The Productivity Experiment I Failed Miserably: Eating only “soylent” for a week

Takeaway: Soylent is a powdered food substitute that supplies your body with all of its daily nutritional needs. Just mix it with water and a bit of oil, and then drink the smoothie-like concoction. I failed miserably at this experiment because I like food too much, but soylent is still fantastic: it takes a minimal amount of time to prep, is dirt-cheap, and is a perfectly healthy food. However, it’s way less fun to eat than food, which sucks if you love food as much as I do.

Estimated Reading Time: 11 minutes, 3s. It’s pretty skimmable, though :-)

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What is “soylent”?

Soylent is a powdered food mix that supplies all of your body’s daily nutritional needs. To prepare some, you simply combine soylent power–which contains everything you nutritionally need over the course of a day–with olive oil (for fat) and water, and then the drink the smoothie-like concoction. Because the official, kickstarted Soylent isn’t shipping yet, I made my own for this experiment, following the Hackerschool Soylent recipe.

Nutritionally-speaking, soylent is the perfect food. Since it is a powdered substance and you can control exactly what you put in the mix (for this experiment I prepared big batches of the stuff ahead of time), you can engineer the food substitute to contain exactly how much protein, carbs, fat, sodium, potassium, and fiber your body requires on a daily basis, and add vitamins and minerals to compensate for whatever else you’re missing. The soylent I prepared contained:

  • Oat flour: For carbohydrates
  • Pea protein powder: For protein. I added extra, because I work out most mornings
  • Olive oil: For fat
  • Brown sugar: For flavor and carbs
  • Ground flax: For fiber
  • Cocoa powder: For fiber and taste
  • Lecithin: For choline
  • Iodized salt, Vitamin D, Potassium Citrate, Emergen-C (Vitamin C), and a multivitamin

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Since you can calculate exactly how much protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, fats, minerals, fibre, and other great things are in the mix, you can essentially create a mix that is totally perfect for your dietary needs. Need a bit more Vitamin D? Great, grind a Vitamin D tablet and put it into your mix. Have trouble remembering to take a daily multivitamin? No problem, crush one of those up and put it in the mix too. Having trouble getting enough fiber? Again, no problem, just add more ground flax to your mix.

Soylent is the closest thing out there to the infamous meal-in-a-pill popularized by The Jetsons in the 1980’s. The idea of soylent is a great one, and on the surface, soylent is pretty close to perfect.

But just like riding a Greyhound bus, eating cheap Chinese food, or playing a rousing game of Monopoly, you quickly learn how terrible of an idea eating only soylent can be.

What is soylent like?

IMG_1373Here’s what soylent is like in a nut:

  • Taste: Soylent is made predominately from oat flour and protein powder, so it tastes like thick oat water–but not entirely in a bad way. The taste of soylent isn’t bad by any means, but it’s pretty generic; nothing in its list of ingredients is particularly flavorful, except for sugar and cocoa, which there’s a lot less of than everything else. The taste isn’t bad, but it’s not good either.
  • Texture: Soylent has the same consistency as a smoothie, and since you can add as much or as little water as you like, you can essentially make your soylent as thick as you want it to be. I found myself adding enough water so that my mix was a bit less viscous than a smoothie.
  • Feeling afterward: One of the more interesting aspects of soylent is the feeling you get after you drink it. After you drink soylent you’re definitely no longer hungry, and you don’t crave anything in particular, but at the same time you don’t feel entirely satisfied. You’re satiated since you no longer feel hungry, but you’re definitely not as satisfied as when you eat a great meal. I think that’s one of the reasons I broke down less than half way through this experiment..

Why I failed miserably at this experiment

I don’t think it’s possible for me to overstate how much I love food.

I’ve done a lot of crazy experiments over the course of AYOP so far. I’ve lived in total isolation for 10 days, meditated for 35 hours in a week, watched 70 hours of TED talks in a week, worked 90-hour weeks, used my smartphone for only an hour a day (for three months), and much much more.

But I didn’t quite have the stamina to make it through this experiment.

I think the reason for that is simple: I love food.

Like, a lot.

I remember when after my first year of University, I hopped on a plane to run around Europe on a solo trip. I don’t remember much from that trip, even though it was just a few years ago–but I remember the food. I remember the tender rabbit I ate at a Michelin-starred restaurant in the central town square in Krakow, Poland. I remember walking down a side street of Paris, massive baguette in hand, breaking off and scarfing down massive chunks of the loaf as I walked by people I couldn’t speak to or understand. I remember what I ate for breakfast today (oat flour pancakes and an apple), for lunch (rice and homemade chill), and for dinner (vegetables, pita, hummus, and more chill and rice). I also remember what I ate yesterday and the day before that.

IMG_1367It’s not that soylent was unenjoyable to eat; it’s that I didn’t feel satisfied afterward. Take, for example, something as simple as the texture of food. I love the feeling of biting into a fresh stick of celery; feeling the fibre-rich framework of the vegetable crumble like a stone castle under the weight of my teeth. To me, food is poetry; the very tapestry that my day threads in and out of and around. If I’m excited on a given day, more often than not I’m excited about something I’m going to eat. It may be sad, but it’s true.

On day two of this experiment, as I was bussing home from a local speaking gig, I couldn’t take it any more. I wouldn’t get home until after 10pm, when the Burger King across the street from our house closes, so I texted my girlfriend and asked her to pick me up a burger, knowing full well that eating the burger would cause me to fail this experiment. But I didn’t care.

When I got home, the Burger King bag sat quietly on the kitchen counter. I beelined toward the bag, and tore it open to find the burger, wrapped neat as a present inside. I still remember my first bite. I’m not a huge fan of fast food, but I remember the burger’s taste as I chomped through layers of white bread, lettuce, and tomato to get to the juicy patty that laid at the hamburger’s core. It was delightful, and I don’t regret it for one second.

The reason for me breaking down in the middle of this experiment has a lot more to do with how much I love food rather than how much I hate soylent. Soylent isn’t terrible by any means, and I actually enjoyed it after I didn’t eat it exclusively over the course of the experiment. But there is a time and a place for it, as I’ll get to below, and eating soylent exclusively simply wasn’t something I was willing to do–not even in the name of productivity.

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Interlude: My 10 favorite productivity experiments from my year of productivity

10 of my favorite experiments from my year of productivity, in no particular order. Just click on any picture to visit the experiment’s article.

Should you eat soylent?

After I caved on my second day of this experiment (sad, I know), I continued to occasionally eat soylent for the rest of the week, and have actually continued to eat soylent now that the experiment is over.

Last week I published on article on how it’s important to know why you’re doing what you are, instead of just working through the items on your to-do list, and that idea most definitely applies here. Knowing why you want to eat something like soylent is key, since the mix has definitely its fair share of pros and cons:

Pros

  • Soylent takes all of the decision-making out of eating. Some days I spend quite a bit of time thinking about what I’m going to eat, and exert a good amount of energy making sure it’s balanced. Soylent is well-balanced every time, and it requires almost zero thought to mix the powder with water and olive oil. Especially if you make a lot of decisions every day, soylent will reduce your decision fatigue and help you focus more on your work.
  • Soylent is technically perfect. Soylent is a perfectly balanced meal, every time. If you fret a lot about getting enough vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, and other nutrients, you can stop worrying when you eat soylent.
  • Soylent saves you time. Not including the time it took me to buy the ingredients in soylent (no more than a typical grocery order), it took me about five minutes to prepare enough soylent to last me an entire week.
  • Soylent saves you money. It cost me exactly $7.98 a day to live off of soylent, a paltry amount compared to the $21.57 the average American spends on food every day.1 If you’re budget-conscious, soylent is a great way to cut back on your food expenses.

Cons

  • Soylent isn’t enjoyable to eat. To me, food is one of the most enjoyable things in the world. I can’t think of too many people who don’t have a favorite food, and if you enjoy eating food as much as I do, every sip of soylent you take is one less piece of tasty food you get to eat. I can’t overstate the importance of this point. Food is fun to eat, and soylent isn’t enjoyable to eat in the slightest. It’s not nasty by any means, but it’s not all particularly pleasant, either.
  • Soylent has a high social cost. I almost always eat with people around, and since soylent takes almost no time to prepare and eat, I quickly found myself spending less time around people as I ate more soylent. I think this can have big impacts on your productivity, since spending time around people is a great way to recharge your batteries.
  • Preparing food forces you to separate yourself from your work. I think taking breaks and separating yourself from your work is one of the most underrated ways to become more productive, and I constantly found myself hunkering down and working longer when I ate soylent. That might sound more productive on the surface, but it wasn’t. Breaks have been shown to make you more creative, give you better ideas, and make you more productive. This is an admittedly small point compared to the others, but I think it’s still one worth mentioning.

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Recommendations

  • Know the job you hire food to do for you. I think a person eats what they do for one or more of eight reasons: socially, for energy, for enjoyment, for nourishment, for health reasons, for pleasure, because they’re addicted (often the case with sugar), and for relaxation. I personally get an incredible amount of enjoyment, pleasure, and relaxation from every meal I eat; nutrition and nourishment are almost always secondary. That’s simply the job I hire food to do for me. By being mindful of what you want to get out of food before you sit down to eat something, you can easily decide whether to eat soylent or something more enjoyable.
  • If you don’t get too much satisfaction from food, you should eat Soylent. Soylent is cheap and takes hardly any time to prepare, so if you don’t care too much about food, you should look into making yourself some soylent. You’ll likely still want to eat normal food for the sake of not going insane, though.
  • If you want to save time, money, or both, eat more Soylent. Soylent is one of the cheapest foods out there, and it also takes hardly any time to prepare. If you’re starved for time, money, or both, look into making soylent. You’ll need to put down a good chunk of money at first to buy all of the ingredients, but the cost per meal is incredibly low, and it’s pretty easy to prepare.
  • When you eat soylent, drink lots of water. There is a great deal of water in food; for example, most fruits and vegetables are 80-95% water. Make sure you drink extra water alongside your soylent since you will be getting less water from the food you eat.
  • Keep a blended batch of soylent in your fridge. There are times when you don’t have the time to prepare yourself a nice meal, and keeping a ready-made batch of soylent in the fridge is a great way to eat a healthy, balanced meal when you’re pressed for time or energy.

Wrap Up

jetsonsIf soylent were a person, she would be the violin-playing, book-reading, high-scoring-on-her-SAT girl that graduated summa cum laude from Harvard, that spends so much time on being technically flawless that she forgets to have a personality and have fun.

Food is fantastic–in my opinion it’s one of the greatest things out there. And sure, soylent is technically a perfectly balanced food, but I would vehemently argue that there is way more to eating than pure nutrition alone. After all, what would Christmas be like without your mother’s home cooking? What would a party be without snacks? What would Valentine’s day be like without chocolates and wine?

If a magical Jetsons-esque pill was created that supplied your body with all of its daily nutrients, would you take it? My bet is that you’d at least give it a shot, and though it would be useful a lot of the time, I’d also bet you would quickly miss food quite a bit, too.


  1. Source: http://www.gallup.com/poll/156416/americans-spend-151-week-food-high-income-180.aspx 

  • Scott

    It’s good you failed. . . . Well, it’s not good you failed with a burger, but it’s good you haven’t totally replaced your diet with Soylent.

    Soylent, correct me if I’m wrong, leaves phytochemicals out of the picture. It assumes the human body only cares about macronutrients and vitamins and minerals.

    I would say that whomever came up with this food substitute formula stopped reading nutritional science in the ’50s, but the more likely scenario is that dehydrated, high-micronutrient foods are too expensive to make Soylent sufficiently profitable at an attractive price point. Forget the fact that we already know even high-micronutrient foods need to be varied in the diet (e.g., don’t drink a spinach smoothie every single day).

    Looking forward to a better nutrition experiment from you in the future,

    • Thanks for reading man :) You’re right, this recipe leaves phytochemicals out of the picture, but I recently read this from Soylent’s inventor (whose recipe is a lot more complicated): “I have done a lot of reading on phytonutrients and found the effects are mostly random. Some may have helped a mouse model with a disease, but others exacerbate the issue. At some point I think we’ll identify which phytochemicals are actually useful and why, and design synthetic chemicals that are more effective.”

      Should have some interesting nutrition experiments coming in the future :-)

  • Scott

    It’s good you failed. . . . Well, it’s not good you failed with a burger, but it’s good you haven’t totally replaced your diet with Soylent.

    Soylent, correct me if I’m wrong, leaves phytochemicals out of the picture. It assumes the human body only cares about macronutrients and vitamins and minerals.

    I would say that whomever came up with this food substitute formula stopped reading nutritional science in the ’50s, but the more likely scenario is that dehydrated, high-micronutrient foods are too expensive to make Soylent sufficiently profitable at an attractive price point. Forget the fact that we already know even high-micronutrient foods need to be varied in the diet (e.g., don’t drink a spinach smoothie every single day).

    Looking forward to a better nutrition experiment from you in the future,

    • Thanks for reading man :) You’re right, this recipe leaves phytochemicals out of the picture, but I recently read this from Soylent’s inventor (whose recipe is a lot more complicated): “I have done a lot of reading on phytonutrients and found the effects are mostly random. Some may have helped a mouse model with a disease, but others exacerbate the issue. At some point I think we’ll identify which phytochemicals are actually useful and why, and design synthetic chemicals that are more effective.”

      Should have some interesting nutrition experiments coming in the future :-)

  • Completely agree that you should get enjoyment & pleasure from food! That’s one reason soylent doesn’t appeal to me at all. Another reason is I just can’t believe it’s a complete, perfect nutritional solution for everyone. There’s a huge range of phytonutrients from plants that aren’t in here, and the RDAs for vitamins/minerals are the minimum (but not always optimal) levels.

    • Very true :) I added a pretty good multivitamin in my recipe, but even that tiny pill affected the taste of the mix quite a bit. I much preferred consuming it alongside something more satisfying!

  • Completely agree that you should get enjoyment & pleasure from food! That’s one reason soylent doesn’t appeal to me at all. Another reason is I just can’t believe it’s a complete, perfect nutritional solution for everyone. There’s a huge range of phytonutrients from plants that aren’t in here, and the RDAs for vitamins/minerals are the minimum (but not always optimal) levels.

    • Very true :) I added a pretty good multivitamin in my recipe, but even that tiny pill affected the taste of the mix quite a bit. I much preferred consuming it alongside something more satisfying!

  • Li-ling

    I’m sorry – but that’s just wrong. Food is the most amazing thing in the world! You would sit round a table with your favourite people scarfing down brown gunk…I’m glad you love food so much that this failed. There’s no way a synthetic diet can even come anywhere close to the real deal.

    • Lea

      Yeah Li-ling, nothing compares. I mean not only is food so great it can also be aesthetically pleasing.

      ~Lea

  • Li-ling

    I’m sorry – but that’s just wrong. Food is the most amazing thing in the world! You would sit round a table with your favourite people scarfing down brown gunk…I’m glad you love food so much that this failed. There’s no way a synthetic diet can even come anywhere close to the real deal.

    • Lea

      Yeah Li-ling, nothing compares. I mean not only is food so great it can also be aesthetically pleasing.

      ~Lea

  • I can’t see eating soylent all the time. Perhaps I could do it once or twice a week, but that would be about it. I already limit how much I eat, I don’t want to limit it even more. Although I do like the idea of getting all your nutrients in one convenient place like this. Still, what’s the fun of living if you have to eat this stuff on a regular basis?

    • Yeah, I can’t imagine exclusively living off Soylent, but I think it’d be great to have it for 1 or 2 meals per day. I can see myself especially enjoying this for lunch since it would save me time preparing a healthy and packable lunch.

      As for the fun of living question, it all depends on your perspective. Ardent Soylent eaters tend to be people who get more enjoyment out of things besides food. They see food as fuel for doing things more fun or interesting to them. In some cases this might be work related, but it doesn’t have to be.

  • I can’t see eating soylent all the time. Perhaps I could do it once or twice a week, but that would be about it. I already limit how much I eat, I don’t want to limit it even more. Although I do like the idea of getting all your nutrients in one convenient place like this. Still, what’s the fun of living if you have to eat this stuff on a regular basis?

    • Yeah, I can’t imagine exclusively living off Soylent, but I think it’d be great to have it for 1 or 2 meals per day. I can see myself especially enjoying this for lunch since it would save me time preparing a healthy and packable lunch.

      As for the fun of living question, it all depends on your perspective. Ardent Soylent eaters tend to be people who get more enjoyment out of things besides food. They see food as fuel for doing things more fun or interesting to them. In some cases this might be work related, but it doesn’t have to be.

  • cprincipe

    “It’s not that soylent was unenjoyable to eat; it’s that I didn’t feel satisfied afterward.”

    Well of course not, you forgot to include the special ingredient.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070723/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

    • I was wondering if you could mix in extra ingredients … so glad someone mentioned it ;-> !!

  • cprincipe

    “It’s not that soylent was unenjoyable to eat; it’s that I didn’t feel satisfied afterward.”

    Well of course not, you forgot to include the special ingredient.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070723/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

    • I was wondering if you could mix in extra ingredients … so glad someone mentioned it ;-> !!

  • Lea

    I love food too, maybe too much to even try this. I like a lot of different foods but I think I’d have my fill after a short while. I think you have to mix it up a bit to keep enjoying it.

    I’m such a foodie I don’t think it’s just about the nutritional value or energy, what you eat should be enjoyable too.

    ~Lea

    • Absolutely agree, that’s what I’ve found now that the experiment’s over. I enjoy drinking it it, but it has to be for the right reasons, and definitely not more than one or two times a day.

  • Lea

    I love food too, maybe too much to even try this. I like a lot of different foods but I think I’d have my fill after a short while. I think you have to mix it up a bit to keep enjoying it.

    I’m such a foodie I don’t think it’s just about the nutritional value or energy, what you eat should be enjoyable too.

    ~Lea

    • Absolutely agree, that’s what I’ve found now that the experiment’s over. I enjoy drinking it it, but it has to be for the right reasons, and definitely not more than one or two times a day.

  • From what I gather, Soylent just turns you into an adult baby. It’s baby food for adults. When I want to eat, I want to chew. To bite into something and tear it apart like a savage animal… or something…

    Anyway – It’s no wonder you failed. You’re a foodie like me. Good experiment though!!

    • A baby, physically and emotionally, I might add! ;-)

  • From what I gather, Soylent just turns you into an adult baby. It’s baby food for adults. When I want to eat, I want to chew. To bite into something and tear it apart like a savage animal… or something…

    Anyway – It’s no wonder you failed. You’re a foodie like me. Good experiment though!!

    • A baby, physically and emotionally, I might add! ;-)

  • Bee Yu

    “21 Reasons Every Food Lover Should Go to Hong Kong Immediately” haha
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/regajha/reasons-every-food-lover-should-go-to-hong-kong-immediate

  • Bee Yu

    “21 Reasons Every Food Lover Should Go to Hong Kong Immediately” haha
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/regajha/reasons-every-food-lover-should-go-to-hong-kong-immediate

  • James

    To start, I will say that I’m still skeptical on the health benefits of Soylent and as such, I haven’t personally tested it out yet (waiting for more reviews first). That being said, I am quite biased towards the appeal of Soylent as I’d consider myself a utilitarian. Similar to the creator of Soylent, I almost view food as a fuel source more than anything. I eat because I need to for energy. That isn’t to say I don’t enjoy food because I endulge as much as the next guy when I’m hanging out with friends on the weekends. When it comes to the weekdays though, I’d rather not pack a lunch or spend $10 to grab some food so I can get back to work.

    And to be honest, when it comes to eating healthy, I’m far from it. If it weren’t for my activeness when playing sports with friends, I’d be well over 300lbs at 6ft. On most nights at home I’ll opt for a box of Velveeta Mac and Cheese so I can get to doing other activities. So with that, I’m leaning towards Soylent being a healthier alternative to my current diet, even without (yet to be proven as necessary) micronutrients or phytochemicals.

    So just to put it in perspective, I wouldn’t recommend this Soylent product to nearly any of my friends and family because I know they’re food connoisseurs – much like the rest of the world. I know that they value the joy of eating over pure nutrition and efficiency. On the other hand, the health nuts may never opt for this either, but for the average guy who consumes 80% starches with some artificial dairy and a myriad of other preserved products, I have to believe that this is better (and in my case preferable because I’m confident that I can live off the same less-than-enjoyable drink for 5 days a week).

    Also to note, even though I maintain this radically unhealthy diet, I’d consider myself healthier than a large margin of those around me. Yearly physicals including a blood test put my vitals at optimal (or at least normal). Granted, I’m 23 and I’m sure time will change that once I stop playing sports and being active.

    I guess my point is there are a lot of people this sort of thing would appeal to – and perhaps even benefit. It’s cheap, easy, and has to be healthier than Mac and Cheese and cereal for 3 consecutive days (not in the same meal: cereal for breakfast, Mac for lunch and dinner).

  • James

    To start, I will say that I’m still skeptical on the health benefits of Soylent and as such, I haven’t personally tested it out yet (waiting for more reviews first). That being said, I am quite biased towards the appeal of Soylent as I’d consider myself a utilitarian. Similar to the creator of Soylent, I almost view food as a fuel source more than anything. I eat because I need to for energy. That isn’t to say I don’t enjoy food because I endulge as much as the next guy when I’m hanging out with friends on the weekends. When it comes to the weekdays though, I’d rather not pack a lunch or spend $10 to grab some food so I can get back to work.

    And to be honest, when it comes to eating healthy, I’m far from it. If it weren’t for my activeness when playing sports with friends, I’d be well over 300lbs at 6ft. On most nights at home I’ll opt for a box of Velveeta Mac and Cheese so I can get to doing other activities. So with that, I’m leaning towards Soylent being a healthier alternative to my current diet, even without (yet to be proven as necessary) micronutrients or phytochemicals.

    So just to put it in perspective, I wouldn’t recommend this Soylent product to nearly any of my friends and family because I know they’re food connoisseurs – much like the rest of the world. I know that they value the joy of eating over pure nutrition and efficiency. On the other hand, the health nuts may never opt for this either, but for the average guy who consumes 80% starches with some artificial dairy and a myriad of other preserved products, I have to believe that this is better (and in my case preferable because I’m confident that I can live off the same less-than-enjoyable drink for 5 days a week).

    Also to note, even though I maintain this radically unhealthy diet, I’d consider myself healthier than a large margin of those around me. Yearly physicals including a blood test put my vitals at optimal (or at least normal). Granted, I’m 23 and I’m sure time will change that once I stop playing sports and being active.

    I guess my point is there are a lot of people this sort of thing would appeal to – and perhaps even benefit. It’s cheap, easy, and has to be healthier than Mac and Cheese and cereal for 3 consecutive days (not in the same meal: cereal for breakfast, Mac for lunch and dinner).

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2014/05/12/140512fa_fact_widdicombe?currentPage=all

  • Federico Fabregat DicarpioGonz

    Hello… question: how many times a day you take Soylen? Just 3 like any other meal? thaknk you!

  • Federico Fabregat DicarpioGonz

    Hello… question: how many times a day you take Soylen? Just 3 like any other meal? thaknk you!

  • Federico Fabregat DicarpioGonz

    Sorry for my writing errors… :(

  • Federico Fabregat DicarpioGonz

    Sorry for my writing errors… :(

  • SmileyGirl in Washington

    I went through a period of time before I had my gallbladder out where I had to severely limit my fat intake. I basically was eating for sustenance and not what I really wanted. I was amazed to learn how much we eat for enjoyment and pleasure and not just for nutrition. A lot of our eating is done socially also which changes when you aren’t able to partake in it as freely as before. It was a big eye opener to me and I totally understand why this was very tough for you.

  • SmileyGirl in Washington

    I went through a period of time before I had my gallbladder out where I had to severely limit my fat intake. I basically was eating for sustenance and not what I really wanted. I was amazed to learn how much we eat for enjoyment and pleasure and not just for nutrition. A lot of our eating is done socially also which changes when you aren’t able to partake in it as freely as before. It was a big eye opener to me and I totally understand why this was very tough for you.

  • IamSoylent

    To my pleasant surprise this is actually a reasonably well balanced article. I still suspect that those who have an existing bias against such a concept will still take away only the negatives from it, but that’s pretty much human nature.

    The fact is that not everyone “loves” food. Many people – myself included – would greatly prefer not even have to deal with it at all unless we chose to. Food is not pleasurable or fun or relaxing for many people (which is not to say it’s traumatizing either… some folks just really couldn’t care less). And that’s where Soylent comes in. It has put food on *my terms* and dealing with it is no longer ever a “have to” – it’s strictly a “want to.” I have never, ever, been interested in going to eat with people for the food. It’s about the company. So if all I want is the company, I can do that with or without the food component. And frankly it’s far more enjoyable to talk to people whose mouths aren’t full.

    Frankly it’s no surprise that there are so many food-related problems at least in the US (probably elsewhere as well) when the very first words out of *everyone’s* mouth when it’s suggested we get together is something along the lines of “Let’s go grab something to eat…” Regardless of anyone actually being hungry or needing to eat, food is somehow nearly always the default social experience! And just looking around at all the other people eating at whatever venue we end up at, it’s frequently clear that many of them could do with a little less (or at least more careful) intake.

    Anyway, now that I’ve been consuming about 80%+ of my nutrition from Soylent for over a month, I can say without any reservation whatsoever that I’ve never, ever, felt better in my entire 41 years. I don’t have a particularly large amount of weight loss that I need to achieve (though another inch or two of reduction around the middle wouldn’t hurt) and that’s not why I chose Soylent. In fact the health benefits were not even a consideration for me. But the actual reality of their effects has been completely mind blowing and transformative.

    So now, as my name here would indicate, I am Soylent. And I couldn’t be happier.

  • IamSoylent

    To my pleasant surprise this is actually a reasonably well balanced article. I still suspect that those who have an existing bias against such a concept will still take away only the negatives from it, but that’s pretty much human nature.

    The fact is that not everyone “loves” food. Many people – myself included – would greatly prefer not even have to deal with it at all unless we chose to. Food is not pleasurable or fun or relaxing for many people (which is not to say it’s traumatizing either… some folks just really couldn’t care less). And that’s where Soylent comes in. It has put food on *my terms* and dealing with it is no longer ever a “have to” – it’s strictly a “want to.” I have never, ever, been interested in going to eat with people for the food. It’s about the company. So if all I want is the company, I can do that with or without the food component. And frankly it’s far more enjoyable to talk to people whose mouths aren’t full.

    Frankly it’s no surprise that there are so many food-related problems at least in the US (probably elsewhere as well) when the very first words out of *everyone’s* mouth when it’s suggested we get together is something along the lines of “Let’s go grab something to eat…” Regardless of anyone actually being hungry or needing to eat, food is somehow nearly always the default social experience! And just looking around at all the other people eating at whatever venue we end up at, it’s frequently clear that many of them could do with a little less (or at least more careful) intake.

    Anyway, now that I’ve been consuming about 80%+ of my nutrition from Soylent for over a month, I can say without any reservation whatsoever that I’ve never, ever, felt better in my entire 41 years. I don’t have a particularly large amount of weight loss that I need to achieve (though another inch or two of reduction around the middle wouldn’t hurt) and that’s not why I chose Soylent. In fact the health benefits were not even a consideration for me. But the actual reality of their effects has been completely mind blowing and transformative.

    So now, as my name here would indicate, I am Soylent. And I couldn’t be happier.

  • Patrick Golden

    Kudos to this being an article that acknowledges that some people will benefit from this even if the author did not. Food is an important part of culture, but I think many of the negative reviews of Soylent and DIY soylent attempt to purport the idea that every single meal we eat is for cultural or social enjoyment.

    Food is an excuse, and not necessarily in a bad way. It’s an excuse to stop doing whatever you’re doing and take a break, which can be healthy. It’s an excuse to spend time with friends and family to converse and share memories. The food is not what is important: what is important are the events that take place while eating food. People do not eat together in order to enjoy watching others fulfill their daily calorie intake. In fact, I have never eaten with people – other than cultural occasions such as holidays – and thought or said, “Wow, it was great sharing that pizza with you!” No, you reminisce about how enjoyable your time was. Food provides an excuse to allocate time.

    Therefore, this lends itself to the idea that there are far better options and excuses out there to allocate time. If you want to take a break, you don’t have to stop what you’re doing, and do absolutely nothing for the next 20-30 minutes except scarf down food. This is not productive. You could just as easily spend some time researching things you find enjoyable, go for a walk, spend some time with your pet, and have your Soylent with you for the sole purpose of nutrition.

    When it comes to social gatherings, of course it will be a bit more of a sensitive topic. People may feel weird if you sit there sipping out of a cup for your meal while everyone else eats. But when has food ever been the reason you got together with people? In fact, food often makes discussion awkward. If someone is talking, it is often rude to sit there and continue eating while they speak to you, so you have to stop. You also cannot talk to them while eating. To eat with friends requires silence in the moments you actually do consume food.

    Families often eat together in the evening and that’s great. There is often nothing more conducive to a healthy family relationship than a home-cooked meal that you share. In that regard, food is great because there is actual meaning behind it – someone went out of their way to prepare something for you to enjoy – and it allows you to share memories with your family. But beyond that, the food is not necessary. The meaningfulness of the food will last just a moment and will be quickly overshadowed by the importance of the discussions during the meal. A family could just as easily spend the evening playing a fun board game or reading a fun book together while eating Soylent rather than sitting at a table for a good hour.

    I think an important purpose of Soylent, maybe even more important than replacing most food, is forcing the consumer to question the value of food in their lives. If you read many of the negative reviews, many of the authors feel downright insulted or offended that Soylent wishes to decrease the amount of “real” food someone eats, but why? The idea that “real” food is absolutely crucial to daily life is ingrained in the minds of most people, so to have that ideology challenged makes many feel uneasy to the point of myopic rejection of the idea entirely.

  • Patrick Golden

    Kudos to this being an article that acknowledges that some people will benefit from this even if the author did not. Food is an important part of culture, but I think many of the negative reviews of Soylent and DIY soylent attempt to purport the idea that every single meal we eat is for cultural or social enjoyment.

    Food is an excuse, and not necessarily in a bad way. It’s an excuse to stop doing whatever you’re doing and take a break, which can be healthy. It’s an excuse to spend time with friends and family to converse and share memories. The food is not what is important: what is important are the events that take place while eating food. People do not eat together in order to enjoy watching others fulfill their daily calorie intake. In fact, I have never eaten with people – other than cultural occasions such as holidays – and thought or said, “Wow, it was great sharing that pizza with you!” No, you reminisce about how enjoyable your time was. Food provides an excuse to allocate time.

    Therefore, this lends itself to the idea that there are far better options and excuses out there to allocate time. If you want to take a break, you don’t have to stop what you’re doing, and do absolutely nothing for the next 20-30 minutes except scarf down food. This is not productive. You could just as easily spend some time researching things you find enjoyable, go for a walk, spend some time with your pet, and have your Soylent with you for the sole purpose of nutrition.

    When it comes to social gatherings, of course it will be a bit more of a sensitive topic. People may feel weird if you sit there sipping out of a cup for your meal while everyone else eats. But when has food ever been the reason you got together with people? In fact, food often makes discussion awkward. If someone is talking, it is often rude to sit there and continue eating while they speak to you, so you have to stop. You also cannot talk to them while eating. To eat with friends requires silence in the moments you actually do consume food.

    Families often eat together in the evening and that’s great. There is often nothing more conducive to a healthy family relationship than a home-cooked meal that you share. In that regard, food is great because there is actual meaning behind it – someone went out of their way to prepare something for you to enjoy – and it allows you to share memories with your family. But beyond that, the food is not necessary. The meaningfulness of the food will last just a moment and will be quickly overshadowed by the importance of the discussions during the meal. A family could just as easily spend the evening playing a fun board game or reading a fun book together while eating Soylent rather than sitting at a table for a good hour.

    I think an important purpose of Soylent, maybe even more important than replacing most food, is forcing the consumer to question the value of food in their lives. If you read many of the negative reviews, many of the authors feel downright insulted or offended that Soylent wishes to decrease the amount of “real” food someone eats, but why? The idea that “real” food is absolutely crucial to daily life is ingrained in the minds of most people, so to have that ideology challenged makes many feel uneasy to the point of myopic rejection of the idea entirely.

  • Kelly mcloughlin

    Hi I agree with the social aspect of eating and I love fine dining too. I have not tried Solyent yet but find a shake for breakfeast and lunch and cooking a great dinner or going out a great balance. I use herbal life because it tastes good. I don’t think you miss out on much socially this way and as you said it’s cheap and quick. It’s not all or none. I wish you had tried taking two shakes a day for 10 days because I am considering switching from herbal life to Solyent. Cheers

  • Jæ Sametbh Knowles

    lost interest at “used my smartphone only 1 hour per day”

  • Sam K.

    Just buy dry mixed vegetable powder and take that after soylent. problem resolved.

  • Sam K.

    pea protein is not a complete protein. better used mixed or just whey protein

  • Shay

    I feel like soylent would be great for breakfast. I skip breakfast most days. I could have a smoothie or something but it just doesn’t seem healthy enough. While soylent isn’t 100% healthy, it would reassure me knowing that at least a good portion of the vitamins and minerals I need are being fulfilled, especially since I’m probably deficient in most (like most Americans).

  • Dustoff283

    Frankly, I’m stunned that anyone would choose this name for a product. Surely at least an internet search was done and references to “soylent green” were found. Surely no one who is familiar with that would ever eat anything with this name (unless they’re cannibals). Horrible marketing. Or maybe I’m missing something. Was this supposed to be satire?

    • They chose the name on purpose, knowing the associations full well :)

      • Dustoff283

        I recognize that the producers may have deliberately chosen this name, although I still find it incredible that anyone would think it was likely to be a good marketing move. What really amazes me is that anyone would choose to consume it, unless they are completely clueless about the origin of the name.

        • Frikster42

          I was clueless of the name. Didn’t matter to me after I watched the movie though. In fact, Soylent made me actively interested in the name origins and is ultimately what led me to watch the movie.

          I think a lot of people love that the company doesn’t take itself too seriously as evidenced by the name. They don’t have to be careful eith marketing because they know their product is authentic and they have a customer base that will vouch for them.

          If it advertised itself as some life-saving miracle Dr. Phil approved substance like how Big Pharma advertised their gunk, I would never have bought into it. I would have thought it a corporate evil goo and steered clear.

  • September

    Still doing this? Can we get an update?

    • IamSoylent

      I assume you were asking me? It’s kinda unclear to me from the way Disqus is organized. If you were asking me, well sure I’m still “doing it”, as in yes I’m still eating. My food of choice about 80%+ of the time just happens to be Soylent. There’s really nothing to “do”, you just drink like you would water or anything else. Couldn’t be simpler, and I couldn’t be happier or healthier 16 months later.

  • Tiburonsmoke

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