We’ve all heard about it, but is it good? Is it bad? What even is it?
What actually is Huel? Maybe more than just a buzzword for tech hipsters, it’s a food replacement drink with a bold mission statement – “To make nutritionally complete, convenient, affordable food, with minimum impact on animals and the environment.” It comes in a powder form that is mixed with water to make a shake and you can get flavour sachets in all sorts of weird and wonderful flavours. At £1.33-£1.61 per 500 calorie meal, it ticks off being affordable, but is it actually a viable or desirable option that will make you feel happy and healthy?
I’ve been using Huel for about six months now, and I have at least one shake every day. While I wish I had the willpower to become a vegetarian, knowing that a solid portion of my calorie intake is all sustainably produced and 100% vegan makes me feel marginally better about myself. It’s also surprisingly delicious (even when lukewarm) but most the flavour sachets are overkill. The basic Huel tastes like a mildly sweet golden syrup porridge drink with a hint of vanilla and some nutty tones. The only hurdle to overcome is texture, which is starchy to the point of gloopiness.
I’ve found if you blend instead of shaking and put your shake in the fridge in the evening, by the morning the texture will be much smoother and will stay cool at least until lunchtime. The flavour sachets include; toffee, rhubarb and custard, chocolate and mocha, but other than mocha which was quite delicious, the others were just too sweet for me. My favourite feature of Huel is its convenience. I always pack one or two shakes worth in my bag, and when you’re on the go it’s remarkably convenient, especially as you only need to add water.
It appears they’ve nailed their mission statement and I’m certainly going to keep buying and using it, but there’s no chance I’m quitting on traditional food. Huel really falls down for me in three ways – The first is that I love food and I’m never giving up my wonderfully varied London diet, let alone the social aspects around it. The second is that despite being a nutritionally complete meal if I only eat this for a day it disagrees with me (to put it mildly). Finally, I eat a lot to balance my exercise regime and having to have six of these shakes a day is a cumbersome thought.
In my opinion, while everyone should give Huel a go, I don’t think it’s ready to be a dietary replacement. But it is a deliciously handy option for a healthy and balanced diet on the go.