For six months or so before going vegan I had noticed Facebook ads for something called Huel, marketed as a ‘nutritionally complete food’. I wasn’t really interested at first. I figured it was a kind of protein shake, and I’ve never been into that kind of thing.
I decided to give it a try back in July, when I realised I was getting into bad habits at lunchtime. With limited time in the mornings to make a packed lunch, I found I was spending a lot of money buying lunch and it was often unhealthy (Subway was becoming a regular feature). I had been using cycling as an excuse for eating lots of food that really wasn’t good for me – loads of crisps, chocolate bars and pastries. It was getting expensive. I realised that a Huel subscription (about £40 a month) would be cheaper than what I was spending on junk food and snacks. Looking back, this was one of the tipping points in me going vegan and starting to make healthier food choices.
I took out the Huel subscription as a way to break my unhealthy and expensive junk-food habit. The fact that this ‘complete’ food is vegan also helped me realise that you can get everything you need from a plant-based diet.
My first order came with a shaker, a scoop, two bags of Huel (I went for one unflavoured, one vanilla), a sample set of ‘flavour boosts’ and a free T-shirt(!). I find the unflavoured one quite bland; it’s not bad with some sweetener and cocoa powder added, but the vanilla one tastes really good.
For a while I had a shake for lunch each day, but I’ve got a bit bored of that now and am preferring to make big salads. I’m still using the Huel regularly, but am putting a scoop of it into my breakfast smoothie rather than having it on its own. Occasionally it is helpful for convenience, for example this morning I was in a rush so had a Huel shake for breakfast. It does fill me nicely, and keeps me reasonably satisfied until lunchtime.
One of main advantages of it (and one of the main reasons I will keep my subscription) is that it has all the micronutrients which I’m told vegans can struggle to find. As I understand it, things like vitamin B12 and omega 3 can be tricky – this solves that problem.
I don’t really think of it as food in the normal sense, but it’s convenient and tastes pretty good. I also found it good as a recovery drink after Saturday’s audax. I don’t know how long I will keep using it, but for now it is a useful part of my new diet – it’s good to know I’m getting the nutrients I need.