I never really took my health seriously. I mean like going to the doctor every year, and all the other stuff that we are supposed to do.
I used to smoke for 12 years, that should tell you something. The last time I went to the doctors was 16 years ago, when I broke my leg. Since then I have eaten all the junk food in the world, from Big Macs to pizzas with pineapples.
Recently I decided to go for a check-up. I feel great, but you never know. I haven’t eaten real food for the past seventeen months so I thought I would look at the data, because we all can have different misconceptions and beliefs about what we should do and what we shouldn’t do. So, I went to my GP. I didn’t even know how it all works – I didn’t even know that NHS is completely free, thank you for that! When I booked my appointment, the lady said to me ‘Oh wow you just came once to register six years ago and never came back.’ That was when I moved to London.Yeah, I’ve been neglecting going for a check-up but I ‘think’ I’m healthy.
I went and did all the necessary blood tests and heart rate tests and everything I needed to do. They told me they will call me with the results. They didn’t and I got a bit worried. I called them, she told me that I’m absolutely healthy, not deprived of any vitamins and doing great.
When I had the appointment, she did tell me that I’m a bit overweight but I already knew that. You know how? By looking in the freaking mirror! It’s not science. Joking aside, I actually bought a scale, not a simple scale but the ‘smart’ one because you know, nowadays everything is smart, except some humans. So, the smart scale tells me how much I’m overweight, my BMI and all other data that I don’t understand.
A bit of a background, for some context. Nearly three years ago, I quit smoking, became vegan, and started running weekly. But that was three years ago. By the way if you get easily offended by veganism, I don’t think this article is for you. I’m not going to go on about veganism but I mention it. You know there is a joke about vegans; ‘How do you know somebody is vegan? Don’t worry because they will f**king tell you!’ I did tell you, you see we just can’t keep our mouths shut! Anyway, back to food – real food. So, couple of months ago I discovered this thing called Huel, it’s basically meal replacements available as powder, liquid or bars. I stumbled across them on the web and started looking into it. Basically, after trying (nearly) all the vegan places in London, all the pizzas, burgers, tacos and all the vegan junk food I decided to stop because well you know, you can’t live like that constantly. I started doing a bit of research and started watching what I put in my mouth because I heard that you get fat by putting more in your mouth than you need. And I’ve come to a realization: I’m becoming a greedy fat thirty-something male.
You have to love the honesty of Ricky Gervais! So, I discovered this powder and I was really shocked that you can have that powder with water or milk and don’t need food. I watched couple of videos, I looked at their website and what they say basically is this: Huel is nutritionally complete food, providing you with all 27 essential vitamins and minerals, protein, essential fats, carbs, fibre and phytonutrients.
But then I started watching more videos, and reading reviews about it, and I got confused. You know how the internet is, everybody has an opinion and everybody has something to say even if they’ve never tried it. So, I decided to buy this thing and give it a go. I said to myself worst case scenario you lose £40. My first order was on 15th April 2019.
Day one. I receive the package. I have to say, I like what I see slick design, great packaging. Let’s see what’s inside. I open the first bag, and start reading the instructions. I was nervous and curious. I tasted it, it was watery, it tastes…I don’t know.. I read the instructions again and realized I put way too much water. Another try. Boom. I like it. I am surprised.
The next day I have a problem. I feel hungry so I ask the following question on their community blog:
I have a lot of responses from different people. Here is one from their team:
Moving forward seventeen months, I have to say I have learned how to do my Huel for my lunch and dinner with frozen fruit, bananas, and peanut butter – not all together at once! Basically you mix it up and you learn to add ice, almond milk and adjust to your taste.
Since then I replaced Huel with ‘real’ food. So, I don’t have breakfast. I have one banana in the morning, and both for lunch and dinner I have Huel. On Sundays I usually would have a cheat meal and cook vegan nuggets as Sunday night usually it’s a day off. Now I don’t cook on Sundays as I’m doing a mental toughness challenge,75hard: you are not allowed cheat meals so I’m just having Huel every day and some fruit.
The lesson that I learned and the reason I’m writing this article is not to try to influence you to think about veganism, or to try Huel or any other brand but to have an open mind and to stay stupid in a way. Staying curious helps us learn new things, experience new things, taste new food, go beyond our own comfort zone.
The funny thing is, before I had my breakthrough and understood how I was living a delusional life, I would make fun of different things because I didn’t know, I was ignorant and I’m still ignorant in so many areas. The difference now is that I’m not embarrassed to say I don’t know, I understand that it’s my ego that thinks it knows everything – it creates an identity.
I listen to people say ‘You can’t live off powder’, it’s not ‘real’ food. Well what do you define ‘real’ food then? A dead animal that had a family, that was tortured for us to enjoy a ten-minute meal? Is that real food? Or people say ‘You must be very unhealthy and miss out on a lot of essential vitamins.’ Well, how do you know? Are you a doctor? Did you check my analysis? No, I just know people say. By that what they mean is that somebody told them a concept, an idea many years ago, then they reminded them of that idea every single day for ten or fifteen years and now you can’t challenge that because ‘they know’.
One of our challenges is that we hold on to ideas and beliefs that where made up by dead men and women hundreds of years ago and we still hold on to them like our life depends on them. Of course, It’s basic human nature, we need to feel a sense of purpose, and our beliefs gives us access to be part of a community. Because you know in the old age, if you were kicked out of a community you would die, you couldn’t survive on your own. You couldn’t fight a tiger on your own.
The problem is that our brain doesn’t know that we are not going to see a tiger tomorrow. It’s still working on that old initial ‘software’. The updating part is a bit hard because we need to do the work.
That’s why we keep our beliefs so close and so many people are willing to risk their lives because of ego, the ego is attached to that particular thing and can’t let it go.
A quick story, I have a very good friend of mine and he joked about me having Huel, he said ‘This is artificial and you are drinking it, how can you live like that?’ Well is the burger natural? I don’t think so, somebody had to cut an animal’s throat. I don’t think the burger is natural.
Anyway, one day I bought him one bottle of Huel – they sell bottles as well, it’s ready made and cost a bit more. I told him ‘Here you go, one day when you are hungry, just try it.’ After couple of days he WhatsApped me saying he tried it and he loved it. He went and bought himself two bags and drinks it whenever he is running out of time or he is busy. You see because he kept an open mind and tried. Now he has a new solution.
Last week the pop singer Miley Cyrus announced on Joe Rogan’s podcast that she is ditching veganism because she ‘needs’ to eat fish to get Omega 3 and has health problems. She decided to announce it on Joe Rogan podcast! Come on, the guy is antithesis of veganism!
I will not get into detail about why Miley is so wrong about blaming her health problems on veganism but if you want you can watch a great video by Earthling Ed that explains scientifically why she is wrong, here’s the link. She is using the excuse ‘I need omega 3’ from fish because she knows that most people are not informed that you can get omega 3 from supplements. On a very basic level fish eats algae to get omega 3, we can either kill the fish to get omega 3 or we can get omega 3 straight from algae. You decide. What she should have done is just say the truth, I want to eat fish, my beliefs changed. End of story.
The point is that people can blame different things, we can say it was the weathers’ fault, we can say it was our genes, we all know that we as humans have a tendance to blame something so we can feel good about ourselves.
So, my doctor and my analysis are great, there is data that backs it up, not a belief or a desire for some things to be true. I’m a healthy young man. And because I opened my mind a bit to explore this new opportunity, I don’t ‘waste’ time cooking, I invest my time in other things that I enjoy doing, reading, recording the podcast, learning, working, running and other things.
I’m not saying that you should do the same. I don’t really care what you eat or what you do, all I’m saying is that we all have the ability to open our minds to explore new ideas, however uncomfortable they might be. The beauty of having an open mind is that we never know where it might lead us. Our ego loves keeping us in the same place, but that place is very common and nothing happens in our comfort zone. Let’s catch ourselves when we are about to say ‘I know’ because we all do that, we all have misconceptions and beliefs that were ‘installed’ in our brain when we were born.
Let’s try new things, explore more because we never know where the unknown road might take us.
P.S Huel doesn’t sponsor me!