Huel review and recipes

Some of you might have heard little bits about huel, but don’t know exactly what it is or whether it’d work for you. I first saw an ad for it on facebook, before finding out about their instagram (@gethuel) and requesting a sample 🙂

So basically, as it says on the bag, Huel is ‘nutritionally complete human food’. Whilst not exactly looking like human food, the idea is that if need be, you could live off huel for the rest of your life. Your taste buds would probably be seriously bored, but you wouldn’t be nutrient deficient.

However, most of us don’t just want to live off one food-stuff for the rest of our lives (granola is an exception), so why would huel be of any use? I tried huel as a lunch smoothie for a while during my exam season, when I didn’t have time to leave my desk or make complicated lunches (and also was too disorganised to do so). A three scoop drink has the equivalent calories of a lunch time sandwich, with a macro ratio of 37:30:30:3 carbs, fats, protein and fibre. However, after my exam season, I was so addicted to the taste of the vanilla version, I didn’t want to give it up, so started using it in my breakfast smoothies (anyone on instagram will know this). The vanilla flavoured mix is NOT high in sugar (4.2g per 2000 calories), and has the most amazing taste (it’s so good that I got a bag just for my boyfriend, who is also somewhat addicted). When using it in my breakfasts I only use one scoop (152cals) per bowl, and add protein if I’ve worked out the day before.

Verdict: huel is expensive as a bag, but when you think of it per ‘meal’, you’re actually only spending £1.61 for a 450cal meal, so it’s a sound investment when your alternative is an unhealthy £3 meal deal (or worse). It works perfectly as an addition to smoothies, as an alternative for ½ the flour in a recipe or as a shake on its own. It’s also totally vegan and made with real food (eg. oats, pea protein, rice, flaxseed etc.) so not filled with chemicals with long names. I’ve recently ordered my fourth bag in a year, which gives you an idea of how quickly I go through it! Below I’ve outlined some of my favourite smoothies bowls made with huel in case you fancied trying a pouch (you can order sample pouches so you can decide whether you like it or not)!

Protein is an optional addition to each of the: I use Strippd (@strippd_uk) vegan protein (they have chocolate, vanilla and berry versions so work with all the smoothies).

The classic:

  • ½ a frozen banana
  • ½ a scoop of Huel
  • Almond milk

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Choco-vanilla

  • Chocolate oat milk/milk of choice
  • ½ scoop Huel
  • 2 tsp cacao powder
  • ½ frozen banana

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Coconut-cashew

  • Coconut milk
  • Soaked cashew nuts
  • ½ scoop Huel

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Pink Berry

  • Almond/oat milk
  • Frozen berries (I use strawberries, raspberries and blueberries)
  • ½ a frozen banana
  • ½ – 1 scoop of Huel
  • (Berry flavoured protein)

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Green goodness

  • Almond/coconut milk
  • ½ scoop Huel
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 ball/handful frozen spinach
  • ½ a small courgette

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Ps. I am not paid by Huel or Strippd – I really love their products and want to share them with you, so I figured writing a post about them was best! I’m lucky enough to get to try many, many products, and know that for many people, buying products without knowing how good they are is a scary idea, so my reviews are here to help you. 🙂 I hope you enjoy them!

How to have a healthy day in Bristol

As a student, I know how hard it seems to eat healthily and workout properly when on a budget. However, having spent two years roaming the streets of Bristol as a student, I have found that it is indeed possible, even if it doesn’t have all the options London has. In some ways it’s even better – without the London prices, eating healthily doesn’t have to munch into your monthly budget, and with multiple gyms with student discount memberships and classes, it’s possible to keep fit and fuel yourself on the smallest of budgets.

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Bakesmiths brunch (the mackerel on sourdough was my favourite!)

Hit the gym

There are many gyms in Bristol, some of which have PAYG classes, which are useful if you’re just around Bristol for the weekend or simply want to try something different from your usual gym. There are many chains, including Puregym, Anytime Fitness, The Gym etc. which offer everything you could want. The university gym is basic but contains most things you need for a workout. However, Bristol has no way of competing with London in terms of fitness classes – the real wonders lie outside the gym. So you could…

 

Explore the countryside

Despite being one of the largest cities in the UK, in Bristol you’re never far away from the countryside. Living in the city is fun, but it’s the surrounding areas that are truly breathtaking, and allow you to escape from the hustle and bustle of busy city life. Ashton court is my favourite – an easy walk from the city centre, or a quick bus ride away. Walk or run over the Clifton suspension bridge for the spectacular view and you’ll find yourself in a huge park with deer and other wildlife, and plenty of space for a nice run, walk or bike ride! If you can’t get to the Ashton court, the Downs is another area of spacious grassland perfect for getting in that vitamin D and getting those endorphins pumping.

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The best walking companion – photo taken in Ashton Court

 

Relax in a café

Bristol is well known for its myriad of independent cafes and café chains. My favourites include Friska, which does healthy hot food and homemade cakes and wraps and Boston Tea Party, which, although it’s a chain, is one of my favourite cafés/restaurants ever! They use all free-range eggs and meat and have delicious salads, although my favourite has to be their brunch – the eggs royale and brown rice porridge are both incredible. Bakesmiths is the new kid on the block, offering homemade cakes and sourdough bread, as well as incredible coffee and lunch menu items. I hear their in-house baker is in at 4:30 every morning making that day’s sourdough. The décor is also incredible, which just adds to the experience. I can recommend their mackerel on sourdough and their baked eggs.

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Bakesmiths veg and eggs on sourdough

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Boston tea party – a firm favourite throughout the city

Fill up on restaurant food

There are so many restaurants in Bristol it’d be impossible to recommend and review them all here. However, favourites of mine include Wildwood (yay for 50% off for students!), the mint rooms (delicious Indian food) and the River Cottage canteen. River Cottage’s new winter menu includes a mix of mains (free-range meat, delicious fish and vegetarian options) and side salads, which you can order to compliment your mains. This is definitely one of my favourite places to eat out in Bristol, although the dish prices can add up if you’re like me and want to try everything! If you’re looking for somewhere cheaper but equally delicious, Eat a Pitta is incredible. There are three in Bristol, and all serve pitta and a range salads which you can either stuff into your pitta (which is HUMONGOUS) or have in a box on the side.

 

River Cottage Canteen – the dream ❤

 

Eat a Pitta – the best pitta you will ever have!

Indulge

Although clean eating is rife on social media, its rival, IIFYM (‘if it fits your macros’) has a following similar to ‘clean eating’. I’m one for balance and LOVE to indulge in totally unhealthy things every now and again, because what is life without indulgence? One of my favourite restaurants in Bristol is Bosco pizzeria, which does the best pizzas I’ve ever tried ANYWHERE (including Italy). Kaspas on Park Street is a restaurant purely for sweet sugary desserts. With décor like an American diner, it might not be your traditional British café, but it sure is worth a visit.

Indulging doesn’t have to be all about food. The Lido in Clifton is a spa that allows for a full day of guilt-free relaxation. Tuck in to some warming food in their restaurant afterwards before braving the real world again.

 

Bristol, although not as fast paced or forward-thinking as London, is known for being a ‘green’ city, and is excellent when it comes to walking everywhere. In my third year in Bristol, I’ve already found several new places where I now love to eat and drink, that I hadn’t discovered before. Every time you’re here there’s somewhere new to visit, and some new part of the surrounding countryside to explore.

I hope you find this really useful, whether you’re already a student in Bristol, a visiting Londoner or just fancy checking out what Bristol has to offer (clue: a lot!).

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It doesn’t get much better than the veggie side dishes available at the River Cottage Canteen

 

Why all women should lift

Unless you’re a seasoned gym addict (and even if you are), your view of the gym might be that cardio is for girls and weights are for men. Yet more and more, women are learning the benefits of lifting, and doing away with the gender stereotypes set in the gym. Over my years of going to the gym, I have seen a notable shift towards the use of both free weights and weight machines by women, and even women venturing into what has been (not so affectionately) nicknamed the ‘testosterone room’ in my university gym. However, when I was in London this summer I attended the easyGym in Oxford Circus. Here, the open plan allowed for men and women to move between the floor, cardio machines and weights area without having to restrict their workout to one of these areas.

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Photo shot by @jonpaynephoto

It made me so happy to see women in the weights area – not just because they looked badass, but also because it just might mean the end of women being scared of the weights section. Scared of being seen as manly, scared of ‘bulking up’ and scared of changing up their fitness regime.

In this blog post I’m going to outline the benefits of lifting weights as a woman, in the hope that more of you might take the plunge next time you’re in the gym.

More effective fat-loss

If you think running on a treadmill for hours on end is the only way to lose fat, think again. Countless studies have shown that actually, not only do you burn calories whilst working out, but you also continue to burn carlories and torch fat for hours after your workout. This is due to the consistently increased oxygen consumption of muscles that have been worked hard. More oxygen consumed means a faster metabolism for longer after training.

Not only does weight training affect your metabolism in the short term, but if you’ve read anything about fitness, you know that muscles burn more energy than fat. This means you have a consistently higher metabolism if you have more muscle. Also, a higher metabolism means you are more likely to have higher energy levels, which means your workouts will become less of a chore.

In total this means more weight training = higher metabolism and more muscle. More muscle = higher metabolism = more energy = more working . It’s a win-win (win win win)!

Same anti-depressant effect as cardio

Everyone knows that exercise can reduce your chances of depression and increase your happiness, both in the short and long-term. However, most people assume that this is only for cardiovascular exercises – if you’ve heard of the ‘runners high’ and know about endorphins, you’ll know that cardio can indeed give you a huge buzz. However, if you’re thinking of moving to do more resistance or weights training, have no fear; studies have shown that both weight and cardio training have the same long-term effect on depression – both cause a decrease in depression for at least a year after an 8 week running or weight-training course. More things to smile about J

Decreased risk of osteoporosis

Sadly, as we age, our bone density decreases, especially once we hit menopause due to oestrogen no longer being produced. However, we can do things to increase bone density before menopause, making conditions such as osteoporosis less likely when we’re older. Research has found that weight training can increase bone density by 6-12% over just 6 months. It was also shown to maintain bone density in post-menopausal women for longer, so no stopping on the weights when you reach menopause!

Stress relief

This is an advantage of exercising in general. Working out has been shown on countless occasions to reduce stress levels. However, conversely, doing aerobic exercise for long periods of time has actually been shown to INCREASE your cortisol levels. Cortisol is the ‘stress hormone’ that all of us experience at some point of other. Small amounts of cortisol is useful, but if it is released over long periods of time, it has multiple effects that can actually lead to weight gain; decreased sleep, increased appetite and an increase of fat storage around your mid-section to name a few. Lifting weights does not increase cortisol levels. On the contrary, it lowers them, decreasing stress levels and allowing you to lose weight without your workouts backfiring on you.

Improves other areas of sport

If you worry that lifting weights means you have less time to train in the sport that you would otherwise be doing, you’re wrong. Studies have shown that in all but the very elite levels, lifting weights can improve various aspects of your sport. Cyclists and runners get more power, rowers more strength and across the board, lifting weights decreases the chance of injury in your sport. This means that rather than hindering your other training, adding in weight training to your weekly routine can accelerate your progress in other sports.

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Photo shot by @gmasonmedia

 

 

I hope these are enough reasons for you to start to incorporate more weights into your gym sessions! Although I often don’t feel exhausted at the end of a weights session, I know that I’ve done my body good. Not every workout has to make your heart rate skyrocket and leave you in a sweaty mess on the floor – weights can do that too, but mixing up your workouts is one of the best things you can do for your body, whatever your fitness goals.

Many thanks to easyGym for allowing me access to their Oxford Circus gym (especially the weights section 😉 )

https://www.easygym.co.uk/locations/gym-oxford-street