It’s nearly been a year since I started my Huel journey. Thought I’d report back on how it’s been.
I’ve been about 80% Huel. With the odd McDonalds snack or bacon roll on a Saturday morning or restaurant eating out. Or my favourite, sirloin steak once a month. Plus, some fizzy drinks here and there and sugary snacks… this has been since August last year when I radically upped my intake of Huel as the core of my diet.
I contemplated going back to ‘regular food’ this month as I have started to get bored with my 6-7 choice variety of Hot & Savoury flavours. Some flavours I found myself actively not looking forward to… Tomato £ Herb, Pasta Bolognaise. They’re fine just not for me. Too much of ‘the grain’ ones causes some not nice characteristics out the other end too.
Flavours on the powder I’ve been rotating too and I’m not always in the mood for the sweetness, and the mixing of flavours leaves a mixed smell on the bottles which can sometimes make Huel less appealing versus… a 1.99 wrap of the day.
Something I’ve learnt MASSIVELY helps with Huel, so much so I think it should be repeated on every pack and ad, is WATER makes or breaks a heavy Huel diet. Empty stomach or relatively dehydrated stomach is a no go. Stomach and bowels feel congested. I really feel awful. If I ‘prime’ my stomach an hour from waking up to sitting down at work, then have a breakfast shake, it has very little issue going down. Personally caffeine really bothers me too if not watered down a lot and can make me not hungry if taken before meal times. So if you’re sensitive like I am - no diagnosed intolerances to food in there - but ongoing trouble with food and getting enough of it, then maybe this will help you. I honestly couldn’t understand why some days I was fine and others the more I drank the more I felt like cement working through my body. It was all water! Consistent, sips all day long as often as you can remember. Helped by keeping a bottle at hand, in a backpack etc.
Two flavours I absolutely have not gotten bored of: Madras and Cajun Pasta. I just had a variety to mix things up and stop me getting bored - but I’ve gotten bored of the others.
This month I’ve changed to the below:
- 2x Madras (H&S)
- 1x Cajun Pasta (H&S)
- 1x Fiery Noodles (Pots)
- 1x Katsu Noodles (Pots)
- 2x Coffee Caramel (Powder 3.1)
I absolutely LOVED the intensive heat of the fiery noodles when I tried them on launch. The smell it causes in a room though, while I like it, got complaints… I was a bit worried it was too much spice to handle but with my new found ‘super power’ of staying ultra hydrated consistently, I’m hoping the spicier stuff will be alright. Especially if dampened with a side of some nice bread / rolls.
The reasons I didn’t want to go back to normal food was lack of ‘complete nutrition’ - and a tonne of effort needed for it. I read some discussion on here and overall I’m still thinking, given that Huel is made from whole natural foods, isn’t a compromise or a health risk. Having to shop each week again: things being out of stock, short expiry dates, having to buy a pack that serves more than me and inevitably waste loads, the cooking time and prep time all for foods that have sometimes nice in the moment flavour, which just repeats all evening. Or is loaded with high salt and preservative sauces / flavours too. I think that’s usually what irritated my system. Plain chicken, plain meat, plain potatoes… I never liked plain - I was always drowning it in Nando’s sauce or Frank’s Red Hot and you know how salty they are. It wasn’t health sustainable as such. So in short… cost and hassle.
The things that have really worked for me with Huel.
I can always have it with me or bring it with me. Be that late shift at work, or spending all day in the garage on car projects, a shake or two… or a pot, two scoops in it and a spoon with the lid closed in my backpack. Or a bag in the boot of the car, with a water bottle to mix it as and when needed. I can sip it wherever, whoever I’m with and it’s not socially odd. While driving… at my desk at work, watching TV etc.
A lot of my food issues are probably mental / anxiety related. If I have something stressful upcoming or uncertainty, I lose my appetite. If something uncertain comes up it can turn my stomach after I’ve ate recently. That’s why Huel works. The consistency. If I’m half way through a bag too, I know that batch is fine - and what I’m feeling is anxiety or (god forbid) actual illness. I used to worry all the time if I cooked chicken well enough or if something was maybe slightly past its use by date or not stored properly. Whilst I suppose Huel might be seen as a crutch or a coping mechanism in my case… above all, it’s okay value price wise. More and more available in my area (Petrol stations now stock it!!!) it’s flexible, zero waste, reusable cookware (less dishes), healthy (sustainable) yet not miserably bland like a lot of health foods.
As a final note. The whole vegan thing. Like a lot of people I don’t think too much about where meat comes from and I don’t like to think shout it. I’ve never been morally against eating it either. But more days than not now, I just so happen to be living off vegan products. That’s a plus, right? Huel has shown that I don’t have to compromise with some of those awful, disgusting fake meat products (I’ve tried them and even the decent ones just get sickening a week in - whilst often offering no health or nutrition benefits and are still fried / unhealthy). As a Buddhist as well, vegetarianism has always been a ‘you should live that way because you can’ that I never thought I’d personally be able to do, but here I am, most days of the month actually omitting meat from my diet. By choice. Gaining a lot from doing it. It doesn’t feel like a compromise. I’m immune to the pity look people give me now when they ask ‘is that all you eat now?’ And I say ‘Mostly yeah’
I wonder if any of you can relate on any of that. Or have any ideas to try or reflections on your Huel experience.