A few weeks ago the team at Huma Chia Energy Gel reached out to see if I would like to try out their new gels. I hadn't heard anything about their products so I first visited their website to learn more and discovered that Huma gel is a chia seed based energy gel that is 100% all natural. In my reply back to the Huma team I acknowledged that I hadn't heard of them and they let me know that they were very new to the scene with the company starting at the beginning of 2012 and the gels only launching in November 2012.
Disclosure: I received one packet of each flavor of Huma Chia Energy gel to sample and review. All opinions expressed are based on my experience with the product.
Huma gel came out of two very different places...Iraq and Mexico. One of the company founders, while serving in the Armed Forces in Iraq, was reading about the Tarahumara tribes of Mexico and how they fueled for ultra distance events through chia seeds. That gave him the idea to create the Huma Chia Energy Gel.
The gels come in two great flavors...Apples & Cinnamon and Strawberries. Huma gels have an ingredient list that doesn't require any help to read. Every thing on the ingredient list was something that I recognized starting with fruit puree. I liked knowing that there weren't any crazy chemicals in the gel and that I could understand the ingredient list.
I tried out both flavors of the gels during two workouts. First up was Strawberries...I started my run hungry and opened the gel just after the one mile mark in the run. I don't typically take a gel in that early but I was running a little later in the morning and didn't plan out my nutrition properly. I took in about 1/3 of the gel and it helped stave off that hungry feeling I had and got me back into better shape for the run. The consistency was not what I expected...I was expecting a chia seed filled gel. I've seen several Pinterest boards for incorporating chia seeds into a clean eating plan and chia seeds plus water looks like a lumpy gel and that it what I was expecting.
I was very happy to discover a smooth consistency that wasn't seed filled at all. The chia seeds used in the Huma gels are ground chia seeds and that is why they achieve a smoother texture. The texture reminded me of a fruit puree that you might discover as garnish on a dessert plate. The taste was very fruity and not at all sugary sweet. I drank water with the gel but found that I didn't need to slosh water around my mouth to get rid of that gel feeling on my teeth.
I finished up the rest of the gel later in my run and it wasn't hard to finish the packet at all. Sometimes with other gels you get half way through the gel and it just gets hard to finish. I still had a tough hill to tackle on the rest of my run and I would have made if my dog hadn't decided we needed to walk the last few hundred yards on the hill! The gel kept me from feeling ravenous but didn't leave my stomach feeling upset at all.
And now for my PSA...Make sure you dispose of your gel wrappers properly...I like to pack a Ziploc bag so that I can store my trash until I either pass a trash can or get back home. I hate seeing gel wrappers on the ground when I'm out running...so do your part and don't litter!
A few days later I tried out the Apples and Cinnamon flavor and it was just as good as the Strawberries. It reminded me of apple pie flavored applesauce and I could easily see taking in either flavor during a run. I haven't mastered the art yet of eating gels while in motion on the bike so for the bike I might stick with my energy chews!
You can find Huma gel online and in select retailers. Below is a fun Infographic that the Huma team put together to remind you of the importance of having a nutrition plan for your endurance activities. You can also take time to review the full FAQ's including my favorite question..."If I eat a Huma gel, will I win my race?" While there are silly questions like this one, there are also answers to some great questions that explain how the mixture of ingredients compares to other gels made with maltodextrin and how the chia seeds help stabilize the sugar spikes that can occur with high glycemic index foods.