The end of the Huel saga
Huel and I have parted ways. It was a conscious uncoupling, an amicable separation. At least, we've decided not to see each other as regularly. Three times a day was too much. Beyond that, we may see each other on holidays, for races, when I'm out on a hike... but we won't be seeing each other on the regular like we have been.
You know where I got to by the end of day one -- Huel's vanilla-y flavour and scent, and slightly thick and sandy texture was filling and fairly tasty. I experimented with coffee flavour and chocolate flavour, which were both nice additions and gave a bit of variety to the vanilla. I didn't ever quite master getting a smooth drink using the shaker and, to me, using the blender and creating extra mess sort of went against the whole time-saving benefit of the product, so if you're going to try Huel, definitely brush up on your protein shaker skills!
On day three, I mixed things up a bit and tried making the Huel biscuit recipe from the 'How to use' section of the web site. That was actually delicious and a nice change from my slightly lumpy, liquid Huel.
Even with the solid option, between meals I was craving salt and savoury. Despite the huge number of options suggested on the Huel web site, nothing savoury really seemed to suit the vanilla base flavour so I found myself snacking on crisps and nuts. In some ways that was fine as I wasn't planning to cut out snacks, and I wasn't doing the Huel experiment for weight loss, but I was still craving salty snacks more than I normally would.
I also noticed that I was a bit headachey the first two days, which I've read can be a side effect if you're not used to protein supplements, and I tried increasing the amount of water I was drinking to see if that helped.
I was still super distracted by thinking about my next meal, too! Actually, this is sort of one of the good things about having Huel twice a day and regular food for only one meal -- it really made me savour the meal much more than I think I would have if I'd been eating three standard meals a day.
As far as the health claims, I don't really have much of a basis to judge and have to take their word the fact that it's 'nutritionally complete', but as I try to eat pretty healthily normally, this was probably only marginally better -- but definitely easier and reduced the amount of extra unnecessary calories, fat, sugar, etc I might end up eating even in a healthy meal.
Picture of some of the contents of Huel, from their web site
So, the big question: would I change to a Huel diet or eat/drink Huel again? Yep -- I most definitely would have it again, though I would probably limit it to a maximum of two meals a day like I did this time around, rather than my entire diet, and not for a full week (or longer). It's a great short-term / occasional solution to problems in my life that revolve around lack of time and energy for creating lunches some days.
There are a lot of advantages to Huel, from convenience, to nutrition, but as a friend of mine said, 'textures, smells, flavours, routines, emotional attachment etc all come into play' in the success of any diet and I think, for me, for a long-term plan, I prefer less processed foods in their more natural state, with the occasional Huel supplement.
Have you tried Huel, Soylent or anything else similar to it? What did you think? Would you be able to change to a completely Huel-based diet?