Thoughts on Huel
August 28, 2019
On Monday 29th June, I received my first order for a new meal replacement product called Huel. They claim it's "The Future of Food", or that's the slogan anyway. I out of curiosity ordered a weeks worth to see if this is truly "everything your body needs".
Here's a bit about Huel directly from their website:
Huel provides at least 100% of the UK Government's 'Reference Nutrient Intakes' and the European Union's 'Daily Recommended Amount'.
Huel contains: No added sugar, no meat or animal products, no dairy, no soy, no eggs, making it suitable for those with even the most complex dietary requirements.
So the idea is that, from this powdered food I can eat a healthy balanced diet. The explainer video goes on to say how it'll save the planet based on reduce waste an emissions.
So how did I get on?
I didn't start using Huel until the evening, I had 2 meals, one at around 6pm and the other around 9pm. I only added the second meal in as I was feeling a little peckish, but I probably didn't need a full portion.
Thoughts after the first day: This could be improved massively with some fruit blended in.
Tuesday was the most interesting day for me. It was the day of my first ever closed road race (cycling!). I had no idea what to expect going into it, so there are lessons learnt in terms of hydration levels... which I believe to be closely linked to Huel.
In the morning I prepared breakfast, mixed in blueberries which made it taste much better! I then washed up quickly and prepared my lunch. Dead easy, it really doesn't take any longer than 5 minutes. Huge plus here.
I then had my third Huel at around 6pm. My race was at 7:30pm, so at this stage I was making sure I was taking on plenty of water. I also snacked on some energy bars because I believed I'd need more carbs for the race.
The race didn't go to plan. I cramped up in my calf 3 laps from the end of the race. I was horribly dehydrated and clearly lacked electrolytes (salts that assist hydration). It was a hot day, the race was actually shortened as a result from a 40 minute race down to 15 lap limit (around 30mins), so I should have been drinking more water throughout the day.
Post race, I was still full and in pain, so I never had my 4th Huel.
I woke up with a headache, so still dehydrated from the previous day. At this point I was questioning if I needed to up the amount of water due to the change in my diet.
After the cramp on Tuesday my leg was hurting badly
Thursday was a bit of an off day. Breakfast was Huel. Then I had a second breakfast... I had a craving for a bacon bagel! At work every Thursday we get a burrito for lunch, and I love me a good burrito! So the burrito was my lunch. After work, I went straight to the pub and ended up eating out. So there was no Huel consumed.
My leg is still hurting at this stage. In fact, it was particularly painful in the morning. By the evening it stretched out, but still stiff & sore.
Friday, I skipped Huel for breakfast and lunch. Instead I had another bacon bagel (seriously, they're good). Lunch I realised I never made up any Huel, so I nipped to the shop and bought a sandwich. My evening meals were Huel though!
My leg had loosened up by this point, still stiff and sore in places.
My leg was still a tiny bit stiff, but I managed to jump on the bike and do around 60 miles. In fact, I set my best time for a particular route. This was interesting to me as I had been exclusively consuming Huel on this day.
Evening meal was a pizza, followed my a late night Dominos after a night out down the pub.
I had my first Huel around 11am. Followed by a sandwich at around 1:30pm.
Today I'm feeling tired of Huel, and this is the point at which I've decided whilst I'm not going to continue consuming it for the majority of my meals. Instead I'll use it for the occasional meal instead. Going to have a proper roast dinner, which I'm looking forward to immensely.
I found I needed to drink more water with Huel. This isn't a bad thing though, don't get me wrong. There is a good chance I'm not drinking enough water as it is, and this was a key take away from the experience.
After a lot of thought I've decided to not continue with Huel. I've found it a little too dull for me.
Instead, I'll be investing time into figuring out cost effect meals that are still high in nutrition and align my nutrition more closely to my cycling.