What the Huel?

3 minutes

Every since I saw Soylent, I was interested in meal replacement systems, but there never seemed to be a decent solution in the UK for me to try. Primarily for me, the attraction of these things are as follows:

  • Convenient/easy to prepare

  • Healthy/balanced diet

  • Hopefully beneficial to IBS, etc

I like food and eating, but I know I don’t eat a properly balanced diet. I’m no dietician and I’m far too lazy to count calories and measure portions or work out exactly what the nutritional profile of my food is to ensure I get everything my body needs.

For the most part, I eat a very predictable, repetitive set of meals, partially because of my IBS, which generally gets disagreeable when I go off-piste. Consequently, switching to literally the same meal for every meal isn’t that big a deal for me. If anything, I’d hope the increased predictability would be a benefit.

When my friend Mafi mentioned the existence of Huel, I was delighted. Finally a UK-available meal replacement product I could try out! We both jumped on board. 2 weeks in, I’ve been mostly replacing 2/3 meals a day with Huel and I’m feeling great. I’m also thinking of experimenting with using it for baking, since it’s basically like oat flour - should be fun!

More details and some gross stuff follows…

At first, I felt very bloated and gassy. My first Huel-stool (teehee) had a lot of yellowy-bile in for the first few days, but soon afterwards I adapted and have generally felt a lot healthier (and no more bile-stuff). I’m eating less calories deliberately to help me lose weight, something easy to do by just adjusting how many scoops of Huel powder I use per meal - no real thought or effort required. I’ve been sleeping less but feeling more alert. So far I’d call it a win.

For a 570ml drink (3 scoops of powder, plus water topped up to 570ml), it’s surprisingly filling. More interestingly, at least in my experience, it’s predictably filling. After a meal of Huel, I pretty much know to within 30 minutes, exactly when I’m going to be hungry again. I’ve also managed to develop a sense for telling the difference between when I fill sated, and when I feel physically full. For the longest time I just equated the former with the latter and ate till I felt stuffed, but Huel has made it very easy for me to tell the difference, so even if I don’t stay on it, that’s a skill I’ll still find useful in the future.

It has quite a pleasant flavour (at least the Vanilla one does, I haven’t tried other flavours). Surprisingly creamy and milky for something with neither cream nor milk, coupled with a sort of porridge-y taste, no doubt because of the large amount of oats involved.

My IBS seems to be pretty happy with it, though I found I still need to take the pro-biotic dietary supplements I was taking before unless I want to get into a lot of pain. However, I managed to go without them for about a week on Huel before noticing their absence, something that I can usually tell after only a day, so it’s certainly easier on my digestion.

All in all, I’d call Huel a success. I’m really enjoying it and the convenience makes preparing breakfast and lunch for work super easy and quick. I still eat a normal evening meal though, but that’s more for the social component than anything.

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