There are times when my life is so hectic, eating properly just goes out of the window. A combination of work, hospital visiting, gym sessions and blog events really can take its toll and there are times when the last thing I want to do is cook a decent meal. I’ve gotten into some dreadful habits of late which have consisted of ready meals, takeaways or just not eating altogether. I’ve talked about being an emotional eater before and I don’t think this helps, I get stuck in the biggest rut and struggle to get out. When I was asked to review Huel, a complete food replacement, I was fully ready to criticise it heavily. If you have ever read my blog before you will see how much I love food, I love the texture, taste, smell of a great meal and the idea of replacing that with a ‘drink’ just horrified me. Then I thought about my dreadful habits when under a little stress and decided to give it a go.
As I’ve said Huel is marketed as a nutritionally complete powdered food promising to give you the perfect balance of carbs, fat, protein and all the vitamins your body needs. It contains a blend of pea protein, rice protein, flaxseed, oats, sunflower lecithin, MCTs from coconut and a vitamin/mineral blend which is free from added sugar, trans fats, preservatives and other nasties that our processed food currently contains.
The website will provide you with the perfect serving size for your needs although it needs to be mentioned that this is formulated purely on calorie consumption. More about that later.
So what does it taste like? I’m never really sure how much I should have when it comes to these sort of things. I appreciate ‘experts’ say how many calories our bodies need based on height, weight, activity levels, etc. Unfortunately eating out as much as I do, I try and compensate for this on a weekly rather than daily basis and this takes a little planning. With this in mind I’ve tried Huel for a few days now. I’ve replaced my breakfast and lunch, the two meals where I am the most disorganised, with two scoops of the Huel powder which I mixed with 10 parts water. It doesn’t mix great in that when shaken in a bottle, it is still a bit lumpy and fritty – blending in the Nutri Ninja makes it much smoother and more palatable. You can hopefully see from the picture above that the texture is coarser than that of a protein powder, for example. Taste wise it is fairly neutral. There is a little sweetness and a hint of vanilla, the oats make it slightly gritty in texture, other than that it is fairly none descript making it easy to add other things to change the taste. I’ve added raspberries and blitzed with ice cubes and also some cacao nibs for an added chocolate kick. If you are considering taking this instead of food it certainly helps to mix things up and attempt to keep it interesting.
And the verdict? I don’t really know where to start. The food lover in me is screaming how bad an idea this is. I’ve never been one to replace meals, even when following the strictest of diets. You would never find me supping a Slim Fast or Juice Plus despite their promises to make me lose hundreds of lbs quickly. I think the difference is, Huel isn’t advertised as a weight loss supplement. It isn’t promising to melt away the fat and lbs in a short period of time and then expect you to maintain your new weight with no support.
I personally think it is irresponsible to suggest taking a meal replacement for every meal unless there are health risks involved in consuming food. There are many health benefits to eating a varied diet and chewing food has been shown to have a positive effect on the health of our teeth. All that taken into consideration there is something to be said for a product that is balanced, quick and easy, especially if it is the difference between daily takeaways or not eating at all. For convenience, occasionally, I think it is fine. For people who aren’t going to eat ‘properly’ anyway, I think it is a good option. For me? I’ll definitely keep a pack in my cupboard for those days when prepping and cooking a meal is just too much. It takes away the guilt, binge eating and upset that brings me. It won’t, however, be replacing the colourful and tasty plates I know I can produce when on track. And Huel, thanks to the convenience, has really helped to get me back on track.
You can buy Huel online for £45 per 1 week supply. In your first order you will also receive a shaker bottle and a t shirt.
Product provided for review purposes.