Imagine if you could fuel your body in the same way you do your car?
OK, well some might argue that’s kind of what we do already, I mean we put food in, it’s converted to energy ergo fuel. But, here’s the thing…what if you could fuel your body with something that contained 100% of the RDA (Recommended Daily Amount) of vitamins and minerals that it needs, only takes 2 minutes to prepare and would ensure your body was revved up for ultimate energy, fitness and power?
That product exists and it’s about to revolutionise the future of our food. Let us introduce you to the ultimate human fuel, or as it is best known, Huel.
In simple terms, Huel is a nutritionally complete powdered food, but strip it down and really, really take a look at what it actually contains, explore the extensive benefits that Huel can bring to the human food system and all of sudden we’re looking at something that is truly remarkable.
So, let’s take a look at what goes into this powerful liquid meal:
- Rice Protein
- Pea Protein
- Vitamin and Mineral Blend
- Sunflower Lecithin – Good for strengthening brain and nerve cells.
- Vanilla Flavour and Sweetener (not in the Unflavoured & Unsweetened variety)
- MCTs from Coconut (Medium Chain Triglycerides are great as the body burns them up as fuel, rather than storing as fat)
What stands out for me is that although some of these ingredients might seem a bit complex and possibly even like something you’d read in a chemistry lesson, they are in fact all completely real, non-synthetic, natural foods. OK, so they are in a powdered form, but they still remain wholly natural and as further proof (if you were in any doubt) the formula has been given the thumbs up from Registered Dietician, Rachel Clare BSc (Hons):
“Huel is a nutritionally complete product and is therefore a suitable option for a meal replacement. In addition to all essential vitamins and minerals, it also contains a good fatty acid profile including omega-3, monounsaturated fat and middle chain triglycerides. Furthermore, Huel meets the recommended intake for fibre provided the consumer meets their full calorie requirement with Huel”
Now, I know what you’re all thinking, because I thought it too…
How can a drink replace food?
Where’s the pleasure?
Where’s the variety?
First things first, the company is not asking you to replace each and every meal with Huel, but instead asking you to think about replacing either one or two of your meals.
Still not convinced…?
Take a look at the incredible benefits that come with including Huel in your diet:
- 100% Vegan.
- It is nutritionally complete.
- It is low GI.
- It has a very low sugar content.
- There is no extra sugar added to it.
- Huel doesn’t contain any genetically modified ingredients.
- It contains at least 100% RDA for all 26 essential vitamins and minerals.
- Huel is high in fibre and protein – which we all know is mega good for us.
- There is no waste – no peelings, no leftovers, no excess packaging.
- It has a year long shelf life – although you’re unlikely to have it on your shelf that long!
- It’s quick to make – takes just 2 minutes to prepare. In fact what other meal can you think of that takes longer to consume than it does to prepare?
- If consumed sensibly and according to instructions, Huel can both help you gain weight or lose weight in a healthy, sustainable way.
And another thing…the world faces serious future challenges over its food production, so could Huel be the answer to this potentially catastrophic problem? Could it provide nutritious food for struggling third world countries? If you really start to think about it the possibilities that Huel offers really are endless.
This is all well and good, but perhaps one of the biggest questions is…
Does Huel Taste Nice?
The lovely people at Huel sent me a large pouch of their vanilla flavoured food along with a handy Huel shaker, instructions and a rather fetching Huel T-shirt (FYI every first order of Huel comes with free T-shirt and shaker…BONUS!).
Scoop in hand and eager to try Huel for the first time I mixed it up with water as instructed and put my complete faith in the power of the supplied shaker. Let me describe the shaker in a bit more detail for you. You’ll see from the picture that it kind of looks like any regular sports bottle, but the beauty of this one is that it comes complete with a nifty grill that slots over the top. This means when you shake it all up, not only does it help break up any big lumps of powder, but it also ensures that when you come to drink it, should any hardcore lumps remain, they are conveniently filtered out. At this point it’s probably fair for me to mention that Huel do actually advise you blend your mixture before consuming; my keenness to try and somewhat annoyingly impatient tendencies unfortunately meant I missed reading that in the instructions. Oops!
After getting my shake on I headed back to my desk with my Huel ‘lunch’. In all honesty it’s not exactly the most appetising looking lunch I’ve seen; its kind of wishy-washy oatmeal/fawn/cappuccino (or whatever other name Dulux is currently calling the colour we all know as beige) and despite my vigorous shaking, which FYI was done whilst dancing in the kitchen and listening to Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake It Off’ on the radio – convenient timing or what – it still looked very much like lumpy wallpaper paste. So, to say I was looking forward to my lunch would be a bit of a porky pie. However, I am never one to judge by appearance alone so…bottoms up, down the hatch and let’s crack on with downing my lunch!
First impression; sweet, with a grainy texture almost like very watered down Readybrek, but somehow even with my rather primitive description strangely not unpleasant. And after the first few mouthfuls, my taste buds grew accustomed to the taste as well as the texture and by the time I’d finished my lunch I realised I’d actually quite enjoyed it. I definitely should have blended it up with some ice, there’s no question of that, and yes the colour is bland, but let’s face it if something is too brightly coloured it’s hardly going to be ‘au naturale’ is it?
There are some people who completely substitute solid food with Huel, which might I add is not something Huel necessarily advocate, and how on earth they manage to do this I will never know. They of course have their own reasons, but personally I can only ever imagine substituting one meal a day with Huel. I love food too much and would miss the different textures, tastes, smells and appearance that comes with eating a varied diet. If you’re a foodie, you’re probably not going to get on with Huel; although arguably if you do like your food and need to control what you eat to allow for a bit of overindulgence every now and again then maybe Huel could be the answer.
Huel report that although it is completely nutritionally viable to replace all of your daily meals with Huel, most of their customers replace a more realistic 50-80% of their meals.
Since my first taste experience of Huel I have got a little bit more experimental with it and have come up with a couple of flavour combinations that are ideal for breakfast.
Check out my favourite, the rather niftily named…
‘Ferris Hueller’s Shake Off’
It’s purple, it’s thick, it’s delicious and it’ll fill you up until lunch, here’s what’s in it:
- 1 scoop of Vanilla flavoured Huel
- Handful of frozen Blueberries
- 1 overripe banana (the older the better, as I think they add an almost caramel sweetness to the taste)
- Milk of your choice
- 1 tsp Chia Seeds
Simply place all ingredients, apart from the Chia Seeds, into a blender and whizz until you reach your desired consistency. Pour into either a glass or your Huel shaker and scatter the Chia Seeds over the top for added health benefits or purely because it looks pretty! Et voilà – one ‘Ferris Hueller’s Shake Off’ made in a matter of minutes.
I have also tried banana and strawberry, banana and almond butter, and for the ultimate weekend treat coffee and cocoa powder – AMAZING!
I now really look forward to having a Huel shake for breakfast every other day (I absolutely LOVE porridge so there was no way anything would knock that off my morning menu) and I find the additional flavours perfect for a food lover like myself.
Huel also sell flavour pouches that can be added to the base mix and these include:
- Pineapple & Coconut
- Rhubarb & Custard
These all use natural flavours and the natural sweetener, Stevia. For more information about these flavour pouches visit the Huel webstore.
Hangin’ with the Huellers!
If you are interested in learning more about Huel then we would really recommend you pay a visit to the Huel forum, as pretty much any question you can possibly think to ask is answered and there is a real community of Huellers (people who Huel) out there willing to share their experience of Huel. But as an added bonus to our lovely Art of Healthy Living readers we managed to grab a few minutes with the team at Huel to find out a bit from behind the scenes and what the future holds…Enjoy!
Who are Huel?
“Huel is a British company based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. It was founded by Julian Hearn, a self-made businessman from Aylesbury, and the registered nutritionist James Collier BSc (Hons) RNutr. James has 25 years working in nutrition, which includes over 7 years working in the NHS as a clinical dietician covering an array of clinical areas, where he worked with people with a wide range of ailments. He is also co-owner of one of the world’s most popular bodybuilding forums, www.MuscleTalk.co.uk.”
How long has the company been running?
“We started selling Huel in June 2015.”
What was the inspiration behind Huel?
“The idea came from when co-founder Julian Hearn was on a diet plan for a former business of his. He had to stick to a strict diet to make sure he was getting all the nutrients his body needed, but found that making sure he got them all as well as having the time to prepare them, was a ‘nightmare’. That is why he created Huel. It takes two minutes to prepare and has 100% of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to thrive. People can gain or lose weight, eat healthier and save time all in the knowledge that what they’re eating is sustainable and healthy.”
How many products do you have?
“We currently have two versions of Huel; the original vanilla flavour and an unsweetened, unflavoured version. However, we also produce the following to help you on your Huel journey:
- 7 flavour pouches that you can use to customise both versions of Huel
- Shakers to mix and consume Huel in
- Huel t-shirts
- Huel hoodies
- Huel metal bottles
- Sample packs to try Huel out before committing.”
Who is your target audience?
“The original target audience was busy professionals, however, as we started selling this has grown into a much wider audience. We now have:
- Fitness people who use Huel to help with their goals
- Parents who are busy looking after children, so need nutritionally rich, quick meals
- People looking to lose and gain weight
- People with allergies
- People looking for a more vegan style diet.
Our customer base has expanded quite rapidly, so it’s difficult to say who exactly the target audience is now.”
Do you use Huel and, if so, in what way?
“Everyone who works at Huel eats it, however, none of us eat Huel 100% of the time for extended periods. Julian Hearn eats Huel in the mornings and for lunch, before sitting down to have a traditional family meal with his wife and child. James Collier does much the same, though he is also using Huel to help him gain some muscle. Some days we may eat 100% Huel, but we don’t think that’s how you have to consume Huel and indeed the vast majority of the time we don’t.”
Where can I buy Huel?
“Huel can be bought on our website or via Amazon.”
What is the future for Huel?
“We have a number of big plans in the pipeline, though I can’t reveal all of them. However, we are looking into making Huel gluten free, as well as continuing to try and make Huel cheaper for our customers. We will also be launching in North America in the near future.”
What is the Huel ‘big dream’?
“Our mission; our big dream, is to make a nutritionally complete, universally affordable food, with minimum impact on the environment. We don’t want to replace quality whole meals, family meals or social gatherings, instead we want to give people a viable alternative to convenience and junk foods.”
Describe Huel in three words.
“Nutritionally Complete Food.”
In conclusion, Huel isn’t going to be to everyone’s taste, but in terms of providing a nutritious, quick, waste free healthy meal option it certainly ticks a lot of boxes. And with the team continually working on future developments I think we will be seeing a lot more to come from Huel.