Two shelves of powder food Two shelves of powder food

When I received my first batch of Joylent (the artist recently renamed to Jimmy Joy my calendar had enough things on it that I could not try going shake-only, or shake-mainly, for a while. By now, a while has passed and I have been drinking the majority of my food for just over a week. Most of my breakfasts have been my classic chopped fruit and yoghurt or milk, and apart from that only one lunch has been anything but Joylent or Queal. Queal is another brand in the same vein, providing several more interesting flavours so I decided to give them a go as the first resupply of my powder stores. I was once again a little surprised just how much volume and weight these meals mean. 21 bags meant a big box weighing 12 kilograms to carry home, as well as the need to create quite a bit of extra shelf space.

So, what is it like?

Do I starve? Does it get boring? Do I lose apetite or wake up in the middle of the night craving a pizza?

No, not really.

During my first two-day Joylent-only stint my head sometimes felt a bit heavy and sometimes a bit airy, which I thought was surprise at the amount of easily available sugar. That has not come back, so I think it was a one-time adaptation (withdrawal?) until I make any longer break into more sugar. The other experience I had was that of not having any cravings (except noodles every now and then) but my stomach feeling empty. That one has remained to a much larger degree. If I did not know the shakes gave me everything I need I would probably assume I needed more food and end up having a lot more than required. I could see that being a problem for integrating meals like this over the long term: both that one might drop out of it eventually from feeling empty and that replacing the odd meal with a shake might mean unintentionally or not eating more during the next meal.

But I have not got tired of tastes or consistencies, both Queal and Joylent feel like unexpectedly fresh and filling milkshakes rather than a bunch of chemicals mixed together and sprinkled with artificial flavours.

Matters of taste

Both Joylent (Jimmy Joy, right. Kind of unwieldy that name, no?) and Queal come in several fun flavours. So far the one least to my taste has been Jimmy Joy's banana flavour, and even that one has been enjoyable to drink. On the whole, I enjoy Queal's flavours more, simply because they seem to have more of it. Their chocolate especially tastes more of chocolate, and their apple pie is my favourite flavour of all. I would not be at all surprised to hear someone prefering the less intense tastes though, the taste-intensity you want in something you drink several times a day is very personal. I am not sure I would get through a whole bag of a really strong banana flavour, for example, but a gentle one goes down easily. To sum up: yay for options!

Material design

When it comes to material around the actual powder, we have bags, shakers and scoops to deal with.

Queal bags look like nicely designed medicine or health supplements. Jimmy Joy bags look like fun food, bags I can leave on a shelf because they look nice. Both hold powder for three meals and use similar ziplock solutions for re-sealing.

Both brands provide their own measuring scoops and roughly the same measurements. Queal has done the natural thing of creating a scoop which you use an even number of per meal. Five scoops of powder into the shaker, done. Jimmy Joy for some strange reason did not, directing you to use three and a half scoops per meal. On the plus side, the scoop is very, very close to one decilitre in volume and so can be easily replaced if needed.

Then we get to the all-important shakers - the bottles you mix in and drink from. This is Jimmy Joy's version:

Jimmy Joy's shaker Jimmy Joy's shaker

And this is Queal's:

Queal's shaker Queal's shaker

Here, my humble opinion is that Jimmy Joy's shaker wins over Queal's in every single aspect of design and use. The cap is sort of in focus here. Jimmy Joy has a snap-on cap which is attached with a hinge to the lid. Snap up and fold back, drink, fold, snap back on, shake, repeat. Queal has opted for a sort of twist cap which, for me, has three problems:

The interesting twist here is that Queal's design is brand new, and they went to it after using a snap-on cap like Jimmy Joy's. They noted that the old design opened too easily, so perhaps the twister will gain appreciation from me in the long run. For now, though, I keep wishing they both used the same design.

Since the shakes settle relatively quickly, I like to shake more than once. I also like placing the Jimmy Joy bottle upside down for the same purpose of keeping things better mixed, and I was surprisingly disappointed when I realized the Queal bottle is not able to stand upside down.

Finally on the side of design, I would like someone to create a breakthrough in the bag to shaker powder transfer situation. It is way too easy to spill some powder when filling the shaker, and surely there is a simple solution to this? A higher ratio of width between the scoop and the shaker opening would make sense. Or using a siphon, but surely we should not need to add more tools and steps to what is intended to be a quick meal?

Will I keep going?

Until something gets in the way, yes, I think I will. And by getting in the way I mean changing my daily meal routines significantly. The combination of having meals always ready and perfectly balanced nutrition-wise is just … great. Fast-food is suddenly not just unhealthier as always, but now also a slower option.

I am pretty sure I will never go shakes-only. I like good food and there is so much of it out there. But cutting out so many mindless fillers and replacing them with something actually good is a big step up. And then I can top that off with realizing I have not had to spend one minute for more than a week planning or shopping for groceries.

Oh yeah, if you want to get a €10 discount when ordering Queal you can use this referal link: http://queal.refr.cc/fredrikb. That gives me a discount too, so everyone wins.