For several months, my daily breakfast has been about a pint of a thick “nutritionally complete” liquid, called Huel.
Huel is a powder you mix with water to make a milky liquid, like a thin milkshake. You can add more water to make it thinner, or less to make it thicker. You can use vegetable milk, or mix it with fruit or peanut butter for added flavor. The powder itself can be unflavored, or vanilla, chocolate or berry flavored. I’ve tried all three, and settled on the vanilla as my favorite.
I used to eat a real breakfast every day, fruit and cottage cheese, but when I started Huel in November I needed to get a running start in the morning and keep running all morning.
At that time, I was working with an international workgroup. I’m based in San Diego, which means I got into work when everybody else around the US had already been working for hours and colleagues in the UK were already into late afternoon. I didn’t want to take time out to eat breakfast, even though my body demands it.
When I read about Huel in this article by Nicole Dieker, I said sure, why not. And I liked it and stuck with it.
And I feel fine. I no longer have that morning scheduling pressure but I’ve stuck with Huel. It takes some of the complexity out of the day. And I like it.
Some people, including Nicole Dieker, above, take Huel for two meals a day, but that’s too many for me, because I like to eat. Just not as often as my body seems to need me to eat.
Some people take all their meals with Huel, but that’s not a good idea, because you risk nutritionally deficiencies. Human beings are evolved to consume a variety of foods to get a broad range of nutrients; it’s why your dog and cat are happy eating kibble every day but you’d go nuts if you always ate exactly the same thing every meal.
Huel is one of several “meal replacement” liquids that have come on the market in the past few years. They all have pretty much the same marketing pitch: Eating three meals a day, plus snacks, is a hassle. Meal replacements are designed to replace the fast-food burger you consume at your desk, not the meals you enjoy with family and friends.
Meal replacements are particularly touted for people looking to get off a junk food diet.
Soylent is the most famous of these meal replacements. I’ve tried Soylent and like it fine, but I went with Huel this time around on a whim, because of that article.
Also, Soylent is made with chemicals but Huel is made with real ingredients: Oats, tapioca, flaxseed, sunflower, coconut, peas, rice, etc.
(Yes, I know that those so-called “real ingredients” are ALSO chemicals. You know what the fuck I mean, piglet..)
As Huel notes on its website: A liquid meal made from a powder sounds weird and dystopian, but it’s actually an old idea: Flour is an example of a powder that becomes food, and soup is an example of a liquid meal. Both have been around for thousands of years. Many people have smoothies for breakfast. Huel is just a variation on that. 🌕