I’m on my second bag of Vanilla Huel (and I have most of a bag of unflavored that I’ve experimented with), and I wanted to share my thoughts.
Who I am: 30 year-old person who’s currently between jobs and dealing with some amount of issues with depression + eating habits (pre-huel). I currently take medication that reduces my appetite as well as a side effect, so making sure that I eat properly is a very hard thing at times. I don’t like having to leave the house or rely upon us having the proper ingredients at home for me to cook things in order to eat. So, having something that I could stock a fair amount of at home and make fairly easily by myself seemed ideal. I also tend to feel like a lot of cooking is more effort than it’s worth to me.
How I use Huel: I’ve been consuming about 2.5-3 scoops of Huel a day as a part of smoothies made with bananas and other fruit, yogurt and occasionally some other sweeteners, flavorings, spices, etc. I usually make a blender-full in the morning and with everything i add (lately i’ve been doing two bananas and a big handful of fresh strawberries, plus 2-3 big spoonfuls of vanilla yogurt), I find that i am using somewhat less huel than recommended, but the meals feel generally pretty satisfying and it feels like I’ve hit a good formulation. I usually have one shaker’s worth of this in the morning, then some other snacks and supplemental food + a more conventional dinner, and then I either finish off the other shaker before dinner or later in the evening.
My experience: I have to say that generally speaking I’ve really enjoyed it so far. There’s been a couple things that have felt less than ideal: I’ve been having some of the gastrointestinal issues that seem expected with a huge change in diet. I’ve also been realizing that I have reduced my fat/sugar intake a lot by doing this instead of eating a ton of fast food, etc., so I’ve been craving those things + I feel like I’ve been having a slightly harder time dealing w/ depression due to these things missing in my diet. I did a bit of research and I’m actually probably having a form of withdrawal from the sound of things. It doesn’t make the Huel unappealing to me (I’m quite enjoying it myself) but I do end up wanting to make up for it at times! I’ve found that making sure i still get some of the junk food I’m used to makes me feel a little better emotionally + satisfies my desire for that stuff. I’m glad to not be relying on that for meals + general nutrition, however.
With regards to Huel and the smoothies I’ve been making specifically, I find them to be really enjoyable. I feel like it’s providing me generally with better and more well rounded nutrition than what I would typically have. The strawberry+banana smoothies I’ve been doing especially seem to be my favorite preparation thus far (though I’m interested in at some point doing a savory prep w/ curry for the hell of it). I wasn’t a huge fan of having it mixed straight with water + ice cubes in the shaker (I found the texture hard at first) but having it with fruit, yogurt and ice and blended more as a fruit smoothie has made all the difference. I’ve been having that about twice a day.
I’ve tried the US flavor boost flavors and am not super into them so far. I tend to like adding fruit, chocolate milk or hot cocoa powder, cinnamon, agave syrup or stevia, and plain or vanilla yogurt instead, but I would love to try some of the UK flavors (toffee? rhubarb? matcha? yes please!). I also definitely prefer vanilla huel to plain. I keep my bag of plain around for when I want to try cooking things that aren’t smoothies, though.
All in all I feel really happy with what I’m doing to change my diet and eating habits. I’ve not been skipping meals as much, and when I do and catch myself later, it’s much quicker and easier to correct (instead of, “uh oh, guess I gotta to drive to fast food or the grocery store”). I think I’m starting to get over some of the sugar/fat withdrawal too, both by supplementing the huel with other things and just my body getting used to the pretty drastic diet shift (I basically went on a cruise, first order of huel arrived while I was gone, had a ton of food for a week, came home, and immediately started replacing 1/2 to 2/3 of my diet with huel + fruit, so… ).
I like that Huel has made it easier for me to control my diet + eating habits, and easier to stock food in the house that I enjoy + can make without a lot of effort. I like that it makes having daily habits and patterns around food a lot more feasible for me. And it definitely overall helps me beat some of the food-related problems I face with the depression, since without this I might just not eat or eat exclusively junk food for awhile. It also feels really good to have this kind of control over my own lifestyle. Heck, I’m feeling proud of myself for merely finding a way to eat far less meat and junk food than I’m used to eating. I always thought that there was no way I could ever go vegetarian or vegan, and while I still don’t intend to, it feels like I could actually -do- it if I wanted to. I’ve been learning to do some cooking w/ tofu (we made japanese curry w/ panko fried tofu not long ago at home!) so frankly vegetarian isn’t out of the realm of possibility for me. (I do really like chicken though!)
Basically this is the first time I’ve ever intentionally changed something about my diet in any significant way and it feels nice + like I have more control over my life. Thank you Huel!