So I’ve read around these forums and found a few examples of similar symptoms when first trying Huel. I tried it with the intention of replacing occasional meals with it, in an attempt to make myself eat healthily even on days when I don’t have time, or the inclination to cook something from scratch. I think it would have worked really well for me had it not been for the frankly horrific side effects.
I started by having a two scoop serving each day for breakfast. No gastric issues initially (other than a bit of fairly sulphuric wind) but the headaches started almost immediately. I occasionally suffer with visual migraines. No terrible pain, but visual disturbances like a strobe light off to the side and twinkly lights. Sometimes I lose my near sight in one eye (the way the brain deals with near and long distance is complicated and can result in the loss of near vision but not long distance vision, but I won’t go into detail about that now). I’m used to this happening at my time of the month. They usually last no more than an hour and I know they are related to elevated levels of oestrogen. So the day I started on the Huel, the migraine started and my vision went, but it lasted all day. Then all day the next day and the day after that. It subsided each day a little in the evening but started up again by midmorning the next day (around an hour after my Huel breakfast). Initially I thought maybe it was just a coincidence, or that I hadn’t drank enough water (Huel is satisfying and I didn’t feel hungry or thirsty for several hours after it), but the headache didn’t subside even after drinking a litre and a half of water, so I don’t think it was that. I had to take two days off work in the end (I’m an intensive care nurse so I can’t afford to not be on my game at work. I certainly can’t draw up IV medications with no near vision in one eye!). Around 3pm on day three the stomach cramps began. Now, I usually have guts of steel. I’m never sick. I never get an upset stomach. I’m known for it. My mum used to give us totally rank gone-off food when we were kids, she would just pray over it and trust god to keep us from getting food poisoning (yeah, I know!), and the result of that, I think, has been that my gut can handle pretty much anything. These stomach cramps, and the apocalyptic bowel movements that followed were like nothing I have ever experienced. I haven’t had any Huel for three days now and I still can’t leave the house due to the sheer unpredictability of my arse. The migraines have subsided but I have done a lot of reading and realised that flaxseed is full of phyto-oestrogens, like soy but stronger. So even if the gastric issues subside, as many people on these forums suggest they will, I don’t think the migraines will.
Because of the risk factors involved with migraine sufferers and oestrogen-rich hormone treatments (such as the combined contraceptive pill and hormone replacement therapy, which I’ve been told never to take because my migraines mean I have a drastically increased risk of stroke), I have decided that because of its high estrogen content, Huel is definitely not for me.
It’s a shame because I liked the taste, it was filling and I think I’d have done well on it otherwise.
I guess I’m sharing my experience because others, particularly women with hormone issues (such as migraine, acne, polycystic ovary syndrome etc) may have the same problems I had, and I’d be very wary about using Huel without consulting a doctor, due to the potentially increased risk of stroke.
If anyone would like to buy an unopened bag of Vanilla Huel (expires end 02/2018) for a tenner, let me know.