Huel: human+fuel or human+gruel?

My experiences with the meal replacement shake

3 months ago, my girlfriend* suggested I try Huel — a nutritionally complete meal replacement shake.

I’d typically respond to a suggestion like this with a simple “no” — I enjoy eating food, and a sack of powder doesn’t leap out as a fantastic alternative. Crucially though, this was a suggestion from my girlfriend… so the answer was a very sensible “sure thing, why not?”.

So what exactly did I end up trying? Basically, it’s a powder that when mixed with water becomes a nutritionally complete equivalent of a standard meal: vitamins, minerals, protein, carbs, fats. A bit of everything. It’s made up of peas and some other natural things. Long story short, you can drink it as an alternative to a normal balanced meal.

Sounds great on paper, but does it work?

Well, my first sample was of the unsweetened, unflavoured version. Not helped by the fact that I got the quantities wrong (advice: don’t do that), it was quite frankly disgusting. A flavourless, watery mess interspersed with sawdust-textured floaters. I was committed to giving Huel a fair chance though, so moved onto the vanilla. And this was far better.

It’s very drinkable. I’m not going to say it’s my favourite thing on earth, but it’s very drinkable on a reasonably regular basis. But the flavour isn’t the bit that excites me. The thing that excites me is that it removes the need for me to go through the meals I didn’t want to do in the first place.

Let me explain… sometimes, I’m excited about a meal: I’m meeting friends, I’m cooking something exciting, I really fancy a certain food. A lot of the time though, I find meals a bit of a burden: 15 minutes to get ingredients, 30 mins to cook, 30 mins to eat, 15 mins to wash up. And if I don’t want to cook, I end up spending £7 on a mediocre salad (central London…) or, worse still, £18 to have someone bring a bag of unhealthiness directly to my home. And then eat it sat on the sofa in my underpants. That’s 90 minutes or a hefty bill when all I really wanted was to move from hungry to full.

Huel has been something of a silver bullet in this regard. If the idea of cooking or eating doesn’t appeal, I just have Huel. It fills me up, gives me the nutrients I need, and costs under £2 a go. Better still, when I do decide to eat and cook, I actually enjoy it more. I’m finding it quite liberating that hunger is no longer something that takes 90 minutes or a crappy takeaway to solve. I’ve successfully separated eating meals from my basic requirement to fuel my body. And for this, I have Huel to thank.

So, Huel: human + fuel vs human + gruel? For me it’s clear. Great product, worth a try.

In the interests of full disclose, my girlfriend was evaluating an investment in the company, and was looking for product reviews.