Silk started it.  During last year’s CanWest Games she refueled between events by drinking HEAL from the booth they had set up amongst all the other sports performance supplement pushers.  I stuck to real food because I’m not into all that other baloney.  But it really seemed to work for her as she kept her strength up through all three days of competition and performed great in her final events.

At the end of day three your body is completely depleted but I couldn’t go home because we had to wait around to cheer Motor at the awards ceremony.  Having eaten all the food we packed I now ate whatever I could get my hands on: Hot dog, fries, a beer Sandman bought me, some of those sports performance free samples.  All of it left me feeling jittery and out of sorts.  Then Sunghee brought me some HEAL.  I sipped it.  Too sweet, too chalky but my body screamed “YUM!”  I drank it all and it felt solid and satisfying.

The story of HEAL is compelling.  It’s not a supplement but a meal replacement meaning it’s governed under the food act and subject to very strict regulation and testing standards which supplements are not.  The ingredients list is very good and non-allergenic.  Paul Tylla, the creator, is one of the top CrossFit athletes worldwide in the men’s 45-49 year old division as well as a former sponsored triathlete.  So I know him from competition and know he’s a fire chief and that he created HEAL to care for his ex-wife when she was dying of ALS and couldn’t eat solid food.  Paul was motivated by the poor quality ingredients in other commercially available meal replacements to create a quality product to support the sick and dying.  I know that he and his partners tested the product by living on nothing else but HEAL for a month while training.

First, the caveat:  Real food is where it is at.  You will get your best results eating real food.  I do not recommend replacing meals with meal replacements no matter how good they are.  Unless, that is, you have circumstances where you cannot get a real meal, in those cases HEAL can be a great asset.

Here’s why Sunghee and I started testing HEAL back in August:

1. We were both following macros and found it tough some days to reach our target protein allotment (200 grams for me – that’s a lot of meat and fish to eat in a day!) because we didn’t have enough appetite.  Adding HEAL to our usual post-WOD smoothie was an easy way to sneak in some additional protein.

2. We were often struggling to meet our daily iron and potassium requirements without going over our fat and carbohydrate limits.  HEAL solved that by providing as much as 50% of our daily needs on top of the good food we were already consuming.

3. My Fitness Pal, the app we use to track our macros, does not track zinc and magnesium content of foods.  Athletes are frequently deficient in both of these minerals that are important for recovery from training.  Studies find that the supplements on the market are of very inconsistent quality (poorly regulated) and are not always well-absorbed by the body the way they are with real food.  HEAL is real-food based, held to high standards and lists it’s zinc and magnesium quantities making it a great hedge against deficiency.

So it’s been 7-months now and here are the benefits we’ve noticed (there have been no negatives):

1. HEAL has made meeting our macro and micro nutrient targets much easier!

2. HEAL has proved convenient at moments when we just could not access quality food (such as during our Hawaii trip).  It has certainly prevented us from snacking on crap in moments of unbridled hunger.

3. This is a dangerous thing to say tempting the fates even as the Coronavirus gets closer but you may have noticed these past 7 months Sunghee and I have dodged every virus that has ripped through our community.  The 2020 Open is the first Open I’ve completed all 5 weeks of competition without illness.  Our plane to Hawaii was packed with sick people.  Sunghee’s sister succumbed.  Mom and Kaelin and Sunghee’s brother-in-law succumbed but we’ve stayed healthy.  In fact, Kaelin has been home sick a few times without us catching it.  To be fair, flu and cold season is far from over and historically I usually only get sick once or twice a year so we should wait for the end of summer before we make too much of this but I do feel grateful for staying healthy this long!  But it stands to reason that providing your immune system with adequate vitamins and minerals increases your fighting chance.

HEAL retails at $54.49 + $7 shipping online.  We sell it at $60 for non-members and $50 for Empower members.  We make $5 per tub which is just enough to cover the time costs of ordering and stocking the product.  We’re not carrying it to make a profit but because Sunghee and I continue to find it useful as do our families who have been using it a lot recently and we want you to have access to this product if it will help you with your fitness goals.

Saturday March 7th from 9-10am HEAL founder Paul Tylla will visit CrossFit Empower to talk about the product, share his story and answer any questions you may have about it.  It is free to attend, no registration required.