Life on Soylent

I have always been curious about how we could do food differently.

So I recently ordered a week’s supply of Soylent. And when I say “recently”, I really should say “in June” - it took a LONG time to arrive.

At first, I didn’t care much for the taste. I figured out that adding honey or 2 small packets of Starbucks Mocha coffee made it pretty fun to drink. Eventually I started drinking it plainly - after a while it’s a lot like drinking very slightly grainy water.

For those of you unaware of what Soylent is, it’s a nutritional drink/meal replacement/light brown, beigy liquid. The idea is to provide all the nutrients you need while being as cheap and easy to prepare as possible - “Food 2.0” - which it actually mostly succeeds at. It comes in a large bag of powder and a tiny bottle of oil, which you mix with water and refrigerate to form the drink.

In the time that I was waiting for my week’s supply of Soylent, I did a lot of thinking as to how it could integrate into my life and why I wanted it. Some of that thinking was correct, a lot of it wasn’t.

Obviously, cost is a factor - it’s around $3 per meal to “eat” with Soylent. Considering the ease of preparation and consumption and the fact that it’s fairly well nutritionally balanced, that’s a steal. I had some idea that cost would be a factor, but I didn’t quite know how true that is. For comparison, a decent meal at my workplace is around $7.50.

I have a bad habit of simply not eating on weekends or when I’m busy or deeply involved in some task. My thinking was that Soylent would allow me to fill that gap - finally having breakfast and dinner when I’m supposed to.

My workplace has an awesome cafeteria, and the food is often good and reasonably priced. There’s not always something available that I want to eat, however - Soylent is my alternative.

I also suck at eating healthy foods. Cheeseburgers, chili fries, hot dogs, those are my jam. I like to joke that I have “2/3rds of a healthy diet” - besides Soylent I pretty much eat whatever the hell I want to.

Finally, when I get home I typically want to just relax - going out and getting food or groceries is extremely unappealing. Typically I’ll either resort to delivery or go have food at the local bar. Delivery costs anywhere from $20 to $30 depending on tips and where I order it from - which gets pretty damn pricey pretty quickly. I don’t know how much I saved while I was eating Soylent but I’m willing to bet it was actually a fairly large amount of money. Anyways, delivery isn’t always an option and as a bonus Soylent is pretty much instant gratification.

There are downsides; preparing it can be messy and I’m still not sure what the long-term health effects will be, though I can’t imagine them being all that strange.

My week’s supply lasted a lot less time than I thought it would, as it turns out - I worked out roughly 2.3/3rds of my diet ended up being that beigey liquid. Breakfast, dinner, and in some cases, lunch.

I don’t see myself giving up real food any time soon. Eating with friends is an inherently social thing and I don’t see myself lugging around a 2L jug of liquid food to a restaurant. Besides that, “pleasure food” as some Soylent fans are now calling it tastes a lot better after you start using Soylent regularly.

Eventually the carnival stopped and I ran out of Soylent - and it immediately had a negative impact on my life. I basically didn’t eat except for dinner on the weekend, because I get distracted and find it hard to make myself get up and make food.

So, recently, I bit the bullet and ordered a full month of Soylent - $255 for 28 one-day bags and the corresponding oil. As it doesn’t make up my complete diet I will likely end up with spare bags each month to give to friends or curious neighbours to try.

Anyways, overall it’s been a very pleasant experience so far. I would probably recommend Soylent if someone asked me. It’s been extremely interesting trying it and seeing how it affected me, and I’m excited to tear open the four boxes of it I have waiting for me at home.