Soylent, The Beverage for the Modern World

Soylent! For people who don’t need solid food

I first encountered soylent a few years ago probably on reddit or something. The basic idea of it is a nutritionally complete beverage that, although it isn’t recommended officially, can be consumed exclusively and safely. I’ve always been curious to try it but I’ve been afraid of ridicule and attempts to get me to stop from my peers. It just so happens, however, that I’ve been afforded an opportunity to live alone far away from all my friends this summer.

Because of this, I purchased four bottles, one of each flavor except original, at the local supermarket. I also just happen to live by a Randall’s, which is one of the only stores that currently carries it. The five current flavors are: Original, a grey, sweetish nutrient broth; Cacao, a chocolate flavored variant; Coffiest, a coffee flavored variety with 125mg of caffeine; Vanilla, another caffeinated flavor; and Chai, a lightly caffeinated version at only 35mg of caffeine. I personally am partial to the Cacao, and haven’t actually tried the caffeinated ones yet due to an attempt to veer away from caffeine.

What do I do with it?

After having a few bottles of the Cacao, I decided to purchase my first case. Then, by the wonders of Amazon in a big city, I had a dozen bottles at my door less than 28 hours later. At the time of writing I have consumed all but one bottle from that batch. This is because I purposely avoid consuming a 100% soylent diet. I just like cooking too much.  At 400 calories a bottle, it’s also a little on the heavy side calorically for breakfast. If I’m consuming that many calories, I’ll feel way fuller by eating 5 eggs. This of course is all irrelevant because I don’t each breakfast (shout out to intermittent fasting, definitely not just disordered eating).

I absolutely have not replaced cooking with it though. I still love making dinner for myself. The only thing is that Soylent sits in between how much I love cooking and eating fresh food, and how much I dislike eating leftovers. Plus I don’t have a microwave. Which lends itself to a whole additional post about me being extremely cheap with some things. Hint, they’re not always the right things to cheap out on.

In an attempt to lose some freshman *15* (we’re not going to go into the actual number), I have been trying to find the right balance of foods to stay full, have enough energy to run, and not like… die. It turns out that if I eat like I did during band season while remaining sedentary, I’ll put on quite a bit of weight. This is great part of soylent. It makes it ridiculously easy to count calories! My only complaint is that the macronutrient rations in it are a little different than what I think would work best for me. It’s just not formulated for someone trying to put on muscle. There are just too many carbs and not enough protein for my liking.

This still leaves the big question of why I started this in the first place. There are three main reasons. I’m lazy, I’m cheap, and “young tech industry culture”. I am not, in fact, the only person in my office, even not the only one in my dev team, who drinks it. Everyone that I know who’s tried it has been someone in the field or wanting to be in the field. Hackathons at Purdue even serve it! So quite simply, it’s something that people that do what I do, do. And about that “what do I do?” thing, the post about my job is coming eventually.

What am I actually eating?

So my strategy around that is to have one for lunch, and then something pretty lean and protein dense for dinner before going on a run. So far this has been going pretty great for me. Although I don’t own a scale, I definitely see progress. I also get an added benefit for my skin as I take a cold shower after my runs and just go to bed, which keeps my skin from drying out as much.

Oh, and about the name… Before you start making any Soylent Green jokes, it’s actually not named after that. It’s named after an eponymous food in the Harry Harrison novel “Make Room! Make Room!” where it is a mixture of soy and lentils. So no, I’m not actually drinking people. Just some strange algal proteins and dehydrated oils.

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