Help and Advise with my (unusual) Diet and Huel

Hi all,

I’ve got an odd diet and would like to know if I should stick to normal Huel powder and switch to Black Edition.

Here is a quick run down on myself and eating habits (brace yourself!)
I’m 33 and have been like this since I was about 4 or 5.
The only meat I eat is Chicken
I’ve not any eaten salad or vegetable for about 28 yrs
I don’t eat Pasta or Rice
Only fruit I have is via Juice
I also don’t eat sauces (ketchup, mayo etc)

I’ve been having Huel for my weekday lunches for almost 4 years now as it was a way to get the nutrition I miss from not eating normally, it also cut down the amount of bread I was eating which in turn helped me loose some weight at the time. I’ve put a bit of weight back on since then and now trying to loose it again (not that i’m a big guy, i’m 5’11 and currently 13.5st).

So should I stick to the normal powder or will Black be better?



The real question is, what do you actually eat?

Truthfully, it shouldn’t make any difference. I would give black a go and see how you feel with it (more satiety, like the flavour better, enjoy it more).

Sorry for the short answer.

I’ll maybe have breakfast bar in the morning, lunch is Huel then dinner each night is chicken, so this could be breaded with chips, grilled fillets with spices with either chips or in a baguette/roll.

Not very exciting I know but food to me is more of a necessity than pleasure. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the odd biscuit, crisps and other thing which are ultimately not good for you, but the core meals don’t interest me.

I just didn’t know if it was worth keeping in the carbs based on my diet and sticking to the normal powder.


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I would say that there is no need to go for the low carbs, unless these make you feel more full or “better”.

Hey Alex,

This is totally up to you. If you’re a fan of v3.0 there’s no reason to switch to Black Edition based on what you’ve said.

I would suggest taking up some cooking classes, looking into something allplants or simply trying more foods such as dried fruits to improve your diet.

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Hi Dan,

Thank you for the reply and yes shall stick with v3.0.

As far as taking some cooking classes, it’s not that I don’t know how to make or prepare meals, it’s a phobia of trying new foods which mentally i’m not ready to overcome yet.

Thanks anyway though

In that case, chat to a dietitian or a therapist who can help you. Best of luck!

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Hey Alex! You probably have ARFID: avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder. Me too, but I’ve been in ‘recovery’ from it over the last 10 years. My restrictions were initially very similar to yours. Since you’re mentioning it, I’m wondering if you’d like some support/suggestions about it. I’d be happy to offer what I’ve learned, in case it’s helpful to you.

In terms of Huel, White vs Black doesn’t necessarily matter for you. Personally I think Black has muddied the waters a bit, because White is already ‘ideal nutrition’ and for me, Black’s macros aren’t as good. Still fine for 100% use, but White’s better. However, I can see it being useful for vegan part-time Huel-eaters struggling to get enough protein, and people spending a lot of their calories on snack food (which is almost always low protein).

Not clear from your post if either apply to you. Would you mind sharing an ‘average day’ diet? I won’t judge, I know what an average ARFID day can look like.

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Hi Simon,
I really appreciate you reaching out. I’ve been reading up on ARFID after you brought it to my attention and it reads very close to home.

I’d be interested to hear more on your story if you’d be kind enough to share (private or public whichever you prefer).

There are time’s where I think I am who I am and get along OK with things, buts other times where the anxiety of eating out it too much and also leaving my wife no option but to go somewhere for me rather than somewhere maybe she’d love try. I’m also going to be a father in a few months so now panic about not being a good example for my child growing up.

My normal weekday would be the following.
Nature Valley Breakfast Bar.
Huel for lunch.
Get home and snack on some cheese and biscuits.
Grill some Chicken brests (sweet chili or peri seasoning), then have it with either chips or in a roll/baguette with cheese.
Then maybe snack on something later

(tl;dr) My story… until about age 22, I was very similar to you in terms of what I could eat – just a bit more variety in meat. As a child I’m sure I was hell for my family, and though they were kind they were clearly frustrated that the usual cajoling made absolutely no headway.

While in dorms at university I had to pay for canteen food I couldn’t eat, and was too embarrassed to use the communal kitchen much. I subsisted (somehow) off bread, tinned meat and Greggs. Eating out was essentially impossible, so I very much kept to myself.

I have a way of thinking of ARFID now that helps me reframe how others saw me – and a way of thinking about overcoming phobias that helps explain how I started to improve after 22. On ARFID (and it helps so much having a name), the root cause in my mind is the disgust reaction. Disgust is an immensely powerful emotional reaction, a key evolutionary defence mechanism, and is remarkably variable/configurable.

We all have disgust reactions that keep us from trying to eat certain things, and we have them to keep us safe. It’s just, if you have ARFID, those reactions trigger for almost every food, by default. As you said, it’s absolutely like a phobia, but it’s actually worse than that. It’s many phobias, for each and every food you haven’t ‘signed off’ and reconfigured your reaction to.

So… overcoming phobias. We’ve all heard about exposure therapy. My family tried that on me. On random days now and then, they’d put some live, writhing gagh on the side of my plate (well, that’s how it felt). And I’d prefer to not eat at all than even ignore that gagh, never mind try it. I’d never been able to work out how exposure therapy is supposed to be ‘the way forward’ when it always failed so utterly with me.

Then my mother told me a story about herself a few years ago, about how she got over her phobia of spiders. See, my dad had always dealt with them in the house, for decades at this point. One day she saw one, unmoving, and she could’ve asked him to remove it but decided to work herself up to it. When she caught it, she realised it was dead.

To her, the story is about how silly it was to be afraid of something that wasn’t even alive. But that my was a lightbulb moment for me about exposure therapy. I think the key was, she was safe. She had absolute confidence that she didn’t have to deal with it, then or ever. My dad would deal with it, and that was okay. It was only because she was safe from exposure that she could actually choose it for herself, and then – only then – could exposure therapy do its magic and reconfigure her reactions.

I started getting better with my ARFID when I got my own place. Living alone, unattached, and frankly pretty damn antisocial and introverted I got myself into a place where it didn’t feel it mattered what I ate. I did want to be able to eat more things, but it was okay if I never did. After a while, I thought about which non-signed-off foods I was least disgusted by, and which were the most useful to be able to eat. The first few foods took a few months each to come to terms with. I’d buy something in, sometimes throw it out immediately, sometimes cook it and throw it out, sometimes nibble a bit, but I’d get it ‘signed off’ eventually.

I think parsnips and bananas were first – they just felt easiest to me. But it’s been a few foods a year for 10 years now. Last year was one of my best – I got okay with lentils, chickpeas, butter beans, blueberries, almonds and cashews. It was finally enough to let me go semi-vegetarian, which I’ve always wanted to do. Huel and Quorn helped massively with that too.

Right now I’m working on tomatoes (in solid forms) and kidney beans, and maybe mushrooms, but I don’t expect to be okay with them for a while yet. It’s still okay if I don’t get there, quickly or ever, and that’s exactly why I probably will. Not with everything, mind: some things I’m really happy with just never being okay with. (I’m talking about you, peas.)

Applying this to your situation… first, I want to congratulate you: you’re loved and you’re starting a family, and ARFID didn’t stop you getting there. Your kid will turn out fine – they probably won’t be an ARFID sufferer, and even if they are they’ll turn out at least as well as you, and probably get better support!

It’s not easy to feel ‘safe’ with our condition, because pressures to eat normally are pretty ubiquitous. But have a think about if there are changes that could make it easier for now. Seems like improving your nutritional intake will help you feel less anxious, so I… err, am going to write another post about that. Ideally, any exposure to unwelcome foods has to be your own choice, in your own time, and prepared yourself.

Then figure out the least disgusting and highest value foods to sign off, and keep one or two in mind for a few months. Hopefully you’ll start getting good days here and there when you feel you want to try a bit of exposure, and often you’ll find you can quickly become okay with that food. Then it’s the next, and the next. It does get easier: foods group up, so once I was okay with parsnips other root veg followed at a decent pace, and the same seems to be happening with legumes and nuts.

It’ll take time, but that’s okay because it’s okay if you stay exactly how you are. Either way you’re gonna’ be able to get decent nutrition (err, see later post), and be a great husband and dad.


Thank you for sharing Simon.

Its interesting to look at finding small food groups to work on at a time because at the moment i’m just overwhelmed with the amount of things I don’t eat I don’t know where to start so think why even bother.

When I moved out to study I was similar to you where i was in a shared house and would be reluctant to use the kitchen, I would wait until everyone had gone to bed before I would go and cook something. I survived my first years away on breaded chicken and cheese toasties!

Unlike you though when I got my own place I then had no pressure or willing to try anything new, for me I was now hidden away so I could cook and eat as I pleased without fear of judgment. I never excess’d on take away’s or or junk food but very much stuck to my limited diet. As I’ve been never had an interest or excitement in food my apatite has always been quite small so stayed relatively slim as i’m not eating in large volumes. Also knowing i’m not eating an ideal diet I knew I couldn’t afford to eat a lot in quantity of what I did as i’d end up being the size of a house.

It was not long after this in fact I discovered Huel, to me this was a win win, I could cut down the amount of bread I was eating (2 cheese rolls for lunch every day) and now get a lot of vitamins and minerals i’ve probably never even had before.

I’m so glad you replied to me and let me know about ARFID,it does make things easier when you know thing is a ‘real thing’ as i’ve always felt alone in this. My loved ones always support me and tell me there and million of people with all kind or dietary needs but i’ve always felt like mine wasn’t a proper thing, there is no medical or moral justification (ie i’m not allergic or have a moral compass telling me not to eat something) and therefor have no recognized ‘excuse’ for being like this.

Your nutrition aside from huel doesn’t sound to me like you would need the additional protein of the black version.

On youtube there is a channel “Only human”, one of their playlists is called “freaky eaters”, with many videos of different eating problems/limitations. May be interesting for you.
I watched some of them long ago. As a caveat I have to say, I found the solely behavioural approach unnecessary stressful on the person. I’d rather use some EFT (aka tapping) to get the emotional stress attached to a food item or change in general out BEFORE (and the remnants: while) actually putting food to mouth.