I backed Soylent a while ago and have been forever interested in the concept behind it. I don’t like the fact that I HAVE to eat, or I’ll die. I feel like thats a human deficiency we should try to overcome – or at least have more options for.
A short term solution to this is a default food that I can go to for my nutritional needs, and then anything extra is purely for enjoyment.
I like going to the movies, but I don’t want to have to go 3 times a day or i’ll die – that’s what food feels like.
The idea behind soylent is that it’s a food product (beverage, cracker, brownie), mixed from non-perishable powder which (1) provides complete nutrition (2) is reasonably priced and (3) can be prepared with minimal effort.
The benefits of soylent is that it balances health, price, and time in a way that no other diet can match.
You can probably find a healthier meal then soylent. You can probably find a cheaper meal then soylent. You can probably find a faster meal than soylent.
You probably can’t find one that balances all 3 of those things equally.
Healthy meals are very expensive. Cheap meals have low nutritional value. Fast meals are usually unhealthy too.
With soylent, it’s cheap ($5.10 / day), all you do is add water to pre-mixed dry ingredients, and it contains all your daily recommended nutrition.
One interesting side-effect of successful soylent is potentially ending world hunger.
Largley, world hunger is a logistics issue. We have enough food, we just can’t get it to the places that need it. Once it’s there, how do we store it?
Since soylent is in a dry / powder form, it can store for long periods of time in any condition, doesn’t take up much space, and can easily be shipped across the globe.
Another benefit is it’s low cost per calorie. A full days meal (2,290) costs only $5.10, and thats paying full retail for all the ingredients from Amazon (shipped overnight). That $5.10 gets you all of the nutrients, micronutrients, calories, proteins, carbs & fats, that your body needs to function properly.
Now to make one thing clear – you can survive on MUCH less than “ideal” nutrients. Ideal nutrients means a fully optimized meal. So not only are people being fed, but they’re being fed with a diet thats healthier than 90% of the world.
In college I lived off nutella, white bread and ramen for about a year. I was getting no nutrition from that food.
From a cost perspective soylent is probably a little more expensive than nutella and ramen, but considering you’re getting complete nutrition, its a pretty good trade off.
The Science (info from wiki.soylent.me):
Complete nutrition is when you intake all of the nutrients necessary to keep the body healthy. There is a list of essential nutrients which must be ingested in order for your body function in a healthy way.
For each of these essential nutrients we know roughly the minimum requirements to function properly and a maximum tolerance to not get sick.
The amount of essential nutrients one should intake varies from person to person.
The U.S. government has a set of dietary standards called DRIs (Dietary Reference Intakes).
The DRI describes the “RDA”, “Recommended Daily Allowance” which is the amount of a nutrient that you should ingest on a daily basis.
On the other side of the coin, it describes the “UL” or “Tolerable Upper Limit” which is the maximum amount of a nutrient you can intake with no risk of harm. If you go above these levels, you’re putting your body at risk.
The gist of it is we want to get at least the RDA of each nutrient, but not above the UL. We need to stay between those two numbers.
My Recipe – Ingredients & Cost:
The recipe I chose was from diy.soylent.com – a user named Max created a great base recipe called “Basic Complete soylent- Bachelor Chow”
Calories & Nutrients Breakdown:
Making the First Batch:
First step was to mix 1 days worth of the dry ingredients together and then experiment 3 different ways to eat it to see if any of them were tolerable.
All the ingredients:
36g GNC Mega Men Sport:
50g Whey Protein Isolate:
200g Oat Flour:
185g Pre-cooked Masa:
10g Now Foods Calcium / Magnesium:
3.5 Iodised Salt:
4g Potassium Chloride:
5g MSM Sulfer Powder:
My First Complete Batch (Dry Ingredients):
I decided that I’d make a milkshake / beverage for my first soylent experience.
I put 1/3 of the days dry ingredients into the blender, and started adding water. Then I added in the oil, and continued to blend.
At first it was really really really thick, like glue. I kept adding water and it started to thin out. I waited until it got to a milkshake like consistency, turned off the blender, and gave it a try.
My initial thought was that it was oddly hot from the blender, which made it taste 100x worse. Second, there’s no way I’m drinking that every day. It was nasty.
I added a bunch of agave nectar to sweeten it up, and it helped a lot, but still, gross.
It tasted like hot protein powder and flour – which is exactly what it was.
I put it in the refrigerator for an hour and came back to try and drink my breakfast.
It got a bit thicker once it cooled down, so it was back to a thick milkshake / cake batter consistency.
I chugged about 3/4 of the mixture, and couldn’t do it any more. It tasted like cake batter with too much flour in it.
Next time I’ll add a lot more water – and try to add some chocolate to mask the flavor.
Surprisingly, the 3/4 that I managed to drink / chew down filled me up and I got a little boost of energy from it. I didn’t really need to eat again until dinner, but even then I felt like I could go without it.
It feels like I did a mini-cleanse. Would be interesting to see what it feels like long term. As of now, theres no way I’m drinking that crap. Gotta experiment and figure out a better tasting recipe. This is not the end.
For dinner I pulled an audible and decided to make soylent pasta. I haven’t seen anyone else try that, and hopefully nobody else ever will.
I took 1/3 of the flour, put it on a cutting board, and made a little well. Then I slowly added 2 whisked eggs and began to form a dough.
I kneeded and rolled the dough out into a flat sheet of soylent pasta. At this point it basically smelled like vanilla protein powder. Not bad, but not great for pasta. Also, the smell of the powder made me gag at that point from the mornings breakfast.
I cut the pasta into strips, and then let it out to dry for a few hours.
Then I boiled the water, and dropped in the soylent fettucini into the pot of water.
I let it cook for 5 minutes – and started to notice that the water was turning yellow.
Basically, I think it boiled the nutrients out of the soylent pasta – great
I tried a piece – it was gross. It didn’t really taste like anything, but it wasn’t good, and probably wasn’t that healthy for you at that point.
That said, if I tried to make real pasta from scratch it would probably turn out out equally as bad – minus the yellow water.
I ended up eating subway for dinner, so day 1 = failure.
I’m going to experiment with the recipe and find something that I can actually consume before I start eating only soylent every day.
Anyone have any ideas on how we can make the soylent taste better?