Word on the street is that Soylent, the new meal replacement that claims to be cheap and nutritionally complete, will solve the world’s hunger problems.
I’m always down to try something new, and I’ve been super curious about it, so I split a one month supply with a friend.
Here was my diet previous to Soylent:
– Intermittent Fasting about 6 days a week
– “Breakfast” consisting of oatmeal, bananas, raspberries, currants/raisins, hemp hearts, chia seeds, walnuts, and cinnamon
– Large salads with romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, red onion, beans, sunflower seeds, and whatever else will fit in the tupperware
– RAW protein supplement
– Large stir fried (with water) dinners with onions, squashes, scallops, bell peppers, tofu, mushrooms
– Breakfast burritos on the weekends, and assorted restaurant food on Friday or Saturday nights
– 2000 calories of Soylent
– a mid-afternoon banana, orange, and nuts
– tofu after dinner, if still hungry
– IF, protein supplementing, and extra weekend meals the same
– 4 nights and days backpacking, during which I ate dehydrated trail foods
The first day was the worst. It was just one meal, but I did not enjoy the taste. The next few days Soylent tasted mildly unpleasant, and after that it became neutral at the worst, and even mildly tasty at times.
Because of my energy requirements, 2000 calories was not enough. I don’t have an ice machine, and because Soylent requires a few hours to cool down in the fridge, I had to supplement with other foods to feel full at the end of the day.
Warning: I’m about to get into my digestive experience. May be TMI. Skip to the next bold.
I did not experience the flatulence that others have described. I speculate this is because my diet is already high in beans, broccoli, etc, and my body has already acclimated.
However: I clogged the toilet twice in a row, without excess toilet paper. Say no more, except that perhaps I wasn’t drinking enough water? This has never happened to me before.
I’ve been wanting to try Soylent for a long time. In my previous attempt, it took them so long to deliver the drink that we canceled the order. However, this time the shipping was speedy, and we were surprised by how fast we got our supply.
The taste, after the first few days, was fine. I was also happy with the extra time that I found myself with, not having to cook my meals.
My weight stayed the same. While I felt more energetic for my first few days, I felt very sore for my last few days. I suspect this is either because I was not drinking enough water or getting enough protein.
My cravings for sugary sweets went up. I have a problem with sugar, and I noticed my cravings become almost unbearable. I suspect that this is because I was either not drinking enough water or the Sucralose in Soylent sent my body the sugar signal.
However, two things in particular are causing me not to renew my order:
First, I’m nervous about the nutritional content. The ingredients are highly processed. I’m not enough of a nutritionist to know what my macronutrient requirements are – but the formula keeps changing. There is debate over whether the right vitamin supplements are included and whether those are useable by the body. Until this is a little more settled, I feel more comfortable with real food.
Second, I enjoy eating actual food. Sure, it takes a bit of time to prepare, but it can be meditative. It’s also satisfying to cut fresh vegetables and feel the taste and texture of a healthy meal.
TL;DR: If you are on the “window diet” (most of your food comes from drive through windows), the Soylent meal replacement is a huge step up. It’s healthier, you’ll lose weight, and you’ll get more of your micronutrients. If you eat a diet made up of mostly unprocessed fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans like I do, you may miss some of the experience.