Last year, at the age of 38, I ran a marathon. The Indy Monumental Marathon was a transformative experience, and one I hope to have again. I started my training in April of ’19 using two separate Hal Higdon plans to complete the journey; novice mini marathon & novice full marathon. I did them back-to-back (not recommended) over the course of 7 months with a rain-or-shine religious approach. However, there was one glaring deficiency in my training.
I’ve spent the last 10 years or so flip-flopping between carnivore, vegan, and hopeful vegetarian. While I’ve demonstrated the discipline needed to train for a marathon, I have (and still am) pathetically weak when it comes to food. Many things are at play here. Work puts me in a state of depression that ebbs and flows, and with it, my waistline. Lack of success in other pursuits also contribute. I’m sure there are mental health issues here that need to be addressed, but as the 2020 training season draws near, I’ve found myself desperate for an express solution to what is probably a much deeper problem.
Huel And Why I Need It
I believe the inspiration for Huel probably comes from two primary sources; capitalizing on the success of Soylent, a drink inspired by a fictional drink made from human remains and being on the front lines of the sustainable food revolution. While I firmly believe the future of food is plants, there is no altruism is my Huel subscription. I don’t really know the company’s history and I don’t care that much. I just want to lose weight, man!
Like most things in my life, this was an impulse purchase. I saw an ad, I agreed with the price, I had a quick fantasy about being 160lbs, and out came the credit card. Do I need to lose weight? Not really. I typically carry a little extra in the middle, but I can fire off 50+ pushups at a moment’s notice and hold a plank for 10 minutes. I want the middle gone, regardless.
Last year when I started marathon training (on an impulse), I was 205. That’s a little big for me, standing at 5’8”. Depression had its hooks in me, and I had completely submitted. On race day I was 175, but still 15 pounds heavier than I had projected. I finished in 4:51. This year’s goal is to finish under 4 hours. This year, I have to be 160…
Shipping & First Impressions
I got my Huel shipment a mere two days after ordering, but I was a bit disappointed. During checkout, I was promised a shirt and a shaker cup. There was no shaker in the box, and when I opened the bag, there was no scoop! I ordered the Huel ‘X’, but not for the low effort marketing. Huel, if you’re listening, why would you invest money in marketing professionals if you know the best thing they’ll come up with is ‘X’. Everybody does that. It’s… lame.
Regardless of an incomplete introductory kit, I was able to get by thanks to my trusty 24oz YETI tumbler. Measuring out portions was more complicated. The Huel X bag advertises 1 serving as 90g. That’s pretty much meaningless to me in the US, and I’m not a drug dealer, so I had to convert to cups. Interestingly, the intro video on the website calls for 100g… Well, whatever. It comes out to just under ½ cup. I sent an email to them regarding the shaker and the scoop, so we’ll see how they do on that.
Taste & Overall Experience
This is baby formula for grown-ups.
Huel markets this meal replacement as ‘great tasting’ and claims it will curb cravings by making you feel full. It seems like all the folks who took the $75 dive into Huel agree, as their support forum is an echo chamber to most of Huel’s claims. I’m here to tell you I’m not impressed in the least. But that’s not a bad thing… I didn’t order Huel because I want tasty chocolate shakes all day. I just want a complete meal replacement that won’t leave me desperate for a cheeseburger. This is where Huel fails.
I had my first drink a few hours ago, from my tumbler, using 4 parts water and 1-part Huel. It did not taste like chocolate, and it did not taste good at all. To be fair, I started drinking it warm, which Huel does not recommend. I added a fair bit of ice and it became more enjoyable. I drank half of the mixture before shaking things up a bit (no pun intended) by adding a double from my espresso maker and some vanilla almond milk. That was the sweet spot, though I was still left with a grumbly, plaintive feeling stomach. I was not satisfied in the least.
I will be having pizza tonight for sure.
It costs $75 for a 1-month supply so I will give it the ol’ college try, easing myself into a more Huel centric diet over the next 30 days. I’ll try to provide updates throughout the month.