Today’s blog isn’t directly about quitting drinking – although it does sit comfortably in the “something I wouldn’t have bothered trying if I was still drinking” category….
Huel was introduced to me by my band mate Ben (see here for my blog about my musical movements). Whilst my focus for the last year or so has been on losing a bit of weight and getting fit, Ben has been focusing on getting heavier. He’s a pretty hefty lad these days, especially compared to the skinny bastard I first met 10 years ago, but for him it’s not about the image – it’s about how much he can lift in the gym. His target daily calorie intake is around 6000 calories – and using Huel is a good way of controlling this intake, whether you’re looking to gain weight or lose weight. You use a calculator to workout how much you need to maintain / lose / increase your weight. Ben used Huel to increase calorie intake by drinking it between proper meals (and daily ENTIRE jars of peanut butter). His parps are rank. Incidentally he’s now stopped using Huel, as he’s found other options for quicker gains.
Huel is a bit like a vanilla milkshake that you buy in powder form, and mix with water. Ingredients include oats, pea protein, flaxseed, and brown rice protein. Huel is described by it’s UK-based manufacturers as follows:
Huel is a nutritionally complete powdered food that contains all the proteins, carbs, and fats you need, plus at least 100% of the European Union’s “Daily Recommended Amounts” of all 26 essential vitamins and minerals. So you know you won’t be deficient in any essential nutrients.
It’s been formulated by the renowned nutrition expert James Collier BSc (Hons), RNutr. James has over 25 years of experience working in nutrition and dietetics, including 7 years as a Clinical Dietitian in the NHS. He also has an Honours Degree in Nutrition with Dietetics.
Huel is 100% vegan (better for the environment and animals), super convenient, high in protein (148g per 2000 calories) and fibre (35g), contains just 4.6 grams of sugar per 2000 calories (no added sugar), requires minimal packaging and has a shelf-life of 12 months (so zero food waste).
I initially thought the whole idea was pretty lazy to be honest, and a bit of a fad, but I’m open minded so I ordered a trial pack. After tasting it, and doing some online research, I decided to place an order and give it a go for the following reasons:
- I’m pretty sure my diet could be improved – this has got to be healthier than no breakfast, and then a sandwich and crisps for lunch – right?
- Nice and convenient. Takes 2 minutes to prepare each day, and hardly any washing up.
- It’s cheap – it works out less than £1.50 a meal.
- I kinda like it – I ordered the sweetened version and it sort of tastes like vanilla milkshake. I also sometimes mix it with coffee which works well.
I started using it mid-November last year, so it’s been about 2.5 months. I have Huel for breakfast and lunch on weekdays, and then I have a proper banging evening meal. On weekends I only really have it if I need fuel before exercise, otherwise I’ll just have whatever I feel like. I’m all about the pizza, bitches.
So far my experience of Huel has been really positive. Some big benefits I’ve noticed are:
- The afternoon post-lunch slump I used to get at work has GONE. I just power through like an office-based Terminator.
- I have loads of energy. I currently run around 30km per week, plus 2-3 hours of indoor climbing, and it’s easy. I’ve recently been running a 20km each weekend and so I just chug a Huel before I go. Usually I’ll last until the last couple of km’s before I even think about food.
- I have definitely lost weight – but honestly this could be down to increased running too so might not be Huel’s doing…
The only bad thing about Huel is that it makes me feel a bit like Seth Brundle from The Fly. Seth’s wardrobe is full of identical shirts, trousers, and shoes. This is so he doesn’t waste brain power having to decide what to wear each day. I think if Huel was around in the 80’s then Seth would have used it. He’d have used it so that he doesn’t need to waste brain power deciding which scientifically-transported deconstructed/reconstructed plastic-tasting steak to eat. He’d have been all over it, like a fly on… Huel (literally).
So, in conclusion, I plan to continue on my Huel adventure. I like my weekdays to be structured and habitual – and Huel fits this perfectly. Some people go 100% Huel but I could never do that. I love my food, and in a perverse way the Huel helps with this because it increases my enjoyment of proper food. I’ll die before I give up my weekend feasts. You’ll need to pry that pepperoni pizza from my cold, dead hands.
Go here for more info: https://huel.com