I also have Selective Eating Disorder (though I didn’t know it had a name until my girlfriend looked it up for me earlier this year). The name we found for it was ARFID (Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder) but I think they both refer to the same thing. But as you say it’s not especially well known so is quite difficult to explain to new people my food issues. I mainly eat cheese and bread (or a combination of the two, I’m big on margherita pizza and cheese toasties and cheese on toast etc etc). Sometimes I might branch out with tomato soup (though definitely not tomatoes themselves!). I like chips so that tends to be my go to “meal” when I’m at a restaurant. Ohh also, I’ve started to eat garlic bread (which I’m very proud of, I’ve only started to eat it in the past year! Again, doesn’t really sound like a big deal to someone without ARFID but that was a big step for me). I also really like strawberry milkshake (but not strawberries!). Unfortunately my palette for sugary foods is much broader and I have a massive sweet tooth. So my diet for years wasn’t ideal.
I’m 5ft10" and I was about 15st at my heaviest and over the course of around 2 ½ years I have been trying to get down to 11st. I have been yo-yoing around 12st for about a year now for various reasons, mainly comfort eating for stress from Uni. I’m far happier with my weight now but I still have a noticeable amount of belly fat that I’m trying to lose and would still like to get to 11st to see how I feel about my body then. This causes a weird problem in that my friends and family, trying to be supportive, tell me “You don’t need to lose any more weight” and “you look great”, which makes it oddly difficult to motivate yourself to keep eating healthily when you’re being softly discouraged out of kindness.
I tried to set systems in place to create a Huel-like situation before I knew about Huel, a liquid, nutritionally-complete diet. I would look for meal replacement shakes and as they encourage you to eat them in combination with a balanced diet due to the fact they’re not nutritionally complete on they’re own (which ARFID obviously limits), I would try to balance them out with other shakes. So I would have a Slim-Fast shake combined with a SciMx Diet shake and ON Protein Powders, with a frozen pizza in the evening for good measure. I use MyFitnessPal so could make sure I was eating enough protein etc and remain at a calorie deficit so I managed to lose 3st this way. This worked well for me for a while, though I did still get Nutritional Anxiety. I knew I was eating healthier than I used to be and that I was losing weight, but I was still worried that what I was doing couldn’t exactly be classed as ‘healthy’ and I was probably over-doing it nutritionally in some areas, and under-doing it in others.
So obviously Huel was the perfect find for me. I slowly acclimatised myself to 100% Huel while I was getting through the back stock of all my other strawberry milkshakes. Obviously it helped a lot being a big fan of strawberry milkshakes in the first place. I mix it with something called “FlavDrops” which are sold by MyProtein. I couldn’t get on board with the Huel own strawberry flavouring for reasons I can’t quite place (other than simply, “ARFID”). So I’m not saying those ones are bad, or you won’t like them, they just didn’t taste great to me, whereas FlavDrops did. I’ve had a couple of boxes of 8-bag deliveries of Huel now and am now nearly finished the second box. I’m not sure to what extent the sudden change to a liquid diet would be a jolt to your system as obviously I was on a mostly liquid diet already. So like the advice to most people here I would recommend replacing just 1 meal a day and seeing how you feel, and go from there. I’m going to stick to 100% until I’ve reached my fat loss goal then will likely go for 66/75 percent Huel with an evening meal.
So if I have any advice for a fellow ARFID-er it’s to buy the unflavoured one and then mix it as strongly as you can with a flavour you’re familiar and happy with. FlavDrops do a great range of all sorts and you add drops to taste but obviously if there’s a flavour you’re more comfortable with than the range they offer then experiment. Try to get it as close to the familiar as possible. Have a look through some of the forums to see what people have mixed it with to see if you like any of the things suggested and go from there. I would recommend going with Unflavoured rather than Vanilla cause I’ve found the Vanilla one to be more prone to lumps (fine for most people, but obviously with my issues with texture an unexpected lump can really throw me). Additionally I don’t especially like the flavour of vanilla milkshake in general; it just puts me off for some reason. I was able to get through the one bag of Vanilla I’d ordered as a tester by making them very strong with the strawberry drops, but I probably won’t buy another. I also bought a Blender Ball, they’re pretty cheap but really help to mix the Huel, which again helps with minimizing lumps (I can’t remember the last time I had a lump).
When it comes to consistency I imagine that will matter more to you than most, so similar to what you might read on other posts here, the more water you add the thinner it will be, and the less you do the thicker it will be. Additionally if you let it set for a few hours in the fridge (or overnight) it will thicken nicely. I prefer thicker (as I like milkshake) so I tend to make it up and then fridge it for a few hours. I have 500ml of water with three scoops. As you don’t like milkshake it may be worth having a similar amount but with 2 scoops? And having it straight away so it doesn’t have time to set. The recommended is 190ml to one scoop, or 5 parts water to 1 part Huel. So 500ml with 2 scoops would make it a bit thinner than usual. Also some people mix with milk, or half milk/half water, the great thing about unflavoured is that it can be flavoured to taste, so try to experiment to get as close to something you like and are familiar with as possible!
Sorry if this post is overly long, I just wanted to make sure I got all I could think of down to help out a fellow ARFID-er!