One thing that I am finding myself being asked more and more is whether or not humans will one day be able to supplement all the nutrients that we need, both macro and micro, into one convenient food source. Just think of the extra time that we as humans would possess if we could condense all our meals down into a simple shake or pill.
Well it just so happens that as I was reading the newspapers on Sunday morning I came across an article by The Mail on Sunday’s Stephen Adams, entitled The no food ‘Matrix’ diet. And it was here that I first discovered Julian Hearn’s meal replecement creation, Huel.
Anyone who has seen The Matrix will remember Keanu Reeves tucking into a questionably grey substance that provides ‘everything the body needs’, something that Huel promises to offer as well. Four pints of the powder/water combo is enough to sustain human life indefinitely.
So are we looking at the actual future of human food consumption? Well the benefits are clear to see. You don’t have to spend time in the supermarket buying ingredients, nor does it take hours of prep in the kitchen. In under a minute you have something that will help to provide everything that you nutritionally need over the course of the day.
Washing up is something else that plenty of us would much rather live without. Now all you have to wash is your Huel shaker, which is identical to one of the many protein shakers that I am sure you own.
But does all this really make a difference? Okay, primarily the reason that we eat food is to provide our bodies with the nutrients that we need but it is so much more to us than that. Food can be a profession, a hobby or even a passion. It brings friends and family together in a way that an all-in-one shake simply never could.
Great flavours and textures can accompany wholly nutritional food to make every meal fun and exciting. And all it takes is a little bit more time and effort than is needed to make a delicious bottle of Huel.
And come on, I get the idea of combining the words human and fuel to create the brand name but one can’t help hearing Huel and not think of gruel, the disgusting porridge-like food that Oliver Twist was forced to eat in Charles Dickens’s timeless novel. Maybe that is the point – just as gruel provided the required nutritional benefits required to sustain the boys in the workhouse, Huel provides everything for us all. Maybe it is just me, but I don’t want to be thinking about the sludge in young Oliver’s bowl when I am trying to enjoy a ‘meal’.
The flavours of Huel do vary somewhat more than gruel, with options including chocolate, toffee and mocha but it is intentionally designed to not be the tastiest meal you will ever eat. If you think about it, that makes a lot of sense really. If you are supposed to restrict yourself to just four pints of this stuff a day then that would be made infinitely more difficult if you absolutely adored what it was that you were consuming.
I have no doubt, assuming the science is correct, that switching to diet of just Huel will provide you with all the nutrients required to sustain life. And what is more, over time you might even get that used to it that you begin to forget real food and, dare I say, even start to enjoy your meal replacement shake.
So what will I say when people ask me if there will one day be a meal replacement that provides all the nutrients we need? Well I will say yes, there is already one out there. But I can’t think of a day when I will recommend it ahead of the good old-fashioned method of cooking actual food.