One of the theoretical selling points of Huel is that it’s convenient. I’m not convinced that preparing and consuming half a litre of beige slurry at roughly two-hour intervals is going to be at all convenient, but I guess we’ll see.
Also worth noting: I don’t know if it’s because I’d been to the gym this morning, or just because I am already learning to love my new slurry diet, but I found this morning’s batch much more palatable. I wouldn’t go as far as “nice” but I was hungry, and it tasted better than it did yesterday.
This was breakfast:
Two scoops of powder, in about 500ml of water, makes a watery thing that’s half porridge, half smoothie. I got the vanilla flavour (it comes in in “regular” and vanilla) and it doesn’t taste unpleasant, but it doesn’t really taste nice, either. It tastes… liveable with. Just. I fell upon my morning coffee with even more gusto that I usually would, desperate for something with a flavour that I actively enjoy.
Texture wise, this first batch came out with a generally slightly gritty mouthfeel, and contained the odd lump, which made it slightly porridge-like. Diluting a bit more than they suggested improved the texture. It made it smoother and waterier, the latter of which doesn’t sound like an improvement, but actually I found it stopped it being neither one thing nor the other, and made it into, well, a drink. It also cut the sweetness of it a bit, which was good.
I also bought a flavouring for this (they supply flavourings separately) so I guess tomorrow morning, I’ll see how Rhubarb and Custard Huel tastes.
How do I currently feel about a month where this is the primary thing I live on? Well, I’m certainly going to be conducting a lot of experiments into how to improve this. My friend Derek has already been at this so I may steal some of his ideas, but I suspect that simply trying adding stuff like cinnamon and banana, and using a blender to make it (which will apparently improve the texture) will be first on the list.
I’m also working on the assumption that the human sense of taste being what it is (trainable), I’ll feel better about it in a few weeks than I currently do. I really hope I will, or I’m not going to enjoy August much at all.
On the bright side, the washing up was a doddle.
As a professional idiot, I am often asked “Alasdair, has your brain stood on end and shat itself? Again?”
And I am forced to admit that yes, yes it has.
You see, I’ve just bought a month’s supply of this stuff.
It’s Huel. A UK equivalent of that Soylent stuff that all the weird Bay Area people who are too intellectual for food have decided is the future and we’re all to learn to enjoy out delicious beige slurry now, because it’ll be mandatory later.
So why the hell have I bought it? I mean, I like food. I really like food. I like everything about it. And I’m about to spend most of a month living on vanilla flavoured sludge, and pretending that it’s somehow a replacement for a thing that didn’t need replacing. I am not excited about this concept. What the hell am I doing?
Well, obviously, I’m curious to see what happens, that’s why I’m doing it. I want to know what’ll happen if I spend a month eating an actually properly balanced diet for the first time in my adult life. I’m not doing it for weight loss (although I suspect I’ll lose some) I’m doing it to see what it feel like to eat properly healthily, to give my body all the nutrition if actually needs, as opposed to just shoving some variant on red meat in it more times a week than is recommended by anyone with an ounce of sense.
What’re the rules here, then? I’m not doing this to self-flagellate, and I’m not going to pretend this is the future and a good thing. I am aware this is a mad thing to be doing. So I don’t feel the need to be ultra strict about how I approach this.
With that in mind, over the next week or so, I’m going to build up to living on a 2000-calorie a day Huel diet. (Doing it all at once would by my personally preferred approach, but I understand that can cause the toxic shits, so I’m going to ease in with one Huel meal a day for the first 2-3 days, then another few days of 2 meals a day, before I get to the all-Huel stage.) Once I am on that diet, I intend to operate under the following loose rules.
1) I am allowed to eat other meals, if I am in company (assuming I skip the equivalent quantity of Huel, obviously). Ideally not more than once a week. If I go an entire week without eating in company, and I find myself craving real food, I may allow myself an actual meal.
2) If I am at the pub to be social, I am allowed up to 2 pints of beer, or equivalent, if I really want it. I am allowed as much lime and soda as I’d like.
3) I am allowed as much fruit juice and coffee/tea as I’d like.
I’m obviously going to track my weight and a few other metrics as I go. I might post a vague summary of them at the end of this. Otherwise, well, yes, I am going to keep a diary of this, so you can all point and laugh at the idiot as I go. I imagine you’ll get the first installment tomorrow, after I’ve had breakfast.
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