• Suzanne Bongers

TESTED: MEAL SHAKES

Bijgewerkt op: 13 okt. 2021

So I’ve known about the existence of meal shakes for a while now, but recently I’ve been wondering what it would feel like to ONLY eat meal shakes, and no solid food. What would it do to my body? Would I miss eating? Maybe it’s actually great?!



DAY 1:


So was my first day of the experiment. Today, we went to the EYE museum in Amsterdam, to see an exhibition about theater adaptations of movies. The exhibition itself was very cool, they made use of sound, smell, visuals, and atmosphere to fully immerse you into the experience. Also, the way they incorporated actual set pieces and made the rooms look and feel as much as the sets as possible, reinforced this feeling.


My thinking about food already began in the morning. I was travelling to Amsterdam by train with two other people, and one of them, being really interested in Scandinavian style and culture, told me it was national cinnamon roll day in Sweden. This immediately made me crave cinnamon rolls very bad, and I told myself I could make an exception to my shake diet and get one today. It was national cinnamon roll day, after all, and it suddenly felt really important to support this Swedish tradition.


After the exhibition, it was around 1pm, so time for lunch. Due to my intermittent fasting schedule, I usually don’t eat breakfast. So around this time, I was feeling pretty hungry, and would soon have to eat my first meal shake. The group I was with proposed to get lunch at a café somewhere, so we did. My friends all chose a nice sandwich or soup from the menu, and I ordered a glass of oat milk to mix with my powder. It was kind of depressing, also because of my poor shaking skills, which made the shake really lumpy. I also felt really weird shaking my ugly protein bottle at this public spot. It was too embarrassed to drink directly out of it, so I poured the drink back in my oat milk glass. The drink tasted okay, but didn’t really satisfy my hunger at first. I watched longingly as my friends consumed their delicious food.


Luckily I later noticed that I wasn’t hungry anymore, and I had the energy to walk around in Amsterdam the whole day. Back at the station finally, my quest for a cinnamon roll ended, so the first day already proved too difficult for me to handle.


In the evening, I tried the Chai latte, which didn’t really taste like anything. I added some extra spices (cardamom, cinnamon, star anise) but it didn’t make a difference. I was also craving something savory already, so I made myself some drinking bouillon and decided that anything liquid would be okay next to the shakes.


The nice thing was that I didn’t have to do any groceries, and all the calories and nutrients are already calculated for you. All the necessary nutrients like protein, fats, fibers and vitamins that you need are in there, they even added some probiotic bacteria.


Later in the evening, my boyfriend came home and ordered some fast food. It smelled so delicious it hurt my soul.


This picture describes how I felt that evening...

DAY 2


Today, I didn’t do anything special with my lunch shake. Just the powder with some water. At around 15:00, I started to become a bit hungry, so I prepared a 1 scoop “snack” (the full meal is 2 scoops, 400kcal). It worked, because half an hour later I was feeling okay again.


In the afternoon, I decided I would permit myself a few simple additions to improve the flavor of the shakes a bit. I bought some fruit juice, and some carrots and zucchini. I also wanted to try heating up the water with grated zucchini and carrots and making a porridge, because the base ingredient of the shake powder consists of oats. This worked out really well, except that the flavor wasn’t that great. I was hoping for a kind of carrot cake flavor, but there wasn’t any sweetness. This gave me another idea: could I make it savory? I added some salt, and it was actually kind of okay. Just a little weird side flavor, but otherwise fine.


Delicious!

DAY 3


Today, I mixed my powder with some fruit juice instead of water. It tasted excellent, kind of like an orange creamsicle. In my opinion, the texture of the shake is not the best, though. The brand claims the shake has a “silky smooth texture” but to me it's just a little sandy, the powder doesn’t seem to dissolve completely. Still, I let some other people taste it, and some really loved the flavor AND texture of the shake.


Later in the day, even after my snack, I still felt pretty hungry. But that also sometimes happens when I do eat solid foods, so nothing really crazy happened here.


For my dinner, I decided to continue with my savory porridge experiment, this time using a bouillon cube, some soy sauce and some veggies again. It felt already a bit more like I was cooking a real dinner, but it was still a LOT faster than my regular cooking time. I didn’t know where to draw the line exactly for this experiment… But I also feel like people who would actually use this product regularly to save time money and still eat nutritious food, probably also sometimes add something to make it more enjoyable. So maybe I am making the experiment even more realistic! The porridge was okay, better than the day before. Still, there is a little weird aftertaste, but if you just ignore that it’s fine.


Maybe I went a bit overboard on the veggies

In between meals, I also ate some (sugar-free) hard candy, just to feel like I’m eating something, without adding many calories.


DAY 4


I’m getting a bit used to the liquid diet now, and I still feel like I have enough energy and a full (enough) stomach throughout the day. Still, I’m a little disappointed that I don’t have the perfect one-wipe-done poop of my dreams. I was hoping that with this consistent diet with enough soluble and insoluble fiber and the perfect amount of nutrients would take care of that. Unfortunately I didn’t really notice a difference in the bathroom area.


For lunch, I mixed my shake powder with some strawberry and orange juice, and it tasted like a nice smoothie. I had lunch together with some other people, and while I was still a bit jealous of the nice food that everyone had, my shake diet did produce some nice conversation material.


After going to the gym in the evening, I was starving, so I used 2.5 scoops instead of 2. I made a porridge again, but this time added some frozen fruit and a bit of sugar, with a bit of drinking bouillon on the side again. I also drank a bottle of fruit flavored Skyr, for some extra protein.


Trying to make it look appetizing... It was hard

Eventually, I did ruin my whole healthy day with drinking a lot of beer in the evening. Oops.



DAY 5


So this morning I had a meeting at 10am online, and I was pretty hungover. I managed to show up to the meeting in time, but I felt tired, dizzy and hungry. Normally when I feel like that, I eat a big breakfast of eggs on bread with mayo. This time I couldn’t, so I settled for a lot of tea and drinking bouillon, hot instant latte and iced coffee. I had my actual breakfast/lunch at 1pm at the studio.



The whole day consisted of waiting for a meeting I was supposed to have at 1:30, but it kept getting postponed to later in the day, until it was 5:30 eventually, and I had to go home. The day felt a bit pointless.


In the evening, I ate hot porridge again, this time with strawberries and extra sugar. On the side, a bouillon again. The strawberry flavor was really nice, I think this way of eating it would be really nice for breakfast or maybe even dessert. For dinner, I still prefer savory food way more. Sweet dinner is not really my thing.


Trying to simulate good food experience by watching a food show while eating

DAY 6


Today was Saturday, so I woke up late and had a pretty chill day. For lunch, I blended up some frozen fruit with extra sugar and water, along with some vanilla extract. I mixed the powder with this, and it tasted great, a bit like a milkshake. Later in the day, I made the same thing again as a snack, but with less powder.


I had another idea to improve the eating experience of my shakes, but this time differently. First, I would have to film myself eating a really nice soup, with a 360° camera really close to my face. Then, when I’m going to eat the shake, I can put it in the bowl, put on a VR headset and pretend I’m eating the soup, while I’m just eating the boring shake with a spoon. I’ wasn’t sure it would work, but worth a try. So this evening, I made a caramelized leek and smoked salmon soup, and filmed myself eating it. The soup was delicious, and it was great to eat something “real” again.


DAY 7


Okay so actually, there wasn’t a day 7. My boyfriend and I went to a family event today, and there was a lot of freshly baked cakes and pies, and for dinner, they had organized an Indonesian buffet. I felt like it wasn’t necessary to torture myself by not eating all of that, while also having to explain my liquid diet week to all the family members.


I still have to try my VR experiment, so I’ll have to eat the shake one more time, but I’m really happy I can eat real, fresh, tasty food again.


The shake powder does have its advantages, and I’m sure it fits with some people's dietary desires. It’s really nice to not think about groceries and the preparation is really quick, so the time you’d normally use for cooking and eating can be used for other things. When you want to eat healthy but don’t want to take a long time planning and calculating every meal, it’s also pretty convenient. It’s also easy to take it wherever you go, just add a little water, and you have something that’ll fill you up.


The obvious downside is that you will probably get bored extremely fast, and miss actual solid food, like I did. Cooking and eating are also just a nice activity, so for me, it doesn’t feel like I wasted time when I do that. The social aspect of eating is also completely gone, and this whole week, my boyfriend and I ate separately, which was a bit sad.


So there we have it! My week on meal shakes. It was an interesting experience, but I wouldn’t do it again. Would you try it yourself?


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