Huel – The meal replacement, or is it?
We’ve all been there, sat on Facebook and one of those odd adverts comes up for a meal replacement/lifestyle change and we generally ignore them. Curiousity got the better of me so I went looking for more info.
Now the claim is Huel is a meal replacement that is good for you and calorie controlled, so far so good. It also contains a huge chunk of nutrients that most people just don’t get enough off (me included).
I read every section of their site, jumped on the forums and read information there and even found a few other reviews done by people like myself. So I thought why not and ordered their £4 sample meal (they refund this is you buy a full course), a couple of days later it arrived in its almost 80s look space age metallic packet. (Think the freeze dried foods they tried to sell back then)
The instructions are pretty simple, add to water, shake like a mad person and then enjoy. I’d read up about flavourings and jumped straight it with some Nescafe espresso powder, I prepared mine the night before for use at work instead of lunch, so it was sat in the fridge overnight and come lunch time I had something that tasted like a cold latte.
Now I wasn’t going to order more sample packs so I took the plunge and opted for their 28 day meal pack (but stretching it out because I was only having it for lunch), as I was new user I got a free t-shirt and shaker bottle (both surprising very good quality) and I set about using Huel – this was in February this year.
I found at the beginning a much nicer way of enjoying it, substitute the water for milk and prepare it the night before as it would thicken up nicely and taste like weetabix. (For those counting calories I was using semi-skimmed milk which comes in at 50 calories per 100ml, instead of water which of course is 0 calories – you can vary the amount of huel if you want to obtain a specific calorie intake per meal).
Everything was going well, a couple of comments from people at work about me drinking gruel for my lunch were made but not much else. Now their site does warn of some digestive changes and advise to drink lots more whilst using Huel, this for me wasn’t so difficult as I was only having 1 Huel meal per day, but more on that shortly.
Then a mistake…….I didn’t have enough milk so made a water only version and left that overnight – to this day that taste still haunts me, it was very metallic with a strong after taste of chlorine, yes this was tap water and the water from the tap didn’t taste like this until the addition of the Huel but it made a lasting impression.
Fast forward to now (well the end of April/beginning of May) – the bad taste still remained in my mind which made it hard to enjoy (even as a milk only version) but more importantly for me the digestive changes they spoke about didn’t really stop, without being graphic I was being blocked up and not regular like I should be. Two weeks after stopping using Huel and everything is back to normal.
Did I lose any weight on Huel? Nope, I was eating normally and I’m at a weight that stays unless I start doing some regular more intensive exercise (which is not happening at the moment because of my knee giving out every so often).
Did I have any more energy on Huel? If I did it may have only been a small amount.
Maybe Huel works better as a full 3/4 meal replacement but I enjoy food, I like to cook, I like to experiment with my cooking and make odd but tasty creations. Huel may be a full replacement, it may be good for the planet and suitable for pretty much most dietary types and it may just resemble the idea they had in The Matrix about a food substitute but as also pointed out, people want taste their food and enjoy the experience of eating/dining.
For me Huel is a no go.