Observations on Soylent
About 3 min reading time
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If you didn't read my earlier post about living on Soylent, you should read that first. Go ahead, I'll wait.
I'll start by saying I quit one day early. I made it until dinner on Friday before I caved and stopped eating / drinking Soylent. Friday was rough, actually. I think I screwed up that day's batch or something because it seemed extra gritty / chunky, no matter how much I shook it beforehand. By dinnertime I wasn't really looking forward to my Soylent, but wanting to stick it out I dutifully poured myself a glass. My first gulp felt a little chunkier than normal and it made me gag a little. At that point, I decided to listen to my body and eat something else. I poured out the last of the day's Soylent.
And that was the biggest problem I faced all week. The texture is awful. It's watery mud made with fine sand. In explaining it to people this week, I also compared it to drinking pancake batter. If you want a trial run of what this is like, just prepare some boxed pancake mix and drink it.
The flavor of Soylent isn't at all bad. The creators aim for a "neutral" flavor, and that's really what they've made. The benefit to this is that if you grow tired of the taste, it's easy enough to flavor it. Indeed, many people have mixed it with everything from peanut butter to bananas and other fruits. I did explore flavoring it a couple times. I mixed it with cinnamon once, adding 1/4 teaspoon to a single service. While cinnamon Soylent did taste quite good, cinnamon is another gritty ingredient so I would not recommend mixing it in. I also made vanilla Soylent, adding 2 tablespoons to my pitcher. It added a subtle flavor to it, but were I to do it again I would add at least a third tablespoon. Vanilla Soylent tastes very much like pancake batter.
The strangest thing about eating primarily Soylent was that I never felt full. I would drink a serving, or a serving and a half at my usual meal time and I would just stop being hungry. I'd feel hungry again around the times I usually do when I eat regular food, so it was absolutely feeding me. What I lost was that satisfaction from eating a good meal. I wouldn't be hungry, but I would feel a little empty, as though something was missing. Though I wasn't eating exclusively Soylent, the snacks I ate often weren't enough to make me not crave other food.
My coworkers typically bring food from home or bring some back from a nearby restaurant and, since our office is very open, I became acutely aware of what they were eating. If someone had something hot on the other side of the office, I could smell it, and it would smell amazing. But on Wednesday I actually went and sat at a restaurant with one of my coworkers just to take the walk there and get away from my desk for a while. I nearly quit then, but was determined to stick it out. My Soylent lunch when I returned to the office was not terribly satisfying.
Some people have reported feeling healthier while eating Soylent, but I didn't notice any significant differences, despite getting much larger doses of many vitamins I don't normally get a lot of. Seriously, this stuff has everything in it, just look at the label below. Other than the lack of ever feeling full, I didn't feel different in terms of energy or overall wellbeing. That said, if your diet is normally significantly lacking in healthy nutrients, it could make you feel a lot different.
The vision of Soylent is that you would eat this for every meal and not have to worry about balancing your own nutrition. Having mostly attempted that this week, I'll say that this is absolutely possible. You will not starve, and you will get every vitamin you need. The problem is in convincing yourself that you don't want anything else and that the ridiculously gritty texture doesn't bother you. I wouldn't say that I dreaded every meal, but I never looked forward to a meal either. That excitement you feel when you know you're in for some tasty food literally never happens on Soylent. I became apathetic of meal times.
I still have one bag left, and I will probably eat it one serving at a time (in my blender for better texture, blended Soylent is significantly smoother), but not any time soon. I would definitely be willing to give Soylent another go, but probably not until version 1.5 is available. Next time, I think I'll stick with just two meals a day, though. Living the "Soylent lifestyle" is not something I would recommend just yet.